This Is What Happened To Nicola, Niclas, Merfyn, Joan and Kathryn

It seems that there is a limitless source of blogging material for me with regards to the trajectories of the careers of those who have somehow been involved in concealing the abuses of the children’s services and mental health services. An e mail from a reader yesterday prompted me to follow up a few more of the names who were listed in the Waterhouse Report as having provided legal advice for the various witnesses and parties involved in the Inquiry. There were of course many lawyers named – some of them local lawyers from practices in north west Wales who were personally known to me – but I’ll just provide details of some who are of particular interest here.

However, I’ll just kick off with a lawyer who was involved with the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal before it all got as far as the Public Inquiry – Nicola Davies QC. Readers may remember that Nicola was appointed by the Welsh Office during the Jillings investigation into child abuse in children’s homes in Clwyd County Council to examine the need for a public inquiry. Nicola’s conclusion was that a judicial inquiry ‘would not be in the public interest’ – although the next year William Hague announced that there would be one and soon afterwards appointed Sir Ronald Waterhouse and his panel.

So who was Nicola Davies QC? Well she was originally from Bridgend but studied law at Birmingham University. Nicola was considered to be a ‘medical specialist’. What was it that established Nicola’s reputation in this area? It was her acting as junior counsel for Dr Marietta Higgs and Dr Geoffrey Wyatt, the two paediatricians involved in the Cleveland Child Abuse Scandal! The scandal that kicked off just after Alison Taylor – the whistleblowing social worker from north Wales – approached Margaret Thatcher and told her that she’d witnessed child abuse in north Wales, just as I started making representation about criminal activities in the mental health services and just at the time that Mary Wynch was winning in Court against the mental health services and Risley Remand Centre (please see post ‘A UK Network’). So Nicola represented two doctors who were widely criticised by other doctors, who precipitated a crisis and a national scandal, who undoubtedly removed some children from caring homes and accused innocent people of sexual abuse, whose actions led to a complete breakdown in working relationships between professionals in the region and within a few months, a Judicial Inquiry.  So that was the ‘expertise’ that the Welsh Office utilised and did initially rely upon in deciding whether to hold a Judicial Inquiry in north Wales.

Following her work for the Welsh Office, Nicola’s reputation grew and grew. She ‘played a part’ in the Bristol Heart Surgery scandal. From what I’ve read I presume that she represented some of the surgeons – the surgeons at the Bristol Royal Infirmary who carried out operations beyond their competence, who refused to listen to warnings and whose own ‘expertise’ lead to the deaths of a lot of children. A judicial review also resulted in Nicola quashing a decision to close some NHS paediatric surgery units. I suspect that case was actually the one that followed the aftermath of Bristol, in which Top Doctors from various paediatric surgery units tipped buckets of slurry over each other, all called each other dangerous and incompetent in an attempt to save their own unit and in the event no-one ever got to the bottom of any of it – just like Cleveland! Clearly by now Nicola was rapidly becoming the choice of any Top Doctor in the shit – she must have overtaken even Sir Robert Francis QC on that measure – and she  subsequently represented Professor Sir Roy Meadow before the GMC, at the High Court and at the Court of Appeal. Roy Meadow was the paediatrician who invented a psychiatric syndrome – Munchausen’s by proxy – and subsequently spouted made-up statistics in Court in his capacity as an ‘expert witness’ which led to a number of innocent women being jailed for murdering their children who had in fact died of other causes. The most high profile of these cases was Sally Clark, a solicitor who had lost two children due to cot death. Sally was crucified in the press, banged up, repeatedly physically attacked by other prisoners who believed that she was a murderer and by the time that her conviction was quashed had just about been destroyed. She died not long after being released. Before she died however, another Top Doctor, Professor David Southall, vented his spleen on the Clark family (they obviously hadn’t been through enough, only having lost two of their children and Sally having being wrongly convicted and imprisoned for double murder) and reported Sally’s husband for the murder of the children, on the grounds of absolutely no evidence at all. Neither Southall or Meadow crawled off under a stone to retire after this series of unimaginable misjudgements and cock-ups – after the GMC finally took action against them in the face of much public outrage, they both continued to max-out the various appeals processes until they were returned to the Medical Register. And it was Nicola whom Meadow used to do it. This was not yet the pinnacle of Nicola’s career however.

