GORDON ANGLESEA: JUSTICE

November 4, 2016

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

He will spend tonight in a prison cell in Liverpool.

Judge Geraint Walters sentenced him to twelve years in prison.

He told Anglesea:

“You were beyond reproach.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anglesea will appeal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

A spokesman told us:

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

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

There was no reply.

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

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

These ran into several million pounds.

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

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

A spokesman said:

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

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

The Rebecca investigation continues …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He said they would not proceed.

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

He was found not guilty of one charge of rape.

♦♦♦

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

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

1992

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

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

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

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

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

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

1992

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

He was at Bryn Estyn from 1977 to 1979.

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

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

1992

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

He said he was indecently assaulted on only one occasion.

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

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

No oral or anal sex took place.

1994

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

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

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

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

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

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

♦♦♦

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

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

It’s known as the Waterhouse Tribunal.

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

1996

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

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

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

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

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

He later admitted the lie.

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

2000

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

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

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

2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

Howarth died in prison.

PETER HOWARTH : 1992

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

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

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

Kelman said he saw Anglesea with Howarth at Bryn Estyn …

2012

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

The government ordered two new inquiries.

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

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

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

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

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

2013 

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

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

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

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

2015

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

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

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

2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

♦♦♦

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

Assistant Chief Constable Richard Debicki said:

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

He continued:

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

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

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

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

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

It failed to do so.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

♦♦♦

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

The result was the Waterhouse Tribunal, established in 1996.

North Wales Police responded with another conspiracy.

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

And it once again shielded Anglesea.

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

ROYAL Investitures

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

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

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

The Tribunal concluded;

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

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

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

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

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

 

♦♦♦
Published: 4 November 2016
© Rebecca
♦♦♦ 
  

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

♦♦♦

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GORDON ANGLESEA ARRESTED

January 16, 2014

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RETIRED NORTH Wales Police superintendent Gordon Anglesea has been arrested on suspicion of historic physical and sexual assaults against children.

Anglesea was detained at his Colwyn Bay home in December by officers of the National Crime Agency.

He was the 18th person to be arrested as part of Operation Pallial, based at North Wales Police headquarters.

 Operation Pallial was set up by Prime Minister David Cameron in November 2012.

 His decision followed the BBC Newsnight programme which falsely implied that Tory peer Lord McAlpine had abused children in North Wales care homes.

GORDON ANGLESEA The retired police superintendent arrested on suspicion of historic sexual and physical abuse of children in North Wales. Picture: © Daily Mirror

GORDON ANGLESEA
The retired police superintendent arrested on suspicion of historic sexual and physical abuse of children in North Wales.
Picture: © Daily Mirror

ON 12 DECEMBER officers from the National Crime Agency knocked on the door of a house in a quiet suburban street in Old Colwyn on the North Wales coast.

Inside the property they arrested a 76-year-old man and later took him to a police station in Cheshire.

The detectives were part of the Agency’s Operation Pallial team.

They questioned the arrested man about allegations of child abuse dating back to the 1970s and 1980s.

Seven men have alleged that they were sexually or physically abused by the retired police officer in the period 1975 to 1983 when they were between 8 and 16 years of age.

The following day the National Crime Agency, which is in charge of Operation Pallial, said the pensioner had been released on police bail until mid-April.

The Agency would not reveal his identity.

Rebecca Television understands it is Gordon Anglesea.

Between 1975 to 1983 he was a North Wales Police Inspector based in Wrexham.

He served as a policeman for more than 34 years and reached the rank of Superintendent by the time he retired in 1991.

Anglesea is a Rotarian and a Freemason.

Shortly after his arrest last December, he informed his local Rhos on Sea Rotary Club that he had been detained.

Six days after the arrest, on December 20, Rebecca Television rang John Roberts, secretary of the Rhos club.

We told him we were planning to name Anglesea.

Roberts replied that Anglesea had not resigned.

Roberts said the retired police officer had applied for leave of absence and that the request would be considered at the club’s January meeting.

At that meeting, which took place on January 7, Anglesea was given leave of absence until April.

He is a long-standing Rotarian, one of 51,000 members in Britain and Ireland.

He has been President of the Rhos on Sea club on three occasions — 1989-90, 1990-91 and 2007-8.

In 2010 he was the club official in charge of “Youth Service”.

A spokeswoman for Rotary International told Rebecca Television that “while there was a legal process under way, the organisation could not comment.”

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NORTH WALES POLICE
Operation Pallial operated out of the North Wales Police headquarters in Colwyn Bay until it moved to undisclosed National Crime Agency premises.
Picture: Rebecca Television

Anglesea is also a Freemason of more than 30 years standing.

There are 250,000 masons in England and Wales — outnumbering Rotarians 5 to 1.

In 1976 Anglesea joined a masonic lodge in Colwyn Bay.

In 1982 he became a member of Wrexham’s Berwyn lodge.

He left in 1984 to join a new Wrexham lodge called Pegasus becoming its Master in 1990.

The secretary of the North Wales Province of Freemasonry, Peter Sorahan, said:

“In view of the fact that Operation Pallial is an ongoing investigation, it would be inappropriate for me to comment.”

“However”, he added, “I can assure you that if requested by the Police to do so, the Province of North Wales will provide full assistance with their inquiries.”

Masonic HQ, the United Grand Lodge of England based in London, also confirmed it would assist the police if asked.

On January 8 Rebecca Television wrote to Gordon Anglesea informing him that the website intended to reveal that he was the man arrested on December 12.

We asked for a comment.

Royal Mail confirmed delivery of the letter.

There was no reply.

Operation Pallial can be contacted on 0800 118 1199 or by email at operationpallial@nca.x.gsi.gov.uk.


© 
Rebecca Television 2014

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SILENT TO THE GRAVE

December 16, 2013

rebecca_logo_04JUST AFTER the report of the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal was published in 2000, chairman Sir Ronald Waterhouse was told it was seriously flawed.

The retired High Court judge was informed by television journalist Paddy French of allegations that a key witness had been prevented from giving evidence before the Tribunal.

Sir Ronald insisted that the meeting with the journalist — and the correspondence that followed — remain a secret.

It was only with his death in May 2011 that the story of an extraordinary encounter can finally be told.

(This article was originally published in December 2012.)

SIR RONALD WATERHOUSE The retired High Court judge chaired the £14 million North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal. In 2000 he was told of serious allegations that the Tribunal had failed to do its job properly. Whatever he felt about those allegations, he took them to his grave ...

SIR RONALD WATERHOUSE
The retired High Court judge chaired the £14 million North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal. In 2000 he was told of serious allegations that the Tribunal had failed to do its job properly. Whatever he felt about those allegations, he took to his grave …

IN OCTOBER 2000 Sir Ronald Waterhouse agreed to meet Paddy French, then a journalist with the Wales This Week current affairs programme at HTV in Cardiff.

French had asked for an off-the-record briefing from the retired judge but did not specify the issues he wanted to talk about.

The meeting took place at Sir Ronald’s home in the village of Walford near Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire.

Sir Ronald agreed to the discussion, as he put it later, because he wanted “to ease your labours as far as possible in a friendly fashion by providing answers to any queries that you had that could be dealt with quickly.”

But French had not come for a friendly chat — instead over the course of the three-hour meeting he delivered a detailed critique of the work of the Tribunal.

The following year French sent Sir Ronald a long letter summarising the conversation.

Sir Ronald replied the next day.

This article is based on this correspondence.

"Dear Mr French, Thank you for your letter and for sending me the video, which I have watched with great interest ..."  The video was a copy of the 1997 Wales This Week programme that was censored by Tribunal staff. Illustration: Rebecca Television

“Dear Mr French, Thank you for your letter and for sending me the video, which I have watched with great interest …”
The video was a copy of the 1997 Wales This Week programme which was censored by Tribunal staff.
Illustration: Rebecca Television

French had attended the launch of the Tribunal’s report — “Lost in Care” — in February 2000 to report on the event for a Wales This Week special that was broadcast the same evening.

