Some four years ago when I was openly discussing when and where I’d publish my experiences with the mental health services, someone who knew much of what they had got up to and had read the ludicrous affidavits that they had sworn in their attempts to gain High Court injunctions against me and have me imprisoned gave me a book to read, simply commenting that he thought that I’d find it interesting. That book was ‘Stalker’, by John Stalker, the former Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police. It was published in 1988 and Stalker wrote it in the aftermath of him being removed from his role in leading an investigation into the possibility that the RUC had pursued a ‘shoot to kill’ policy against suspected IRA terrorists and following an investigation into Stalker himself. Stalker was accused of associating with people who had connections to criminals. He was removed from the ‘shoot to kill’ investigation, suspended from his job, reinstated but then left the police force anyway, although he was only in his late 40s. It all elicited huge media interest and Stalker’s story was that he had been removed from the investigation because of what he was uncovering in N Ireland – he maintained that he was smeared and that a cover-up of dodgy practices in the RUC had taken place. Stalker was appointed Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester in March 1984 and began his investigation into the RUC in June 1984. In May 1986 he was told that he was removed forever from the N Ireland investigation and was instructed to stay at home. In August 1986 the Police Committee voted to reinstate him as Deputy Chief Constable and he returned to work. In March 1987 Stalker left the police.
Since ‘Stalker’ was published, much of what has been revealed regarding the conduct of certain police forces at the time and the allegations of organised child abuse by public figures – some close to Thatcher – allows one to read Stalker’s story in a way in which he probably never imagined one would. The picture that emerges from Stalker’s book is that of an awful lot of police officers at the most senior levels in Britain behaving badly, a number of whom seem to have axes to grind and are therefore making allegations and counter-allegations against each other. Admissions and accusations of Freemasonry swirl around numerous people and a lot of officers, including Stalker, seem to have very cosy relationships with journalists, whilst at the same time complain that other officers are ‘leaking’ to the press. The impression that I am left with is that of the scenario created by those we know and love – everyone involved loathes each other but have all done a lot of things that they shouldn’t have, so are condemned to one another’s company. One wouldn’t really trust any of these people further than one would spit a rat. Stalker certainly had some very interesting friends and contacts and I will return to this topic in future posts.
It transpired that the person who recommended that I read Stalker’s book had noticed something that I also noticed as I read it. On occasions throughout the book, the very words used, the phrases used and even the context in which Stalker frames himself as an honest man unfairly hounded, concerned only for the welfare of his loving wife and children and his desire to press on with his valuable work, is very reminiscent indeed of the affidavits that Dr Dafydd Alun Jones swore on oath in the mid 1990s regarding the reign of terror that he maintained that I was subjecting him to. Now those affidavits elicited hilarity at the time, as I shared them with a number of other people who had knowledge of what Dafydd was actually doing. Dafydd’s turns of phrase were so odd, stylised, quaint and melodramatic that some of those phrases were repeated frequently by numerous people, using a Dafydd voice. I remember those ridiculous affidavits very well and as I read Stalker’s book, I was right back there with them. My main thought was ‘I am reading something written by the person who dictated those affidavits’. Of course, people who have been educated by the same people in the same institutions often write or speak in a similar way. Stalker is slightly younger than Dafydd and grew up in inner Manchester and finished his education as a teenager, whereupon he joined the police. Dafydd grew up in a village in Gwynedd where Welsh was the first language of nearly everyone. I understand that he initially began a chemistry degree but was kicked out in disgrace (although no-one knows exactly what the disgrace involved) and subsequently studied medicine at Liverpool. There are no similarities between Stalker’s education and Dafydd’s. Stalker’s book reveals something else. That after he left the police, he pursued work in journalism and the media. At one point he was production manager for the soap opera ‘Brookside’ of all things. So Stalker had a talent for drama and fiction… Stalker’s skills are evident in the biography that he provides at the front of the book. He describes himself as living on a small farm in Cheshire, where he ‘generally lives off the land’. Yet his book is choc full of references to foreign travel and holidays, to hotels, favourite restaurants, his American express account, his big mortgage, his new carpets, his new kitchen, parties and social occasions with High Society in Manchester. This is not a man who lives in a yurt and grows his own. His extensive foreign travel is also a little inconsistent with his account of hearth, home and family life – he’ll have hardly had time to see his family. But then Dafydd hardly spent any time with the ‘small children’ whose existence he flagged up on many of the occasions on which he made lurid statements about me.