Nicola’s reputation was well and truly sealed when she defended a man called Harold Shipman. Readers may have heard of him. Nicola did her best, but he was of course found guilty. Now I suspect that if I had defended the UK’s biggest serial killer and lost the case, I’d be finished, but I’m glad to say that Nicola was made a Dame in 2010 – of course she was, what did any of us expect? She was described in ‘Wales Online’ as ‘the highest medical defence QC in the UK’ and a woman who had ‘broken many glass ceilings’. (I thought that there might be bit of a role model for all us other women in there somewhere.) Nicola could only travel upwards though – since 2014 she has been the Presiding Judge of the Wales Circuit. (She was appointed a judge a couple of years after telling everyone that holding an inquiry into the biggest child abuse scandal in the UK would not be in the public interest.) Nicola is an honorary fellow of the University of Cardiff. One can only hope that Nicola has a very powerful washing machine because she’ll have more blood on her than Lady Macbeth had.

The research for this post was prompted when a reader sent me some links concerning a branch of a bikers club in Colwyn Bay, the ‘Outlaws’, some of whom have been involved in organised crime. In June 2012, at Mold Crown Court, the police sought a serious crimes prevention order against two members of the ‘Outlaws’, Stuart Dawson and Adrian Sheriff, to prevent them participating in serious criminal activities upon their release from prison. Dawson had previously served five years in prison and Sheriff four years, for conspiring to supply amphetamines. Their arrests had followed the discovery of £20,000 worth of the drug at their North Wales clubhouse in Colwyn Bay and the clubhouse was described as a centre of illegal activity. At a previous trial involving Dawson, Judge Merfyn Hughes QC had stated that Dawson had used his position as European and Asian President of the ‘Outlaws’ to further his own criminal activities. At the trial in June 2012 the police requested that Dawson and Sheriff should be prevented from holding office in the club by Court Order. I bet they were surprised at the response of the judge, Niclas Parry – he told the police that such an Order would be ‘disproportionate’ and he then made a less restrictive Order, stating that Dawson and Sheriff mustn’t hold office or seek to hold office in the ‘Outlaws’, the ‘Hell’s Angels’ or ‘Black Pistons’, after ‘negotiations’ between the lawyers. The Order applying to Dawson ran until May 2015 and the one applying to Sheriff ran until May 2014. Judge Niclas Parry then thanked the barristers – and the defendants – for reaching the agreement and saving the Court from a ‘week long trial’. Yes, Niclas Parry allowed two people involved in serious organised crime on an international scale to arrange the terms of their own Court Orders and then thanked them for it. If Niclas Parry is ever the victim of crime and phones the police for help, I don’t expect they’ll be busting a gut to arrive at the scene of the crime at top speed – and he’d better be careful because the Orders that he put on Dawson and Sheriff expired ages ago. The ‘Outlaws’ don’t just have a cosy relationship with a judge in the region, the reader who sent me this story also sent me  a collection of photos of the ‘Outlaws’ at  a charity fundraiser with the Bryn y Maen RSPCA. Haven’t the RSPCA created enough bad publicity for themselves already?

