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'Significant' evidence is found in sex abuse case

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A new inquiry into a historic paedophile ring in North Wales care homes has uncovered "significant" fresh evidence of "systematic and serious sexual and physical abuse".

Detectives from Operation Pallial, which launched in November, have received 140 allegations relating to 18 care homes between 1963 and 1992, including fresh claims by 76 new complainants.

The alleged victims were aged between seven and 19.

The report said a total of 84 people – 75 male and nine female – were named by complainants.

Of these, 16 were named by more than one alleged victim and 10 may now be dead.

The large number of alleged victims and care homes, and the duration of the period involved, is much wider than previously thought.

Detective Superintendent Ian Mulcahey said: "Many have provided graphic accounts of abuse, in some cases of very serious criminality.

"We are prioritising our work focusing on those individuals who pose the greatest risk to the public."

The publication of the report on phase one of the inquiry comes less than a week after a man was arrested in Ipswich, Suffolk, accused of "a number of serious sexual offences against a number of individuals", the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) said.

He was arrested last Tuesday and taken to a police station in North Wales where he was interviewed over recent allegations of historic abuse and then bailed to the end of July, pending further inquiries. Soca refused to give his age.

He is the first person to be detained so far as part of the inquiry.

North Wales Chief Constable Mark Polin, who asked the National Crime Agency (NCA) to run Operation Pallial, warned offenders: "If you believe that the passage of time will reduce the resolve of Operation Pallial or any police force to identify people still alive who have caused harm to others and bring them to justice, you are mistaken.

"People who commit serious and sexual offences should live with the knowledge we will always examine new information and seek to bring them to justice for their crimes."

The NCA was selected at the request of North Wales Police to ensure the inquiry's independence.

It was set up to re-examine claims of sex crimes and look at the original police investigations into abuse at care homes in North Wales.

Mr Polin said: "I took the decision to ask the NCA to investigate these allegations, conscious that some victims of historic abuse may not have the necessary level of confidence in North Wales Police to report matters directly to us.

"Pallial has now secured accounts from almost all victims who are willing to support an investigation and it makes sense for the officers and staff to be at the core of phase two and to move matters forward."

He said it was "never too late" to report abuse and urged anyone who has not come forward yet, to do so.

'Significant' evidence is found in sex abuse case


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