There was a lot of publicity yesterday regarding the future of the Welsh language and the Welsh Gov’ts desire to vastly increase the number of people who speak Welsh over the next few decades. There’s been a problem with previous efforts to do this by teaching children through the medium of Welsh at school, because some kids then came to associate speaking Welsh with the sort of boring, stuffy chores one has to do whilst at school, so of course they made a point of speaking English when they were not at school. There is much interesting research on the best ways of keeping Welsh alive, but the Welsh Gov’ts plans in this area are hampered by the incompetence and unpopularity of the Welsh Language Commissioner, one Meri Huws, who really is not a good advert for anything that she has ever endorsed. So of course, who turned up on the ‘Today’ programme yesterday morning? Meri! She made no more sense than she usually does. My post ‘Let Me Enlighten Lord Gnome…’ described how Meri has been appointed to a series of jobs that she was not qualified for and just could not do and explained why she has zero credibility with language campaigners and scholars. Her Marjorie Wallace-like conduct in terms of being ‘close to’ a number of well-connected men politically which seems to have been the one consistent factor in her appointments to various positions is openly – and crudely – discussed in Wales and there was much entertainment some years ago when it became known that Meri was allegedly referred to as ‘the crack of doom’ in the Welsh Assembly. A PhD student with knowledge of the way in which Meri conducts business observed at the time ‘that name actually took some intelligence to think up’.
At about the same time I was told by someone else who had been chatting to a civil servant working at Westminster that Wales was making an idiot of itself by giving public positions and funds to, in the words of the civil servant, ‘a really weird woman who doesn’t know what she’s doing’ – it was Meri to whom he was referring. I was told years ago that Meri was holding a lot of people over a barrel because of the ‘unspoken blackmail’ that she was alleged to be directing towards her former bedfellows. That is the most common interpretation of Meri’s influence in political circles in Wales – ie that she’s shagged loads of them, they’re now embarrassed by her and they know that she won’t keep quiet if she doesn’t get what she wants. But long ago, before she got anywhere near the dizzy heights of a job as Welsh Language Commissioner, Meri worked in a rather more mundane capacity, yet one in which if she used her brains (not sure that there are many of those in Meri’s skull though) would provide her with a lot more potential where silent blackmail is concerned. Meri was a social worker in Caernarfon.
I don’t know many details of Meri’s career in social work, but I think that she was categorised as a ‘community social worker’ and from what I know of Meri’s age and subsequent career, I presume that it will have been in the late 70s or 80s. Meri was a social worker in Caernarfon, for Gwynedd County Council, at the time when the paedophile gang that operated within the social services was going strong. Even if Meri didn’t have the lowdown on the paedophile gang, she will definitely have known that something was very wrong in Gwynedd Social Services and that the ‘service’ was full of serious misconduct and the abuse of clients, because everyone who had anything to do with Gwynedd Social Services knew that, it wasn’t even hidden. I do suspect though that dear old Meri may have been party to a great deal of info. I’ve been able to find out loads – mainly of course because I was under attack by Gwynedd Social Services, I remember very clearly what they did and I now have the documents that demonstrate that what was going on without my knowledge was even worse, but also because I knew other people under attack as well and watched what happened to them. But Meri is very much more sociable than me. Meri is a party animal and has spent decades getting pissed with the very people that were covering up for that paedophile ring. Furthermore Meri, professing to be a champion of the Welsh language, has moved among the very people who were, on a local level, up to their eyeballs in colluding with the wrongdoing. Previous posts have explained how a number of people have flown the flag for nation and language as a distraction for some of their rather less reputable activities. Meri has spent decades at the heart of that lot. Meri, I am going to carry on naming people on this blog, at all levels and across the UK, so perhaps you’d like to make your way down to the police now and tell them of the many sordid activities that you found out about and who was involved.
The paedophile ring operated throughout Gwynedd and Clwyd Social Services and was assisted and concealed by all other health and welfare agencies. So pretty much everyone who worked in social work in north Wales during the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s would have known something. I am not for one minute suggesting that they were all paedophiles themselves, but what they all knew was that their senior managers were appalling and that the staff were very frightened of them. Exactly as in the mental health services – even the staff who were doing their best knew damn well that complaints were never investigated, that patient care was unbelievably poor and often led to unnecessary deaths and that there were scores of people even at very senior levels who very obviously should not have been in their posts. Virtually everyone employed in those services has valuable information about the very serious criminal activity that was happening.
