My most recent reading material has been Dominic Carman’s biography of his father George the much feared Rottweiler of a barrister, ‘No Ordinary Man’. George Carman has featured on this blog in posts such as ‘Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd’, ‘Y Gwir Yn Y Byd – A Few Additional Comments’ and ‘My How Things Haven’t Changed’, in which I discuss Carman’s role in the 1994 libel action brought by Gordon Anglesea after Private Eye and others named Anglesea as having sexually abused boys in care in north Wales and Carman’s role in Jeremy Thorpe’s trial in 1979. Successfully defending Thorpe after he stood trial for conspiracy and incitement to murder Norman Scott was what made Carman’s name and took him to London from Manchester where he had previously been based.
I speculated in ‘Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd – A Few Additional Comments’ that Carman had deliberately thrown the case when he defended Private Eye et al against Anglesea’s accusation of libel. By the time that Carman took that case he was known as the best libel barrister in the UK. He had built up an international reputation and the mention of his name was enough to cause people to settle actions out of Court. Anglesea had indeed abused boys in care in north Wales, he later went to prison for it – Carman was famed for trawling through people’s knicker drawers if he was facing them in Court and north Wales was heaving with evidence of and witnesses to the crimes of Anglesea and co. Carman losing that case was inexplicable.
I knew that Carman was a massively heavy drinker, was addicted to gambling, was violent to all of his partners and was so feared by the police and others that his partners could find no help even when they were visibly broken and bleeding. I knew that certainly when he worked in Manchester Carman spent his time socialising with what are euphemistically known as figures from the ‘underworld’, as well as with prostitutes, with bent police officers, ‘celebrities’, journalists and numerous other people. I also knew that when Carman was acting in a trial, crucial damning ‘evidence’ would be delivered to his team, literally during the trial, at a crucial point which would frequently win him the case.
The most famous example of this occurred when the South African journalist Jani Allan faced Carman in Court in 1992 after bringing a libel action against Channel 4. A crucial part of the case rested on Allan’s denial of an affair with a married man. Just after Allan swore on oath that she would not have such a relationship, a package arrived at the Court addressed to Carman. He refused to open it, but Jan Tomalin – the in-house lawyer for Channel 4 – seemed to know that this package was good news and she opened it. Inside was a notebook which Jani Allan had used as a diary in 1984-85 and in which she had recorded her sexual fantasies whilst undergoing psychiatric care. She was finished. If I was Jani Allan I’d want to know how anyone – let alone Carman’s team – got their hands on that, but I have found no references to any such investigation.
Dominic’s book however makes it clear that Carman was far more unpleasant, ruthless and questionable than anyone ever previously dared suggest. There are indications that he had been badly damaged when young by incredibly harsh treatment at St Joseph’s School in Blackpool run by the Irish Christian Brothers – years later a number of former pupils alleged abuse during their time there. Carman simply didn’t speak about his experiences at St Joseph’s.
Carman was very, very well networked. He would have been in a position to thrash out deals behind the scenes with a whole variety of people.
Carman enjoyed being seen in the company of women and even cultivated the image of a womaniser. I had heard rumours that he was bisexual, but one thing that I learnt from Dominic’s book is that Carman’s first wife maintained that Carman was never interested in her sexually, that their marriage was unconsummated, that he received postcards which were obviously from men rather than women and that she believed that he was gay, but he kept what she believed were sexual relationships with other men very quiet indeed. This marriage only lasted three years and Carman failed to mention it in his Who’s Who entry. Indeed, the lady concerned claims that Carman worked very hard to ensure that her account of a truly dreadful relationship never made it into the public domain.
Carman’s second wife, Dominic’s mother, stated that after the children were born Carman stopped having sex with her. Her story is remarkably similar to that told by his first wife – excessive drinking, huge gambling debts and a very high level of physical and mental abuse. Dominic remembers witnessing his father’s violent attacks on his mother.
Carman had a third wife. Guess what – he undermined and belittled her, forced her to give up her career and spend her days watching his performances in Court instead and didn’t have a sexual relationship with her either.
As well as these three marriages, Carman had numerous other close friendships with women and was regularly seen hanging out with teenage ‘hostesses’ in ‘gentlemen’s clubs’ and women who were known to be working as prostitutes (not only those considered to be ‘high class call girls’).
From 1986 Carman had a long term relationship with a barrister called Karen Phillips who hung out with showbiz folk including Julia Morley, Russ Abbott and Bruce Forsyth’s wife Winnie. She was also friends with Dr Veronica Varney and Martin Landau. Elton John’s wife Renate was co-director of one of Phillips’s companies and Carman acted with Karen for Renate in her divorce from Elton. A number of Carman’s clients were friends with Karen including Norman Lamont, Richard Branson, Aidan Barclay and Marco Pierre White.
Between 1980-93 Karen was also in a relationship with David Green. Carman formed an alliance with Green’s wife whom Carman had traced through ‘detective work’. Interestingly enough although Green was a wealthy man who was able to supply Phillips with a flat in an expensive part of London and a BMW, his company ended up going into liquidation – although Karen succeeded in keeping possession of the valuable flat and even the car. Phillips gave up law in the early 1990s and became involved with Charity Work, evolving into a lady who lunches. At one point she lent her flat to Sarah Ferguson – one of Karen’s mates was a friend of Fergie’s.
Towards the end of Carman’s life he became very angry when photos of Phillips in the company of boxing promoter Jarvis Astaire began appearing in glossy magazines and gossip columns. Carman watched Phillips, followed her and discussed her activities with another lawyer who worked with her. Phillips was someone else who maintained that throughout her very long relationship with Carman they never had sex.
Carman’s very first relationship with a woman was with Anne Meuller whilst they were both at Oxford. Anne Meuller ended up breaking their engagement off because she was unable to cope with Carman’s bisexuality – one presumes that Carman ended up making a nuisance of himself because Anne engaged the services of solicitors to threaten legal action against him. Anne later became Dame Anne and was the most successful civil servant of her generation, being appointed as the Second Permanent Secretary in the Cabinet Office (1984-87) and then moving to the Treasury (1987-90). She was Chancellor of De Montfort University (1991-95), a Director of BSkyB as well as CARE International and was associated with Manchester Business School. Dame Anne died in 2000 so like Carman is no longer able to answer questions.
For a man who never or rarely had sex with his wives/partners and who spent much of his spare time getting bladdered in clubs with other women whom everyone presumed that he was having sex with, Carman reacted very strongly on the occasions that he suspected his female partners of infidelity. At one point when he (wrongly) believed that one of his wives was having an affair with another man, he violently assaulted the man in question cracking his ribs.
Carman’s whole existence was one of behaving appalling towards other people but this rarely becoming public and Carman rarely facing any consequences. When he was older and famous, various gossip columnists – including Nigel Dempster – encountered him ripped to the tits in clubs in dubious company but not a word was ever printed about it.
