Published: 4 November 2016


THIS AFTERNOON Gordon Anglesea walked into Mold Crown Court a free man.

He will spend tonight in a prison cell in Liverpool.

Judge Geraint Walters sentenced him to twelve years in prison.

He told Anglesea:

“You were beyond reproach.”

His victims were young people who had no one to turn to, he said.

“You do not need me to say that as a person whose obligation it was to uphold the law and protect the vulnerable, your offences against those vulnerable boys grossly abused the trust placed in you.

Two weeks ago a jury found Anglesea guilty of four counts of indecent assault on two boys in the 1980s.

The six men and five women were unanimous in their verdicts.

Anglesea was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for life.

The judge said that six counts against another two boys which were on the original indictment would not proceed.

Anglesea will appeal.

A prosecution application that Anglesea pay £150,000 in costs will be considered in January.


THE NATIONAL Crime Agency released this photograph of Gordon Anglesea a few minutes ago. The picture was actually taken after his conviction two weeks ago. 

The gaoling of Anglesea also brings his celebrated 1994 libel victory into question.

He successfully sued HTV, the Observer, Private Eye and the Independent on Sunday for publishing material which said he was an abuser.

He received a total of £375,000 in damages.

Rebecca asked ITV Wales, which took over the licence from HTV, if it would try and recover the £107,500 damages the company paid Anglesea.

A spokesman told us:

“We have no comment on Gordon Anglesea’s libel action brought in the early 1990s …”

We asked the Independent if it planned to try and recover the £107,500 it paid Anglesea.

There was no reply.

The Observer — which so far hasn’t even reported the trial — did not reply to our emails.

The four media organisations could also try and recover the legal fees involved in the case.

These ran into several million pounds.

Rebecca asked the Police Federation if lawyers for any of the four had been in touch.


PRIVATE EYE’S Ian Hislop in 1994 after Gordon Anglesea won a major libel case against the magazine and three other media organisations. Hislop is the only editor still in place but has already said he will not try and recover the £80,000 damages it paid Anglesea. “Private Eye will not be looking to get our money back … others have paid a far higher price.”
Picture: PA.

A spokesman said:

“We are aware of the verdict … and as matters are still ongoing we are not able to comment further at this time.”

The National Crime Agency said its investigation of Anglesea is complete.

The Rebecca investigation continues …


ANGLESEA’S ROAD to prison has been a long one. 

He was first named as a potential child abuser in 1991.

In the 25 years since then, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have considered files in relation to 11 alleged victims.

Ten were boys under the age of 16 and one was an adult woman.

It was not until the Jimmy Savile affair that the CPS began to take allegations against Anglesea seriously.

Up to that point the CPS had considered four files concerning Anglesea and decided there was “insufficient evidence” to press charges.

When Operation Pallial submitted seven files, the CPS was more sympathetic.

In 2015 it ruled that Anglesea could be charged in relation to four of them.

But before Anglesea’s six week trial at Mold Crown Court, it decided not to proceed with two of them.

These cases — which involved six counts of sexual assault — were considered by Judge Geraint Walters today.

He said they would not proceed.

The jury unanimously found Anglesea guilty of abusing the remaining two men.

He was found not guilty of one charge of rape.


REBECCA HAS been researching the case of Gordon Anglesea — and the North Wales child abuse scandal — for nearly two decades.

We have prepared a timeline of the key events in the battle to bring the retired superintendent to book.


Mark Humphreys, a former resident of the local-authority controlled Bryn Estyn childrens’ home, makes the first allegation against Gordon Anglesea.

Known as “Sammy,” he was resident at Bryn Estyn in 1980 and 1981.

He claimed to have been sexually assaulted twice by Anglesea in this period while he was sleeping at the home.


THE REBECCA investigation of Gordon Anglesea and the North Wales child abuse scandal started 19 years ago and has so far cost more than £15,000 — including legal fees of £6,000. The investigation is ongoing.
Rebecca is independent, takes no advertising, allows no sponsorship.
She relies on readers who support fearless investigative journalism.
There’s a donation button at the end of this article.

On the first occasion, his genitals were touched: on the second he was raped.

He also claimed he’d been abused by Bryn Estyn deputy head Peter Howarth.


Stephen Messham was the second former Bryn Estyn resident to make allegations against Anglesea.

He was at Bryn Estyn from 1977 to 1979.