I have detailed previously on the blog the numerous occasions on which the mental health services in north Wales took Court action against me. This was usually at Courts in Wales or Chester, although Sir Robert Francis QC (please see post ‘The Sordid Role Of Sir Robert Francis QC’) had a go at me in the Royal Courts of Justice in The Strand, London. Yet when Gwynedd County Council sought an injunction against me on the basis of affidavits by two social workers who perjured themselves (one of whom had never met me and one of whom had only met me two or three times), they made representation to Sir John Kay, a judge on the Northern Circuit. When Dafydd sought an injunction against me, on the basis of his Stalkeresque affidavits, he went to Liverpool High Court – again, on the Northern Circuit. Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds are all on the Northern Circuit. They are also all a very long way from north west Wales which is where I, Gwynedd County Council and Dafydd were. Stalker’s book mentions legal contacts of his – in the region covered by the Northern Circuit.
Stalker’s base seemed to be Manchester – although he had previously worked in the midlands and mentioned contacts there as well – but Stalker had dealings with a man very well-known in north Wales. That is the former Chief Constable of North Wales, Sir Philip Myers. Stalker only met Myers a few times, under circumstances which will be explained in a minute, but Myers became Stalker’s nemesis. Stalker made it clear that he believed that it was Sir Philip Myers, along with Sir John Hermon, the Chief Constable of the RUC and Sir James Anderton, the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester, along with some unidentified civil servants, who were responsible for his removal from the N Ireland investigation and his subsequent problems. He named Myers as the ‘prime mover’ against him. Myers died in 2014 and his obituaries all made mention of his ‘battle’ with Stalker. So let us take a look at Sir Philip Myers.
Myers was born in 1931 in Liverpool but grew up in Denbighshire and went to school in Wrexham. Like so many who have featured on this blog – another local boy who did well for himself. After a stint in the RAF he joined Shropshire Constabulary. He wanted to join the Denbighshire force but his Welsh wasn’t good enough. He remained in the Shropshire force for 17 years, until he joined West Mercia in 1967. In 1968 he was appointed Deputy Chief Constable of Gwynedd Constabulary. As part of his duties in that role, he oversaw the security for the investiture of the Prince of Wales in Caernarfon in July 1969. There was famously much trouble as a result of that investiture and two ‘Welsh nationalists’ blew themselves up during an attempt to plant a bomb, but no-one actually blew Charles himself sky high and Myers’ policing of the event was deemed a roaring success.
I have heard many anecdotes from people who hated everything that the investiture stood for, including allegations that at least one man who was threatening violent action on the day was detained in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh in a political move. As he did with a number of patients, Dafydd then cultivated this man’s company and many years later ruthlessly used this man in joint media appearances when there was pressure on Dafydd to retire. The media appearances involved this man dressing up in a dog collar, calling himself ‘Rev’ and claiming to be a Minister, although he wasn’t. Everyone knew about this misrepresentation, but there he was in the Hergest Unit, with a TV crew, giving interviews about how ‘Welsh boys and girls are going to prison in England’ and that things would only get worse if Dafydd retired and ceased to ‘look after’ the addicts of the region – please see post ‘The Evolution Of A Drugs Baron?’
As a result of his success regarding the investiture, in 1970 Myers became Chief Constable of Gwynedd at only 39 years old, the youngest Chief Constable in Britain. This appointment laid the foundation for the establishment of the North Wales Police force in April 1974, formed from the merger of the Gwynedd, Denbighshire and Flintshire Constabularies. With the North Wales Police, Myers ‘fought a long campaign’ against the rise in truancy and youth crime and Myers was described as ‘holding strident views’ with regard to the policing of the region. Of course whilst Myers was fighting his campaign against errant youths, children in the children’s homes in north Wales were being physically beaten and sexually abused. One of those abusing them was a member of Myers’ own force, Gordon Anglesea. Most of the people abusing those kids were never prosecuted, but the kids themselves were prosecuted repeatedly, often for very trivial offences. When the children ran away from the homes to escape the abuse, they were returned by the police and no questions were asked even if they were visibly injured. In 1972 Myers represented the police on the Advisory Council On The Misuse of Drugs. Of course, Myers will have known both Dafydd and Gwynne the lobotomist – as well as many other people named on the blog.
