Monday, 25 March 2013

North Wellian Chief Superintendent Gordon Anglesea

2.25 The Independent on Sunday article had been written by a free-lance journalist, Dean Nelson, assisted by two others. Nelson had previously written an article in May 1991 about allegations of abuse at Ty Mawr children's home, Abergavenny, and he went to North Wales at the suggestion of an Independent on Sunday staff member. In the course of his visit he saw Taylor, Councillor Dennis Parry, various former residents of North Wales children's homes, three former members of staff at Bryn Estyn and Clwyd's Director of Social Services. The article itself contained criticisms of the earlier police investigations and references to allegations by Councillor Parry of a police cover up to conceal the failure of senior police officers and social services' executives to reveal the extent of abuse in the children's homes. The article contained also allegations of sexual abuse by the deputy headmaster of Bryn Estyn and reference to allegations of physical assaults by Dodd against "dozens of children" at Ty'r Felin. In a separate report by the same authors on another page, more specific details were given of these allegations. It concluded:

"Clwyd County Council will look sympathetically on claims for compensation from those who suffered abuse but the council leader, Dennis Parry, said no amount of money could make good the damage caused.
Lives have been ruined by this. God help us how many young people with drugs and sexual problems have come from those kinds of establishments? It's frightening because it's a microcosm of what's going on around the country."

The article on the front page of the Independent on Sunday of 1 December 1991 also contained the following reference to former Police Superintendent Gordon Anglesea:

"According to former residents at Bryn Estyn, Gordon Anglesea, a former senior North Wales police officer, was a regular visitor there. He recently retired suddenly without explanation. Another serving officer has been accused of assaulting a child at Ty'r Felin."

Anglesea consulted solicitors immediately and they wrote to the newspaper describing the passage quoted as the grossest libel on Anglesea and demanded publication of an equally prominent agreed statement of rebuttal and apology in the next edition of the newspaper together with damages and costs.
No apology was forthcoming, however, and on 13 September 1992 the Observer newspaper wrote:

"A former police chief has been named as a prime suspect in the North Wales child 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."

Similar references followed in the next two issues of the Observer and on 17 September 1992 HTV's "Wales this Week" again broadcast allegations of sexual abuse on the part of Anglesea against two former residents of Bryn Estyn, both of whom appeared in the broadcast.

Finally, on 27 January 1993, Private Eye magazine published an article about the North Wales investigations criticising what it regarded as the apparent reluctance of the North Wales Police to prosecute "no fewer than 12 serving and former colleagues" for sexual offences involving young boys who had been in care over a 20 year period. The article continued:

"The reluctance has nothing to do with the involvement of a number of the local great and good as members of a paedophile ring, which regularly used homes, like the now-closed Bryn Estyn near Wrexham, to supply boys for sex to local celebrities.
In the late 1970s, Superintendent Anglesea of the North Wales Police was appointed to investigate an allegation of buggery made by X against the son of a then member of the North Wales police authority. The Superintendent found there was no case to answer. Coincidentally the police authority member and Superintendent Anglesea were prominent masons."

Anglesea brought proceedings for libel in respect of each of these publications and his actions against Newspaper Publishing plc (the publisher of the Independent on Sunday), The Observer Ltd, HTV Ltd and Pressdram Ltd (the publisher of Private Eye) were then consolidated into one action, which was heard in London before the Honourable Mr Justice Drake, a senior judge of the Queen's Bench Division, who was in charge of the civil jury list, and a jury between 14 November and 7 December 1994. 
Each of the defendants had pleaded justification, namely, that the words complained of by Anglesea were true in substance and in fact.

At the trial Anglesea gave evidence and three members of his family, namely, his second wife, a son and a step-son were called as witnesses on his behalf. 
In addition, Gladys Green, who had been secretary to the headmaster of Bryn Estyn and a senior administrator at the school for nearly 12 years, gave evidence for Anglesea. 
The defendants relied upon the evidence of three former Bryn Estyn residents, two of whom alleged that Anglesea had both indecently assaulted and buggered them and the third of whom, who had not emerged as a potential witness until shortly before the trial, gave evidence of a joint indecent assault by Anglesea and Howarth. 
Two other witnesses, a housemother at Bryn Estyn, who was also a policeman's wife, and a probation officer who had been attached to the staff of the home for three months whilst on a training course gave evidence of having seen Anglesea there. 
Dean Nelson, the author of the first article in the Independent on Sunday, was not called as a witness but it was reasonably clear from the evidence that he had not been in possession of any actual evidence of child abuse by Anglesea at the time when his article appeared.

