More On Those Prisons For Folk Who Dared Complain

An earlier blog post, ‘The Night Of The (Dr Chris) Hunter’, explains in details how in 1989 scores of people employed by Gwynedd Health Authority and Gwynedd Social Services – most of whom I didn’t even know existed at the time – colluded with the Welsh Office in working very hard to have me declared dangerous and incarcerated after I’d complained about criminal activity and abuse in the north Wales mental health services. These efforts were largely being led by a psychiatrist at Ysbyty Gwynedd who killed himself some four years ago whom I call Dr X, as well as Lucille Hughes and Keith Fearns from Gwynedd Social Services and Ron Evans, a lawyer employed by Gwynedd County Council and Andrew Park, a lawyer from the Welsh Office. This bunch were utilising the talents of a forensic psychiatrist from south Wales, one Dr Chris Hunter – another man whom I had never heard of – in their attempts to have me declared dangerous and banged up without trial. I mentioned in the previous blog post that Dr Chris Hunter held a meeting with those prepared to tell so many porkies about me when he travelled to north Wales for another meeting with Dr DJC Davies at a place called Garth Angharad Hospital, which was described as being an institution for ‘abnormal mentally ill criminals’. I also mentioned that one of the boys who had claimed to be a victim of the north Wales paedophile ring in the recent criminal trials had been detained at Garth Angharad and I speculated that this clearly operated as a personal prison – along with the North Wales Hospital Denbigh – used by the north Wales mental health services for anyone who asked a few too many questions.

Garth Angharad is near Dolgellau and when I wrote my previous post I presumed that it was a state facility owned and run by the then Gwynedd Health Authority. I was wrong – a reader of this blog has been doing some research into Garth Angharad and has pointed me in the direction of some fascinating information. Garth Angharad was owned and run by one Paul Hett, also known as Simon Paul Hett. Paul Hett gave evidence at the Waterhouse Tribunal in 1998 and was described as a ‘headmaster’. Paul Hett was an odd sort of headmaster – he had entered teaching in the 1960s after marrying someone from a teaching family and seems to have been set up in the private schools business by his father-in-law. He did eventually gain teaching qualifications but Paul Hett’s credentials as a teacher by the time that he moved to north Wales in the mid 70s seemed to be substantially predicated on the basis of him owning and managing three establishments in the Dolgellau area which were variously described as ‘children’s homes’, ‘residential schools’ or schools for ‘special needs’ children. Hett’s business arrangements certainly seem complicated – these establishments functioned as different things at different times, were sometimes registered with Gwynedd County Council and sometimes not. Nearly all the staff were described in various inspection reports as inexperienced and unqualified. The Welsh Office, HMIs and even Gwynedd County Council were highly critical of Paul Hett’s ‘schools’ and the Waterhouse Report was very rude about Paul Hett as well. Allegations of sexual abuse and cruelty at the schools had been made and at least some of those allegations were accepted in the Waterhouse Report. So the Welsh Office and Gwynedd County Council were aware of the flaky institutions run by Paul Hett – institutions from which local authorities had withdrawn children after abuse allegations – yet this man was allowed to own and run a facility for ‘mentally abnormal offenders’, a client group that would be even more difficult than the troubled and vulnerable youngsters that were placed in Hett’s schools. I can’t imagine that Hett raised his standards especially for Garth Angharad. But Hett’s career didn’t stop at owning and managing questionable establishments for vulnerable people or indeed a prison for anyone who dared complain about the abuse that was endemic in the mental health services and children’s services in north Wales. At one point Hett qualified as a solicitor – and was subsequently struck off for embezzling clients money. Hett also had business interests in Dolgellau Golf Club. So he’s had fingers in many pies.

I have noticed that in recent media reports referring to the gross abuses of vulnerable people in previous decades that are finally coming to light, comments along the lines of ‘ooh it was a long time ago’, or ‘it was past failures’ or even ‘we want to move on’ are made in a desperate attempt to excuse some dreadful things. Now one reason why I started writing this blog was that I knew that so many of the people involved in the abuses and failures at the North Wales Hospital in the 1980s are still employed – sometimes in very senior positions – in health and social care. It might be thirty years ago now but It Matters – these people committed some very serious offences and what they did was not acceptable even back then, that’s why they went to such lengths to conceal what was happening. The general public would have been horrified if they had known what was going on in the mental health and children’s services and they would have wanted those involved to face criminal charges. But even an old cynic like me who has witnessed some pretty awful things can be lulled into thinking that perhaps the worst is past. I had assumed that Garth Angharad had shut down long ago. My reader enlightened me – it hasn’t. It now operates as a ‘care home’ for people with mental health problems, run by something called the Treherne Group. One of the directors of Treherne is a Paul Hett. Not that you’d ever know that this ‘care home’ exists – you can drive around Arthog (the location of Garth Angharad) for hours and you’d still never know that it was there. There are no signs or notices and the area is heavily wooded with a lot of isolated buildings down tracks and drives that can’t be seen from the main lane. No-one to see you, no-one to hear you scream and a very long way for anyone to visit should you request it – and a long way from a railway station should you manage to do a runner… Whilst I was researching Mr Hett, I discovered that his wife and sister run Cerrig Camu, a residential home near Dolgellau for people with mental health problems, learning disabilities and autism. Cerrig Camu is part of the Regard Group and their website is plastered with details of the many awards that they have won. However I notice that Cerrig Camu seems to be constantly advertising for staff. Whilst browsing a website established for workers in social care to give feedback on their employers I discovered why – the feedback from people who have been employed at Cerrig Camu and at Regard in general is unremittingly grim. Allegations of not being paid what had been previously agreed were made, along with allegations of promised training not materialising. Not that Regard will mind – the senior managers were recently invited to the House of Lords to be congratulated on their sterling efforts!

