Since researching for yesterday’s post ‘One Dangerous Fucker’ and realising that the Top Doctors in north Wales who concealed the paedophile ring that operated in the region over decades had even more friends in high places assisting them than I ever imagined, I’ve followed up on a few things that I should have followed up on before. One of those things is the academic and professional contacts of Dr X (Dr Tony Francis) before he went to work at the North Wales Hospital in the mid 80s. Previous posts have explained how documents that I only acquired earlier this year demonstrate that Tony Francis was involved in very serious wrongdoing, including industrial scale perjury in an attempt to have me imprisoned after I’d complained about the north Wales mental health services.
Francis killed himself a few years ago, after the re-opening of the investigation into the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal, I suspect because he feared – or indeed knew – that the net was closing in on him. (Readers of this blog who follow the comments section will have seen how recently a friend of Tony Francis became very angry with me for naming him.) I have for a while been interested in why Tony Francis ever went to work in a hell-hole like Denbigh. Denbigh was notorious, no way would any ambitious competent psychiatrist ever want to go there to join Dafydd Alun Jones, Gwynne the lobotomist and the paedophiles’ friends. I posed the same question about the arrival of Professor Mark Williams and David Healy in Bangor, but as a previous post explains I suspect that was because they knew that there was no research governance there and they’d be able to publish anything, claim miracles and not be questioned (see post ‘The Biggest Expert Of The Lot’). But they arrived a few years after Francis and they did arrive at a time when Professor Fergus Lowe had embarked on his own bit of empire building in the School of Psychology at Bangor University. Francis arrived when Dafydd still dominated the School of Psychology and was wangling places there for his own children even if they weren’t appropriately qualified, when Gwynne the lobotomist was still causing havoc in the Student Health Centre and before there was really any in-patient psychiatric care at all available in Bangor, it was all still based at te North Wales Hospital Denbigh. I can only think – indeed I’m fairly certain now that I know what Francis was actually doing without the patients’ knowledge – that he disgraced himself in some way in a previous job and that’s why he was cast out into the Evil Darkness that was the North Wales Hospital and the paedophiles. Top Doctors are never cast out for incompetence or poor clinical skills, they are cast out if their senior colleagues believe that they are such a liability that the shit is going to one day hit the fan on their patch, as I witnessed when I worked at St Georges Hospital Medical School. Francis must have been causing a great deal of concern to someone to have been despatched to Denbigh, even if north Wales was desperately in need of new blood and an alternative to Dafydd and Gwynne.
My post ‘One Dangerous Fucker’ named Prof Tim Crow as one of Francis’s previous academic colleagues, but I think that Francis worked with Crow in the 70s. Before arriving in north Wales, Francis worked in Manchester. I have discovered a number of abstracts of publications written before he went to north Wales. A number of those publications, dated 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1983 concern mood disorders and peuperal psychosis and are co-authored with an I.F. Brockington. That is one Professor Ian Brockington who is Emeritus Professor at the University of Birmingham. Brockington describes himself as a neurobiologist on his website – he is a psychiatrist whose research interest is neurobiology. His forte is women’s mental health and one of his most well-known books is ‘Eileithyia’s Mischief’, Eileithyia being the Greek goddess of childbirth and midwifery. In 1993 Brockington was the founder and first Chairman of the section on women’s mental health in the World Psychiatric Association. Between 1983-2001 Brockington was Chair of Psychiatry at the University of Birmingham and was responsible for training thousands of medical students as well as for training many psychiatrists at postgraduate level. Before that he was Senior Lecturer at Manchester between 1975-1982 and it was there that Francis worked with him.
Now one phenomenon that I have noticed in medicine is that although Top Doctors will ensure that a problem is removed from their own patch, not only do they not blow the whistle, but if the problem becomes caught up in a scandal later in their career – as Dafydd did constantly after ‘training’ at the Maudsley – they will deny that they ever spotted a potential problem, lest they are implicated. This is why those charmers at St Georges Hospital Medical School and Springfield Hospital felt able to conceal Dafydd’s criminal activities and misconduct when they were faced with it in 1991. Dafydd had worked with their mate Bob Hobson at the Maudsley and no-one was going to admit that Bob had trained an abusive nutter who then went out into the world and caused chaos. (Lord Robert Winston employed a serial sexual harasser at Hammersmith Hospital – Winston passed him on to St Georges who passed him on to Cardiff. He’s still there.) So if Tony Francis had disgraced himself whilst on Brockington’s team, it is highly likely that Brockington would never let anyone know what had happened even if Francis ended up in hot water subsequently.
