Media firms forced to pay Gordon Anglesea £375k in libel damages tell of ‘bitter sweet’ moment he was convicted as paedophile
The North Wales Police ex-superintendent sued several publications,
including the Independent and Private Eye, over allegations made about
Independent on Sunday and Private Eye following both publications
printing allegations he was a paedophile.
Anglesea sued them for
libel, along with Welsh broadcaster HTV and The Observer, and the former
North Wales Police superintendent won £375,000 in costs.
allegations he had sexually abused boys at the Bryn Estyn care home
were false and the libel victory was a “vindication”.
But yesterday (October 21) he was found guilty of child sexual abuse dating back to the 1980s.
journalist Dean Nelson wrote one of the first stories in 1991, when he
was 26, to point the finger at Anglesea, but 26 years later he told the
Daily Post he feels no sense of “vindictation” following Anglesea’s conviction at Mold Crown Court for four sexual offences against children.
He said: “I’m relieved that he’s been convicted, but just sad about
the witnesses who were not believed, and the impact that had on their
“They were abused and humiliated and then accused of telling lies for money when they sought justice
“Many good people believed these accusations, and some of the victims couldn’t live with it.
“So it doesn’t feel like a cause for celebration – it’s a bitter-sweet justice,.”
said it came too late for one alleged victim who 21 years ago took his
own life shortly after the libel trial, and his family.
“It is about the families who have been destroyed and lives lost”
do hope the verdict gives pause for thought for those who claim victims
would talk in public about the most terrible abuse and damage you could
suffer to claim a few thousand pounds
“It also highlights the ludicrousness of the claim that there was no paedophile ring in North Wales.
is not about recovering money for a few newspapers. It is about the
families who have been destroyed and lives lost while victims were not
Those organisations forced to pay damages to Anglesea in what was one
of the biggest libel trials of the era, could attempt to recover their
costs in civil court.
But that idea has already been dismissed by
Private Eye editor Ian Hislop, who said the trial marked “one of the
darkest periods” of his 30-year editorship.
Talking after the verdict was delivered yesterday he said:
“During the libel trial Anglesea said that he had never assaulted any
“We now know that this was a lie, that he was
indeed a paedophile, that in truth he had no reputation to defend and
that he should never have sued anyone on this basis.
“Others have paid a far higher price”
“I take a certain grim satisfaction in this verdict today and in the fact that justice has eventually been done.
“But it is a miserable story and it was one of the darkest periods of my editorship.
can’t help thinking of the witnesses who came forward to assist our
case at the time, one of whom later committed suicide telling his wife
that he never got over ‘not being believed’.
“Private Eye will not be looking to get our money back from the libel damages. Others have paid a far higher price.”
North Wales Police have apologised to Anglesea’s victims and the 79-year-old, of Old Colwyn, will be sentenced on November 4 at Mold Crown Court.
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