So I’ll mention here the names of a few other people – who are probably known to Meri actually – who definitely would have information of value to the police.
One of those people has for many years worked at Bangor University as a lecturer in social work – Malcolm John. Malcolm John has caused very serious grief to a number of his former colleagues and no-one could ever understand why. Two people in particular were very nearly made ill by his conduct and both left the social work teaching team after they could bear no more of him. To onlookers it was inexplicable – both of these people were collegiate, bright, pleasant, committed to students and had solid academic reputations. But Malcolm John very obviously didn’t want colleagues like that. I heard allegations from a number of people that Malcolm John was failing to fulfil his work commitments and fiddling his expenses. He lives in Dolgellau which is so far from Bangor that people openly commented that he clearly didn’t even expect to commute into work every day – people were speculating that he might actually have another job somewhere else. But even that didn’t explain the way in which Malcolm seemed determined to drive high calibre colleagues out of their positions. His manipulative bullying – which was so bad that one former colleague described him as ‘evil’ – had been honed to a fine art.
Some five years ago when I was following up some local history concerning the Methodist Church in north Wales, I responded to an advert inviting interested people to drop into a building at Bontnewydd near Caernarfon, which was well-known locally as having been a former orphanage established and run by Methodists in 1907. The building was being sold, so it was an end of the era invitation for people to look around. I was interested because some time before this I’d met a man who’d been in that orphanage in the 1950s and 60s and had described a very idyllic existence there. This man knew about the abuse in the children’s homes run by the social services and unfavourably compared those homes to the one that he had grown up in. But he mentioned something else. That in recent years, that home had been given by the Methodist Trust to Gwynedd County Council to run and once that happened there were ‘problems’. He didn’t expand on the nature of the problems. So I went into the former orphanage, Cartref Bontnewydd, to look around. One lady there was ever so welcoming and chatty and I explained that I was a sociologist from Bangor University researching for future publications. She started giving me a guided tour, explaining the history of the home and whilst I was looking around a few older people came in and started chatting to me, telling me that they had lived in the home as children. There was another person there as well – a woman who had been working at the home recently, who was getting frostier and frostier towards me as the tour continued. We went into yet another room and there on the walls were a series of framed photos of people involved in running the home – and Malcolm John was in every one of them. The friendly lady cheerily said ‘oh that’s Malcolm John, he’s worked with us for years, he’s our senior advisor and organises foster placements for us’. I realised that I had discovered Malcolm’s other job.
At this point the woman who was currently employed at the home interrupted us and asked me to leave, on the grounds that former residents might become ’emotional’ whilst looking around and it would be ‘inappropriate’ for me to be there. I presumed that I was in the company of a social worker, almost certainly one who was on good terms with Malcolm John.
The Waterhouse Report has a chapter on Cartref Bontnewydd. It explains that it was run by the Methodist Trust as a children’s home until 1983. It shut then as a result of the belief that children were better off in foster placements than in children’s homes, so Cartref Bontnewydd then became a Family Placement Centre, again run by the Methodist Trust. But they did this as an agency in partnership with Gwynedd County Council, providing fostering services. This continued until Gwynedd County Council was abolished in March 1996. However in 1988, much of the building was re-opened as a children’s home, managed and controlled by Gwynedd County Council which occupied it under licence from the Methodist Trust. It was still operating as a children’s home at the time that Waterhouse wrote his report and remained so for a few more years.
I have mentioned before that Waterhouse admitted that children in Gwynedd and Clwyd were seriously abused in foster placements. I have also mentioned that in 1983 I shared a house with someone whose mum fostered children for Gwynedd and who remarked on the degree of callousness of the social workers involved and their complete uninterest in the children’s welfare. My friend’s mum always noted that she could have done anything to those kids and no-one would have intervened. Some of the revelations about the foster placements where some of children were sent to north Wales were horrific. Children were sent to the homes of people with past records of sexual abuse and physical violence, they were used as unpaid labour and there was one case in which a teenaged boy was not only made to do the work of an adult farm worker but was hung up by ropes from the barn roof and flogged. So Malcolm John was the man who arranged the foster placements for Gwynedd Social Services.