So Francis was despatched to north Wales in about 1983. In 1987 I made a very serious complaint which involved Tony Francis, Dafydd Alun Jones and a number of other staff. My complaint included unlawful imprisonment, assault and attempts to bribe and threaten me into dropping my complaint. My post ‘Enter Professor Robert Bluglass CBE’ details how difficult it was to even get that complaint investigated and how there was a complete whitewash when it was investigated. Documents in my possession demonstrate what was going on behind the scenes at the time (detailed in previous posts), including phone calls and letters being exchanged between the Medical Ombudsman for the Welsh Office, Professor Robert Owen and one of Tony Francis’s mates, a GP in Bangor, DGE Wood, who was not part of my complaint in any way and who was no longer my GP. I had no knowledge of these communications at the time. The letters and phone calls were being sent and made to Owen at his home in Colwyn Bay. So all pretty irregular really.
One thing that happened at the hearing into my complaint led by Bluglass was that no part of my complaint involving Tony Francis was dealt with – although Francis was called as a witness. Huge aspects of my complaint about Dafydd weren’t dealt with either, but nothing at all relating to Tony Francis, the conduct of his SHO a Dr Perera, or the social worker who broke the law to do their bidding, Jackie Brandt, was mentioned in the final report. Perera and Brandt were not called as witnesses either. Previous posts have explained how Bluglass had co-authored with Dr Paul Bowden from the Maudsley – who will have known Dafydd’s mate Bob Hobson. I thought that was a salient connection. But at the time that I made that complaint about Tony Francis, the man with whom he had worked for a number of years, Ian Brockington, was the Chair of Psychiatry at Birmingham – Bluglass was the Chair of Forensic Psychiatry at Birmingham at the same time. No wonder Francis wasn’t investigated or even mentioned in Bluglass’s final report.
Brockington is a very big name indeed in women’s mental health. Tony Francis unlawfully detained and then repeatedly perjured himself in an attempt to imprison one woman who had complained about him. He encouraged other people to perjure themselves as well in an attempt to achieve this end. I know of another woman who at about the same time as me also made a complaint against Tony Francis and Jackie Brandt, again that she had been detained unlawfully. Some years later the same young women made another complaint against Tony Francis – she maintained that Tony Francis had exposed himself to her. There were no witnesses to the incident, the young woman was deemed to be psychotic and Francis was cleared. I have no idea at all whether he did do that, but I now have numerous documents demonstrating that Francis and his colleagues broke the law repeatedly, lied constantly and perjured themselves again and again.
Would Professor Brockington now like to tell us what it was that Francis did whilst he was on Brockington’s team that resulted in Francis being cast into the Evil Darkness? If Brockington is going to claim the same sort of sudden memory loss that Robert Bluglass experienced when I confronted him with his wrongdoing a few years ago, perhaps some of the others who worked with Francis and Brockington at the time could enlighten us. Francis’s co-authors on those papers with Brockington were: J.E. Helzer, V.F. Hillier, S. Wainwright, K.F. Cernik, E.M. Schofield, A.R. Downing and C. Keelan. Come on now, Francis did some very naughty things in north Wales – including concealing a paedophile gang, some of whose victims were found dead in suspicious circumstances. Cough.
But Ian Brockington may well have had connections with Dafydd as well as with Francis. Brockington too undertook his training in psychiatry at the Maudsley and is of a similar vintage to Dafydd. Like Dafydd, Brockington spent a few years doing a few other things before taking up psychiatry – Brockington was a cardiologist, whereas Dafydd just got himself thrown out of a chemistry degree – so what’s the betting that their paths crossed at the Maudsley? Even if Brockington did not know Dafydd personally, that stint at the Maudsley will have brought him into contact with many others who were keeping a lid on Dafydd’s crimes – Brockington also worked at the Institute of Psychiatry in 1969, so he’ll have had opportunities for further bonding there.
Brockington’s wife Diana is described as a ‘tribunal judge’. Now that could be employment tribunals – but just imagine if it were mental health tribunals…
Should anyone try to escape the Top Doctors of north Wales by emigrating, hard luck. Brockington, like the Count (see post ‘One Dangerous Fucker’), has contacts abroad as well. He was a visiting prof in Chicago. And he’s done a stint at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital, an institution featured in previous posts.
Brockington’s previous at Manchester may explain something else as well. The protection afforded to the truly lethal Dr Tony Roberts, latterly of the Hergest Unit and one of Francis’s colleagues in north Wales, who managed such a high suicide rate among his patients that it showed up as a statistical outlier – the highest in Wales, the second highest in the whole of England and Wales. Roberts trained at Manchester at the time that Brockington was there – and of course Francis. Tony Roberts was so unpleasant, dangerous and dysfunctional that I don’t think anyone ever questioned why he’d landed a job at the North Wales Hospital, he was obviously virtually unemployable. Despite him being loathed by his colleagues and exterminating patients, the GMC felt it worth their while using a forged document to protect him (see post ‘The General Medical Council And Yet Another Forged Document’).