Myers was quoted as saying that ‘we don’t prosecute all young people found in possession of cannabis…[it’s] treated as a social matter…I have said quite publicly that pushers and traffickers will be prosecuted’. I find this puzzling, because when I first arrived in Bangor in 1981 Myers was still Chief Constable. What I remember hearing again and again was that there existed locally a thoroughly corrupt drug squad who harassed and pursued hippies blowing dope and who also planted cocaine and the like on them. Indeed so notorious were two of the officers involved that I was given their names, a description of both of them, a description of their car (a red Ford Escort) and it’s number plate – and I’m delighted to say that I did indeed spot these two twats driving around Bangor, as they fitted up two people whom I knew. I knew one hippy from Bethesda who had cocaine planted on him by these two – they planted cocaine on his wife as well, but she was from an affluent well-connected family in Surrey and was somehow never prosecuted – he was and he ended up in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh for a year under the care of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones! (Christ I bet Dafydd regrets ever meeting me – you didn’t know that all this was going to be made public did you Dafydd when you illegally imprisoned me, threatened me and made deals with corrupt police officers…) But whilst all this was happening, a serious heroin problem began to develop in Gwynedd and on Anglesey yet no-one put a stop to it…
The drug squad were not the only members of the North Wales Police who were alleged to be corrupt. I was told that the local police were dreadful and that anyone who fell foul of them would find themselves harassed on all levels. In my first year at Bangor University, I heard a bizarre tale. One of the halls of residence next door to the hall where I lived was an all male hall and it had a rather difficult man as a warden. I always got on with him very well (he was one of my lecturers), but he could certainly be very vindictive if he took a dislike to someone. A strange atmosphere prevailed in the hall where he had control – some students had been invited into a select friendship group with him but other students were just being bullied and targeted over ridiculously trivial matters. This man was a leading light in the local mountain rescue team and through this knew many local police officers. I was told on one occasion that one of the students whom this man had taken a dislike to had been picked up by the local police, not charged with any offence, detained overnight at Bangor Police Station in the cells and then released again without charge – after being told not to annoy this warden again. The warden himself was openly boasting of having arranged this unlawful arrest for a laugh. I also heard a few references to Stalker’s colleagues from Manchester as well when I was an undergrad. One of the boys on my course came from Manchester and maintained that there was serious corruption in that force as well with villains from ‘north Manchester’ going unchallenged whereas small fry were hassled. Then villains from Manchester were alleged to be running a nightclub in Bangor. Bangor had been seriously short of such facilities, but in about 1983 or 84, there was much excitement because a real nightclub opened. Within weeks terrifying rumours were circulating, that is was being run by some heavies from Manchester, that serious violence and drug dealing were occurring and it soon became a no go area for most students. At about the same time the A55 linking Bangor with the north west of England was built and various dodgy people involved in serious crime began making their way across.
So what Myers claimed was happening regarding policing in North Wales was rather different to what the rest of us witnessed on the ground. Even more entertainingly, I have come across quotes from Myers that he made claiming that in the mid 70s his force was hampered by an increase in legislation that left the ‘victim of the villain naked and the police officer investigating crime impotent’. So is that why they were stitching people up and failing to investigate the serious abuse of children and the abuses of the mental health services? It was of course on Myers’ watch that the likes of Gordon Anglesea and Elfed Roberts rose through the ranks of the North Wales Police and it was officers who were promoted under him who were later alleged to be involved with the paedophile ring that operated in the area – officers who were also instrumental in the convictions that I’ve explored on this blog that may well be serious miscarriages of justice.