When he had time to read the 937 pages of the report in the days that followed, the television journalist realised a key witness had not been heard.

Three years earlier, when he was an independent television producer, French had been asked by Wales This Week to carry out a financial investigation into the affairs of the privately-owned Bryn Alyn Community in Wrexham.

Its owner John Allen had been gaoled in 1995 for six years for indecently assaulting six boys in his care.

In the course of the investigation, the team tracked down Des Frost, John Allen’s accountant and joint number two.

The story of Des Frost will be familiar to readers — it has already been told in greater detail in the article Silent Witness.

As well as information about the Community’s shambolic financial affairs, Frost also dropped a bombshell.

He told reporters he had reported allegations that John Allen had abused six boys at the home in 1980 — more than ten years before Allen was arrested.

“What he was saying was significant,” says French.

“If it was true and he had reported his suspicions, then Allen could have been brought to justice a full decade before he was gaoled.”

“And a high-profile trial in the early 1980s might have triggered a wider police inquiry.”

Frost had not been interviewed by the Tribunal, which had already begun hearing witnesses in public.

When the Tribunal learnt Wales This Week had interviewed Frost, lawyers threatened programme-makers with contempt proceedings if they broadcast any allegations.

The section of Des Frost’s interview dealing with these allegations was removed from the programme when it was broadcast in 1997.

But when Lost in Care was published in 2000, there was no mention of Des Frost and his allegations.

“I found the disappearance of Frost from the Tribunal  hard to believe,” says French.

Wales This Week had been prevented from telling viewers about the 1980 allegations because it would interfere with the Tribunal’s hearings.”

“We thought that the Tribunal warned us off telling viewers about the allegations because they intended to hear Frost’s evidence.”

“Yet Frost was never called.”

“One of the key conclusions of “Lost in Care” was that the North Wales Police could not be criticised for the way it had handled allegations of abuse.”

“But if Frost was telling the truth and he did report his suspicions, then that conclusion has to be suspect.”

“After the publication of Lost in Care in 2000, I suggested to the Wales This Week team that we should make a programme about Frost but there was little enthusiasm.”

“It was never openly stated, but the Waterhouse report had been a vindication of many of the programmes Wales This Week had made and there was little appetite in making a programme that undermined it.”

DES FROST The former children's home executive claimed he reported allegations of abuse against his boss more than a decade before detectives began to investigate.

DES FROST
The former children’s home executive claimed he reported allegations of abuse against his boss more than a decade before detectives began to investigate.

French began to investigate on his own account.

He spent many hours trawling through the transcripts of the Tribunal at the Cardiff offices of the Wales Office.

By the time he asked Sir Ronald for a meeting, his analysis of shortcomings had widened well beyond Frost and formed the basis of the series of articles that later became The Case of the Flawed Tribunal.

But Frost remained one of the major subjects of the meeting which took place between Sir Ronald and French in October 2000.

After French had laid out his account of Frost, Sir Ronald went out to make a pot of tea.

As the kettle was boiling, he came back and said he wanted to go on the record.

This is the account that French included in the five-page letter he later sent to Sir Ronald on 8 August 2001:

“Obviously our conversation was off the record — although you did go on the record to comment on the allegations made by Des Frost, accountant to the Bryn Alyn Community, that he had gone to the police in 1980.”

“Your position was that the inquiry had the local policeman’s statement: there was no indication Frost knew any more and that there was nothing he could add to the knowledge already gathered by the Tribunal team”.

Sir Ronald received this letter the next morning and his reply was posted that same day.

He was emphatic:

“I am afraid I must insist that the whole of this letter and our previous discussion shall remain confidential.”

"I am afraid

“I am afraid I must insist that the whole of this letter and our previous discussion shall remain confidential.”   Illustration: Rebecca Television

In his reply, Sir Ronald made no comment about going on the record.

“What is significant,” says French, “is that he didn’t deny making the remarks”.

“And it’s not surprising he didn’t want them published,” adds French.

“It was an inadequate response: Wales This Week had broadcast the fact that Des Frost had gone to the police and I am certain that Tribunal staff were well aware of it.”

♦♦♦

THE OTHER major topics of the conversation in October 2000 were Gordon Anglesea and freemasonry.

The background to the discussion is detailed in the articles The Trials of Gordon Anglesea and A Mason-Free Zone?.

Gordon Anglesea is the retired North Wales Police superintendent who was falsely accused of abusing children at the Bryn Estyn home near Wrexham by two newspapers, the magazine Private Eye and HTV in the early 1990s.

In 1994 he won a major libel action with the quartet — he agreed £375,000 in damages and the legal costs took the bill to over £3 million.

Gordon Anglesea had been questioned about suspected child abuse in the major police investigation which took place between 1991 and 1993.

When the Tribunal began its hearings in 1997, one of the most dramatic moments came when the barrister for the North Wales Police revealed that the file sent to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) included a recommendation that the former police officer should be prosecuted.

The CPS decided against prosecution.

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

GORDON ANGLESEA
The retired police superintendent won a major libel case in the 1990s against media organisations who wrongly accused him of abusing young boys at the Bryn Estyn children’s home near Wrexham.
Photo: Rebecca Television

In his letter, Sir Ronald comments on this:

“It is correct that in relation to most individuals investigated the police did not make a recommendation to the CPS either way: the file of evidence was submitted without a recommendation in those cases.”

The defence in the libel action was unaware that North Wales Police had recommended prosecution.

Sir Ronald continues:

“I am not surprised that the police recommendation in respect of Anglesea did not emerge at the civil trial [i.e. the libel proceedings] and it seems to have been assumed that they had not recommended a prosecution.”

He then adds:

“If a sub-poena had been issued in respect of the relevant documents, Crown privilege would have been claimed (i.e. immunity from production) and it is highly doubtful whether the trial judge would have ordered that they should be produced because the issue before the jury was whether the defendants had proved that Anglesea was guilty of child abuse: to that issue the police recommendation was irrelevant in law and might well have prejudiced the jury against him.”

Gordon Anglesea is a freemason and there was a long discussion between French and Sir Ronald about the brotherhood, in particular the relationship between the police officer and the Grand Master of the North Wales Province, Lord Kenyon.

Sir Ronald’s attitude was summed up in his comment:

“I am rather sad now that you are pursuing tedious freemasons and the unhappy deceased Lord Kenyon.”

Sir Ronald said that he himself asked most of the questions about freemasonry — the barristers did not seem to be interested.

(Rebecca Television wrote to most of the leading barristers to ask if they were, or ever had been, freemasons.

None answered.)

One of the things that surprised French was that Sir Ronald was unaware that Lord Kenyon had his own masonic lodge, called Kenyon, based at his home in Gredington near Whitchurch.

Sir Ronald was also blissfully unaware that there was a police lodge in North Wales — Custodes Pacis, based in Llandudno.

French also told him the story of journalist Mark Brittain’s dealings in 1995 with Michael Argent, then chief constable of North Wales Police, over this lodge.

When Brittain met Argent, Argent denied the existence of a police lodge.

So Brittain sent him a photocopy of the lodge’s entry in the masonic yearbook.

Argent replies that, yes, Custodes Pacis does exist — but that the members are all long-retired officers.

Not so, counters Brittain, insisting there are serving members as well.

Argent now comes clean: there are four serving officers in the lodge.

In 1997 Brittain wrote to the clerk of the police authority, Leon Gibson, who was also chief executive of Anglesey County Council.

