Thursday 14 March 2013

North Wales Residential Childcare Investigations - A Chronological View

Investigations 1974 to 1980
five relevant convictions that occurred during this period, namely, those of Anthony David Taylor (Bryn Alyn, 1976), Leslie Wilson (Little Acton, 1977), Bryan Davies (Ystrad Hall, 1978), Gary Cooke and (Arthur) Graham Stevens (1980). 
There was also one other person, Albert Frederick Tom Dyson, then aged 40 years, who was convicted in 1980 of three offences of indecency against the boy identified as D in paragraphs 10.15 to 10.19 of this report, for which he was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment. Dyson, who had befriended D's family, admitted to the Tribunal that he committed the offences at a time when D was in care and placed at Bryn Estyn, but he was not employed by Social Services at any time: he was then the owner of the 15/20 Club in Rhyl, which he disposed of in 1980, after owning it for 20 years.
In addition, the North Wales Police investigated allegations against a gardener/driver (Upper Downing, 1976), Carl Evans (Little Acton, 1977) and Paul Bicker Wilson (Bryn Estyn, 1977), but no prosecution ensued at that time against any of these three men. According to the police evidence before us, there was also an investigation in 1980 of allegations against Huw Meurig Jones but neither of the complainants in relation to that investigation (one is dead) gave evidence to the Tribunal and there was no prosecution.

Investigations 1981 to 1989
During this period there were five further relevant convictions for sexual offences against children in care in Clwyd, as we have listed in paragraph 2.07(5) to (7) of this report. The five persons convicted were Iain Muir (Bryn Alyn, 1986), Jacqueline Elizabeth Thomas (Chevet Hey, 1986), David John Gillison (1987, a social worker who was not then employed in residential care), William Gerry (1987, a former resident of Bryn Estyn) and Gary Cooke (1987, for further offences). It will be seen that only the first two of these were employed in children's residential establishments at the time when their offences were committed; and Thomas' conviction was for an offence against a 15 years old boy who was not in care at the time.

One other relevant person, namely, Huw Meurig Jones, was charged in 1981 with alleged sexual offences against a boy in care in Clwyd. Meurig Jones was then an unqualified social worker for Clwyd County Council but had not been employed in residential care in Clwyd, as far as we are aware, after March 1976. He resigned on 28 July 1981 but it appears that the charges against him were not proceeded with.

During this same period between 1981 and 1989 allegations against five other residential child care workers in Clwyd were investigated by the police but only one of the five was alleged to have committed sexual offences. The other four were Frederick Rutter (Bryn Estyn, 1983), Paul Wilson (Chevet Hey, 1985), Kenneth White junior (Bryn Alyn, 1988) and Y (Ysgol Talfryn, 1989): each was alleged to have committed a physical assault or assaults on a boy in care but none of the four was prosecuted for reasons that have been stated in the cited passages of our report, where known to us.
The fifth person in Clwyd investigated by the police in this period but not prosecuted was David Evans, who was alleged to have indecently touched two girl residents at Park House in 1989. In that case the Crown Prosecution Service advised that there was insufficient evidence to support a charge of indecent assault in respect of either girl.
Thus, 11 persons were investigated for alleged sexual or physical abuse in this period, of whom five were convicted. Of those investigated six were employed as residential care staff at the time of the alleged offences and one (Y) was employed as a teacher at a residential school.

Investigations from 1990 to 1996
The first investigation in this period into sexual abuse in a children's home was into offences committed by Stephen Norris whilst Officer-in-Charge of Cartrefle. The police were informed promptly on 17 June 1990 of the allegations that had been made by a boy to Henry Morton Stanley; and, in the course of the subsequent investigation led by Detective Inspector Donald Cronin, all ten current residents of Cartrefle, nine previous residents and 13 past and present members of the staff were interviewed. 
It revealed that six complainants alleged serious sexual abuse by Norris and on 5 October 1990, in the Crown Court at Chester, he pleaded guilty to five offences of indecent assault, involving three boy residents at Cartrefle. 
There were three other counts in the indictment against Norris involving the three other boys and an additional count alleging buggery with one of the first three boys but these were not proceeded with by the prosecution and not guilty verdicts were recorded by the Court in respect of three of them.
As appears from what we have said, the investigation of these offences was expeditious and the proceedings were completed in less than four months. The only criticism of the investigation of which we are aware is that it has been said that it should have been broadened to include Norris' previous activities at Bryn Estyn before his transfer to Cartrefle, having regard (amongst other things) to the repetitious nature of his sexual misconduct at Cartrefle. 