So who is the judge who thanks organised criminals for allowing him to negotiate with them? Niclas Parry, before he was a judge, was one the many lawyers who was involved in the Waterhouse Inquiry. Parry was a solicitor advocate representing one of the witnesses, Stephen Norris. Stephen Norris had been employed at Bryn Estyn and later at the Cartrefle Community Home. Norris was so gross that even the other staff at those homes didn’t like him, describing him as coarse, unsuitable to work with children and obsessed with sex. When the members of a paedophile gang described someone in those terms even Ronald Waterhouse couldn’t ignore it. In 1990 Norris pleaded guilty to a number of sex offences at Chester Crown Court and was sentenced to three and a half years in prison. This case sparked off a police investigation and before he had finished his sentence Norris was charged with numerous more offences and in 1993 pleaded guilty at Knutsford Crown Court to three offences of buggery, one offence of attempted buggery and three indecent assaults. He pleaded not guilty to ten other counts. Norris was sentenced to seven years in prison and the ten counts to which he’d pleaded not guilty were ordered to remain on file. The Waterhouse Tribunal however heard about a lot more wrongdoing on the part of Norris than this. Norris himself admitting committing offences from 1980 onwards. Witnesses told the Tribunal that Norris repeatedly molested them in the showers, in the bedrooms, in his caravan and on a smallholding that he owned. They also told of physical violence from Norris and one claimed that Norris had threatened him with a shotgun – but Ronnie didn’t believe that, in the way that he chose not to believe so much of what former residents of children’s homes told him. One witness explained that Norris took him to a large house in Chester where he was buggered by Norris and the occupier and shown pornographic films involving children. On another occasion Norris arranged for a man to pick him up, who then took him to Chirk and sexually assaulted him. This witness also told Waterhouse that Peter Howarth – another member of staff at Bryn Estyn who was in prison for sexually assaulting the boys in his care by the time that the Inquiry was underway – and Norris tried to get him to recruit boys for sexual purposes. If I was leading an Inquiry into sexual abuse in a region where it was alleged that influential public figures were abusing children, that a paedophile ring was in operation and that staff in the children’s homes might be involved with a gay prostitution and child pornography racket I’d be quite interested in this witnesses story. But Ronnie pointed out that there was no evidence to corroborate it and furthermore this witness was under psychiatric care. Which says it all. (This was not the only witness who talked about being taken to other locations where they were molested by strangers. Ronnie didn’t give them the time of day either.)

So that’s who Niclas Parry represented at the Tribunal. But I think that Niclas might have actually known old Ronnie Waterhouse before that Tribunal. This blog has made it eminently clear just what a small world it is in north Wales and the legal world in north Wales is even smaller. Ronnie himself grew up in Flintshire, was very locally rooted and retained numerous links there throught his life. Niclas came from Flintshire as well! He was born in Halkyn and went to school in Mold, where his parents were teachers. Niclas even managed to become head boy in the school in which his mum was head of English! Niclas maintains that it was his mum who inspired him to follow a legal career – his mum had legal connections, she was a magistrate! Niclas studied law at Abersytwyth, like so many featured on this blog and whilst he was there was head warden of Pantycelyn, the well-known Welsh speaking hall of residence which was the site of many language protests. After graduation, Niclas undertook his training as a solicitor with a firm called Llewellyn Jones and Co in Mold, under the late W. Armon Ellis and became a partner there, only leaving in 2010.

It’s worth me saying a bit about Armon Ellis, Niclas’s mentor. Armon also read law at Aberystwyth. He was born in Flintshire as well, near Holywell and attended the same school as Ronnie Waterhouse, Holywell Grammar, although he was thirteen years older than Ronnie. In 1946, after serving in the war, he joined the Mold law firm of the local MP, Llewellyn Jones, becoming a senior partner. In the 1970s he was one of the first solicitors to act as a deputy circuit judge. He was a Councillor with Flintshire County Council between 1950 and 1974 and between 1974 and 1977 he served on Clwyd County Council. So Niclas’s mentor was right in the thick of it whilst children in the care of those councils were abused for years – and he’ll have known the dipsticks who ran the social service depts of those councils who were steeped in incompetence and nepotism as described in my post ‘It’s A Piece Of Cake’. Armon Ellis was described in his obituary as being immersed in and dedicated to the Welsh language and Welsh culture – it is even mentioned that he was born on St David’s Day. Presumably Armon Ellis arranged that whilst he was still in the womb. The writer of that obituary stated that Armon Ellis served for years as the Chairman of a ‘progressive education committee’ which gave education chiefs Hadyn Williams and Moses Jones support in establishing Welsh medium education. Which is laudable, but whilst they were doing that they failed to notice that the molesting of children less fortunate than their own was rife. Armon Ellis had an interest in politics and stood unsuccessfully in Flintshire for the Liberal Party in the general elections of 1950 and 1951. (Ronnie Waterhouse was the Labour candidate for West Flintshire in 1959.) That would be during the time that the Liberal Party provided a home for Jeremy Thorpe and Cyril Smith. Armon Ellis was a keen Eisteddfodwr. He was the honorary solicitor to the National Eisteddfod, the chairman of the executive committee at Flint in 1969 and the vice-president at Mold in 1991. Niclas is an Eisteddfodwr as well. He was President of the National Eisteddfod in Denbigh in 2013 and has been stage leader at the National Eisteddfod, the Urdd Eisteddfod and the Llangollen International Eisteddfod. Ronnie Waterhouse liked Eisteddfodau too! He was the President of the Llangollen International Eisteddfod 1994-1997. Now anyone who knows anything about Eisteddfodau knows that they take a huge amount of organising, rehearsing and work in general and if you are an enthusiastic Eisteddfodwr you will know everyone else involved, including across different generations. Niclas will have had to have worked very hard indeed not to have known Ronnie and Ronnie will have had to have worked very hard not to have known Armon Ellis. They are different generations of a very similar sort of person.

