Roy Shuttleworth Court of Appeal 18 June 1999

This is an unredacted and unsuccessful appeal of Roy Shuttleworth [3] who had been convicted of four offences of buggery and seven offences of indecent assault and sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment. He worked at Greystone Heath and one other care home in Warrington area [4]

Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading this information. The Sanctuary for the Abused [A] has advice on how to prevent triggers.  National Association for People Abused in Childhood [B] has a freephone helpline and has links to local support groups. Other useful sites are One in Four [C]  and Havoca [D]. Useful post on Triggers [E]  from SurvivorsJustice [F] blog. Jim Hoppers pages on Mindfulness [G]  and Meditation [H] may be useful.

Timeline / Index of Court Appeals and Documentation on Cathy Fox Blog [2]

[ 1999] EWCA Crim J0618-21

No: 9605579/W2


Royal Courts of Justice

The Strand London WC2

Friday 18th June 1999

Lord Justice Tuckey and

Mr Justice Gage


Roy Shuttleworth

Computer Aided Transcript of the Stenograph Notes of Smith Bernal Reporting
Limited 180 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2HG Tel No: 0171 421 4040 Fax No:
0171 831 8838 (Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)

MR T V HOLROYDE QC appeared on behalf of the Applicant


(As approved by the Court)

18th June 1999

LORD JUSTICE TUCKEY : On 30th May 1996 in the Crown Court at Chester,
following a long trial before His Honour Judge Sir Robin David QC, this
appellant, Roy Shuttleworth, who is now aged 66, was convicted of four
offences of buggery and seven offences of indecent assault. He was
sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment.

He renews his application for leave to appeal against conviction following
refusal by the single judge as long ago as 10th December 1996. Since then
other solicitors have been instructed and other counsel in the shape of Mr
Holroyde QC, who has appeared before us today and for whose submissions we
are extremely grateful. Another judge extended time to renew this
application so we are not concerned with any question of extension of time
merely with the merits of the renewed application.

The facts shortly are that the applicant was employed as a house father at
a community home in Warrington from October 1974 until 1980 when he was
appointed house master until he left in June 1986. This home provided
accommodation for about 100 boys aged between nine and 16 who were in the
care of the local authority. They were all vulnerable for a variety
of reasons. When they came to give evidence at the trial many of them came
from prison. All of them showed signs of having come from very disturbed

The allegations against the applicant first came
to light in 1994 in the course of a major police enquiry into this and
other homes in the area. The prosecution’s case was that the applicant had
sexually abused seven of the boys in his care whilst they were aged between
12 and 16. The circumstances in which he was alleged to have abused them
need not be set out in this judgment. The applicant’s case was one of
complete denial. The boys, he said, were making allegations which were
untrue in order to claim compensation for themselves from the Criminal
Injuries Compensation Board.

Trial counsel put forward six grounds of appeal each of which were rejected
by the single judge.

Mr Holroyde has renewed the application for leave to appeal on those
original grounds and three further grounds. There is also an application
for leave to call fresh evidence.

He grouped the grounds under three heads which he submitted collectively,
if not individually, provided arguable grounds for appeal to this court.

The first of those headings was “severance and its consequences”. The
learned judge at the outset of the trial was asked to sever the indictment
into three periods, 1974 to 1976, 1981 to 1983, and 1984 to 1986.

Mr Holroyde in his advice and his submissions before us submitted that it
should have been severed into two periods, 1974 to 1984 and 1981 to 1986,
because in the latter period records still existed for the boys involved
whilst in the former they did not.

The judge did in fact sever one count from the indictment as it then stood
but otherwise rejected the application for severance saying it would be
utterly unrealistic to try different groups of counts separately. Mr
Holroyde submits that the judge in reaching that conclusion must have erred
by not giving sufficient weight to the fact that the complainants in the
first group would have the validity of their complaints boosted by the
complainants in the second group. That, in the circumstances, was unfair
and in any event the prejudicial effect of trying those groups of counts
together outweighed its probative value.