After Jeremy Thorpe had been charged but before Carman had relocated to London, Carman crashed his car whilst drunk – until this incident Carman regularly drove whilst well over the limit. He was arrested and taken to Platt Lane Police Station. He declined the breathalyser and called his solicitor Ian Burton. Carman did the ‘don’t you know who I am’ bit. The plods in the station didn’t know who he was, so Carman told them that he was ‘standing Counsel to the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester’, ie. James Anderton. Even the plods knew who he was and Carman demanded that the police phone Anderton. They rang Anderton’s home and his wife answered – she contacted Anderton who was at the time out at a dinner. When Anderton heard that Carman was in police custody, a Superintendent in uniform was despatched to Platt Lane Police Station. Whilst waiting for the cavalry, Carman was busy telling the plods in the station what to do and raising points of law, which the plods would be in no position to know actually existed or not. Carman was actually charged and Burton represented him in Court, although Carman wrote the mitigation speech. He received a mild slap – a £150 fine and a one year ban. Dominic Carman commented that the ‘press comment was fairly modest’ – even though the barrister who had been retained for one of the most high profile criminal trials of the 20 century had crashed his car whilst pissed and been arrested. Carman’s punishment on a professional level was to be restricted to working in Altrincham County Court for a year, issuing judgement summons’s.
John Anderton was of course the notoriously unhinged Chief Constable who had a bee in his bonnet about ‘immorality’, hated prostitutes so much that some of his own officers speculated that he might have been the person carrying out the murders for which Peter Sutcliffe was later convicted, stated that people who contracted AIDS were ‘swirling in a human cesspit of their own making’ and maintained that he was a prophet. Anderton was famous for stating that he would ‘clean up’ Manchester, especially in terms of porn, sex work and police corruption. An account of Anderton’s colleagues and their relationships with the paedophiles’ friends can be found in my post ‘Top Of The Cops’ and ‘A Stalker’s Network’.
Carman will have known a few other people as well as Anderton. In previous posts, I speculated that Carman will have known about the North Wales Paedophile Ring and may have even known some of the paedophiles’ friends from the north Wales/Cheshire ring as a result of his boozing and clubbing with bent police officers, gangsters and journos in Manchester. Dominic’s book mentions some of the locations at which Carman lived – Carman lived in Wilmslow and Altrincham. Those areas covered the location of the Cheshire paedophile ring and were not a million miles away from Chester, the constituency of Sir Peter Morrison the MP who was abusing boys in care in north Wales. Carman will also have found out a great deal by being marooned working in Altrincham County Court – although he’ll have known a great deal anyway, because before and after that his duties as a barrister took him to Courts in Cheshire. John Stalker, the Greater Manchester Police Officer featured in my posts ‘Top Of The Cops’ and ‘A Stalker’s Network’, also lived in Cheshire – as did great swathes of the professional classes who worked in Manchester.
Carman didn’t move to London until 1980, but he was already very well-networked by the time that he acted for Thorpe.
Carman read law at Balliol College, Oxford. Whilst there he was friends with Dick Taverne (who later became a Labour MP, but then defected to the SDP – he is now in the Lords). Patrick Mayhew read law with him – the Patrick Mayhew who later was the legal assessor for the GMC when Dr Morris Fraser was allowed to continue working as a psychiatrist despite convictions for paedophilia, the Patrick Mayhew who in his capacity as Attorney General authorised contempt of Court proceedings against me on the basis of Dr Tony Francis’s (Dr X’s) perjury, after I alleged that serious abuses were happening in the north Wales psychiatric services. Carman also knew barrister Stanley Brodie at Oxford and shared a room with George Carver, who later became Deputy Director of the CIA. He knew Sir Robin Day – who was also big mates with Sir Ronnie Waterhouse – and William Rees-Mogg. Carman was also friends with Vivian Price – who was the best man at Carman’s first wedding – and later became one of Carman’s clients as well. Oh – and Carman was friends with a man called Jeremy Thorpe. Nicolas Browne-Wilkinson who later became a Lord Justice of Appeal was at Oxford with Carman.
After graduation, Carman spent a short time in London and worked as a libel reader for the News of the World. He tried his hand at business – he set a girl up as a masseuse in a flat in Great Portland Street (the GMC offices are in Great Portland Street), but the girl disappeared after she was faced with a client who expected rather more than a massage. Carman had paid rent on the flat in advance, so was left out of pocket.
Carman looked for a pupillage in London and used the connections of his former tutor at Balliol to do this. He was taken on as the pupil of Neil Lawson who later became Chairman of the Law Commission and a High Court judge.
However Carman discovered that he was far too poor to afford to continue with a pupillage in London – particularly in those days, one really needed a private income to sustain oneself as a pupil barrister – and he returned to Blackpool (by now his mother was dying). Carman took up a pupillage in Manchester with Godfrey Heilpern – who acted for Myra Hindley in her 1966 trial. Readers may remember how many of the corrupt lawyers on the Chester and Wales Circuit who assisted the paedophiles’ friends were involved in that trial – Heilpern will have known all of them, including Ronnie Waterhouse. Joseph Cantley was working in chambers in Manchester at this time – Cantley later presided over the trial of Jeremy Thorpe – as was Fenton Atkinson, who presided over the trial of Myra Hindley and Ian Brady. Carman became friendly with Sir Basil Nield, a Recorder of Manchester and was also popular with Sir Robertson Crichton, who was a Recorder of Manchester. Carman was mates with solicitor John Budd and was also admired by Gerald (Lord) Gardiner, Leonard Kaplan, Robert McCrindle and Jack Nahum QC.
Carman’s first wife was the daughter of a local Tory grandee. Carman was persuaded to put himself forward as a Parliamentary candidate and he got as far as being shortlisted for Salford for the Tories. (Whilst Carman was at Oxford his tutor Richard Crossman – who held a series of Ministerial posts in Harold Wilson’s Gov’t – had asked him to consider standing for Parliament.)
Between 1966-71 Carman worked on a great many personal injury cases. These frequently involved industrial injury and Carman was often instructed by the trade union solicitors Thompsons. Thompsons were brothers Brian and Robin, two champagne socialists from Hampstead with close links to trade union leaders. Nic Carter, who set up the Thompsons Manchester office, socialised with Carman.
Carman had begun to land High Court work in London whilst he was still in Manchester. He was helped by John Gorna, a well connected solicitor who was described by his daughter as a member of the ‘Catholic mafia’. Gorna was godfather to Dominic Carman.
John Gorna was a Director of Manchester United and gave Carman work for the club. Carman advised the club’s Chairman Louis Edwards and his son Martin. Carman acted for George Best when Best was sued by a girlfriend – it was Gorna and Sir Matt Busby who retained Carman. The case was unexpectedly settled quickly. Carman also successfully defended George Best’s mate, Pat Crerand – another Man United player – when he broke someone’s jaw and was charged with GBH. Carman became good mates with George Best but the friendship ended abruptly after Best had an affair with Carman’s wife. When Carman lived in Altrincham his next door neighbour was Willy Morgan, the recently retired captain of Man Utd. Another neighbour was solicitor John Elliot, the son of Charles Elliot QC.