He claimed to have been forced to have oral and anal sex by Anglesea on several occasions.

He, too, claimed to have been abused by Peter Howarth — and also by Stephen Norris, a house master at Bryn Estyn.


The third complainant, who can’t be named for legal reasons, came forward after the HTV programme Wales This Week accused Anglesea of abusing Humphreys and Messham.

He said he was indecently assaulted on only one occasion.

He’d been caddying for Peter Howarth on a golf course when Gordon Anglesea turned up.

The two men then took him to Howarth’s flat at Bryn Estyn where they took down his trousers and underpants and touched his genitals.

No oral or anal sex took place.


North Wales Police investigated all three cases and submitted reports to the Crown Prosecution Service.

The CPS decided there was “insufficient evidence” to bring charges.

All three complainants gave evidence in the libel action Gordon Anglesea brought against HTV, the Observer, Private Eye and the Independent on Sunday.

The jury found for Anglesea by a majority of 10-2.

Mark Humphreys was devastated the jury didn’t believe him.

He was found dead in his Wrexham bedsit a few months later.


ANGLESEA’S VICTORY in the libel action did not end concern about child abuse in North Wales.

In June 1996 Welsh Secretary William Hague announced the setting up of Britain’s first child abuse Tribunal, chaired by retired High Court judge Sir Ronald Waterhouse.

It’s known as the Waterhouse Tribunal.


DURING THE trial of Gordon Anglesea, Judge Geraint Walters adjourned the case to deal with former Anglesey housing chief John Arthur Jones. Judge Walters sentenced him to 18 months in prison for shining lights into the cockpits of RAF training flights at Mona Airfield near Llangefni. The property developer believed the flights were interfering with his plans to sell chalets on a site he owned nearby. Jones was part of a gang of officials and councillors — including former council leader Gareth Winston Roberts — who considered themselves above the law. Even when Jones was arrested in the late 1990s — on suspicion of using men on housing benefit to build his new house — he was unfazed. He went on holiday with a North Wales Police detective inspector — and was planning to give a lucrative contract to the island’s former police chief … 
Photo: North Wales Police


The fourth allegation of sexual assault against Anglesea was made five months after the Waterhouse Tribunal was set up.

(This was first revealed in a Rebecca article — Exclusive: Gordon Anglesea: New Revelations — published on the day Anglesea was convicted. It was sub judice up to that point.)

A “female acquaintance of the family” alleged that she’d been indecently assaulted.

A police investigation led to a report going to the CPS which decided there was “insufficient evidence” to bring charges.

This was despite Anglesea initially lying about the incident when first questioned under caution.

He later admitted the lie.

North Wales Police refused to hand over the file on this case to the Waterhouse Tribunal.


The North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal published its report Lost In Care.

The Tribunal expressed “considerable disquiet” about some of Anglesea’s evidence.

But it concluded it “was unable to find that the allegations of sexual abuse made against Gordon Anglesea have been proved to our satisfaction …”


Rebecca publishes the article The Trials of Gordon Anglesea which, for the first time, brings together the substantial discrepancies between Anglesea’s evidence in the libel case and his testimony before the Waterhouse Tribunal.

The article — which was mentioned in Anglesea’s trial — spelt out the “staircase” of admissions he made about his visits to Bryn Estyn.

When first interviewed by police in 1992 he said he’d been there four times.

By the time he gave evidence at the libel action in 1994, the figure had risen to nine.

Investigations by the Waterhouse Tribunal revealed the actual number was at least 15.

Anglesea also insisted he didn’t know Peter Howarth, the deputy head of Bryn Estyn, who was later convicted of abusing boys at the home.

Howarth died in prison.


GORDON ANGLESEA protested he did not know Peter Howarth, the deputy principal of Bryn Estyn, in the early 1980s. Howarth was later gaoled for abusing boys at the home — he died in prison. Many witnesses, including staff members and police officers, say they saw Anglesea and Howarth together …
Photo: Press Association

The Tribunal heard from “seven other witnesses, including four members of staff who spoke of seeing Anglesea at Bryn Estyn, and most of them spoke of seeing him there in the presence of Howarth.”

Rebecca also revealed the evidence of Ian Kelman, who had been a uniform inspector in the 1970s and 1980s.

Kelman said he saw Anglesea with Howarth at Bryn Estyn …


Stephen Messham, on the BBC Newsnight programme, accused Lord McAlpine of abusing him.

