November 8, 2013


THE NORTH Wales Child Abuse Tribunal cleared freemasonry of any involvement in covering up child abuse.

But why did some fascinating information about the brotherhood never come to light?

 Why did the Tribunal’s own leading counsel not declare that he was a mason?

 And why was there no mention of a police lodge during the public hearings?

Rebecca Television investigates the claim that the North Wales Police was “a mason-free zone”.

THE NORTH WALES CHILD ABUSE TRIBUNAL There were three members of the Tribunal — Margaret Clough, chairman Sir Ronald Waterhouse and Morris le Fleming. The evidence suggests they did not come to grips with the role of freemasonry in the North Wales Police?  Photo: PA

There were three members of the Tribunal — Margaret Clough, chairman Sir Ronald Waterhouse and Morris le Fleming. The evidence suggests they did not come to grips with the role of freemasonry in the North Wales Police.     Photo: PA

THE WATERHOUSE Tribunal set the tone for its approach to freemasonry right from day one.

In the very first session the barrister for one of the groups of former residents of care homes made an application about masonry.

The barrister, Nick Booth, asked that “the Tribunal should keep a register of the masonic membership amongst its staff, the members, its representatives and witnesses who appear before it”.

He explained:

“The duty of loyalty to a brother mason and his duty of impartiality if he is involved in the administration of justice is not a new one and it’s one that’s very much in the public eye, particularly at the moment.”

“The Tribunal will be aware of the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee which is investigating the issue,” he added.

“Sir, I stress, if I have not stressed it before, that I am not making any suggestion of disreputable conduct, merely to put the matter beyond the reach of any possible public comment which might undermine the public confidence in the Inquiry.”

The chairman of the Tribunal, Sir Ronald Waterhouse, and the two other members of the Tribunal, retired for a brief adjournment.

“It will not surprise you that the application is refused,” said Sir Ronald on their return.

“As far as the staff are concerned,” Sir Ronald said, “in so far as the application carries any reflection upon the integrity of the staff of the Tribunal it’s repudiated, wholly unwarranted; there is no evidence whatsoever to support any suggestion that they have not acted with complete integrity…”

“The members of the Tribunal are in this position: the Tribunal was set up by Parliament and the members of it were appointed by the Secretary of State for Wales and the [criticism of the composition] should be addressed through the proper channels.”

GERARD ELIAS QC The leading counsel to the Tribunal kept silent throughout the discussion about a register of freemasons. He himself is a freemason …

The leading counsel to the Tribunal was silent throughout a discussion about a register of freemasons. He himself is a freemason and a past master of one of the most powerful lodges in Wales …

He said that the Tribunal’s own Counsel, Gerard Elias QC, was appointed by the Attorney General.

“Any criticism … should be addressed through the usual Parliamentary channels,” he suggested.

Gerard Elias said nothing during Booth’s application and he remained silent after Sir Ronald had made the Tribunal’s ruling.

Yet both Sir Ronald and Gerard Elias knew something that journalists reporting the Tribunal would have wanted to know.

Gerard Elias is a mason.

He’s a member of perhaps the most powerful masonic lodge in Wales, Dinas Llandaf.

The lodge, which meets in Cardiff, is made up mainly of legal professionals and members of the Conservative party, although there are members from other political groups.

Another member of the lodge, Gwilym Jones, was the Tory MP for Cardiff North between 1983 and 1997.

He was minister of state at the Welsh Office when the Tribunal was set up.

Rebecca Television has a source who was close to the heart of the Tribunal.

This source says Sir Ronald was aware of Elias’ masonic membership.

Yet he too kept silent about the fact that the Tribunal’s own Counsel was a mason.

(What happened at the Tribunal was in contrast to proceedings at the beginning of Gordon Anglesea’s libel case in London less than three years earlier.

Gordon Anglesea was a retired North Wales Police superintendent who was falsely accused by journalists of abusing young boys at a children’s home in North Wales.

He won a libel action and accepted £375,000 in damages.

The judge was Sir Maurice Drake.

Drake told the court that he was a member of an organisation to which Gordon Anglesea also belonged.

He did not mention freemasonry but the legal teams on both sides knew which organisation he was referring to.

There were no objections and no one ever questioned the way he handled the case.)

Dinas Llandaf is one of the 174 lodges in the South Wales Province.

South Wales is one of the more open of the 47 provinces in England and Wales.

Every year it gives copies of its annual yearbook to libraries and to any journalist who asks for one.

The yearbooks list the officers of each lodge and the current issue — 2009-2010 — gives considerable detail about Dinas Llandaf.

For example, it shows all the officers of the lodge and those members who have reached the highest position – master of the lodge.

Gerard Elias is shown as having been master in 1994.

(See the article Brothers In Silk for more on the influence of Dinas Llandaf.)


THE NORTH WALES Province of freemasonry is a completely closed book.

It refuses to give out copies of its yearbook and these come into the public domain only occasionally.

In 1995 a copy came into the hands of journalist Mark Brittain who was Editor of the North Wales Weekly News at the time.

He quickly spotted a lodge called Custodes Pacis which was formed in 1983.

MARK BRITTAIN The editor of a local newspaper when a copy of the North Wales provincial yearbook came into his possession. He quickly spotted a police lodge ...

The editor of a local newspaper when a copy of the North Wales provincial yearbook came into his possession. He identified a police lodge but found the chief constable unwilling to admit it existed.  Photo: Rebecca Television

He was told many members of Custodes Pacis — it’s Latin for Keepers of the Peace — were serving or retired police officers.

Police lodges are not uncommon.

Perhaps the best known is London’s Manor of St James which at one point contained many senior officers of the Metropolitan Police.

In 1995 Brittain wrote to the recently appointed Chief Constable of North Wales, Michael Argent, and asked him for an interview.

In his letter, he also asked if the new chief was aware of the lodge.

Argent wrote back to agree to an interview but told the journalist he could find no evidence of a police lodge.

When Brittain met Argent he told him he had evidence of the lodge’s existence and, after the meeting, sent him the lodge entry from the 1995-96 yearbook.

Argent wrote back in April.

He now admitted that the lodge list “did indeed contain names known to me and my colleagues although in each case they were retired from the force — in some instances for quite a considerable period.”

Brittain wrote back to ask if he was sure that there were no serving officers.

In May 1995 Argent replied and said that further enquiries had been undertaken.

“I am reliably informed,” he wrote, “that whilst, as I have suggested to you in my earlier letter, it consists mainly of retired police officers — certainly up to superintendent level — there are only four currently serving officers.”

“Three are identified as constables and the fourth is either a constable or at most a sergeant.”

Brittain says Michael Argent’s story changed three times during this correspondence.

The man who was chief constable when Custodes Pacis was set up in 1983 was David Owen.

When he gave evidence to the Tribunal, he did not mention the existence of the lodge…

We wrote to David Owen to ask him why he didn’t tell the Tribunal about the lodge.

He rang back to say he didn’t want to answer questions.

In September 1997, during the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal hearings, Brittain wrote to the North Wales police authority, which is responsible for the non-policing aspects of the force.

The then clerk to the authority, Leon Gibson, wrote back to say that the information about the membership of Custodes Pacis had come from an unnamed lodge member.

Gibson added that if the Chief Constable “remembers correctly, there were five, one sergeant and four constables.”

Gibson was also the chief executive of Anglesey County Council at this time.

He declined to answer our email asking if he was a mason.


THE BARRISTER who represented North Wales Police at the Tribunal was Andrew Moran, QC.

In his opening address, he made it clear that the force felt masonry was an irrelevance.

He listed many of the senior policemen who had played a role in the child abuse investigations and said, “I am instructed to add, irrelevant though it should be, that none … is a Freemason.”

He added: “Where then, please, we ask is the masonic influence? Freemason[s] at the top of the North Wales Police? There are none … Mason-free zone, we would say.”

MORAN QC Declared North Wales Police "a mason-free zone" but didn't answer a Rebecca Television letter asking if he was a mason himself ...

Declared North Wales Police “a mason-free zone” but didn’t answer a letter asking if he was a mason himself …

In this opening address, he did an unusual thing.

He said none of these people “is” a freemason and did not add the usual rider “or has been” when dealing with masonic membership.

He therefore left open the question of whether any of these senior officers had ever been masons.

The Report of the Tribunal reported this statement with slightly different but highly significant wording:

“At the outset of the Inquiry Counsel for the North Wales Police stated, on the instructions of the Chief Constable, that none of the current or former senior officers from Assistant Chief Constable upwards during the period under review had been a freemason and that the same was true of the relevant Detective Chief Superintendents and Detective Superintendent Ackerley.”

(Ackerley was the Superintendent who headed the major child abuse police inquiry between 1991 and 1993.)

We wrote to Sir Ronald Waterhouse about how the word “is” had changed into “had been.”

He never answered the question.

During the public hearings of the Tribunal freemasonry was little discussed, as its report makes clear:

“Although this question was quite widely discussed in the press before the Tribunal’s hearings began very few questions were asked about it during our inquiry and most of them were put by the Chairman of the Tribunal to give appropriate witnesses an opportunity to affirm or deny any connection with freemasonry.”

Rebecca Television sent a list of all the male barristers who appeared before the Tribunal to the United Grand Lodge of England and asked how many of them were freemasons.

We also asked if the police assessor to the Tribunal, Sir Ronald Hadfield, and the retired police officers who made up the Tribunal’s witness interviewing team were masons.

A spokesman replied: “I’m afraid I am unable to give you the information you require.”

“We would only do so if you were an official body making that request.”

When the Tribunal reported in 2000, its verdict was clear:

“Freemasonry had no impact on any of the police investigations and was not relevant to any other issue arising from our terms of reference.”


THE MOST important known mason who appeared before the Tribunal was retired North Wales Police Superintendent Gordon Anglesea.

Anglesea had won a libel action against journalists who wrongly accused him of abusing children.

“Anglesea was questioned also about his connection with Freemasonry,” said the Tribunal Report, “because of an underlying suggestion that there had been a ‘cover-up’ in his case.”

“He disclosed that he had become a full member of Berwyn Lodge in Wrexham, in 1982, after being a probationer in a lodge at Colwyn Bay from about 1976.”

“He had then transferred to a new Wrexham lodge, Pegasus Lodge, in 1984 after a gap from April to September, because it offered an opportunity for swifter advance in freemasonry.”

The Tribunal Report then says he remained a member of the Pegasus Lodge despite a directive from the Chief Constable of the North Wales Police, David Owen, in September 1984.

This directive stated:

“We must be seen to be even-handed in the discharge of our office and my policy will be to say that if you have considered joining the Masons, think carefully about how that application might interfere with your primary duty.”

“To those who are Masons I would say that you should consider carefully how right it is to continue such membership.”

“In the open society in which we live that openness must be seen by all and must not be an openness partially [clouded] by a secrecy where people could question true motivation.”

