More alleged child abuse victims step forward in Wales


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The Independent Online

Dozens more victims of alleged child abuse in North Wales care homes have come forward since the unfounded Newsnight allegations against Lord McAlpine.

Keith Towler, Children’s Commissioner for Wales is now handling 52 new cases including 35 relating to the original inquiry and a further 17 in connection with historic allegations elsewhere including two from England.

It is expected that some of those could be referred to the inquiry by the head of the National Crime Agency set up following the BBC report earlier this month.

The Independent has also learnt that a number of leading child abuse lawyers have been contacted in recent days by victims claiming their memories of abuse have been rekindled by the publicity.

Yesterday however senior peers said a judicial review of the four-year Waterhouse inquiry into the care home scandal ordered by the Prime Minister should now be scrapped following the retraction by abuse victim Steven Messham.

Lord Berwick, a former Appeal Court judge, said further inquiry by Mrs Justice Julia Macur was now irrelevant. He was backed by Lord Mackay of Clashfern, the former Conservative Lord Chancellor, and Baroness Butler-Sloss, also a retired judge.

“There is no longer any need for another high court judge to go over the work done by Sir Ronald Waterhouse and that on the contrary we should all be grateful for the impeccable nature of his inquiry and the thoroughness of his report,” Lord Lloyd said.

But Liberal Democrat Justice Minister Lord McNally, said the review would continue in light of accusations over alleged shortcomings.

Meanwhile Lancashire Police urged anyone who believed they were the victim of sexual abuse by the late Sir Cyril Smith to come forward. The former Rochdale MP was accused by Labour MP Simon Danczuk.