I have mentioned in previous posts and comments that in 1993 I wrote to the UK’s most high profile radical barrister Michael Mansfield at his chambers in Tooks Court about the mental health services in north Wales. I had just been prosecuted – yet again – at the insistence of the mental health services for ‘staring at a social worker in Safeways’. I was fined £60 by Bangor Magistrates Court. The social worker concerned, Jackie Brandt, a member of the delightful Arfon Community Mental Health Team, had previously illegally detained me, refused to investigate my complaints – as had her boss Lucille Hughes – and perjured herself in an attempt to have me imprisoned. Brandt had alleged to the police that I had screamed and yelled at her in Safeways, swore at her and threatened her. She admitted under cross-examination in Court that I hadn’t done any of these things, but I had ‘looked at her’, indeed at one point ‘stared’. Brandt then started crying. No-one asked any questions about why Brandt had felt able to lie in a statement to the police, lie again in Court and only admit that she had lied when my solicitor questioned her. Instead Bangor Magistrates deemed that by looking at Brandt I had breached the Public Order Act. The Act in question had been passed by Thatcher’s Gov’t to criminalise the striking miners in the 1984 dispute but was being widely used to prosecute anyone for anything. Mansfield mentioned the abuse of this Act in his 1993 book ‘Presumed Guilty’, which is why I wrote to him.
I did receive a reply from Michael Mansfield himself – he simply wrote me a couple of lines thanking me for my letter and saying ‘it is always good to have support’. I didn’t think anymore of this at the time – I just presumed that Mansfield would be in receipt of huge quantities of mail from people having a hard time and that he’d be busy defending the Birmingham Six or something. I missed a few things at the time.
At that time Mary Wynch had just made legal history by suing Dr Dafydd Alun Jones, Risley Remand Centre and Clwyd Health Authority for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment (see post ‘The Mary Wynch Case – Details’). Mansfield will definitely have known about this case – not only because it made legal history and received widespread media coverage, but also because there’d been a TV documentary made about it ‘Who Will Listen To Mary Wynch?’ (by Elizabeth Clough, Jeremy Paxman’s partner at the time) and because Mansfield’s longstanding friend and colleague Gareth Peirce, the radical solicitor, worked – as did Paul Boateng, Imran Khan and John Wadham (who became the Director of Liberty) – in Birnberg and Co, the solicitors that represented Mary. Gareth Peirce later became a senior partner in what became Birnberg Peirce and Partners. Benedict Birnberg himself retired in 1999 – just before the publication of the Waterhouse Report. Birnberg was also co-secretary of War On Want. At the time that I wrote to Mansfield, allegations of a paedophile ring operating in Cheshire and north Wales involving public figures including politicians and civil servants had appeared in the London based media. Allegations of a cover-up reaching to the highest levels of Gov’t were being made, a police investigation had been launched but had found ‘no evidence’ of the involvement of people in high places, an independent investigation by John Jillings of the abuse of children in the care of Clwyd County Council had been ordered and Alison Taylor -a social worker from Gwynedd – had blown the whistle loudly on the abuse of children in care in north Wales only to be sacked from her job by Lucille Hughes. The year before I wrote to Mansfield, Alison had appeared in a TV documentary with former residents of children’s homes in north Wales alleging abuse of kids in care and they had named a senior police officer with the North Wales Police, Gordon Anglesea, as one of the abusers. By the time that I wrote to Mansfield, Anglesea was suing the media outlets who had named him for libel. Michael Mansfield’s partner Yvette Vanson was a TV producer – it was her colleague Tony Wardle who co-wrote ‘Presumed Guilty’ with Mansfield. They will not have missed the havoc in north Wales. Mansfield had then received a letter from someone living near Bangor supplying him with details of the most extraordinary abuse of the law by Gwynedd Social Services involving collusion by the North Wales Police, Bangor Magistrates Court and the CPS… Did his antennae really not twitch?
A few days ago, I read Michael Mansfield’s 2009 book, ‘Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer’.
Mansfield established his chambers Tooks Court in 1984 as a collective. I don’t know what was going on there, but Mansfield admits in his book that their senior clerk walked out in response to the ‘arrogance’ and ‘demands’ of the barristers at Tooks. The radical socialist barristers who were fighting for the common man…
Sadly, rather than genuinely radical barristers, Tooks was hosting some unscrupulous hypocrites of the highest order. Helena Kennedy QC worked there – the Helena who worked closely with corrupt psychiatrist Professor Nigel Eastman from St George’s Hospital Medical School. Eastman was not only concealing and colluding with wrongdoing at St George’s and Springfield Hospital (the psychiatric unit attached to St George’s), but he also colluded with those we know and love in north Wales in 1991 when he was faced with evidence of their criminal activities (see post ‘Some Very Eminent Psychiatrists From London…’). Helena also will have known about the abuse of women patients in the special hospitals, many of whom had already been abused as kids in care and as mental health patients – no, she didn’t say a word. I bet she knew about Jimmy Savile’s activities at Broadmoor as well. Please read my post ‘Eve Was Framed – As Were A Lot Of Other People’ for further details regarding St Helena.
Patricia Scotland QC worked at Tooks. Patricia Scotland was involved in the Waterhouse Inquiry. Did Patsy represent any of the kids who’d been abused whilst in care in north Wales? No. Patsy was the QC who represented the Welsh Office. The Welsh Office who ignored complaints that children were being terribly abused, the Welsh Office who were failing to carry out regular inspections of children’s homes even after staff in the homes had been convicted of sexual and physical assaults on children in their care, the Welsh Office who employed corrupt lawyer Andrew Park who advised the mental health services as to how to mount prosecutions against me and how to avoid investigating my complaints, the Welsh Office which employed the corrupt Medical Ombudsman Professor Robert Owen who – along with Professor Robert Bluglass and Dr Colin Berry – concealed the criminal activities of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and Dr Tony Francis (Dr X). Patsy’s sterling work on behalf of the Welsh Office involved cross-examining the witnesses – the people who had been abused – so harshly that some of them became so distressed that they needed medical attention whilst others were unable to walk out of the building unaided. Details of Patsy’s glorious career as a black woman barrister who is completely dedicated to helping the unfortunate can be read in posts ‘Baroness Patricia Scotland Was On Board As Well!’, More On Baroness Patricia Scotland QC – And Her Very Sleazy Friends’ and ‘Even More About Baroness Patricia Scotland QC’.