Tony Francis also had links to Cardiff Medical School. He studied there as an undergrad (he was a student there whilst Neil Kinnock was the NUS President there) and in the 70s he was working and publishing with the Dept of Psychological Medicine at Cardiff. This alone will have ensured that he knew what a bloody dreadful reputation the North Wales Hospital Denbigh had, he’ll have heard the stories. Francis published with the team from Cardiff in 1976, 1977 and 1978. Perhaps his colleagues from that time would like to spill the beans. His co-authors were: D.M. Shaw, G.V. Groom, D. Riad-Fahmy, P. Williams, J. Link, E.N. Cole, D. Hughes, S.F. Tidmarsh, A.L. Johnson, A.C. Michalakeas, G.J. Riley and R. Blazek.
In 1979 Francis was the single author of a paper concerning brain structure and schizophreniform psychosis. Which sounds like the sort of work that Time Crow might have been involved with.
My post ‘One Dangerous Fucker’ described the possible links that the founder of SANE, Marjorie Wallace, had with the associates of the Top Doctors in north Wales. Marjorie has inflicted her damage by using her media contacts to provide much misinformation regarding the activities of the Top Doctors. Marjorie has excellent media contacts because she has worked in journalism since the 60s. As well as her relationship with Count Andrew Skarbek who was also a Top Doctor, as I detailed yesterday Marjorie has had relationships with Lord Snowdon and Tom Marjerison. All at the same time. I wrote a bit about Tom yesterday, who was obviously a very big hitter indeed, being the founder of New Scientist and London Weekend Television, but Tom had worked with those at the very top of the tree. One of the co-founders of LWT was David Frost, who provided never ending entertainment for the likes of Peter Cook, but was of course famous for ingratiating himself to just about every British PM and US President of the last forty years. Frost indulged in idiocies such as presenting ‘Through The Keyhole’ which led to me being completely unable for years to believe all the stories about Frost being seriously influential in Gov’t circles, but those stories were true – he toadied to the very best. Frost died a very odd death a few years ago. He was on a cruise ship without his wife which was alleged to have been unusual for Frost, when he had a heart attack. Frost had a lot of bad luck there – the heart attack happened at a time when the ship was at a location where Frost could not be helped, although the sort of ships that Frost travelled on have their own medics on board. Then a few months later Frost’s son died an equally odd death – he was a young man, who collapsed whilst he was out jogging. Both Frost and his son were alleged to have suffered from the same hereditary heart problem, but the Frost family subsequently claimed that no Top Doctors had ever warned them that Frost’s son had the heart problem. Then it was revealed that whatever had caused Frost’s heart attack, it wasn’t his heart defect. These two deaths were so weird that one could almost imagine them happening to people who might have known about the Westminster Paedophile Ring that was being discussed so extensively at the time and who were suspected of being about to investigate or even go public…
Talking of the Westminster Paedophile Ring, I received a very helpful e mail yesterday from a journo providing me with names and details of suspects, victims and accessories. It’ll take me a few days to read it all, but I’ve already spotted a few names that I recognise. Like me, this journo believes that north Wales and Lambeth were the areas of the most intense activity where the providing of youngsters in care for the purposes of sexual exploitation was concerned.
Marjerison did business with another very high profile person when he established LWT as well – Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch was an investor in LWT, but Marjerison fell out with him in a big way, which is what caused Marjerison’s departure from LWT in 1971. Marjerison may have fallen out with Murdoch, but Marjorie was of course a journo on the ‘Sunday Times’ throughout the 80s, when she launched her ‘keep the prisons for the paedophiles’ victims open’ campaign – Murdoch bought the ‘Sunday Times’ and the ‘Times’ in 1981. Murdoch’s press famously did Thatcher’s administrations great favours. Matthew Parris, Thatcher’s former correspondence secretary who waxes lyrical about having sex with ‘willing boys’ in his autobiography (see post ‘A Pretty Classy Piece Of Operation’) also worked and still works for Murdoch on the ‘Times’. So I don’t think that any publication owned by Mr Murdoch was likely to run an expose of kids in care being sexually abused by public figures, some of whom were close to Thatcher. Indeed his publications might have welcomed journos and articles which distracted from or concealed what was going on.
