Belstead Children’s Home
‘Small’ number of Suffolk children were sent to paedophile John Allen’s care homes in north Wales
Colin Adwent Crime correspondent Sunday, November 30, 2014
As a former Ipswich hotel worker awaits an expected jail term today for abusing 19 children it has emerged Suffolk youngsters were sent to the north Wales care homes he once ran.
However, although Suffolk County Council said it could not give the exact total sent to the Bryn Alyn Community Care Homes which John Allen had owned, it did say it believed the numbers were “small”.
Allen, of Foxglove Avenue, Needham Market, and formerly of Wherstead Road, Ipswich, is due to receive a substantial prison sentence at Mold Crown Court today after being convicted of more than 30 child sex offences last week. He had denied 40 allegations.
Most of the abuse between 1969 and 1990 took place at three homes – Bryn Alyn, Pentre Saeson and Bryn Terion.
The 73-year-old had been jailed by Chester Crown Court for six years in 1996 for indecent assaults on six boys at the children’s homes he ran.
Suffolk County Council (SCC) has said due to the time-consuming and costly task of going through thousands of historic individual records it could not say if any youngsters were sent to the care homes before 1990, although it was aware some were transferred there in the early 1990s.
Meanwhile, one man who worked in the Suffolk care system believes Allen – who worked as a night porter at the Premier Inn in Bourne Hill, Wherstead, until 2012 – had visited care homes in Suffolk.
The man, who is now in his late 30s, was at the former Hightrees care home in Foxhall Road, Ipswich, and Belstead children’s home as a child. He is adamant he saw Allen visiting both premises.
However, Suffolk County Council said it could not find any record of Allen doing so.In relation to the question of children being sent from Suffolk to Wales, Sue Cook, SCC’s director for children and young people’s services, said: “The protection, safety and wellbeing of children and young people is, and always has been, our top priority.
“Appropriate checks have always been carried out to make sure accommodation meets the needs of young people and is well run.
“However, no amount of checking would have foreseen the deplorable acts of an individual who abused their position of power.
“We will always seek to find a home for children or young people as close as possible to Suffolk as for most children it is of utmost importance that they retain their identity and sense of belonging with their community, friends and extended family.
“Therefore the number of children or young people placed as far away as Wales would have been extremely low historically and is even less today.
“However, to identify the small number of young people placed at Bryn Alyn Community homes would mean officers manually looking through each individual record over a period of around 20 years.
“This would have cost in the region of £50,000 of public money.
“We take all allegations of harm towards a child extremely seriously.
“I would urge any Suffolk resident who has concerns about the wellbeing of a child now or historically to contact 0808 800 4005, so those concerns can be appropriately investigated.”