Gibson, who would not tell Rebecca Television if he is a freemason, replied to Brttain saying that the chief constable had been told by “colleagues” that the lodge did not exist.

In his letter to Sir Ronald, French said:

“You speculated that Argent’s denial may have been based on a desire to keep the existence of the lodge a secret from the Tribunal.’

French asks:

“Will you allow me to say so?”

On this, Sir Ronald was silent.

In his letter French also raises an anecdote that features in Lost In Care.

It was alleged that Kenyon had said he was determined that Gordon Anglesea would be promoted to Superintendent before his retirement.

LORD KENYON  Lloyd Tyrell-Kenyon, the fifth Baron Kenyon, was Grand Master of the Masonic Province of North Wales in the 1980s. The North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal was unaware that a masonic lodge met at his home or that he officiated over the opening of a police lodge in 1984.

LORD KENYON
Lloyd Tyrell-Kenyon, the fifth Baron Kenyon, was Grand Master of the Masonic Province of North Wales in the 1980s. The North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal was unaware that a masonic lodge met at his home or that he officiated over the opening of a police lodge in 1984.

This, the allegation went, was in return for Gordon Anglesea’s alleged light treatment of Kenyon’s son when he was in trouble with the police.

Police could find no evidence to support the allegation of preferential treatment of Kenyon’s son.

The Tribunal concluded that the story was a “malicious rumour.”

But there is evidence that Lord Kenyon did attend a police function and expressed surprise that Gordon Anglesea had not been promoted.

The Tribunal should have known about it because its own witness interviewing team had been to see the source of it — retired Police Federation official Harry Templeton.

But Templeton’s evidence was never heard by the Tribunal.

Once again, Sir Ronald was silent on this point when he replied, insisting that  he was “ … fully satisfied on the evidence available to me that neither freemasonry nor Lord Kenyon had any influence on the fate of Anglesea or anyone else in relation to child abuse.”

During the meeting with French, there was also a discussion about the role of Gerard Elias, QC as lead counsel for the Inquiry.

Elias is a member of one of the most powerful lodges in South Wales, Dinas Llandaf.

Sir Ronald did not accept that Elias was a prominent freemason:

“He is, of course, prominent in other respects but not as a freemason. He gave the Tribunal full details of his desultory membership and of his non-relationship with Gwilym Jones.”

Tory MP Gwilym Jones, also a member of Dinas Llandaf, was a Welsh Office minister when the Tribunal was established in 1996.

When Rebecca Television published The Case of the Flawed Tribunal in 2011 and 2012, the only comment carried from Sir Ronald was the one he insisted on in a later letter he wrote in April 2002:

“As far as I am concerned, I am content that you should say that you had put to me the substance of your research but that I had stated that the Tribunal had 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.”

The Welsh Assembly Member met Sir Ronald Waterhouse at a function in 2006.

MARK ISHERWOOD
Welsh Assembly member Mark Isherwood met Sir Ronald Waterhouse at a function at the Welsh Senedd building in 2006: “He told me quite clearly that he now accepted that documentation had been withheld from the Tribunal which he chaired.” Photo: Mark Isherwood

French accepted the retired judge’s conditions.

“I agreed because I suspected he was the only person who could really help with this inquiry,” said French.

“I hoped that he would have made an entry in his diary or have left a detailed note for me after he died.”

“Sadly, when I contacted his widow after a decent interval had elapsed, she told me there was no such entry or note.”

Whatever he knew and whatever he felt, Sir Ronald Waterhouse took to the grave.

ragout_01

♦♦♦ 

© Rebecca Television 2012 & 2013

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THE MESSHAM INTERVENTION

November 13, 2013

rebecca_logo_04THE JOURNALISTIC nightmare which engulfed the BBC over the handling of child abuse allegations in North Wales has catapulted the Rebecca Television series The Case of the Flawed Tribunal into the limelight.

In November 2012 the Newsnight programme allowed Stephen Messham to falsely accuse Lord McAlpine of abusing children in North Wales.

There was plenty of evidence that Stephen Messham is a damaged character whose testimony required careful evaluation.  

But the BBC’s mistake has made it possible for the Rebecca Television investigation to be taken seriously.

David Cameron’s decision to launch an  inquiry means the allegations outlined in The Case of the Flawed Tribunal will be considered by a High Court judge.

(This article was originally published last December.)

STEPHEN MESSHAM

STEPHEN MESSHAM
Photographed in 2000 holding a copy of the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal report, Messham was described in its pages as “severely damaged psychologically”.
Photo: Phil Noble / PA

HOW WAS it that Stephen Messham — a man “severely damaged psychologically” —  was allowed to accuse a senior Tory politician of child abuse on a  national current affairs programme when those same allegations had been dismissed as unreliable twenty years earlier?

Messham, the 49-year-old former resident of the Bryn Estyn children’s home near Wrexham, was the key witness in the BBC’s now notorious early November edition of Newsnight about child abuse in North Wales.

Messham claimed he’d been sexually abused by a senior Tory politician while he was in care.

Newsnight did not identify the man but a frenzy of speculation on the internet meant that Lord McAlpine was quickly — and falsely — “outed” as the alleged abuser.

A week later Messham saw a photograph of Lord McAlpine and declared he was not the man who had abused him.

The media firestorm that followed this disastrous broadcast forced the BBC’s newly-appointed Director General, former Newsnight editor George Entwistle, to resign.

It also cost the editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Iain Overton, his job.

It was the Bureau’s lead reporter Angus Stickler, a former BBC journalist, who came up with the idea for Newsnight and he presented the item.

On the morning of the broadcast, Overton tweeted:

“If all goes well we’ve got a Newsnight out tonight about a very senior political figure who is a paedophile”.

The night before Overton had attended an Oxford University Union debate where Channel 4 News reporter Michael Crick, himself a former Newsnight journalist, asked him if the unidentified politician was McAlpine.

The Observer quotes Overton as saying: “Well, you said it.”

On the day of the broadcast, Michael Crick spoke to Lord McAlpine who denied that he was involved in child abuse — and said he would sue if he was named.

Newsnight did not contact the politician because it decided not to name him.

So why did Stickler, an experienced reporter who won the Sony Radio Academy Award for the best news journalist in 2006, make such an elementary mistake?

LORD McALPINE The Tory peer was faslely accused of child abuse by Stephen Messham on Newsnight. He

LORD McALPINE
The Tory peer falsely accused of child abuse by Stephen Messham on BBC Newsnight. He wasn’t named in the item but quickly identified on the internet. He brought successful actions against many media outlets.  Photo: PA

After all, there has to be a good reason why such a serious allegation had never been reported by a mainstream newspaper or broadcaster in more than two decades.

That reason was simple — journalists could find no evidence that justified publication.

The only title that did accuse Lord McAlpine was the magazine Scallywag — and Scallywag was never taken seriously.

In addition, there is plenty of easily accessible material about Stephen Messham’s tragic life.

Take Lost In Care, the report of the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal chaired by Sir Ronald Waterhouse.

In its pages, Stephen Messham is identified as “witness B”.

This is what the report said about “witness B”:

“We are satisfied that B has suffered a long history of sexual abuse before, during and after his period in care and, to a significant extent until he left care, of physical abuse.”

“As a result he has been, and remains, severely damaged psychologically: he has been greatly affected also by the sudden death of his young wife in very sad circumstances …”

“A major problem is that the damage is reflected in B’s personality in such a way that he presents himself as an unreliable witness by the standards that an ordinary member of a jury is likely to apply.”

“Thus, he is highly sensitive to any criticism and explosive in his reactions …”

“He has been described also as manipulative and there are many matters on which he is particularly vulnerable in cross-examination.”

Lord McAlpine is not the only figure Stephen Messham has falsely accused of serious sexual offences.

