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Judge appeal to care home victims

Alleged victims of sexual abuse at care homes in North Wales have been asked to come forward to aid a fresh review into the disturbing claims.

Mrs Justice Macur is leading a review of the original Waterhouse Inquiry, which focused on claims at homes in the former council areas of Gwynedd and Clwyd since 1974.

The judge is looking at whether specific allegations were not investigated and urged alleged victims and all other interested parties to give further evidence.

She said: "To ensure I can thoroughly investigate allegations that the abuse of children in care in North Wales was not investigated in the course of the Waterhouse Inquiry I am seeking further views on the issues relating to this inquiry.

"We want to hear from as many individuals and interested parties as possible. This paper offers an opportunity for people and organisations to provide information or evidence that may help to provide some answers."

Her review will run alongside a separate investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) that will look at the original police handling of the case and any other allegations made more recently.

The investigations follow allegations by one of the victims, Steve Messham, who said the original inquiry examined only a fraction of the claims of abuse. That led to false child abuse allegations being made against former Tory politician Lord McAlpine.

Retired High Court judge Sir Ronald Waterhouse was appointed to head the original judicial inquiry that examined allegations of abuse of children in care.

The three-year investigation began in 1996, sat for more than 200 days and heard evidence from 259 complainants, of whom 129 gave oral testimony.

The report noted that for the "vast majority" of them this was the first opportunity for their accounts to be publicised and "very many of them expressed satisfaction" that this was achieved.

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