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In The Name Of The Children, Sunday November 26 2000

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It is comforting to see that people are finally noticing the abuses that our system allows. Contrary to popular belief there are complainants that do lie in order to gain criminal injuries compensation and for other malicious reasons. The current politicial climate makes it difficult for us to say things like that. The case that you outline is not at all unusual. I have just been involved in a case which saw a man convicted, unreasonably on the evidence, and effectively because he was a member of an Ethnic minority and a white girl had accused him of rape. It is to be observed that she has made false allegations before. It is time that society started to treat allegations of sexual abuse with much more sceptism that is currently fashionable. After all, if these people are telling the truth their accounts will stand up to it.
Jo Morris
London

As a mother of two young girls who have been abused by a paedophile,I know first hand how deceitful, cunning, and lying these beasts are. In my opinion you would not have seven separate allegations against the same person without some sort of abuse have taken place. There is no smoke without a fire!
D.Langley
Loughton

I was very alarmed at the points raised in Panorama on 26 November. An elderly man branded a child molester and serving a long prison sentence, on what is by any account dubious evidence. Witnesses, all with criminal records including for dishonesty and in some cases with mental problems are trusted as credible and reliable. This even when it emerges that they stand to make large sums of money by making up stories of abuse.

Roy Shuttleworth - and above all his surviving family - have the right to expect justice

Michael Eales, Newton Abbot
If ever a conviction was unsafe and/or unsatisfactory, that of Roy Shuttleworth must take pride of place. I urge the BBC to use its influence to put pressure on the Home Office to have this man's case re-examined by the Court of Appeal sooner rather than later. I was previously of the impression that a criminal conviction depended upon the prosecution proving the accused's guilt "beyond all reasonable doubt". This has clearly not occurred here, and a man is now in prison on the strength of questionable allegations and no more. Roy Shuttleworth - and above all his surviving family - have the right to expect justice.
Michael Eales
Newton Abbot

The majority of care workers in children's homes are highly professional people with excellent skills, they have the best interests of the child at heart at all times. The children with whom they work are largely, sadly emotionally damaged and often unable to comprehend the true outcomes of their actions. Children in care often make unrealistic demands, so workers find themselves having to repeatedly find different ways of saying no. An angry and disturbed child reacts very badly to his or her requests not being met and knows only too well that they have the power in their hands to remove that member of staff. Young people in care have a good understanding of how to remove a member of staff whom they do not like and may make accusations that are completely unfounded. All accusations must be investigated, as is only right, but even if the member of staff is subsequently found to be innocent as was the second gentlemen in the report, then they will still be unemployable or moved from their primary place of employment. The possibility of this is a constant truth that care workers must bear in their daily lives. It is a difficult job sometimes when one considers that those who do this work mostly only want the best outcomes for the young people with whom they work.
Anon
Bournemouth

Thank you for bringing this major injustice to a wider audience. Apart from those men who are currently serving prison sentences, having been falsely accused, there are scores more in Liverpool alone, who are being investigated by Operation Care. The police are continuing to use discredited methods of trawling for evidence which is devastating lives. This witch hunt should be stopped.
Gerard Corcoran
Liverpool

My brother, Basil Williams-Rigby is in the same prison as Roy. The similarity of their cases is remarkable. What is even more remarkable and seriously shocking is that there have been so many other trials with the same features e.g. weight of numbers, no corroborating evidence, accusers with serious records of crime, psychological disturbance and lying. Many congratulations on putting out your programme. My only criticism is that it did not indicate the hundreds, even thousands of care workers and their families who currently live in fear of the knock on the door letting them know they have been picked on next. My brother is innocent and we have formed an action group called F.A.C.T. ( Falsely Accused Carers & Teachers ) to fight for him & all those others suffering so unjustly. Again, many, many thanks to your investigating team. Please do not let stop there.
Geraldine Buckner Nee Williams-Rigby
St.Helens

If we look long and hard enough, we will find abuse, whether or not it actually occurred (Ceci & Brook, '93). There exists a vast amount of literature to support this statement, none of which was presented/refuted in this programme. Yet it is incumbent on law enforcement personnel to 'prove' such allegations, beyond any reasonable doubt.. Obviously, the nature of the questions we ask, the way in which we ask them, and the perceived reliability of the eyewitness will all have a bearing on the weight of this evidence. How, then, in the Shuttleworth case, are we supposed to 'check' the testimonies of one group of convicted men, who insist that no abuse took place (without the details of their criminal records being made available for the programme viewers), yet be expected to believe another group of convicted men (whose evidence was deemed submissible, who said that Shuttleworth was innocent, and whose past records read like a compendium of crime?).

I would rather see one guilty person walk than ten innocent imprisoned now

Penny Mellor, Staffordshire
Whilst I agree that programmes like Panorama do challenge injustice, I also believe in un-biased, evidenced-based conclusions, which I did not see in tonight's programme.
Max O'Neill
London

I work with parents falsely accused of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy and false allegations of child sexual abuse. I would rather see one guilty person walk than ten innocent imprisoned now, false allegations are the most devastating form of abuse there is for all concerned. The witch-hunts of the USA are here to stay and the abuse excuse industry is thriving. Thank you for this long overdue insight into the murky world of compensation driven claims, money is always the root to injustice and it's ironic that the recently accused Jonathan King thinks he will see justice done in court, maybe for him, the money will buy decent enough lawyers, however it would be naive of him to think that justice prevails in the British Justice system with the mass hysteria there is when it comes to the abuse of children. Guilty until proven innocent, that's what these people face. We have our own website for anyone falsely accused and all are welcome at www.msbp.com
Penny Mellor, Child Advocate
Staffordshire