Another alumnus of Tooks was Constance Briscoe, who like Patsy made much of being black and in possession of ovaries. After making it as far as a judge presiding over mental health and child care cases, Briscoe was imprisoned for perjury. Briscoe’s mate Vicky Pryce and Pryce’s former husband Lib Dem MP Chris Huhne were also imprisoned, but unlike Briscoe and Huhne who’s careers were finished off, dear old Vicky returned to work as a Gov’t economist after she’d served her stretch and can be heard regularly on the BBC. Vicky also wrote a misery memoir about her time in prison, from the perspective of an oppressed woman.
Vera Baird QC, another well-known radical feminist lawyer, also worked at Tooks. Years later in her capacity as Solicitor General in Gordon Brown’s Gov’t, Vera assisted Charlie Falconer in withdrawing virtually all legal aid in cases where people had had their lives wrecked by the state.
Many of the Tooks lawyers were networked to fellow lawyer Cherie Booth and when Cherie’s husband Tony Blair became PM he gave a lot of them peerages.
Friends and colleagues of Mansfield et al at Tooks included other big names among radical barristers, such as Stephen Sedley, Anthony Scrivener and Anthony Gifford.
I am the first to admit that Mansfield and some of his colleagues have done some excellent work. They have successfully helped some victims of terrible miscarriages of justice such as the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six and I know someone who has worked with Lord Gifford fighting for prisoners on death row in Jamaica. Some of those people would be dead without Tony Gifford. But again and again, I notice that the radical barristers just do not touch cases involving people who have been abused by the state child care system or the mental health system in the UK. In fact no-one will take those cases. Birnberg and Co did fight for Mary Wynch initially – but Mary’s problems did not end when she won her case. Clwyd Health Authority et al then refused to stump up the damages, Mary ended up having to go into hiding, the property and money of which she was fleeced by Dr Dafydd Alun Jones et al was never returned to her and she was finally ruined by the Home Office under Michael Howard in 1995. At which point she was never heard of again – the few people who had fought for her and publicised her case fell silent.
I can only speculate that the problem is as this blog has detailed ie. that the corruption involving the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal and related events reaches to such a high level – including the most senior members of the judiciary – that even Mansfield and Gareth Peirce won’t touch it. Perhaps they know that their own careers will be ruined if they take those cases. Perhaps they are simply too frightened – they will know that numerous witnesses to the north Wales case were found dead after complaining or giving evidence and in the case of the five witnesses who were killed in an arson attack in 1992, even the Court returned a verdict of ‘unlawful killing’ (see post ‘The Silence Of The Welsh Lambs’). The cynic in me observes that the radical lawyers had close connections to the inner London boroughs whose Councils were running the children’s homes where paedophiles had infiltrated and that those Councils were also sending children on placement to homes in north Wales. Paul Boateng’s own wife was a social worker and Councillor in Lambeth, which had one of the biggest problems with abuse of children in care in the UK. Those boroughs also pioneered community law centres, in which some of the radical lawyers worked when they were very young – they were not going to effectively represent people who had been abused by the staff of the organisation funding the law centre.
It was easier for Michael Mansfield and Gareth Peirce to represent clients like the Price sisters who proudly admitted to blowing up part of London than to represent people who had been raped by paedophiles employed as social workers and then unlawfully imprisoned and abused again by Top Doctors employed as psychiatrists.
It is clear from Michael Mansfield’s memoir that he has encountered the results of the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal – and child abuse by the state in other regions of the UK – and the abuse of psychiatry many times. Michael Mansfield spends time talking to and listening to people who have been crapped on by the state – he believes what they say as well and is acutely aware of just what the state will do to get itself out of trouble when little people have witnessed or gained evidence of wrongdoing by people in high places. Mansfield is also sensitive and intelligent enough to know that even when he is hearing a truly bizarre story from someone disorientated, there may well be much truth in the story and it’s that which he must identify. Interestingly Mansfield learnt this as a young man by talking to psychiatric patients from Friern Barnet Hospital when he had a job emptying the bins there – he was hearing hair-raising anecdotes and he gradually started to realise that the nutters were telling the truth about a great many matters. I noticed this phenomenon myself. I heard the most extraordinary things from patients that the Top Doctors and Angels tripped over themselves to dismiss as delusions and psychotic ramblings – and I watched and I listened and I realised that a great deal of what I was being told was true.
There used to be a number of people wandering around north Wales – I say used to be, because they have now nearly all died as a result of neglect from the mental health services – who claimed to have worked as prostitutes or groupies and to have had sex with a variety of well-known people or local bigwigs. These people were universally dismissed by the people paid to care for them as being ‘difficult’, having ‘upset people’ or being ‘troublemakers’. These insults were used to justify extreme neglect and even unlawful refusal of ‘services’. The people being left to die had all lived through the paedophile years in north Wales when vulnerable people – particularly kids in care and psychiatric patients – were sexually abused and exploited and trafficked into sex work. I know that this went on, I know some of the people who were doing it and I know that at least some of the people who were named by these virtually destitute patients were indeed sexually using vulnerable people. As Jimmy Savile knew, if you want to sexually assault people and get away with it sexually assault kids in care, learning disabled people or people labelled as having mental health problems. Not only will you get away with it but if your victims dare tell anyone what you have done they will be punished all over again by whoever it is ‘looking after’ them. And the Top Doctors will assist you by pouring venom upon your victims like there is no tomorrow.
