Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bryn Estyn Boys' Home in North Wales

Bryn Estyn

For many years, children complained of physical and sexual abuse in North Wales care homes, including Bryn Estyn in Wrexham. (BBC News WALES Decades of silent suffering)

There were stories of MI5 involvement.

In the 1980s, North Wales police carried out an investigation which was later criticised as 'sluggish, shallow and inadequate'.

In March 1992, 16 people were arrested.

Four were convicted, three of sexual abuse.

In 1996, William Hague, as Welsh Secretary, set up a tribunal, under Sir Ronald Waterhouse, to study the North Wales child abuse scandal.

Allegations were collected from 650 witnesses, who accused 365 people of abusing them.

In February 2000, Waterhouse’s 'Lost in Care' report was published. It criticised social workers, children’s home staff, police and local councils for not taking allegations seriously and failing to properly investigate.

The North Wales inquiry led to 10 convictions.

Scallywag Magazine alleged that MI5 used to take foreign diplomats to the North Wales homes, give them boys to 'play' with, secretly filmed them as they buggered, abused and tortured boys then kept the tapes as evidence.

Over a dozen victims who complained of abuse by the paedophile ring 'have met suspicious deaths'." - North Wales paedophile ring, top people, the police and the security services

Reportedly, "The magazine alleged that the peer referred to in the article is Lord..... at the time of the offences ....... of the governing Conservative Party. Another regular participant in the activities at Bryn Clwyd was alleged by Scallywag to be ....... for years a leading mover and shaker in successive Conservative administrations.

"Scallywag alleged that ..... was a sadist with an abnormally large penis, who was particularly violent and without mercy in his treatment of the boys. The magazine alleged that on regular occasions his victims would end up in casualty wards. He was a leading political fixer and adviser to Margaret Thatcher....

"The former children connected with this empire of evil who died in mysterious circumstances may have been murdered by the British security services, the price of their silence their lives."

Now defunct magazine Scallywag covered events at Bryn Alyn in detail

In October 1997 (PUBLIC FIGURES NAMED IN PAEDOPHILE RING By Nick Davies 1997) the following appeared in The Guardian :

"Policemen, social workers and prominent public figures have been accused of belonging to a paedophile ring which indulged in a relentless campaign of physical and sexual abuse in children's homes in North Wales.

"The names of the alleged members of the ring have been given by witnesses in public sessions of the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal, but they have been suppressed by the tribunal's chairman, Sir Ronald Waterhouse QC, who has threatened the media with High Court proceedings if they print them.

"The Guardian today publishes for the first time detailed evidence about the alleged ring, which is said to have been based in Wrexham, and to have infiltrated local children's homes over a 20 year period.

"Witnesses claim that members of the ring used their connections with police and social services to conceal their activities. All of the accused have denied the allegations.

"Those named to the tribunal include:

"A man who bears the same surname as a prominent Conservative supporter. Two witnesses have told the tribunal of a rich and powerful man who belonged to the alleged ring.

"The son of an influential peer who admitted to police that he had been having sex with an under-age boy from one of the homes. Despite his admission, he was never prosecuted.

"A powerful public official who has previously been cleared of abuse. Six witnesses have given separate accounts to the tribunal of his alleged rape of young boys. Another has reported him attending parties in Wrexham which were supplied with boys from a children's home.

"Two social workers and two police officers, one of whom was accused of abuse on four separate occasions and exonerated each time, another of whom has since been jailed in another part of the country for gross indecency with a child.

"More than a dozen other local men, including an executive with a local authority, a senior probation officer and a director of a major company."

On 2 March 2008, Wales on Sunday quoted the views of a former childrens' home boy.

Owen, now aged 46, told Wales on Sunday:

"You could smell the fear in Bryn Estyn."

"It’s in my head every single day, something I will never get out of my life.

"Children in care are easy targets – they have low self-esteem because of what they have gone through at home.

"Why weren’t these things looked at earlier? They were pushed away because they would bring embarrassment.

"It’s just the same thing happening over and over again. People have been hiding things for years.

"It’s exactly the same as Bryn Estyn – brushing things under the carpet, pretending it didn’t happen and kids not being able to tell anybody." (Bryn Estyn victims relive nightmare as Haut de la Garenne gives up ...)

Owen said care workers threatened him and other children that if they spoke about abuse they would not see their parents and no-one would believe their claims.

Another Bryn Estyn victim, Timothy Williams, was abused from the age of 12.

“Seeing what’s happened in Jersey brings memories back, absolutely. It saddens me. It angers me and I want to scream: ‘Why didn’t you listen?’

“Undoubtedly there is more still to come out. It’s the same as North Wales – this is only the tip of the iceberg, but it depends on how much they are willing to bring to the surface.”

Carl Denning, 49, is a Welsh victim of the Jersey sex abuse scandal.

Denning said two children were found hanged at Haut de la Garenne (in Jersey) after they were abused.

Carl, who was aged six when he went to the Channel island home in 1964 and spent nearly five years there, said (Bryn Estyn victims relive nightmare as Haut de la Garenne gives up ... ) :

"The suicides were never spoken of.

"No-one saw the police turn up to investigate them. If you asked, the staff would just say, ‘it’s been dealt with’. It was as if they had just been swept under the carpet...

"We used to hear the screaming and banging going on," said Mr Denning, who is married with four children.

"The memory of the sounds has haunted me ever since. We all suffered at the hands of these people, so we knew what the noises meant, but couldn’t do anything to help.

"One lad hanged himself in the dormitory during the night. He figured it was the only way to escape. The other lad also hanged himself rather than face it again....

"As a child you don’t realise fully what is going on," he said. "But if you look at it now, you realise that something was not right.

"There were things that we were made to do which at the time you didn’t realise they were wrong.

"For example, we were made to stand to attention with no clothes on and they would check us and you think was this for a medical reason or for something else?

"It has shocked me, when I have watched the news, it has sent shivers down my spine to think what was going on there...

"I don’t think my experience there made my life any easier.

"I didn’t cope very well after and sexually have always had problems. My first marriage failed."

"The authority put me there, they had me taken from my parents and it was their responsibility to make sure I was looked after properly, but nobody checked if I was OK.

"How would I seek compensation? At the end of the day I want justice for those people that are here and for those who may have gone.

"I may be one of the lucky ones, but there are some people who can’t cope with what happened to them and it is them that we need to come forward."

"If they wanted to speak to me to share experiences and for support I would be happy for them to contact me," he added.

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