Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed v Newcastle City Council High Court 2002 Jul 30

This is a very long transcript of protracted and complicated case. It was a libel action by Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed against Newcastle City Council who had commissioned a report on child sexual abuse at Shieldfield Nursery which did not reflect well on the claimants.

The judge found, 1552, “that the allegations of child abuse against Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed are untrue. In these libel proceedings it was part of the Review Team’s defence that these allegations were true. That defence therefore fails.” He concluded also “that there was no basis for the Review Team’s allegations in their Report of November 1998 (“Abuse in Early Years”) about the existence of a paedophile ring involving Shieldfield children or their exploitation for pornographic purposes.”

The judgment was controversial to some and left many questions as to what had happened to the children at Shieldfield Nursery. The Council Report is not available for legal reasons.

The transcript also briefly mentions the other child sexual abuse case in the area at the time, that of Jason Dabbs at another local primary school.

Trigger Warning

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. Also see Hwaairfan blog An Indigenous Australian Approach to Healing Trauma*  [J]

Redaction

Some reports have had victims names redacted and some assault details redacted.

This is a difficult balance-  normally I would think that  I should not “censor” details but on consultation with various people I have taken the decision to redact. This is mainly to protect victims, their friends and relatives from unnecessary detail and to stop the gratification of those who seek salacious details.

In addition to the obvious “victims redaction” to protect victims, there may also be “assault redacted” across most of the spectrum of abuse. This may obscure sometimes the legal reason for the appeal, but should make no large difference to the vital information for researchers that these documents contain. That vital information is mainly names of the perpetrators, past addresses, the actual charges the perpetrators faced – on which newspapers are pathetically inaccurate and this information enables the links between people and places and abuse at various times to be ascertained.

If you think that the balance is not correct or that a particular redaction needs reconsideration, please say.

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

This particular appeal is redacted for claimants details eg dates of birth. Please contact me if you think redaction is not correct.

[2002] EWHC 1600 (QB)

Case No: HQ9903605, HQ9903606

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

QUEEN’S BENCH DIVISION

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Date: 30 July 2002
Before

The Honourable Mr Justice Eady

Between

Christopher Lillie & Dawn Reed – Claimants
v.

(1) Newcastle City Council – Defendants

Miss A Page Q.C. and Mr A Speker (instructed by S.J. Cornish ) for the
Claimants

Mr G Bishop, Mr I Christie and Ms S Mansoori (instructed by Wragge & Co)
for the Newcastle City Council and the Review Team

Hearing dates : From 11th January 2002 to 20th June 2002

Approved Judgment

I direct that pursuant to CPR PD 39A para 6.1 no official shorthand note
shall be taken of this Judgment and that copies of this version as handed
down may be treated as authentic.

The Hon. Mr Justice Eady

INDEX

Para. No.

1. The factual background

The events of April 1993 1

The widening of the investigation 11

The disciplinary process 17

The criminal proceedings 24

The steps taken by the City Council meanwhile 56

2. Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed 77

3. The Review Team’s Report published on 12 November 1998 114

4. Media coverage of the Case

The Newcastle Chronicle 141

Other media coverage 294

5. The issues raised in the litigation 322

6. What is the correct approach to justification ? 354

7. The expert evidence relevant to child abuse

Introduction 381

Dr Jane Watkeys and Dr Kathryn Ward: The paediatric evidence 383

Professor Maggie Bruck and Professor William Friedrich: The

“disclosures” 401

Dr Sandra Hewitt and Dr Hamish Cameron: Child Behaviour 473

8. The evidence of multiple abuse

General Introduction 503

The evidence of Dr Camille San Lazaro 540

Child 1 559

Child 2 588

Child 3 604

Child 4 614

Child 5 623

Child 6 634

Child 7 643

Child 8 663

Child 10 672

Child 11 711

Child 12 726

Child 14 737

Child 15 803

Child 17 807

Child 18 822

Child 19 827

Child 21 840

Child 22 860

Child 23 900

Child 24 921

Child 25 949

Child 26 969

Child 27 981

Child 28 997

Child 29 1008

Child 30 1020

Child 31 1034

9. The evidence called for the claimants on the abuse issue 1051

10. The privilege issues for the Review Team 1085

11. The Review Team’s Terms of Reference 1096

12. The evidence of the Review Team defendants. 1129

13. Findings on the allegations of malice against the Review Team 1284

14. The privilege issues for the Newcastle City Council 1400

15. The City Council’s evidence on qualified privilege and malice

General Introduction 1452

The “one-off” approach to publishing the Report 1459

Mr Dervin 1466

Mr Lavery 1478

Mr Bell 1488

Mr Arnold 1492

Mr Flynn 1502

Mr Poll 1513

Mr Scott 1523

Overall Conclusion 1532

16. Compensation 1534

17. A brief summary of findings 1552

Mr Justice Eady :