Mansfield’s book mentions that he worked on behalf of people who were in trouble with the law for drug use. He’ll have known that there were both high levels of police corruption in the drug squads and that some Top Doctors working in the field were essentially dealers, often to rich elites. No doubt Mansfield also knew about the corruption in the Home Office Drugs Branch responsible for the oversight of controlled drugs (see post ‘Little Things Hitting Each Other’). Mansfield mentions Bernie Simons, an associate of Dr Ann Dally, dealer to the stars. I haven’t been able to find out who Bernie Simons was, but from what Mansfield says he seems to have been a solicitor as well as a drugs campaigner.
Throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s, Risley Remand centre served as the personal prison of Dafydd and the paedophiles’ friends. Huge numbers of the prisoners there had passed through the north Wales children’s homes or mental health services. Mary Wynch was detained there unlawfully and I know of at least one other mental health patient in north Wales who was as well. The brutality at Risley was legendary and the suicide rate astronomical. I know three people – all mental health patients – who were in Risley in the 80s. They related accounts of hearing the screams of other prisoners at night as they were beaten up by the warders and of being assaulted by the warders themselves. One man had been left in complete darkness in his cell for a number of days after a prison officer removed the light bulb because the prisoner had complained about the bulb flickering on and off. The same man had been detained in Risley after the North Wales Drug Squad had framed he and his wife and assaulted him. Whilst he was in Risley he maintains that he was visited by an unidentified senior detective from London who tried to interrogate him about offences of which he knew nothing. The detective became angry with him, told him that there was no point questioning him because ‘you’re fucking mad’ and threw him back in his cell. This man was subsequently transferred to the ‘care’ of Dafydd in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh – where he stayed for a year. His complaints about the North Wales Police were never investigated. Another man described sharing a cell with a suicidal man who was trying to injure himself – the man whom I knew rang and rang for help but no-one answered the bell. His cell mate succeeded in killing himself and the man whom I spoke to was left alone in the cell with the corpse for some time. I was friendly with a lady who fostered a young man with mental health and drug problems. At the age of 18 he was detained in Risley – when my friend went to visit him he was visibly injured after a beating by the officers. My friend challenged the officers and was met with one of them boasting about how much he enjoyed beating the ‘little bastards’ up. There were some prisoners in Risley who were serious offenders, but there were many more who had been accused of trivial crimes but had been detained there on the orders of Dafydd and the paedophiles’ friends ‘for psychiatric assessment’. Some like Mary Wynch had not committed any crime at all.
The wrongdoing at Risley permeated levels higher than the thugs employed as prison officers. The Waterhouse Report mentions the panel having sight of a letter allegedly written by a prisoner in Risley to Lucille Hughes in support of Nefyn and June Dodd, the managers of Ty’r Felin children’s home in Bangor. The Dodds were tremendously cruel to children in their care and the kids from that home were being trafficked to London and other locations for prostitution. Even Sir Ronnie Waterhouse accepted that the letter was forged and had not been written by the prisoner – a former resident of Ty’r Felin – at all. Not that Ronnie asked any questions, this was just another incident that was dismissed without investigation. So someone at Risley went to the trouble of forging a letter from a prisoner to Lucille Hughes at a time when the Dodds were under investigation and allegations of a paedophile ring operating in the children’s homes in north Wales were appearing in the media.
My own medical records provide evidence of corruption at Risley. In 1987 Dafydd Alun Jones told me over the telephone that if I didn’t drop my complaints about him he’d have me imprisoned in Risley. Brown heard this phone call as well. I ignored Dafydd’s threats and continued to try to pursue my complaints. Some months later a junior doctor working for Dafydd at the North Wales Hospital Denbigh made a statement to the police maintaining that I had tried to stab him – I was arrested and taken to Bangor Police Station. He claimed that I had pulled a knife out of my pocket and had brought the knife down upon him as though to stab him and the only reason that he wasn’t stabbed by me was that a male nurse had dragged me off him. The male nurse who allegedly rescued this junior doctor from my murderous attempt made a statement about the same incident. His statement maintained that I had shouted at the junior doctor because no-one was investigating my complaints about Dafydd et al – which was true. The nurse explained that I had a camping knife in my possession – this was in the days when camping knives could be legally purchased and held (yes, I was in north Wales camping at the time) – but I did not withdraw the knife, no-one saw the knife and I certainly didn’t try to stab anyone with it. Whilst I was at the police station, colleagues of Dafydd Alun Jones rang the police claiming that I had threatened to kill them. The custody sergeant was good enough to refuse to take their statements there and then and told me that ‘they’re all conspiring against you up there’. I later complained to the NHS about these events and observed to Alun Davies the corrupt manager of the mental health services that the custody sergeant had made this comment. Davies bellowed at me down the phone that he’d be ‘having a word with the police’ about that sergeant. The sergeant, Sgt Morgan, was some months later arrested and charged with indecently assaulting a teenaged girl in custody. Bangor Magistrates Court found him guilty and he was sacked from the North Wales Police. Before the police released me, Dafydd turned up at the police station, although he didn’t explain what he was doing there. Dafydd’s visit was very brief and involved him saying to me ‘I think ewe should be in prison’. The next day I returned to Leicester, where I was living at the time.
My complaint about the whole saga was never investigated and the junior doctor who lied in his statement to the police was never investigated either. Many years later when I finally obtained my medical records, I found a copy of a letter that had been written by an NHS administrator at Ysbyty Gwynedd at the time which stated that I was ‘now in Risley Remand Centre after stabbing someone with a knife’. Not only that, but there was a copy of a letter from the Mental Health Act Commission to the mental health services in north Wales, stating that as I was now in Risley Remand Centre they would write a letter to my home address in Leicester in response to my complaints about Dafydd et al.