My father faces similar charges as those against Mr Shuttleworth. Some of the allegations relate to incidents that occurred at camping trips my father never attended and at locations which at the time did not exist. We know that those making the charges have numerous offences, yet the police and crown prosecution are still willing to go to court with this evidence and we face the prospect of a jury finding him guilty. It's a complete joke.
Anon
South Wales

This programme, which was in the best traditions of investigative journalism, raised disturbing questions about the dangers of miscarriages of justice in relation to charges of child sexual abuse in the current climate. The case of Roy Shuttleworth (and possibly some other cases?) clearly needs to be re-examined. The concerned viewer is left wondering what legal steps, if any, are now available to re-open the case.
Allen Esterson
London

I was absolutley disgusted at what I saw and heard relating to the case of Mr.Shuttleworth. But how in cases like what I saw can you tell the truth from the lies and deceit from one human to another!
Gemma
Cardiff


The fact remains that abuse did occur in that care home and clearly there was a means for this to take place despite the two staff policy

H Berger, London
Tonight's programme was very insightful in understanding a possible miscarriage of justice in the "age" of child abuse and compensation claims. However, although the evidence against Shuttleworth is clearly suspect the fact remains that abuse did occur in that care home and clearly there was a means for this to take place despite the two staff policy and the regimes that were cited by Panorama's interviewees to counter the claimants. I feel that reporting must remain balanced in these cases to prevent violent swings searching for someone to blame. Those men seeking compensation are the victims of abuse and maltreatment and whilst it is wrong to falsely accuse, the bigger issue still remains what is actually going on in these places in the name of care? I am also disappointed that Panorama has succumbed to the new format tabloid tv trick of pointless "reconstructions" that offer no useful information to the documentary and seem to me to be about titilation in emotionally charged issues such as sexual abuse. Stick to reporting, interviews and graphics if needed to support the facts.
H Berger
London

I was quite surprised when I watched your programme today. I did not think that English law allowed a person to be convicted without supporting evidence. Could this man really have been convicted on nothing more than the combined allegations of 7 people? Moreover, people who stood to gain financially from his conviction? If this is so, then this form of trial is wide open to abuse not only from those seeking compensation, but also from those seeking to settle old scores.
David Allyson
Birmingham

The horror, the horror. I have had 14 years of working with emotionally and behaviourally disturbed adolescents. When will it be my turn to be falsely accused of such abhorrent crimes? When I am already making huge personal sacrifices to ensure the care of vulnerable and challenging young people when local authorities are unprepared to invest in satisfactory staffing levels and resources. Well-meaning staff like myself are having to give up their own free time with their families to ensure good parenting of these challenging children! What is the punishment for people who make these false allegations? If so will it reflect the human costs they have inflicted on others?
Paul
Norwich

I found the programme very disturbing. I worked in a similar position as Roy between 1973 and 1985 in a home in Devon. The Police are currently investigating abuse that is alleged to have to have taken place in at least 3 homes in the 1970's but not the home I worked in. The ex-head of this home has been accused of abuse in one of the homes before he took over as head of the home that I worked in. I cannot believe he committed the offences he is being accused of. Some of the evidence against him would appear to be very dubious such as it was alleged to have taken place in buildings that had not even been built at the time or have happened at times when it would have been very difficult. The investigation has been carried out in the same way as described in the programme with the police interviewing men who had been pupils in the school at the time. Very worrying.
Julian Chadwick
Exeter

What a brilliant programme. Thanks to the whole production team for showing the other side of the coin. There are many, many men in prison sentenced for obscene crimes they did not commit and their families fearful of any retributions of the mass hysteria which has been hyped up. Agreeably those commiting these offences should be locked away but a fair trial should be heard so that falsely accused do not have their lives and their families lives ruined by greed. The next wave of fashion is going to be sibling sexual abuse. What next. My husband is one of those many wrongly convicted by the trawling method and by a jury who had made up their mind as soon as the charges were read, as is generally the case. I will be supporting FACT in Liverpool tomorrow to try and redress the balance. Let us hope there will be more programmes like Panorama exposing the hypocrisy of our justice system. YOU COULD BE NEXT.
Sue Griffiths
Wrexham

As the son of a retired care worker facing similar accusations, I must congratulate you on a well presented programme.

Action needs to be taken now to clear the names of innocent men and women

Anon, Manchester
I can only restate that sadly Roy is only one of a considerable number of men currently in jail or facing jail as a result of accusations, the "evidence" for which is at best dubious and in many cases non-existent. Action needs to be taken now to clear the names of innocent men and women and to review all cases which are currently pending. One can only hope that the truth will come out sooner rather than later.
Anon
Manchester

Shock, Horror, Revulsion! This programme reinforces quite clearly, the dangers of 'bandwagon' Police 'investigations'. My heart goes out to the real victims!
Jojo Alli-Agbenyeke
Surrey

Roy is one of many victims of these false accusations and trawling methods. My brother is another he was accused and sentenced to 10 years. The accusations in his case were once again word for word the same. One of his accusers was also one of Mr Fiddler's. Some of your correspondents have asked if there is an organisation they can contact to help in these cases. There is, it is called F.A.C.T Falsely Accused Care Workers and Teachers - http://factnotfiction.org.uk
Ian Traynor
Telford