During cross-examination of Anglesea at the Tribunal, Tim King QC, representing former residents of children’s homes, asked him if Owen’s directive had upset or concerned him.

“Not whatsoever, sir,” replied Anglesea, “I read that order two or three times and it did not — I felt it did not affect my particular position.”

GORDON ANGLESEA The North Wales police officer decided to ignore his chief constable's directive warning about freemasonry... Photo: Rebecca Television

The North Wales police officer decided to ignore his chief constable’s directive warning about freemasonry…
Photo: Rebecca Television

1984 was a watershed year for the public scrutiny of freemasonry.

That year saw the publication of Stephen Knight’s book The Brotherhood which followed other press investigations such the 1981 Rebecca magazine article Darkness Visible.

The same year Metropolitan Commissioner Sir Kenneth Newman and Albert Laugharne, an assistant commissioner, published The Principles of Policing which made it clear that membership of freemasonry left officers open to suspicion.

“Thus an officer must pay the most careful regard to the impression which others are likely to gain of his membership, as well as to what he actually does, however inhibiting he may find this when arranging his own private life.”

David Owen’s response to these developments was to call a conference of superintendents which decided to issue the directive.

Within a month of Owen circulating it, the Grand Master of North Wales Province of Freemasonry, Lord Kenyon, asked to meet with him.

The two men knew each other well: Kenyon was also a member of the police authority.

The meeting took place at Wrexham police station.

Lord Kenyon was accompanied by the secretary of the province, Leonard Ellis.

Solicitors acting for the masons wrote to the Tribunal in an attempt to get this narrative removed on the grounds that it was irrelevant to the Tribunal’s work.

The Tribunal rejected the attempt and its report described what happened when the Provincial Grand Master came face to face with the Chief Constable.

David Owen told the Grand Master that he had no intention of withdrawing his directive about freemasonry…

“At this meeting Lord Kenyon argued that the directive was totally misguided and asked that it should be withdrawn and he mentioned that a police officer (unidentified but not Anglesea) had been about to take the chair in a North Wales lodge but had declined to do so because of this directive.”

LORD KENYON  Tried to persuade the chief constable to withdraw his anti-masonic directive — and invited him to join the brotherhood.

The Provincial Grand Master tried to persuade the chief constable to withdraw his anti-masonic directive — and invited him to join the brotherhood.

“Owen’s evidence was that he told Lord Kenyon that he had no intention of withdrawing the directive.”

“In response, Lord Kenyon argued that the Chief Constable knew nothing at all about freemasonry and suggested it would be appropriate for him to join a lodge, such as the one at Denbigh, outside any area of his usual working activity, but this invitation was declined.”


DAVID OWEN wasn’t the first chief constable Lord Kenyon had dealt with.

Four years earlier the grand master welcomed Sir Walter Stansfield back to North Wales after he retired as Derbyshire’s chief constable and brought his police career to a close.

Sir Walter had been chief constable of the Denbigh force before the reorganisation which led to the creation of the North Wales Police.

He was deputy chief constable of North Wales in 1967 when he was appointed Derbyshire’s chief constable.

When he left North Wales to take up the Derbyshire post, he didn’t sever his links with North Wales.

He joined a new masonic lodge, Dyfrdwy, which met at Ruabon, becoming its master a year later, in 1968.

In 1981 Rebecca magazine asked Sir Walter Stansfield why he had chosen to join a North Wales lodge after he left North Wales Police.

Had he been a member of a lodge in another part of the country?

Sir Walter didn’t take kindly to being questioned on the subject.

He said:

“Who do you think you’re talking to?”

He then denied being Sir Walter Stansfield even though the telephone number he was speaking on was listed in his name.

SIR MAURICE STANSFIELD  A war hero, Sir Maurice was chief constable of the  Derbyshire force. He was also a freemason in North Wales. . He wouldn't answer questions about

A war hero, Sir Walter was chief constable of the Derbyshire force. He was also a freemason in North Wales. He wouldn’t answer questions about his freemasonry …

Sir Walter also makes a cameo appearance in Martin Short’s book about freemasonry, Inside The Brotherhood.

After Sir Walter left Derbyshire, the English force was rocked by the Alf Parrish scandal.

Parrish was appointed chief constable in 1981 but soon squandered police funds for his own comfort.

He was driven out of office by which time it was discovered that he was a mason — as were many of the police authority members who appointed him.

The key masons belonged to the oldest lodge in Derbyshire, Tryian.

A provincial yearbook obtained by Labour councillors in the mid-1980s revealed that another member of the lodge was Sir Walter Stansfield…

Back in 1981, North Wales Provincial Grand Master Lord Kenyon responded to increasing media attention, including Rebecca magazine coverage, by making a statement to masons in the province.

“… we have nothing to hide and certainly nothing to be ashamed of, but we object to having our affairs investigated by outsiders.”

“We would be able to answer many of the questions likely to be asked, if not all of them, but we have found that silence is the best policy: comment or correction only breeds further inquiry and leads to the publicity we try to avoid.”


THE NORTH WALES Child Abuse Tribunal report dismissed any suggestion that Lord Kenyon had tried to promote the career of Gordon Anglesea.

The Report concluded that “there is no evidence that Lord Kenyon intervened at any time in any way on behalf of Anglesea.”

The Tribunal did consider a comment made by Councillor Malcolm King, who was also a former chairman of the North Wales Police Authority, that “there was speculation (he believed) that Lord Kenyon had asked for promotion for Gordon Anglesea.”

“This was said by Councillor King to have been based on a conversation overheard at a police function; and that the speculation was that Lord Kenyon had advocated Anglesea’s promotion ‘for the purpose of covering up the fact that his son had been involved in child abuse activities’.”

This was alleged to have related to an incident in August 1979 when Lord Kenyon’s son, Tom, reported the theft of articles by a former Bryn Estyn resident while the two men were staying at a flat in Wrexham.

The young man he accused of theft was arrested and later given three months detention.

However, during the course of the investigation police discovered a series of indecent photographs in the flat which was owned by a man called Gary Cooke.

Cooke was later gaoled for five years on two counts of buggery, one of indecent assault and one of taking an indecent photograph.

Cooke claimed that, after he was arrested and charged, Tom Kenyon came over and apologised to him for what had happened and handed him a letter.

He added that if Cooke agreed “not to say anything” he would have a word with his father to improve Cooke’s chances in court.

Cooke says he gave this letter to the police.

The officers who dealt with the case say they received no such letter.

Cooke believed that Tom Kenyon’s intervention shortened his sentence.

However, when Superintendent Ackerley was carrying out his investigation into this case in the early 1990s, he discovered that the prosecution file could not be found.

The Tribunal’s investigators discovered that there was no evidence Cooke had been shown any favour: he served a full third of his sentence.

In any case, the Report added, Lord Kenyon had no influence with the parole board.

The Tribunal’s Report conclusion was damning:

“We have received no evidence whatsoever in support of this allegation and it appears to have been merely a malicious rumour.”

LOST IN CARE The massive 937 page report cleared the North Wales Police of any failures

The massive 937 page report of the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal described an anecdote about the Provincial Grand Master trying to get a promotion for Gordon Anglesea as a “malicious rumour”. Yet the Tribunal’s own staff had been to see the policeman who told them he was sitting next to the Grand Master when he made the comment.

Councillor King was actually combining two separate rumours here: the first that Lord Kenyon had spoken up for Anglesea at a police function, the second that it was somehow related to favours Anglesea was alleged to have done for his son.

The Tribunal should have known that the first rumour, that Lord Kenyon had spoken up for Anglesea, had substance.

The source of the anecdote was Harry Templeton, a former constable and once the secretary of the Police Federation branch in North Wales Police.

The reason the Tribunal should have known about it was that two members of its own Witness Interviewing Team, made up of retired police officers who were not from North Wales, went to talk to Templeton.

Templeton told them he had been to a function at the senior officers’ dining room at Police Headquarters in Colwyn Bay and was sitting opposite Lord Kenyon who was present as a magistrate member of the Police Authority.

Templeton told the Tribunal team that Lord Kenyon had said that he was surprised Gordon Anglesea, then a chief inspector, had not been promoted to Superintendent and that he would see to it that he was promoted before he retired.

Templeton told them he’d made a signed affidavit about the incident for a national newspaper.

Templeton also told the Tribunal team there was another witness to the remark, Peter Williams, the then chairman of the Police Federation branch.

Templeton never said anything about Lord Kenyon’s advocating a promotion for Gordon Anglesea having anything to do with Tom Kenyon’s case.

This suggestion, he says, must have come from somewhere else.

When Rebecca Television sent Templeton details of the Tribunal’s findings in relation to this anecdote, he was shocked.

He says that the two retired Tribunal detectives had not taken a signed statement from him and he now feels there is a question mark about what they did with the information he gave them.

We also spoke to Peter Williams.

He  said that the Tribunal never came to see him.

He confirmed that he was at the function with Harry Templeton in their official roles as Police Federation representatives.

He recalls that Lord Kenyon expressed his surprise that Gordon Anglesea had not been promoted.

He does not remember him saying that he would see that it took place before he retired.


1  This article was published on 21 April 2010 on the old Rebecca Television subscription site.

2  It’s part of the series of articles called The Case of the Flawed Tribunal.


© Rebecca Television 2013

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September 24, 2013


THE BATTLE to force North Wales Police to launch a corruption investigation against a former Anglesey councillor is being lost.

The councillor was branded “corrupt” by the authority’s own Standards Committee last year.

It said his actions “amounted to the criminal offence of misconduct in public office”.

When the authority refused to report the bent councillor to the police, Rebecca Television did so.

For eleven months, two senior detectives did little but read council documents.

Finally, one of them claimed there were “inherent difficulties” in bringing a case “without the matter being subject of a formal complaint by an individual …”

This statement is false.

In April this year a local resident who claims he lost money as a result of the corrupt councillor’s actions wrote to the chief constable and asked him to investigate.

A few days after Rebecca Television pointed out this glaring error, detectives turned up on the resident’s doorstep…

This farce follows a long catalogue of questionable behaviour which suggests the force is institutionally devious.


IN OCTOBER last year Rebecca Television wrote to North Wales Police Chief Constable Mark Polin.

This letter asked him to investigate an extraordinary decision of Anglesey County Council’s Standards Committee in August 2012.

The committee — which polices the behaviour of councillors — found that former member David Lewis Roberts had acted corruptly.

He had spoken in favour of  planning applications in an area called Shepherds Hill where he had secretly bought land.

He paid just £15,000 for nine acres of land and tried to overturn tight controls on building new houses in the area.

Had he succeeded, the land would have rocketed in value.

(The full story is told in the article The Case of the Corrupt Councillor).

The committee said his “conduct gave a clear impression he had misused his position for personal advantage, and that it amounted to the criminal offence of misconduct in public office”.