This submission is allied to his next submission which is that in the event
there was little support that one charge could give to the other since such
similarities as there were, were mundane and of a kind that one would
necessarily expect in any case where there are a number of charges of this kind. Threats, inducements, that the incidents happened in the showers at the home or in the dormitory at night took the case nowhere.

As Mr Holroyde recognised severance is very much a matter for the trial
judge’s discretion. It is particularly difficult for this court to attempt
to second guess any such decisions after the trial has been concluded. We
do not think that the points he makes get anywhere near to showing an
arguable case that this was an unreasonable exercise of the judge’s
discretion. In his summing up the judge explained to the jury how they
could find support for the complaint made by one boy from the complaint
made by another. He identified the similarities. It was a matter for them,
as he made clear, to decide what weight they could attach to those
similarities. We do not think that the way in which he dealt with this
aspect of the case can be criticised.

Under the same heading Mr Holroyde puts one of his new grounds which is
this. Although the judge in very full and sympathetic directions at the
beginning of his summing-up reminded the jury to consider whether the boys
had colluded with one another to produce false allegations against the
applicant, he did not specifically warn them of the danger that the
evidencethat the boys gave might have been contaminated by the “band
waggon” effect. In other words one boy might have learnt that the police
had taken a statement from another in which he had made an allegation and
when the police came to see him he was persuaded or felt able also to make
an allegation, the contamination coming either from the police officers or
from the fact that others had made similar allegations.

We do not think, having read the whole of the opening of this summing-up,
that any specific warning of this kind needed to be given. The judge
signalled at the beginning of the summing-up that they had to approach the
evidence of these damaged boys with great care and they had to consider
whether there was collusion. We think that the warnings he gave must have
have encompassed the particular concern Mr Holroyde has expressed.

The next heading under which he makes his submissions is delay. At the time
of his advice he had successfully persuaded this court to give a judgment
in Percival (unreported 19th June 1998) which gave him cause for optimism
that this summing-up could be criticised for failing to link the warning
about the prejudice caused by delay to the defendant to the burden and standard of proof. We do not think it is necessary in this case to
rehearse again, as we have done this morning in the case of * Smith * , how
things have moved on from the case of * Percival * . Suffice it also to say
that they have. Suffice it to say that the law as it now stands does not,
as it seems to us, require a judge always to link the warning he gives
about the prejudice caused by delay to the burden of proof. Realistically
Mr Holroyde has not advanced his submissions to us on this basis.

We should say that in the passage in which the judge dealt with delay he
puts the matter very strongly in the defendant’s favour, saying, for
example: “Let us not us forget the disadvantage and it is an enormous
disadvantage to the defendant. You heard accounts of detailed incident
occurring many, many years ago.

How can the defendant be expected to remember details of incidents so long

Is it easy for him to mount a defence to detailed allegations? I am sure
you will think it is extremely difficulty. There is also the further
disadvantage that so far as the first group of witnesses is concerned the
records have long since been lost or destroyed so there is nothing to which
the defence team can turn.” That direction is a strong and clear direction
about prejudice. However Mr Holroyde poses two questions in relation to it:
what is its status and would the jury understand how it related to the
burden of proof, giventhat it appeared at the beginning of the summing-up
before the judge had actually given his legal directions on that subject?
Realistically in his submissions Mr Holroyde accepted that in the first
part of his summing-up the judge was very sympathetic to the defendant,
underlining the difficulties which he faced in the trial, how serious the
allegations were against him and giving them the context and the confidence
to go about their task.

Although he may not have tagged this part of his summing-up as under the
label “directions of law” they clearly come from the judge himself with his
seal of approval and must have been understood by the jury as being very
clear and forceful directions about how they should go about their task. True it is that the burden of proof came with
the standard direction two pages later. But we cannot believe that the jury
could have been under any illusions about how they should go about their
task and, of course, how what the judge said about prejudice tied in with
what he said about the burden of proof.

The third heading under which Mr Holroyde made his submissions identified a
number of specific features of this case which had been the subject of the
earlier advice and, in one case which we will come to, raises anew point.