As a counsellor, I am not shocked at the contents of this programme. Same as therapists have been accused of implanting 'false memories', so police could be accused of implanting 'false memories' in vulnerable people. I say vulnerable as showing photos will evoke memories of a time when they were vulnerable children who had difficulties; for some of family or other abuse. I am not at all suggesting that the accusers are falsly stating abuse, it is known that survivors can displace memories - that is they place a difficult memory on someone who reminds them in some way of an abuse (especially when on top police are seeming to accuse individual staff by the showing of photos).
Diana Harrison
Bristol


The climate that exists in this country is that people, particularly alleged child sex abusers, are guilty until proven innocent

Avril, London
Firstly, thank you for a programme that was based in discovering truth and injustice.The climate that exists in this country is that people, particularly alleged child sex abusers, are guilty until proven innocent and even when proven innocent they are deemed guilty. Any factual evidence seems to be overlooked in the name of victimising another potential paedophile.It is the new "buzz" word, an excuse for a witchunt. It's interesting that Social Workers didn't feature strongly all those years ago or they too would be part of the collusion. Thank you again for a very interesting programme, a subject that requires to be kept in the front line, and I do hope most sincerely that Roy Shuttleworth gets his freedom to be reunited with his family.
Avril
London

As someone who was abused whilst within the care system of the nation and who has spent the last two years attempting to obtain a greater level of understanding for those who have also suffered whilst within care I am disheartened to find that the BBC continues to undermine the attempts by the formally abused within the care structure to bring to light the vast level of abuse children have and are continuing to suffer under the 'protection' of social services. Having worked with survivors of several Scottish Children's Homes that have recently made the newspapers here within Scotland I totally refute the appearance generated by this edition of Panorama. There is absolutely no evidence that there is ANY form of organised attempts by former residents of the care system to defraud the criminal compensation system of this country. I would also like to point out that the reason there are so many compensation claims issued by the abused is that without a compensation claim, there is little chance of finding a solicitor to represent you. Having communicated with hundreds of survivors of care abuse I quite categorically state that the issuing of compensation is of little importance to the vast majority... on the other hand there is an overwhelming demand for justice. While, as in every aspect of life, there are a few people who might be willing to abuse the system... the vast majority of survivors are honest and genuine people who have suffered the worst forms of treatment imaginable. I would like to suggest that the BBC develop a greater understanding of the whole picture before launching into ill conceived and badly researched programmes like this edition of Panorama.
Paul Steele
Edinburgh

Tonight's programme brought home the reality that many people, even today, are wrongly accused and sentenced to years in prison on flimsy evidence ; when it is quite obvious that there is no case to answer. My thoughts are with Roy Shuttleworth and his family as they continue to seek justice - I truly wish a speedy outcome to what has been a terrible ordeal with the most painful of consequences for them. Thank you at Panorama for continuing to highlight cases of such wrongdoing - and please convey our wishes that justice will shortly be served to Roy and his family.
Zena
Ireland

Please let people know that an organisation called F.A.C.T. ( Falsely Accused Carers & Teachers)bsaed in Liverpool exists with the aim of stopping the type of gross injustice that your excellent programme highlighted. F.A.C.T. has a web site - WWW.factnotfiction.org.uk
Roger Buckner
St.Helens

What is particularly distressing is that the inappropriate responses of police and psychologists as well as the general public's kneejerk reaction to the issue of abuse, will eventually lead to a situation where no one recounting abuse stories will be believed. It is not just criminals making money from such stories, but so-called professionals too. I am encouraged by programmes like Panorama that try to right injustice. A future programme might take up the general issue of 'compensation culture', which is itself likely to lead to injustice.
Tim
London, UK

Chris Sheridan's comments that this programme was unwarranted, 'even if the man is innocent' demonstrates for me exactly why innocent people are going to jail much too frequently. We seem to live at a time when it is okay to accuse, but not reasonable to find sympathy or even search for truth. What can we do to turn this situation around? For a start, we can stop acting with mob mentality and start braining up to face what is, after all, a difficult and emotional matter.
David Gray
Dundee

Thank you for highlighting the terrible injustice being carried out, through police 'trawling' methods. I just hope it wakens people up to the fact that innocent families are being torn apart, because of these false accusations made against them. Well done Panorama for a well presented programme.
F.A.C.T. Supporter
Warrington

Some people may say that these claims are not about money because criminal injuries compensation isn't that much. May be not! But once a conviction is secured this opens up law suits against the Local authority. For which a lot more can be gained. People are greedy, so next time you see the advert for personal injuries claims, it doesn't matter that the guy who was awarded 5000 is only going to get 1000 after deductions of legal expenses, it's 1000 more than he had before. When someone goes to all the trouble and risk to break into your house and steal a 200 video recorder which will be sold on within hours for 30. It isn't a lot of money but it's 30 more than what they had before
Adam
Liverpool

Disturbing and convincing. The hysteria over child abuse is paralleled by the hysteria over witchcraft in the seventeenth century. Roy is a victim of indefensible malpractice by the police who seem to have presumed his guilt and then believed his accuser's lies without any concrete evidence. I worked with young offenders and disturbed children for a time, but 'got out' simply because it was professionally dangerous. One false allegation with consequent suspension and your career is blighted for ever.
Dave
York

What a brilliant programme. Congratulations to all those involved on the production team.