It added “Mr David Lewis Roberts’ conduct in local planning matters in the public office of county councillor had been within the generally understood meaning of ‘corrupt’ …”

However, the Standards Committee decided not to take any further action against Roberts, partly because he was no longer a councillor.

Rebecca Television asked the Chief Constable “to formally investigate this matter”.

Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Williams, based in Caernarfon, was given the job of establishing if there was enough evidence to start an investigation.

In November he wrote to say he had obtained all the papers involved in the Standards Committee hearing and promised an update “in the early part of next year”.

It wasn’t until April that he wrote again.

He said he had now assessed these papers and asked for further documentation.

“The relevant documents were received from the council in mid-February and the information is now being analysed to enable an accurate determination of whether there exists any evidence to support a claim of criminal conduct.”

He added, however, that he was moving to a different area and the matter would be passed to another detective.

This was Detective Chief Inspector Iestyn Davies.

By this time Rebecca Television had discovered that David Lewis Roberts had lied to the Standards Committee about the date he bought the land.

He had, in fact, actually purchased the site six months earlier — and had failed to declare an interest when he spoke up on a planning application from the family he had purchased his land from.

BENT Former Anglesey County Council David Lewis Roberts — branded corrupt by the authority's Standards Committee. But North Wales appear reluctant to launch a criminal investigation against him.

Former Anglesey County Council David Lewis Roberts — branded “corrupt” by the authority’s Standards Committee. But North Wales Police is reluctant to launch a criminal investigation against him.

This application was later approved, adding more than £100,000 to the value of the plot.

We sent the evidence to Iestyn Davies.

DCI Davies appears to have started from scratch.

In June he wrote to say “I am still reviewing a mountain of paperwork obtained from the council. I should get it done this week.”

In July he said he was planning to meet the council.

Earlier this month we wrote to him again, noting the “snail’s pace evaluation of the David Lewis Roberts’ issue”.

DCI Davies replied to say that he now saw “inherent difficulties in pursuing this matter to a court of law without the matter being subject of a formal complaint by an individual or a public authority such as the Council”.

On September 9 we emailed to say that he was wrong.

The matter had been the subject of a formal complaint.

In April this year Shepherds Hill resident Adrian Broad wrote to Chief Constable Mark Polin to ask him to investigate allegations of corruption against David Lewis Roberts.

Broad lives next to the parcel of land which David Lewis Roberts had bought.

He was convinced Roberts was going to obtain planning permission — and felt he had no option but to pay a high price for a small piece of land to create a buffer zone.

In May he received a reply from Polin’s office saying his letter “is currently receiving attention”.

A few days after Rebecca Television pointed out the mistake to DCI Davies, two detectives visited Adrian Broad.

If detectives had visited Shepherds Hill earlier they would also have found other residents willing to make formal complaints.

And there is one individual who would have been more than happy to talk to them — former councillor Barrie Durkin.

Durkin has openly been denouncing David Lewis Roberts as “corrupt” for seven years.

Durkin was a key figure in the Standards committee meeting.

The committee was hearing a report from Ombudsman Peter Tyndall which found that Durkin’s description of Roberts as “corrupt” was a breach of the council’s code of conduct.

Unlike the Ombudsman, the committee actually examined Durkin’s evidence against Roberts — and found it justified.

Rebecca Television will now lodge complaints against DCIs Andrew Williams and Iestyn Williams with the Professional Standards unit of North Wales Police.

“Going on past experience, the two officers will be exonerated,” commented editor Paddy French.

“And, on one level, that’s likely to be fair enough — both detectives were probably acting on orders from headquarters in Colwyn Bay.”

“But, once they have been cleared, Rebecca Television can appeal the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Committee.”

“That allows the possibility that the IPCC can consider if the force have been party to a cover-up of serious allegations of corrupt activity on its patch.”


THIS IS the second time North Wales Police have examined allegations against David Lewis Roberts.

The first time happened by accident.

In 2008 the then Managing Director of Anglesey County Council, Derrick Jones, was trying to obtain anonymous letters from the ITV Wales This Week programme.

These appeared to come from within the council’s senior management.

One of them stated: “We are fairly senior people and are close enough to the action to see what’s really going on and thus are very unhappy especially in regard to the highly biased, political  … role that [some] … managers are willing to play for some pretty ruthless local politicians.”

ITV would not surrender the letters without a court order.

Derrick Jones asked North Wales Police to intervene.

NORTH WALES POLICEA long history of being economical with the truth.

A long history of being economical with the truth.

A letter from acting Superintendent Peter Gaffey, arrived at ITV Wales in Cardiff.

He wanted to see the letters to “assess the contents and ascertain if it warrants a criminal investigation.”

He promised he wouldn’t show the letters to the council.

ITV Wales told him that there would need to be a criminal investigation and a court application before the letters could be released.

The council never obtained the letters.

However Paddy French, then a producer with Wales This Week, thought that if the force was really interested in possible criminality, there was one obvious place to look.

“I wrote to Gaffey and asked him to look at the activities of David Lewis Roberts,” said French.

“I pointed out that the council had rejected a report from its own external auditors which said it was “imperative” the authority investigate alleged breaches of the planning rules by Roberts.”

“The council refused to do so.”

“I thought it was worth the force investigating to see if Roberts had also broken the criminal law.”

“I made it plain that residents of Shepherds Hill were saying that Roberts had bought the land and was determined to get planning permission on it.”

“What they were claiming turned out to be remarkably accurate — they correctly identified the land, the number of acres and the price.”

“I marked my letter “private & confidential” because I was concerned about the destruction of evidence.”

“I was shocked to discover Gaffey then gave a copy to the council.”

It took Gaffey less than two months to consider the issue.

He wrote that if Roberts “had failed to declare an interest as required in a planning application with the intention of making a personal profit, he would be guilty of misconduct in public office and possibly other corruption charges.”

“Those who had knowingly and dishonestly aided him in the scheme would fall for consideration as conspirators.”

“It is entirely possible that a criminal investigation might reveal written evidence or other evidence to support a conspiracy, but on the basis of your letter it is difficult to see that there is sufficient material to give rise to a reasonable suspicion that an offence has been committed.”

“Until such suspicion has been established, methods such as search warrants and production orders cannot be used.”

At that point, evidence of Roberts’ purchase of the land had not come to light.

However, the information that has since emerged — from the Standards Committee and the investigative work by Rebecca Television — appears to satisfy all the conditions in Gaffey’s letter.


NORTH WALES Police has not covered itself in glory in its attempts to deal with corruption on the island.

In the 1990s a long criminal investigation was carried out into the activities of councillor Gareth Winston Roberts.

This Roberts is no relation to David Lewis Roberts.

The probe came to nothing.

Gareth Winston Roberts was awarded an OBE for his services to employment on the island.

Those awarding the gong appear to have been unaware that the councillor had stood by and watched as Amlwch businessman Bill Farrell was bankrupted by the council.

(The story of Gareth Winston Roberts’ career is told in the article Dirty Rotten Scoundrel, OBE.)

In 1996 District Auditor Ceri Stradling carried out a detailed investigation into wrong-doing at the council.

By now, Gareth Winston Roberts was Leader.

Stradling produced two damning reports and found evidence of criminal activity in the council.

He called in the North Wales Police.

Stradling singled out the housing department, headed by director John Arthur Jones, for the most serious indictments.

Stradling criticised Jones for awarding contracts which were not good value for the people of Anglesey.

One of these contracts — for the investigation of housing fraud — was negotiated with the recently retired North Wales Police Superintendent Clive McGregor.

McGregor — who was later elected to the council and served briefly as Leader — has always insisted that everything he did was above-board.

The police investigation led to John Arthur Jones being prosecuted.

He was accused of using men to help build his house who he knew were in receipt of benefit from his own housing department.

He denied the charge.

The trial collapsed after witnesses admitted to talking to one another before they gave evidence.

Jones had been suspended as housing director and was later sacked.

It later emerged that Jones had gone on holiday with a North Wales Police detective while the investigation against him was taking place.

Detective Inspector Roy Gregson and his wife, a civilian police employee, had gone on holiday to Florida with Jones and his wife.

North Wales Police gave the officer “suitable advice” — one of the lightest forms of disciplinary action.

A spokesman added “we do regret, however, that the detective and the civilian employee acted so unwisely.”

John Arthur Jones became a councillor in 2004 and soon formed his own political party, the Radical Independents with four members.

In 2006 the party became the junior member of a new ruling coalition led by Gareth Winston Roberts.

Within months the administration was plunged into chaos when the Radical Independents spearheaded a surge in attempts to force through planning applications which were against the island’s structure plan.

These planning applications, if successful, turned small parcels of land worth a few thousand pounds into building plots worth over £100,000.

The most controversial of these schemes were the ones in Shepherds Hill.

They were strongly supported by David Lewis Roberts, a member of the Radical Independents.

He claimed that each of the Radical Independents were free agents.

“When we formulated the Radical Independents we had an agreement between the four of us — I’m sure the others would tell — that we’d do our own thing.”

The crisis came to an end in 2007 when the constitution was changed to prevent councillors from dealing with these applications.

As early as 2006 Barrie Durkin, who was a community councillor at the time, had sent a letter to every county councillor entitled “Nice Work If You Can Get It”.

BARRIE DURKIN  A county councillor between 2004 and 2008, Durkin branded David Lewis Roberts "corrupt" for more thsn seven years. Twice the Ombudsman found that he'd broken the authority's code of conduct but last year the Standards Committee decided he'd been right all along ...

A county councillor between 2004 and 2008, Durkin called David Lewis Roberts “corrupt” for more than seven years. Twice the Ombudsman found that he’d broken the authority’s code of conduct but last year the Standards Committee decided he’d been right all along …

The letter accused Roberts of “failing to declare an interest and corrupting endless planning applications …”

Roberts complained about Durkin saying he was “outrageous, intolerable and psychotic”.

The then Ombudsman, Adam Peat, found the language Durkin used was a breach of the council’s code of conduct and referred him to the council’s Standards Committee.

In 2007 the committee “censured” Durkin for the language he had used.

Neither the Ombudsman nor the Standards Committee bothered to examine if there was actually any substance to Durkin’s claims.

The ruling did not stop Durkin calling Roberts “corrupt”.

So Roberts complained again in 2010.

The Ombudsman, by now Peter Tyndall, again declined to examine the deeper issues — and inevitably found that, in calling David Lewis Roberts “corrupt”, Durkin had once again breached the code of conduct.

“To suggest that a person is corrupt or the perpetrator of unlawful or criminal acts is a very serious allegation to make and one which I consider should not be made lightly.”

It was the Standards Committee meeting in August 2012 which finally broke the spell — and got to the heart of the matter.

“It seems to me,” says Rebecca Television editor Paddy French, “that the committee on this occasion showed itself a better investigator than either the Ombudsman or the North Wales Police.”

