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The beast of the valleys: Scandal of the children's homes

Scallywag issue 23, 1994

Joseph Nefyn Dodd is a huge, blustery, violent and perverted ex-handyman who was quite incredibly put in charge of various children's homes in Gwent, North Wales, throughout the seventies.

Under his tyrannical rule hundreds of children were physically or sexually abused during an entire decade, and, despite the fact that both the authorities and police had been fully appraised of the situation, he was allowed complete freedom and even promoted.

Dodd has never faced court, despite a 400-page dossier which gives chapter and verse on his outrageous sadism and names nearly 100 witnesses. An extensive police inquiry did lead to the arrest and eventual imprisonment of six men under the auspices of Dodd, who were successfully prosecuted for sexual abuse. But Dodd himself has never even been officially cautioned.

Cover up

The allegations led to a rent-a-child situation which eventually involved the very centre of Conservative Central Office, and five policemen have been named as deeply involved with the scandal. One of them, a former police inspector, is suing both The Observer and Private Eye for libel after they had named him on a serious abuse charge.

Also implicated is the prominent Tory freemason Lord Tenby, whose son was part of the paedophile ring, and who not only tried to cover up the police involvement (Tenby was a high-flyer on the police committee) but actively attempted to have the inspector promoted, even though he was then under investigation.

A comprehensive report to Gwynedd County Council, delivered in 1991, concerning all 11 homes in the county jurisdiction, shows there was no active control over the children in council care. Their frugal pocket money was stolen; all of them were beaten on almost a daily basis on the whim of unqualified child molesters; they were actively encouraged to become child prostitutes; and drink and drugs were easily available for children even as young as ten-years-old.


The travesty of the law is such that police are often unable to incarcerate persistent young offenders, however often they offend. But any social worker may apply to a magistrates' court for a care order which is indiscriminate and without time limit, at least until the child is 16.

The children are then farmed out to lonely bedsits, without any further counselling, money or job prospects. They often become so desperate they either voluntarily return to the home, or they turn to crime, or on many occasions, commit suicide.

Dodd was a proven pornographer, and he tended to hire unqualified staff who shared his evil lusts. Under his care dozens of under-age girls became pregnant. VD was rife. Boys were consistently buggered, not only by staff but by perverted visitors, including a Roman Catholic priest, several policemen, and eventually some big-wigs from the Tory party.

Genuine staff who objected to his activities would be fired on the spot, or Dodd would find ways of discrediting them so they could not get a job elsewhere.

Lord McAlpine

Dodd was also an outrageous sadist with a violent temper which could unleash itself without apparent reason. He would punch and kick children indiscriminately, try to suffocate them, or drag them around the room by their hair. He would lock them in cupboards in their pyjamas for days without food.

It was from the homes run by Dodd that paedophiles recruited potential child prostitutes who would be taken to nearby towns and introduced to clients. If and when they left the home they would be transferred to London where people like Derek Laud (full story in Scallywag 22) would in turn introduce them to political big-wigs like Lord McAlpine.

Laud, referred to elsewhere in the magazine, ran a political PR campaign and was a constant lobbyist in the Palace of Westminster. His firm, Ludgate Securities, specialised in buttering-up the 60 or so MPs who are known to be gay or paedophiles.


Based on a 20-page report by a former serving policeman, a full police inquiry was made in the mid-seventies and subsequently the Deputy Chief Constable resigned. The Chief Constable, David Owen, left soon after to go to Dorset.

Dorset Constabulary had been reeling from scandals of its own which resulted in the former Chief, Arthur Hambleton, taking early retirement. Ironically, Owen was brought in to try to restore Dorset police's reputation. He lasted for two years before moving on.

The investigation into the DCC involved serious allegations of irregular sexual activity between himself, the wife of an (unknowing) uniformed constable, and others, although he was never directly linked to the paedophile scandal at the children's homes.


The report to the council grew to dossier form by the early nineties. But by then two dozen former children who had been molested had committed suicide. Others, after years of mental torture, had decided they could not relive the years they spent in care. Others still, had managed to find new lives and did not want their wives and children to know what they had been through.

But dedicated social worker Alison Taylor managed to get nearly 200 former children at Dodd homes to give her first-hand accounts of the abuse they suffered. Her report makes harrowing reading. Once the door was closed on these defenceless children just about anything could happen to them.

Both boys and girls were required to visit staff, including Dodd and his wife, in their private quarters for lengthy and often violent sex sessions. The homes were almost completely neglected by the authority, which checked them so rarely many children who had been at a home for three years or more could not recall a visit.


The girls, in particular, were taken by staff to local night clubs where large quantities of alcohol were paid for. The girls were then invited to go home with other customers who did financial deals with the staff. The boys were not taken to public clubs but farmed out on a similar basis to private homes or hotel rooms.

One of the so very perplexing things about this whole rotten situation is that if anyone did try and bring a prosecution, the police were openly apathetic - even to Alison Taylor's detailed accounts. Frustration set in doubly when it was realised if it came to whether the authorities believed a staff member or a child they could invariably prove had shown delinquent behaviour, they always believed the staff.

What was never taken even vaguely into consideration was the sad fact that a child who found him or herself in care for no reason of their own would inevitably, because they were abused, become delinquent, and so trapped.
The North Wales child abuse scandal was the subject of a three-year, £13 million investigation into the physical and sexual abuse of children in care homes in the counties of Clwyd and Gwynedd, in North Wales,