The trawling system used by the police is a highly dangerous way of gaining allegations

Hilary, Rugby
I am national contact for AAFAA (action against false allegations of abuse) and will be supporting the demonstration for all those care workers and teachers falsly accused of abuse in Liverpool tommorrow Monday 27th November. Meeting at 12.30 outside the Christ the King Roman Catholic Cathedral, for a quiet and dignified procession through Liverpool city centre. Anyone wishing to join us will be very welcome to display your feelings on the unjust miscarriages of justice shown on this programme tonight. The trawling system used by the police is a highly dangerous way of gaining allegations and unfortunatly is being used by most police forces throughout the country. It is all too easy to accuse but not to defend. Where has the law gone which said innocent till proven guilty?
Hilary
Rugby

It's about time this was looked into. I have a uncle in prison. Found guilty on just ONE man's word, who accused him of sexual abuse, twenty years ago. No one else came forward who was questioned.
Mick
Doncaster

Having worked with young people all of this programme brought to light the miscarrages of justice many teachers/social workers have had to endure since the Children's Act made the word of the child unquestionable. In addition is the unfairness of "trial by press" - the accused is named before the evidence is presented in court and lives ruined even when proved not guilty. I fully support the fact that this case like many others must be re investigated. There is no doubt that after 20-30 years of "silence" the only motive in these accusations is money. I wish the family every success in their efforts
Pat Folland MBE
South Shields

This type of nonsense does not surprise me in the least, in today's greedy & stupid society. People need to wake up!
Kris Kanapo
Chesterfield


What confidence can we have in a system that seems to be fundementally flawed

Steven Hill, Birmingham
What a disturbing programme Panorama was tonight. How is it possible for such a case to pass through our judicial system without raising alarming questions? How is it that it is left to Panorama to sound the alarm? What confidence can we have in a system that seems to be fundementally flawed. This must cause concern not just for this most obvious misscarriage of justice but for the many culpable offenders who can now point to an unjust, inept system in their defence. Justice must be done, and seen to be done to safeguard the innocent and protect the vulnerable from the guilty. I hope this flawed system will at least act with proper urgency and care to right this most obvious wrong and review a process that has lost all credibility.
Steven Hill
Birmingham

I found tonight's programme extremely disturbing and upsetting. Not only does it appear that this poor man had been wrongly imprisoned but already his life has been irrevocably damaged by the loss of his wife. Somebody in authority should rectify this error TODAY! This man is 67 years of age and does not deserve to be punished any further.
Kerin Richardson
Leicester

Is this conviction unsafe? It should be investigated
John Mortlock
Weybridge

An excellent programme. I hope an appeal is forthcoming.
G.J.Kennedy
Manchester

I am shocked and appalled by the tragedy experienced by Roy Shuttleworth's family. This country's sexual repression and hysteria around child abuse has a lot to answer for. I would like to offer my help and support to the Shuttleworths. Congratulations on an excellent and courageous report.
Harry Jepson
Aberystwyth

I was acquainted with someone who has, on the basis of firm evidence, been righty convicted of several sexual abuse allegations. I also, however, know the characters of some of the boys who made allegations and have little doubt that they would be very capable of making false declarations. If those who question this possibility could see the results of the repeated self-mutilation that some of them perpetrated upon themselves in order to get what they wanted, they would be in little doubt about the lengths those same people could go to if there was compensation on offer.
Insider
Wolverhampton

As a serving police officer qualified in interviewing child victims of all types of abuse I found Panorama's sesationalistic reporting of such a complex issue absolutely appalling. One of the first hurdles an investigator will come across is the victims' fear that they will not be believed. No doubt this programme will help to reinforce this feeling among the many people who will have watched it who are suffering or have suffered physical or sexual abuse.

I thought the whole programme was fundamentally flawed and totally irresponsible

Darren Chamberlain, Kingston upon Hull
To myself it seemed the crux of the programme was aimed at discrediting prosecution evidence and undermining the police investigation suggesting that information and evidence was gained by the use of closed and leading questions. How the programme can follow this format and yet disclose the convictions of the victims without a mention re the credibility of their own 'witnesses' as well as showing secret filming and well edited 'experts' opinion is beyond belief. I thought the whole programme was fundamentally flawed and totally irresponsible.
Darren Chamberlain
Kingston upon Hull

Thank you for this programme. I thought I was on my own. I went through this experience myself, but I was left in limbo, niether found guilty or innocent as the person who accused me was found to be a paranoid schizophrenic and unable to appear in court for me to prove my innocence. The case was not dropped nor carried out but all the evidence has been kept by the courts in case any further accusations are made. This should not be able to happen, people should be found not guilty or guilty, not just have their lives completely ruined on someone's say so. My heart dearly goes out to the family and friends of Mr Shuttleworth.
Bill

A quite outstanding broadcast, brilliantly researched by David Rose. Congratulations to Panorama for leading the way in exposing on television the fatal flaws in police trawling methods. David Rose has revealed the tip of the ice-berg; there are many many miscarriages of justice that have been brought about by this crude police methodology.
Gail Saunders
Dinas Powys

A most disturbing insight into the problems our legal system faces.