“Sadly, though, the committee’s good work was rendered meaningless by the decision not to call in the police.”


IT IS not just in issues involving Anglesey County Council that North Wales Police has been found wanting.

There are also serious question marks about its role in the investigation of child abuse allegations.

Rebecca Television recently published an examination of a vicious paedophile ring operating on the North Wales coast.

The investigation comprised a video — Brothers in the Shadows — and an article The Missing Masonic Child Abuser.

The ring involved a retired detective who was also a freemason.

He was caught and gaoled — but the freemason he claimed invited him into the ring was never brought to book.

North Wales Police was devious in its dealings with Rebecca Television.

When we asked the force if it had sought the help of the brotherhood in its attempts to track down this missing abuser, a spokesman said it had.

But we had already asked the masons, both locally and in London, if the force had been in touch.

They said it hadn’t.

They confirmed that the police had been to see them only after we started asking questions.

In 2010 Rebecca Television editor Paddy French and a cameraman door-stepped the retired detective to ask him about the missing mason.

Afterwards the retired detective rang the police and said French was harassing him.

“This is nonsense,” said French, “I had written to him and he had not replied.”

“I called at his house and he wasn’t in. I got hold of his phone and talked to him — he wouldn’t be interviewed.”

“A couple of days later we caught up with him at a garage on the A55 — and he spoke to us.”

“This is perfectly standard broadcasting practice.”

Some months later North Wales Police sent French a caution.

“I find this offensive” says French.

“Here we have a North Wales Police officer taking the word of a convicted child abuser at face value.”

“The officer finds it justifiable to issue a caution without ever speaking to me.”

“It gives the impression that the force is more interested in protecting criminals than helping an investigative journalist bring a missing child abuser to book.”


THIS IS not the first time the force has been caught out in its handling of freemasonry.

A classic example took place in 1995 when the then Chief Constable Michael Argent tried to insist there was no police lodge in the North Wales Police area.

As we revealed in the programme Brothers in the Shadows, local newspaper editor Mark Brittain raised the issue after he discovered the existence of a lodge called Custodes Pacis.

When Argent denied the existence of the lodge, Brittain sent him the entry for the lodge.

Argent then accepted that, yes, it did exist but that there were no serving officers in its ranks.

He was forced to retract that claim as well when Brittain proved there were.

Brittain nows wonders if this attempt to bury the existence of the lodge was connected to the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal which was set up in 1996.

One of the key issues before the Tribunal was the issue of masonic influence inside the force.

The existence of Cusdodes Pacis was kept from the Tribunal — despite the fact that its chief counsel Gerard Elias is a mason.


THE MOST serious question mark against the force is its role in the failure to call a key witness before the Tribunal.

This was Des Frost, joint number two at the Bryn Alyn complex of privately-owned children’s homes in Wrexham.

(This story is told in the article Silent Witness.)

Bryn Alyn’s boss, John Allen, had been gaoled for six years in 1995 for abusing children in his care.

Frost had given an interview to HTV in which he claimed that he had gone to the police with allegations against Allen more than a decade before the paedophile was finally brought to book.

The Tribunal warned HTV it would be in contempt of the Tribunal if it broadcast any allegations from Frost.

The allegations were not reported.

But Frost was never called to give evidence before the Tribunal.

Ten days after Frost had been interviewed by HTV, he was visited by North Wales Police Detective Inspector Neil McAdam and a statement taken.

When Rebecca Television emailed McAdam in 2009 to ask about this interview, he acknowledged the letter but never answered the questions.

We complained to the force Professional Standards department and were eventually told McAdam had been instructed not to reply.

“It is reasonable that DI McAdam has sought advice and guidance from his line managers expecting that ownership to respond …  rest with someone higher within the organisation,” noted the investigation report.

Rebecca Television had already written to Chief Constable Mark Polin about the matter.

He never replied.

And there the matter would have rested had it not been for Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision, last autumn, to reopen the investigation into child abuse in North Wales.

Rebecca Television had made a statement about the Frost affair to the Macur Review which is conducting an examination to see if the Tribunal did its work properly.


© Rebecca Television 2013

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

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September 9, 2013


THIS PROGRAMME examines the role of freemasons and police in child abuse cases in North Wales.

It tells how the existence of a masonic lodge for police officers was kept from the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal in the 1990s.

A local newspaper editor stumbled on the story some time before the Tribunal began work.

At first North Wales Police denied it existed — a stance it was forced to abandon when the reporter produced a photocopy of the lodge entry in the provincial yearbook.

Then it claimed no serving officers were members — but that position also turned out to be wrong.

The journalist was amazed when the Tribunal was not told about the lodge.

But the core of the video is the extraordinary story of a paedophile ring which operated on the North Wales coast in 2005-6.

Orchestrated by a murderer, the ring included a retired police officer and several freemasons.

One of these masons is still at large.

Rebecca Television asks if police have done enough to bring this masonic child abuser to book.

The story has uncanny echoes of the 1980s and 1990s when North Wales was awash with rumours of a paedophile ring — allegedly involving police officers and masons — exploiting children in care.

Those rumours led to the establishment of the Tribunal.

When Brothers in the Shadows was first published, in 2010, the general view was that the issue has been laid to rest by the Tribunal in its massive report, called Lost in Care, published in 2000.

The Tribunal found no evidence of a paedophile ring and cleared North Wales Police of charges that it had failed to investigate child abuse allegations properly.

Rebecca Television was virtually alone in raising questions about the work of the Tribunal.

These doubts were dramatically vindicated last November when David Cameron announced a new police investigation and a review of the work of the Tribunal.

Also published today is an article which examines the 2005-6 paedophile ring in more detail — The Missing Masonic Child Abuser.

(Please note that the programme is a high quality video and may take some time to begin playing.)


© Rebecca Television 2010 & 2013

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

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

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September 9, 2013


A CHILD abuser is on the loose in North Wales.

He’s a freemason.

A retired police detective is the man who says so.

The former policeman is also an abuser who was caught and gaoled.

Both men were members of a child abuse ring organised by a man who had previously attacked and seriously injured two women and had nearly got away with murdering another.

The full story of what happened has never been told.

Rebecca Television asks if the police – and the masons – have done enough to track down the missing masonic child abuser.

LLANDULAS BEACH One of the North Wales beaches where a paedophile ring sexually exploited a young girl.  Photo: Barry Davies

One of the North Wales beaches where a paedophile ring sexually exploited a young girl. Photo: Barry Davies / Rebecca Television

WHEN FORMER Birmingham police officer Raymond Ketland parked his car on a North Wales beach in 2005 a group of men walked by.

One of the group saw 66-year-old Ketland and walked over to him.

At his trial, prosecution barrister Andrew Thomas said Ketland told police he recognised this man as a member of the masonic lodge he belonged to.

The mason asked: “do you want to have a bit of fun?”

He pointed to a girl who was with the group.

Ketland decided to join in the “fun”.

The group sex was organised by Fred Lawlor from Abergele.

He had gained control of the young girl when she was 13.

She was 14 when police rescued her: she told them Lawlor instructed her to have sex with 50 men.

North Wales Police began investigating after a member of the public saw sexual activity and reported it.

Police launched Operation Furley and began to carry out surveillance on beaches between Llandudno and Rhyl.

On one occasion officers saw Lawlor with the young girl.

They considered that she wasn’t dressed appropriately.

He responded by writing to the Chief Constable complaining of harassment.

Eventually police raided Lawlor’s flat and discovered videos of the girl having sex with scores of men.

As well as having sex with the girl himself, Lawlor filmed encounters with other men, sometimes using a hidden camera.

When the videos were examined, police found 17 men who could be identified.

One of these was retired Midlands detective Raymond Ketland.

He was charged with two counts of having sex with a child, taking an indecent image and facilitating a child sex offence.

He was gaoled for two and a half years.


The retired detective sergeant claims he was invited to join the ring by a fellow freemason. Photo: Barry Davies / Rebecca Television

Ketland refused to name the freemason who had invited him to join in the abuse.

A bishop from Liberal Catholic Church, Gerard Crane, appeared as a character witness for Ketland.

The Liberal Catholic Church is not connected to the Church of Rome.

Bishop Crane said he’d known Ketland for several years.

“I don’t know why he did what he did,” Bishop Crane told a reporter.

“He confessed to me and told me it was a moment of madness. He asked for forgiveness.”

“We have prayed together for the unfortunate girl. He is full of remorse and is distressed for any hurt he has caused.”

In December 2009 Rebecca Television asked Bishop Crane if he was a freemason like Ketland.

Bishop Crane said: “I have never denied my membership of freemasonry but it is a personal matter that is no concern of anybody else.”

“I joined many years before I came to live in North Wales, and I am not a member of any Masonic Craft Lodge in the Province of North Wales.”

“Nor have I ever been a member of the same Craft Lodge as Mr Raymond Ketland. I met him socially some seven years ago and regard him as a friend.”

“As such I was able to accede to his request to appear as a ‘character witness’ at his trial, and also to minister to him as a Priest.”

“At the time of the trial, when I heard about the ‘missing child abuser’, I implored Mr Ketland to reveal that person’s name to the authorities, if he knew who it was.”

“I repeatedly begged him to accede to my request if he had any information, but, for whatever reason, he would never do so.”

“In consequence, I never knew and still do not know, the identity of the man in question.”

“I did telephone the Provincial Secretary and asked him to investigate the allegation that one of his officers was the ‘missing child abuser’ but I was never informed as to the outcome of any such investigation which might subsequently have taken place.”


DESPITE HER ordeal, the girl who was at the mercy of the paedophile ring is fortunate.

She had been manipulated by a violent woman-hater.

If he had not been caught she might have lost her life.

For Fred Lawlor has a lawless past.

In 1982 he was convicted of actual bodily harm after he repeatedly punched his then girlfriend and then jumped on her stomach.

She was seven months pregnant.

Five years later he attacked another girlfriend.

He first tried to electrocute her by putting the flex from an electric fire into her bath.

When that failed, he picked up a knife and stabbed her repeatedly.

She needed five operations to repair the damage and had to use a colostomy bag for five months due to the lacerations on her bowel.

Lawlor was gaoled for seven years for this offence.

Later another partner, Dorothy Carre, was twice reported missing by her family who described Lawlor as a “cruel, manipulative bully”.

She was last seen in 1999.

But it wasn’t until the paedophile ring case in 2006 that her fate was finally revealed.

Police used the BBC Crimewatch programme to appeal for public assistance to help identify the abusers they had not caught.

A member of Dorothy Carre’s family saw Lawlor on Crimewatch and rang the police to remind them she was still missing.

This time Greater Manchester Police carried out a more thorough investigation.

They found Dorothy Carre’s body in a shallow grave in the cellar of the house she had shared with Lawlor in Rochdale.

