Children’s homes chiefs probed (13.08.78)

News of the World, 13th August 1978

NOTW130878

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  1. Kate MacDonald said:

    Transcript:

    CHILDREN’S HOMES CHIEFS PROBED (News of the World, 13th August 1978)

    A disciplinary investigation has been launched into the activities of two members of the staff at a council home for problem children.
    The probe is the latest incident at the home, where one worker has been jailed for sex offences and another fined for theft.
    Now the home’s superintendent, Mr Peter Bird, and his deputy, Mr Carl Evans, have been suspended from duty while council officials hold their inquiry.
    The matters under investigation include how a new council flat was given to a 17-year-old girl in council care.
    The home is Little Acton Assessment Centre, at Wrexham, North Wales. It takes up to 18 children, who are cared for by 21 professional staff, working in shifts.
    The matron, Valerie Halliwell, appeared at the local magistrates’ court last December and pleaded guilty to three charges of theft, obtaining money by deception and falsifying records.
    The court heard that she was authorised to spend children’s clothing allowances, but she bought slacks and a blouse for herself and charged the £12.98 bill to Clwyd County Council.
    Later she got a cash refund, because the clothes did not fit. And, when an investigation started, she tried to falsify records. She asked for three similar offences to be considered and was fined a total of £50.
    Later the same month Leslie Wilson, a senior house parent at Little Acton, was jailed for 15 months at Chester Crown Court. Wilson admitted three sex offences against a 14-year-old boy living at the home.
    Clwyd County Council issued a statement saying: “There are a number of matters which are under investigation, and the circumstances in which a teenage girl got a council home is one of them.”
    The girl was housed by Wrexham Maelor Council, where a spokesman said: “She was given a home because of persistent pressure by a county social worker.
    “We are told there was concern for her welfare at the place she was living.
    “But it turned out later that there was some difference between this particular chap and his superiors.
    “The girl is no longer a tenant of ours. There was a lot of trouble with this letting.”
    The girl got her home ahead of 1,700 other people on the council’s waiting list.
    She had previously been living in a house run by Lift, a Wrexham housing project for teenagers. Lift said she was given a place there after a request from the same social worker.
    Mr Bird, the suspended superintendent, said at his home near Chirk: “I’m quite confident about the outcome of the inquiry, because I’ve done nothing wrong.
    “I hope it’s all resolved soon. I’m still getting paid, but it has taken rather a long time.”
    Mr Evans, the deputy superintendent, lives at West Felton, Shropshire. A woman at his home said: “He’s away on holiday until September.
    “But his solicitor has advised him to say nothing.”

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