It is clear from the trial judge's summing up that the central issue that the jury had to decide was "Have the Defendants satisfied you that Mr Anglesea was guilty of very serious sexual misconduct at Bryn Estyn?" 
The Defendants had to prove the main "sting" of the charge, that is, that Gordon Anglesea did commit some serious offence at Bryn Estyn against the boys who were there, although they did not have to prove every detail alleged. 
Moreover, the judge told the jury "Because in this case the charges made by the Defendants are so very grave, the Defendants must prove them to a high standard so that you, the jury become satisfied that the Plaintiff did commit these serious assaults". 
Having spoken of the balance of probabilities test in civil cases and the tilting of the scales, he concluded:

"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."

In the event, on 6 December 1994, the jury found in favour of Anglesea by a majority of 10 to 2, after a retirement of about nine hours. The following day it was agreed between the parties that he should receive total damages of £375,000 by way of compensation, together with appropriate undertakings about non-repetition of the libels and payment of his legal costs.

The course of the 1991/1993 police investigation

Meanwhile, the major investigation by the North Wales Police had proceeded a long way with the full co-operation of senior officers of both County Councils. The waters had been muddied to an uncertain and indeterminable extent by the intervention of Nelson because he had returned to North Wales to seek evidence against Anglesea in support of the Independent on Sunday's defence to the libel action. 
He was in North Wales in February, May, June, August and September 1992 before leaving the UK in December 1992 for Hong Kong to re-launch a news magazine.
In the course of his 1992 visits he sought out two former children in care, who both eventually alleged that they had been sexually abused by Gordon Anglesea, but other potential witnesses approached by him denied that Anglesea had abused them. 
He did, however, obtain statements from some witnesses in support of the assertion that there had been a period when Anglesea had been a frequent visitor to Bryn Estyn.

2.34 By September 1993, when the main part of the police investigation was nearing completion, the police had taken about 3,500 statements from about 2,500 potential witnesses, of whom not less than 500 who had been in residential establishments, complained that they had suffered sexual or physical abuse. 
The number of those who complained of sexual abuse was about 150. 
The Crown Prosecution Service had assigned a special case work lawyer from an early stage to consider all the files submitted by the North Wales Police in the course of the investigation and John Lord performed this task throughout. 
The upshot was that by the end of 1993 the North Wales Police had recommended that 20 suspects should be prosecuted, of whom 19 were alleged abusers; but between 1993 and 1995 criminal proceedings were taken against only eight individuals, of whom six were ultimately convicted. One of the two acquitted had not been one of the 20 recommended by the police for prosecution.

6.12 A similar potential problem has presented itself in respect of the allegations of sexual abuse made against Gordon Anglesea, a former superintendent in the North Wales Police. As we have recounted at paragraphs 2.25 to 2.34, Anglesea brought libel proceedings against the Independent on Sunday, the Observer, HTV Ltd and Private Eye in respect of allegations that he had been guilty of very serious sexual misconduct at Bryn Estyn and on 6 December 1994 the jury found in his favour. 
This verdict was, of course, given in civil rather than criminal proceedings but, having regard to the way in which the central issue in the case was put to the jury by the trial judge, we can see no reason in principle for distinguishing the verdict from an acquittal. 
In considering the allegations against Anglesea, therefore, we have looked carefully for any compelling fresh evidence that would drive us to a conclusion contrary to that of the civil jury. The case against Anglesea is considered in detail in Chapter 9, because it has formed an important part of the inquiry, but in the end we have been unable to accept that it would be right for us to find against Mr Anglesea on the evidence presented to us.

The libel trial; the evidence.
9.01 We have already recounted in some detail in Chapter 2, the history of the libel action brought by Gordon Anglesea against four defendants in respect of the allegation or suggestion that he had been guilty of serious sexual misconduct at Bryn Estyn because it formed an important part of the background to the appointment of the Tribunal. 
The defendants failed to prove this to the jury's satisfaction and they found in Anglesea's favour by a majority of 10 to 2, whereupon his award of damages was agreed in the sum of £375,000.

There has been no appeal from this decision in December 1994 but the complaints against Anglesea have been repeated to this Tribunal and we have investigated them as fully as possible. 
Before summarising the results of our investigation, however, it is necessary to repeat that the trial of the libel action in the High Court occupied about a fortnight before a very experienced judge and that all the parties were represented by eminent Counsel so that the central issue was very fully examined.