In the 1970s Myers was President of the Association of Chief Police Officers. He was very cross when the failed experiment with ‘short sharp shocks’ regarding youth offenders came to an end. He was also on record as maintaining that the increase in crime was ‘directly linked’ with film violence. He was particularly vexed over the film ‘Clockwork Orange’ and the gang bang scenes. Well such things were happening for real in the region’s children’s homes and in the North Wales Hospital. In the tributes paid to him after his death, Myers was described as being ‘intensely loyal to his officers’. To illustrate this, it was explained that in 1981 when riots were predicted on Merseyside, Myers sent five coaches of his officers to Toxteth to ‘assist’ and before the coaches left, Myers boarded each one to explain to the officers what was expected of them and what they might encounter. I wonder what was actually said to those officers…
In 1982 Myers had the honour of being personally reprimanded by Lord Hailsham (who was no liberal), after Myers had forced a probationary policeman, Michael Evans, to resign. Myers had an issue with Evan’s ‘hippy lifestyle’ on a farm near Bangor – except that Myers aimed his fire at the wrong man, it was a case of mistaken identity. There was also a spat over Evan’s pet dogs and malicious rumours were seeded about Evans’s marriage. Knowing how those we know and love conduct business, there is only one question that needs to be answered here – what did Michael Evans know about whom? Hailsham described ‘the treatment meted out to this young man as little short of outrageous’. If only he’d been molesting children in care…
When Myers announced his retirement, the Home Office was said to have ‘persuaded’ him to become one of HM Inspectors of Constabularies and in Nov 1981 the Home Secretary Willie Whitelaw confirmed the appointment, that ran from 1982. Myers was one of the youngest Inspectors of Constabularies. This post is described as involving delicate mediation between Chief Constables and the Gov’t. Myers was responsible for the ‘North West Region’, which covered north Wales, north west England and N Ireland. It was in this role that Myers encountered Stalker. Although Myers had played a key role in removing Stalker from the ‘shoot to kill’ investigation, he had also played a pivotal role in appointing him. Myers remained in this post until 1993. In 1983 Myers became the Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd. He was knighted in 1985. In 1985 Myers mediated in the row between the Labour-controlled Police Committee and the Merseyside Chief Constable Kenneth Oxford, as Oxford resisted calls for his resignation on the grounds that he had the backing of his officers and the Home Office. Oxford pursued a notoriously aggressive style of policing, on one occasion achieving the distinction of being the first person on the British mainland to lead a force using CS gas – Oxford also stocked up on plastic bullets. During riots in Liverpool one person was hit and killed by a police vehicle and somebody else was run over and left disabled. It took Lord Scarman to calm everybody down in the midst of some of what Oxford had done.
Myers was embroiled in more trouble again in 1992 when he became involved in the case that Alison Halford, the Assistant Chief Constable of Merseyside, brought on the grounds of discrimination. He was named as a co-respondent – along with James Sharples (Halford’s Chief Constable), the Home Secretary and the Northamptonshire Police Authority. It was alleged that Sharples had commented to Myers that Halford had been involved with an ‘improper relationship’ with a woman (Halford is gay). Edwin Glasgow QC, on behalf of Myers, described him as an ‘old fashioned strait-laced man’ (er, with the exception of the activities in those children’s homes…) Halford won her case – she alleged that she had been passed over for promotion eight or nine times – and was reputed to have received more than a million in compensation.
