John Allen a former successful entrepreneur who ran children’s homes in North Wales has been sentenced to life in prison for the historic molestation of children who had been in his care.
Now 75, the predatory child molester subjected 18 boys and one girl – aged seven to 15 – to horrific rapes and other sex attacks, buying them flashy motorbikes to keep them quiet, and even ordering them to line up in queues for brazen assaults in his study.
He preyed upon youngsters at three separate homes among his growing portfolio of 50 care centres in North Wales, Cheshire and Shropshire – providing specialist care for a total of 500 troubled children.
Mr Justice Openshaw ruled that John Allen, who regarded himself as so powerful as to be untouchable, would have to serve 11 years before he can even apply for parole.
That is half the 22 years he would have received if he had been given a determinate sentence.
At Mold Crown Court, John Allen – who claimed throughout that he was a victim – instructed his barrister only to say that he was innocent.
“All I am instructed to say is that he maintains his innocence of all charges,” said John McDermott, QC.
The judge said that John Allen had been a powerful man with the homes he ran and one witness had said that he was like a God.
He said: “There have no doubt been more prolific offenders. Seldom can anyone be facing sentence for committing such grave offences against so many victims over such a long period of time causing so much anguish and misery.”
Victims, some of whom described themselves as survivors, accepted the abuse as part of the routine of being “a Bryn Alyn boy”.
Many boys did not speak out at the time.
It was clear that others raised concern with social services and the police after absconding “but it was never investigated”, he said.
Complaints had been dismissed as being incredible – the word of young disadvantaged boys in care against the seemingly successful and powerful John Allen.
Mr Justice Copeland said that the system of supervising and monitoring of Bryn Alyn was at the time wholly inadequate, boys did not complain because they knew it was quite pointless to do so, and that “gave the defendant the belief that he was untouchable” and he continued to offend.
The judge reviewed each charge in his sentencing remarks and said one of the most shocking was a sex act against a boy aged 10 who had been held down by another man.
One boy had told how he had not washed for two years because he knew Allen lurked around the shower room.
Some men had broken down and sobbed when they recalled their experiences as children as the incidents came back to haunt them.
One told how his life had been a nightmare and he had felt suicidal and another told how he believed it was now time for justice not just for himself but “for all those not here anymore.”
“The procession of sad and broken men, aged beyond their years, is a poignant reminder of the damage done by this sort of offending,” the judge said.
It was encouraging that as men they found considerable relief in coming forward, being treated sympathetically and being believed by the jury.
“I hope their experience encourages others to come forward,” Mr Justice Openshaw said.
The judge commended the officers who led the investigation, thanked the jury for considering “this extremely important and grueling case” and said if they wished he would excuse them from jury service for the next 10 years.
Defendant John Allen, was described as a formidable force, regarded as God by many of the children, and he would drag youngsters from their beds while on night duty and abuse them.
Allen denied 40 charges of historic sex abuse between 1969 and 1990 but was convicted after a seven week trial at Mold Crown Court.
The latest trial follows a fresh probe by the National Crime Agency’s ongoing Operation Pallial inquiry.