I'd rather have more criminals on our streets than more innocent people in prison

Chris Scott, London
I understand the need of the government to change laws to make it easier to convict guilty people who always seem to escape justice, such as giving more weight to corrobarative evidence, however this is the price we all pay, it makes it much more likely that innocent people will be punished as well. In my view I'd rather have more criminals on our streets than more innocent people in prison. The scales of Justice is forever swinging but now it's swung too far. Innocent people should not be afraid of standing up in court, we should all have confidence that the decision of the courts will be the correct one.
Chris Scott
London

F.A.C.T is a well known movement aiming to undermine the convictions of child abusers and perverts who abused children within the care system. To obtain the victims point of view rather than the abusers I would suggest you visit
A Hole in Hell: Life in Scotland's Care - www.holeinhell.fsnet.co.uk
Testament: A voice for the abused within the children's home's of the Catholic Church within Scotland - www.testament.fsnet.co.uk
...and what do you know not a compensation claim within sight!
Paul Steele
Edinburgh

Firstly, well done Panorama on yet another well presented documentary. Thank god there are people like yourselves who try to highlight the miscarriage of justice that is far too frequent in our country. Secondly, my heart goes out to the Family, I only hope that another appeal with the evidence you have gained will prove to be fruitful. This sort of thing should not be allowed to happen. What is wrong with our Police and the Law.
Linda Finnigan
Runcorn

As a final year law student, I believe that while such television investigations have their place, they do not have time to fully present all the relevent facts which constitute a proper legal investigation. There were a number of questions with regard to the evidence and trial procedure that I would have liked to see get more attention
Anon

I was absoloutely disgusted that our so called 'Justice' system will take the word of a convicted fraudster and the like resulting in the conviction of an innocent man, and the death of his wife. I hope that the authorities responsible for this watched the programme, and also the appropriate police that would re-initiate any new investigation. Rarely has a programme disgusted me this much. One wonders what the country is coming to.
Bill Jenkins
London

The compensation culture expressed in the programme will undermine the British justice system unless it is irradicated now. But it is also essential that we review the culture that rewards the police for getting a conviction regardless of whether it is safe. Having already paid out '000s in compensation to the "victims" what pressure does this put on the system not to admit it is wrong if this means that compensation must then be paid to Mr Shuttleworth and recovered from his accusers ? As a general point about the format of the programme if there are two opposite points of view as for example that of the solicitor for the prosecution and the lady who run the tests why don't you put them together so they can consider the two opposite views instead of switching from one to the other as this adds to the confusion about whether there is a true scientific case to be considered or if both sides are just choosing the evidence to support their case..........
Robert Lever
Oldham

I am disgusted by your programme tonight. You have belittled the plight of many abused people for the very few that are 'jumping on the band wagon'. Hundreds of children have and still are being abused whilst 'in the CARE of the local authority'. I do not think both sides of the story were represented well at all. The programme gives the impression that all people who make allegations of abuse are liars. This is not the case, they are in the minority. As for the suggestion that they are liars because they do not speak up until adulthood is crap. The reason they do not speak up in childhood is because of FEAR, they have been groomed by the abuser, had the fear of god put in them as to what will happen to them if they tell! And as for the suggestion that the men were liars because they had mental health problems that is also crap. Why do you think they have them. Because of the trauma they have been through in childhood! Because they are or have been in trouble with the law does not mean they are liars. They probably learnt the criminal behaviour whilst living in the 'CARE' of the local authority and knew nothing better because they cannot be bothered to teach them! We must look after the most vulnerable children in society because these are the ones the abusers are targeting.

There are many genuinely abused and traumatised people out there and they need and deserve our support

Michelle, Liverpool
As I mentioned I have first hand experience, I am not running off, eager to make a statement and claim my compensation, although I do deserve it. I am dealing with my traumatic issues by trying to change the system. I am involved in more than one in care/aftercare group voluntarily. I have also just qualified to be a social worker so now I can make a real difference! Do not tar us all with the same brush, there are many genuinely abused and traumatised people out there and they need and deserve our support. In some cases the abusers are still working with children! This has got to change, and we all have a responsibility to change it.
Michelle
Liverpool

Britain is becoming a compensation community. I agree that a great deal of the cases mentioned are probably part of this sickness.
I.M. Sides
Wrexham

I found this a most disturbing programme. In the light of your evidence is there any possibility of an appeal? I hope BBC will follow this up? Congratulations on a clear and excellent presentation. My sympathy goes out to Roy and his family.
Rev Dr Timothy J Mark
Doncaster

The programme about Roy Shuttleworth was highly disturbing and brought back memories of the Cleveland Affair and images of medieval witch hunts. What is it that makes those concerned in the investigative process lose all their commonsense and good judgement in the face of general clamour and the word of the 'expert witness'. This programme must make us all think.
J Goddard
Chard

As a mother of an abused child I find it hard to believe that some people would do this for money, but as I no longer have faith in the British justice system I can believe that people can make a fast buck by being liars and also ruining the lives of others! In my case the abuser pleaded GUILTY, and appealed on sentence, winning his appeal and has had it reduced! Why? and why wasn't I informed at the time? My husband, myself and our 8 year old daughter have been given a life sentence, where as for pleading guilty of RAPE and SEXUAL ABUSE of a 6 year old he has now had his conviction reduced from 5 year to 3 and a half years! Why! He will be walking the streets again before my little girl is 9 years old. is this justice? or is this society!
Bev Wilson
Coventry

This was exactly the piece of junk journalism I expected.