Did Malcolm do any better in his capacity as ‘senior advisor’ to the children’s home when it was managed by Gwynedd County Council? Let’s refer to Waterhouse – who did of course bend over backwards to play down the degree of abuse that had happened. Ronnie Waterhouse observes that during the years that the children’s home was run by the Methodist Trust there were no complaints. But then Gwynedd took over – and ooh dear, things went downhill…
The staff of Cartref Bontnewydd mentioned in Ronnie’s whitewash were David Bayley Hughes, Mari Thomas, Anna Ashton and Peter Gadd. They had all previously worked for Gwynedd Social Services.
David Bayley Hughes was the family placement officer at Cartref Bontnewydd from Feb 1986. Hughes crops up elsewhere in the Waterhouse Report. He had worked at Ty’r Felin in Bangor, the children’s home that was run by the notorious Nefyn and June Dodd who were repeatedly accused of brutality and the sexual abuse of children by witnesses at the Waterhouse Inquiry. In 1977 a ‘highly disturbed girl’ who had been at Ty’r Felin and was then transferred to Silverbrook Treatment Centre in Pontypridd, Mid Glamorgan, ‘alleged’ that she’d had sexual intercourse with Hughes two or three times whilst she was at Ty’r Felin and had become pregnant as a result. She had made ‘similar allegations’ against a different person at an earlier date. Her claims were investigated by the Deputy Director of Gwynedd Social Services, D. Alun Parry, who was ‘completely satisfied’ that the relationship between Hughes and the girl was ‘completely innocent’ and that the allegations were ‘completely unfounded’. Mid-Glamorgan was informed and no further action was deemed necessary. Ronnie states that he had seen the ‘background documentation’ and was not going to criticise the decision.
I have detailed previously how a number of people who alleged abuse and misconduct on the part of health and social care staff in north Wales were described as ‘highly disturbed’ – including me. I do now of course have documentation demonstrating that my allegations were true, which is something that some of the other ‘highly disturbed’ people haven’t got, because they ended up in prison or dead. ‘Highly disturbed’ simply translates as ‘making very serious allegations that we have just got to squash’. As for the man who investigated the allegations – Waterhouse himself documents elsewhere that D. Alun Parry was identified by his own colleagues as incompetent and unable to carry out his job – he was eventually removed from his position. Ronnie mentions that he had seen the ‘background documentation’, but he gives no indication of what that documentation said or who compiled it. There is such an enormous elephant in the room here that I’m surprised that even Ronnie didn’t try and deal with it somehow. A pregnancy involves a foetus. If Hughes had made the ‘highly disturbed’ girl pregnant, she would either have had an abortion or a miscarriage or a baby. It wouldn’t be difficult to demonstrate that none of these outcomes had occurred – and that would clear Hughes’s name. But a non-pregnancy is not mentioned. Neither is a result of a pregnancy. Instead she was transferred to Pontypridd and they were informed of the result of the ‘investigation’. Was she pregnant or not on arrival at Pontypridd? Did they deal with the arrival or non-arrival of the baby? Or was that problem dealt with in north Wales perhaps – in the way that a few other embarrassing pregnancies that were the result of people abusing their positions were dealt with (see posts ‘Another Case of Not Knowing’ and ‘The BMA And It’s Ethics’). After all Dr Dafydd Alun Jones was the psychiatrist responsible for assessing women who requested terminations on mental health grounds… I note that this young woman was so disturbed that she had made similar allegations previously. Well as she was living in a region where the children’s homes had been infiltrated by a paedophile gang and were rife with abuse, that comes as no surprise.
Would someone like to trace that girl – if indeed she is still alive – and find out whether she did become pregnant and if so what happened subsequently?
The home at which the girl allegedly become pregnant was the home where practices were such that social worker Alison Taylor blew the whistle on the abuse. It was at this point that poison was thrown at Alison and attempts were made to discredit her in every way possible. In one damning letter dated 1 Feb 1978 – drafted by D. Alun Parry but signed by the Director of Gwynedd Social Services, T.E. Jones – about her alleged shortcomings, one sentence reads ‘I do not wish to comment at all on the work that you have done with the children as this gives the appearance of being satisfactory’. So Alison was not the one abusing the kids or facing allegations from ‘highly disturbed’ young people, but she was the one who ended up being sacked.