The skeleton revealed stab wounds to the spine.

The body had been wrapped in a duvet and buried under flagstones in the cellar of the rented house.

In October 2007 a jury at Manchester Crown Court decided, by a 10-2 majority, that Lawlor had stabbed Dorothy Carre to death.

FRED LAWLOR Psychopath, murderer and child abuser. Photo: Manchester Evening News

Psychopath, murderer, child abuser…   Photo: Manchester Evening News

He was gaoled for life.

Dorothy Carre’s daughter said: “Since 1995 Frederick Lawlor has taken our mother from us, initially by manipulating her into staying away from us and finally by committing the worst crime by taking her life in such a cruel, callous, heartless and premeditated way, ensuring she would never return to her family.”

By that time he was already in prison for organising the sex ring in North Wales.

At Caernarfon Crown Court in April 2006 he had admitted 18 sex charges against the young girl – four specimen counts of sexual activity with a child, seven of taking indecent images and seven of causing a child to engage in sexual activity with another adult.

The court was told he’d abused her at least 75 times.

Most of the men did not pay for sex with the girl.

The only one who did was Lawlor’s neighbour Gary Owen, 55, who had already served a six year sentence for sex offences against a 12-year-old girl.

This time around he was gaoled for another six years.

Sentencing Lawlor to an indefinite prison sentence to be reviewed in 15 years, Judge Merfyn Hughes told him “the full extent of psychological damage you have inflicted on this young girl won’t be known for many years.”

“You have completely ruined any immediate chance she may have had of leading a full life. She must have believed sexual promiscuity was the norm.”

“You carried on despite being investigated by police, and even had the affront to write to the chief constable claiming that officers were harassing you.”

He praised the police operation headed by Detective Inspector Wayne Jones for ridding the area of a large number of sex offenders.

“This would not have been possible without the observations carried out by police officers on the ground who visited the beaches.”

“It became a much larger inquiry that anybody had initially, perhaps, expected.”


ONLY TWO of the men featured in the films remain at large.

Pictures of both have been shown on the BBC Crimewatch programme but they have never been identified.

MISSING ABUSER No 1 This image of an unknown man watching other men having sex with the young girl was taken by Fred Lawlor. Photo: North Wales Police

This image of an unknown man watching other men having sex with the young girl was taken by Fred Lawlor. Photo: North Wales Police

Male 2

The second man police were unable to identify. Photo: North Wales Police

Ketland has never identified either of these men as the mason who introduced him to the ring.

That means the missing freemason is a different man.

A spokeswoman for North Wales Police said: “Ketland would not co-operate with the police therefore it is not possible to say whether there was a masonic connection.”

In November 2009 Rebecca Television asked the North Wales Province of freemasonry if the North Wales Police had asked them for their assistance in identifying the missing masonic abuser.

Provincial secretary Peter Sorahan replied.

“We do not know and were never told who else was involved.”

“Furthermore we are completely unaware as to what action was taken by the Police against any other person and would certainly not support any person who was in any way involved; neither would we tolerate them in freemasonry.”

He said that Ketland was a “joiner” of a North Wales lodge.

In other words, the original lodge he entered – known as his “mother lodge” – is in another province.

He added that Ketland is no longer a freemason.

Sorahan also declined to give details of the lodges that Ketland belonged to.

“As I’m sure you are aware,” he said, “under the requirements of the Data Protection Act we can not disclose the names and personal details of members and their Lodges.”

(The Information Commissioner’s Office says provincial yearbooks are not covered by the Data Protection Act.)

At the time Sorahan was answering these questions, Rebecca Television had not yet been told by Bishop Crane that he had contacted Sorahan’s predecessor as provincial secretary, Leonard Ellis.

We asked Sorahan to confirm that Bishop Crane had contacted Leonard Ellis and, if so, what was the outcome.

Sorahan did not reply.

Chris Connop at United Grand Lodge headquarters in London said: “if the police were to contact us, we would do our best to give any information they requested if we were able to do so. The same is true of the Freemasons in North Wales.”

“They have not been in contact in this case.”

Also in November 2009 Rebecca Television e-mailed North Wales Police and asked if they had been in touch with the masons in North Wales.

It took a month and several reminders before a spokeswoman came back with a statement.

“The Masons have been approached by officers and are unable to assist further with identifying the outstanding offenders.”

Rebecca Television asked provincial masonic secretary Peter Sorahan to confirm that police had been to see him and that their visit had taken place only after we started asking questions.

He e-mailed to say “your assumptions are correct.”

A film crew finally caught up with Ketland in February 2010 as he stopped at a garage to buy a newspaper.

(This encounter can be seen in the video Brothers in the Shadows.)

WHEN KETLAND was doorstepped for the Brothers in the Shadows programme, he complained to the North Wales Police. The force chose to believe a convicted child abuser — and sent the caution above to RTV editor Paddy French. Photo: Rebecca Television

After Ketland was doorstepped for the Brothers in the Shadows programme, he complained to the North Wales Police that he was being harassed. The force didn’t ask Rebecca Television for its side of the story: it chose to accept the word of a convicted child abuser and sent this caution to editor Paddy French.

He had not answered our letters and wasn’t in when we called at his home in Llandudno.

He told us that the prosecution case at his trial was wrong.

The missing mason was not a member of his lodge.

He was a man he had seen only briefly and at a distance at a masonic social function – he did not know his name.

He said that he believed the man was a member of a provincial grand lodge because, when he first asked him to join the child abuse ring, he was wearing provincial cufflinks.

Rebecca Television has asked the Crown Prosecution Service if it had made a mistake in claiming that Ketland told police that the missing mason was a member of his masonic lodge.

They said they were not in a position to help.

We also asked North Wales Police what Ketland had said in his statement to police.

The force didn’t reply.


Rebecca Television now knows Ketland’s masonic history.

He resigned from freemasonry in April 2006 after his conviction.

Before then he was a member of the Lodge of St Hilary which meets at Llandudno’s Freemasons Hall.

KETLAND'S MASONRY When he retired to the North Wales coast, Raymond Ketland joined the local St Hilary Lodge in Llandudno. This is the entry for the year

When he retired to the North Wales coast, Raymond Ketland joined the local St Hilary Lodge in Llandudno. This is the entry in the 2008 Provincial Yearbook. Ketland insists that the freemason who introduced him to the child abuse ring is not a member of this lodge.

He was also a member of the Gogarth chapter of Royal Arch Masonry.

His original lodge is Hilbre which meets in Neston in Cheshire.


1  A version of this article was first published in 2010 along with the video Brothers in the Shadows.
2  There is no report which brings together the full list of those convicted in Operation Furley.
Police obtained 17 pictures of abusers from the material seized from Lawlor and 15 were eventually caught.
The combined sentences added up to 56 years in gaol.
The following alphabetical list is based on press reports.
Neither the Crown Prosecution Service nor the North Wales Police would fill in the gaps.

Charge: admitted 1 charge of sexual activity with a child
Sentence: 2 years 9 months
Sex offenders register: details not known.

ERIC (MARK) CRAVEN, 47, Penmaenmawr
Charges: admitted 4 charges of sexual activity with a child, 2 charges of taking indecent photographs and 1 charge of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity
Sentence: 4 years
Sex offenders register: life.

Charges: admitted 2 charges of sexual activity with a child and 2 charges of taking indecent photographs
Sentence: 3 years
Sex offenders register: life.

Charges: admitted 1 charge of sexual activity with a child and 1 charge of taking indecent photographs
Sentence: 1 year and 9 months
Sex offenders register: life.

Charges: admitted 1 charge of sexual activity with a child and 1 charge of taking indecent photographs
Sentence: 2 years 9 months
Sex offenders register: details not known.

MICHAEL KENNY, 54, Prestatyn
Charges: admitted 1 charge of sexual activity with a child and 1 charge of taking indecent photographs
Sentence: 1 year 9 months
Sex offenders register: details not known.

Charges: admitted 2 charges of sexual activity with a minor, 1 charge of taking indecent photographs and 1 charge of facilitating a child sex offence
Sentence: 2 years 6 months
Sex offenders register: details not known.

Charges: pleaded guilty to a series of specimen charges: 4 of sexual activity with a child, 7 of taking indecent photographs and 7 of causing a child to engage in sexual activity with others
Sentence: indefinite, to be reviewed after 15 years
(Already serving life for the murder of former partner Dorothy Carre, several other convictions for violent assault)
Sex offenders register: details not known but probably for life.

Charges: admitted 2 charges of sexual activity with a child
Sentence: 3 years 3 months
Sex offenders register: details not known.

Charges: admitted 2 charges of sexual activity with a child
Sentence: 3 years
Sex offenders register: life.

GARY McILROY, 50, Ellesmere Port
Charge: admitted one charge of sexual activity with a child
Sentence: 1 year 9 months
Sex offenders register: details not known.

JAMES MARLAND, 22, Abergele
Charge: admitted one charge of sexual activity with a child
Sentence: 2 years 9 months
Sex offenders register: life.

Charges: admitted three charges of sexual activity with a child
Sentence: 6 years
Sex offenders register: details not known.

Charges: admitted one charge of sexual activity with a child and 1 of taking indecent photographs.
(Previously gaoled for 9 years for robbery)
Sentence: 2 years 3 months
Sex offenders register: 10 years.

RICHARD (ALAN) WHITE, 58, Old Colwyn
Charges: admitted 3 charges of sexual activity with a child and 1 of taking indecent photographs.
(Previous conviction for indecency in public)
Sentence: 3 years 6 months
Sex offenders register: life.

© Rebecca Television 2010 & 2013

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

RIGHT OF REPLY  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.

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June 24, 2013

THIS PROGRAMME has been temporarily withdrawn for re-editing.
The broadcaster ITV has objected to the use of its copyright material and it is being removed.
The trailer does not infringe ITV’s copyright and can be seen below.
See the article ITV Bid To Gag Rebecca Television for more on this story.

rebecca_6aTHE NORTH Wales Child Abuse Tribunal is the only full-scale public inquiry ever to be held in Britain into sexual and physical abuse in care homes.

It cost £14 million and produced a substantial 937 page report in 2000.

Rebecca Television has long argued that the Tribunal, chaired by the retired High Court judge Sir Ronald Waterhouse, was “flawed”.

The key piece of evidence concerns a man called Des Frost.

Frost was a senior executive in the privately run Bryn Alyn Community in Wrexham whose boss John Allen was gaoled for child abuse in the 1990s.

Des Frost was potentially a key witness for the Tribunal because he claimed he told police about Allen’s activities a full decade before he was brought to book.

But Frost was never called to give evidence — and the Tribunal prevented the Welsh television company HTV from broadcasting his testimony.

The upshot was that the Waterhouse Tribunal never heard Frost’s evidence.

As a result, the North Wales Police was cleared of any failure to bring the abuse on its patch to an end ten years before it actually did so.