Indeed the founder of Llewellyn Jones solicitors firm was an earlier version of Ronnie/Armon Ellis/Niclas. He was Frederick Llewellyn-Jones, who was born in Bethesda back in 1866 and who died in 1941. He went to Bala College and then studied law at Aberystwyth. He married a woman from Ruthin which is perhaps why he ended up in the north east of Wales. He was the Liberal and then Liberal National MP for Flintshire. Llewellyn-Jones was a Governor of both Aberystwyth and Bangor Universities, a member of the Holywell School Board, had positions with the Ministry of Health, was a Governor of the Welsh National Museum and the National Library of Wales and was a member of the Gorsedd of the Bards. Niclas, several generations later, is a member of the Gorsedd. of the Bards.

I could continue to map the connections between people with these interests for eternity. J.E. Daniel, one of the founders of Plaid and father of the corrupt judge Huw who has done so much himself to conceal the wrongdoing of those we know and love, was a professor at Bala College (later known as the Bala-Bangor College); I also seem to remember that the election literature sent out by Alun Ffred Jones, former leader of Gwynedd County Council and then AM for Arfon, brother of Dafydd Iwan, also a former leader of Gwynedd County Council and former President of Plaid, mentioned that their father had a connection to the Bala-Bangor College. I sometimes wonder why people get so excited about alleged masonic links, because there are so many other commonalities between so many of those we know and love and the people who colluded with them. Now I don’t really mind if everyone with an interest in the Welsh language or literature or history or Welsh institutions or Eisteddfodau hobnobs together, because I’m quite interested in those things as well so I can understand that there will be certain places and institutions to which people with such interests will gravitate towards. However, the sort of inner circle from which Ronnie and Armon Ellis and Niclas have emanated is very cliquey. The one thing that those outside the circle notice is that there is definitely a preservation of the influential positions for the offspring of those within the circle. (This phenomenon is written all over Niclas’s biography.) I know an excellent sociologist of Wales who spent forty years studying this and he once observed that these people were actually Tories. They’d never identify as such because they identify as Welsh, but their values are Tory and the biggest clue of all is that it will be their children who will take over the positions of power from them. Thus Niclas ends up as a solicitor advocate defending a scumbag who grossly abused people from backgrounds far less fortunate than Niclas’s or Ronnie’s or Armon Ellis’s et al. And the whole lot of them did a really big favour for a Tory Gov’t who would have done just about anything to keep the lid on a major scandal that had been allowed to get completely out of control under Margaret Thatcher’s administration.

Of course Niclas didn’t remain a solicitor advocate. Like all the other people involved with the Waterhouse Inquiry, he ended up with a nice little number for himself. He became a judge on the Wales Circuit and sits in the Crown Court, mostly in north Wales. He has also been a member of the S4C authority and is of course well-known for being a commentator on Welsh football. I knew someone a few years ago who told me that Niclas has a reputation in Court for being very grandiose and pompous. I’m not sure that anyone who, as a career move, defended a man who buggered, molested and violently assaulted scores of children over a period of many years – and almost certainly did far worse as well even if Ronnie wouldn’t admit it – has anything to be grandiose or pompous about.