The damage this programme could cause is beyond belief and you should be ashamed of yourselves for ever letting it see the light of day

Chris Sheridan, Oxford
It included material totally irrelevant to whether this man was guilty or innocent. It implied that people with convictions could not be believed yet use evidence of other with convicitons to support it's argument. It did not contrast the evidence of the two men who admitted their guilt and how they abused. It totally ignored the known facts of child sexual abuse and it used the relatives as if they were expert witnesses, which they could not have been. The damage this programme could cause is beyond belief and you should be ashamed of yourselves for ever letting it see the light of day. Given all the known facts of how difficulty it is to mount a successful prosecution in cases like these and of juries to convict, it is highly unlikely in my view that this man is innocent and even if he were he still did not warrant a programme like this. I've had to give up my claim for compensation because I cannot afford it, as I am not entitled to legal aid, social services have destroyed my history and far from mounting vigourous investigations, the police in my case have seemed totally disinterested. You have no idea of the guilt I and many like me feel, at the thought that our abusers are still out there, still abusing. Where is our justice when are we going to get the respect we deserve and when are people like you going to stop victimising us?
Chris Sheridan
Oxford

We are experiencing very much what we have seen tonight. An innocent man accused of alleged abuse offences going back 20 yrs. The evidence is unsubstantiated but nevertheless regarded as sufficient to go to comittal. The whole scenario is both frighting and bizarre. I find it odd that although this man apparently committed these (so say) awful crimes he spent the last ten years innocent. If you can help please let us know because we are not sure that that the British legal system is avoid of bias in these cases.
Jo
Ascot

1. What an appalling reflection on the legal system. 2. I thought under English law you were innocent till proven guilty - why is the test of proof of guilt so much based on unwitnessed "hearsay" in a manner which would not prove guilt in any other type of allegation? 3. Where the man had been cleared of all charges against him (a) why is the standard right to have all police or prosecution documentation removed from all records apparently not available in his case? and (b) can he not sue for libel, slander and defamation?
G Melford
London

Log on to www.factnotfiction.org.uk - This is an organisation protesting for an investigation into the policing methods used.
Helen
Manchester

The concept of 'volume' contributing to the validity of accusations where those individual accusations would not stand seems to be bad law.

Police trawling for supporting evidence and 'volume' is likely to lead to unreliable convictions

David Irons, Evesham
The people making the accusations, are by definition, criminals and in some cases proven to be unreliable. While justice must be provided without regard to previous convictions the combination of dubious reliability , police trawling for supporting evidence and 'volume' is likely to lead to unreliable convictions.
David Irons
Evesham

As the father of a seriously abused daughter at the hands of a convicted paedophile, I have a great deal of sympathy with the wrongly convicted man. One of my friends is serving a 7 year sentence for crimes which I and many others know he is incapable of committing. In my opinion, the whole of the British Judicial system is beginning to stink to high heaven, when a decent God-fearing man can be found guilty on the say-so of men already found guilty of criminal fraud. Judas Escariot only got 30 pieces of silver for his crimes. These people will get '000s.
Gordon Clifford
Tamworth

Unfortunately, none of the events came as a surprise since our cousin is currently serving 14 years for alleged offences in copycat circumstances. Every one of the accusers has a criminal record, most of those making accusations were brought to the court from prison. There was not a single witness to any event even though some of them allegedly took place in front of the whole school. We, the rest of his family, and the community where he lives are 100% convinced of his innocence. Thank you for having the courage to make the programme especially in the current atmosphere of paedophile paranoia.
J & I Gower
Chepstow

I have just watched the programme on Mr Shuttleworth. If the BBC could reveal so much evidence on the case, why haven't the relevant sources seen the same thing. I am a parent and would be totally behind getting child abusers "put away", but there seems to be no other reason to this claim, other than money. Please let genuine claims be protected. But for something so obviously made up, let there be justice.
Wendy Pearce
Harlow

Whilst the programme raised issues that are important to consider it was one sided and simplistic. All of the issues raised could equally have been explained away.

The danger in treating such a complex subject so simplistically is that allegations will be viewed with undue suspicion

Ross Van Putten, Southend
What was sad was the attempts to malign the alleged victims by pointing out their criminal records. This is an age old cheap trick. At the very least this approach could have been balanced by providing information that identifies that male victims of sexual abuse of the type alleged often develop criminal behaviour. The danger in treating such a complex subject so simplistically is that allegations will be viewed with undue suspicion. The programme also failed to mention that the vast majority of allegations of sexual abuse are not brought to trial let alone result in a conviction. Similarly there was no mention of how small payouts are for criminal compensation
Ross van Putten
Southend

How can I help the family, Mr Shuttleworth and others like him to overcome this travesty of justice. Having experienced inept policing I can understand a little of what they must all be suffering. This case should be brought before the P.M. and if he does nothing, it will be like the rest of his term in office - unproductive. Please convey my thoughts to Mr Shuttleworth's family and if I can do anything to help I will.
Bev
Ipswich

The case of Roy Shuttleworth is unfortunately not an isolated one. There are dozens if not hundreds of former care workers and teachers who have been wrongly convicted. As in the case of Shuttleworth the lure of compensation for alleged 'victims' is the reason that malicious allegations are being made against innocent men. The police investigation and their methods of gathering evidence is little short of a disgrace. As in the Shuttleworth case the vast majority of complainants have criminal records but their word is taken against that of men of good character. We are now witnessing a witch hunt, any person who has worked or is working with kids is not safe.
Nick Saltrese
Liverpool

Thank you for your programme, In the Name of the Children. At last someone is taking note of the grave injustices that are happening throughout the country due to the police trawling methods. It seems inconceivable that so many people could be accused of doing such dreadful things on such a scale without it coming to light until now! We would endorse fully any persons who have abused young people to be appropriately brought to justice, but this isn't justice this is mass hysteria and a compensation culture. Once again thank you for highlighting the plight of these men who have been falsely accused.
E Hall
Stalybridge