After the highly disturbed girl was transported to south Wales, David Bayley Hughes completed his CQSW at Cartrefle College (which later became NEWI and then Glyndwr University). I’d be interested to know what was going on at Cartrefle College because the Waterhouse Report names umpteen child abusers who obtained social care or social work qualifications from there. After this, Hughes was employed at an establishment near Bangor called Ty Newydd. Ty Newydd was also the centre of abuse allegations. Someone I know used to help out at Ty Newydd because his wife had a job there. They both ended up leaving after alleging that the young people were being mistreated and forced to work illegally – my friend and his wife told the boys to refuse to do this work but the boys expressed fear of violence from social workers if they did this.
David Hughes’s name comes up in another place in the Waterhouse Report as well. Among a catalogue of sexual abuse allegations by former residents of Ty’r Felin – Ronnie concludes that although a number of former residents alleged sexual abuse, they all named different members of staff and no-one else but that notoriously highly disturbed girl named David Hughes. Ronnie therefore concludes that there was no ‘pattern’ and no evidence that there was a problem of sexual abuse at Ty’r Felin. There were only twelve allegation of sexual abuse after all. One complainant that Ronnie was made aware of was the mother of a child but Ronnie ignored her as well because the sexual abuse alleged had not been documented by staff at Ty’r Felin. Well fancy that.
Mari Thomas was also transferred from Ty’r Felin to work at Cartref Bontnewydd. Mari did a solid bit of career building at Cartref Bontnewydd and stayed there a number of years, ending up as manager of the place by the time that Ronnie wrote his Report. There were four complainants who alleged that Mari was physically abusive. Former residents accused her of slapping them round the face, of forcing them to strip and then removing their clothes and of deliberately knocking one 14 year old girl against a windowsill causing her to bang her head, after having grabbed her by the hair. This girl subsequently told the police that she didn’t want an investigation into any aspect of her ‘care’ at Cartref Bontnewydd. Probably because she was still living there at the mercy of Mari Thomas. A number of residents alleged that Thomas’s violence had followed after they had been returned to the home by the police after running away.
Ronnie was very cross with one witness at the Tribunal who alleged that she had been abused at Cartref Bontnewydd. She was ‘a very unsatisfactory witness. She was anxious to give live evidence…very nervous about doing so but her recollection of events was confused and at times demonstrably false…her allegation in relation to her period at Cartrefle Bontnewydd was directed against a member of staff called Mark, whom no-one has been able to identify and she had not been interviewed by the police in the course of the major investigation between 1991 and 1993’.
So this very unsatisfactory witness was keen to give evidence – as were a lot of people, because everyone was led to believe that Waterhouse would get to the bottom of what had happened in north Wales and wanted to hear from people who had suffered. She was very nervous – I bet she was, the paedophiles had scores of lawyers cross-examining their victims in an aggressive manner at that Inquiry and all this was happening in public. Ronnie’s assertion that some of this witness’s evidence was ‘demonstrably false’ was based on the fact that records produced by Gwynedd County Council didn’t reflect her account of which homes she was in and when. Well records of mine from the North Wales Hospital were not an accurate record of when I was actually there – those records state that I left the hospital in February of 1987 when I didn’t. But unlike this poor young woman I have plenty of other evidence to prove that the records compiled by the North Wales Hospital were fallacious. Dafydd Alun Jones was responsible for that institution and his mistress Lucille Hughes was responsible for Gwynedd Social Services. It won’t have been the former resident’s evidence that will have been demonstrably untrue, it will have been the evidence from Gwynedd. As for no-one remembering ‘Mark’, when I tried to trace a clinical psychologist from the North Wales Hospital called Nigel whom had spent hours with me I was told repeatedly that no such person worked there and there was no trace of any clinical psychologist visiting me. I now have possession of a document compiled by an administrator at that hospital called Kay Hemsley stating that I was trying to contact Nigel Stennet-Cox and could someone please ‘persuade’ him not to speak to me. It is also significant that the young woman making allegations against Mark wasn’t interviewed in the police investigation. So someone was working very hard to ensure that she wasn’t heard.
