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Ex-police chief found guilty of abusing teenage boys

Published 21/10/2016

Gordon Anglesea ran a Home Office attendance centre in Wrexham, Mold Crown Court was told
Gordon Anglesea ran a Home Office attendance centre in Wrexham, Mold Crown Court was told

A former police chief who won £375,000 libel damages from media accusing him of involvement with paedophiles has today been found guilty of the historical sex abuse of teenage boys.

Former Superintendent Gordon Anglesea, 79, used his position and "connections with authority" to molest his two victims, while running a "naughty boy school" in North Wales, Mold Crown Court heard.

He was convicted on Friday of four counts of indecent assault and cleared of one count of buggery between 1982 and 1987, against two boys, both aged 14 or 15 at the time, following a six-week trial.

The jury heard Anglesea, whose defence was funded by the Police Federation, was accused of having "a connection" to notorious North Wales paedophile John Allen and others who were part of a paedophile ring operating in the region using children's homes as cover for their abuse.

Anglesea, a police inspector in Wrexham in the 1980s, with a number of the children's homes on his patch, was alleged to have abused a boy trafficked to him by Allen from a home.

Witnesses told the jury Anglesea became a regular visitor to the Bryn Alyn Children's Home in Wrexham, run by Allen, who was first convicted of child sex offences in 1995 and was jailed for life in 2014 for sexually abusing 18 boys and one girl in his care.

Suspicions against Anglesea had first been raised in the media in 1991 when he was named as a regular visitor to children's homes, who had resigned suddenly and without explanation from his police job as questions about abuse in homes were growing.

But in 1994 Anglesea won damages of £375,000 in a joint action against the Independent on Sunday, The Observer, HTV and Private Eye, which were ordered to pay his sizeable legal costs.

The defendant, a father of five, stood still in the dock, his hands resting on the bench in front of him, and gave no reaction as the guilty verdicts were given by the forewoman of the jury.

Anglesea, of Colwyn Bay, had run a Home Office attendance centre in Wrexham in the 1980s where teenage boys convicted of petty crime would be given a "short, sharp, shock" of military-style physical training, marches and parade sessions along with woodwork classes on Saturday afternoons.

Anglesea would "inspect" the parade, make the youngsters do naked sit-ups and squat thrusts, then loiter around the showers "with a smirk on his face".

Three of the assaults took place at the attendance centre, against one boy who was "last back to the showers" after a cross-country run, the jury heard.

During evidence from the witness box, the victim, now in his forties and who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said: "I'm here to look him in the eye. Evil. A policeman. He's ruined my life."

The other victim said he was first sexually assaulted by Allen while in care and living at the Bryn Alyn home and the abuse sometimes involved other adults when he was "handed around like a handbag".

On one occasion at a house in Mold, Anglesea "grabbed him by the hair" and forced him to perform oral sex on him, calling him "scum" and telling the boy he had the "power to send him away".

Another witness, who was abused by a paedophile ring involving Allen, also said he saw the defendant at the home of Gary Cooke, another convicted paedophile.

The defendant started his police career in 1957 in Cheshire after serving in the Royal Air Force.

He transferred to Wrexham in 1976, was promoted to the rank of inspector and ran the attendance centre between 1979 and 1987, before retiring as a superintendent in 1991.

While Anglesea rose through the ranks, both his victims had led "chaotic" lives, descending into crime, drugs and alcoholism as a result of the abuse.

Eleanor Laws QC, prosecuting, told the court Anglesea's defence amounted to, "look at me and look at who they are, how can you believe them?"

But Ms Laws told the jury the victims must have been giving "Oscar-winning performances" if they were lying and suggested their evidence was "raw, credible and real".

Anglesea had married for a second time in 1977, immediately following his divorce from his first wife, by whom he had had two children. There were also three children from his second wife's first marriage. They had a daughter together but she had died in May 1983.

He denied all charges and told the court he had cause to attend at the Bryn Alyn and Bryn Estyn children's homes to administer cautions to boys.

Anglesea told the court he was the victim of a malicious "conspiracy of lies" by men bitter about how their lives had turned out and motivated by claiming compensation money.

Tania Griffiths QC, defending Anglesea, described the allegations as "arrant nonsense" and accused his victims of "crocodile tears" while telling "whopping great lies".

She dismissed the trial as a "smokescreen" and said the "system" in the wrong hands was a "licence to print money" for people to make up claims of child sex abuse.

The jury was out for eight hours and 48 minutes.

Judge Geraint Walters granted Anglesea bail until he is sentenced, at a date to be fixed - but told him he will be going to jail.

He told the defendant: "The fact that I grant you bail now carries no indication at all as to the sentence you are likely to receive.

"You know yourself already that there can only be one sentence and that will be a prison sentence."

Before leaving court, the judge said the defendant would have to sign the sex offenders register.

A man in the public gallery overlooking the court, shouted: "This is a great day for British justice! Thirty years we've waited for this."

He was told to "Shut it" by members of the defendant's family, some of whom were slumped in their seats, head in hands.

During wrangling in the court between lawyers over the date the defendant will be sentenced, Ms Griffiths, defending, said: "We have a 79-year-old man who is about to spend the rest of his life in prison."

Press Association

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