The defendants in the action relied mainly upon the evidence of three witnesses, who we will identify only as A, B and C. Each of them alleged that he had been sexually abused by Anglesea at Bryn Estyn and gave evidence to that effect to the jury.

Witness A
Witness A, who appears from the records before the Tribunal to have been at Bryn Estyn from 13 May 1980 to 11 July 1981, was unable to read or write and attended a special school before he entered Bryn Estyn. There was some confusion in the evidence before the jury about the precise period when he had been resident there. He alleged that he had been buggered frequently by Howarth in the latter's flat and also in the sick bay, which was not far from the flat. He said that he had seen Anglesea at Bryn Estyn on "loads of occasions", coming in and out during the day and night-time, and had thought that he was a security guard; and that he had seen him in Howarth's company a large number of times. 
He had also seen Anglesea and Norris together but not so many times. He said that he had been sexually assaulted by Anglesea twice, on both occasions when he was sleeping in Clwyd House over a holiday period. 
The first attack had been an indecent assault when Anglesea had entered A's bedroom wearing a raincoat and had touched A's private parts. On the second occasion, about two days later, Anglesea had buggered him forcibly in the same bedroom. 
He was, however, effectively cross-examined about earlier statements that he had made and the many inconsistent details in them, including a wide disparity in his estimates of the number of times that he had seen Anglesea at Bryn Estyn and his accounts of the actual offences.

Witness B
Witness B, who was born on Christmas Day 1962, told the jury of his most unhappy childhood before he was received into care. 
According to the Tribunal's records he was at Bersham Hall from 2 August to 27 September 1977 and then at Bryn Estyn from the latter date until 22 May 1979. Again, there was some confusion about the period when he was at Bryn Estyn because he was sure that he had been there two years and one month. 
He recounted being sexually abused by Howarth initially in the sick bay and later in Howarth's flat on occasions when he was on to the flat list. 
He had been buggered by Howarth perhaps a dozen, perhaps two dozen times and also regularly assaulted and buggered by Norris. 
Witness B claimed that he had seen Anglesea at Bryn Estyn dozens of times, in uniform and out of uniform, and had seen Anglesea in the company of Howarth eight or nine times. 
He alleged that oral and anal sex had occurred between Anglesea and himself in an outbuilding at Bryn Estyn, probably the cadet hut. 
In the course of giving this evidence the witness collapsed ("passed out in the witness box" as the judge described it) and he gave further detail the next day of what had occurred in the outbuilding, including payment to him by Anglesea of 50 pence or a pound. 
On another earlier occasion he had been made to perform oral sex for Anglesea in an outbuilding. 
Witness B spoke also of four further occasions when oral and anal sex had been performed with Anglesea in the cadet hut or an outbuilding. 
The main other assault that he remembered was in a lay-by or the like a couple of miles from Bryn Estyn, after Anglesea had stopped his car and told him to get in. 
On one other occasion he had been picked up by Anglesea outside Bryn Estyn and driven up a few lanes before oral sex had again taken place. 
Like witness A, he was cross-examined about inconsistencies in his previous statements, including his earlier denial, to the police that he had been abused by Anglesea, and also about his insistence that he should be paid an agreed sum of £4,500 by Private Eye, in respect of an earlier libel on him, before he gave evidence, which he described as perfectly good tactics of the kind employed by lawyers to ensure payment.

Witness C
Finally, witness C was recorded as having been at Bryn Estyn from 10 March 1981 to 18 October 1982 from the age of 14 years until just after his 16th birthday. 
His recollection, however, was that he had been there for two and a half to three years from September 1979 (when his records indicated that he was in care in South Wales). 
He gave evidence of being indecently assaulted by Howarth, under the threat of an unruly order, but he denied that Howarth had buggered him. He had caddied for Howarth on about half a dozen occasions and had been introduced to Anglesea when he had appeared on the golf course in ordinary clothes. 
All three then went to Bryn Estyn, where the witnesses went to Howarth's flat to be paid £2 for caddying. Howarth and Anglesea then entered the flat and Howarth threatened him again with an unruly order. The two men pulled down his trousers and pants and one began playing with his private parts whilst the other was playing with his backside. That continued for about five minutes before the witness began crying and stormed out, pulling up his pants and trousers as he ran out to the dormitory.
Anglesea approached him subsequently on two occasions, once when he was either washing cars or sweeping the courtyard and once when he was listening to records by the staircase in the main building, inviting him to go up to Howarth's flat but on both occasions he had told Anglesea to "fuck off". 
He had not spoken to Anglesea on any other occasion but had seen him on about four or five other occasions. Unhappily, this witness had a history, after Bryn Estyn, of excessive drinking and drug dependence and he was cross-examined strenuously also about his failure to make any allegation against Anglesea before he was interviewed by a BBC representative prior to appearing on a BBC programme in January 1993. 
He denied, however, that his recollection had been affected by drink or drugs and said that the police had not put any question to him about Anglesea earlier: he had not mentioned Anglesea because he was scared of him, he was scared of power.

