Paedophile ring inquiry call backed

The children's commissioner for Wales has backed calls for a new inquiry into allegations that a senior Tory was involved in a paedophile ring three decades ago.

Keith Towler insisted concerns about a cover-up by powerful people were "understandable" and a full investigation was the only way to resolve the issue.

The intervention came after a victim of the North Wales care home scandal criticised the way the original Waterhouse Inquiry was conducted.

The tribunal, led by Sir Ronald Waterhouse, heard evidence from more than 650 individuals who had been in some 40 homes between 1974 and 1990, publishing its report in 2000.

But in an interview with the BBC's Newsnight, Steve Messham said the terms of reference meant he was not able to raise abuse that took place outside the care system.

"In the home it was the standard abuse, which was violent and sexual. Outside it was like you were sold, we were taken to the Crest Hotel in Wrexham, mainly on Sunday nights, where they would rent rooms," he said. "One particular night that I always recall is when I was basically raped, tied down and abused by nine different men."

Mr Messham said a senior Tory from the time, who was not named by the programme, had been involved.

Mr Towler told BBC Radio 5's Saturday Edition programme: "I would support a full inquiry. The fact that we have someone on camera now who was clearly a victim of appalling abuse in Bryn Estyn children's home back in the 1970s and 80s, saying that what he wanted to say was outside of the terms of reference, and people told him that he could not say these things and he couldn't talk about people who had abused him, is clearly wrong. The fact that he is now saying that and he has now said it so publicly means we have to respond to that."

He said the suggestion of a cover-up raised concerns that had to be addressed.

"The only way that we can clearly put that to bed is to say, at the top of the tree, we will conduct that inquiry and we will allow that inquiry to go as far as it needs to go to make sure that the evidence that witnesses want to give and that victims wants to give is fully heard. Unless you do that that level of suspicion will always be around that there is a cover-up... No one should be protected. Society needs to know that it is clean in this sense."

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