The other important police investigation before the county-wide investigation began was into the activities of Frederick Rutter as a foster parent and as Warden of a hostel at Connah's Quay. This began on 3 April 1990 when a woman resident at the hostel complained to the police that Rutter had behaved improperly towards her and it culminated in his conviction on 30 July 1991, in the Crown Court at Chester, of four offences of rape and two offences of indecent assault involving three hostel residents and two girls who had lived in his household. We have not received any criticism of this investigation by the police.

Investigations from 1997 to 2000
Since the hearings by the Tribunal began in Janaury 1997 investigations by the police have continued and some of them have arisen from statements made to the Tribunal in connection with our inquiry. We have been kept informed by the North Wales Police in general terms of the progress of these inquiries. In order to avoid prejudicing the investigations we adopted the general policy that we would not hear evidence in support of complaints that were still under investigation by the police at the time when the evidence would otherwise have been heard by us. 
We regret that, to that extent, our investigation has been necessarily incomplete. We are satisfied, however, that the general accuracy of the history that we have given and our conclusions from it have not been significantly affected by these gaps in the evidence.
The best information that we have to date is that allegations by nine complainants in statements to the Tribunal have been under investigation by the police and complaints by some others not contained in Tribunal statements have also been investigated. The allegations have involved over a dozen members of staff at various homes, one of whom died in the course of the investigations and after our hearings had ended.

The following convictions and prosecutions since 1997 are relevant to our investigation:
7 March 1997, in the Crown Court at Mold, Roger Platres Saint pleaded guilty to nine counts alleging indecent assaults upon a step-son, two pupils, a foster child and five adopted children; and he was sentenced on 23 May 1997 to six and a half years' imprisonment.

On 14 March 1997, in the Crown Court at Mold, Robert Martin Williams, a former nursing auxilliary at Gwynfa Residential Unit, was convicted of two offences of rape of a girl patient, who was aged 16 years at the time of the offences and who is identified as P in the report. Concurrent sentences of six years' imprisonment were imposed on him.

4 July 1997, in the Crown Court at Chester, Noel Ryan pleaded guilty to 14 sexual offences (three of buggery, one attempted buggery and ten indecent assaults) against ten male residents under the age of 16 years at Clwyd Hall; and he asked for seven other offences of indecent assaults involving seven other boys to be taken into consideration. He was sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment.

On 9 September 1998, in the Crown Court at Chester, Mr B pleaded guilty to three offences of rape and six indecent assaults upon B2 and four indecent assaults upon B1. He was sentenced to a total of three years' imprisonment.

Richard Dafydd Vevar, formerly a care worker employed by the Bryn Alyn Community, was charged in July 1998 with offences of buggery and indecent assault against the girl referred to in paragraph 21.55 of this report. On 23 June 1999 he was acquitted by a jury of the allegations of buggery but they were unable to reach verdicts on the other counts. At a later hearing the Judge entered verdicts of not guilty in respect of these other counts.

 Richard Ernest Leake, formerly Principal of Ystrad Hall School at Llangollen, has been charged with offences of indecent assaults on boys alleged to have been committed between 1972 and 1978. He denies all the charges and his trial has now been fixed for 8 November 1999.
Richard Francis Groome, formerly Warden of Tanllwyfan and then successively Head of Care and Principal at Clwyd Hall School, has been committed for trial on charges alleging sexual offences involving former boy residents at the latter school and at both these establishments and at others in Shropshire between 1981 and 1989. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges and his trial is likely to take place early in 2000 at Mold.

Roger Owen Griffiths and his former wife, Anthea Beatrice Roberts, the proprietors of Gatewen Hall795 residential school from 1977 to 1982, when the premises were sold to the Bryn Alyn Community, were convicted in the Crown Court at Chester on 3 and 4 August 1999. Griffiths was sentenced to a total of eight years' imprisonment for offences of buggery (one), attempted buggery (one), indecent assault (one) and cruelty (four) involving four boy residents at the school. Roberts was sentenced to two years' imprisonment for two offences of indecent assault on two other boy residents aged under 16 years.

Derek Brushett, an SSIW employed by the Welsh Office, is currently (2000) suspended from duty whilst he awaits trial on numerous charges of sexual and other offences against boys alleged to have been committed in or about the 1970s, when Brushett was headmaster of Bryn-y-Don School (initially an approved school) in Dinas Powys. During his employment thereafter by the Welsh Office, Brushett took part in a few inspections in North Wales but there is no allegation of misconduct by him in that capacity, as far as we are aware.

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