The video, which has been temporarily withdrawn, presents the interview that was censored.

The trailer gives some idea of the tone of the programme.

The ITV Wales current affairs programme Wales This Week also showed part of the censored interview in November 2012.

It can still be seen on the ITV Wales website: Still Lost In Care.

The issue is also explored in the article Silent Witness.


© Rebecca Television 2013

CORRECTIONS  Please let us know if there are any mistakes in this programme — we’ll correct as soon as possible.

RIGHT OF REPLY  If you have been mentioned in this programme and disagree with it, please let us have your comments. Provided your response is not defamatory we’ll add a note including your comments.

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June 24, 2013


IN 1997 journalists working for the HTV current affairs programme Wales This Week were given a stark warning by the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal.

If they broadcast newly discovered allegations of child abuse dating back nearly twenty years they risked being held in contempt of the Tribunal.

The broadcasters removed the allegations. But having gagged the media, the Tribunal didn’t go on to investigate the allegations.

The story of how the Tribunal suppressed an important piece of evidence has never been told.

THE NORTH WALES CHILD ABUSE TRIBUNAL Britain's only child abuse tribunal failed to hear the evidence of a key witness.

Britain’s only child abuse tribunal failed to hear the evidence of a key witness.

IT WAS a Monday morning in October 1997 at the studios of HTV on the outskirts of Cardiff.

The team at the channel’s current affairs programme Wales This Week were preparing the Thursday evening edition.

For Editor Clare Hudson and Director David Williams this was no ordinary programme.

It was the latest in a series of investigations into child abuse in North Wales.

A Tribunal was already hearing evidence about the extent of physical and sexual abuse in children’s homes in the area.

Wales This Week had played a substantial role in the events which led up to the setting up of the Inquiry.

Six years earlier a report on allegations of physical abuse at a home in Gwynedd, the north-west corner of Wales, had led to the county being included in the child abuse investigation which had already started in the north-eastern corner, the county of Clwyd.

A year later, in September 1992, Wales This Week broadcast the most explosive programme in its history.

It featured two witnesses who claimed that a policeman, retired Superintendent Gordon Anglesea, had sexually abused them while they were residents of the Bryn Estyn children’s home just outside Wrexham.

Anglesea was an inspector in Wrexham at the time the alleged offences were committed. He was also a member of a masonic lodge in the town.

The allegations, in varying degrees, were repeated by Private Eye, The Observer and the Independent on Sunday.

Anglesea sued all four companies for libel and a jury found for him in December 1994.

He accepted a total of £375,000 in damages and the case cost HTV nearly a million pounds when the legal costs of the 15 day trial were added.

GORDON ANGLESEA The retired police superintendent won a major libel case.

The retired police superintendent won a major libel case at the High Court in London in 1994.

Anglesea’s victory and vindication did little to stem the tide of rumour sweeping North Wales.

It was said that councils had covered up the extent of the abuse in their homes while police had failed to investigate allegations of child abuse properly.

The fact that two of the most important figures in children’s homes – Peter Howarth of Bryn Estyn and John Allen of the private Bryn Alyn complex – were already facing child abuse charges did nothing to stem the tide.

Even some members of the North Wales Police Authority, the civilian body that controlled the non-operational aspects of the force, were calling for an outside force to be brought in to handle the investigation.

There was also speculation that a child abuse ring was operating in the area and that it included Tory members of the British political establishment who were also freemasons.

According to conspiracy theorists, this ring was being protected by policemen who were also masons.


IT WAS against this feverish background that William Hague, the Secretary of State for Wales, decided in June 1996 to set up a tribunal to find out the truth.

He chose former High Court judge Sir Ronald Waterhouse to chair the Tribunal.

On the third day of the Tribunal’s opening session the barrister representing the North Wales Police, Andrew Moran QC, delivered his opening address.

He revealed that the major police inquiry carried out by Superintendent Peter Ackerley between 1991 and 1993 had investigated Gordon Anglesea.

He then delivered a bombshell.

“We can now demonstrate that Mr Anglesea, apparently at sometime a Freemason, was shown not an ounce of favour nor was any other officer or former officer. The proof of that is incontestable in the recommendation made by Supt Ackerley that there was sufficient evidence to prosecute.”

He added it was the Crown Prosecution Service, the body that decides if a case is strong enough to go to trial, which decided that the police officer should not be charged.

Moran added: “Despite the verdict in the libel trial in which the authors and publishers could not even discharge the burden of proving on a balance of probabilities that Anglesea was guilty, the recommendation was justified at the time and nails the lie of Masonic influence and favour.”

As part of the libel settlement with Anglesea, HTV and the other defendants had agreed they would never repeat the libels against him.

So it was difficult, if not impossible, for Wales This Week to return to the issue.

Instead, the team turned to a privately run children’s home called the Bryn Alyn Community which was close to the council-run Bryn Estyn home.

Most of the rumours concerned Bryn Estyn and Bryn Alyn stayed firmly in the background.

Bryn Alyn was owned by John Allen – a man with no social work training – and his family.

In February 1995 he was convicted of six offences of indecent assault against young male residents at the Community. He was gaoled for six years.

There were two disturbing aspects of his case.

JOHN ALLEN The owner of the Bryn Alyn complex of private homes went missing during his trial.

The owner of the Bryn Alyn complex of private homes went missing during his trial.

The first was he went “missing” for a week during his trial. He turned up in Oxford claiming to have had a breakdown and couldn’t remember anything about the seven days.

The second disturbing aspect is that during the period when he was missing, one of the former Bryn Alyn residents was found dead in his Brighton flat.

Lee Johns had given evidence against Allen at the trial and was one of the six former residents the jury were to decide had been abused by Allen.

The inquest verdict on Lee Johns was suicide. His family are convinced he did not take his own life.

Three years before he died, Lee had been badly injured at a catastrophic fire at a flat near Brighton in which five people died. One of those who died in the blaze was Lee’s younger bother Adrian who had also been in care at Bryn Alyn.

Both Lee and Adrian, after leaving Bryn Alyn, had stayed at properties which John Allen had helped to buy.

Wales This Week quickly discovered that, while the Bryn Alyn Community was a children’s home entirely funded by local authorities in England and Wales, it was actually a goldmine for John Allen.

Between 1974 and 1991 Bryn Alyn received more than thirty million pounds from councils for looking after problem children. A substantial slice of this money never went directly into looking after the children in the Community’s care.

More than half a million pounds went into a state of the art video studio in Wrexham and a large number of properties were bought including a villa in the south of France.

Allen bought a substantial country mansion for himself and paid £18,000 for a half-share in a yacht based in the Mediterranean called Dualité.

Allen was also using huge amounts of petty cash for his own purposes which were never properly recorded in the accounts.

He told the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal in 1997 that he estimated he’d spent £180,000 in presents for residents and former residents.

He said that Bryn Alyn ran an after-care system that included accommodation in Wrexham, London and Brighton as well as financial assistance for former residents.


AS PART of the investigation into the financial affairs of the Bryn Alyn Community Wales This Week also talked to Des Frost, the former social worker who became joint number two at Bryn Alyn and looked after the finances.

But Frost didn’t just know about the finances, he’d also heard stories about John Allen’s behaviour.

When he was interviewed on camera, Frost said that on one occasion John Allen came in one morning with a black eye.

He said it had happened the previous night when he was trying to get into the caravan where a boy was sleeping. Allen did not offer any explanation for his behaviour.

Frost did nothing. But, on another occasion, he said

“I was approached by a member of staff who told me briefly of some rumours that were going around the organisation. And I explained it would be better not to talk about it at Bryn Alyn.”

“So I went up to his house at a later stage. And he told me some pretty hairy stories about allegations of child abuse by John.”

“I can’t remember honestly what they were except one which I remember was a member of staff caught in, shall we say, a compromising position and John had a perfectly legitimate answer for that one – but that was a rumour amongst others that were going round.”

DES FROST When a member of staff told him that boys at Bryn Alyn were complaining that Alenn abusing them, Frost decided to go to the police.

When a member of staff told him that boys at Bryn Alyn were complaining that John Allen was abusing them, Frost decided to go to the police.

Frost says he was aware the boys in Bryn Alyn were “not necessarily pure and innocent” – they were “streetwise”. He did not personally believe that John Allen was abusing the children at Bryn Alyn.

“Nevertheless, I was concerned about these rumours but the question is – what do you do about it? Because – do you go to your boss and say ‘excuse me, are you assaulting these children?’ If he wasn’t – or, rather, if he was, he would have said ‘mind your own business”. And if he wasn’t, I would have been down the road without a job.”

Frost says he went to see a local magistrate who had connections with Bryn Alyn.

“I was somewhat anxious that he should be such a friend of John’s that it would get back to him. But fortunately he wasn’t that involved – and he already had his own suspicions about the stories that I told him.”

The two men agreed there was nothing to do but to stay in touch. But Frost remained concerned.

“I then decided to go to the police on behalf of myself and the rest of the staff because, it was a difficult situation, but I didn’t want it ever said that – why didn’t you do anything about it?”

He said he felt he couldn’t go to the police station in Wrexham because Bryn Alyn residents were often in trouble with the police.

He was afraid John Allen would find out he’d been there and that he wouldn’t have a credible explanation for the visit.

“So I phoned the CID in Chester where I lived and asked them to come to my house which they did. Two detectives arrived. I can’t give you their names because I can’t remember.”

He says he told them of the rumours that had been passed on to him.

“What I hoped was that they – in fact I think I asked them to – was to communicate what I’d said to Wrexham police because I explained, as I just said, that it would not have been circumspect for me to walk into Wrexham police station.”

After the interview Wales This Week asked Cheshire police if they had any records relating to this interview. Cheshire said all records would have been destroyed long before but, if the interview had taken place, the procedure was straightforward – Chester police would have produced a report and passed it to the North Wales Police.

Frost says he never heard anything back from the Chester detectives. But shortly afterwards the local policeman – PC Jim Jones based in the village of Llay – asked to see him.

“He came to my office when normally he wouldn’t have done that because I wasn’t on the care side.”

“And he had a letter from a boy, an ex-Bryn Alyn boy, from Newcastle who’d been arrested. They’d found a letter on this boy addressed to John asking for money. The policeman wanted to know if this was blackmail.”

Frost explained that he didn’t think it was blackmail because of the aftercare system John Allen provided boys when they left the home. This involved him sending some former residents money.

“So I said, no, I didn’t think it’s blackmail. When he got up to go he said a very strange thing, he said, ‘well, I suppose everything is alright because you and mister so and so work here’. And the other person he referred to was also a member of the senior management.”

He and Frost were lay preachers.

“I just wonder whether he was on a trawling expedition having been alerted by Chester police to come and see me and see if I had anything else to say.”