He was one of three witnesses who appeared in the 1994 libel action brought by former North Wales Police superintendent Gordon Anglesea against Private Eye, The Observer, the Independent on Sunday and the broadcaster HTV.

See the article The Trials of Gordon Anglesea for the full details of the case.

Stephen Messham is not named in this report but he is the witness who collapsed in the dock.

He was cross-examined about inconsistencies in his evidence.

A jury found by a majority 10-2 verdict that Gordon Anglesea had been wrongly accused.

Damages of £375,000 were agreed.

Another publication where Stephen Messham’s approach to evidence is highlighted is Richard Webster’s 2005 book The Secret of Bryn Estyn.

Here Messham is given the alias “Lee Steward”.

Webster tells the story of how Messham was approached several times about Gordon Anglesea by the freelance journalist Dean Nelson.

Messham complained to the police that Nelson was harassing him.

In a statement he said “ … I would like to say that at no time did Gordon Anglesea ever sexually abuse me.”

It was only later that Messham made statements claiming he’d been abused by Anglesea.

There was, then, plenty of evidence that Stephen Messham’s testimony should be treated with caution.

♦♦♦

WHEN STEPHEN Messham finally admitted he’d made a mistake about Lord McAlpine, there was a danger the government would call off the two inquiries into the North Wales scandal.

But in the highly charged political atmosphere that existed in the wake of the Jimmy Savile affair, David Cameron and the Cabinet decided that they must go ahead.

THERESA MAY The Home Secretary told Paul Flynn MP in the House of Commons that the Rebecca Television allegations would be investigated. Photo: PA

THERESA MAY
The Home Secretary told Paul Flynn MP in the House of Commons last November that the Rebecca Television allegations would be investigated.  Photo: PA

They are a review of the Waterhouse Tribunal by High Court judge Mrs Justice Macur and an investigation of new allegations of child abuse in the 1970s and 1980s by the director of the National Crime Agency, Keith Bristow.

Rebecca Television (RTV) is already a participant in these inquiries and has made several statements to both.

In addition, editor Paddy French met with Mrs Justice Macur at the Royal Courts of Justice earlier this year.

Before Messham’s intervention, the series of articles published as The Case of the Flawed Tribunal by RTV were totally ignored by the media.

Now the allegations are likely to be tested.

The most important of the failures of the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal highlighted by the series is the treatment of Des Frost, the number two at the privately-owned Bryn Alyn complex of children’s homes near Wrexham.

Frost’s boss John Allen was gaoled for six years in 1995 for abusing boys in his care.

Briefly, Frost claimed he had reported allegations of abuse against Allen in 1980 — more than ten years before Allen was arrested.

He said that he asked detectives from Cheshire Constabulary to pass on his concerns to police in Wrexham.

(The full story can be found in the article Silent Witness.)

During the period when the Tribunal was taking evidence, in 1997, the HTV programme Wales This Week interviewed Frost about these allegations.

The Tribunal found out and threatened programme-makers with contempt if details of the allegations were broadcast.

They were removed.

But Frost was not called as a witness and his evidence  was never investigated.

Rebecca Television believes this was a major flaw in the Tribunal’s deliberations.

As a result, the Tribunal conclusion — “there was no significant omission by the North Wales Police in investigating the complaints of abuse to children in care” — is suspect.

Police visited Frost shortly after he was interviewed by HTV and took a statement from him.

In 2011 we wrote to the North Wales Police officer who carried out this interview — Detective Chief Inspector Neil McAdam — to ask what happened to this statement.

McAdam discussed this letter with his superiors who, after discussions with police HQ in Colwyn Bay, told him not to answer.

Rebecca Television complained about the lack of a reply.

The investigation that followed cleared McAdam because he’d been instructed not to reply — “ownership to respond” rested with “someone higher within the organisation”.

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

He did not reply.

In October 2011 we also wrote to then Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan asking her to intervene.

QUESTION TIME The  former Welsh Secretary did not answer a letter from Rebecca Television asking her to appoint a barrister to examine allegations that the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal had not done its job properly.
Photo: PA.

QUESTION TIME
The former Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan (on the right) did not answer a letter from Rebecca Television asking her to appoint a barrister to examine allegations that the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal had not done its job properly.
The Tribunal had been launched in 1996 by William Hague (on the left) when he was Welsh Secretary. Last autumn  David Cameron launched an inquiry into the work of the Tribunal — not by a barrister but by a High Court judge.   Photo: PA.

The letter asked her to “appoint a suitably independent barrister to examine the Rebecca Television allegations.”

Gillan never answered the letter.

She passed it on to the Home Office where a press officer replied:

“Any concerns you have should be addressed to the chief officer (i.e. the chief constable) and not the Home Office. The Home Office has no power to intervene or act on your behalf.”

A year after Rebecca Television wrote to the Welsh Secretary, the North Wales child abuse scandal is not being investigated by a barrister as we requested — but by a High Court judge and the head of the National Crime Agency.

 ♦♦♦

NOTES

1
This article was first published on the old RTV website in December last year.

2
The timeline of last autumn’s events is as follows:

Wednesday, October 3
ITV’s Exposure programme “The Other Side of Jimmy” demolishes Sir Jimmy Savile’s reputation.
It emerges that the BBC Newsnight programme shelved a similar programme the previous December — allegations are made that the decision was influenced by the BBC’s planned Xmas tributes to Savile, who died in October 2011.
The row engulfs the upper echelons of the BBC including George Entwistle, a former Newsnight editor, who had just been appointed Director-General.

Friday, November 2
Iain Overton, editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, tweets:
“If all goes well we’ve got a Newsnight out tonight about a very senior political figure who is a paedophile”.
The Newsnight report, fronted by Angus Stickler of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, interviews Stephen Messham who claims he was sexually abused by an unnamed senior Conservative politician.

The former politician is later widely identified on the internet by public figures — including Sally Bercow, wife of the Speaker of the House of Commons, and Guardian columnist George Monbiot — as Lord McAlpine, former Tory party treasurer and a key supporter of Margaret Thatcher.

Monday, November 5 
David Cameron, on an official visit to the Middle East, announces two inquiries into the child abuse scandal in North Wales.
One would be into the way North Wales Police handled child abuse allegations in the 1970s and 1980s.

The second would be into the conduct of the 1996-2000 Waterhouse Inquiry by High Court judge, Lady Macur.

Tuesday, November 6 
Stephen Messham meets Welsh Secretary David Jones.
Home Secretary Theresa May makes a statement in the House of Commons on the North Wales child abuse scandal.
In the debate that follows, Newport West Labour MP Paul Flynn makes the following point:
“I ask the right hon. Lady to look not only at the fresh evidence but at the evidence that was available at the time and that was almost certainly suppressed by powerful people.”
“Will she look at the evidence produced by Paddy French and the Rebecca Television website on an edition of the Wales This Week that was never broadcast?”
This was Theresa May’s reply:
“The police investigations will look at the evidence that was available at the time in these historical abuse allegations, and at whether the evidence was properly investigated and whether avenues of inquiry were not pursued that should have been followed up and that could have led to prosecutions.”
“I can therefore say to the hon. Gentleman that the police will, indeed, be looking at that historical evidence. That is part of the job they will be doing.”

Wednesday, November 7 
Messham’s story begins to unravel:  Guardian reporter David Leigh uncovers “inconsistencies” in his story.

Thursday, November 8 
Philip Schofield, presenter of ITV’s This Morning programme, hands a briefly visible list of alleged abusers to David Cameron during a live interview.
ITV later disciplines 3 members of staff but does not say who they are or what their punishment is.
The company ends up paying Lord McAlpine compensation of £125,000.

