The 15th of February 2009 marks the 9th anniversary of the publication of Lost In Care (The Waterhouse Report) report of the North Wales Tribunal of Inquiry into [allegations of] abuse in North Wales Children’s Homes sees the publication in paperback of the much acclaimed The Secret of Bryn Estyn – the making of a modern witch hunt by cultural historian Richard Webster. Shortlisted for the Orwell Prize.
In 1991 journalists on broadsheet newspapers began to publish stories claiming that Bryn Estyn, a home for adolescent boys on the outskirts of Wrexham, lay at the centre of a network of evil – a paedophile ring whose members included a senior North Wales police officer. A massive investigation was launched which, over the next ten years, spread to care homes throughout Britain. Thousands were accused, hundreds arrested, and the prisons began to fill up with convicted care workers. Had we at last faced up to a horrifying reality? Or was there another, even more disturbing story that remained to be uncovered? Had leading journalists on quality newspapers themselves helped to set in motion a new kind of witch hunt, one that was unable to distinguish between the guilty and the innocent?
Included within the paperback edition is a postscript on Journalism, Jersey and the Idea of Evil which addresses issues similar to those relating to the Bryn Estyn scandal which have arisen at Haut de la Garenne children’s home in Jersey.
This is an extraordinary book … gripping and coherent … a major achievement … Webster has admirably succeeded in what the police … and two successive [inquiries] failed to do: discover what really happened.’
Professor Jean La Fontaine, Evening Standard
‘This is a tragic story. I am in no doubt at all that a whole new genre of miscarriages of justice has arisen from the over-enthusiastic pursuit of allegations of abuse – some of which date back several decades. Richard Webster has done us all a service by documenting so meticulously what went wrong in this seminal case.’
Chris Mullin MP
‘It’s a story that has everything: personal animus, fantasy, intrigue, alleged Masonic conspiracy, bizarre sex acts and courtroom drama … This is brilliant stuff. It is fair, measured and brave. Webster does not deny abuse – only that it was endemic in residential care. This book should be read by … anyone interested in the human condition.’
Mark Smith, Child Abuse Review
‘courageous…fearless…so closely and cogently argued that it demands attention’
Gerald Haigh, Times Educational Supplement
Brendan O’Neill, Guardian Unlimited
‘The Secret of Bryn Estyn is simply a marvellous book …It is thorough, well balanced and as compellingly written as a mystery novel.’
Professor Mary de Young
‘I was one of those people who, until I read this book, believed what the press had told me about the North Wales scandal . . . I can remember how shocked we all were about what the [Tribunal] report contained … This book has made the scales fall from my eyes … It is a book of national importance.’
Earl Howe, Shadow health minister
‘In his massively researched, compelling recent book The Secret of Bryn Estyn, about the notorious North Wales child abuse scandal, Richard Webster demolishes the belief that there was a vast conspiracy of sexual corruption in Welsh care homes in the 1980s …’
Leo McKinstry, Spectator
‘It is unarguable that Webster has a powerful case. The book will make uncomfortable reading for all those involved in investigating these cases, from police and lawyers to journalists and judges. Webster’s forensic skill … could well have been used by all of them, too. . . [His] detailed exposition of how the “scandal” unfolded, despite scant hard evidence, should be required reading for newsdesks.’
Christian Wolmar, The Oldie
Paperback publication date:15 February 2009
Revised paperback edition with a new 12-page postscript
B format paperback (198 x 129mm)
ISBN: 978 09515922 67