I believe totally what the Shuttleworth family have said and understand their suffering completely. Similar circumstances have happened to a member of my own family. Although it went to a preliminary hearing at Court and trial date set, it was discontinued because the person making allegations was thought to be "unimpressive". The nightmare didn't end there, however. There have been times when we feel like we are banging our heads against a brick wall, and despair at the fact that no-one even wants to look at documental evidence or facts! So much has happened over these two and a half years, but no matter how long it takes to put this injustice to right, we will continue to do so; but more importantly it's time for the Police to look again at the way they go 'trawling' and virtually invite people to come forward and make allegations against another person. I support the Shuttleworth family and empathise with everything they have suffered and hope their father will soon be heard and released from jail.
R Jackson
Dundee

An article appeared in Readers Digest some 3/4 years ago entitled "Whinging Britain". It covered stories on the emerging compensation culture in Britain. From being on the receiving end of this, and knowing the lies which can be told, yes, even by the police, it is a very worrying development and since that article appeared I believe the culture of compensation is now out of control. Even people who are basically honest are tempted into making false claims for motoring accidents, for example, by "rogue" solicitors who put words into the mouths of their clients. Knowing how the compensation culture can distort the truth, it is all too probable that an innocent man is in jail. We all need to care about what is happening as truth and justice as we have known it is rapidly disappearing and at the end of the day we will all end up paying one way or another.
Liz Smith
Manchester

It's Roy Shuttleworth and his family who should be getting compensation!
R. Williams

In addition to the programme's comments about investigative trawling techniques as operated by detectives, it should also be pointed out that psychologists are as led by public debate and may consciously, or otherwise, lead themes of abuse in attempting reconstruction of patient memory. I have witnessed first-hand how some Freudian psychologists become insistent that abuse has occured even while their patients deny this. Where patients who have not been abused do reconstruct 'memories' of abuse, compensation may not be the only motivator. Abuse stories may work as explanations of how individuals' lives go wrong. In a cultural environment where there is competition for unhappy childhood narratives, it is perhaps even tempting to construct sexual abuse as a kind of metaphor to explain other issues like parental neglect.
Desmond
London

Excellent programme - I have said for years that compensation is a carrot & some ex residents will say anything to get a nice easy sum of money.

Scrap compensation totally & give only justice - The number of accusations will then drop dramatically

Norman Dunn, Boldon
Some of the accused, could have been disliked, maybe for being strict? & this could also be another way of 'getting back at them'. I say that Justice for any accusers should be the main aim & not compensation. Everyone seems to be greedy for easy money these days. Scrap compensation totally & give only justice. The number of accusations will then drop dramatically. I felt heart sorry for that man's family as it is plain he was set up. My Wife & sister work in a Childrens Home,& we have said all of this, many many times & it is plainly obvious, but of course no one takes notice of ordinary people.
Norman Dunn
Boldon (NE England)

I am horrified at the obvious, terrible injustice done to poor Roy Shuttleworth and his loyal family. I had lost faith and trust many years ago in the legal system of Britain. In contrast to your sad story, how many terrorists and murderers are now free, and laughing at us, because the judgements against them were "found to be unsafe". Keep up the fight to free Roy Shuttleworth and to expose similar examples of injustice.
Bala Naidoo
Aberfoyle

I believe the programme highlights a problem we are seeing in our schools where teachers are being accused of actions which they have never committed because the child's word is believed in preference to the teacher. If a child dislikes a teacher and makes a complaint - however minor - that member of staff can be laid off indefinitely when he is perfectly innocent. Like the man in tonight's programme was found guilty of a crime I believe he did not commit but which might well result in the accuser(s) receiving sums of money in compensation the children in our schools are able to see perfectly good teachers banished from school with accusations which are for the most part without foundation. The teacher like the man in tonight's story has no chance. We live in a world where children are thought to be always right and always to be believed. My work amongst young people leads me to believe that they know every trick in the book and most have no hesitation in using every trick to rid a school of a teacher they dislike or cause untold embarassment to families of innocent men and women in their pursuit of compensation. We must wake up to the fact that children are not the innocent people they once were but are reckless in their attempts to gain an advantage over anyone they dislike or destroy the lives of others in an attempt to make money.
Anon

At last somebody looking at this scandal. A mate of mine did 4 years for a non-existant crime. Good luck to that poor family on the programme. He does right to not admit to something he did not do. These accusations are about compensation & nothing else.
Mike Maybury
Manchester

After watching your show tonight we are convinced that Mr. Shuttleworth IS INNOCENT and most certainly did not receive a fair trial. Can we not start some kind of petition for this man - at the very least to have the case thoroughly looked at again? We feel that the Panorama team have some vital evidence to at least re-open the case on this man and hope that something can be done. To be accused of such dreadful crimes and to possibly (even probably) be innocent must be the worst thing that could happen to a human being! Please don't let us allow this to slip by without us trying to do something about it! Thank you Panorama for tackling this issue so well and so thoroughly!
Mr & Mrs R Conway
Darlington

Thank you for putting out this programme. I am presently awaiting trial regarding allegations made against me, retrospective abuse. Your programme only however talked about these allegations being made against males, this is not so in my situation.
Anne Hughes

Very true about the compensation temptation - currently have relative trying to get compensation from the Catholic church for the same thing. He jokes about how much he will get.
Oliver
Birmingham

I trust that your information will be forwarded to the appropriate authorities? I am absolutely disgusted that the word of a 46 time convicted criminal looking for 10000 pounds compensation can be accepted. I am furious.
John Forrester

I am so glad that at last, responsible journalists and programme makers are beginning to uncover the "witch-hunt" over false allegations of abuse.

