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In The Name Of The Children
Sunday November 26 2000
Reporter David Rose
Producer Gary Horne
Assistant Producer Darren Kemp

See also:
BBC News - Review of child abuse convictions

For decades, children in care have suffered the horror of sexual abuse. Police investigations to catch sex abusers in care homes have spread throughout Britain, with 90 separate inquiries currently underway, and more than 2,000 care workers under suspicion.

The size and scale of inquiries is producing concern amongst some MP's. As the police try to bring the guilty to justice, David Rose asks whether some innocent men are being falsely accused and imprisoned.

Panorama has uncovered disturbing evidence in the case of Roy Shuttleworth. The 67-year-old former miner and lorry driver should be enjoying his retirement, surrounded by his family. Instead he's in a high security prison in Wakefield, convicted of abusing boys in his care twenty years ago.

Roy Shuttleworth
Roy Shuttleworth visits his father regularly
Roy's son, also called Roy, visits him every two weeks. Seeing his dad is a painful experience. He says, "He couldn't understand why these lads had made the allegations that they had... he had trouble comprehending the whole idea of him being accused of something that he hadn't done."

Roy Shuttleworth only came into care work when his wife suggested they work together at a children's home. The family's life was shattered when he was accused of indecent assault and buggery on a number of teenage boys from Greystone, the home where they worked.

Greystone Heath
Greystone Heath
The police set out to find evidence to substantiate the claims. Instead of waiting for complainants to come to them, they set out to trace hundreds of former Greystone residents to discover if they had been abused.

Lee Fielding, who was at Greystone Heath in the seventies, was one of those contacted. He told the police he wasn't abused but became concerned at the line of police questioning.

The police are supposed to ask neutral questions to ensure they don't put words into the mouths of witnesses and produce false allegations. But Lee Fielding says "They seemed very pushy, you know. They, they were trying to put words into my mouth, if you understand what I mean."

Mike McConville
Mike McConville has concerns about police methods of inquiry
According to Mike McConville, an expert on police methods of investigation, this was exactly what the police should not have done. He tells Panorama "What you mustn't do is to say 'Well we're investigating child abuse in the home and trying to discover whether any boys were victims'".

In Roy Shuttleworth's case at least one man made false allegations. But the police were left with seven men whose claims that Shuttleworth had abused them they believed. There was no other evidence apart from their accusations.

A change in the law in the early nineties means that similar allegations against the same person are held by the courts to reinforce each other, even without other independent evidence. It's known as corroboration by volume.

I cried I must admit, because I knew there were an innocent man in prison there

Lee Fielding
Panorama has examined the evidence given by all the witnesses and found grave course for concern. Two of the witnesses were good friends of Lee Fielding. He couldn't believe what his friends had said.

Lee Fielding says "I cried, I must admit, and when I read the depositions, the solicitor sent me the depositions... and I cried I must admit, because I knew there were an innocent man in prison there."

If the law did not allow corroboration by volume, it is unlikely that all of the claims would ever have gone to court. Panorama reveals that there are serious flaws in the evidence of the complainants.

Mike McConville is critical of the prosecution. He says "I'm very sorry to say that in these cases of such public importance that this kind of process is simply not acceptable."

At the end of his trial, Roy Shuttleworth was convicted and jailed for ten years. His wife and family were devastated. They did not know that his accusers were preparing compensation claims more than a year before the trial started.

Roy refuses to go on any rehabilitation courses. The Prison Service will take that as him not showing any remorse or trying to rehabilitate for the crimes that he is supposed to have done, and will refuse him parole.

He is one of a growing number of former care workers around the country who insist they've been convicted by false allegations.

Roy Shuttleworth's Solicitor, Chris Saltrese tells Panorama "I think many of the complainants who are now making complaints against former care staff are very aware that, if they do make complaints, that they'll be entitled to financial compensation."

In The Name Of The Children
David Rose reveals how the police investigated the allegations against Roy Shuttleworth
In The Name Of The Children
The Shuttleworth family believe the accusers only made their allegations to get compensation

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