There is however something much more fascinating about Tom Marjerison than even his work with Frost and Murdoch. That is the stories concerning his involvement with the security services. Although Marjerison spent most of his career in the media, he began life as a physicist and in the 60s was acknowledged as being an expert on Soviet technology. He was the BBC’s source of info for this and made a ‘Panorama’ programme about the Red Army’s ammunition production in Siberia. Merjerison’s obituaries relate anecdotes concerning the making of this programme that cannot be true. In the attempts to portray him as some sort of Super Hero, they explain how when he was in Siberia filming, he won the admiration of the Soviets by drinking even more than they did, swimming in a pool which was covered in thick ice, wore only a ‘light Marks & Spencers suit in -40c temperatures’, evaded his ‘Soviet minders’ and ‘the bugs in his room’. No matter how much of an expert on Soviet technology Marjerison was, he was still a human being and the reason why people in Siberia wrap up well – very well actually, more than any other place on earth, in layers of skins and fur – is that if they don’t do this, they die. History is full of examples of whole armies that died when they attempted to cross what used to be the Soviet Union because they encountered those temperatures in unsuitable clothes. Such as M&S suits. Furthermore, I very much doubt that Merjerison did evade his ‘Soviet minders’ – the Soviet Union in the 1960s was a very harsh place and the consequences of leaving your group would be very high indeed. And how did he know that he evaded the bugs in his room? If the bugs were any good he wouldn’t have found them anyway. So some tall stories were being told in an attempt to convince people that Tom smuggled state secrets out of the Soviet Union for ‘Panorama’. He didn’t. (By the way ‘Panorama’ wouldn’t even tackle the Top Doctors in north Wales let alone the KGB – I know because I offered them the story.)
The same obits lovingly recounted how the Soviets were so impressed by Tom’s Putin-like qualities that the KGB tried to recruit him as a spy by leaving him bottles of vodka in telephone boxes outside of West End theatres. If they really did that, the vodka would be picked up by a passing vagrant, it wouldn’t wait there for Tom to come out of the theatre. But so impressive was Tom that MI5 tried to recruit him as well! But Tom was having none of it – he met with MI5 at the Cumberland Hotel to discuss his future with MI5’s careers officer, but he saw so many other identical meetings going on in the same room at the same time that he turned MI5 down. These stories sound to me very much like the stories that are put about to muddy the waters – and some such stories are put about by people who did work for the security services. But there is other info about Tom available as well. That during the war, when he was still working as a physicist, he did ‘undercover work’ for the war effort, work that ‘continued for several years into peacetime’. So Tom did work for the security services then, which was probably how he got into the Soviet Union to make a documentary. Nothing to do with an M&S suit in the cold climate. Furthermore, Tom was Director of the Nuclear Electric information Group and a consultant for the British Nuclear Industry Forum. The Gov’t wouldn’t have given those jobs out to just anyone. Marjerison was sufficiently good friends with Yuri Gagarin to have accompanied him to a meal at Buck House when Gagarin was invited to meet HM the Queen. Tom’s obituaries also contain references to him being wheeled out to deal with ‘the unions’ at various times in his career.
The reason that I am interested in all this, is that it has now been admitted that Sir Peter Hayman, a diplomat who did work for the British security services, was a convicted paedophile, but was not prosecuted for a number of other offences when he should have been. There are allegations that members of the security services were involved in the Kincora Boys Home scandal and that the security services were involved in concealing the extent of child abuse in north Wales. Tom Marjerison ‘helped’ Marjorie Wallace in her work with SANE. Although Tom and Marjorie didn’t start living together until the mid 80s, they both worked together on the ‘Sunday Times’ for a long while before that and as with Marjorie and Lord Snowdon, they were ‘close’.
Another friend of Marjorie’s that I mentioned in ‘One Dangerous Fucker’ was Mary Kenny, a rather eccentric journalist who has written for Tory supporting publications like the Torygraph and the ‘Spectator’. Mary Kenny is famously idiosyncratic, she was a leading light in the Irish feminist movement in the early 70s but is still very faithful to the Catholic Church in Ireland. I haven’t been able to find any info that suggests that Kenny might be closely associated with anyone complicit with organised child sexual abuse – but the Catholic Church itself isn’t too clean on that whole issue. (I am reading the book that Conrad Black, the former owner of the Torygraph wrote after he was released from prison, which is a mine of info. I’ll be using the info in future posts.)
‘One Dangerous Fucker’ detailed the way in which a close friend of mine was sacked from her job at the Royal Television Society – a friend whose parents had been supporting me in my battles with the north Wales Top Doctors/paedophiles’ friends and who was interested in making a documentary about it. The President of the RTS at the time was Sir Paul Fox. Fox began his career at the BBC in the 1950s and was controller of BBC 1 for six years from 1967. He spanned the height of Jimmy Savile’s abuse at the BBC then. Paul Fox was then head of programmes at Yorkshire TV and was the Managing Director of Yorkshire TV between 1977-88. Fox was Chairman of ITN between 1986-1988 and Managing Director of BBC Network TV between 1988-1991.