The government ordered two new inquiries.

The first was a judicial review of the work of the Waterhouse Tribunal to be headed by Lady Justice Macur.

The second was a new police investigation — Operation Pallial, later taken over by the newly-formed National Crime Agency.

In a debate in the Commons, then Home Secretary Theresa May promised Labour MP Paul Flynn police would examine material published by Rebecca.

This concerned serious allegations dating back to 1980 which the Waterhouse Tribunal had ignored.

A few days later Stephen Messham said his identification of McAlpine had been been a case of mistaken identity.


Gordon Anglesea is arrested at his home in Old Colwyn in December.

He’s charged with abusing seven boys back in the 1970s and 1980s.

The National Crime Agency, in accordance with normal police practice, did not name him.

A month later Rebecca names Anglesea after his local Rotary Club confirm he’d been granted leave of absence.


In July Anglesea is charged with abusing three boys between 1979 and 1987.

In November he’s charged in relation to another boy between 1982 and 1983.

The CPS decide not to charge him in relation to allegations made by three others.


The Macur Review, published in March, gives the Waterhouse Tribunal a clean bill of health.

But buried deep in the report — and spotted only by Rebecca — is the revelation that the Tribunal was not told the whole truth about an alleged indecent assault involving Anglesea in 1996.

North Wales Police refused to hand over the file even though it contained the explosive fact that Anglesea had lied to police under caution about the incident.

On September 5 Anglesea went on trial charged with abusing two boys in the 1980s.

On October 21 he was convicted by the jury of six men and five women.

Today he starts his 12 year prison sentence — it will be many years before he’s eligible for parole.


WHEN GORDON Anglesea was convicted North Wales Police were quick to make a statement.

Assistant Chief Constable Richard Debicki said:

“It is true to say that no occupation is immune from individuals who will exploit their position of authority and trust to abuse vulnerable victims, but people expect and deserve better from the police.”

He continued:

“I am saddened that a former officer was one of those individuals and I would like to apologise on behalf of the force to those who lives he so traumatically affected.”

What he did not apologise for was his force’s deliberate shielding of Gordon Anglesea for a quarter of a century.


THE JUDGE headed a £3 million review of the Waterhouse Tribunal. She examined the evidence the inquiry heard about the Gwynfa psychiatric clinic based in Colwyn Bay. A Clwyd Health Authority official, Irene Train, told the Tribunal police had briefed her that complaints by Gwynfa residents did not involve sexual abuse. This was untrue — in 1992 police told the Health Authority there were “further allegations of buggery” against a member of staff. A senior Welsh Office official was convinced Health Authority chief executive Laurie Wood was deliberately misleading him. A barrister, asked to review the case, said the situation was “sufficiently grave to justify independent inquiry”. His advice was sent to the Tribunal but chairman Sir Ronald Waterhouse took no action. Lady Justice Macur recommended police consider an investigation into “malfeasance in public office and/ or perverting the course of justice.” This is now being carried out by the National Crime Agency.

Rebecca is currently preparing a damning indictment of the way the force operated in this period.

It will say that, in the late 1970s and 1980s, the force was presented with several golden opportunities to expose child abuse in the Wrexham area.

It failed to do so.

Police failed to investigate allegations that paedophiles were operating at two children’ homes — the local authority-run  Bryn Estyn and the private-operated Bryn Alyn complex — and that there were links from both to a paedophile ring operating in Wrexham.

The childrens’ homes were both in the Bromfield section of the Wrexham police area.

The senior officer in charge of Bromfield for most of this period was Gordon Anglesea, then holding the rank of Inspector.

The failure to get to grips with the sexual abuse of young boys in the 1970s and 1980s meant that it continued without hindrance for another decade.

Public unease finally led to Operation Antelope, a massive investigation by North Wales Police into sexual abuse across its entire territory, which began in 1991.

Rebecca will present evidence that senior officers in North Wales Police decided the earlier failures of the 1970s and 1980s would be quietly swept under the carpet.

The position was complicated when Gordon Anglesea was named as a potential child abuser himself.

Rebecca will argue the force also decided that he should be shielded as much as possible, in order to protect the reputation of the force.

The evidence suggests the investigation of Anglesea by Operation Antelope was inadequate.

Detectives only presented only three files to the Crown Prosecution Service t  — and these three alleged victims had been found by the media.

