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BBC Wales' Gail Foley
"Mr Messham's outspokenness has led to resentment"
 real 28k

Sunday, 25 February, 2001, 18:15 GMT
Abuse help group in accounts probe
Steve Messham
Steven Messham spoke for North Wales abuse victims
Police have arrested the leader of a support group for North Wales child abuse victims in an accounts investigation.

North Wales Police questioned NORWAS chairman Steven Messham and another member of staff after allegations funds were misappropriated. Mr Messham denies the allegations.

NORWAS was set up with thousands of pounds of public money to provide help and support for youngsters abused at children's homes in one of the UK's biggest sexual abuse cases.

Police were called in to look at the group's books following concern over expenses claims and the use of cash. Detectives reportedly seized documents and accounts from premises in Wrexham and Mold.

It is thought group members upset at Mr Messham's outspokenness have helped police and are to launch a new group.

Wrexham Borough Council gave the organisation a 30,000 grant and it became a voice for many abuse victims.

Outspoken critic

Mr Messham, 38, who lives in Mold, has been an outspoken critic of the system which allowed staff to abuse children in the 1970's and 1980's at local authority homes.

North Wales Police logo
North Wales Police released Mr Messham on bail
He was a resident of the Bryn Estyn home in Wrexham, which the Waterhouse Report centred on, from the age of 13, and claimed to have been sexually abused by over 40 people.

Mr Messham denied any wrongdoing after questioning at Mold police station and was released on bail pending further inquiries. He is due to return for further questioning.

A second member of NORWAS staff, a 45-year-old Wrexham woman who is partly financed by the council to help run the group, has also provided police with information.

She was also released on bail pending further inquiries.

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