In July 1989 people working for Yorkshire TV approached the social worker who blew the whistle on the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal, Alison Taylor, regarding child abuse in north Wales. In September 1989 Alison Taylor and a man who had been in care in north Wales who alleged abuse were filmed extensively for Yorkshire TV. In Feb 1990, Yorkshire TV abandoned the film about child abuse in north Wales for a documentary about another, far smaller, child abuse case. My friend was working at the Royal Television Society at this time. She was dismissed in early 1991, at the same time that I was hounded out of my job at St Georges Hospital Medical School. My friend was subsequently awarded compensation for unfair dismissal. Paul Fox was knighted in 1991.
Top Doctors don’t have to be married to Marjorie Wallace to have media connections. One thing that Top Doctors really enjoy is rubbing noses with Royalty or appearing in the media. I would advise the Royals to be cautious where the Top Doctors are concerned though. The Top Doctors are certainly shameless toadies when they are in the presence of a Royal personage and if a Royal appears at a Top Doctors meeting or conference, no matter how inane the Royal address to the Top Doctors is, the Top Doctors will nod enthusiastically throughout the speech and then clap very vigorously at the end, with that weird expression on their faces that they use specifically for such occasions, a sort of over-determined expression. And of course the Top Doctors are delighted to have a Royal open a new wing of a hospital, it makes their day, it is only bettered when a Royal appears at a Top Doctors Charity Ball. However in the 1990s the gynaecological case history of a member of the Royal Family was being passed around the London hospitals, for the entertainment of everyone. It’s the Top Doctors you know – they’re really not all that they pretend to be.
Top Doctors enjoy hobnobbing with other celebs as well as Royals and one Top Doctor who had connections to those we know and love who became very well known for a celeb connection was the psychiatrist Robin Skynner. Skynner famously co-authored with John Cleese in 1989 and 1993. John Cleese with the BBC career that is. Cleese had been one of Skynner’s clients since 1975 and the books that they wrote together introduced family therapy to a lay audience.
In terms of being in a position to conceal the wrongdoing of Dafydd et al or indeed organised child abuse, Robin Skynner had a CV as good as that of the Count. Skinner qualified as a doctor from UCL in 1952 and trained as a child psychiatrist. He passed his Diploma in Psychological Medicine in 1957 and worked with S.H. Foulkes (originally known as S.H. Fuchs), a psychoanalyst. Foulkes was a pioneer and one of the founders of group analysis in Britain and his official history states that he attracted others who were keen to change the way that mental health patients were dealt with. Now there was a lot of this sort of thing alleged in the 60s, that the new generation of psychiatrists wanted change and I’m sure that many of them did. But change did not happen – psychiatry remained an incredibly abusive, oppressive speciality that was used to silence people who should have been listened to. What did happen though was some very abusive people like Dafydd Alun Jones and Tony Francis learnt the language of therapy and used that to inflict very great damage on people and conceal some real horrors. Skynner was attracted by the early stages of the ‘therapeutic community’ movement – just like Dafydd! In fact Dafydd told Dr Robin Jacobson of St Georges Hospital Medical School/Springfield Hospital in 1991 that he had treated me in a therapeutic community, rather than explaining that I’d been unlawfully arrested after having been threatened by him, illegally imprisoned and then assaulted by the staff. Documents in my possession demonstrate that Jacobson knew that Dafydd was lying and also knew that Dafydd was having sex with patients but no-one challenged Dafydd about any of it. in 1959 Skynner and disciples of Foulkes formed Group Analytic Practice and what followed was the emergence of the Institute of Group Analysis for training in group therapy. In 1977 Skynner formed the Institute for Family Therapy and Chaired this until 1979.
Skynner was the authority on family therapy, so intellectually and academically he was phenomenally influential. But he had the other usual powers of the Top Doctor as well, in terms of his professional network. He was invited to become a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists on it’s formation in 1971. He was then elected a Fellow of the Royal College in 1976. He trained as a child psychiatrist at the Maudsley – where else? Along with the Count and Dafydd and Bob Hobson and the rest of them and at a very similar time. It was at the Maudsley that Skynner met Foulkes. Skynner was the Director of the Woodberry Down Child Guidance Unit and between 1965-1970 was Physician In Charge of the Dept of Psychiatry at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children. In 1970 Skynner gave up child guidance work. From 1971 he held a Senior Tutor post at the Institute of Psychiatry and a post as Honorary Associate Consultant at the Maudsley. So we’ve arrived back at those two establishments again…
Skynner retired from the NHS and from university teaching in 1982, but like the rest of them continued with his private practice. Well it doesn’t just keep the dosh rolling in, it means that one’s still in a position of influence should anyone start publicising anything that a lot of important people would rather they didn’t. S.H. Foulkes, the daddy of them all, worked at Barts Hospital until he retired in 1963, but continued in private practice after that.