Friday, November 9 
Guardian suggests the identification of Lord McAlpine is a case of “mistaken identity” because Messham told the Waterhouse Tribunal that the McAlpine who allegedly abused him was dead.
Guardian says it had asked Messham to comment on the Wednesday and Thursday but he had declined.
Later the same day Messham issues a statement saying the man in the Newsnight programme is not Lord McAlpine.
“After seeing a picture of the individual concerned in the past hour, this (is) not the person I identified by a photograph presented to me by the police in the early 1990s, who told me the man in the photograph was Lord McAlpine”.
BBC issues “unreserved” apology for broadcasting the item.
All investigations at Newsnight suspended and Corporation stops co-productions “across the BBC” with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
BBC Director Scotland Ken MacQuarrie drafted in to prepare a report.
McAlpine issues statement saying he will issue libel writs.
Subsequently, the BBC pays him £185,000 in damages.

Saturday, November 10 
BBC Director General George Entwistle resigns with a £450,000 pay-off.

Tuesday, November 12
Bureau of Investigative Journalism editor Iain Overton resigns.
Angus Stickler, the Bureau’s lead reporter, “steps aside” while an urgent investigation takes place — he later resigns from the organisation.

♦♦♦

© Rebecca Television 2012 & 2013

DONATIONS  If you would like to support the work of Rebecca Television, you can do so by clicking on the DONATE button.

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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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THE TRIALS OF GORDON ANGLESEA

November 11, 2013

rebecca_logo_04

GORDON ANGLESEA, the former North Wales Police superintendent, is an enigma.

On the one hand he won a famous libel action which saw some of the country’s biggest media companies pay£375,000 in damages for falsely accusing him of sexually abusing young boys.

On the other, he was an important character in the events which led up to the decision to set up the north Wales Child Abuse Tribunal in 1996.

He was a senior police officer and a freemason in a situation where critics were alleging that the police were covering up child abuse, some of which was laid at the door of freemasons.

The Tribunal could find no evidence that would have persuaded the libel trial jury to change its mind.

But its three members expressed “considerable disquiet” about some of the evidence Anglesea gave when he appeared before them.

And now a Rebecca Television investigation reveals that the judge in his libel action also shares that “considerable disquiet”.

GORDON ANGLESEA The North Wales Police superintendent won a major libel case against journalists who accused him of abusing young boys at the Bryn Estyn children's home outside Wrexham.  Photo: Rebecca Television

GORDON ANGLESEA
The North Wales Police superintendent won a major libel case against journalists who accused him of abusing young boys at the Bryn Estyn children’s home outside Wrexham.
Photo: Rebecca Television

WHEN RETIRED police superintendent Gordon Anglesea walked into Court 13 of the Royal Courts of Justice in November 1994 he was entering one of the most dramatic rooms in British justice.

This is the cockpit where some of the country’s most celebrated libel trials have been played out.

They include the Jonathan Aitken and Jeffrey Archer cases.

The 57-year-old Anglesea was in Court 13 because he had sued two national newspapers, The Observer and the Independent on Sunday, the magazine Private Eye and HTV, the holder of the ITV franchise in Wales.

His legal costs were underwritten by the Police Federation.

Anglesea claimed the four defendants had accused him of being a child abuser during visits he made to the Bryn Estyn children’s home just outside Wrexham.

The judge, Sir Maurice Drake, was a veteran of many libel actions.

Like Gordon Anglesea, he was a freemason, but he declared that they were members of the same organisation at the start of the trial.

He retired in 1995, the year after the trial.

He told Rebecca Television about his memories of the case.

“For about five years as the Judge in charge of the civil jury list,” he said, “I tried a very, very large number of defamation cases. Many of them did not make any lasting impression on me; but others did and none more so than that of Supt Anglesea.”

Sir Maurice Drake, the judge in Anglesea’s dramatic libel action, unusually answered questions about the case when Rebecca Television wrote to him. Photo: © Photoshop

Sir Maurice Drake, the judge in Anglesea’s dramatic libel action, unusually answered questions about the case when Rebecca Television wrote to him.
Photo: © Photoshop

Appearing before Sir Maurice was Gareth Williams, the Welsh QC representing Anglesea.

Williams was ennobled by Neil Kinnock as Lord Williams of Mostyn, and later became Attorney General.

He was to die suddenly in 2003 when he was Leader of the House of Lords.

The QC acting for Private Eye, The Observer and the Independent On Sunday was Britain’s best known libel barrister, George Carman.

He died in 2001.

It had all started three years earlier.

In December 1991 — eight months after Anglesea retired from the North Wales Police — the Independent On Sunday wrote about the police investigation into allegations of child abuse at the Bryn Estyn children’s home in North Wales.

The front page article stated:

“According to former residents of Bryn Estyn, Gordon Anglesea, a former senior North Wales police officer, was a regular visitor there.”

“He recently retired suddenly without explanation.”

One of the authors of the article, Dean Nelson, later claimed that this reference was not intended to imply that Anglesea was involved in child abuse.

Anglesea immediately went to his solicitor who wrote to the paper demanding an apology with damages.

The Independent On Sunday refused.

As a result of this article, the North Wales Police decided to investigate Gordon Anglesea as part of its broad-ranging inquiry into child abuse in North Wales headed by Superintendent Peter Ackerley.

The journalist Dean Nelson was sent back to North Wales to see if there were any witnesses who would testify against Anglesea.

Next into the frame was The Observer.

In September 1992 the paper stated:

“A former police chief has been named as a prime suspect in the North Wales sexual abuse scandal, police sources in the region confirmed last night…”

“The ex-police chief is due to be questioned this week as evidence emerges that staff in some children’s homes ‘lent’ children to convicted paedophiles for week-ends.”

When the North Wales child abuse inquiry investigated the latter claim, in the late 1990s, it concluded there was no evidence of children being farmed out to abusers.

The Observer did not name Anglesea but it was clear from the context that the reference could only refer to him.

The paper made similar comments in subsequent editions.

By this time Dean Nelson had found two former Bryn Estyn children who were prepared to testify they had been abused by the police officer.

BRYN ESTYN This building just outside Wrexham used to be the Bryn Estyn children’s home. Gordon Anglesea was accused of abusing children at the home. Photo: Barry Davies

BRYN ESTYN
This building just outside Wrexham used to be the Bryn Estyn children’s home where Gordon Anglesea was accused of abusing residents. Bryn Estyn closed in 1984.
Photo: Barry Davies / Rebecca Television

In September 1992 the HTV programme Wales This Week broadcast interviews with the two men, one identified, the other unnamed and filmed in silhouette.

The programme was watched by another former Bryn Estyn resident.

He told a BBC researcher that Anglesea had abused him and later agreed to give evidence against the former superintendent.

Finally, Private Eye entered the fray in January 1993 with an article based on research from the freelance journalist Brian Johnson-Thomas.

This article claimed Anglesea had investigated allegations against the son of the North Wales politician Lord Kenyon.

Lord Kenyon was a magistrate, a member of the North Wales Police Authority and the Grand Master of the North Wales Province of freemasonry.

Anglesea was also a freemason.

The allegations were made by one of the three men who claimed Anglesea had abused them.

The Waterhouse Tribunal also investigated this issue — and said it could find no evidence that Anglesea had ever been involved in the investigation of the allegation.

In 1993 or 1994 Superintendent Peter Ackerley, the officer heading the police investigation into child abuse at Bryn Estyn and other children’s homes across North Wales, sent a report about Anglesea to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Ackerley recommended prosecution on the grounds that there was more than one witness claiming Anglesea had abused them.

His decision was to remain secret for many years.

The CPS decided not to charge the retired superintendent.

♦♦♦

WHEN SIR Maurice Drake started proceedings in Court 13 on 14 November 1994, neither he nor the defendants were aware police had recommended that Anglesea be prosecuted.