I was never charged with attacking anyone with a knife. I had not appeared in Court in relation to attacking anyone with a knife and no request was made to any court at that time to have me remanded in Risley. So the Mental Health Act Commission cannot possibly have received any official documentation stating that this had happened. They had obviously just been told by one of their mates in the north Wales NHS – a mate who hadn’t realised that Dafydd’s plan had gone pear-shaped – that I was now safely in a cell in Risley, so of course a letter concerning my previous very serious complaints about Dafydd et al could be sent to my home address where the Mental Health Act Commission thought that I wasn’t. Problem dealt with. No investigation, patient framed and imprisoned for a serious offence, complaints about Dafydd’s previous criminal activities kicked into the long grass.
This whole sequence of events suggests corruption in the NHS, in Risley Remand Centre and in the Mental Health Act Commission. There was never an investigation into any of it or any of the people involved. People who included Dafydd, Dr Tony Francis (Dr X), Janice Davies (Dafydd’s henchwoman at the North Wales Hospital Denbigh), a Dr Ponnampalam, a Dr Khalid Siddiqui and David Ewart at the Mental Health Act Commission. Four years ago I discovered that Khalid Siddiqui was employed as an ‘independent doctor’ in the south east of England assessing people under the Mental Health Act. He is probably still doing this and getting paid handsomely for it.
In May 1989 Risley finally exploded in the form of a prison riot. A group of prisoners trashed a wing – not that there was much worth trashing, it wasn’t the Ritz – and a roof-top protest lasting three days took place. Michael Mansfield defended one of the leaders of the riot (not a man from north Wales). I remember Michael Mansfield writing in the press at the time about the appalling conditions, brutality and corruption at Risley. Mansfield’s client may not have come from north Wales, but I bet that Mansfield knew what was going on at Risley – as will have the other lawyers who worked with him on the case, Tim Owen and Jeremy Hawthorne – because of his habit of chatting at length to numerous people and knowing when he is hearing about corruption in high places. The jury acquitted the rioters at Risley. At the time of the Risley riot, the Home Secretary was Douglas Hurd, who was later replaced by David Waddington – members of the Gov’t who were wilfully ignoring the criminal misconduct that they were told was going on in north Wales.
Michael Mansfield came up against someone else who was networked into Dafydd and the paedophiles’ friends when he represented Mohamed Al Fayed at the inquests of Dodi and Diana – Lord Thomas Scott Baker. Scott Baker had previously sat as a judge on the Chester and Wales Circuit and in 1995 had imprisoned a highly vulnerable woman, Susan Brooke, who had passed through the North Wales Hospital who had undoubtedly crossed the paths of the paedophiles’ friends (see posts ‘So Who’s Path Had Susan Brooke Crossed?’, ‘More On The Susan Brooke Case’ and ‘Update On The Cases Of Susan Brooke And Sara Thornton’). How Scott Baker ever made the career move from being a paedophiles’ friend in north Wales to the coroner holding the inquests of Dodi and Di I do not know – particularly as the inquests of Dodi and Di were the first inquests that Scott Baker had ever conducted. Press comment at the time suggested that Scott Baker had been specifically brought in for the inquests because he was the one person who was thought to be capable of standing up to Michael Mansfield.
Think about this. Mansfield is clever, has been around a long time, knew about north Wales and Risley and always does his homework well. He will have made it his business to rifle through Scott Baker’s undies before the inquests – and he will have known that Scott Baker had previously worked on the shamefully corrupt Chester and Wales Circuit and had been involved in the Susan Brooke case. As with the case of the paedophiles at the heart of Thatcher’s Gov’t, Mansfield could have really dug up the dirt on Scott Baker and used it. He didn’t. Perhaps because Scott Baker was in a position to throw even more dirt at Mansfield – dirt suggesting that Mansfield and his famous freedom fighters had remained silent about a viscious paedophile ring linked to organised crime which had resulted in the framing and imprisonment of scores of innocent people, the deaths of a great many witnesses and the collusion of some of Mansfield’s friends and colleagues.
Michael Mansfield knows how low the Top Doctors and those who care will stoop if they feel that it is necessary. Mansfield represented Angela Cannings, a mother wrongly convicted and imprisoned for the death of two of her children, on the basis of the ‘expert evidence’ provided by Sir Roy Meadow. Meadow was a paediatrician who managed to invent a new psychiatric diagnosis – Munchausens by Proxy – and also managed to make up some statistics which he then spouted off whilst in the witness box. No-one questioned him until a number of mothers had been wrongly imprisoned for killing their children. A number of real statisticians then came forward and demonstrated very clearly that Meadow didn’t know his arse from his elbow and a number of innocent people were subsequently released from prison. The most famous example was Sally Clark, a solicitor who’s character had been absolutely trashed by the Top Doctors after two of her children died in infancy. Sally was imprisoned and although she was released on appeal in 2003, she had been so destroyed by her experience that she died not long after release. Not that this was enough for the Top Doctors. After Sally Clark was released, Top Doctor Professor David Southall – another expert in Munchausens by Proxy – on the basis of no evidence at all then named Sally Clark’s husband as the murderer of the children. Probably because his eyes were too close together. Meadow and Southall were eventually disciplined by the GMC, but a rearguard action was supported by their colleagues -particularly in the case of Southall – and many articles sympathetic to them appeared in the liberal media, reminding us that Southall was a Brave Doctor Who Cared About Children. The fact that in the case of Sally Clark a pathologist actually discovered that one of her children had died of an infection but chose not to mention this before or during the trial was not discussed in the Southall-supporting media. Meadow and Southall both maxed out the appeals process and were eventually reinstated as Top Doctors.
