6 Nov 2012

Exclusive: Eyewitness ‘saw Thatcher aide take boys to abuse’

A former resident of the Wrexham care home at the centre of abuse allegations tells Channel 4 News that he saw evidence of abuse, and remembers seeing Sir Peter Morrison at the care home five times.

Warning: you may be distressed by the interview above

The former resident told Channel 4 News that although he did not recognise Sir Peter at the time, he later realised it was him.

Sir Peter, who died in 1995, was Margaret Thatcher’s parliamentary private secretary and was at the heart of the Tory establishment during the 1980s. Recently, he has been publicly linked to abuse at the care home.

The former resident, who was not abused himself, said: “Going through some stuff recently and I saw his face. I know now he was the MP for Chester at the time. Morrison. Red, wavy hair. I recognised him straight away.

“I saw him at Bryn Estyn, he turned up in a car, boy went off in his car, don’t know if he was in it. It was definitely his car, I saw him arrive in it then we went to bed and we saw it drive off.

“We used to see a lot of people we didn’t recognise, not staff. They couldn’t have been there for the same reason the staff were there. They turned up at odd hours, early evening and the night. Really nice shoes, I always remember the shoes. And the cars, we were interested in the cars.”

David Cameron ordered an urgent investigation into whether the north Wales child abuse inquiry “properly did its job” after fresh allegations of abuse at Bryn Estyn emerged. It is alleged that a senior Thatcher-era politician, who has not been named, was involved.

WATCH: Photographs of north Wales abuse ‘were handed to police’, Steve Messham tells Channel 4 News

‘Properly constituted’

Home Secretary Theresa May has also ordered a seperate inquiry led by the National Crime Agency into claims of abuse.

Describing allegations of abuse from other residents, the former resident told Channel 4 News: “They said there was more than one, they said they were made to drink, there was a lot of people there, there was a party almost.

“It was almost like pass the parcel, I knew a few boys who were marked up, like a stamp in the post office, I know one lad … he had to go off to hospital. He had tremendous problems.”

The former resident told the programme about other physical evidence of sexual abuse: “The state of them, they were quite obviously extremely upset – some of them quite marked around the face and body … cut quite badly around the arms and chest area.

“Some of them were quite upset…they were quite disturbed about it, very ashamed…Every week we used to have a laundry change, we used to strip the beds. Some of the boys who’d been taken off in cars … they were embarrassed.”

‘Well dressed’

Talking about those who would come to the care home to abuse the boys, he said they stood out: “Their mannerisms, they were obviously well dressed. I noticed their shoes and their watches more than anything.

“Their shoes were always really shiny, which was unusual. One guy wore his coat around his shoulders, a tan coat. They seemed to have the run of the place, if they wanted to do or see anything they could do it. I thought they must own the place because everyone is being so nice to them, deferential. We were told not even to look.”

The resident said he did inform police: “I made a statement to South Wales Police with regard to some alleged offences in SW area – a statement was taken but didn’t hear anything else about it.”

However, describing the effect the events had had on him, he said: “I’ve been carrying this around for 35 years. It’s destroyed every relationship in my life. I don’t trust anybody.

“I’ve tried to commit suicide on three occasions. Rather than actually tell anyone. I never even told my family. Nobody in my family knows about it because you were made to believe that you were wrong, nobody would believe you. You’d be shunned and it would be your fault.”