Anglesea was the plaintiff, the defendants were the four media organisations who pleaded justification, that is that their reports were true.

Libel actions are unusual.

Normally whoever brings a case – the state in criminal prosecutions or the plaintiff in civil actions – has to prove their case.

The burden of proof does not lie with the defendants.

In libel it’s the other way round — all the plaintiff, in this case Anglesea, has to do is to prove that his reputation has suffered as a result of the coverage.

He does not have to prove his innocence.

Since the defendants pleaded justification, they had to prove that he was guilty of sexually assaulting young boys.

Gordon Anglesea gave his evidence at the start of the case.

He was easily able to demonstrate the damage that had been done to his life and reputation by the accusations of being a child abuser.

His wife Sandra also gave evidence.

She said that up to the media reports she and her husband had enjoyed a normal sex life.

At the time when the sexual assaults were alleged to have taken place their sex life was normal.

The defendants brought the three men who claimed they’d been abused by Anglesea into the witness-box.

One of them was a resident of Bryn Estyn in 1980 and 1981.

He claimed to have been indecently assaulted by Anglesea on one occasion and then buggered by him on another.

He also claimed to have been assaulted frequently by Peter Howarth who, he said, knew Anglesea well.

(Howarth had been the home’s deputy principal.

Five months before Anglesea’s libel action started, he was gaoled for ten years for abusing boys at Bryn Estyn.)

Lord Williams was able to do considerable damage to the credibility of this witness by pointing out inconsistencies between several of his statements and variations in his accounts of the assaults.

Another witness was a resident of Bryn Estyn in the late 1970s.

He said he had anal and oral sex with Anglesea on several occasions.

He also claimed to have been buggered by Howarth between a dozen and two dozen times.

He too insisted that Anglesea and Howarth knew one another.

This witness was allowed to take tranquillisers while he was giving evidence and the jury were informed.

However, he collapsed in the dock and proceedings had to be halted for him to be given medical treatment.

Lord Williams was able to undermine his testimony by highlighting inconsistencies, including an early denial in a police interview that he had been abused by Anglesea.

He also made much of the fact that he had been paid £4,500 by Private Eye in settlement of an alleged libel before he would agree to testify against Anglesea.

LORD WILLIAMS, QC Lord Williams of Mostyn, Anglesea’s barrister, was able to undermine the credibility of the witnesses against his client.  Photo: © Photoshop

LORD WILLIAMS, QC
Lord Williams of Mostyn, Anglesea’s barrister, was able to undermine the credibility of the witnesses against his client.
Photo: © Photoshop

The final witness was a resident at Bryn Estyn in 1981 and 1982.

He claimed that he had caddied for Howarth about half a dozen times and had been introduced to Anglesea.

He alleged that Howarth and Anglesea played with his private parts while he was in Howarth’s flat at Bryn Estyn.

Lord Williams pointed out that he did not name Anglesea in his police statements.

He also made much of the fact that the witness had a serious drink and drug problem.

Lord Williams challenged all three witnesses to admit that they had fabricated their accounts.

All three insisted they were telling the truth.

The judge in the trial, Sir Maurice Drake, has told Rebecca Television about his memories of what happened during the fifteen days of hearings.

He started by saying “the trial took place many years ago and without refreshing my memory with the full transcript of evidence I am cautious about making comments about the case.”

But he added:

“One thing which I still have a very clear recollection of is the splendid advocacy of George Carman for the defence and Lord Williams of Mostyn for the plaintiff.”

“Although George Carman displayed all his usual skills with the jury he was, on this occasion, outshone by Gareth Williams.”

“Without Lord Williams’ advocacy I think it very possible indeed that the jury would have found for the defendants — and meeting both of them socially I told each of them that view.”

♦♦♦

ALTHOUGH LORD Williams had damaged the defendants’ witnesses this was not fatal.

Anyone who had been abused as a child and who never received a proper education was likely to be a witness with many difficulties.

Unless clear-cut forensic evidence is available, an allegation of child abuse is normally a closed issue and only the accuser and the accused can know what the truth is.

This means that other circumstantial evidence, which can be tested, becomes important.

In Anglesea’s action, there were two categories of these.

The first was the number of times he’d been to Bryn Estyn, the children’s home near Wrexham where the abuse is alleged to have taken place.

The second was whether he knew Peter Howarth, the deputy principal of Bryn Estyn, who had been convicted of child abuse at the home five months before the libel action began.

The defendants’ case was that Anglesea had been at the home on more occasions than he admitted to and that he was on friendly terms with Peter Howarth.

PETER HOWARTH Peter Howarth, the deputy principal of Bryn Estyn, was convicted of abusing children at the home five months before the libel action began. He was given a ten year gaol sentence for abusing seven Bryn Estyn boys over a ten year period. Photo: Press Association

PETER HOWARTH
Peter Howarth, the deputy principal of Bryn Estyn, was convicted of abusing children at the home five months before the libel action began. He was given a ten-year gaol sentence for abusing seven Bryn Estyn boys over a decade. He died in prison.
Photo: Press Association

Anglesea insisted he did not know Howarth and that the number of visits he listed were the only occasions he’d been to the home.

Anglesea was a uniform police inspector in Wrexham and came into contact with Bryn Estyn boys in 1979 when he was appointed to run the Wrexham Attendance Centre.

This was a Home Office initiative where magistrates could sentence boys to spend a couple of hours on a Saturday.

Then in 1980 he took over the area which included Bryn Estyn.

He was still in charge when Bryn Estyn closed in 1984.

When he was contacted by the Independent on Sunday journalist Dean Nelson, Anglesea said he had only ever been to Bryn Estyn twice for Christmas dinners.

When his solicitors wrote to the newspaper a few days later, they said that he’d been to the home on one other occasion, making three in all.

By the time he was interviewed by police in January 1992, a month after the Independent on Sunday article, the number of visits had grown to four.

As well as the two Christmas dinners and one in connection with the non-attendance at the Wrexham Attendance Centre of a boy from the home, he now remembered another.

“I can only recall visiting Bryn Estyn to caution a boy on one occasion at the request of the principal because of staffing difficulties.”

“Normally boys would attend at the police station and cautioning duties were shared with other Inspectors.”

By the time he submitted his Proof of Evidence for the libel action, in March 1994, he had been allowed to inspect his pocket books.

These dated from September 1980 — earlier ones had been destroyed in line with force policy.

He said: “I do not recall having any contact at all with Bryn Estyn before September 1980 and indeed I can think of no reason why I should have done so.”

He said his pocketbooks showed that he had given seven cautions at Bryn Estyn.

In addition, he said he had also visited the home on two other occasions on official police business.

He was always in uniform and he had never gone upstairs where Howarth’s flat was located.

With the two Christmas dinners, when he was not in uniform, that made a total of 11 visits to Bryn Estyn.

However, defence lawyers noticed that from March 1983 to February 1984 Anglesea’s notebook entries became brief with little detail beyond the times he was on duty.

Anglesea later explained this by saying it was caused by grief at the death of his four-year-old daughter in May 1983 which resulted in “a departure from my normally meticulous record-keeping.”

♦♦♦

THE SECOND area of circumstantial evidence was whether he had known Peter Howarth, the deputy principal of Bryn Estyn.

One of the men who claimed he had been abused by Anglesea, gave evidence that Howarth had introduced him to Anglesea on a golf course in Wrexham.

In July 1994, five months before the libel trial started, Howarth was sentenced to 10 years in gaol at Chester Crown Court.

He was found guilty of one count of buggery and seven offences of indecent assault on seven Bryn Estyn boys between 1974 and 1984.

One of these boys, Simon Birley, hanged himself from a tree in May the following year.

Howarth was to die in prison of a heart attack in April 1997.

In his Proof of Evidence for the libel action Anglesea was categorical about his knowledge of Howarth.