Myers did something else that gained a certain amount of attention whilst he was Inspector of Constabulary that Stalker comments on in his book. Instead of making use of the offices provided for the Inspector of Constabulary in a more central location in north west England, Myers had his own office built – in Colwyn Bay, right next to his home. Stalker visited this ‘seaside office’ as he called it and observed that it was in a rather out of the way location. Of course it would not have been out of the way for Myers’s contacts and colleagues from north Wales, it would have been most convenient for them, because the North Wales Police HQ is at Colwyn Bay. Indeed Colwyn Bay seems to attract the movers and the shakers. Professor Robert Owen, the Medical Ombudsman from the Welsh Office who oversaw the investigation into my complaint about Dafydd in 1988 – an investigation which was a whitewash, which did not actually investigate most aspects of my complaint and which resulted in no action against Dafydd at al although he had broken the law and entered into a criminal conspiracy with Superintendent Roberts at Bangor Police Station – lived in Colwyn Bay. I have copies of letters which showed that correspondence about me, from people uninvolved in the complaint eg. Dr D.G.E. Wood, were being sent to Owen’s home address without my knowledge. So business was obviously being conducted informally at people’s homes. Someone else lived at Colwyn Bay as well – Gordon Anglesea, the Superintendent who was eventually convicted of sexually abusing children in care homes in north Wales. Anglesea had previously been based in the Wrexham area but in 1988 he was promoted to Superintendent in Colwyn Bay. Huw Vaughan Thomas also lives in Colwyn Bay – he is now the Auditor General for Wales but between 1991-1996 he was Chief Executive of Gwynedd County Council, whilst the paedophile ring was in operation in children’s homes in Gwynedd and Clwyd. There will of course be many other key public servants who decided to live near Colwyn Bay…
Myers died in 2014. Hundreds of police officers turned out for his funeral – as indeed they did for Anglesea’s, although he died in prison serving a sentence for child abuse – and it was agreed by many that he had been very, very well-liked among his officers. Well they did pretty much anything that they wanted when old Philip was in charge – and he remained near their Colwyn Bay base when he moved into his later, even more powerful role… Even the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner at the time, Winston Roddick, mentioned that he was a great bloke. A party celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the establishment of the North Wales Police force was held in 2014. Philip was too ill to attend, but his wife went along and Winston was overjoyed to see her.
So Myers attained dizzy heights indeed. His role may have involved mediating between Chief Constables and the Gov’t, but there was one person above Myers, between him and the Gov’t. That was HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary, which between Jan 1983-March 1987 was Sir Lawrence Byford CBE. He’s certainly worth taking a look at, particularly as he was Chief Inspector whilst the paedophile ring in north Wales was causing havoc and whilst the British police stood accused of acting as the personal army of the Thatcher’s Gov’t. Byford was also Chief Inspector throughout the Stalker affair.
Lawrence Byford was born in 1925. His biography states that he was educated at the University of Leeds, but it doesn’t state at which stage of his life that was. In 1947 he became a constable with the West Yorkshire Constabulary, eventually becoming Commander of the Huddersfield Division. In 1968 he took up a senior leadership role with the Lincolnshire Police and was Chief Constable between 1973-1977. He was a Regional Inspector of Constabulary from 1978 until he was appointed Chief Inspector in 1983. He was knighted in 1984. After he retired he was President of Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 1991-1999 – he also undertook some management consultancy. Lawrence Byford was appointed by Willie Whitelaw to conduct the first inquiry into the massive stuffing up that was the investigation into Peter Sutcliffe’s crimes. Byford was assisted in this by the ‘Super Squad’, the external advisory team originally set up to investigate the murders committed by Sutcliffe! He was critical of the investigation by the West Yorkshire Police (his old force) but considering how bad that investigation was, he should have been a lot more critical.
Two of Lawrence’s children have made the news. In 1999, his daughter and her husband were arrested whilst on holiday in Florida for leaving their two very young children in their holiday apartment alone. They spent the night in jail but were allowed out on bail to return home to Yorkshire. When they left the children alone, they were actually on holiday with Lawrence, who it was said ‘did protest quite a bit’ at their arrest. There were even suggestions that if Lawrence’s daughter and her husband were kept in prison it could lead to a diplomatic incident between the U.S. and Britain.