Mansfield also defended Barry George, the man with a number of vulnerabilities who was found guilty of the well-planned assassination of Jill Dando, although he was at a day centre several miles away when Jill Dando was shot dead outside of her house. Jill Dando was a reporter on ‘Crimewatch’, a programme which led to several miscarriages of justice, although the BBC didn’t make reference to that when they boasted about ‘Crimewatch’s’ success the other day. ‘Crimewatch’ was responsible for the conviction of Michael Stone, another case that many people find very troubling. There was no forensic evidence against Michael Stone whatever, but a Top Doctor watching ‘Crimewatch’ saw the episode featuring the murder of Lin and Megan Russell and rang in saying that it was just the sort of thing that his patient Stone would have done. Stone remains in prison many years later and continues to profess his innocence. Dando’s colleague on ‘Crimewatch’ Sue Cook was a close friend of George Carman QC, the crooked barrister who had many good friends who were gangsters or bent police officers (see posts ‘No Ordinary Methods’ and ‘No Ordinary Methods – Supplementary Post’).
Mansfield is not naïve. He knows that Top Doctors lie, particularly to cover their tracks after they have screwed up and he knows that Top Doctors who stick their necks out and challenge their colleagues are subjected to witch-hunts by the medical establishment. Mansfield is well-acquainted with the facts involved some of the most high profile child protection disasters that there have been since the 1970s, 80s and 90s and later. Yet staggeringly, he described Esther Rantzen as a ‘vociferous and committed’ campaigner, citing Childline as evidence. The Esther who ‘didn’t know’ about Jimmy Savile, who ‘didn’t know’ about her former bedfellow Sir Nicholas Fairbain, the Esther who’s sister worked as a social worker for Lambeth Social Services whilst it had one the worst records on child protection in the UK, the Esther who appointed her sister’s manager as Chief Exec of Childline. The Childline that was alleged to have ignored calls from children in care who were being abused. The Esther who then ran a mental health campaign and who ignored a letter that I sent her about the criminal activities of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones et al. But then Mansfield’s PA Susie Haig worked as a counsellor for Childline. So Susie probably heard the same story that I heard from Childline then – that Esther was so dreadful when speaking to the children that they had to work hard to ensure that she didn’t actually answer any calls herself when she was gracing Childline with her presence to drum up a bit of good PR.
Mansfield did a lot of work for the NUM during the miners strike of 1984 and also defended Arthur Scargill when Scargill was arrested. Mansfield and Scargill were friends and established the Socialist Labour Party together. My post ‘It’s All About Protecting Children’ described how Arthur Scargill shared a platform in Bangor a few years ago with a paedophiles’ friend and how this particular paedophiles’ friend has married a lady who has stood for the Socialist Labour Party in north Wales in General Elections. Mansfield had an excellent grip on the police corruption and the various dirty tricks used to frame and prosecute miners who had themselves been assaulted by the police.
It was at this time that Mansfield got together with the lady who was to become his wife for 30 years, documentary maker Yvette Vanson. Vanson and Mansfield lived in Yorkshire for a while, Vanson researching for and making her films and Mansfield defending the miners. Mansfield and Vanson became very well-networked into the community in Yorkshire via a man called Terry Dunn and they also had connections on the ground in south Wales. Like north Wales, Yorkshire had a major problem with police corruption, a paedophile ring – and a man called Jimmy Savile who was involved with both. Surely Mansfield and Vanson heard SOMETHING about all of this? Terry Dunn must have known – Mansfield tells us that after the strike, Dunn did a degree at the LSE and ‘fought for trade union rights’ via an unidentified charity in London. Mansfield was a lawyer and Vanson was a producer of TV documentaries about people having a hard time – people like Mansfield and Vanson are approached constantly by people who’ve been stuffed over asking for help. This even happened to me after I appeared in the media talking about the abuses of the mental health services and I’m not famous – but people rang me, they e mailed and they wrote. Anyone speaking publicly about the abuse of people who feel powerless definitely gets approached by people who’ve suffered at the hands of the oppressors.
It is to Yvette Vanson to whom I will now turn, because I suspect that Yvette Vanson knows so much she would be capable of writing a blog like this and she must have shared some of what she knew with Michael Mansfield.
Yvette Vanson went to the Royal College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, 1968-70 and also did a degree in social sciences at a later date. In 1979 Vanson landed a job with the BBC Community Programmes Unit with Mike Fentiman, only to find herself then blacklisted because of her previous involvement with the Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP). The BBC at the time was reputed to employ a member of MI5 who beavered away screening out undesirables and Vanson was one of them. So Vanson occupied herself doing other things for a few years, including producing training videos with Tony Wardle for East Sussex Social Services. Vanson is the sort of TV producer who gets to know her subject well, she too mixes and chats with people who are being exploited and abused. Vanson is not daft and her – extensive – work for East Sussex Social Services will have undoubtedly brought her face to face with bad practice, a dysfunctional social care system and neglect and abuse of clients. Vanson also made a documentary about the Mental Health Act – that was the Act which was drafted by Professor Robert Bluglass who two years later covered up the criminal activities of Dafydd and Dr Tony Francis which included breaking the law enshrined in that Act. Vanson worked in other areas of disability as well, which brought her into close contact with people from SCOPE and Leonard Cheshire – both organisations which have been accused of the abuse of vulnerable people. She will have known something.
Vanson took her film crew into Lambeth Town Hall when Lambeth Council workers were staging a sit-in – a Jim O’Brien was leading the workers’ protest. Ever think of mentioning what was happening to the kids in the care of Lambeth to the film crew then Jim?
Vanson made ‘Kentucky Fried Medicine’, a critique of the US healthcare system. She noticed only a ‘very, very few people who were willing to criticise and risk their jobs’. She’ll have noticed the same phenomenon in the UK NHS but she doesn’t mention that – Vanson made a documentary called ‘Stitching Up The NHS’.
In 1984, Vanson managed to find her way back into the BBC again, once more working with the BBC Community Programmes Unit and names Mike Fentimen and Tony Lye as people with whom she worked.
