Operation Pallial officer says child abuse investigation will carry on for as long as necessary
Senior Investigating Officer Ian Mulcahey says no limit to ‘complex’ probe into child abuse at North Wales care homes.
Speaking after John Allen was convicted of horrific sex crimes against vulnerable children, Senior Investigating Officer for Operation Pallial, Ian Mulcahey, said “we’ll finish when we finish”, adding that it is a “large and complex investigation”.
A total of 35 people – all but four of which are men – have now been arrested or interviewed under caution by National Crime CA officers. Of these, 13 have been charged, including Allen, with the remainder on bail while investigations continue. Twelve of those charged will stand trial early next year.
Up to November 13 this year, 287 people have reported one or more account of abuse.
Information provided by 236 people is under active investigation and has resulted in more than 120 people being identified as potential suspects. Around 30-40 of those have died, according to Mr Mulcahey, but that does not mean allegations against them are not investigated.
Giving evidence in court, Allen, 73, claimed his victims had made the allegations against him in order to claim compensation.
After Allen was convicted, Ed Beltrami, chief crown prosecutor for the CPS in Wales, confirmed that most of his victims had not made compensation claims, and added that they didn’t need Allen to come to court in order to do so.
Mr Mulcahey revealed that Allen, who has never shown any remorse for his actions, had claimed in police interview: “I’m the victim.”
He described Allen as “a lone wolf” who used his wealth to exert control over his victims. “People were terrified of him,” he said. “He was a violent man. He claims he was a generous man, we believe it was a way to exert his control.”
He described the conviction of Allen as a “significant outcome” and hopes it has reassured the public that they mean business.
“There weren’t avenues for people to come forward (in the past),” said Mr Mulcahey. “They thought they wouldn’t be taken seriously. Hopefully this will have an impact on reassuring the public they have a voice and we take it seriously.”
Mark Polin, Chief Constable of North Wales Police, added: “I am pleased the investigation I asked the NCA to deliver is progressing well and that a number of people will appear at court over the next few months to face new charges.”
Keith Towler, Children’s Commissioner for Wales, said: “When allegations of historical sexual abuse in the North Wales care system made headline news in 2012, I was insistent that those victims must be listened to, supported and dealt with sensitively. For too long, these victims were silenced.
“Two years on, I am reassured that victims have been heard and that instances of historical abuse are finally being thoroughly investigated by Operation Pallial.”
Operation Pallial continues to liaise closely with Conwy council, which is coordinating provision of support to those who came forward on behalf of all six local authorities in North Wales.
Jenny Williams, the local authority’s strategic director for social care and education, said: “We would encourage anyone connected with the enquiry who feels they need support to contact Operation Pallial – it doesn’t matter if you have declined this service previously.
“We’re committed to ensuring there is a long-term arrangement in place to support victims and that the legacy of this enquiry remains a priority.”