Lawrence has a son who is well-known in his own right. That is Mark Byford, former Deputy Director General of the BBC and Head of BBC journalism, 2004-2011. Mark Byford spent his early years in the West Riding of Yorkshire when his father was a police officer there. In 1976 he went to Leeds University to study law. After graduating, he worked for the summer as a researcher in the ‘Look North’ regional newsroom in Leeds. At the end of the summer Mark joined the BBC on a full time basis. In 1990 he was appointed Head of Centre at Leeds and in 1991 he was the Controller for Regional Broadcasting. He joined the BBC Board of Management in 1996. Byford was a member of the BBC Executive Board for 13 years. He established and chaired the BBC Editorial Standards Board and established and chaired the Complaints Management Board. He chaired the BBC Journalism Board and had overall responsibility for all BBC journalism, across the UK and the world. I would imagine that if there was a story that Mark Byford didn’t want to become public, he would be able to keep it quiet very effectively, even if other people thought that it should be broadcast. Mark Byford’s later career at the BBC did some strange things. Three weeks after he was appointed Deputy DG in 2004, the DG, Greg Dyke, resigned following the furore of the Hutton Report. The BBC Board of Governors appointed Byford as acting DG and he remained in that role for five months. Then Mark Thompson was appointed DG and Byford was given the journalism remit. In October 2010 Byford accepted voluntary redundancy in the wake of the row about the very high salaries of the numerous senior managers at the BBC. He was alleged to have received a redundancy package of between £800,000-£900,000 and previously had received a salary of £500,000 pa. Byford left the BBC in Jun 2011. During the row about senior executives and high salaries, a few very rude things were said about Mark Byford, with people asking what exactly it was that he did and whether anyone should have paid him half a million pa. Within 18 months of Byford leaving, the BBC was engulfed by two scandals relating to ‘Newsnight’. One of those related to Jimmy Savile and the other to Lord McAlpine. Jimmy Savile was finally outed as a paedophile who’d offended on a grand scale. That is the Jimmy Savile who’d had a base in Leeds and who had been on excellent terms with some officers of the West Yorkshire Police who had known what he was up to but had failed to take action against him. The Leeds where Mark Byford had worked and the West Yorkshire Police whom Lawrence Byford had once been a part of. Lord McAlpine, readers may remember, was wrongly identified on ‘Newsnight’ as being a paedophile and later sued a number of people for libel and won. McAlpine had been named by Steve Messham, one of the former residents of a children’s home in north Wales where he had been molested, but not by Lord McAlpine. The Pollard Review blamed the Savile row in the BBC on the lack of Mark Byford. Presumably he’d been keeping Savile under wraps for years. Media commentator Professor Stewart Purvis commented that ‘Byford watched the DG’s back and the BBC’s back’. It rather looks as though he watched Savile’s back, the collective backs of the West Yorkshire Police and his own father’s back as well.
Previous posts have explained how the serious abuse of children in children’s homes in north Wales spanned decades. The home with the worst reputation – from which a number of staff were convicted of very serious offences against children – was Bryn Estyn near Wrexham. Prior to becoming a children’s home in 1974, Bryn Estyn was a Home Office Approved School and many of the abusers had been employed there whilst it was run by the Home Office. Some of Gordon Anglesea’s offences were committed at a Home Office Approved Attendance Centre in Wrexham which he had been allowed to set up in 1978. So the Home Office had something to do with what was happening in north Wales, beyond simply ignoring the complaints and convictions. So who were the Home Secretaries responsible? During the late 60s and early 70s – by which time Bryn Estyn had gained an appalling reputation – they were James Callaghan, Reginald Maudling and Robert Carr. Callaghan was part of Harold Wilson’s Gov’t, Maudling and Carr part of Ted Heath’s. The Home Secretary in place when Gordon Anglesea set up his Attendance Centre was Merlyn Rees – Callaghan was PM. Regarding the appointments of Philip Myers: Reginald Maudling and Robert Carr were Home Secretaries under Ted Heath when Myers was appointed Chief Constable and the new North Wales Police force was formed. Willie Whitelaw under Margaret Thatcher was the Home Secretary who appointed Myers as an HM Inspector of Constabulary. When Sir Lawrence Byford was appointed HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary the Home Secretary was Leon Brittan, as part of Margaret Thatcher’s Gov’t. The Leon Brittan who was, before he died, investigated in connection with sex offences – and the Leon Brittan who mislaid all those files relating to allegations of people in public life abusing children. We’ve arrived at the Westminster Paedophile Ring again.
There are many more interesting names in Stalker’s book and I will be blogging about them and their possible relevance to the topics covered on this blog very soon.