Whilst researching the history of Garth Angharad and Paul Hett I was struck by how many familiar names popped up. Good old Gwynedd Social Services and Gwynedd County Council were there again and again, but so were the names of some other local authorities such as Islington which are now now known to have been infiltrated by paedophile rings – they were placing children in Hett’s establishments. I have explained on this blog how it is clear that there was a UK-wide network of ‘professionals’ that was firmly established even by the late 1980s that were concealing criminal activity and serious abuse of vulnerable people in north Wales. So during my research into Garth Angharad I was interested to notice that St Andrew’s Hospital in Northampton cropped up. I have mentioned St Andrew’s Hospital previously (please see post ‘Family Annihilation’) – it played a role in a possible major miscarriage of justice in the mid 1980s and more recently has been the centre of allegations of serious abuse of patients. In 1981, Howard Hughes, a former Bryn Estyn resident (Bryn Estyn being the children’s home in Wrexham where serious sexual abuse of boys occurred), was sectioned under the Mental Health Act, sent to St Andrew’s Hospital Northampton and then to Garth Angharad. Howard Hughes became very much more famous in 1996 when he was convicted of the murder of 5 year old Sophie Hook – he denied it, the evidence against him was circumstantial and to this day many people believe that this was a serious miscarriage of justice. But Howard Hughes had a chromosome abnormality which led to him growing exceptionally tall, as well as a learning disability and a truly dire mug shot of him was released by the police – so he looked like a murderer which always helps in such cases. He had a long criminal record and the police maintained that they had suspected him of a number of previous sex attacks on children but had not been able to gain the evidence needed for a prosecution (this man had been involved with the mental health services and children’s care system – surely the police could have just found a few people willing to perjure themselves as they did so often when allegations were levelled at me?). After initially arresting Hughes for Sophie’s murder, the police then released him but re-arrested him when they conveniently discovered a stack of indecent images of children at his home. The Home Office pathologist who gave evidence regarding Sophie Hook’s injuries and the way in which they were incurred was another person who has previously starred on this blog, Dr Donald Wayte, who has in the past felt able to mouth off about matters way beyond his experience. Hughes’s trial was at Chester Crown Court – that’s the Chester Crown Court where, five years earlier, four members of staff from Gwynedd Social Services lied in order to attempt to imprison me and who, when it became clear that they had lied, were given the opportunity to rewrite their statements by one Justice Roche, who has now disappeared off the face of the earth. (Please see post ‘Some Big Legal Names Enter The Arena’ for a full account of the corruption that went on.) Who knows, if I had been born with a chromosome abnormality and a learning disability I too could be serving a life sentence for murder on the personal orders of David Blunkett, just like Howard Hughes is.

Since being convicted of the murder of Sophie, Howard Hughes alleged that he was abused at Bryn Estyn and launched a case for compensation. It was very soon blown out of the water and there was much public anger that he had even attempted to sue – because he was a vicious criminal. As were so many of the people whom he had encountered throughout his life before he was imprisoned, but they haven’t been caught yet.

I mentioned earlier that Garth Angharad is hidden away near Dolgellau in a heavily wooded area. It’s in a very scenic place, near the Mawddach Estuary in Snowdonia, an isolated place but popular with walkers. It hit the UK media last week because Theresa May was on a walking holiday there, where it was alleged that she made the decision to call the General Election whilst chilling out with her husband. May and hubby stayed at Penmaenuchaf Hall Hotel, which is just down the road from Garth Angharad! I read in the media reports that Theresa was followed at all times whilst she was there by two bodyguards. It isn’t the likes of Theresa who needs the bodyguards – she won’t be in any danger, her policy of privatising mental health services is manna from heaven for Paul Hett et al.

Author: Sally Baker

I am a writer and a sociologist, originally from Somerset, but I've been based in Wales for most of my life. I had my first encounter with a mental health professional in 1984 at the age of 21. My GP described this man to my then partner - who also became a sociologist - as someone who had experienced 'considerable success'. My meeting with this psychiatrist was a disaster and we attempted to complain about his insensitivity and highly inappropriate behaviour. That was the first time we were threatened and pressurised to withdraw a complaint against a mental health professional. This man is long dead - he was a retired psychiatrist from the North Wales Hospital Denbigh, T. Gwynne Williams, who was working shifts in the student health centre at University College of North Wales (now Bangor University). We discovered years later that this 'successful man' was notorious - he had been an enthusiastic lobotomist...

2 thoughts on “More On Those Prisons For Folk Who Dared Complain”

  1. Hello, very interesting. Could you let me know anything about the Regard Group / Cerrig Camu? I have been having problems with my two resident children. I am a single father of both. thank you

    1. Hi
      I have no personal experience of the Regard Group/Cerrig Camu, but the organisation seems to be run by someone related to Paul Hett, a struck-off solicitor who was criticised in the Waterhouse Report and who owned/managed ‘schools’ where children reported abuse. If you search online you’ll find feedback from former staff of the Regard Group – they are very critical of their former employer…

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