North Wales paedophile ring

Victims tell of abuse ordeal
Tuesday, 15 February, 2000, 10:45 GMT

Victims like Andrew Teague still suffer because of their ordeals

The Waterhouse Report gives the many victims of child abuse in north Wales homes the opportunity to speak out about their ordeals.

Steven Messham was 13 when he was sent to the Bryn Estyn children's home in Wrexham.

He said he went there because "family problems" meant he had spent many years being beaten black and blue by his parents.
But when he arrived at Bryn Estyn things only got worse.

"Within a matter of days I was physically abused and sexually abused and that went on for two years," he said.

"I was abused by over 40 people - sexually abused.

"As time went on, I realised there were other people involved, there was photographs taken, and I wasn't being abused on my own.

Alison Taylor: Exposed abuse incidents
"I tried to complain. I made police statements in 1978 and nothing was ever done about it.

"No one was listening at all."

He said Bryn Estyn was known as the "Colditz of care."

Mr Messham has since spent long spells in psychiatric hospitals and is still receiving counselling.

'Life sentence'

He added: "I am serving a life sentence and it sounds like these people are going to get away with this."

Former Bryn Estyn resident Andrew Teague, 36, from Swansea, who now has a wife and child, said: "The system just shuts things out.

"I see it in the papers - a paedophile coming out of prison and working with children."

Carol Davies underwent repeated physical abuse at the Ty'r Felin home in Gwynedd.

On a night out to the cinema she was confronted by a member of staff.

'Dragged by hair'

"Within a couple of steps, I was lifted from the floor by my hair and I was dragged up the stairs, kicked and punched along the corridors.

"I woke up with clumps of hair and blood and what I would describe as feeling hungover."

North Wales solicitor Nic Parry, who attended the tribunal which examined the range of abuse evidence, believes that the publication of the Waterhouse Report on Tuesday may prompt further action.

"If the public read about names and incidents that have not led to criminal prosecutions, they may put pressure on to change that," said Mr Parry.

'Public pressure'

"Public pressure is bound to be great."

Former social worker Alison Taylor, who lost her job after revealing incidents of abuse, said the Waterhouse Report had to look at the system as a whole.

"I think it was far more comprehensive that even I expected it to be," she told BBC Wales.

"I was impressed very much by the way it was handled."

But she added: "It cannot concentrate on one or two homes, it must look at the wider picture."

Sir William Utting, whose report in 1997 uncovered widespread abuse in childrens homes, said it was unlikely such levels of abuse would occur again.

"I would not want people to think that child care services are still like that," he said.

"The report has gone about promoting my recommendations in the most comprehensive way.

"I would also hope Sir Ronald has something to say about improving the criminal justice system."