These people were harbouring a paedophile gang, they were making up the documentation as they went along, altering it if necessary and frequently disposing of it altogether. Just as the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board still are. I received yet another letter from the CEO Gary Doherty a couple of days ago telling me that there are no more medical records of mine to be found. Not only has Gary lost more than 20 years worth of them, but I actually have copies of the ones that he says don’t exist – my lawyer sent them to me.
As for Mari Thomas who denied ever slapping, pushing, stripping children or knocking anyone’s head against a windowsill, her name is mentioned in another part of the Waterhouse Report as well, in the chapter concerning Ty’r Felin, where of course she worked prior to Cartref Bontnewydd. Guess what – a number of former residents describe her slapping them across the face, dragging them out of bed by the hair or shoving them, particularly after they had been brought back by the police after running away! One person remembered that Mari Thomas used to approach him in the day room and for no reason put her hands over his nose and mouth to stop him breathing. One witness described Mari as Nefyn Dodd’s ‘henchwoman’. Nefyn Dodd was the manager of Ty’r Felin, as well as line manager of two other children’s homes and was repeatedly accused of punching, kicking, caning, head-butting and thrashing children, of making virtually all the residents lick his boots and some of them lick his bare feet and of sexually abusing at least five children. He forced children to eat carbolic soap which left their mouths ulcered and blistered and then failed to access medical care for them. But Ronnie just can’t believe what those former residents say about Dodd. He notes that one man had experienced a mental breakdown which must have affected his memory. Another witness was ‘mistaken’ because he claimed to have been assaulted by Dodd yet his description of the person who attacked him didn’t match that of Dodd. I suggest then that he was assaulted by someone else who claimed to be Dodd, in the way in which I was assaulted by a CPN called Bob Ingham, who told me that he was Arfon Community Mental Health Team ‘leader’ Keith Fearns. I didn’t know what Fearns looked like – he had of course perjured himself in an affidavit by then, when he gave evidence about my extreme dangerousness, but I’d never met him and I didn’t know what he looked like. This lot didn’t hand over their passports for the purposes of identification when they assaulted and molested people and furthermore they lied about everything at all times, including who they were. The same went on at the Hergest Unit – violent care assistants called themselves ‘nurses’, refused to reveal their surnames and refused to wear their ID badges. When new uniforms were introduced that differed in colour according to their roles, they refused to wear the uniforms.
One former member of staff told Waterhouse that Dodd was ‘a martinet who ruled with a rod of iron’, another former staff member said that staff and children were petrified of him and someone I know who worked at Ty’r Felin described Dodd as a ‘total fascist’. Mari claimed that he was firm but fair, but autocratic and that when she first worked at Cartref Bontnewydd she was ‘a bit strict’ after having worked for Dodd. Her attempts at suffocating children was just her ‘being playful’. Ronnie suggested that a lot of people saw Dodd as a gentle giant.
Someone else who worked with Mari and was schooled in the ways of Nefyn Dodd was also transferred from Ty’r Felin to Cartref Bontnewydd and that was Anna Ashton. A Peter Gadd also worked with Mari at Cartref Bontnewydd but he left to join the probation service!
So a bunch of thugs who learnt at the knee of Nefyn Dodd – who had previously worked at Bryn Estyn where even Waterhouse admitted that boys were beaten and buggered by a paedophile ring, the Bryn Estyn where a number of staff went to prison – were redeployed to Cartref Bontnewydd and behaved in exactly the same way as they had at Ty’r Felin.
Not that Ronnie found much amiss. He found no evidence at all that Mari Thomas or anyone else had ever been responsible for any physical or sexual abuse at Cartref Bontnewydd, although ‘it may well be’ ‘on one or two occasions’ ‘in the early days’ that Mari Thomas did ‘use very limited force’. In fact Ronnie was really impressed with Mari and took further evidence from her in her capacity as Manager of Cartref Bontnewydd. He detailed all the improvements that she claimed to have made at Bontnewydd – including a whistleblowing system enabling members of staff to report untoward incidents to her! So she could then slap a few people around the face and drag them about by the hair. Or order them to strip and take their clothes away. By the time that Waterhouse was lapping up Mari’s lies, Mari had gone a step further than the other ‘care workers’. It wasn’t Cartrefle College for Mari, no, she’d acquired a Diploma in Social Work from Bangor University! That will have been the course that Malcolm John taught on then… He probably encouraged her to enrol, in his capacity as ‘senior advisor’ for Cartref Bontnewydd.