As a society which prides itself on its justice system, something has gone badly wrong and this grave injustice must be pursued

Rev P.M. Stevenson, Mitcham
As a relative of another ex-care worker also innocent, but convicted of abuse, the story on the programme is so similar. Please continue to do all you can to uncover more of these false allegations brought about by trawling and the lure of large compensation payments. As a society which prides itself on its justice system, something has gone badly wrong and this grave injustice must be pursued.
Rev. P.M. Stevenson
Mitcham, Surrey

Thank you so much for airing this matter. I am personally aware of another person,not mentioned in the programme, who has been falsely accused and is now wrongly in prison. I trust Panorama will follow this through and work for the rapid release of many who have been caught in matters which involve possible police corruption.
Rev Brian Ash
Rayleigh

In Britain you are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty but any one charged with offences against children are automatically assumed guilty until thy prove themselves innocent. A complete travesty of justice.
J.Robinson
London

I believe that tonight's programme has highlighted the problems about innocent people being put behind bars for sex abuse on children. I myself am experiencing the problems the family in the show are, as my 16 yr old son has just been sent to prison for the same thing and he was innocent but yet justice seems to be in favour of the victims and doesn't take into account the accused. We to have to keep on our toes against the families of the victims as we are innocent yet we still get the flack and we have young children ourselves so we know what they have gone through. For obvious reasons we cannot give out names or anything but we are all as a family affected by this.
Anon

Congratulations to Panorama and their excellent team for bringing this horrendous case of injustice to our notice. We are absolutely disgusted with the legal process of Mr.Shuttleworth's case. He should be released immediately. The accusers should not receive any compensation and their cases thrown out immediately. Corroboration between police and lawyers should be investigated. Is this another step towards a police state and where does the Home Secretary stand in all this?
Denise McGee
Wetherby, W.Yorks

Having some knowledge of this case I find the police action unbelievable - They are to prosecute more carers yet it is so obvious that the whole case is based on lies. I wonder when a knock will come to the door of others cares / teachers who got on the wrong side of pupils will find themselves accused of some crime so that unscrupulous characters may gain cash
M.McDonald

Just watched the latest programme and I could have been forgiven for thinking I was watching Rough Justice.

Abuse of any kind is terrible, but these people still need to be convicted like everyone else

Kenneth Henry, London
So one witness who the police themselves dropped, and who lied at not one but two trials (his evidence discredited by not only other ex-prisoners but other care residents at the time) and who didn't convict a second man when repeating the statement verbatim, successfully convicted someone who has now been denied leave to appeal? Abuse of any kind is terrible, but these people still need to be convicted like everyone else - on clear, solid, irrefutable evidence. The evidence here is very refutable indeed.
Kenneth Henry
London

After watching this programme I would like to know if there is any assistance I can give to bringing pressure on the authorities to QUICKLY review this case. How can I let the family know I am hurting for them?
Bill Dykes
Brighton

I have every sympathy with the Shuttleworth family. My husband was accused of something similar and committed suicide because he could not take the horror of what he was accused. I know that money was behind it. Can one find out if the Criminal Injury Compensation Board has paid money out to an alleged "Victim" if so how.
D Trumble
Bournemouth

How is that Panorama can always manage to build such impressive cases without ever seemingly able to persuade the authorities to take appropriate action? The question really is, how solid is Panorama's - indeed the BBC's - integrity in such matters? Are you really doing the alleged victim of a miscarriage of justice any favours? I somehow doubt it...
Richard Lock
Leatherhead

It grieves me to think that allegations and payments made up front without any substantiation to the claims. I also think that it is wrong for the Police to actively "trawl" for allegations in this way
Mrs A Shaw
Southport

I cannot remember a programme that made as much of an impact on me than the one on Roy Shuttleworth.

I was so disturbed by the so called evidence and many others who saw the programme must feel the same

Rosie Halstead, Shrewsbury
I am a mother and like all mothers abhor the abuse of children by adults, especially those in positions of trust but unless you are deaf dumb and blind it is quite obvious that this man's case needs reviewing and fast. I was so disturbed by the so called evidence and many others who saw the programme must feel the same. If there is any way to lend support to his courageous family other than this e-mail, I would like to know.
Rosie Halstead
Shrewsbury

Re-investigate imperative. Is it me or is the establishment becoming more and more gullable?
Dennis Macfarlane
Harrogate

I am currently researching (for an Med) the attitudes of teachers and other professionals working with children to the risks of spurious and mischievous accusation. I would be very interested in obtaining comments from anybody working with children, who has personal experience of spurious accusation or who has decided not to continue or enter into this field out of concern for their vulnerability to this risk. My email is mike.tyerman@cwcom.net
Mike Tyerman
Bolton, Lancs.

There should be NO money paid as compensation, only justice. It appears that yet again, our justice system has failed the very people it was meant to protect. There but for the grace of God.......
Elaine Mary Hall
London

I have watched with amazement the programme just broadcast on those in care homes who have been accused of crimes against former residents. It is correct that, in the case of Roy Shuttleworth, there are inconsistencies in the allegations which may mean that his guilt was found by means of fraud and misrepresentation. However, it is possible for so many cases of child abuse to be committed at one institute by several carers as illustrated by the case in Canada a few years ago. Cases of abuse within the system are not as rare as people would like to believe. Carers are renowned for their accessability to children and thus are the haunting grounds for many paedophiles and many paedophiles are not able to be identified so easily. Justice, however, must be done and be seen to be done. As for the solicitor of those 700 complainants who says that all of those complainants are telling the truth is small-minded. He is wrong to say that psychologists can determine 100% that a claim of abuse occurred, science is never and has never been exact.
Maria Christou
London

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