Skynner didn’t work alone, he worked with his wife Prudence. Together they became leaders in family therapy and pioneered the development of therapy groups for couples that included groups for bishops of the Church of England and their wives no less. If I had come across this info a few years ago I’d have been a bit non-plussed and wondered why bishops of the C of E and their wives might be particularly in need of family therapy. But in recent months even Radio 4’s ‘Sunday’ programme has simply become one long roll call of bishops who either spent their lives molesting children or concealing other people in the Church who molested children. Skynner and Prudence obviously identified a market long before anyone else knew about this syndrome.
Prudence died in 1987. She was so highly regarded in the field that one London medical school named it’s family therapy unit in honour of her when it opened in 1990. Yes, it was St Georges Hospital Medical School/Springfield Hospital, who one year later were ignoring evidence of Dafydd’s and Tony Francis’s criminal activities and were consulting Lucille Hughes – Dafydd’s mistress and Director of Gwynedd Social Services, who was later named in the Waterhouse Report as colluding with a paedophile gang – for evidence regarding my ‘dangerousness’.
After Prudence died, Skynner entered into a long term relationship with Welsh landscape artist Josh Partridge and they spent much time together at Skynner’s cottage in Wales…
As so many of those we know and love are, Skynner was ‘spiritual’. He had a long association with the Gurdjieff Society. I’ve been on their website and it’s pretty much what I expected – I also note that it involves something called ‘The Fourth Way’. As opposed to Blair and Giddens’s Third Way.
Like many spiritual people whom I have known who have made careers in therapy and analysis – which has tended to include discrediting or even lying about anyone who uncovers the sordid underbelly of the world of the Top Doctors – Skynner seems to have actually been quite a dysfunctional man. He had an incredibly ‘difficult’ childhood and in later life used to quip that his mother called him a lunatic but that he managed to enter psychiatric hospitals by the staff entrance. Skynner was always happy to maintain that he ‘needed treatment’. On a more sober note there were observations that as a bomber pilot during the war Skynner had some very bad experiences which profoundly affected him. There is mention of therapy sessions that were ‘chaotic’, with people screaming at each other and crying. If one is a half-competent Top Doctor it is de rigueur to admit that one has one’s own problems – it’s like having patients’ art work on one’s walls, it shows that you’re not like Gwynne the lobotomist.
Robin Skynner may well have been very genuine in his expressions about all this, but Top Doctors can find admissions of psychological problems or mental illness very useful. It gets them out of trouble. Dafydd was a pioneer in this field, he told absolutely everyone back in the 80s that he suffered from a ‘nervous illness’, for which he received treatment ‘from a doctor in England’. One of my postgrad friends at the time observed that the beauty of this would be that if ever Dafydd was done for misconduct he’d just say ‘oh it’s my nervous illness’ and that friend was spot-on. Likewise Tony Francis had a mood disorder. Now Tony Francis was indeed a very troubled man, but in the months before he killed himself he spent a very long time in hospital in Manchester. (I note that he certainly didn’t use the services provided by his colleagues in north Wales.) When I told my friend Brown about this, he observed that one advantage of being in hospital would be that Francis wouldn’t have to answer any questions. I thought that Brown was being overly cynical at the time, but some time later I had a very interesting conversation with someone who was a neighbour of Francis and knew his wife. This person didn’t know that I had known Francis years before and she didn’t know that I’d ever been a patient of his. But she mentioned that he was suffering so much because of a ‘dreadful woman’ who had complained about him. After a few more sentences it became clear that the person whom she was talking about was me. I didn’t like to mention that I hadn’t even seen Francis for at least four years and that the complaint had been made some twenty years ago and had never been investigated anyway. And I certainly didn’t tell her that Francis and his colleagues had perjured themselves repeatedly and concealed a paedophile gang, because I didn’t have the documents then that I now have. So if a Top Doctor has a mental illness the narrative plays out somewhat differently to when the rest of the world does.
Robyn Skynner on one occasion did something that would be frowned upon by most therapists. He introduced one of his clients – John Cleese – to another therapist, whom Cleese subsequently had a relationship with and then married. That was the American lady whom Cleese divorced a few years ago among much acrimony, publicity and which left him feeling so bitter that he used the divorce as the basis for a comedy tour.
