9 Nov 2012

Top Tory links to abuse could be mistaken

The Thatcher-era Conservative aide linked to sex abuse allegations by a care home resident has fallen victim to mistaken identity, new evidence suggests.

Top Tory links to abuse could be mistaken

Lord Alistair McAlpine has been at the centre of allegations of abuse at a children’s care home in north Wales, following claims made by Steve Messham, a former resident of the Wrexham care home at the centre of the allegations.

Mr Messham told BBC Newsnight that he had been abused by a former Tory aide more than a dozen times, but the programme did not name the accused.

But now a local councillor who was also a victim of abuse at the Bryn Estyn care home has told the Guardian he did not believe Lord McAlpine was involved.

The new evidence came as David Cameron warned of a “witch-hunt” on Thursday, after he was confronted with a list of suspected paedophiles live on television.

McAlpine has vehemently denied the allegations made against him, pointing out that he had only been to Wrexham once in his life and lived miles away in the south of England at the time.

On Thursday Keith Gregory, the Wrexham councillor who acted as spokesperson for the victims of abuse since the allegations of abuse at the home in the 1970s and 1980s emerged again recently, said he believed a different member of the McAlpine family may be responsible instead. This person may have been mistaken for Lord McAlpine, he added.

Mr Messham had said that Lord McAlpine turned up at the boy’s home in expensive cars. But Mr Gregory told the Guardian that a man who children at the home believed to be a member of the McAlpine family would arrive at Bryn Estyn in an expensive car.

The 1996 to 2000 Waterhouse inquiry into north Wales care home abuse exonerated Lord McAlpine from any involvement in the scandal. But the inquiry ruled not to name any of the victims or alleged abusers. Since then he has been at the centre of allegations and persistent smears.

It has also emerged that that Mr Messham told the Waterhouse inquiry in 1997 that the McAlpine family member he believed to be his abuser was now dead. Lord McAlpine is alive and living in Italy.

Another boy who originally appeared to corroborate the accusation against Lord McAlpine later said that he had only been shown a photograph of Lord McAlpine by a journalist, which was his sole knowledge of him.