Operation Pallial: Bringing too long awaited justice for child sexual abuse survivors after nearly 30 years


Gordon Anglesea: Now a convicted paedophile Pic Credit: BBC and John Price


The conviction of former North Wales police inspector Gordon Anglesea for indecent assault against two teenage boys has been a long time coming. Too long.

His conviction last week along with John Allen, the former owner of Bryn Alyn  and Bryn  Estyn children’s homes in North Wales, who was convicted of a further 33 offences against children, are the high spots of the National Crime Agency’s Operation Pallial investigation.

This investigation along with the Macur inquiry  into child sexual abuse in North  Wales would never have been set up unless Theresa May when she was home secretary, had seen the need for it.

And some of the victims would never had any justice or ever believed.

I  have reservations about the openness of the Macur inquiry but the police investigation has been a success contrary to views of some naysayers. My Macur reservations are heightened by revelations on Paddy French’s Rebecca website which suggests that Lady Macur was less than open about Angelsea. See the link here.

Those like Harvey Proctor  who condemn Theresa May for establishing the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse might well pause. For this police investigation has yielded results. It proved those who said that there was no need for  further investigations into the North Wales and it is not worth investigating claims of historic sexual abuse were wrong.

Both convicted men were arrogant, evil and thought because of their powerful positions in the North Wales hierarchy they were untouchable and could abuse vulnerable children at will.

Both mounted similar defences. John Allen said he wasn’t gay, was not sexually attracted to children and had suffered a “miscarriage of justice ” when he was convicted in 1996 of sexually assaulting six boys.in the first place. His accusers were making it up to get compensation money, his defence lawyers said. He is now rightly in jail for life.

Gordon Anglesea took a similar line saying it was a conspiracy by the survivors to accuse him of indecent assault so they could obtain  money.

This is the man who won  £375,000 damages  in 1994 against The Observer, the Independent on Sunday, Private Eye and HTV, the holder of the ITV franchise in Wales over allegations that he had abused children during visits he made to the Bryn Estyn children’s home just outside Wrexham. He also pursued the satirical magazine Scallywag  through its distributors.

It is worth looking at the Inforrm blog today which carries a report on how the libel case was successful.

Operation Pallial – which ceased  handling new claims last month –  has now succeeded in convicting  nine men.A total of 340 people have made contact with the investigation and 84 complaints were still being actively investigated at the end of July.

It would be a good idea if  the National Crime Agency shared with other police forces how they managed to secure convictions for historic child sexual abuse – as they seem to have made a good fist of it. And the police need advice on how to proceed with such cases – particularly in North Wales where former police officers were accused.

For the survivors it has been particularly grim – waiting all that time for justice. As Ian Hislop, the editor of Private Eye, pointed out : ” I can’t help thinking of the witnesses who came forward to assist our case at the time, one of whom later committed suicide telling his wife that he never got over ‘not being believed”.

That about sums up the injustice survivors have had for 30 years.







6 thoughts on “Operation Pallial: Bringing too long awaited justice for child sexual abuse survivors after nearly 30 years

  1. It speaks volumes that justice however delayed and obstructed can be achieved, albeit there could be an Appeal from the convicted. A more important fact is that without Theresa May pushing for a justice process on CSA this would probably not be on the horizon. That gives all victims hope. However caution must be the Watchword. Remember the attacks and leaks Mrs May had to suffer when she set up the CSA enquiry. All of a sudden she was an incompetent Home Secretary because of failures Heathrow. Coincidence? Look also at the recent attacks on Ms Izekor a Commissioner at the IPCC, the same Ms Izekor who is heading the CSA investigation strands Another coincidence? And what about Lowell-Goddard. Strange that around the time she was deemed unsuitable she had passed to her by one of her in-house teams information that they had discovered in Government papers. And finally what about the serving police child protection officer who is again being threatened with a disciplinary process because he has previously met with Simon Danczuk and is a witness for the the above Ms Izekor. Strange times indeed.


  2. Macur noted the chaotic and incomplete state of the Waterhouse records but surprisingly didn’t seek to draw particular attention to the extent to which she was unable to fulfill her task as adequately as she might. IICSA has already shown its inability to safeguard information entrusted to it. It’s about time that an independent Office for the Integrity of Archives was set up to ensure that records of historical importance are treated with the respect due to their content and the sometimes very painful reality it represents.


  3. Major development on historic VIP CSA week before Xmas.Taken 27 years but memories and evidence do not fade. Knew this was coming a year ago but better late than never.


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