The Secret of Bryn Estyn: The Making of a Modern Witch Hunt Paperback – 15 Feb 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
First, it is ridiculed;
Second, it is violently opposed; and
Third, it is accepted as self-evident.
— Arthur Schopenhauer
But one person's axiom is another's heresy; and the intensity of the emotions is often inversely related to the availability of facts. Richard Webster's 722 pages is the iceberg upon which the Titanic of Waterhouse will founder, along with the hitherto perceived unsinkability of the SS Child Protection Value Statements. Your emotions can hardly fail to be triggered by this book; if you have been professionally involved in statutory child protection you will scream “heresy”, trash the book and demand that the author be burned at the stake; if you have been falsely accused of child abuse you will sob “at last” and demand that Webster be fêted as the ultimate whistleblower.
For, although the core of this book is the total demolition of the Waterhouse findings into the allegations of organised child abuse and paedophile rings in the child care homes of England, what gives it authority is the extraordinary lengths Webster has gone to place the whole Waterhouse episode into the context of the child protection industry, mass delusion and paedo-hysteria. You have only to read McLean and Elkind's exposé of the Enron corporate bankruptcy fiasco to see a striking comparison. Enron managed to persuade their auditors to re-write the rules of financial investigation so as to make massive debts appear to be massive assets; North Wales Social Services managed to persuade their police to re-write the rules of police investigation so as to make what, at worst, were rare isolated instances of child abuse, appear to be child abuse on a massive scale.Read more ›
According to first reports Bryn Estyn was a network of evil - a paedophile ring whose members included a senior North Wales police officer and other public figures. Over a period of ten years thousands were accused and hundreds arrested using the now discredited system of police trawling which reversed the age old principle of innocent until proved guilty. As Webster made clear some allegations were made almost by police invitation. In many cases the motivation for the allegations was to make money. The alleged paedophile ring never existed. Just two men were convicted.
In 1999 the BBC broadcast a programme entitled A Place of Safety in which several former residents of Bryn Estyn made allegations against staff members. Yet all the accusers had left the institution before the accused staff members had joined and had never met them.Read more ›
His work provokes equal measures of worry and anger.
If he is to be beleved, and I think he is, several lawyers and journalists, and a succession of others in public life, have failed to do their work with sufficient detachment or regard for actual evidence.
His forensic examination of events in North Wales has shown the Waterhouse Inquiry has hidden the truth, allowed liars to go unpunished, and started a witch hunt among care workers and in childrens' homes.
It is a very sorry and salutary tale, which curiously, a number of well regarded journalists seem unable to acknowledge.
After only skimming through the first few pages, I understood why.
Richard Webster's nine-year research to bring this work to fruition, was indeed remarkable, as personal experience of some of the characters (names were changed to protect the living) he had to meet with and interview, were/are so crooked they would have had difficulty in laying in their beds straight.
He has my ultimate respect for that as some of those people truly were the lowest of the low. The stories they concocted in order to gain compensation, permanently destroyed the careers, health and reputation of some innocent people, which could even have contributed to the premature death in others.
It towers above anything else written about this dark chapter in The history of child care in this country, and serves to educate and awaken the reader to the depths that some people can sink.
I cannot recommend it highly enough....
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In October 2014, John Allen appeared at Mold Crown Court accused of 40 counts of sexual abuse against 19 boys and one girl, aged between 7 and 15, during the 1960s and 1970s. Read morePublished 19 months ago by R. I. Peel
Anything that challenges the accepted orthodoxy has to be worth reading and I have yet to see it robustly challenged.Published on 16 Mar. 2014 by gordon Sharpe
I am writing this brief note since it would be allow you to think I am coming fresh from reading the book .I am not .It is some months now. Read morePublished on 2 Feb. 2013 by cicero
Essential reading for anyone dealing with child protection issues. An excellent book. Informative and thought provoking. Read morePublished on 7 Dec. 2012 by Ms C Brown