1) The factual background

The events of April 1993

1. In the first week of April 1993 a young man called Jason Dabbs pleaded
guilty at Newcastle Crown Court to nine counts of indecent assault, and
asked that three other similar offences be taken into consideration. All
the offences admitted related to children at a local nursery and he was
sentenced to seven years imprisonment. He was at the time a student and the
offences had occurred while he was on a placement during the course of his
studies. This naturally attracted wide publicity and caused anger and
concern amongst the public generally, and especially among the parents of
young children. The offences had apparently been committed while he was on
the nursery premises and indeed in the presence of other adults (who were
not in any way implicated in the offences or aware of what was going on).
Those particular circumstances were surprising to say the least, and few
people had previously addressed the possibility of such abuse taking place
within a nursery environment (although, as early as 1987, the report of an
inquiry into abuse of primary school children in Cornwall had been
published, under the title * Child Abuse in Schools * ).

2. An inquiry was commissioned by the Newcastle City Council pursuant to
s.81 of the Children Act 1989, and carried out by an experienced
practitioner, Mr Peter Hunt, who made findings and recommendations in
September 1994 with a view to avoiding such abuse in the future. Mr Hunt
(now His Honour Judge Peter Hunt) pointed out the limitations of his
inquiry and specifically that he was not in a position to make findings of
abuse on any wider basis than the offences to which Jason Dabbs had pleaded
guilty. Nevertheless, he was able to conclude (para. 2.6.27) that the busy
atmosphere of a nursery class can provide opportunities for determined
paedophiles to abuse their charges without being noticed. This would no
doubt be contrary to most people’s intuitive response to such allegations
which would, at least up to that time, have been one of incredulity. It is
right to say, however, that Mr Hunt’s findings in this respect were
consistent with experience of abuse in day nurseries in the United States
(see e.g. * Nursery Crimes * by David Finkelhor, 1988).

3. Meanwhile, within days of Jason Dabbs’ court appearance, and the
publicity it attracted, the mother of a small boy at another nursery
situated in the centre of Newcastle, Shieldfield, complained to the police
that he had been abused by one of the staff at that establishment. The
person concerned was Mr Christopher Lillie, who was then a qualified
nursery nurse and had been working there, either on a temporary or
permanent basis, since 1988. The boy has been referred to throughout these
proceedings as either “Child 22” or “the Index Child”.

4. It is probably fair to say that this referral to the police triggered
the long and complicated chain of events which unfolded over the succeeding
months and years and led, eventually, to the trial of these libel actions
over no less than 79 days in 2002. I must now attempt to summarise those
events.

5. Following the complaint about Child 22, made during the course of the
Easter weekend, the matter was referred to Newcastle Social Services
Department and also to the Police Child Protection Unit. A meeting took
place on 14 April 1993 between the Child Protection Team, the mother and
representatives of the Social Services Department. The next day the child
was examined by Dr Neela Shabde. The child was at that stage complaining
that “Chris” had hurt his bottom, but the examination revealed no signs of
penetrative trauma.

6. On 16 April 1993, Child 22 was interviewed by a police officer attached
to the Police Child Protection Unit, Helen Foster, who was to play a
significant role in the extensive police enquiries over the next 12 months.
On the same day, Mr Lillie was informed that he was suspended from duty
pending a full investigation. This information was conveyed to him by Joyce
Eyeington, who had responsibility within the local authority for the
management of day nurseries. A further conversation took place between them
on 20 April during which Mrs Eyeington told Mr Lillie that the medical
examination of Child 22 had revealed no physical signs of abuse. In the
event, Mr Lillie never returned to work.

7. It so happened that Mrs Eyeington’s niece (by marriage), Susan
Eyeington, was the officer in charge of Shieldfield Nursery. She was
interviewed on 19 April. On 22 April, interviews took place with Susan
Elsdon, the member of staff who had responsibility for Child 22 before he
came into the care of Mr Lillie, and with Dawn Reed who had been working
alongside Mr Lillie in what was known as the “Red Room”. That was where
Child 22 had been looked after since 1 September 1992.

8. On 27 April, Joyce Eyeington interviewed the child’s uncle and aunt who
confirmed that he had told them that “Chris” had hurt his bottom and
genitals.

9. Naturally, the suspension of Mr Lillie and the reasons for it presented
the nursery management and the local authority with a real problem as to
how the parents were to be properly informed about what was going on, given
their limited state of knowledge at that time.