Carman worked with celebs and legal bigwigs in Manchester but he also slummed it in some well-known dives, including the Nile Club on Moss Side and Russian Dave’s which was known for prostitution. During this time Carman was regularly hiring prostitutes but was also having gay relationships.
Carman was turned down for silk in 1970 by the office of the Labour Lord Chancellor Lord Gardiner. Distraught, he went to chat to his old Oxford mate Dick Taverne, who was then Finance Secretary to the Treasury – Taverne had worked with Gardiner on the Family Law Reform Committee.
The following year not only was Carman made a QC, but he was also offered a place in the chambers of Sir Peter Rawlinson who had recently been appointed as Ted Heath’s Attorney General. Carman turned it down because he lacked the money to move to London. Carman was certainly very tempted by the offer – but if you’re going to lose thousands every month in casinos you’re going to be seriously short of money.
Carman stopped driving after the car crash that caused him to call on the services of James Anderton, after that he depended upon taxis and lifts. He was ably assisted by a retired Manchester police sergeant John Cooper who worked at the Manchester courts – after bouts of all night drinking Carman would summon Cooper who would drive him home.
As well as personal injury work resulting from industrial accidents, Carman built up quite a name for himself in personal injury cases as a result of what Dominic Carman quaintly terms ‘health authority blunders’. Carman’s adversary in the High Court in Manchester in many such cases was Patrick Russell QC, who later became an Appeal Court judge. As with so many of Carman’s ‘court room adversaries’, Russell and Carman seemed to get on very well and they were good at negotiating deals when they encountered each other in personal injury cases. One of Carman’s notable successes after a ‘health authority blunder’ secured a settlement of £310k after someone was left a paraplegic – so that was one hell of a blunder. Carman’s last case of this nature was in 1987 – by which time he was in London. He secured a settlement of £550k from Berkshire Health Authority for a 14 year old girl who suffered permanent injury after falling out of her parents car in the grounds of Eton College. How falling out of one’s parents car on the premises of the country’s most elite public school could ever be the fault of Berkshire Health Authority I cannot imagine, but then I’m not George Carman.
Although it was Carman’s success in defending Thorpe that made him a household name and took him to London in 1980, Sir David Napley – Thorpe’s solicitor who retained Carman to act for Thorpe – was alleged to have spotted Carman’s genius in 1973 when Carman acted for James Hogan, the manager of Battersea funfair. Carman had been instructed by John Gorna after Hogan was charged with the manslaughter of five children as a result of gross negligence, when an accident that should never have happened did. The case was heard at the Old Bailey – Roger Lane-Smith, a solicitor from Gorna’s firm, stayed in London with Carman for the duration of the case. Carman’s defence of Hogan was actually predicated on the argument that Hogan was so utterly incompetent that he should never have been given responsibility for managing the funfair. The strategy worked, Carman won. Napley had been involved in the trial himself, he had represented the engineer Frank Etches.
It was after this that Napley started instructing Carman.
Thorpe was not the only politician in deep shit whom Napley represented – Napley was Greville Janner’s solicitor when Janner was interviewed over child sex offences in the early 1990s. Napley was so certain that Janner would be charged that he retained Carman – but of course charges were dropped although the CPS later admitted that a prosecution should have gone ahead.
My post ‘My How Things Haven’t Changed’ discusses Thorpe’s career and his trial which I did know quite a lot about already having lived in west Somerset whilst Thorpe was busy in north Devon, but Dominic’s book supplies a few more details of which I was unaware.
Thorpe’s solicitor was initially Lord Goodman – someone else who was able to extract people from rather difficult situations – but he then hired Napley. Napley instructed Carman – but Napley had quoted a staggeringly low fee to Thorpe. Furthermore, James Goldsmith was footing the bill for a substantial chunk of it – but Carman allegedly didn’t know this. Carman did meet Thorpe for dinner on more than one occasion at Thorpe’s house at Orme Square and noticed the treasures within. Thorpe’s wife Marion had been left a wealthy woman after her divorce from the Earl of Harewood. Carman was representing Thorpe for a very low fee – he was told that the reward would be his reputation. So presumably Napley, Carman and co were pretty sure that they would be winning that case – a bit of an assumption in view of the enormous amount of evidence against Thorpe. But the tarot’s proved to be accurate – they did win.
The committal hearing for Thorpe and his co-defendants was held at Minehead Magistrates Court and Napley turned up at Minehead in his Rolls. I remember much over-awing of the bumpkins happening at the time, so this sort of grandiosity won’t have been accidental.
Kingsley Napley partner Christopher Murray later described Gareth Williams QC – later Lord Williams – as ‘very cunning’. Williams acted for one of Thorpe’s co-defendants George Deakin, a man from south Wales. Gareth Williams was from north Wales and was acquainted with many of the paedophiles’ friends. On the first day of the committal hearing Williams applied for reporting restrictions to be lifted, arguing that the interests of his client were different from his co-defendants. This derailed Norman Scott and his team who had to cope with reporting and publicity that they had not expected.
Over the next three weeks, Napley phoned Carman daily to review tactics. He was phoning Carman because Carman wasn’t at the committal hearing – Napley had insisted on doing that himself, although no-one was ever told why Napley followed this rather unusual path.
‘No Ordinary Man’ reproduces parts of the transcript of the Thorpe trial, particularly Cantley’s hectoring and downright abuse of Norman Scott both during cross-examination and in the summing up. One is reminded of how accurate Peter Cook’s satire on the bent old git was. Dominic observes that Norman Scott was ‘problematic’ because he was a ‘tough witness’ and put up a ‘good performance’, even recalling distinguishing marks on Thorpe’s body when it was suggested that Thorpe had never had a relationship with him. Yes Dominic – as I’ve mentioned previously on this blog, most of the west country put Norman’s ‘good performance’ down to the fact that he was telling the truth.
Dominic reveals that it was Lord Widgery, the Lord Chief Justice, who agreed to change the date of the trial after Callaghan announced the date of the forthcoming General Election, in which Thorpe would be standing. Dominic also reveals that Carman attempted to have Auberon Waugh, the Private Eye journo who stood against Thorpe in north Devon at the General Election, jailed if he didn’t ‘tone down’ his ‘election rhetoric’. Carman actually obtained an injunction against Waugh preventing him from distributing an election address leaflet – Carman’s original request to the Lord Chief Justice was refused, so Carman literally went straight down the corridor to the Court of Appeal and dear old Lord Denning the Master of the Rolls overturned the Lord Chief Justice’s decision and granted the injunction.
The prosecuting counsel at Thorpe’s trial was Peter Taylor QC, the son of a Top Doctor from Newcastle. Taylor had handled many personal injury cases on the North Eastern Circuit. Dominic’s book reveals that Taylor was most helpful to Thorpe’s defence barrister Carman. Taylor disclosed privately to Carman that there was ‘significant evidence’ proving that Thorpe was gay, which included a sexually explicit postcard that Thorpe had sent to a man whom he had had a relationship with. Thus Carman ensured that Thorpe was never directly questioned about his homosexuality. And of course Carman famously didn’t call Thorpe to give evidence. Dominic believes that in disclosing the info to Carman ‘Taylor’s honourable gesture reflected his strong commitment to fairness and objectivity’ and that Carman was ‘relieved’ ‘for the integrity of the Bar’ that Taylor acted as he did – it means that there was no additional evidence of homosexuality in the prosecution case, so it was ‘a good deal for Thorpe’.