But Frost did not tell PC Jones about the allegations he said he’d gone to Chester detectives about. The visit of PC Jones gave him the opportunity to repeat those allegations in a legitimate meeting arranged by the policeman.

Frost, who didn’t want to be interviewed for this article, now says that he was concerned that the PC would tell his superiors and that John Allen would find out.

At the time of the Wales This Week interview, Frost told the programme-makers that the Tribunal – already more than half way through its public hearings – had not interviewed him and he had not been put on notice that he might be a witness.


So, on Monday 21 October 1997, the Wales This Week team began assembling the programme including the Frost allegations dating back to the early 1980s.

The journalists believed they had uncovered important new allegations that the Tribunal had missed.

That day, the Tribunal moved against the programme.

WALES THIS WEEK The current affairs programme had been at the heart of coverage of the North Wales abuse scandal.

The current affairs programme had been at the heart of coverage of the North Wales abuse scandal.

Press officer David Norbury rang to say the Tribunal was concerned that a number of people, including Frost, had been interviewed by Wales This Week.

The next day he rang again. Again he was concerned about the interview with Frost. Editor Clare Hudson made a note of the conversation: “I asked is Frost a witness, has he given a statement? DN [David Norbury] didn’t know.”

She then asked “what exactly is the nature of the concern? He said “in a nutshell, contempt of court.”

Norbury said Brian McHenry, the lawyer seconded from the Treasury in London to act as the tribunal’s solicitor, wanted to talk to the programme’s lawyer.

After the lawyers talked, it became clear that if the programme contained any new allegations the Tribunal would consider referring Wales This Week to the Attorney General for contempt of the Tribunal.

If the programme makers were found guilty then, theoretically, they could be sent to gaol.

The programme’s legal advice was clear – remove the allegations – and Clare Hudson felt she had no option but to do so.

But the team decided to make it clear that Wales This Week had the details of these allegations.

When the programme about John Allen went out on the evening of Thursday, October 24th the script was clear.

After stating that Des Frost was concerned about the rumours he was hearing, the commentary added:

“Finally, Des Frost, an evangelical preacher, became so concerned about John Allen’s behaviour that he went to the police.”

“The North Wales Tribunal investigating child abuse is concerned that there should be no public discussion of these events at the present time.”

Two and a half years later, the Tribunal issued its report known as the Waterhouse Report after the former High Court judge, Sir Ronald Waterhouse, who chaired it.

It effectively cleared North Wales Police of the charge that it had failed to investigate child abuse properly.

True, it criticised a 1986-88 inquiry carried out by the then head of the CID at North Wales Police, Gwynne Owen, as being “defective in many respects” and “sluggish and shallow”.

However, the Tribunal added that there was no evidence that, had it been pursued properly, the police would have been aware that it needed to investigate child abuse more deeply.

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

But there was one incident which the Tribunal concedes might have triggered a wider inquiry. The Tribunal’s report states:

“There was an occasion in 1981 or 1982 when John Allen’s sexual activities might have come to the attention of the police. Police officers in Durham had become aware that a former resident with the Bryn Alyn Community was receiving substantial cheques from Allen.”

LOST IN CARE The massive 937 page report cleared the North Wales Police of any failures

The massive 937 page report of the Tribunal cleared the North Wales Police of any failures.

“A police officer at Llay, near Wrexham, was asked to investigate the position and learnt from the Bryn Alyn accountant at that time that money was being paid to former residents.”

This police officer was PC Jim Jones.

“We heard the recollections of four witnesses about this matter but only one of them, Keith Allen Evans [the head of care at the time], claimed to have told the Llay police officer about rumours or banter in relation to residents who received gifts in return for “bending down” for Allen; and Evans himself did not believe what was being said about Allen.”

“The Llay police officer, on the other hand, said that there was no suggestion by the Durham police or by the Bryn Alyn staff of blackmail. The officer said that blackmail was not the subject of investigation and that he was not told of any rumour of sexual abuse by Allen.”

“In these circumstances,” the report concludes, “we cannot be satisfied that anything was said to the North Wales Police at that time to put them on notice of allegations of sexual misconduct by Allen.”

At the time the Llay police officer investigated the letter his superior officer was Inspector Gordon Anglesea, a fact that is not mentioned in the Tribunal Report.

When he gave evidence to the Tribunal, Anglesea was not asked if he knew anything about the visit to Bryn Alyn by PC Jones.

The accountant mentioned in the paragraphs from the Tribunal report about PC Jones’ visit is Des Frost.

And the events that are being discussed come, according to Frost, after he claims to have gone to the police in Chester with allegations of sexual abuse by Allen.

For this article Rebecca Television pressed Frost for more information that might help give the date more accurately.

Frost has always maintained that his visit to Chester was around the time of a suicide that happened not far from Bryn Alyn. A former resident called Robert Chapman had committed suicide by jumping from a railway bridge near Bryn Alyn.

Later a letter arrived for him and, because John Allen was away, Frost decided to open it. The letter had strong homosexual overtones. When John Allen returned and discovered that the letter had been opened he went, Frost recalls, “ballistic”.

We checked the date of the Robert Chapman suicide – it was in July 1978. This means that, if Frost’s recollection is correct, his interview with Cheshire police happened several years before Durham police alerted North Wales Police to the suspicious letter they had seized.


Frost also has an extraordinary story about the events that surrounded the censorship that took place in the October 1997 Wales This Week programme about John Allen.

He says that ten days after he was interviewed by the programme-makers, he received a phone call from Detective Inspector Neil McAdam who said he was outside with another officer.

McAdam said they wanted to interview him. Frost says he formed the impression they were from the Tribunal.

He agreed to meet DI McAdam. McAdam and detective constable Karen Lewis took a statement from him.

Frost says he told them what he’d told the television journalists.

By an extraordinary coincidence, this day – 22 October 1997 – was two days before the Wales This Week programme about John Allen was due to be screened and during the period when the Tribunal was expressing concern about the interview with Frost.

Frost says that McAdam and WDC Lewis returned a fortnight later with the statement for him to sign.

But McAdam and Lewis were not employed by the Tribunal.

They were detectives from the North Wales Police. McAdam, in fact, had been involved in the investigation that led to the conviction of John Allen.

In December 2009 Rebecca Television asked McAdam, who is still serving, to confirm he’d interviewed Frost and to explain why he had done so.

A fortnight later McAdam emailed to say the questions were “receiving attention”.

In July 2010, after six months’ silence, we lodged an official complaint against McAdam with the Professional Standards Department of the North Wales Police.

The investigation was carried out by Superintendent Paul Breed of the Western Division.

He said that three days after he received the questions from Rebecca Television, McAdam brought the issue to his Divisional Command Team.

The Divisional Command Team then talked to the senior officers at force HQ in Colwyn Bay “with the suggestion that given the nature of the enquiry DI McAdam should not be the person to respond…”

“It is reasonable,” concluded Breed in his report on the complaint, “that DI McAdam has sought advice and guidance from his line managers expecting that ownership to respond … rest with someone higher within the organisation.”

We  had already written separately about the issue to Chief Constable Mark Polin back in January 2009. He never answered.

We wrote to Gordon Anglesea to ask if he remembered anything about PC Jones’ visit to Bryn Alyn. He didn’t answer.

We wrote to Gerard Elias, QC who was the Tribunal’s main counsel. He did not reply.

We also wrote to Andrew Moran, QC who represented the North Wales Police at the Tribunal. He did not reply.

We wrote to Sir Ronald Waterhouse about the Frost allegations. He told us: “the Tribunal has said all that it could properly say on the evidence before it in its report and that it would be both unwise and inappropriate for me to
comment further.”

SIR RONALD WATERHOUSE The retired High Court judge who chaired the Tribunal. He wouldn't comment on the allegation that the Tribunal had prevented Des Frost from giving evidence.

The retired High Court judge who chaired the Tribunal. He wouldn’t comment on the allegation that Des Frost had been prevented from giving evidence.

At that point, we had not discovered that North Wales Police had interviewed Frost. When we wrote to Sir Ronald about this interview, he did not reply…

We also sent a synopsis of this article to the two other members of the Tribunal: Morris le Fleming and Margaret Clough.

Morris le Fleming told us: “I have no wish to comment on your synopsis. I am not, nor ever have been, a Freemason.”

Margaret Clough said: “Thank you for the courtesy of sending the synopsis but I do not have any comment to make.”


1  This article was first published in 2010, part of a series called The Case of the Flawed Tribunal — other articles in the series will be added at a later date.

2  Events have moved on since this article was published. Last year, David Cameron announced a new child abuse police investigation and ordered a review of the Tribunal, headed by Mrs Justice Macur. Rebecca Television has given two statements to both inquiries.

3  The interview with Des Frost can be seen in the video A Touch of Frost.


© Rebecca Television 2013

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April 8, 2013

HOW OPEN was Winston Roddick QC in last November’s election for North Wales Police Commissioner?

The millionaire barrister won the election — but was it fair and square?

Why didn’t he level with the people of North Wales about his intention to be a part-time commissioner? Was it because the hourly rate for the job just wasn’t good enough?

And why didn’t he tell voters that he had once been a mason in Wales’ most powerful lodge? Was it because he wanted to secure the masonic vote without antagonizing electors opposed to masonry?

And is becoming police commissioner for North Wales part of his campaign to land a knighthood for himself?


The 72-year-old barrister has come under fire for not telling voters that he was planning to be a part-time commissioner.

LAST NOVEMBER the outsider won the election to become the first-ever police commissioner for North Wales.

The favourite had been Tal Michael, son of veteran Welsh Labour stalwart Alun Michael.

Tal Michael had held the £85,000 a year position of chief executive of the old North Wales Police Authority which the coalition government had decided to scrap.

His experience of running the old authority combined with his nomination by the Labour machine in North Wales appeared to give him the edge. Plaid were not fielding a candidate and the Tories never stood a chance.

Things didn’t work out the way the Michael dynasty planned.

While the Father duly took the plum post of South Wales commissioner, the Son was well-beaten by Roddick.

Welsh-speaking Winston Roddick, who was born and raised in Caernarfon and has a home in the town, beat him comfortably with a majority of nearly 10,000 votes.

Labour, not surprisingly, hit back at Roddick after the election for standing as an Independent when he’s always been a Liberal Democrat.

But Roddick’s political leanings would have been known by Tal Michael’s camp and doubtless they made sure electors were well aware of Roddick’s leanings when they went knocking on voters’ doors.

And they may well have brought up the allegation that Roddick’s campaign team attempted to smear Labour’s Paul Flynn in the 1987 General Election. The story is told in Flynn’s book Unusual Suspects.

Roddick was the Liberal candidate in the Newport West constituency when his campaign team circulated a leaflet just before the poll.

It claimed that “Liberals in Newport West believe in campaigning on the issues not the personalities. That is why we have not published the information given to us anonymously by the Conservative Party, that if published, would prove that the Labour candidate, Mr Flynn, is not fit to be an MP.”

