Wednesday 20 March 2013

Clwyd Hall School

Clwyd Hall was another residential school that accepted children from a range of local authorities in England and Wales. The company that ran the school was called Clwyd Hall for Child Welfare Limited but the effective owners until 1982 were Mr and Mrs William Carman. Clwyd Hall stood in its own substantial grounds at Llanychan, near Ruthin, and it apparently opened as a school in or about 1958.

Mr and Mrs Carman lived on the estate and one of their daughters ran an equestrian centre there. 
The school itself provided accommodation for 50 to 60 children of deprived backgrounds, in the age range seven to 16 years, and about 70 per cent of the residents were boys. Girls slept separately in a building called `The Paddock'. 
Many children stayed at the school for a substantial period until school leaving age.

The ownership of the school changed in or about July 1982, although Mr Carman retained a financial interest, but subsequent efforts to re-finance the school, which required substantial capital investment, failed and it closed on 27 July 1984.

Noel Ryan, who was 66 years old when he was sentenced, was employed at Clwyd Hall School as a houseparent from about 1968 until he resigned in 1981, occupying a bed sitting room above the staff room at the top of the main building. 
He was not called to give evidence to the Tribunal and we have not seen any staff file relating to him so that we know little of his background. It appears from what was said on his behalf at his trial that he was "untrained, unskilled and untutored" when he went to Clwyd Hall School at the age of 37 years: he was a naive individual, who himself had been the victim of abuse as a child, and he had no other sexual experience.

We are aware of 13 former residents of Clwyd Hall School, all male, who have complained of abuse whilst they were there and all 13 of them named Noel Ryan as an abuser. Of these complainants, 12 alleged serious sexual abuse by Ryan and not less than four alleged physical abuse.

It was neither appropriate nor necessary for the Tribunal to investigate these allegations fully because they were being investigated by the North Wales Police concurrently. In the event Ryan appeared before the Crown Court at Chester on 4 July 1997, during the Tribunal's sittings, when he pleaded guilty to 14 of 22 counts alleging sexual offences against ten male residents of Clwyd Hall School under the age of 16 years committed between 1 January 1970 and 30 June 1981 (three offences of buggery, one attempted buggery and ten indecent assaults). 
Ryan asked the Court to take into consideration also when sentencing him seven similar (specimen) offences of indecent assault committed within the same period, which he admitted. Thus, he confessed to serious offences against a total of 17 boys over a period of about ten years. 
His Honour Judge Morgan Hughes then sentenced Ryan to a total of 12 years' imprisonment and ordered that the eight counts to which he had pleaded not guilty should lie on the Court file on the usual terms
The Judge ordered also that Ryan should register with his local police within 14 days of his release in accordance with the new requirements of the Sex Offenders Act 1997.

Apart from Ryan, only four other members of the staff were named in complaints by former residents and none were named by more than two complainants. The only staff member other than Ryan alleged to have committed sexual abuse was the a worker referred to by witness C.

The Tribunal did not receive any complaints against Richard Francis Groome but his activities were being investigated at the time of our hearings. He was then awaiting trial for various alleged sexual offences against boys,  and four of the alleged victims named in the indictment were resident at Clwyd Hall School when the alleged offences occurred.


  1. It wasn't just boys being abused.

    1. Did u go to this school as I did in 1972 tilln76

  2. So saddened to hear what happened to the children, it just shows how a few disgusting excuses for human beings can ruin a previously well run and respected school which helped me and many others especially in the early 60s, sad sad sad 😞

  3. I went to this school in 1972 till 76 and the girls house mother cud b nasty she once hit me so many times with a wooden coat hanger it broke ... I hated it there ... like someone else has sed it wasn't just boys being abused sexually as I personally no

  4. I'm 65 years old and still have flashbacks of my time at this place from 1966 to 1968/9 when I was asked to leave.The physical abuse by bill carmen was brutal and sadistic to all pupils particularly the girls. We used to laugh off his heavy breathing as he grabbed our hair and banged our heads against the wall of his office. We all knew what would happen if he got someone in there. The educational standards were appalling and the care minimal.

  5. You are right, we were battered black and blue by Carmen and his wife especially the girls. He seemed to get a kick out of banging heads against the wall and half strangling us. I'm 66 yea5s old and it still bothers me.


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