Not only that, but Taylor ‘avoided going for Thorpe’s jugular throughout the case and the closing speech was no exception’ – it was interpreted by the press as sympathetic to Thorpe. Indeed Taylor explained that Thorpe’s career had been ‘blighted by the Scott affair’, it was ‘a tragedy of truly Greek or Shakespearian proportions – the slow but inevitable destruction of a man by the stamp of one defect’.
Carman of course did go for the jugular – in his closing speech he maintained that Thorpe’s life ‘had more than its fair share of grief and agony…he had the misfortune to meet Norman Scott’. As for Norman, according to Carman he was ‘sad, mad or bad or a combination of all three, I care not’.
Whilst they were awaiting the verdict, Thorpe and his co-defendants lunched in a private room at the Old Bailey on smoked salmon, beef and Chablis – the grub was provided by Thorpe’s Liberal Party friend and colleague the molester Clement Freud.
The Carmans stayed in touch with Thorpe and Dominic recalls that in 2001 he was lunching with him when it was revealed that Thorpe had ‘joked’ to Carman that if he got him off he’d make him a High Court judge. In reality though even after Carman did do as required, it was many months before Thorpe even wrote to thank Carman and when he did, Thorpe simply observed that ‘as for the Bench, I am sure that it will only be a matter of time’.
So what became of the esteemed lawyers after the trial? Carman’s fees rocketed and work flooded in. Peter Taylor became a judge, Chaired the Hillsborough Disaster Inquiry and between 1992-96 was Lord Chief Justice. Judge Joseph Cantley disappeared into oblivion – as Peter Cook quipped when he was playing the part of the Biased Judge summing up for the jury ‘and now you must retire – as must I – and consider your verdict of not guilty’. Dominic reveals that at the time of the trial Carman had known Cantley for 20 years. Cantley had been the Presiding judge on the Northern Circuit where Carman had practised. Cantley was the son of a Top Doctor, a product of Manchester Grammar School and Manchester University who unusually had married the widow of his pupil master.
So had there been ‘a strong commitment to fairness and objectivity’? Or the most disgraceful crucifixion of a man who had been the target of a murder plot by a bunch of corrupt lawyers and politicians who were all connected with each other and realised that goodies would come their way as long as they let a potential murderer – who was connected to them – walk free?
The official story is that Carman was plucked from obscurity in the north to a glittering life in London after working miracles at Thorpe’s trial. But what if someone in London knew that there was a barrister in the north who boozed excessively, who had huge gambling debts, who was close to scores of crooked people from all walks of life but who was also well-connected with ‘respectable’ members of society – someone who not only needed a barrister for the Thorpe trial but who thought that such a barrister might prove very useful if they were based in London rather than Manchester?
A theme one constantly encounters when reading about George Carman and his excesses is that people ‘liked him’. But people were also very, very frightened of him. Probably far too frightened to admit that they didn’t like him at all.
After the Thorpe trial, Carman acted in two more high profile trials before he moved to London.
In 1980 in Leeds Carman represented Lord Kagan in the Kagan Textiles Case – Kagan’s manufactured the famous Gannex raincoats as sported by Harold Wilson and Prince Philip even after the shit hit the fan. Kagan was found guilty of theft and false accounting and went to prison. He kept his seat in the Lords and whilst he was in prison he negotiated a business deal to supply the prison service with uniforms.
In Carman’s last big case in Manchester he acted for the Police Federation on behalf of four police officers who ‘had been involved’ in the death of Jimmy Kelley in Liverpool. The officers received support from the local MP – a Harold Wilson. A verdict of ‘death by misadventure’ was returned.
The Police Federation supported North Wales Police’s senior officer Gordon Anglesea throughout his trial for abusing children, supported him in his plans to appeal after he was convicted and offered to pay his legal costs and turned out in force at his funeral to give him a good send off.
When Carman sold his house in Altrincham to move to London, the money that he received from the sale went to pay his gambling debts to the Manchester Playboy Club. Carman had a symbiotic relationship with casinos and clubs – he ran up huge debts with them but they also frequently used him for legal advice when they were applying for licences.
After moving to London Carman became head of New Court Chambers. Throughout the 1980s his supporting juniors in New Court were Michael Brompton and Tony Clover. Brompton knew Carman very well because he shared a room in Chambers with him.
It was in London that Carman developed his reputation as a libel lawyer, particularly for celebs.
Carman handled two libel cases for Richard Branson – Hugh Tomlinson was Carman’s junior for those. Charles Howard QC was his junior when he acted for Phil Lynott and Maria Aitken (in drugs cases rather than libel). Charles Howard married Rosie Boycott, who was editor of the Indie and the Express and who was a friend of Carman – Carman was best man at their wedding.
Carman picked up international work and was involved in cases in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Washington and New York. By the early 1980s he had come to the attention of Sir Denys Roberts, Hong Kong’s Chief Justice and was offered a position as a High Court judge in Hong Kong. Carman really wanted such a position in England – so off he trotted for a chat with his mate Lord Denning, Master of the Rolls. Denning had a word with the Lord Chief Justice, Geoffrey Lane – it is the Lord Chief Justice who makes the recommendations for High Court appointments to the Lord Chancellor. Denning had previously worked with Lord Lane. Sadly Lane told Denning that Carman was not on his list. Carman decided to take up the offer from Hong Kong. However for some reason he changed his mind during a stay in Leicester of all places.
Carman was in Leicester in 1981 for the trial of Dr Leonard Arthur at Leicester Crown Court. Leonard Arthur was on trial after he had ordered nursing staff to provide no care or treatment to a newly born baby with Down’s syndrome. Arthur also prescribed doses of dihydrocodeine. Unsurprisingly the baby died. I can remember this case well and although the prosecution was brought by the anti-abortion group LIFE – and this is what Dominic has recorded in his book – the only reason why anyone at all got to hear about the baby’s death was because a nurse who witnessed what had happened was appalled at the deliberate killing of a disabled, but very much alive, baby. At the time that nurse was constructed as an interfering know nothing who was well above her station. These days she would be called a whistleblower.
Douglas Draycott QC acted for the prosecution, Carman for the defence. Carman did not put Leonard Arthur into the witness box. However he did call a nurse, a Margaret Slater – who casually mentioned in her evidence that her own baby would not be here today if it wasn’t for Dr Arthur. I don’t know how she managed to be in Court on that day, it is all rather reminiscent of the way that Jani Allan’s old diaries turned up in Court at a crucial moment. The nurse saved Dr Arthur’s neck and he was found not guilty. The nurse was assisted by Carman who ‘destroyed’ Prof Alan Usher, the Home office pathologist who was ready with evidence about the damage to the baby’s brain. The Presiding judge was Justice Farquarson.