Other witnesses

9.08 The Defendants in the libel action relied upon two other witnesses in their case against Anglesea. One was a senior probation officer, well known in the courts of North Wales, who had been placed at Bryn Estyn for three months in the late summer of 1980 whilst undertaking a two year course at Cartrefle College. 
During his placement he was required to spend one night at Bryn Estyn and had to put the boys in the main building to bed at about 9 pm. He described how, after he had heard a door clicking when he was in a downstairs room, Howarth and Anglesea had entered the building and Howarth had introduced Anglesea as a policeman who had been a good friend to Bryn Estyn and to the lads. After they had passed, Howarth had said "Come along" or "Come on Gordon" and they had moved towards the stairs. 
The witness did not know at the time that the visitor was Inspector Anglesea (as Anglesea then was) but he had seen him on television subsequently and he remained convinced that the person whom he saw was Gordon Anglesea.

9.09 The other witness called for the defendants was Joyce Bailey, the wife of a police constable who had served under Anglesea at Wrexham. She had been a part-time housemother at Bryn Estyn between 1981 and 1984, according to her own recollection. 
She said that Anglesea was a regular visitor to Bryn Estyn in a professional capacity; she had seen him there on, perhaps, half a dozen occasions and he was usually wearing uniform. 
She remembered seeing him once in casual clothes on a sunny afternoon in the forecourt at Bryn Estyn. Bailey was with a group of boys and saw him arrive in his own car. 
He alighted, took some golf clubs out of the back of his car and gave them to Howarth. She was unable, however, to say what Howarth did with the golf clubs.

Anglesea's evidence at the libel trial
Anglesea himself gave evidence at the trial of his libel action, denying that he had sexually abused anyone. He gave the jury details of his long police career from 1957 to March 1991, after earlier service as a police cadet and then in the Royal Air Force. 
He had been promoted to the rank of uniformed police inspector in 1972, which he retained until his further promotion to chief inspector in 1985. 
He had married for a second time on 26 March 1977, immediately following his divorce from his first wife, by whom he had had two children. 
There were also three children of his second wife's first marriage. They had had a daughter together but she had died in May 1983; he had then had his vasectomy reversed and a further child had been born and had fortunately survived.

Anglesea said that his contact with Bryn Estyn had begun in September 1979 when he had been asked to set up an attendance centre at Wrexham, where juvenile offenders could be required to attend for two hours at a time up to a maximum of 24 hours as a form of punishment. 
From time to time individual Bryn Estyn boys had been required to attend the centre but he did not think that he ever went to Bryn Estyn before 1980. 
Later, from September 1980, he became the Operational Inspector at Wrexham and Bryn Estyn was within his section so that he did go there from time to time to administer cautions (seven such visits within a period of about three months were recorded in his own notebook). Overall, he estimated the total number of his visits to be about 11, including attendance at Christmas lunches twice in his official capacity as the person running the attendance centre and a visit to serve a notice upon Arnold about a boy's failure to attend the centre. 
He had given up golf in 1969 and had sold his clubs, which his wife confirmed; he had been on official business to Wrexham Golf Club but only to check their gaming machines. He had dealt with Arnold at Bryn Estyn and did not know Howarth.

