Nov 7 2012
The man who led the first inquiry into child abuse in North Wales has said he had no recollection of claims that a senior Tory was among the perpetrators.
John Jillings, who carried out an investigation for Clwyd County Council in 1994, said his inquiry focused on allegations of abuse by members of staff at the children's home.
"They didn't include well-known people in public life," he said. "The people that our investigation focused on - because these were the people the children spoke to us about - were staff members."
The Government this week launched two new inquiries following claims by one of the victims, Steve Messham, that he was was regularly taken to a hotel in Wrexham where he was sold for sexual abuse - including by a senior Conservative from the Thatcher era.
However Mr Jillings - whose report was never published on the insistence of the council's insurers - said he had no memory of hearing any such allegations from Mr Messham.
"I don't recall it. My memory may be failing me but I don't remember that that was one of the issues that he raised with us," he said. "I am sure that that would have lodged in my mind and we would have wanted to investigate it had we known about it."
His comments drew an angry response from Mr Messham who described them as "quite appalling".
While he acknowledged he could not remember what he told Mr Jillings's inquiry, he insisted it would have had access to his police statements in which he spelled out the details of the abuse he suffered.
"My statements have always been crystal clear. I have never hidden the fact who abused me. They have always been in my statements," he said. "To say he wasn't told of any abuse that took place outside the homes, to say he wouldn't be told about the hotel in Wrexham - I think that is appalling."
Following Mr Jillings's inquiry, in 1996 the then Welsh secretary William Hague ordered a further inquiry under Sir Ronald Waterhouse which is now the subject of a fresh review by a High Court judge.