History records that Leonard Arthur was not someone who didn’t think that disabled people were worth keeping alive, but someone who was a caring Top Doctor, selflessly devoted to children, worked night and day for the greater good of the nation’s infants – you get the picture.
So what happened in Leicester to persuade Carman to turn down the job of a High Court judge in Hong Kong and remain in England working as a barrister instead? Who knows.
Leicester County Council of course had a problem with a paedophile ring in its children’s services, a ring that Lord Greville Janner was alleged to have been involved with. Frank Beck, the notorious social worker who devised whacky therapies which served as a cover for his abuse of children, was given five life sentences for sexually abusing hundreds of children in 1991. Beck had been involved with the Liberal Party.
One lawyer was particularly impressed by George Carman’s successful defence of a doctor who finished off a baby with learning disabilities – that was a Cherie Booth who praised Carman for ensuring that ‘justice’ prevailed. In the 1980s Cherie Booth was a barrister in New Court Chambers! There was another barrister in New Court as well, who was Carman’s junior – Cherie knew him well, he was a Tony Blair!
Now the Blairs have kept THAT quiet – I’ve been trying to find out in which chambers old Blair worked before he became an MP and it’s not a piece of info that appears in any of the obvious places. But now I know. Blair never forgot the talents of his former boss. Within six months of Blair becoming Prime Minister, Carman found himself at a reception in Downing Street along with Richard Branson when Blair told Branson that Carman was the best lawyer that he could have found.
In Nov 1982 Carman defended Geoffrey Prime who worked for GCHQ but also spied for the KGB. Prime was a paedophile and a member of PIE who had been involved with under-aged girls in the Cheltenham/Gloucester area. Carman’s junior in that case was Tony Clover and the Presiding judge was Lord Chief Justice Lane. Prime was convicted, so Carman took the case to appeal – it was dismissed by Lord Justice Lawton.
Carman was involved in the case involving the grisly death of Roberto Calvi who in 1982 was found hanging under Blackfriars Bridge in London. Calvi had been President of the ‘Vatican’s Bank’, Banco Ambrosiano and was believed many, including his family, to have been murdered. Lurid stories of Masonic corruption and involvement with Opus Dei circulated – and all the money was missing from the bank. David Napley represented Calvi’s family at the inquest which was held by Dr David Paul, the coroner for the City of London – Paul rushed the inquiry. The autopsy was carried out by Prof Keith Simpson. A suicide verdict was returned – which was widely ridiculed because there were numerous aspects of the case which suggested that Calvi had been the victim of a bizarre crime. His underpants were full of bricks which was a bit weird and his hands were clean and well-manicured, which if he’d been crawling around under Blackfriars Bridge hanging himself they would not have been. Carman wanted a fresh inquest in front of Lord Geoffrey Lane. In March 1983 the Lord Chief Justice agreed to overturn the verdict. A new coroner was appointed, Dr Graham Davies and an open verdict was returned in June 1983.
In 1983 in Burnley Carman defended Peter Adamson aka Len Fairclough from Coronation Street after he was charged with indecently assaulting two eight year old girls in a swimming pool. Adamson was cleared although it was alleged that Carman believed that he had been guilty. In 1988 Adamson flogged a story to the Sun admitting that he had been guilty.
Following the Adamson revelations, in 1989 Prof George Steiner joked about Carman’s ability to get anyone off just about anything. It increased Carman’s business.
Carman’s close female friends in London included Sue Cook from BBC’s Crimewatch, Pippa Jessel the former wife of Tory MP Toby Jessel, Frances Heggarty/Hyfield the barrister/crime writer and Lady Annunziata Asquith.
Dominic relates a very worrying story when read in the light of Carman’s conduct towards his female partners and his links with questionable people in high places. Dominic tells us that in 1984 Carman had a ‘close relationship’ with a 30 year old woman but the ’10 month relationship ended with disastrous consequences’. The lady moved to London and into Carman’s Lincoln’s Inn flat and was ‘surprised when he showed no physical interest in her’. I think that we’ve been here before. This woman was ’emotionally volatile’ and Carman’s ‘subsequent humiliation of her precipitated a nervous breakdown’. According to Dominic, George was terrified of anything to do with mental illness – he asked Dominic ‘to accompany him as he registered her as a psychiatric inpatient, before telling her mother to come and pick up the pieces’.
Now there’s a story. So what did Carman do to the ’emotionally volatile’ lady whom he had invited to move in with him? Or what had she witnessed or found out? Which hospital so obligingly admitted her as an in-patient and how did they repackage the horror? I think we should be told…
One of Carman’s most famous triumphs was successfully defending Ken Dodd after Dodd was charged with tax evasion. The presiding judge was none other than our old friend – and indeed Carman’s old friend – Ronnie Waterhouse, the prosecuting counsel was Brian Leveson and the trial was held at Liverpool Crown Court. Waterhouse was a member of the Garrick – as was Carman and indeed their mutual friend Robin Day. Waterhouse also knew Thorpe through their Liberal Party activities.
Ken Dodd was a much-loved son of Liverpool. Waterhouse was born just a few miles away from Ken Dodd’s birthplace. The not guilty verdict caused much entertainment because of the overwhelming amount of evidence against Dodd – Dodd himself joked about not paying his taxes. The Inland Revenue had discovered accounts of Dodd’s in Jersey and the Isle of Man, there was thousands of pounds in used notes secreted about his house, there were references to wheelbarrows of money being moved around, it was ridiculous. A neighbour commented to me at the time that it looked as though the only questions would be ‘which prison and for how many years?’
At the opening of the trial Carman claimed that Dodd was suffering from ventricular tachycardia, a potentially fatal condition, that Dodd was in imminent danger of death and that the trial would almost certainly kill him. Carman tried to get the trial stopped on medical grounds – two weeks before the trial Carman had sent Dodd to a heart specialist, although the date for the trial had been set many months previously. The trial did go ahead and Dodd is still alive – and performing – today, nearly twenty years later.
The Top Doctor who gave evidence that Dodd was about to drop dead was Dr Rhys Williams from Manchester Royal Infirmary. However another Top Doctor, Prof John Camm, testified that Dodd was fit for trial. Camm worked at St Georges Hospital Medical School, so God only knows how anyone persuaded him to give evidence against a dodgy lawyer. Er – yes, I’ve just realised the significance of that quip – dear old St George’s had an awful lot to hide and had participated in some terrible things at the time of Dodd’s trial.
There also seem to have been some porkies told about Dodd’s age at his trial. Dodd’s Who’s Who entries for years have stated that he is four years younger than the age given when he stood trial.
Carman read out letters from Harold Wilson, Ted Heath and Margaret Thatcher at Dodd’s trial, all supportive of Dodd. Character evidence was supplied by Roy Hudd, Eric Sykes, Michael Billington, John Fisher (the head of Variety at Thames Television) and Shelia Murray (the Secretary of Clatterbridge Hospital’s Cancer Research Trust – Dodd had helped them raise £10 million).
It was revealed at the trial that in 1984 Reginald Hunter – Dodd’s accountant between 1972-82 – had been prosecuted at Mold Crown Court for false accounting to enable other clients to avoid tax. Waterhouse grew up in Flintshire and retained close links there. Mold is the legal/administrative centre of Flintshire.