10. Meetings were organised at the Nursery at which parents were provided
originally with only the barest of detail. They were told that a male
member of staff had been suspended.

The widening of the investigation

11. During May 1993, two social workers, Vanessa Lyon and Marion Harris,
were made available within the same building as the Nursery should any
parent/carer wish to raise concerns. Within a short space of time,
information had been obtained from 14 of the families. Accordingly, a
“strategy meeting” was arranged for 26 May, for the purpose of discussing
developments up to that point and what further action should be taken.

12. After what must have seemed to parents, at least, a long period of
delay, a letter was written by Joyce Eyeington on 23 July inviting them to
a meeting on 28 July. Thereafter, it seems that meetings were held on a
regular basis to offer parents information and support.

13. As is well known, any local authority is under a statutory duty to take
action for the protection of a child within its area where there is
reasonable cause to suspect that he or she is suffering, or is likely to
suffer, “significant harm”: s.47 of the Children Act 1989. There were in
Newcastle at the time procedures in place to enable that obligation to be
carried out. In particular, from time to time, case conferences would take
place with respect to any child, or children, suspected of being at risk.
In the early stages, it was not possible to come to a firm conclusion as to
whether the suspension of Mr Lillie on 16 April had been in itself
sufficient to eliminate such risk. A case conference was held on 6 May 1993
following the referral by the mother of Child 22, during which she
implicated not only “Chris” but also “Dawn”. She reported that her son had
described “Dawn” as calling him a “little bastard”. In consequence, a
second member of staff at the nursery, Dawn Reed, was suspended on 12 May.
Meanwhile, on 5 May Mr Lillie had been arrested for questioning in relation
to Child 22 and released on bail. Thereafter investigations continued with
regard to both suspended members of staff.

14. At the case conference on 6 May, according to the note I have seen, the
mother was also referring to a house or houses to which he had been taken,
where he had seen a man who hurt him and a “lady who looks like a man”. He
had also “blacked out completely” when coming away from the park. He
required constant reassurance that he was in his own house, and also said
that “someone had been putting things in his bottom”. He was also reported
as referring to a monster and as showing some apprehension at the mention
of the word “library”. These were to become recurring themes in the
Shieldfield inquiry over the following months. At that stage Dr Shabde is
recorded as expressing the view that he was a “disturbed little boy”, and
she recommended a “psychological/psychiatric assessment”.

15. At this stage further allegations came to be made by other children
attending the nursery, to the effect that they too had been abused by Mr
Lillie and/or Miss Reed. (Those allegations have often been referred to as
“disclosures”, despite the fact that this term had been deprecated in the
Report of the Inquiry into the Child Abuse in Cleveland (1987), to which I
shall naturally have to refer in much greater detail in due course.)

16. In July 1993, Mr Lillie was re-arrested and Dawn Reed arrested for the
first time. Those arrests related to allegations of abuse perpetrated on a
small girl (Child 23). At this stage their homes were searched for the
first time (and criticism was later to be levelled at the police for not
having done so earlier). Although both Claimants were released on bail
after questioning on this occasion, they were arrested again in September
1993 in relation to allegations made by a boy known as “Child 10” and,
having been charged, they were detained in custody. Miss Reed remained in
Low Newton Remand Centre until 23 December, when she was granted bail with
a condition of residence at a bail hostel. Mr Lillie remained in custody
until the trial began in July 1994. Meanwhile, on 22 October 1993, he had
been granted bail by a Judge in Chambers, but as he was leaving Durham
Prison he was re-arrested. This was because, on that very day, Child 14 had
made an allegation of rape. (Miss Reed was also granted bail and
re-arrested on the same day.)

The disciplinary process

17. I was told that considerable resentment grew up among parents at the
fact that Mr Lillie and Miss Reed were, during the period of their
suspension, continuing to receive their salaries. In any event, the City
Council determined to press ahead with disciplinary hearings, despite
representations in January 1994 from the Crown Prosecution Service. On 20
January, the Principal Crown Prosecutor, Mr Neil Holdsworth, wrote to the
Senior Solicitor at the City Council in the following terms:

“… any proposed disciplinary proceedings would naturally relate to the same
issues as in the criminal proceedings. There is, therefore, not only a risk
that the criminal proceedings would be prejudiced, by the availability to
the defence of ‘abuse of process’ arguments, but the defendants themselves
would be unable to defend the disciplinary proceedings properly for fear of
self incrimination”.