Waterhouse noted that he thought that Mari’s evidence was particularly important because she had worked in child care in Gwynedd for the old Gwynedd County Council and the newly formed Gwynedd Council after the local government reorganisation. In other words, the sadistic Mari had survived the cull after all the scandal, the police investigation and indeed the establishment of Ronnie’s Inquiry. Cartref Bontnewydd has closed down now – what’s the betting that Mari is at present a senior manager somewhere in Gwynedd Social Services or elsewhere in north Wales. Or indeed with the Third Sector.
As for Ronnie’s certainty that Nefyn Dodd, Mari’s mentor, was a gentle giant and that no sexual abuse went on at Ty’r Felin, this morning I received an e mail from a man who had been a resident there in Mari’s day. He described Ty’r Felin as ‘hell’ and when he was fifteen he was regularly visited by a much older man who it turned out was using a false name. This man had a sexual relationship with him and when the man who wrote to me left ‘care’ he set up home with the Ty’r Felin visitor. The older man became very physically abusive and the younger man is now in the care of the mental health services. His abuser used to carry out voluntary work at Ysbyty Gwnedd.
A number of my former colleagues at Bangor University used to observe that Malcolm John ought to be sacked. I think that he ought to be arrested and questioned under caution. Along with Mari.
There is another former social work tutor latterly of Bangor University who perhaps ought to be asked a few questions and that is a man called John Borland. I didn’t know Borland, but I do know something rather worrying about him. Social work degrees have panels of ‘service users’ who give lectures to students about their ‘lived experience’ and who sit on admissions panels. It’s a manifestation of ‘service user involvement’ and like most ‘service user involvement’ it’s a tokenistic joke. Social work courses are so troubled and students see so much bad practice and abuse on placement and are simply failed or removed from the course as ‘unsuitable’ if they blow the whistle, that no-one is going to let an activist near a social work course. So the service users always have the official stamp of approval and are usually very tame. But Borland had the production of tame service users down to a fine art. Borland established a company of ‘service user consultants’ and when Borland was still working at Bangor it was only from Borland’s approved list that the service users could be selected. I presume that Borland also charged the University a fee for this service. When a new member of staff took over the management of the social work degree this practice was ended, but I presume that it had been going on for years. No doubt John Borland is still doing ‘consultancy work’ somewhere, which will involve giving a truly dire ‘service’ the stamp of approval. So why wouldn’t Borland let service users other than those who worked for him near the social work students then???
Two other people associated with Bangor University and north Wales social work who might like to make statements are Sian and Richard Barker. Both have worked as social workers and social work tutors, both have been around for years and Richard Barker is yet another social worker who set himself up as a ‘consultant’. So he’ll provide the ‘independent opinion’ to get his former colleagues in the statutory sector out of trouble. I am told that the Barkers also have close personal connections to the bunch of crooks that run Anglesey County Council. The social services on Anglesey are famously a catastrophe…
Now for another two people who need to make their way to their nearest police station, but this pair’s knowledge of wrongdoing has been acquired as a result of their careers in the NHS – Dr Ruth Hussey and her brother Dr Peter Higson. Ruth is the former Chief Medical Officer for Wales and after screwing up in that role for years is now Chairing a panel of nine ‘experts’ in order to thrash out some ideas as to how to make health and social care in Wales ‘sustainable’. Vaughan Gething the Health Minister has asked her to do this. The one organisation in NHS Wales that is so obviously not sustainable is the one Chaired by Ruth’s brother Higson, ie. the Betsi Cadwalar University Health Board. Higson’s track record is as bad as Ruth’s – he managed the North Wales Hospital Denbigh and then the wider mental health services in north Wales throughout those long and glorious years when the region’s mental health professionals concealed and colluded with a paedophile ring. After Waterhouse carried on the cover-up, Higson was then appointed Chief Exec of Health Inspectorate Wales. Once in that position he failed to investigate complaints against his former colleagues, no matter how serious. The biggest single improvement to the NHS in Wales that Vaughan Gething could make would be to sack Higson and remove his equally appalling sister from all positions of influence. They have inflicted quite enough damage on the nation.