4 Nov 2012

Paedophile ring inquiry needed to clear ‘cover up’ claims

The children’s commissioner for Wales backs calls for a new inquiry, following new allegations that a senior Tory official was involved in a paedophile ring 30 years ago.

Keith Towler said the only way to clarify what happened to children at the infamous Bryn Estyn estate in Wrexham (pictured below) and to ensure there had been no cover up was to hold a new inquiry.

A victim of the care home scandal of the 1970s and 1980s, where young children were sexually and violently abused by their carers, said that further abuse took place outside the home and was not followed up.

In an interview with BBC Newsnight, Steve Messham claimed that on one occasion he was tied down and raped by several men. Among the group, he alleged, was a leading Conservative official at the time.

Paedophile ring inquiry needed to clear cover up claims

He said: “In the home it was the standard abuse, which was violent and sexual. Outside it was like you were sold, we were taken to the Crest Hotel in Wrexham, mainly on Sunday nights, where they would rent rooms,” he said.

“One particular night that I always recall is when I was basically raped, tied down and abused by nine different men.”

Messham claims that one of those men was a senior Tory official.

However Channel 4 News Political Correspondent Michael Crick spoke to the individual on Friday, who vehemently denied any involvement in paedophile activity and said if he was named he will sue.

Waterhouse tribunal

A tribunal, led by Sir Ronald Waterhouse, looked into the abuse of hundreds of boys and heard evidence from more than 650 individuals who had been in some 40 homes between 1974 and 1990, publishing its report in 2000.

Messham told Newsnight that his claims about what happened to him outside the home were not followed up at the inquiry, prompting Keith Towler’s comments today.

The children commissioner said: “The fact that we have someone on camera now who was clearly a victim of appalling abuse in Bryn Estyn children’s home back in the 1970s and 80s, saying that what he wanted to say was outside of the terms of reference, and people told him that he could not say these things and he couldn’t talk about people who had abused him, is clearly wrong.

“The fact that he is now saying that and he has now said it so publicly means we have to respond to that.”

A spokesman for the Welsh government said they were very concerned about the allegations and would look at all the evidence as it appeared.

‘He would have me killed’

The Sunday Express has also spoken to Messham today, and he revealed that he was due to speak to police officers soon about his claims and would name the Tory to them.

He also told the paper that after the abuse, the individual threatened Messham with his life if he discussed it with anyone.

“After I was assaulted, this politician made it quite clear what would happen to me if I dared tell anyone. He warned me that if I mentioned anything about the abuse, he would have me killed.

“This man would never say he would do it personally, but he was someone with immense power and I took his threat very, very seriously.”

‘The highest of places’

Senior Labour MP Tom Watson, who last week raised the possibility of a “paedophile ring” has also promised to speak out about the child abuse allegations in “the highest of places”.

Writing in his blog on Saturday, Watson explains he has been contacted by many people describing appalling allegations of child abuse, some perpetrated by those in positions in power.

He wrote: “They have named powerful people — some of them household names — who abused children with impunity.

Citing the revelations over Jimmy Savile scandal Watson promises he will pursue the matter.

“What I am going to do personally is to speak out on this extreme case of organised abuse in the highest places. At the core of all child abuse is the abuse of power. The fundamental power of the adult over the child.

Wherever this occurs it is an abomination. But these extreme cases are abuse of power by some of the most powerful people.”