North East Wales

John Allen trial: Wrexham home boss guilty of 33 abuse charges

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Media captionA former resident describes life as 'hell' in one of Allen's care homes in Wrexham

A man who ran children's homes in north Wales has been found guilty of sexually assaulting youngsters in a campaign of abuse spanning decades.

John Allen, 73, denied 40 counts of sex abuse against 19 boys and one girl in the late 1960s up to the early 1990s.

He was found guilty of seven sex charges at Mold Crown Court on Thursday after being found guilty of 26 charges on Wednesday and cleared of two.

The jury was discharged after failing to reach verdicts on four charges.

One alternative charge was dropped.

Allen, of Needham Market, Suffolk, will be sentenced on Monday and was warned he faces a life sentence.

Earlier on Thursday, Mr Justice Openshaw told jurors he was prepared to accept verdicts by a majority verdict and they later returned six by a majority.

The judge said there was no prospect of re-visiting the remaining charges after the jury had deliberated for more than week.

The case was the first prosecution following the Operation Pallial investigation into allegations of historical sexual abuse at children's homes which was launched by the National Crime Agency (NCA) in 2012.

It has identified 120 people as potential suspects with 12 people due to stand trial for various offences in 2015.

One former resident at the Bryn Alyn children's home said living at the establishment "wasn't care, it was like hell".

In an interview with BBC Wales, he explained how Allen had groomed him, giving him gifts before he abused him.

"The system really did fail us," said the man who cannot be identified.

Ed Beltrami, chief crown prosecutor for CPS Wales, said Allen had been convicted of a "shameful catalogue of abuse".

"All of those victims were at the time people who were away from their family homes, in his care in children's homes and looking to him for support and guidance.

"Instead of that they received shameful abuse from him," he said.

Operation Pallial's senior investigating officer, Ian Mulcahey said: "The impact on the lives of those John Allen abused may never be undone."

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