I have a friend who worked for the BBC in the late 80s and early 90s – in the documentary commissioning department. My friend maintained that the dept was openly corrupt and his boss had a huge row with him after my friend refused to accept bribes. My friend was told by this boss that he’d make sure that my friend would never work in London again. Weeks later my friend was transferred to Manchester and was made redundant shortly afterwards. The name of the BBC executive whom my friend alleged was involved? Paul Hayman. I was also told that Hayman had a huge in-tray on his desk full of ideas for commissions that documentary makers had sent in and that Hayman would invite chosen people into his office and tell them to take their pick of the other people’s ideas. Vanson mentions working with Paul Hayman when she produced ‘Presumed Guilty’ for BBC’s Inside Story.
The interview which Vanson gave from which I have obtained my information about her career didn’t mention the sort of rampant corruption witnessed by my friend at the BBC, but Vanson does talk about some people at the BBC editing her work to such an extent that the documentary was changed as well as the reluctance of certain people at the BBC to produce anything that the Gov’t might throw a hissy fit over. In the wake of Vanson’s documentary about the miners’ strike ‘Taking Liberties’, the BBC threatened to close the whole Community Programmes unit.
Vanson seemed to have been particularly irked by Liz Forgan, although when Forgan was getting on Yvette Vanson’s tits I think Forgan might have been working for Channel 4 – Vanson made documentaries for them as well. Liz Forgan is now Dame Liz. She was Editor of the Guardian Women’s pages 1978-82, then a Guardian columnist 1997-98 and then a non-executive director of the Guardian Media Group from 1998. Forgan was founding Commissioning Editor and then Director of Programmes at Channel 4, 1981-90. In 1993 she was appointed MD of BBC Network Radio, but she left the BBC in 1996 over a row with the DG John Birt concerning moving BBC Radio News from Broadcasting House to Television Centre. (Which seems an extraordinary thing to leave one’s job over – couldn’t Liz have resigned over Savile or all the corruption or something worthwhile?) Between 2001-08 Forgan was Chair of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund. In 2009 Dame Liz became Chair of the Arts Council of England – this was seen as a Labour Party appointment and Liz must have pissed a few other people off as well as Yvette Vanson, because in 2010 the Coalition Gov’t cut the Arts Council’s budget by nearly 30%. In 2003 Forgan was appointed Chair of the Scott Trust, the company which owns the Guardian Media Group and which is responsible for appointing the Editor of the Guardian.
Other notables as well as Liz have occupied the position of Chair of the Scott Trust. Hugo Young was in that role immediately prior to Liz – it was on Young’s watch that Alan Rusbridger who was Editor of the Guardian between 1995-2015 was appointed. The Chair before Young was Alistair Hetherington, who was appointed in 1984.
I first heard about Hetherington in 1982 from two of my friends who were studying film and media at Stirling University. They told me about a huge row that had blown up which had found its way into ‘The Scotsman’ – the University had appointed Hetherington, a journo, to a Research Chair. This was one of the first appointments by a UK university of a non-academic to a Chair and the fur flew. There were allegations that Stirling had only done this to toady to people in high places and that Hetherington had none of the qualities needed to successfully occupy the role. The students protested and my friends were signatories to the letter of protest that was sent to ‘The Scotsman’. Hetherington was appointed nonetheless – but it looks like my friends were right to have had their reservations, because Hetherington was never seen in the University, certainly didn’t do any research and buggered off in 1984 to Chair the Scott Trust. Whilst at the Scott Trust Hetherington received very serious grief from the NUJ. He supported Peter Preston as Editor of the Guardian and played a substantial role in the appointment of Hugo Young as his own successor as Chairman of the Scott Trust. So who was this man whom Stirling University prostrated themselves before?
Alistair was the son of Sir Hector Hetherington, a Professor at University College Cardiff and then Principal of the University of Glasgow. Whilst serving in the army in WWII Hetherington was a major in the Intelligence Corps. In 1950 he joined the Manchester Guardian as a journo and in 1953 Hetherington became Editor. Hetherington claimed to be a campaigner for social justice – he was present at the founding of CND and attended the preliminary meetings at the house of Lord Simon Wythenshawe, along with Sir Bernard Lovell and Bertrand Russell. Yet Hetherington did not support or join CND – indeed Hetherington actually tried to launch his own movement with aims directly in opposition to CND. Years later he performed another U turn over Vietnam, after meeting US military commanders in Saigon. In 1959 Hetherington oversaw the evolution of the ‘Manchester Guardian’ into the ‘Guardian’ and the office subsequently relocated to London. The ‘Guardian’ lost a great deal of money but was kept afloat by its sister paper, the ‘Manchester Evening News’.
Hetherington was close to Harold Wilson but even closer to Jo Grimond, the Liberal MP who would have become leader of the Party had Thorpe not got there instead. Hetherington spent 20 years writing leading articles to promote Liberal-Labour co-operation in order to defeat the Tories.
In 1975 Michael Swann, the Chairman of the BBC, offered Hetherington the post of Controller of BBC Scotland. There was as much trouble following that appointment as there was when Hetherington landed the Chair at Stirling. Hetherington clashed with the DG at the BBC, Charles Curran and in 1978 was sacked by Curran’s successor, Ian Trethowan. Hetherington had to slum it as the manager of BBC Radio Highland until he was offered the Chair at Stirling.
Hetherington’s mate Michael Swann was a molecular biologist. Between 1965-74 he was Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh. In 1972 Swann was confronted with much trouble from the students, led by one Gordon Brown, who had been elected Rector. Ted Heath was so wowed at Swann’s ‘strong leadership’ at Edinburgh that he gave Swann a knighthood and then in 1974 appointed him as Chair of the BBC. In 1979 Swann was appointed Chancellor of York University and in 1981 he was given a peerage. Swann’s brother Hugh was Cabinet Maker to HM the Queen.