One comment in one of Skynner’s obituaries that is particularly significant was that he ‘worked with adults and children of an unusually wide range of socio-economic status, from the poorest districts of the East End to private practice’. This could apply to anyone working at the Maudsley. The Maudsley’s immediate catchment area is Lambeth. The Lambeth that, along with north Wales, had the biggest problem in the UK with children in care being abused and trafficked by paedophiles. Lambeth Council also sent many children on placement to children’s homes in north Wales. So theoretically, the Count or Dafydd or Bob Hobson or indeed Robin Skynner, could be treating both the trafficked kids and the paedophiles who abused them. If those paedophiles were celebs, people with connections to Westminster or members of the security services, the consequences are obvious.
There is of course a former Top Doctor from the Maudsley who is probably the most well-known media psychiatrist – Anthony Clare. (Raj Parsaud followed hot on his heels but unfortunately Raj was exposed as an outrageous and shameless plagiarist, which he had been for many years but no-one had dared mention it.) Clare is no longer with us, he died in 2007. He qualified as a doctor at University College Dublin in 1966 and after doing his initial training in psychiatry at St Patrick’s Hospital Dublin, he ended up at the Maudsley for five years as a registrar and then senior registrar. In 1976 he became a researcher in general practice at the Institute of Psychiatry, spending six years there. It was during this time that he began broadcasting on Radio 4 and in 1982 he began doing the programme for which he became famous, ‘In The Psychiatrist’s Chair’. He was applauded for getting to the soul of his interviewees and poor old Bob Monkhouse ended up in tears. Clare did of course interview Jimmy Savile – and he didn’t mention You Know What. Savile didn’t end up in tears. It would be unfair to let Clare off the hook by saying that no-one asked Savile the Big Question – which is what everybody claimed after his death – because actually there was one journalist who did ask Savile if he was a paedophile and that was Lyn Barber. I read the interview, it was in I think ‘The Observer’ and it passed pretty much without wider media comment – but Lyn Barber had said to Savile during the interview ‘they say that you like little girls’. And Savile had come out with the usual load of Savilesque meaningless tripe, but Lyn Barber did ask him. In 1983 Clare became Prof and Head of Dept of Psychological Medicine at Barts. In 1989 he returned to Dublin. Many years ago in ‘Private Eye’ an article appeared concerning a scandal that had happened in a hospital over which Clare had responsibility. A woman had been sectioned and detained for three days – because she had started divorce proceedings against her husband. It wasn’t the Maudsley, it was a hospital in Dublin to which Clare had returned to work after 1989. There was a fuss, the woman sued and there was media comment about how embarrassing this was for Anthony Clare. I’d be interested to know how that lady ever managed to make herself heard let alone begin legal proceedings – just look at what was going on in north Wales and indeed St Georges Hospital Medical School/Springfield Hospital at the very same time. So presumably whichever hospital in Dublin it was, it wasn’t involved in concealing a vicious paedophile ring – because if it was it would have been guaranteed complete protection from publicity or legal action.
After Clare died, one of his obituaries mentioned that during the 1990s Clare ‘completely’ ‘turned his back on the media’, refused to do any media work at all and wouldn’t even review a book. Anthony Clare was the ultimate media tart for years and the media loved him. So what happened?
Clare is fondly remembered by other Top Doctors. Prof Peter White, now Emeritus Prof of Psychological Medicine at Queen Mary University London and before that of the Maudsley and Barts, remembered how Anthony Clare had flown from London to Sydney to give a keynote speech just three hours after landing and how during the flight the airline had lost Clare’s slides and notes and that he was also jet-lagged. But Clare had the audience ‘spellbound by a speech in which he used his Irish charm, humour and passion to remind us that so long as we truly listened and put the patient first, all would be well in psychiatry’.
I think that something’s gone wrong somewhere despite Clare having snogged the face off the Blarney Stone.
In recent posts I have mentioned how, like Marjorie Wallace, another ‘mental health campaigner’ in the media ignored correspondence from me regarding the misconduct of the Top Doctors in north Wales back in the 80s – Esther. So my ears pricked up when I heard the allegations that someone had written to Esther about Jimmy Savile when dear old Esther launched Childline, but had been ignored. I had heard allegations that Childline was failing to help children who had contacted them who had been abused whilst ‘in care’.
I have now been sent some information about Esther which is in the public domain but hasn’t received much coverage – it explains a lot. Esther founded Childline in 1986 with her cousin, the wife of Nick Ross, the former presenter of BBC’s ‘Crimewatch’ programme. My correspondent has also told me that Nick Ross’s colleague Jill Dando – who was shot dead by an unknown assassin – was at the time of her murder working on an investigation concerning allegations that people with connections to the BBC were involved in a paedophile ring. Barry George, a man with mental health problems and learning difficulties, was convicted of Jill’s murder but was released from prison when it was demonstrated that a lot of lies had been told and that he’d been fitted up.