Firstly it is said that the judge did not remind the jury of the
cross-examination of two of the complainants who had contradicted what they
had said in their statements and that it was incumbent on him to do so,
given the crucial issues of credibility which arose for the jury to resolve.

It is always possible at the end of a long trial to go through a summing-up
(and this was a very thorough and we think fair summing-up) and identify
points of that kind. We do not think that such an omission renders this
conviction unsafe. The jury had to go through each of the charges when they
considered their verdicts. They had no doubt been addressed by counsel
about the credibility of each of the complainants and those points which
were available to be made in relation to these two had no doubt been made
to them.

The next point relates to what the judge said when the jury asked to see
the boys’ witness statements.

After telling them that they could not, he added: “Now you will immediately
ask me why not? The reason is that you have to decide the case on the sworn
evidence that has been given.

When statements are taken by police officers, they will often roam far and
wide dealing with other matters and nothing todo with the case and also
sometimes when the statement is taken the police officer will say something
to the witness like, ‘So what you are saying is so and so, is it’ and it is
really the police officer’s word, not the witness’s word that is why we do not give you the statements and let you hear and see the witnesses giving
evidence in person.” It is argued that this undermined the
cross-examination as to credibility based on inconsistencies between the
witness statements and the evidence given in the witness box. This point
singularly underwhelmed the single judge. We do not think with respect
there is anything in it. Experience shows that a jury often ask for witness
statements and it is customary to give an explanation as to why that cannot
be done. The judge gave the conventional explanation and we can see nothing
wrong in him adding the additional words. Nothing he said in his summing-up
suggested that they should disregard the cross-examination which had been
based upon inconsistencies between the oral evidence and the written

The next point is a new point based on the fact that one of the
complainants initially made an allegation not only against the applicant
but also against another member of staff at the home, a Mr Fidler. The
allegations have a striking similarity.

The witness gave evidence at the trial of Mr Fidler and Mr Fidler was
acquitted of the charge against him.

That, submits Mr Holroyde, casts doubt on the safety of the relevant
conviction of the applicant based on the evidence of the complainant.

One does not know why the jury acquitted Mr Fidler. There is, on the face
of it, a similarity between the allegations but it is worth noting that the
complainant in his first statement did complain that both the defendant and
Mr Fidler had abused him and we do not think that what has happened since
casts doubt on the safety of that conviction.

Finally Mr Holroyde says that were we to grant leave there is fresh
evidence in the form of a statement from a cellmate of one of the
complainants to the effect that this complainant said that he had
fabricated the allegations against the applicant in order to get
compensation. Such evidence is traditionally regarded with the greatest of
suspicion. Mr Holroyde realistically accepts that if that was all he could
put before the court he would not have any chance of being granted leave.
We do not think it advances his case.

There were other grounds in the earlier advice from trial counsel which we
have not dealt with. They were dealt with and rejected by the single judge
for reasons with which we agree and the renewed application is refused.

For the reasons we have given we do not think this is a case in which leave
to appeal against conviction should be given.


[] Link in brackets will use a new page, full address link will not

[2] 2015 Cathy Fox Blog Timeline of Court Appeals and Documentation

[3] Operation Greenlight Roy Shuttleworth

[4] 1998 Apr Guardian Nick Davies The sheer scale of child sexual abuse in Britain

[A] Sanctuary for the Abused


[C] One in Four

[D] Havoca

[E] SurvivorsJustice Triggers post

[F] SurvivorsJustice Blog

[G] Jim Hopper Mindfulness

[H] Jim Hopper Meditation

This is all written in good faith but if there is anything that needs to be corrected please email

cathyfox the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free

About cathy fox blog on Child Abuse

the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free...
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3 Responses to Roy Shuttleworth Court of Appeal 18 June 1999

  1. Pingback: An Index and Timeline of Court & Court of Appeal, EWCA and Scottish Documents on Cathy Fox Blog | cathyfox blog

  2. Pingback: Dennis Grain 4 April 2016 Court of Appeal | cathy fox blog on child abuse

  3. Pingback: Alan Beck | cathy fox blog on child abuse

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