The Macur Review was presented to the House of Commons today, prompting Local MP Ian Lucas to tell Parliament that the people of Wrexham would be ‘astonished’.
The Macur Review was set up by the government in 2012 to determine whether any specific allegations of child abuse falling within the Waterhouse inquiry’s terms of reference were not investigated.
The Waterhouse Inquiry investigated historical ‘care’ home child abuse at in the Gwynedd and Clwyd councils between 1974 and 1996.
Mr Lucas told MP Stephen Crabb, the Security of State for Wales who presented a statement on the report today that the people of Wrexham will be ‘astonished by the contents of the statement today’.
Referring to his own work as a solicitor in the Wrexham area during the 80’s and 90’s he said he too was personally ‘astonished’.
Mr Crabb gave the summary findings of the review via a statement to the House of Commons earlier today, saying: “Having completed this work, Lady Justice Macur’s main finding is that, and I quote, ‘I have found no reason to undermine the conclusions of Waterhouse in respect of the nature and the scale of abuse’. ”
Citing the ‘careful look’ at these allegations, Mr Crabb referred to Macur finding “no evidence of the involvement of nationally prominent individuals in the abuse of children in care in North Wales between 1974 and 1996” but noted the ‘speculation’.
Historic correspondence between Wrexham’s former MP Dr John Marek and the Director of Public Prosecutions is included in today’s report, where Dr Marek states his ‘alarm’ in 1993 over no prosecutions ‘because of insufficient evidence or that it would not be in the public interest’. Dr Marek refers to the ‘many, probably wild, stories about very important and influential people mixed up in child sex abuse in North Wales’.
The review notes a fire in Pickfords storage depot in Chester during October 1996 destroying potentially relevant files to Waterhouse, technical problems accessing historic databases and various issues over record keeping and document storage.
Macur stats: “I consider that most of the issues raised as to ‘missing’ documentation are likely to have innocent explanations and arise from authorised destruction policies, inappropriate storage and inadequete record keeping or the passage of time.”
Mr Lucas also queried why following the Waterhouse Inquiry (Feb 2000) arrests had not taken place then, with some only taking place during the more recent Operation Pallial .
Mr Crabb referred to ’30 years ago’ in his answer rather than 16 and said he had asked a similar question to the National Crime Agency and was told that a ‘culture change’ and extra publicity mean there was ‘greater specific evidence’ than previously available.
The report itself is redacted with the names of some people removed, which could be why it is not a traditional HM Government PDF document. Rather, it is pages of scanned paper placed into a PDF file making searching and processing harder than normal.
The full 297 page Macur Report PDF is readable on this link, and due to the length and detail it will likely prompt further questions over the coming weeks.
BBC Wales Online has compiled a timeline of events to put today’s review in context – you can read it here.
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