In one year, John Allen, who once had an office in Harley Street, drew an income of more than pounds 200,000 from the Bryn Alyn community homes in north Wales. His company also made a profit approaching pounds 400,000 and he ran up a director's overdraft of nearly pounds 500,000, the North Wales child abuse tribunal was told yesterday.
The Alyn empire prospered between 1968 and 1990 despite a police investigation into an allegation of abuse in 1970, two decades before Allen was jailed for six years for indecent assault.
Allen, 56, yesterday denied that he had given more than pounds 100,000 worth of cash and presents to residents and former residents of homes to either keep them quiet or to enable him to exploit them for his own gratification. In one case, a former resident was paid nearly pounds 25,000, Gerard Elias QC told the tribunal, and others were given gifts of motorbikes and hi-fi music systems.
The tribunal was told that former residents had written to Allen seeking money with in some cases veiled threats. Allen admitted that one attempt had been made to blackmail him.
The tribunal, at Caernarfon Crown Court, was told that Allen had paid for a flat in Brighton for a former resident. Three people who had been in care in various parts of north Wales were among five people who died in a fire in Brighton at another property six years ago.
The Bryn Alyn empire started in 1968 when Allen acquired his first home. In subsequent years, it expanded until at one time it had 200 children and he was dealing with 38 different councils. He also had properties in London and Gloucester, and a holiday home in France which some of the boys would visit.
But while the business boomed - it had a turnover of pounds 2.6m in one year - children were being abused, and in 1995 Allen was jailed for six years after being found guilty of indecent assaults on boys.
Giving evidence to the tribunal yesterday, Allen claimed that the allegations against him had been made up and that the former residents who had complaints were liars.
"You ran Bryn Alyn to exploit children for your own gratification, and to be paid substantial funds. The gifts were given so you could exploit children," Mr Elias, counsel for the tribunal, said. He said Allen had placed a former resident in a flat in Brighton as another sexual contact to be exploited.
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