These were the complainants — including Mark Humphreys and Stephen Messham — who gave evidence in the libel action.

It seems incredible, given what is now known, that this is all that Operation Antelope could come up with.

This failure to find any new victims, of course, helped Anglesea win the 1994 libel action.


BUT ANGLESEA’S victory in 1994 didn’t arrest the rising tide of public concern.

The result was the Waterhouse Tribunal, established in 1996.

North Wales Police responded with another conspiracy.

It suppressed evidence of its earlier failures to investigate child abuse properly.

And it once again shielded Anglesea.

One example: the decision not to hand over the file into the 1996 investigation into a woman’s complaint that Anglesea had indecently assaulted her.

ROYAL Investitures

THE CURRENT Chief Constable of North Wales Police refuses to answer Rebecca questions about the role of the force in preventing the Waterhouse Tribunal from doing its job properly. In 1997 the HTV current affairs programme Wales This Week discovered that serious allegations of child abuse at the Bryn Alyn childrens’ home had been made as early as 1980 or 1981. This should have been investigated by the Tribunal — but North Wales Police hijacked the issue and quietly buried it. It was never even mentioned in the Tribunal report …
Photo: PA

This meant that the Tribunal did not know Anglesea had lied about the incident when questioned under caution.

The Tribunal — dominated by freemasons — was slow-witted and over-sympathetic to the police.

The Tribunal concluded;

“there was no significant omission by the North Wales Police in investigating the complaints of abuse to children.”

The Macur Review, which David Cameron set up in 2012 to see if the Waterhouse Tribunal had been fit for purpose, published its report in March of this year.

Just as the Waterhouse Tribunal gave the police a clean bill of health, so Lady Justice Macur whitewashed the Tribunal.

She saw “ … no reason to undermine the conclusions of the Tribunal in respect of the nature and scale of the abuse.”

Rebecca has already condemned the Macur Review — see the articles Bloody Whitewash and The £3m Whitewash.


Published: 4 November 2016
© Rebecca

HOW DID Gordon Anglesea get away with it for so long? 
The answer is he used the cloak of public office to conceal his crimes and counted on protection from North Wales Police. This article lays bare the conspiracy hatched at the highest levels of the force in the 1990s to cover up its failure to investigate child abuse — and to protect Anglesea at all costs. In the process, the force helped Anglesea win a famous libel case and made a mockery of the £14 million North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal …



Rebecca editor Paddy French was the only journalist who attended every day of the Anglesea trial. He’s unpaid but there have been expenses of more than £2,000. If you want to make a contribution, just click on the DONATE button.

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Please let us know if there are any mistakes in this article — they’ll be corrected as soon as possible.

If you have been mentioned in this article and disagree with it, please let us have your comments. Provided your response is not defamatory we’ll add it to the article.


  1. steven rhys-davies says:

    Hi Paddy Good article mate keep it up 12 yrs is good but if he had got charged with all the offences he would have got several life sentences.Regards.Steve.

  2. butlincat says:

    Reblogged this on VICTIMS OF THE STATE and commented:
    Outrageous – 12 years is’nt enough – with parole he’ll be out before very long to continue his horrific serial criminality against vulnerable youths.

  3. barriedurkin says:

    Well Done Paddy


  4. Clive Millman says:

    Hi Paddy,

    This has been the only really good news in an otherwise gloomy week.

    It is very much to your credit that you stuck to the task when other organisations weakened and gave in.

    Like you I am resentful of the huge amounts of money that Anglesea received for falsely protesting his innocence. There should be some means by which his estate is required to refund the money. Since it appears that North Wales Police mounted a cover up to protect Anglesea through to retirement so that his pension was secured perhaps that organisation should accept the ultimate liability for refund of the illgotten gains. (This is a similar case to one in the West Midlands recently where a serving officer was protected by his Force through to pension age after which his abuse crimes were fully exposed and he was similarly imprisoned)

    Well done again, Paddy.

    Best wishes,

    Clive Millman

  5. Jean Oakes says:

    I hear Anglesea is going to appeal ! and the police federation is
    going to pay for it ! taxpayers moneys mispent?

    • You need to be fair here, I think.
      We live under the rule of law – and Anglesea is entitled to appeal.
      The Police Federation is duty bound to support its members — and I’m not sure any public money goes directly to it.
      Let’s await events …

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