Evidence heard by the Tribunal of Inquiry
9.12 This brief summary of the evidence heard in the libel action (apart from evidence from a Bryn Estyn administrator about the witnesses' periods at Bryn Estyn and from two of Anglesea's sons) is a necessary preliminary to an outline of the evidence that we ourselves have heard on the same factual issues. 
We have been at a disadvantage, in comparison with the jury, because, very sadly, witness A died on 2 February 1995, within two months of the jury's verdict, having been found hanging in his bed-sitting room. We have, therefore, been limited to reading his written statements and the transcript of his evidence in the libel action. 
We are aware that he appeared on a television programme alleging that he had been abused whilst he was at Bryn Estyn and that his mother later appeared in another programme, asserting that he had lied about the matter. 
Witness A was undoubtedly estranged from his mother from time to time and we have had no means of testing the veracity of either. 
However, we did admit the mother's undated statement to a solicitor in evidence although it consists almost entirely of hearsay. In it she said that her son had never complained to her or to his brothers and sisters that he had been abused at Bryn Estyn and had never said that other boys were being abused. She says that witness A was happy at Bryn Estyn and she believes that, if he had been abused, he would have told her at the time. She does not think that he was telling the truth about being abused and believes that he made his allegations to gain compensation. 
She casts doubt also upon the veracity of another Bryn Estyn complainant, who is not connected, however, with the case of Gordon Anglesea.

We have heard oral evidence from all the other witnesses who gave relevant factual evidence in the libel action. In particular, we heard very full evidence from witnesses B and C and from Anglesea himself and their evidence followed closely what they had told the jury in the libel action. Moreover, the cross-examination of these witnesses inevitably followed a similar pattern to that heard by the jury. We have looked carefully, therefore, for any additional evidence that might indicate the truth or falsity of the allegations against Anglesea.

Witness D
We heard oral evidence from two new witnesses who complained of sexual abuse by Anglesea. Witness D (as we will identify him), was at Bryn Estyn from about September 1972 until March or April 1974. This period was immediately before the date when the period of our review began and at the time and, throughout the period that the witness refers to, Gordon Anglesea was a police inspector at Colwyn Bay, having been promoted to that rank from Deeside on 10 April 1972. 
Nevertheless, the witness alleges that he was sexually abused at Bryn Estyn by Anglesea, Howarth (who did not arrive there until 1 November 1973 by which time Arnold was already "Headmaster"), Norris (who arrived on 1 March 1974) and another member of the staff. 
The allegations against Anglesea are that he buggered the witness twice in the kitchen of Howarth's flat, the witness having been sent there by Howarth on both occasions. 
On a third occasion he went to Howarth's flat to watch television. However, when he went into the kitchen, Anglesea ran after him with the result that the witness went to a knife drawer and shook the knives. Anglesea called Howarth in and the incident ended with the witness being made to stand outside the office of the headmaster whom he named as Goldswain. 
He recognised Anglesea later when he saw him in inspector's uniform at a fete and learnt who he was, still in Goldswain's time. These complaints were first made in a statement to the Tribunal dated 4 December 1996.

Witness E
The other new complainant against Anglesea, witness E, was born on 22 October 1959 and was resident at Bryn Estyn from 8 October 1973 to 14 February 1975, after which he attended at Bryn Estyn intermittently on a daily basis to attend classes (his IQ was then assessed at 71) until he was sentenced to borstal training on 22 November 1976. 
It is most regrettable to relate that he is now serving a sentence of life imprisonment imposed at Caernarfon Crown Court on 28 February 1995 for the manslaughter of his wife.
This witness' first complaint about Anglesea was made on 20 March 1997, in his second statement to the Tribunal. 
In that statement he referred to seeing Anglesea for the first time at Bryn Estyn in the vicinity of the showers after tea on an occasion when Howarth entered the showers and told the witness to get out. 
The next time that he saw Anglesea was in a police cell in Wrexham police station after he had been arrested. Anglesea came to the cell and accused him of stealing matches. Anglesea told him to strip naked and then to turn round and bend down so that he could look into the witness's backside for matches, whereupon Anglesea touched his private parts and indecently assaulted him. 
He saw Anglesea at Bryn Estyn on other occasions in the daytime in the company of Howarth. In his evidence to the Tribunal this witness gave evidence about Anglesea to like effect but said that he had seen Anglesea at Bryn Estyn only once, that is, in the vicinity of the showers; when he had seen him on other occasions it had been at Wrexham police station. 
He said that he had learnt Anglesea's name whilst he was at Bryn Estyn but later said he had only learnt it from his social worker some time after he had made a statement to the police in September 1995 in Wakefield prison, where Howarth also was detained.

Witness F
The only other fresh evidence about Anglesea directly relevant to the issue of sexual abuse is a statement to the Tribunal made by witness F in prison on 30 December 1996. He was in Bryn Estyn for only three weeks in 1977 and then for about 12 months in 1978/1979. 
In his last statement he alleged that Howarth used to line up children in the hallway at Bryn Estyn and would pick "kids who were fragile and small" to carry his golf clubs for him. 
On one occasion Howarth lined up boys, including the witness, when he brought a Chief Superintendent, with a big birth mark on his face and neck, to the home. "The Chief Superintendent picked boys and they went away to Howarth's flat on the grounds or into a big car and away".