18. Separate hearings took place, in February 1994, as a result of which
both Mr Lillie and Miss Reed were dismissed. Although there were appeal
hearings, the dismissals were confirmed and it then became possible to
discontinue salary payments. Following several adjournments, Mr Lillie’s
disciplinary proceedings took place on 14 February 1994 at Durham Prison.
The hearing was held there because he was living there on remand at that
time. In the event, he decided not to attend in the light of legal advice.
It was believed that there was a risk of prejudice to the pending criminal
proceedings (and that he would be unlikely to receive a fair hearing). The
hearing took place in front of Mr Graham Armstrong, the Assistant Director
of Social Services, who heard from some eight witnesses, namely Joyce
Eyeington, Andrew Waterworth, Lyn Boyle, Vanessa Lyon, Dr San Lazaro,
Kulvinder Chohan, Isabella Hepplewhite and Marion Harris. Apart from Mrs
Eyeington and Dr San Lazaro, they were social workers. Mr Lillie was
dismissed for what was found to be “gross misconduct”. His appeal was
dismissed on 9 May 1994 before a body described as the Corporate
Disciplinary Appeals Panel.

19. Miss Reed’s disciplinary hearing was held on 21 February 1994, again
before Graham Armstrong. She was represented at the hearing by a trade
union officer from Unison although she did not herself choose to give
evidence. Clearly important was the evidence of Dr San Lazaro, but she was
not there to be cross-examined because she was on holiday. Her evidence
therefore went by default. She was dismissed the following day, also for
“gross misconduct”. Her appeal was heard on 11 and 12 May, when her
dismissal too was upheld.

20. I need not go into detail about these disciplinary proceedings. They
are at the periphery of the present proceedings. I had no wish to comment
on them at all. They could hardly be relevant, for example, to the
Claimants’ allegations of malice in relation to publications in November
1998.

21. Yet Mr Bishop was keen to lead evidence about them. On 22 May he called
a Mr Norman Greig who is a personnel officer at Newcastle City Council. I
am not sure what purpose this served. I believe the intention was to
demonstrate the fairness of the disciplinary proceedings. If so, the
exercise was a failure. Since Mr Bishop specifically brought these hearings
into this case, and invites me to make findings about them, I shall
reluctantly do so. They carry no conviction at all. Not only were they
superficial but, as emerged during the cross-examination of Vanessa Lyon on
23 May 2002, they proceeded on the basis of partial and selective evidence.
She did not present the material as a whole to the disciplinary panel for
its members to make up their own minds. She edited out what she thought was
irrelevant; for example, matters favourable to Miss Reed, such as that
Child 14 exonerated her in interviews on 4 and 22 October 1993. Indeed, she
omitted altogether the interview of 4 October.

22. The disciplinary hearings did play a part in the evidence, however,
since it emerged rather surprisingly that the Review Team had later taken
the adverse disciplinary findings as being in themselves evidence that Mr
Lillie and Miss Reed had committed sexual abuse on at least some children.
That is curious, to say the least, in the light of their much vaunted
“independence” from the Council. It is perhaps, even more startling when
one calls to mind how perfunctory the hearings had been and how they had
been conducted with such indecent haste. Mr Kevin Hattam, the trade union
officer who represented Miss Reed, later observed that they were the
“strangest” disciplinary proceedings he had experienced as there appeared
to be “no evidence”. The Council was just “going through the motions”. The
right thing to have done would have been to wait until the criminal
proceedings were concluded, and the two individuals concerned would at
least have been free from the inhibitions of legal advice and a pending
criminal trial.

23. Neither Mr Lillie nor Miss Reed ever took proceedings for unfair or
wrongful dismissal (a point to which the City Council attached considerable
importance in the course of submissions in these proceedings). In the
circumstances, it was hardly surprising.

The criminal proceedings

24. Eventually, a criminal trial commenced at Newcastle Crown Court on 8
July 1994 before Holland J. There were altogether 11 counts, relating to a
total of six children. The children who formed the subject of the criminal
proceedings at that time have been referred to in these libel actions as
Children 2, 14, 19, 23 and 24 (girls) and Child 10 (a boy). (It is to be
noted that the prosecuting authorities took the view at an early stage that
there was insufficient evidence to justify criminal proceedings in respect
of the original complainant Child 22.)