The first Chief Exec of Childline that Esther appointed was a controversial and rather rash choice. It was Valerie Howarth, who is now Baroness Valerie Howarth, a cross bencher in the Lords. The appointment was controversial because Howarth was Director of Brent Social Services at the time of the death of Jasmine Beckford, a four year old girl who died as a result of the complete negligence and fuckwittery of Brent Social Services. Jasmine died in 1984 and Howarth was Director between 1982-1986. Furthermore, when Howarth later applied for the job of Director of Cambridgeshire Social Services, she failed to mention that the death of Jasmine had taken place on her watch (although I would have thought that they could have worked that one out). Esther however assured everyone that she knew that Valerie was sound. How did she know this? Because Valerie had trained Esther’s sister Priscilla Taylor, who was a social worker! They were both social workers for Lambeth. Howarth worked for Lambeth between 1963-1982 – she wasn’t just there for a few weeks. No wonder children abused in care found that Childline were not interested. Priscilla told Esther that Valerie was ‘a skilled and experienced social worker’. Who somehow didn’t notice that the kids homes were rife with child molesters. Valerie and Priscilla must have really excelled because Lambeth have now paid out millions in compensation to former residents, many more claims are due to be settled and the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association, a group of people were abused in Lambeth children’s homes in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, have set up an excellent website with the names, details and mugshots of the paedophiles responsible and have published their own report into the matter.
In 2013 Esther wrote an article defending herself, Valerie Howarth and Sharon Shoesmith – who famously presided over Haringey Council at the time of the Baby P scandal. The death of Baby P, Peter Connelly, also involved gobsmacking negligence on the part of a Top Doctor at Great Ormond Street Hospital. She failed to notice that Peter had a broken back. I know somebody who told me that the Top Doctor in question didn’t actually examine Peter. It was admitted that at the time the ‘world leading’ GOSH was in chaos. Esther’s article was a mixture of fury directed at everyone who had levelled criticism at Shoesmith and Howarth, invective at the inadequate – or in Esther’s eyes bad/wicked/evil/manipulative ad infinitum – parents of the children involved and extreme defensiveness. As the defenders of senior social workers who screw up badly often do, Esther made much of the evil genius of such parents who pull the wool over the eyes of skilled and experienced social workers while they torture and murder their children. Such parents are of course not cunning geniuses, in all of the high profile cases of this nature social services had been told again and again by scores of concerned people that there were serious worries about the welfare of the child who later died. The parents were obviously hopelessly inadequate, chaotic and sometimes very brutal but the one thing that they were not was clever or competent. The parents were on low incomes, usually benefits – Shoesmith, Howarth and others at their level are paid hundreds of thousands a year to do an admittedly very difficult job, but part of the reason for the high salary is that they are expected to take responsibility. If they can’t do that and instead just blame the innate wickedness of the ‘service users’ in the face of serious failure, we might as well sack the whole lot of them and save on their salary bill.
Esther also stressed that the talented and wonderful Valerie and Sharon had ended up ‘unemployed’. They don’t stay unemployed for very long Esther, they used their contacts and their numerous excuses to get themselves further highly paid positions. Indeed Valerie landed a job as Chief Exec of Childline because she knew Esther’s sister. Esther uses the example of Valerie being in the Lords as an demonstration of Valerie’s enormous ability. Valerie is of course in the Lords because Esther gave her a job. Valerie’s on the up and up though, despite Lambeth and despite Jasmine. Valerie is on the Board of the Food Standards Agency, she’s a Trustee of ‘a number of children’s charities’, Patron of the Youth Advocacy Scheme, Vice-Chair of the National Care Standards Commission and Secretary to the All Parliamentary Children’s Group. She is a Board member of CAFCASS and in 2008 was Chair of CAFCASS. That is the scandal ridden disasterous CAFCASS which in 2008 was in such chaos that it’s staff were having nervous breakdowns as a result of their working conditions and were leaving posts a matter of months after being appointed, the CAFCASS which subsequently found that no-one wanted to work for them at all.
Esther mentioned in the article that her daughter Miriam was training to be a social worker – and that her daughter was clever, compassionate and dedicated. She won’t be working for Lambeth, Brent or CAFCASS then.
I have previously mentioned to Brown that in the light of how many people I know who have ascended the ladder by gaining knowledge of the wrongdoing of others and silently blackmailing everyone else about it, if I operated on the same principle I’d be President of the World by now. I think it also helps if one conceals organised child sexual abuse in high places, that seems to be the key.
I will soon be naming some more accessories.