Anglesea's visits to Bryn Estyn
The other evidence that we have heard about Anglesea has been directed mainly to sightings of him on visits to Bryn Estyn. On this we have heard fuller evidence than was called in the libel trial. 
His own evidence then was that he had visited Bryn Estyn about 11 times. This figure had grown from two (to the Christmas dinners) when he was spoken to, without prior warning, by Dean Nelson, who wrote the Independent on Sunday article, and three, in his solicitors' letter to the Independent on Sunday after the article appeared.

Documents before the Tribunal (principally Bryn Estyn logs and Anglesea's notebook) indicate that Anglesea was present at Bryn Estyn on 13 occasions between November 1979 and April 1984 in addition to the Christmas lunches in 1982 and 1983. 
On 17 November 1979 he returned absconders. 
On 7 August 1981 he took a boy to the surgery. There were six visits in 1982 before the Christmas lunch in connection with a fire on 15 January 1982, four later cautions and service of a summons. In 1983 there were four visits before the lunch, three of which were to administer cautions and the last in connection with an absconder. 
The last recorded visit was on 4 April 1984 to administer a caution to a boy who has since died in circumstances similar to witness A's death.

It will be remembered that boys began to be received at the Wrexham attendance centre from September 1979 and that Arnold was off duty because of illness from the summer of 1979 until late March 1980. On 28 March 1980 Arnold wrote to Inspector Anglesea as he then was:

"Dear Inspector Anglesea,
I received a letter today from the assistant director of Social Services regarding the late attendance of boys at the attendance centre. I have only just returned to work from a period of sick leave, so I'm not aware on a personal basis of all the discussions that have gone on between you and Mr Howarth."

These documentary records form a background to the oral evidence that we have heard about Anglesea's visits to Bryn Estyn. We heard evidence from four former members of the staff of Bryn Estyn, including Norris, that was broadly consistent with Anglesea's own account. 
On the other hand, in addition to the two witnesses referred to in paragraphs 9.08 and 9.09, who gave evidence in the libel trial and the witnesses who claimed to have been abused by Anglesea, we heard evidence from seven other witnesses, including four former 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. Paul Wilson, for example, said that he had seen Anglesea at Bryn Estyn on at least 12 occasions, in uniform and in plain clothes. He had seen him once sitting in Howarth's flat and on another occasion on a staircase at or shortly before midnight.

Anglesea himself, however, in his evidence to the Tribunal, repeated his denial of any friendship with Howarth and said that he did not recollect any dealings with him. 
He had served as a police officer in Wrexham area from July 1976 to May 1987, latterly as Chief Inspector at Ruabon from 1 January 1985, and had left on promotion to Superintendent at Colwyn Bay. 
His visits to Bryn Estyn had always been in the daytime and always in uniform (except the two lunches), mainly to administer cautions. 
He recalled also the specific incident of the fire. When he attended at Bryn Estyn he would be taken by a member of staff to the office and he remained always on the ground floor. 
His earlier underestimates of the number of his visits had been made early on before he had had an opportunity to work out the number, when he had not had access to his pocket books and when he was distressed about what was being alleged against him. 
The allegations of abuse by him were all denied and the evidence of witnesses such as Paul Wilson was also a fabrication.

Golfing activities
Anglesea dealt again also with his history as a golf player. He had played the game for only a short period, starting in 1967 (1964 in his Tribunal statement) in the Flintshire Constabulary when he took advantage of a special reduced rate for 24 police officers at Padeswood and Buckley Golf Clubs. 
In the event he had played only five or six times and never in the United Kingdom after the Llanfairfechan murder, which he believes was in or about 1968. 
He had visited Wrexham Golf Club only three times, twice in connection with its gaming licence and a third time with his wife on a social occasion at the invitation of the captain. 
He believed that he had left his small set of golf clubs (only five or six) at the matrimonial home when he left his first wife in 1976 and the woods were broken. He had been mistaken in an earlier statement when he spoke of disposing of them but he had possibly sold a couple of irons to another policeman. 
He had given a junior set of clubs to his eldest son at Christmas in about 1984 but that was not of any relevance. 
The evidence to the effect that he had been seen at Wrexham Golf Club in the company of Howarth or alone there and the allegations that he had been seen handling golf clubs from or into cars at Bryn Estyn, including evidence by Joyce Bailey to that effect, were all untrue.