Flynn was shaken: “It hit hard. [Leaflets like these] were known locally as ‘yellow perils’. Because of their timing, there was no chance to refute any claims made.”

Flynn later discovered the “information” was based on a 14-year-old press cutting about him being fined for having an out-of-date MOT.

“it was poisonous and imprecise, allowing the voters to invent their own major crime that made me unfit to represent them. The Liberal Candidate, Winston Roddick, subsequently apologised in person for it.”

Flynn won the election comfortably.


Roddick has also come under fire for not declaring that he would not surrender his lucrative legal practice if he was elected.

The Western Mail revealed in November that it had “written evidence that Mr Roddick considers himself to have a general commitment of two to three days a week” as commissioner.

He told chief reporter Martin Shipton: “I am a barrister. If I am instructed as such, I will decide then whether to accept the instructions.”

He said he would work whatever hours were needed to carry out his duties as a commissioner even if that meant working more than a normal working week.

In 2011 Home Secretary Theresa May rejected a recommendation from the Review Body on Senior Salaries that part-time commissioners should receive a reduced salary.

This allowed shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith to make some political hay at Roddick’s expense.

“Did he tell the voters in North Wales that he was only planning to do a couple of days a week and spend the rest of the time working at the Bar? Or was this, like with his political allegiance to the Lib Dems, something he chose to keep quiet about?”

Roddick has strong views about the correct pay for people of his stature.

In 2008 he wrote to the then Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy to complain about the pay of barristers from legal aid.

The government had introduced legal aid reforms which were cutting the pay of barristers, forcing some of them to give up legal aid work.

“There are 350 barristers working in Wales and Chester of which approximately half undertake legal aid work.”

“They work on behalf of some of the most vulnerable members of society and do desperately important work.”

Roddick told reporters: “I think that the government are offering as low as £79 an hour, which you wouldn’t pay to a plumber.”

Roddick is one of those barristers who has undertaken legal aid work. The most up-to-date figure we have for the level of his earnings is for 1996-97 when the Lord Chancellor’s Office released a list of the top 20 earners from legal aid.

Winston Roddick was joint 11th highest earner with a gross fee income of more than £350,000. Some of this income may have covered work done in previous years and Roddick would have had to pay overheads and other costs out of it.

NORTH WALES POLICEFrom his offices at police headquarters in Colwyn Bay, Winston Roddick QC will control a budget of £xxx,xxx and more than 2,000 police and civilian staff.Picture: Barry Davies

From his offices at police headquarters in Colwyn Bay, Winston Roddick QC will control 2,500 police and civilian staff.  Picture: Barry Davies

Even though he said that many barristers were leaving legal aid work because the hourly rate could be as low as £79 back in 2008, he’s now taking up the Police Commissioner role in 2013 when the hourly rate is just £39 an hour — less than half the rate.

No wonder he wanted to continue with his private practice.

The embarrassment over this issue may account for the delay in the appointment of his deputy commissioner. The deputy may find him or herself carrying out a substantial amount of Roddick’s workload when he is busy with more lucrative employment.


ANOTHER THING that didn’t surface during the election was that Roddick had once been a member of the most powerful Freemasons lodge in Wales — Dinas Llandaf, based in Cardiff.

This lodge is where senior, favoured  members of the legal profession come together with some of the most powerful Tories in Wales.

The right-wing Stefan Terlezki, who was MP for Cardiff West from 1983 up until 1987 when Rhodri Morgan took it off him, was a member.

Another member is Gwilym Jones, Tory MP for Cardiff North from 1983 to 1997. Jones was a minister in the Welsh Office from  1992 to 1997.

One of the founders, Sir Norman Lloyd-Edwards, is the current Provincial Grand Master of the South Wales Province.

Roddick told us he resigned in 1997 “whilst I was a Crown Court Recorder because I felt that there was a growing perception amongst members of the public that membership might compromise judicial independence.”

“My view was that not only should I be  independent but that I should also be seen to be so.”

However, this means that his decision to resign was not taken out of opposition to freemasonry.

There is always the suspicion that the departure is motivated by expediency and that the former mason is really still a “brother” at heart.

Critics say you can take the freemason out of his lodge but you can rarely take freemasonry out of the man.

Roddick joined Dinas Llandaf in the 1970s and by 1983 he was lodge master.

In 1998 he was appointed Counsel General to the National Assembly.

His term of office in the £140,000 a year role came to an end in 2003. He did not rejoin Dinas Llandaf.

The attempt to appoint another member of the lodge, Gerard Elias QC, as his replacement as Counsel General was blocked by then First Minister Rhodri Morgan.

During last November’s election for police commissioner, the fact that Roddick was once a mason was not mentioned in his manifesto. The Wikipedia entry on him is also silent on the matter.

During the election for the position of police commissioner of North Wales, freemasonry could easily have played a substantial role.

The masonic province of North Wales covers most of the North Wales Police area.

Today, there are probably around 4-5,000 masons in North Wales and Winston Roddick’s first round lead over Tal Michael was under 3,000 votes.

The silence over his masonic connections probably did him no harm with the police constituency.

Roddick had worked as a police constable in Liverpool and rank and file members would have been attracted by a candidate who had first-hand experience of their jobs.

However, an overwhelming percentage of police officers do not approve of freemasonry which might have persuaded many not to vote for him.

We asked Roddick if the brotherhood had rallied to his cause and secured him the election. He said the question “borders on the fantastic”.

“It is wild and unsupported speculation and falls far below the line of what qualifies as legitimate journalistic comment.”

“I did not attend or address any lodge meetings, informal gatherings of masons at social or any other function, knowingly meet any mason or any official of any lodge at any time before, during or after the campaign.”

“There is one other point I should also like to make clear and I make it so as to demonstrate that you would not be justified in claiming or even suggesting that my historical links with freemasonry was something you uncovered.”

“I made it public on a BBC radio interview in 1999 that I had been a mason and why I had resigned.”

“It was information I had volunteered to those researching the programme. The programme was a highly popular one and the interview was broadcast twice.”


WE ASKED Roddick if his decision to run for police commissioner was motivated by the desire to gain a knighthood.

His previous stint as the National Assembly’s Counsel General in the 1990s garnered him only the gong of Companion of the Order of the Bath.

This afternoon his press officer told us the commissioner was in meetings all day: “Many thanks for the opportunity … , however we will not be responding on this occasion”.

THERE IS more information about Roddick and his membership of Dinas Llandaf in the article Brothers in Silk which is republished today.


© Rebecca Television 2013

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ONE OF North Wales’ most colourful politicians is retiring after more than two decades as a councillor on Anglesey. Councillor Gareth Winston Roberts OBE has a chequered career — he was forced to resign as Leader in the 1990s after the District Auditor delivered a damning indictment of his administration. He recovered to become Leader again in 2006 but was overwhelmed by a planning crisis that saw his coalition swept from power in the 2008 elections. Rebecca Television examines his baleful legacy in Dirty Rotten Scoundrel, OBE.


December 12, 2012

rebecca_6aTHERE WAS a time when governments would announce an official inquiry to kick a crisis into the long grass. After a decent interval the “crisis” would reappear with a brief media flurry around a report which could usually be safely ignored.

The last couple of years have seen a sea change in this age-old political expediency. The Leveson Inquiry, with its televised proceedings dominated by some of the biggest names in British political and cultural life, intensified the crisis over press ethics rather than defused it.

What transformed the phone hacking saga was the Guardian revelation in July 2011 that the News of the World had hacked into the mobile phone of the dead schoolgirl Milly Dowler back in 2002. Up to that single, shocking moment phone hacking had been essentially a media affair.

Then came the ITV Exposure programme in October 2012 which, instantly, shattered the reputation of Sir Jimmy Savile. What was so shocking about Savile, who died in October 2011, was that most of the population shared the view that he was an eccentric character whose lifetime’s charitable work more than made up for his strangeness.

When it was revealed that a planned BBC Newsnight item on child abuse allegations against Savile had been shelved in October 2011, all hell broke loose. The BBC denied the decision was influenced by scheduled tribute programmes to the dead disc jockey planned for the Christmas schedule —  but many were openly sceptical.

“Savilisation” was born — a fear of being accused of any kind of cover-up.


IN NOVEMBER last year, Newsnight broadcast the now notorious item in which abuse victim Stephen Messham was allowed to accuse an unnamed senior Conservative politician of sexually assaulting him while he was in care.

The social network site Twitter swiftly identified the politician as Lord McAlpine who responded to the false accusations by legally pursuing all-and-sundry.

David Cameron moved swiftly to dispel any whiff of cover-up — ever since the phone hacking scandal forced him to dismiss his communications chief and former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, the Prime Minister has been on the defensive in these situations.

Even after it was realised that Stephen Messham had made a mistake, Cameron remained committed to the North Wales inquiries.

These two inquiries have transformed the Rebecca Television (RTV) series The Case of the Flawed Tribunal. When the series was published last year, the response was zero.

Now the situation is reversed. In November, following a question from Paul Flynn in the Commons, the series became headline news on ITV in Wales. (It was largely ignored by BBC Wales but of that more later).

The RTV series will now feature in the two inquiries.

The first of these is a review of child abuse allegations in the 1970s and 1980s, headed by Keith Bristow, director general of the newly-created National Crime Agency. This will focus on allegations that may not have been properly investigated at the time.

The second, a review of the work of the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal, is to be carried out by High Court judge Mrs Justice Macur.

The question is — how deep will the two new inquiries go? In other words, as far as North Wales goes, has the “Savilisation” effect already worn off?

The  government will be sorry they launched these inquiries which, if they had waited just a few days, would never have taken place.

Will they, briefly, go through the motions and come to the conclusion that, after all, everything was done properly?

Hopefully not. Rebecca Television has written to Keith Bristow, the detective in charge of Operation Pallial, which is investigating if child abuse allegations were properly investigated in the 1970s and 1980s.

We’ve also written to Mrs Justice Macur, who’s job is to check that the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal did its job properly.

We want to make sure the Rebecca Television material is considered properly.

But the stakes are high. If Bristow and Macur conclude that there are grounds for a deeper investigation into what happened, the government is going to be faced with a difficult dilemma.

The obvious route is to order another Tribunal to investigate the first Tribunal. The first one cost £14 million — a new one will cost even more.

There’s a precedent, of course — Northern Ireland’s Bloody Sunday. The first Tribunal, under Lord Justice Widgery, was fatally tarred by accusations that it was an exercise designed to clear the SAS of charges that they had killed innocent civilians.

The second Tribunal, under Justice Saville, cost more than £200 million and concluded that the soldiers had, indeed, gunned down unarmed demonstrators.

The Rebecca Television series shows that there are plenty of questions to be answered. When Paul Flynn asked Theresa May if she would read this material, she assured him that police would be looking into these allegations.

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