Head of children's home abused boys

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The Independent Online
The former head of a children's home was jailed for six years at Chester Crown Court yesterday, concluding a three-year police investigation into child abuse in North Wales.

John Allen, 53, committed a string of sex offences against young boys at the Bryn Alyn home in Wrexham. He was the seventh man to be convicted as a result of an inquiry that covered 46 children's homes in Clwyd and Gwynedd.

Allen, of Bisley, near Stroud, Gloucestershire, was convicted of six offences of indecent assault between 1972 and 1983 and acquitted of four other charges.

Mr Justice Curtis told him: "There are two sides to you. One is a person who genuinely cared for troubled youngsters. The other was driven by homosexual lust . . . These boys were not only young, they were also badly damaged and put into your care to be put on the right path . . . It is no wonder in many cases that they remain disturbed people . . . It is a particularly appalling case of breach of trust."

Malcolm King, chairman of Clwyd social services committee, said afterwards: "We now need to discover why so many children have had their lives destroyed rather than being protected as they should have been. The only way we can uncover the full truth . . . is to have a full public inquiry with judicial power." One of his victims claimed that he later became a rent boy, blaming it on what happened to him at the home.

Another witness, now in his thirties and running his own building firm, was close to tears when he told the jury Allen indecently assaulted him in a lavatory. Allen denied allegations that he had paid boys for sexual favours.

Jailing him, Mr Justice Curtis said yesterday: "I consider there are two sides to you. One is a person who genuinely cared for troubled youngsters. The other was driven by homosexual lust.

"What will stick in the throats of ordinary people is that these boys were not only young, they were also badly damaged and put into your care to be put on the right path. But you indecently assaulted them.

"How could they ever trust an adult again? It's no wonder in many cases that they remain disturbed people . . . it is a particularly appalling case of breach of trust."

The court heard that Allen failed to answer his bail in the last week of the trial and had lived rough in a wood near Oxford after having a breakdown. He was taken to hospital after being spotted by a jogger.

David Steer QC, for the defence, said: "He is a broken man."

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