The present Chair of the Scott Trust is Andrew Graham. His CV has all the right ingredients – Sunday Times, LWT, Channel 4, Fellow of the Royal Television Society and Royal Society of Arts…
Today’s Mail Online published an angry article demanding to know why so many ‘left wing luvvies’ are heads of Oxbridge Colleges. A number of sinners were named and shamed, including Mark Damazar (latterly of the BBC), Alan Rusbridger, Jackie Ashley (Guardian columnist and wife of Andrew Marr of the BBC) and dear old Baroness Helena Kennedy. I don’t think that the elevation to great heights of such folk has much to do with them being lefties or luvvies. Like the people at the top of the Daily Mail, one reason why none of this lot have been blown out of the water is that they have all kept schtum about the organised sexual abuse of children by public figures and senior politicians and civil servants.
Vanson won a Royal Television Society award for her film about sexual harassment at work, ‘Making Advances’. The film was presented by Emma Freud. This was pre-Savile, pre-Rolf and pre-Stuart Hall. And indeed pre-Clement Freud, Emma’s father.
There is one TV documentary made by Vanson that I am particularly interested in. It was a documentary that was screened by BBC Wales in approx. 1996-97 entitled ‘Breaking the Mold’ and it concerned the fight to save Theatre Clwyd which was facing closure. Vanson mentions working with the commissioning editor of BBC Wales, John Geraint on a programme about Aberfan, so I’m wondering if he commissioned ‘Breaking The Mold’.
Theatre Clwyd was the baby of the former Chief Exec of Clwyd County Council, T.M. Hadyn Rees. Hadyn Rees was Chief Exec of Clwyd 1974-77 – as the paedophile gang raged in children’s homes run by Clwyd County Council. Hadyn Rees was a lawyer who was a member of the Welsh Arts Council, 1968-77. Hadyn Rees, like his successor Mervyn Phillips, had a great many fingers in a great many pies. Further details of the numerous fingers and pies involving these paedophiles’ friends can be read in my post ‘Ain’t Nothing Clean – Not Even The Welsh Calvinistic Methodists’. The upshot was that Hadyn Rees and Mervyn Phillips spearheaded huge projects which purchased them much kudos and power within north Wales yet it was never clear how these projects were funded. Whilst all this was happening, there were constant financial crises in Clwyd County Council – the money just seemed to disappear but on what was unfathomable, because the Council certainly weren’t spending it on services for the citizens of Clwyd. Again and again there are references in local gov’t documents to the terrible financial problems in Clwyd – the Council had to go cap in hand to various places for bail outs, there was a huge row because the rates/council tax had to be hiked up to one of the highest levels in the UK and after the abolition of Clwyd County Council at the time of the submission of the Jillings Report into the abuse of children in the care of the Council, an enormous black hole in the funds was revealed which was carried over into the new organisation, Flintshire County Council. At the retirement party of Roger Parry, the Finance Chief of Clwyd, jokes were made about Roger’s catchphrase being ‘struggling on’, although there were many warm words for him from senior officers who remembered how he ‘rescued’ the Council at a time of crisis. Roger himself told the party that he was glad that he was able to save the day, but warned everyone not to embezzle the Council funds after his retirement.
Theatre Clwyd was a grand enterprise from the outset – it was opened in 1976 by HM the Queen and for a theatre in a small rural town in north Wales it really is quite impressive. The official narrative regarding the funding of the theatre is that it is funded by Clwyd County Council. It hit the buffers in about 1996 and was facing closure – this happened when Tom Middlehusrt was Chief Exec of Flintshire County Council. Just after the Jillings Report had confirmed the most dreadful abuse of children in Clwyd and the possible presence of a paedophile ring, just as the Waterhouse Inquiry was ordered. Just after Clwyd County Council had disappeared in a puff of smoke leaving the huge black hole in its wake – and when the newly created Flintshire County Council was ordered by Michael Beloff QC, the legal advisor to their insurers, to never release the Jillings Report to anyone, even the Councillors, on the grounds that what had happened to the children in care was so indefensible that the insurers would withdraw the Council’s cover if the Report was made public and the Council members themselves would be personally liable for the damages and costs if any of the former children in care sued. Michael Beloff QC styled himself a human rights/civil liberties barrister – he was a colleague of Mansfield, Gareth Peirce, Cherie Booth et al.
Tom Middlehurst – who later became the AM for Alyn and Deeside – is credited for having helped save Theatre Clwyd, although I can’t quite work out HOW. What is clear though is that Middlehurst managed to drum up a great deal of good publicity for the Theatre, which included Vanson’s documentary. Vanson herself described Theatre Clwyd as ‘really inspirational’ and in retrospect suggested that perhaps her film had helped the theatre stay open and that it was one of her ‘campaigning successes’. The person running Theatre Clwyd at the time was Helena Kaut-Howson, who is now a very big name in theatre internationally. David Hanson MP – another one of the paedophiles’ friends who is married to Margaret Hanson, the current Vice-Chair of the deadly Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board – spoke in Parliament about the crisis facing the theatre and described Theatre Clwyd as ‘an important social and cultural asset of north Wales’.