Anglesea was questioned also about his connection with freemasonry 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. He did not know of any police officer member of either lodge and he had joined Berwyn Lodge initially because a particular social friend was a member. 
He was aware now from records that one member of the staff at Bryn Estyn had become a member of Berwyn Lodge in April 1984 when he himself was leaving it but he had not known that person before inquiries were made on his behalf in connection with the libel action. He had remained a member of the Pegasus Lodge since despite a directive from the Chief Constable of the North Wales Police, David Owen, in September 1984, which ended with the following paragraph:

"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 crowded by a secrecy where people could question true motivation."

Conclusions in respect of the allegations of sexual abuse made against Anglesea
Having considered all this evidence with very great care 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. Moreover, we have reached this conclusion without giving any weight to the statement of the mother of witness A, in effect seeking to negative A's evidence, because in our judgment, it would be improper to do so.

Having regard to the verdict of the jury in the libel action, major reliance has understandably been placed by those impugning Anglesea on the "fresh evidence" of witnesses D and E but, in our view, neither was a credible witness on the relevant issue. 

Without going into unnecessary detail, there is no reason to believe that witness D had any contact with Anglesea because he left Bryn Estyn soon after it ceased to be an approved school and long before Anglesea had any known dealings with Bryn Estyn. At that time Anglesea was serving as an Inspector at Colwyn Bay. Witness D's allegations against Howarth and Norris are also highly dubious for similar reasons: witness D only coincided with Norris for a very short period because Norris did not arrive at Bryn Estyn until 1 March 1974 and witness D's references in evidence to incidents in Howarth's flat before a summer fete must be incorrect because Howarth did not begin work at Bryn Estyn until November 1973.

There are similar difficulties about the evidence of witness E, who left Bryn Estyn on 14 February 1975, over four years before there was any established contact with the home by Anglesea. He was also inconsistent about the number of times when he had seen Anglesea at Bryn Estyn and at the police station and as to when he had learnt Anglesea's identity. Moreover, the circumstances in which this witness's allegation came to be made leave many lingering doubts, about his motivation.

Finally on this aspect of the additional evidence before us, we do not consider that we can attach any weight to the statement of witness F. We have neither heard nor read any evidence to similar effect. Again, there is difficulty about the periods when he was at Bryn Estyn, largely before there is any documentary record of regular visits by Anglesea and at a time when the latter was merely an inspector rather than a "chief superintendent". Furthermore, the statement contains speculation rather than direct evidence of any actual abuse by Anglesea.

A major, although not necessarily fatal, difficulty facing the Defendants in the libel action was the fact that the journalist who wrote the article published in the Independent on Sunday on 1 December 1991 had no evidence at the time of publication that Anglesea had been involved in child abuse. 
The journalist, Dean Nelson, was not called as a witness in the libel trial but we have heard full evidence from him about the course of his investigation. His main inquiries had been made in mid-November 1991 but he had met both Councillor Dennis Parry and Alison Taylor before that and he spoke to Anglesea himself by telephone on 30 November 1991. 
Nelson had been told of visits by Anglesea to Bryn Estyn but he had not received any direct allegation of sexual abuse by Anglesea. It was not until he revisited North Wales in 1992 that he obtained statements implicating Anglesea from witnesses A and B: the former made disclosures between 18 and 29 June 1992 and witness B between 4 and 11 September 1992, after complaining to the police earlier that he was being "hassled" by Nelson. 

As for witness C, he did not emerge as a complainant of abuse by Anglesea until about January 1993 when he was interviewed by a BBC representative. This sequence of events certainly left open an inference that the imputation against Anglesea in the December 1991 article had been an unfortunate error and that it was remarkably fortuitous that evidence to support the imputation was discovered several months later.

There are other more difficult problems for us about the direct evidence of sexual abuse by Anglesea presented to the libel jury and subsequently to us. 
One obvious difficulty is that witness A has died so that we have not been able to make any realistic assessment of his credibility, although we have seen his statements and a transcript of his evidence at the libel trial, including his cross-examination.

There are also grave difficulties about the evidence of witnesses B and C, quite apart from the late disclosure of their complaints against Anglesea. 
Both of them have complex, although quite different, characters and assessment of their evidence on specific detailed issues is a particularly hazardous task.