The rather more rational judge involved in the action against the ‘Outlaws’ bikers club also starred at the Waterhouse Inquiry, Merfyn Hughes QC. Merfyn was counsel for the six Local Authorities that succeeded Gwynedd and Clwyd County Councils (Gwynedd and Clwyd Councils were conveniently dissolved in a reorganisation in 1996 just as the sheer scale of the child abuse that had gone on started to dawn on everyone). The solicitor representing those six successor authorities who instructed Merfyn was the crooked solicitor Ron Evans, who had previously been County Secretary and Solicitor for Gwynedd County Council. Ron’s name is all over the documents that I have relating to the many attempts that Gwynedd Social Services made to land me in hot water, which involved their staff perjuring themselves on every occasion. It is very clear from the documents that I have that Lucille Hughes had a hotline to Ron Evans and Ron was fully aware of the scale of the wrongdoing – my documents suggest that Ron was actually the Brains behind the whole lot of Lucille’s gang. I have provided full details of Ron Evans’s involvement in the posts that describe my legal battles with Gwynedd Social Services. Merfyn was another who rose to the top in the years following Waterhouse. In 2010 he was appointed Resident Judge for North Wales. He retired in 2014 and was replaced by Rhys Rowlands. Rhys was, a long time ago, the prosecuting solicitor for the North Wales Police. He was called to the Bar in 1986 and worked from chambers in Chester. So he’ll have been working for the North Wales Police when they were quietly ignoring the presence of a paedophile ring on their patch and arresting youngsters for ludicrous offences who happened to have complained about being molested; when the police were returning injured children to the homes where they had been molested after they had run away, without asking any questions; when Gordon Anglesea, a senior policeman, was abusing children himself; when Mary Wynch and others were being unlawfully arrested and detained in the North Wales Hospital. Rhys will have known about all of it. Then he’ll have seen the end result when he was a barrister and judge – he sat at Crown Courts in Caernarfon and Mold – the people that lot stitched up appearing in Court and often going to prison. Merfyn himself was the judge who presided over the notorious Ched Evans rape case at Caernarfon Crown Court in 2012. Evans always protested his innocence – he did fess up that it was all a bit sordid, a drunken gang bang with people whom he didn’t know – but he robustly maintained that he did not rape anyone. His conviction was quashed in 2016, a retrial was held in Cardiff and he was subsequently found not guilty. Merfyn is another lawyer who was born into a family with legal connections. In 2014 there was a gathering at Mold County Court for a special eulogy in honour of a retired judge who had recently died, David Morgan Hughes QC. The tributes were led by one Mrs Justice Nicola Davies and Merfyn was in attendance – the dead judge was his uncle.

Ron Evans instructed another QC to act for the six successor Local Authorities as well – from April 1998 Joan Butler acted for them. Joan became a QC in 1999, whilst she was working on the Inquiry – just like Patricia Scotland became a Baroness whilst she was acting for the Welsh Office at the Inquiry! Also in 1999 Joan was appointed  as a legal member of the restricted patients panel (Mental Health Review Tribunal). A lot of those restricted patients will have been people who were abused as children in care, perhaps some of whom were abused whilst in care in north Wales. Joan became a Circuit Judge in 2002 and was the designated family judge for Nottingham in 2003. She retired as a circuit judge in Feb 2017.

The insurance company Municipal Mutual were represented at the Inquiry. They were of course right in the thick of it, having been Clwyd County Council’s insurers who threatened to refuse to stump up the compensation to the kids who had been abused if the Jillings Report was ever made public and stated that they would pass liability onto the Councillors themselves, raising the spectre of the Councillors being made bankrupt and losing their homes. It was also Municipal Mutual who wanted Councillor Malcolm King sacked if he revealed the contents of the Report, Malcolm King having already made a nuisance of himself by asking rather a lot of questions about all these kids who claimed to have been abused and the staff who ended up in prison for offences against children. From April 1998 Kathryn Thirlwall QC was counsel for Municipal Mutual. Kathryn is described as a ‘specialist in abuse litigation’. I have found details of two cases that Kathryn has been involved in and as with her work with Waterhouse, Kathryn was not using her expertise to represent people who had been abused, she was acting for organisations responsible for children who had employed paedophiles. That’s the way to advance though. Whilst working on the Inquiry in 1998 Kathryn was appointed an assistant recorder and in April 2010 she was appointed a High Court Judge, Lady Justice Thirlwall! She was appointed to the Court of Appeal for England and Wales in Feb 2017.

Just a few lines about a couple of other names that jumped out at me as I was reading the Waterhouse Report. The North Wales Police were represented by Andrew Moran QC who was instructed by Peter Cowan. Peter Cowan describes himself as a specialist in ‘professional negligence’ and ‘ actions involving the police’. The North Wales Police obviously felt a bit culpable then.