Middlehurst summoned up a very big name indeed in order to save the paedophiles’ friends’ extravagant folly – he contacted Terry Hands, who became CEO and Director of Theatre Clwyd in 1997. Terry Hands was one of the founders of the Liverpool Everyman Theatre in 1964. Hands went to school in Woking and studied at the University of Birmingham and RADA. After establishing the Everyman, in 1966 Hands joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and in 1986 became its CEO. Then in 1997 he gave the paedophiles’ friends an enormous helping hand. Hands also became the Vice-President of the Llangollen International Eisteddfod – scores of the paedophiles’ friends are associated with that festival and for a number of years Sir Ronnie Waterhouse was President. Hands is or was visiting Professor at the Atrium at the University of South Wales and is or was Joint President of the Arvon Foundation. The Arvon Foundation is a charity which promotes creative writing and runs a number of residential writing retreats. Poets previously involved with the Arvon Foundation include Ted Hughes, Seamus Heaney and Philip Larkin. Former tutors include Willy Russell, Ian McEwan, Andrew Motion, Carol Ann Duffy, Ian Rankin and Will Self. Hands left Theatre Clwyd in 2015, by which time it was the most successful theatre in Wales. In 2014 Wales Online had reported that Theatre Clwyd’s funding was at risk again – at this point Colin Everett was the Chief Exec of Flintshire County Council. Wales Online reported that the theatre had its own production company which travelled across the UK – the theatre company was described as being ‘subsidised’ by Flintshire County Council, which had left the Council with a big bill…
I have no idea how Middlehurst managed to rope Terry Hands in, but I note that Middlehurst went to Liverpool Poly. The Everyman was a huge cult in Liverpool and it fancied itself as bohemian and political. By the mid-70s some people who became very influential were associated with the Everyman, including Julie Walters, Cathy Tyson, Pete Postlethwaite and Matthew Kelly. The Everyman was associated with actors and writers on the left who had originated from working class backgrounds.
Pete Postlethwaite died not so long ago and spent the last part of his life in Shropshire. In 1987 he began a relationship with the woman whom he married in 2003, Jacqui, who was a BBC producer. In 1994 Pete Postlethwaite starred in ‘Sin Bin’, directed by George Case. Postlethwaite played the part of a prison officer in a secure hospital in which one patient murders another. Case and the scriptwriter obviously had a very good knowledge of what goes on in secure hospitals – scenes involved the prison officers making crude sexual jokes about the patients, about the crimes that they were alleged to have committed which resulted in them being banged up and mocking notions such as ‘service users’. Like the film ‘Scum’ which portrayed the brutality inside a young offenders institution some ten years previously, ‘Sin Bin’ accurately portrayed the attitudes of staff – but it wasn’t quite as bad as those institutions are in real life. In the way that ‘Scum’ didn’t portray the staff sexually assaulting the boys, no-one banged up in ‘Sin Bin’ was there because they’d dared mention that they’d been abused in care or by the Top Doctors.
It is significant that both ‘Scum’ and ‘Sin Bin’ were fiction – not even Yvette Vanson made a documentary about the institutions that the paedophiles’ friends ran. She just made a film about their theatre when it had bankrupted the Council. Again.
Matthew Kelly spent much of his career pursuing a rather different path to his contemporaries at the Everyman. Like Julie Walters and Victoria Wood, Kelly trained at Manchester Poly – and like Vanson and Gareth Peirce he had been a member of the Workers Revolutionary Party. Kelly spent years presenting light entertainment shows such as ‘Game For A Laugh’ and ‘Stars In Their Eyes’. Until in 2003 – when he was arrested over allegations of child sexual abuse, as part of Operation Arundel. Operation Arundel resulted in the imprisonment of Jonathan King who like Kelly was investigated for abusing underaged boys in the 1970s. Kelly was never charged, on the grounds that the CPS did not have sufficient evidence. Another person investigated as part of the same operation was Tam Paton, the former manager of the Bay City Rollers, one of whom was imprisoned for the possession of child porn whilst he was working as a nurse in middle age. After Jonathan King was released from prison he angrily denounced what he claimed was the hypocrisy of those who had prosecuted him and excluded him from polite society. King maintained that he knew scores of other people in the entertainment industry who had done exactly what he had done but who had not been prosecuted. He also claimed that the judge who sentenced him to seven years inside had been at Cambridge with him and had also been having sex with underaged boys. I note that no-one ever sued Jonathan King regarding that allegation.
Although Matthew Kelly was not prosecuted, he was certainly very shaken and distressed by the police investigation. Granada and ITV supported him – as did Julie Walters – and said that they looked forward to his return, but Kelly didn’t return. He kept a very low profile for the next ten years and only relatively recently began making public appearances again.
I have no idea whether Matthew Kelly ever has been involved with under-aged boys as accused, but I do know that people in the entertainment industry will robustly support people whom they are aware may be conducting themselves in a questionable manner. Greg Dyke’s book ‘Inside Story’ mentions that Michael Barrymore’s behaviour was so bad and so bizarre that people found him nigh-on impossible to work with. Dyke maintains that ‘everyone’ knew that Barrymore was gay and that he would disappear for days at a time when he was supposed to be filming. This went on many years before a sexually injured corpse was found in Barrymore’s swimming pool of which Barrymore claimed to know nuzzing.
There was an article in the ‘Morning Star’ today about culture/plays for the working classes, headed ‘Workers’ Play Time’. I wondered if it might mention Terry Hands, the Everyman, Mike Leigh etc, but it didn’t. However I discovered a whole new world. The article was written by Doug Nicholls, the GFTU (General Federation of Trade Unions) General Secretary. Doug was previously General Secretary of the union CYWU (Community and Youth Workers Union), 1987-2007, which represented youth workers, workers in youth theatre, community education, outdoor education, play workers and personal advisors. Don’t tell me that they didn’t know something about the sexual exploitation of young people. The CYWU joined the TGWU in 2006 and is now part of UNITE. The CYWU used to publish their own magazine, ‘Rapport’. I’ve had a very quick look through a vintage copy and it comments on the sort of thing that I suspected that it would – it mentions the NCCL and Patricia Hewitt and there is a lot of confusion about sexuality. There are some people maintaining that they should be able to come out as gay or lesbian and act as a ‘role model’ to the youngsters, but these people are opposed by other members taking an overly bigoted or macho stance with references to poofs and lesbians in tweed. It is in such fetid atmospheres that the sexual exploitation of young people flourishes….
Michael Mansfield lived in Wandsworth whilst St George’s Hospital Medical School and Springfield Hospital concealed the serious criminal activities in north Wales. Wandsworth is just down the road from St George’s and Springfield, loads of the staff of those hospitals live in Wandsworth. I know for a fact that David Hole the corrupt MSF rep did – he knew what had happened to me in north Wales.