Assessment of the evidence of witness B
It would be inappropriate to prolong this report by a detailed analysis of the credibility of each of these witnesses but it is necessary to deal specifically with B and C. 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 on 1 April 1992, leaving B with a very young child to bring up. 
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, particularly to any suggestion of sexual deviation on his part, although he told us frankly that there was a period in his youth when, because of the persistent sexual abuse to which he had been subjected, he began to question his own sexuality. 
He has been described also as manipulative and there are many matters on which he is particularly vulnerable in cross-examination.

One of these matters, which inevitably leads to prolonged cross-examination, is the sequence in which his complaints of abuse have emerged. It is not unusual for a complainant of sexual abuse or a child complainant generally to deny at first that any abuse has occurred but in B's case we have had before us a plethora of statements. 
These included eight main statements made to the police between 30 March 1992 and 8 February 1993 but B alleges that the police have failed to produce six other statements that he made to them. 
Rightly or wrongly, he complains also of insensitive behaviour, and in some cases, downright misconduct on the part of a small number of officers involved in interviewing him. 
In view of the potential difficulties, B was permitted exceptionally to draft his own statement to the Tribunal rather than be interviewed by a member of the Tribunal's team. 
The statement runs to 48 pages, in the course of which B alleges that he has been sexually abused by 32 persons (eight of whom are not named) and otherwise physically abused by 22. 
It is not surprising in the circumstances that B's recollection, in a limited number of instances, was shown by contemporary documents to be incorrect.

In the light of these and similar difficulties it was decided in March 1993 by the Crown Prosecution Service, in consultation with counsel, that reliance ought not to be placed on the evidence of witness B for the purpose of prosecuting any alleged abuser. 
However, this decision did not deter the police from further investigating after that date allegations that had been made by him; and it seems likely that he was required to attend at some stage for the trial of Howarth in 1994 as a potential witness, although he was not called to give evidence. 
It must be said also that his claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board in respect of the abuse that he suffered at the hands of Howarth, Norris and one other person dealt with later in this report has been settled for a proper sum; and he had no pending civil claim in respect of these matters when he gave evidence to the Tribunal. 
His libel action against Private Eye in respect of a collateral matter was also settled for proper sums in respect of damages and costs shortly before he gave evidence in the Anglesea libel action.

Assessment of the evidence of witness C
The difficulties in relation to the evidence of witness C are simpler but more acute. 
He became involved with drugs at the age of 15 years in 1986: he has been having treatment for his drug dependency since November 1987 but he still uses drugs. 
He is also an alcoholic now, in his own words, and he told the Tribunal that at the time of the libel trial he was drinking 15 pints daily as well as ingesting speed and morphine, which he takes orally and by injection. 
In consequence, he suffers from shakes in the morning and also experiences blackouts. He alleges that his memory is nevertheless unaffected but his history and demeanour are such that no jury would be likely to accept his evidence on an important disputed matter without independent evidence to confirm it.

We should add that strenuous efforts have been made on behalf of the Tribunal in the course of our inquiry to find independent evidence of Anglesea's golfing activities and his presence at, or membership of, local golf clubs but no evidence has been forthcoming to rebut his own account of these matters. 
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 proof.


  1. With reference to the article above, I think that this shows the difficulty of obtaining sufficiently strong evidence from victims of sexual abuse. This is due to more than 1 factor, however the greatest factor to be taken into consideration is the reliability of the victims as witnesses.

    This, of course, can be based on the fact that the victims are often chosen for their unreliability, being from broken homes, having criminal records, both before and/or after any allegations of sexual abuse are made. Whether or not they are selected by their abusers for these very reasons, it is highly likely that anybody having been placed in "care homes" would have some degree of anti-social attitudes and/or behaviour, which would no doubt be the reason that they were committed to the home in the 1st place.

    1. not always the case.
      i remember vividly, 1 young boy in skircoat lodge, halifax. he was in care because both parents had died in a road traffic accident and with no other family suitable, he was thought too pretty to be just one families plaything so he was passed from home to home...

  2. Many detailed reasons are given for not trusting the evidence of several witnesses against Anglesea, yet apparently the huge blot on Anglesea's defence, his denial of any knowledge of Howarth, is ignored, even though not only the complainants but also reliable witnesses like the wife of a policeman make it clear that the two were associating, and most damning of all, even the letter of Arnold states that Anglesea and Howarth were in discussions presumably in some official role. How on earth was it decided to pay Anglesea S375,000 compensation? Did some of that money find its way to the Freemasons by way of thanks? There's something rotten in the state....


Thanks for your time and interest