I have mentioned in previous posts how children from all over the UK were placed by Local Authorities in north Wales, many of them from the London boroughs. I suspect that Tower Hamlets in particular must have sent a lot, because they thought it worth their while sending a solicitor and counsel to the Inquiry. The counsel who acted for Tower Hamlets was Bryan McGuire, who is now dead. McGuire’s obituary describes him as being ‘instrumental in many of the changes and developments in public law in recent years, particularly in the fields of…children’s services’…’he sought to improve Local Authority services for the vulnerable’. Of course, that’s why he turned up at the Inquiry to act for a council which had sent the children in it’s care into the embrace of a brutal paedophile gang. McGuire became a QC in 2010. I did wonder whether there were any high profile Councillors responsible for this fuckwitted decision in Tower Hamlets who later became big names, in the way that Margaret Hodge, Tessa Jowell and Ken Livingstone were involved in some rather shameful things earlier in their careers. My co-researcher has sent me the list of Tower Hamlets Councillors  dating back to the 60s and I don’t recognise any of the names on there from the 70s, 80s and early 90s, which will have been the years when children were sent into danger. However, it’s noticeable that there were frequently Councillors representing the National Front or BNP and they often polled a lot of votes, in one election topping the poll. In later years there are of course references to Councillors who were disqualified as a result of electoral fraud – Tower Hamlets was a Council that saw a number of such scandals and was of course host to the notorious Latfur Rahman. So it was a troubled and of course a very, very poor borough, for many years the poorest in the UK. I did recognise the names of the MPs for the area though – Ian Mikardo and Peter Shore, both Labour. Mikardo was on the left of the party and Shore was a maverick. Shore was a member of Wilson’s Gov’t between 1974-76 and Callaghan’s Gov’t between 1976-79. Both of these administrations – substantially through the Welsh Office – concealed some terrible things in the children’s services and mental health services in north Wales. In later years the dreadful Oona King was elected and then defeated by the even more dreadful George Galloway. I can’t see any connections between anyone down there and those we know and love in north Wales however. I do wonder if kids from Tower Hamlets who had been abused would even have got as far as their MP – they may not even have felt able to do that. Tower Hamlet’s has had some child abuse scandals of it’s own. It managed the St Leonards Home in Essex which was closed down in the 1990s after a number of staff were imprisoned for abusing children. In 2014 there were also allegations that Jimmy Savile had frequented facilities managed by Tower Hamlets. There was one other interesting feature about Tower Hamlets – it was a stronghold of certain Top Doctors. The Royal London Hospital was there, as was Barts. I am absolutely certain that those we know and love will have had a contact down there – if anyone can give me any information, do drop me a line. The only one tentative link that touches on the contents of this blog is that Ian Mikardo and his wife died in Cheshire, where I can only assume they had retired. The tentacles of the north Wales paedophile ring did of course reach out into Cheshire – John Allen set up a branch of the Bryn Alyn Community there and dear old Lucille Hughes was a senior manager in Cheshire Social Services before she returned to Gwynedd to facilitate the paedophile ring on her home turf. It’s a long shot, but you never know…

 

When I told someone earlier who I would be blogging about in this post I received an e mail saying ‘jolly good, that lot are undoubtedly part of the equation of injustice and criminality spanning decades in north Wales’.

As for all these proud patriots who love the Welsh language and Welsh culture and showed their commitment to these things by concealing a network of vicious criminals who were serving up children to members of the British establishment, I only need point to Dr Dafydd Alun Jones. Who once stood for Plaid, who shamelessly traded on his credentials as a Welsh speaker from north Wales and who at one point was telling English people that if they wanted mental health care they should go back to England. Yet at the same time, Dafydd was travelling to England to hold private clinics for English people and charging them a lot of money for doing this – whilst he was being paid to hold NHS clinics in Ysbyty Gwynedd for which he simply never turned up. He also has probably imported more people with drug problems and mental health problems from English metropolitan areas in order to pile them high in his ‘nursing homes’ or use his ‘substance abuse services’ than any other person in Wales. Whilst at the same time helping his mistress Lucille Hughes conceal the paedophile ring that she knew was in operation when she was Director of Gwynedd Social Services. No doubt when Dafydd finally turns his toes up, his fellow patriots will all be flying the Ddraig Goch at half mast. Whilst the rest of Wales cracks open the champagne.

 

 

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...

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