The barrister on the losing side of the Dodd case, Brian Leveson, did OK for himself. He became a High Court judge and Lord Leveson found fame and fortune when he Chaired the 2011-12 public inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press. Like Dodd, Leveson was a local boy made big from Liverpool.
Carman got into libel work via Oscar Beuselinck, whom Carman knew as the in-house lawyer for the Mirror News Group. Back in the 50s Oscar had represented entertainers, including John Osborne. He had become a Director of Woodfall Films with Osborne and acted for Hollywood clients. In the 70s Oscar began taking defamation work. He sued Private Eye in the 60s but then became their principal solicitor, representing them against Robert Maxwell in 1986. Maxwell himself then recruited Oscar in 1989, although Oscar resigned after a damning Panorama documentary on Maxwell was screened in 1991 – however he did remain as a consultant to Maxwell.
Carman’s juniors in libel cases were Adrienne Page, Victoria Sharp, Andrew Caldecott, James Price, Heather Rogers and Hugh Tomlinson.
Not only do the same names keep cropping up in terms of barristers whom Carman worked with or faced as opponents in Court, but the same judges keep popping up as well. Carman appeared many times in the Court of Mr Justice Drake. We know that judges are impartial of course but in one case Drake made it clear after the case that he was delighted that Carman had won the case. That case in question was the 1989 libel action against the News of the World – owned by the News Group, Murdoch’s empire – brought by Sonia Sutcliffe, the wife of Peter Sutcliffe. The News of the Screws admitted that they HAD defamed Sonia Sutcliffe, they had even paid £50k into Court, but Sutcliffe wanted more. Barbara Jones, a journo for the Mail on Sunday was named as a co-defendant – if Sonia won, Jones would have been liable for the News of the Screws’ indemnity damages and costs, which would have left Jones financially ruined. The potential for this had led to total hostility between Jones and News Group. Now Jones had previously been on holiday with Sonia and they had been pretty good friends – they had been planning to write a book together. But it was Jones’s evidence in Court that completely shafted Sonia Sutcliffe – evidence that Jones had gained regarding Sonia’s alleged attitude towards her husbands crimes during their holiday. Jones defended herself in Court – but she much appreciated Carman’s ‘quiet support and encouragement’. He advised her and told her what to do and say in Court, including telling her to ‘rile’ Sonia.
Sonia Sutcliffe lost the case and was left with a bill for 1/4 of a million quid.
There was little public sympathy for Sonia Sutcliffe at the time – she was the wife of a serial killer, there were allegations flying that she knew that her husband had been attacking women and she’d already won a number of big settlements from newspapers in libel cases.
Something else was happening at the time. The press were desperate to stem the tide of libel awards. The settlements were getting bigger and bigger and it was costing them a great deal of money. One man in particular was costing them a fortune – George Carman.
The more that I find out about the Sonia Sutcliffe case the more that it looks as though the sort of deal that seems to have happened in the Thorpe trial had occurred. A group of very greedy, very unscrupulous, very powerful people could well have got together behind the scenes and come to a convenient arrangement. The only person who didn’t benefit was Sonia Sutcliffe. But she wasn’t a press baron, or a journo or a lawyer. She was the wife of a murderer. Carman was hailed as a hero in the press and Tom Crone, News Group’s lawyer – a barrister who had previously worked for the Mirror Group – made a triumphalist speech outside of the Court. Crone was a close friend of Carman. In 2011 Crone resigned from his job as News International’s legal affairs manager during the phone hacking scandal, after it was revealed that the phone of the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler had been hacked.
Not only did Justice Drake announce his satisfaction with the verdict – the Justice Drake who later presided over the libel case brought by Gordon Anglesea in which Carman represented Private Eye and others against Anglesea but lost – but the Private Eye lot were so pleased that they held a party which Carman attended. Sonia had successfully sued them previously…
The Jani Allan case that I mentioned earlier also occurred at the time that newspapers were worried about spiralling libel costs. Like Sonia Sutcliffe, Jani Allan had won a number of libel cases. It was Carman who finished Jani Allan off – but her counsel was Charles Howard QC, Carman’s mate.
I mentioned that Carman produced some interesting medical evidence in the Ken Dodd trial. Carman seemed to know some very helpful Top Doctors. In 1987 Carman’s former best man and good friend from Oxford Vivian Price QC was charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice and driving twice whilst disqualified. Price was a senior barrister and a High Court judge. Carman obtained medical evidence at the 11th hour stating that Price had a brain tumour. It got Price off a prison sentence. The very understanding judge was Justice Farquarson – who had presided over the trial of Dr Leonard Arthur in which Carman had triumphed.
Carman also produced a helpful medical expert when he defended the Sun in 1994 after Gillian Taylforth the Eastenders actress brought a libel case against them. Taylforth and her partner Geoff Knights had been stopped on a motorway and Knights had been arrested and charged with driving offences. A policeman then sold a story to the Sun claiming that Gillian Taylforth had been giving Knights oral sex in the car. Taylforth and Knights denied it and their story was that Knights suffered from pancreatitis, had been in pain, so Taylforth undid his trousers to rub his belly. Carman produced Dr Iain Murray Lyon, a pancreatitis specialist, who testified that Knights could have been faking the pancreatitis attack by describing the symptoms. Well yes he could, but Dr Lyon was not there at the time so had no idea at all whether Knights was making it up or not. Not only did Carman produce a Top Doctor out of the hat, but at the beginning of the second week of the trial a video arrived at court. It was a film six years old of a drunken party attended by the Eastenders cast. Taylforth could be seen messing around with a sausage joking about oral sex and gesticulating with a bottle between her legs. She was fully clothed, it was daylight and there were many people present – it was hardly an orgy and wasn’t that shocking. But Carman made it sound like Sodom and Gomorrah. Taylforth lost the case and became so distressed that she collapsed and had to be wheeled out of the court on a stretcher attached to a supply of oxygen. Everyone had a real laugh and once again Tom Crone appeared outside the Court to crow. Michael Beloff QC acted for Taylforth but no-one asked what a policeman was doing selling a story to the Sun or how an ancient video of a party long-forgotten had found its way into Carman’s hands at a most convenient time.
As for the Top Doctor – Dr Iain Murray-Lyon works at Harley Street and at the Edward VII Hospital. That hospital was featured in my post ‘Update On ‘Tainted Blood’ Scandal’. It was the hospital which employed the nurse who looked after the Duchess of Cambridge when she suffered from severe pregnancy-induced vomiting who committed suicide when some Australian shock jocks rang up pretending to be the Queen. The Chairman of the hospital was Lord Simon Glenarthur – who is also the Director of the MDU and was the Health Minister responsible for the NHS ‘tainted blood’ scandal (see post ‘Running The Country – And All That Jazz…’).