“He was not personally known to me. I have never played golf with him.”

“Indeed I last played golf in about 1968 when I disposed of my clubs.”

“I may have spoken to him on the telephone relating to the Attendance Centre.”

“If I ever met him, it has not registered, and I cannot recall him in any way.”

The defendants called two witnesses about this issue.

The first was Joyce Bailey, a part-time house-mother at Bryn Estyn between 1981 and 1984, and the wife of a police constable who had served in Wrexham.

She said Anglesea was a regular visitor to the home in an official capacity.

She remembered seeing him in casual clothes only once when he arrived in his own car.

He got out, took some golf clubs from the back of the car and gave them to Howarth.

The second was Michael Bradley, a senior probation officer, who had spent three months at Bryn Estyn in the late summer of 1980 while on a course.

He was the ex-husband of an executive at HTV who was not involved in the libel action.

He gave evidence that he was at the home one night around nine in the evening when he saw Howarth and Anglesea enter the building.

Howarth introduced him to Anglesea as a good friend of Bryn Estyn and the two men then climbed the stairs.

He said that he did not know Anglesea but recognised him when he saw pictures of him in the early 1990s.

But there is one witness who did not give evidence.

He was Ian Kelman, a retired police inspector who served in Wrexham at the same time as Anglesea.

In a signed statement, a copy of which Rebecca Television has obtained, he said that between 1975 and 1980 he was a detective sergeant at Wrexham and regularly visited Bryn Estyn in the course of his duties.

He says he saw Anglesea on at least two occasions, once in a corridor when Kelman was interviewing one of the boys.

This was during a period for most of which Anglesea claimed he’d never been anywhere near Bryn Estyn.

Kelman remembered the first incident well:

“A member of staff opened the door into the room where I was and I saw Gordon with him in the corridor.”

“It did not strike me as unusual. I got the feeling that the man was looking for somewhere to talk to him.”

“I didn’t speak to Gordon. He was in uniform.”

“The other time I saw him was in the car park outside the home.”

“He was either getting in or out of a car. It was as I was leaving.”

“At this time Gordon was a town Inspector.”

Kelman also says that Anglesea must have known Howarth:

“Any police officer who had contact with Bryn Estyn would know him.”

“Howarth always seemed to be around.”

“Any police officer going there would be there for a reason. You couldn’t just walk into the home.”

“A senior member of staff would want to know the reason for your being there.”

“More often than not, that senior member of staff would be Peter Howarth.”

But Kelman did not give evidence.

Rebecca Television spoke to him and he said he “was suffering from severe mental depression at the time.”

So his statement was never subjected to cross-examination at the libel trial.

Kelman was not invited to appear as a witness at the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal and so his evidence was not tested there either.

♦♦♦

THE DEFENDANTS also tried to undermine Anglesea’s credibility about the reason for his sudden decision to resign early in 1991.

In his Proof of Evidence he stated that he retired in April 1991 even though he could have gone on his full pension much earlier.

“I eventually retired after 34.5 years.”

“I had been diagnosed as a diabetic and had lost the sight in one eye. I therefore decided to take my pension.”

During cross-examination George Carman QC asked him if he had been interviewed by the then Chief Constable David Owen on 13 March 1991.

“No, sir,” replied Anglesea.

Carman asked if he’d gone to the chief’s office that day and Anglesea again said “No, sir.”

“Well,” said Carman, “I am suggesting to you that on the 13th March 1991 you were interviewed by the chief constable about your travelling expenses.”

“No, sir,” replied Anglesea.

Carman then asked if he had been interviewed by anyone else.

“Well, yes, by the assistant chief constable.”

It then emerged that he was told he would have to be suspended while an investigation took place into his expenses.

GEORGE CARMAN, QC George Carman, who represented the London media in the case, was the most famous libel barrister of his day. He cross-examined Gordon Anglesea. Photo: © Photoshop

GEORGE CARMAN, QC
George Carman, who represented the London media in the case, was the most famous libel barrister of his day. He cross-examined Gordon Anglesea.
Photo: © Photoshop

Anglesea claimed the amount involved was trivial and that he decided to resign immediately rather than be suspended in a manner which he felt was unjust.

In his final address to the jury Carman said:

“Well that took a long time to come out, didn’t it?”

“That’s hiding it, trying to avoid it, that shows he’s not quite the frank man he would have you believe.”

In his summing up, Sir Maurice Drake told the jury about the difference between libel actions and criminal cases.

In criminal cases, a jury has to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt before a guilty verdict can be reached.

In a libel action, the verdict is based on the balance of probabilities.

However, he added that the balance of the scales depended on the gravity of the alleged libel.

“The more serious the charge, the further down the scales have to go.”

“So in this case, where the charge against Gordon Anglesea is just about as serious as you could consider, the evidence required to prove the Defendants’ case must be that much stronger.”

After nine hours of deliberations, the jury found for Anglesea by 10 votes to 2.

Looking back on the case, Sir Maurice told Rebecca Television:

“In my view the evidence was very finely balanced.”

“My summing up was, I believe, absolutely free of any indication of what I felt the verdict should be.”

“I would not have been surprised if the jury had found for the defendants.”

“I believe that it was the evidence of Mrs Anglesea which tipped the scales in favour of the plaintiff.”

“Many jurors would find it difficult to believe that a married man could have a full sexual relationship with his wife at the same time as he was committing buggery …”

The jury never got to decide what the damages should be.

The two sides agreed that Anglesea should receive £375,000 in damages together with his costs.

The Independent on Sunday and HTV each agreed to pay £107,500 in damages.

Private Eye and The Observer each agreed to pay £80,000.

The final bill for the four defendants, including legal bills, would have been somewhere between £3-4m.

In February 1995 one of the three witnesses in the case was found dead.

He had hanged himself from the banisters outside his bed-sit in Wrexham.

Later, Gordon Anglesea was also to sue the magazine Take A Break  and the magazine Scallywag, edited by the journalist Simon Regan.

The cases were settled in his favour for undisclosed damages.

Anglesea’s libel victory was one of the most successful actions ever brought by a former police officer.

 ♦♦♦

BUT THE ordeal of the retired superintendent was far from over.

Two years after the libel action, the Secretary of State for Wales, William Hague, decided that there would be a full-scale inquiry into the extent of child abuse in North Wales.

Once again the limelight was to fall on Gordon Anglesea.

By the time he gave evidence before it, the Tribunal team had acquired statements from a further two witnesses who claimed they’d been abused by Anglesea.

However, the Tribunal decided that they were not credible witnesses in that they had been at Bryn Estyn before Anglesea had any known connection with the home.

The Tribunal also obtained records from Bryn Estyn.

These showed that Anglesea’s first visit took place in 1979, not 1980 as he had originally stated in his Proof of Evidence for the libel trial.

The records also revealed that he had visited the home on more occasions than he had told the libel trial.

Instead of the 11 he claimed, there were, in fact, 15.

Anglesea gave evidence at the Tribunal in January 1997.

He was asked why he had claimed in the period just after the Independent on Sunday article that he had visited Bryn Estyn on just a couple of occasions.

He told the Tribunal that he had assumed the newspaper’s reporter Dean Nelson was asking about the Wrexham Attendance Centre.

Nicholas Booth, who represented one of the men who’d accused him of abusing him, asked him to examine his own transcript of his conversation with the paper’s Dean Nelson.

Booth then asked him:

“Mr Nelson didn’t raise the attendance centre at all, did he?”

“He simply asked you whether you were a visitor to Bryn Estyn School in Wrexham, that’s right, isn’t it? … you were the person, the only person who brings in the words ‘attendance centre’.”

“That was what I recorded from the telephone conversation,” replied Anglesea.

