The Bryn Alyn Community Logo 1968

The private road to Bryn Alyn Community

The social services made numerous failed attempts to return me to my mother’s care.

Extracts from my Social Services Records 1971

While ‘in care’ I was physically, emotionally, and sexually abused.

The abuse included rape (buggery) and three years of unrelenting sexual and indecent assault by three people.

John Ernest Allen. Owner of the Bryn Alyn Community Children's Home

John Ernest Allen, in 1996, being escorted to prison following his first 6-year conviction for child sex abuse.

William Merrett. Registered Bursar/Administration Officer

Graham Strigeon (Seddon). An older boy who was resident in Bryn Alyn Community

My formative years of education and development, from 1968 to 1973, were interrupted by institutional sexual abuse and parental abandonment which caused mental and physical health problems. This had a life-changing impact on my capacity to learn, develop, and function. 

Ysgol Bryn Alyn 1969 (Not affiliated to the Bryn Alyn Community Children's Home)

I was released from care with little education and no ongoing support or counselling.

My teenage and early adult life was erratic and extremely dysfunctional. The variety of life situations and complexity of relationships, employment, and my state of mental health during this period, is difficult for me to fully recall with any clarity or order. 

This is a synopsis of that period;

  • I was homeless and lived rough.
  • I was arrested and charged with breaking into a school to steal food and to sleep.
  • I attempted to blackmail one of my abusers.
  • I sold and used lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and amphetamine sulphate (Speed).
  • I ran away with a 27-year-old woman and her 2 children when I was just 17.
  • I was married and divorced twice during this period.
  • I became a deep-sea Icelandic trawlerman.
  • I published a children’s story book.
  • I completed a Visual Communication Diploma course.
  • I worked as a graphic designer.
  • I started several small businesses that failed.
  • I lived with a second older woman and her daughter.
  • I had many jobs.
  • I had numerous affairs.
  • I had several significant break-downs.
  • I married a 16-year-old girl when she became pregnant.
  • I cut my wrists and overdosed with barbiturates.
  • I used sex, drugs, alcohol, and money as coping mechanisms during this period.
  • I fathered 3 children.
  • I was arrested and charged for drink driving.
  • I was given legal sole custody of one of my children.
  • I lived with another younger woman and her child.

Two of the Deep-Sea Trawlers I worked on as a teenager

In the early 1980’s I had a mental break down resulting in an attempted suicide that was near fatal.

Following a mental state examination, I was diagnosed with a depressive illness and referred for psychotherapy at Clatterbridge Hospital and received treatment on a mental health ward and further outpatient support from the psychiatric intensive care unit team.

Over the following 11 years I had more failed relationships and several businesses. I was also a ‘weekend dad’ and a single parent.

Two of the businesses I owned were relatively successful. One was operating several shops and one was employing around 300 people with offices in 5 cities and a turnover of more than 1 million.

During this period, I was dependent on alcohol and prescribed drugs. I was using the increased wealth to fund the illusion of a ‘millionaire’ lifestyle.

In February 1988, I started a relationship with an employee who became my life-long friend and wife.

In 1990 I had a second serious mental breakdown and was again referred for psychotherapy and the businesses fell into debt. I was charged with a breach of fiduciary duties by the secretary of state and banned from being a company director for 12 months. I had 1.2 million GBP of personally guaranteed business and personal debt.

I declared myself Bankrupt.

During the prolonged mental break-down I became a member of a Pentecostal church. I believed that Jesus Christ had visited me while I was taking a shower and he had comforted me and had offered me forgiveness for my sins. I had been in a state of mental breakdown for several weeks, not eating, drinking heavily, and overdosing on prescribed anti-depressants and very strong opioid painkillers.