Figures from the whole spectrum of the press loved Carman and utilised his talents. Yet he threatened and crapped on them as well. In 1982 Carman had Sir David English the editor of the Daily Mail fined for contempt for a prejudicial article about the Leonard Arthur case. Ten years later when Carman discovered that his ex-wife had given an interview to the Daily Mail he leant on English – who was still the editor – to tone down the article. It was published two days after the verdict following Carman’s savaging of Jani Allan in Court.
In July 1993 Carman was retained by Ian Burton to defend John Jermyn Hervey, the Marquis of Bristol, on drugs charges. The trial was at Snaresbrook Crown Court and the judge was Owen Stable QC. During the trial – and in his consultations with Carman before the trial – Hervey took both coke and heroin (he was even consuming drugs in the bogs in Court). The sentence was deferred on the grounds that Hervey was receiving treatment in the Charter Clinic, Chelsea. Before sentencing Hervey discharged himself from the clinic and went to France on a massive drugs binge. Carman put in a plea for mitigation based on Hervey’s deprived childhood no less, but he was jailed nonetheless. Hervey died from an AIDS related illness in 1999. He was a wildly promiscuous user of rent boys and by his own estimation had sex with thousands of them. Presumably infecting more than a few.
In Nov 1993 Elton John retained Carman to take on Carman’s own friends at Mirror Group Newspapers – Carman had secured a settlement of £1 million for Elton in 1988 after the Sun alleged that Elton John had suffered from an eating disorder which resulted in him spitting food out. The ever dependable Justice Drake presided and awarded exemplary damages to Elton. However in 1995 the Court of Appeal reduced the damages and laid out recommendations for future damages – just when the press really needed it. This bought an end to juries imposing punitive damages on newspapers and also resulted in the settlement of a libel action brought by Michael Jackson agains Mirror Group Newspapers.
Whoever could tell who was dealing with who behind the scenes and who was stuffing who over? Although the press barons got bigger and bigger and Carman became richer and richer and even more feared.
In 1998 the Times speculated that Carman’s earnings had dropped off – Carman was so cross that he phoned Clare Dyer, the Guardian’s legal correspondent and Frances Gibb, the Times’ legal editor and ensured that Gibb was au fait with his present success and recent work. Gibb duly obliged by running a big article the following week that flattered Carman.
Carman revelled in his Hollywood clients, including Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. He was retained by them in 1997 after a Sunday Express article made allegations about their involvement with Scientology, Cruise’s alleged infertility and the couple’s unhappy marriage. Carman sent ‘compelling medical evidence’ to the Express Group and in Oct 1998 the Express Group paid Cruise and Kidman damages and costs. They divorced some two years later amid allegations of Scientology and marital distress.
In 2000 the celebrity chef Marco Pierre White sued the New York Times and International Herald Tribune. Geoffrey Ripon QC acted for the newspapers and Carman acted for White. Carman won and the day after the damages were awarded White got married – Michael Winner was the best man and George Carman was a guest.
I remember hearing about Marco Pierre White in the early 1990s, from a young woman who had worked for him in London. This young woman had some very interesting stories – stories of drug use, of sexual exploitation and chaos in the business. She claimed to have had sex with White herself – in fact she told me that she had been in some sort of relationship with him whilst his ‘official’ partner was somebody else. Not that the young woman in question will ever be able to flog a story to anyone about it all – because she was an in-patient at the Hergest Unit, with ‘paranoid schizophrenia’ of course. She had grown up in north Wales, gone to university in London and met Marco Pierre White down there. Her parents confirmed that. But after a rather wild time in London she had a breakdown and was brought back to Wales – by a Top Doctor – and sectioned at Ysbyty Gwynedd. By exactly the same social workers and Top Doctors who unlawfully imprisoned me, pretty much at the same time that I was unlawfully detained. Her parents also told me that the law had been repeatedly broken and when they complained about it Gwynedd Social Services and Ysbyty Gwynedd lied constantly. I got to know this young woman quite well over the following years. Her one desire was to ‘get better’ and go back to London. The mental health services were very keen for her not to do this. I and her other friends used to notice that on a number of occasions she seemed to recover from her distress and enrol for courses, find jobs etc. But every time that she began to improve, the Top Doctors at Hergest – usually Dr Tony Francis (Dr X) – would alter her ‘medication’ and within three weeks she would be back in hospital, usually sectioned. It makes me wonder what goes on in Marco Pierre White’s world.
Carman took to hosting parties in the 1990s. He held a bash in the summer of 1993. Guests included the Lord Chief Justice, Sue Lawley, Ian Hislop, Norman Lamont, Sir David English (Chair of Associated Newspapers, which was the major shareholder of Euromoney Publications, Dominic Carman’s employers). Carman held another knees-up in 1998 at the Ritz, but a lot of people seemed to be unavailable, including Tom Bingham the Lord Chief Justice, David Frost, Elton John, Ian Hislop, Mo Mowlam, Imran Khan and his wife Jemima, Richard Branson and Jeffrey Archer. Those who did attend included Dominic Lawson, Robin Day, Sue Cook, P.D. James, Freddie Forsythe, Lord Robert Alexander QC, Lord Gareth Williams, Lord Grabiner, Aidan Barclay and the Blairs, who dropped in on their way to Tuscany! Conrad Black turned up after the party had ended.
In 1998 Sir Ronnie Waterhouse had just finished taking evidence about the most appalling abuse of children in care in north Wales at the public inquiry which he was Chairing. A lot of people were very shocked at what witnessed said about their time in north Wales children’s homes in the 70s and 80s – it was far worse than anyone expected. A number of male witnesses talked about being taken to Cheshire and London to be sexually abused by older men.
In 1993 George Carman purchased a house in Wimbledon and lived there until 1999. Wimbledon is just down the road from St George’s Hospital Medical School and is the preferred location for the residences of the senior staff of that institution. In 1999 Carman moved to another house in Wimbledon. He held a party there after winning the case for Al Fayed against Neil Hamilton.
Blair was not the only Prime Minister who had reason to be grateful to Carman. In April 1994 he acted for Thatcher in a copyright dispute involving her memoirs. In 1995 he was retained by John Major after the New Statesman published allegations about Clare Latimer. Major stopped the retention of Carman after the Observer published a comment about Carman offering free advice to Major – an apology to Carman was published and somehow John Major’s action was settled shortly afterwards.
Aspiring Prime Ministers sought Carman’s help as well. Portillo retained Carman with regard to the allegations of past homosexual activity on the part of Portillo – until Portillo decided to admit publicly that in the past he had participated in gay sex.
Very rich people whose funding is vital to Prime Ministers also beat a path to Carman’s door. In 1999 Carman advised Michael Ashcroft when he sued the Times after they published allegations of money laundering and drugs related crimes. Ashcroft met with Carman and that afternoon met with Murdoch after Jeff Randall acted as the broker to get them together. A deal was struck with a settlement. In the mid 1990s I knew someone who responded to the TV adverts that were being screened in Wales at the time urging people to report crime to Crimestoppers. This person reported the suspicious death of an elderly lady in one of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones’s ‘nursing homes’ and also reported one of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones’s ‘substance abuse patients’ who was openly seeling Class A drugs to schoolchildren in Bangor. No action was taken, so this person rang Crimestoppers again a few weeks later and repeated their allegations. They were told that Crimestoppers would not be taking any action because Crimestoppers were treating these calls as hoaxes.