He also explained why he started to give cautions, a formal procedure where a police officer issues a warning instead of prosecuting, at Bryn Estyn in 1982.

“It was as a result of a conversation with the principal [Matt Arnold] who was having staffing difficulties … because it meant he would have to send a member of staff to the police station for a boy to be cautioned … and he requested could we caution at Bryn Estyn.”

In the statement he gave the defendants in the libel action in May 1994 the former retired police inspector Ian Kelman stated:

“In 1980 I was promoted to Inspector. As part of my duties, I would administer cautions.”

“Virtually always, these cautions would be conducted at the Police Station.”

“I must have given in excess of 1,000 cautions up until my retirement, and I can count on one hand the number of times it was necessary to give cautions anywhere else but in the Police Station.”

“In terms of police practice, it is most unusual to give cautions outside a police station.”

“Children residing in community homes would also be usually be cautioned at a police station.”

Kelman’s evidence has never been tested, either in the libel action or the Tribunal.

Another aspect of Gordon Anglesea’s policy of giving cautions at children’s homes was not explored at the Tribunal.

Anglesea also gave cautions at the private Bryn Alyn home owned by John Allen.

Allen was gaoled in 1995 for six years for indecently assaulting boys at the home.

(See Silent Witness for the story of Bryn Alyn.)

Anglesea told the Tribunal that no-one at Bryn Alyn asked him to do so — he simply extended the system of cautioning that had been introduced at Bryn Estyn.

Anglesea’s pocket-books say he visited Bryn Alyn on five separate occasions.

When he was giving his evidence no-one asked him if any of the four visits that took place before the first caution at Bryn Estyn was a caution.

If any of these visits had been a caution, then Anglesea had been giving cautions at Bryn Alyn before Matt Arnold at Bryn Estyn asked him to.

When it came to Anglesea’s insistence that he didn’t remember Peter Howarth, the deputy head convicted of child abuse, the Tribunal uncovered a letter written to Gordon Anglesea by the Principal of Bryn Estyn Matt Arnold in March 1980.

Arnold, a lapsed freemason, had gone back to work after an illness that had started the previous summer.

“I received a letter today from the assistant director of Social Services,” wrote Arnold, “regarding the late attendance of boys at the attendance centre.”

“I have only just returned from a period of sick leave, so I’m unaware on a personal basis of all the discussions that have gone on between you and Mr Howarth.”

The Tribunal heard evidence from four former members of staff who supported Anglesea’s testimony but its report doesn’t give any details.

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

Anglesea said all these witnesses were mistaken.

Anglesea was also cross-examined about his golfing activities.

In his Proof of Evidence for the libel action in 1994 he said that he last played golf in “1968 when I disposed of my clubs.”

But when he had been interviewed by police in December 1992 he was asked if he remembered when he disposed of the clubs.

“I remember it well, really I don’t know who I disposed of it to, because it was very shortly after I got married, just couldn’t afford it, we had four children to look after, five, six to look after.”

Anglesea had divorced his first wife and married his second in 1976.

By the time he prepared his Proof of Evidence for the libel case his recollection was different.

“I have had some difficulty in recollecting this.”

“I originally thought that I brought them with me when I left the matrimonial home.”

“In fact they were left in the matrimonial home and I didn’t see them after that occasion.”

This was the version of events he stuck with at the Tribunal.

He insisted that witnesses who had seen him at Bryn Estyn with Howarth handling golf clubs weren’t telling the truth.

Gerard Elias, QC, the counsel for the Tribunal asked him:

“So those witnesses must, must they not, be lying about you?”

Anglesea replied:

“The witnesses are lying about me, sir.”

He also said that some of the evidence of Roger Owen Griffiths, the owner of a residential school called Gatewen Hall which Anglesea visited some half-dozen times between 1977 and 1983, was also wrong.

Griffiths told the Tribunal that the visits usually took place in the evening.

Anglesea said “That is incorrect.”

Griffiths said Anglesea would sometimes have a glass of sherry or whisky with him, adding:

“I never thought there was anything untoward about his visits since I was pleased that an eminent police officer was visiting us at the school.”

“Totally and utterly untrue,” Anglesea told the Tribunal.

At one point during his evidence, Anglesea told the chairman, Sir Ronald Waterhouse:

“My memory isn’t good, it hasn’t been good since about 1991.”

In February 2000 the report of the Tribunal was published.

It stated:

“We are unable to find that the allegations of sexual abuse made against Gordon Anglesea have been proved to our satisfaction or that the trial jury in the libel action would have been likely to have reached a different conclusion if they had heard the fuller evidence that has been placed before us.”

However, the Tribunal noted:

“In the end we have been left with a feeling of considerable disquiet about Anglesea’s repeated denials of any recollection of Peter Howarth and the way in which his evidence of his own presence at Bryn Estyn has emerged.”

“We agree with the trial judge in the libel action, however, that such disquiet or even disbelief of this part of Anglesea’s evidence would not justify a finding that he has committed sexual abuse in the absence of reliable positive evidence.”

THE SECRET OF BRYN ESTYN The author Richard Webster believed that Gordon Anglesea and Peter Howarth were the victims of a media-orchestrated witch-hunt.

THE SECRET OF BRYN ESTYN
The author Richard Webster believed that Gordon Anglesea and Peter Howarth were the victims of a media-orchestrated witch-hunt.

One of Anglesea’s champions is the author Richard Webster, the author of The Secret of Bryn Estyn which claims that both Anglesea and Howarth were the innocent victims of an orchestrated witch-hunt.

Webster says that he talked to Howarth before he died and before he could give evidence to the Tribunal.

“When I interviewed Howarth in prison,” wrote Webster, “he recalled Anglesea very clearly and gave the impression that he had dealt with him on a number of occasions.”

“It would be quite wrong, however, to conclude from this aspect of Anglesea’s testimony that he was attempting to conceal some guilty secret.”

“It would be entirely natural for anyone in his position, in danger of being damned by association with a man who had been convicted of being a paedophile, to seek to minimise his contact with such a figure.”

Rebecca Television wrote to Gordon Anglesea and asked him to comment on the issues raised in this article.

He did not reply.

In October last year, we went to see the former police superintendent at his home in Colwyn Bay.

He said he had not answered the letter but had consulted his solicitors.

Rebecca Television  sent Sir Maurice Drake the sections of the Waterhouse Tribunal report which revealed Gordon Anglesea’s additional visits to Bryn Estyn and the new witnesses who claimed they’d seen him with Peter Howarth.

Sir Maurice wrote back to say:

“Because I think the evidence was so finely balanced it follows that I think it possible that the new information which came out at the Inquiry could have tipped the scales in favour of the Defence.”

“But because I think the jury were so impressed by the evidence of Mrs Anglesea I think it more likely than not that they would have still have found for the plaintiff.”

“As to Sir Ronald’s feelings of ‘considerable disquiet’ about Anglesea’s repeated denials of any recollection of Peter Howarth”, he added, “you ask me if I share that disquiet.”

“The answer is Yes.”

♦♦♦ 

NOTES
1  This article was published in 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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A MASON-FREE ZONE?

November 8, 2013

rebecca_logo_04

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

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

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 …

GERARD ELIAS QC
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 ...

MARK BRITTAIN
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 ...

ANDREW MORAN, QC
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

GORDON ANGLESEA
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.

LORD KENYON
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

SIR WALTER STANSFIELD
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

LOST IN CARE
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.

♦♦♦ 

NOTES
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

DONATIONS  If you would like to support the work of Rebecca Television, you can do so by clicking on the DONATE button.

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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.


A TOUCH OF FROST

June 24, 2013

NOTE
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.

DONATIONS  If you would like to support the work of Rebecca Television, you can do so by clicking on the DONATE button.

Donate Button with Credit Cards


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