Febuary 2000

Approved school teachers jailed for abuse

Two men who abused young boys when they worked in an approved school in Monmouthshire have been jailed for a total of 23 years. 

A judge at Newport Crown Court jailed 66-year-old Barrie Alden, the former deputy principal at the Ty Mawr School near Abergavenny for 15 years after being convicted of 10 offences against young boys. 

Ex-housemaster John Wright, 56, from Talgarth in Powys was sentenced to eight years after being found guilty of six counts.

Both men were cleared of a number of other charges. 

The court heard the attacks took place between 1966 to 1983 and the complainants were vulnerable figures, many from broken homes or single-parent families. 

Prosecuting, Roger Thomas QC told the jury that their victims were timid boys who were frightened and bullied while at the school.

He said: “Some boys as young as eight were sent to the local authority school after ending up in court for trivial offences. 

“Once there, they were subjected to indecent assaults and serious sexual assaults by Wright and Alden. 

“At a time when they needed discipline, moral support and guidance, the exact opposite happened. 

“They were abused, morally and socially corrupted.

“These defendants took it upon themselves to satisfy their sexual desires on them, and made a bad situation considerably worse.” 

Alden and Wright were arrested as a result of a Gwent Police inquiry into alleged abuse at children’s homes codenamed Operation Flight

Both denied all the allegations, claiming the complainants were lying or attempting to gain compensation. 

But they were found guilty by a jury of six men and six women who were praised for their “great commitment” in hearing harrowing evidence. 

A former housemaster at an approved school for young boys has been jailed for three years for an indecent assault on a teenager and violent attacks on others. Neil Wardell, 44, was also banned from working with young people again and will be put on the sex offenders’ register for life on his release.

Wardell, now of Alexandria, Dumbartonshire, Scotland, worked at the Ty Mawr approved boarding school, in Gliwern, Monmouthshire, south Wales, between 1982 and the end of 1988.

Judge Thomas Crowther QC told the pair: “You abused boys in their early to middle teens who were less equipped than the rest of the population to know how to resist and complain. 

“It is regrettably a common feature sometimes described as grooming.

“You used your position and power to discourage these boys from reporting you by threats and punishment.” 

The pair were ordered to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives. 

Det Chief Inspector Terry Hapgood, senior investigating officer in Operation Flight set up to probe the abuse, said afterwards: “It was a multi-agency investigation with police working closely with social services to bring about the results we have today. 

“We welcome the decision of the court. 

“It has been long and intricate task to bring these people to justice but it underlines the determination of the team.” 

He said it was first trial in Operation Flight which is continuing and is expected to result in more charges. 

Ty Mawr was closed in 1991