Lord Michael Ashcroft funded and established Crimestoppers.
I suppose that it was inevitable that Jeffrey Archer crossed Carman’s path. In Oct 1999 Carman was retained by Eversheds to act for Archer in libel procedings against the Times. The matter was settled, an apology was issued and damages paid. In Dec 1999, new evidence emerged regarding a libel trial involving Archer and the Star twelve years previously. Carman was asked by Lovells – solicitors for Express Newspapers – to act against Archer in appealing the Star libel decision. Carman had been advising Archer eight weeks earlier. Carman held a conference at Lovells with David Pannick QC to discuss strategy. The civil action was abandoned in April 2000 when Archer faced criminal charges. Archer wrote to Carman in Oct 2000 regarding his impending trial for perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice, requesting lunch with Carman in order to ‘discuss matters’.
Another crook of impressive proportions who had dealings wirth Carman was Robert Maxwell. Between 1990-91 Maxwell was a regular client of Carman’s. Carman almost got into charity work through Maxwell. Carman supported Shelter and Maxwell promised to run a Mirror campaign for the homeless but it never happened. Carman parted company with Shelter soon afterwards stating that he was fed up of giving them money. Carman had been acting for Maxwell in a libel case against the BBC but Maxwell went overboard before the case was heard. After Maxwell’s death Kevin Maxwell took over the Maxwell Communication Group and Ian Maxwell took over the Mirror Group. There was of course the matter of the missing £426 million fron two pension funds at the Mirror Group. In Jan 1992 Carman appeared for Kevin in front of the Commons Select Committee – John Jarvis QC appeared for Ian and the Chair of the Committee was Frank Field. David Pannick QC was a member of the Maxwell’s advisory team. Carman visited Kevin’s wife Pandora at home to chat with her about the deep shit that the Maxwells were in. However Carman declined to defend Kevin at his subsequent trial – Carman told Clare Dyer of the Gyardian that he didn’t want to be committed to a long legal aid defence. Carman was therefore in breach of Bar Council rules but who cares about that, the Maxwells had no dosh anymore…
In 1993 Carman represented Branson in a libel claim against British Airways and secured a settlement of £610k. The settlement was somehow leaked to the Sun and was a scoop for David Yelland, the then City editor. Five years later Murdoch made Yelland the editor. In 1998 Carman represented Branson again, in a libel case against Guy Snowden, a major lottery operator. The presiding judge was Justice Morland – who also presided over the trial of the two ten year olds who killed James Bulger – who had known Carman for 50 years. They had been contemporaries at Oxford and both worked on the Northern Circuit.
In the late 1990s Al Fayed was a regular client of Carman’s – numerous cases of Al Fayed’s were settled out of court or dropped. In 1999 Carman represented Al Fayed against Neil Hamilton – Desmond Browne QC acted for Hamilton and Justice Morland presided. One of Al Fayed’s many accusations against Hamilton was that Hamilton had procured rent boys. Hamilton was the MP for the Cheshire constituency that bordered on Sir Peter Morrison constituency and Hamilton and his wife attended social functions with Morrison. Carman won that case. Prior to that in 1995 Hamilton had sued the Guardian for libel – Carman succeeded in getting the case stopped on a point of law. Hamilton enlisted the help of Thatcher who had the law changed in Hamilton’s favour.
Carman did of course advise members of the Royal Family – including Diana, Prince Michael of Kent and Sarah Ferguson.
In 2000 Carman dissolved New Court Chambers and joined Elizabeth Appleby QC in her chambers – Carman took the room vacated by Cherie Booth, who had left to form Matrix. The former joint head of the chambers Michael Beloff QC left shortly after Carman joined.
Not only did Carman have access to helpful Top Doctors for his work as a barrister but he had his very own helpful Top Doctor on tap for his own medical needs – Dr Annie Coxon, a Harley street physician and neurologist. Annie Coxon was always on hand to deal with Carman’s ‘crises’ – which were nearly always a result of Carman drinking so much that he needed medical attention. On one occasion he collapsed in Court as a result of intoxication and Coxon even set up a drip for him as she attended. Coxon was known to take calls from Carman regularly in the early hours of the morning, she made sure that she was always available. There seems to have been major discord between Coxon and the Top Doctors who treated Carman at the end of his life when he developed cancer. He was of course treated privately by other Harley Street Top Doctors at the London Clinic but they seemed to freeze Coxon out of his care and she was not happy about this.
Coxon was a Catholic but converted to Islam over twenty years ago. She was introduced to Islam by the mother of the Sultan of Oman who was one of her patients. She was also the personal doctor of Al Fayed. Coxon was also the doctor of Jade Goody and was most critical of the NHS after Goody’s death from cancer.
Carman died of cancer in Jan 2001. Before he died he was courted by many cancer charities – he settled on supporting the Cancer Research Campaign (CRCUK) after Prof Gordon McVie visited him at home. His memorial service was attended by a number of people including Cherie Blair and Jeremy Thorpe.
George Carman seems to have touched the lives of a great many people who were involved in concealing the North Wales Child Abuse Ring. Carman’s mycelia reached everywhere. I was particularly surprised to find out that Carman’s senior clerk in New Court Chambers Bill Conner – Carman’s right hand man after Carman moved to London – was a keen birder. Enthusiastic birders get to know each other and travel across the UK regularly – the wealthier ones travel internationally. I have mentioned that my group of friends whilst I was at university in the early/mid-80s were birders – our house on Anglesey was the centre of much Bangor Bird Group activity. In 1985 just before we were all due to leave north Wales, my closest friend at university and house mate was killed in a car crash. My friend’s former boyfriend, also a well-known birder, was left brain-damaged and paralysed. My friend knew all about the problems that I was having with the north Wales mental health services. She was killed when a TR7 crashed into her head on whilst it was travelling on her side of the road. The driver of the TR7 was unscathed except for a broken arm. There was no investigation into the crash. A few weeks later Dr DGE Wood, the corrupt GP whom I now know was working very hard to conceal the criminal activities in north Wales and who ran the Student Health Centre at Bangor University, had a huge row with me when once more I raised the question of the misconduct of his colleagues. He finished by yelling at me that there was nothing for me in north Wales anymore and that I ought to leave the area and forget about everything that had happened there. A few days after my friend’s death, Wood’s colleague, the nurse who worked in the Student Health Centre, took my friend’s file out of the records locker and wrote ‘DEAD’ across the front of it in front of me. I wonder whether that was supposed to have been some sort of warning.
Ooh, nearly forgot – Sir John Kay, the High Court judge who issued Gwynedd Social Services with an injunction against me on the basis of affidavits from two social workers who perjured themselves (one of whom had never met me and the other one who had met me at most on three occasions) was a judge on the Northern Circuit. I could not work out at the time why a bunch of crooked social workers from Caernarfon had gone all the way to Leeds High Court to seek out a judge.
Sir John Kay knew George Carman.
Nasty business, organised child sexual abuse.