25. One of the charges Mr Lillie faced in the Crown Court was that of
raping Child 14. She was born on 17 November 1988 and began at Shieldfield
on 21 January 1991. When she began there, she was in the care of Miss Reed
and later, with effect from 16 October 1991, of Mr Lillie. She last
attended the Nursery on 22 July 1992. Thus, it would appear that, when the
alleged rape took place, she was either two or three years old. Holland J
heard submissions for several days and, having considered the video
evidence in relation to Child 14, concluded on 13 July 1994 that it should
not be admitted in evidence. His Lordship’s reasons were given during the
course of a ruling the following day. It was then decided by the Crown
Prosecution Service that there was insufficient evidence for the matter to
proceed and, on the learned judge’s direction, both Claimants were
acquitted. It seems that the Crown took the view that the evidence relating
to Child 14 had been the strongest. One of the matters to which Holland J
attached significance was that, in the course of two out of the three
interviews in which Child 14 participated, she had expressly exonerated
Miss Reed of anything untoward. (It will be necessary for me at a later
stage to return in much more detail to the content of Child 14’s video
interviews.)

26. Since it has been so misunderstood or misrepresented subsequently, it
is right that I should summarise the ruling.

27. The learned Judge began by reminding himself that his concern, as the
trial Judge, could not be limited to reflecting personal sympathy; it had
to reflect his duty to ensure that the criminal proceedings were conducted
fairly and in accordance with law. That is why he decided to explain the
approach he was adopting fully, so that it would be properly understood by
the public.

28. He addressed counts 1, 2, 3 on the indictment first. These consisted of
a charge of rape by Mr Lillie of Child 14 (Count 1), indecent assault upon
her by Mr Lillie (Count 2) and indecent assault by Miss Reed (Count 3).

29. He pointed out that the child was in the Red Room at Shieldfield
Nursery between 4 February 1991 and 2 March 1992. She left the nursery
altogether, according to the evidence before him, in August 1992. Since she
was born on 17 November 1988, this meant that the alleged offences would
have taken place over the period when she was two or three years old.

30. The Judge went on to explain that Child 14 was first interviewed by
Vanessa Lyon (the social worker) on 4 October 1993 before a video camera.
Four days later, she was examined by Dr San Lazaro who concluded:

“There was unequivocal evidence of previous penetrative damage consistent
with blunt trauma with any object from finger size upwards on one or many
occasions in the past.”

31. A second video interview took place on 13 October between the child and
Vanessa Lyon (supported, as she had been on the first occasion, by
Constable Helen Foster). A third interview took place on 22 October 1993.
So far as those interviews revealed allegations on the part of Child 14,
they were made when she was nearly 5 years old.

32. The Judge turned to Count 4 which contained an allegation of joint
indecent assault by Mr Lillie and Miss Reed upon [Child 23]. She had been
born on 22 February 1990 and was in the care of Mr Lillie and Miss Reed
from about August to December 1992 (i.e. beginning when she was two and
half years old). She was first interviewed on 12 July 1993 (again before a
video camera), when she was three and half. She was examined a week later
by Dr San Lazaro who again found a significantly damaged hymen.

33. Count 5 related to [Child 24] and contained a charge of indecent
assault by Mr Lillie. She was described as having been in the Red Room from
January to November 1992 (her third birthday occurring on 14 August 1992).
She was interviewed on 22 June and 30 July 1993. On 18 November of that
year Dr San Lazaro made similar findings to those already described.

34. The alleged victim in relation to Counts 6, 7 and 8 was a small boy
[Child 10]. The first charge was one of indecent assault by Mr Lillie, the
second was of indecent assault by Miss Reed and the third of assault
occasioning actual bodily harm by Miss Reed.

35. He was born on 3 July 1989 and was in the Red Room between August 1991
and July 1992. He was interviewed on 18 August 1993 before a video camera
and examined by Dr. San Lazaro on 1 September 1993 (when nothing of
significance was found). He was just four years old at the stage of
interview and speaking of events alleged to have occurred when he would
have been two.

36. The learned Judge then turned to Count 9 which related to an allegation
of indecent assault by Mr Lillie on [Child 19]. She was born on 7 February
1990 and was in the Red Room from September 1992 until January 1993. She
was examined by Dr. Alison Steele on 6 August 1993, when non-specific
findings were made (albeit not inconsistent with some degree of trauma).
Her video interview took place on 10 August 1993, with a follow up on 2
November 1993. Thus she was three and half years old when interviewed.

37. Counts 10 and 11 related to [Child 2] and consisted of one charge of
indecent assault by Mr Lillie and one by Miss Reed. The child was born on 2
September 1989 and was a member of the Red Room from early 1992 until
September of that year. The first video interview took place on 22 July and
the second on 1 December 1993. She was examined by Dr. San Lazaro on 13
August 1993, who found no significant abnormality.

38. Having reviewed the charges against Mr Lillie and Miss Reed and
summarised the various ages of the alleged victims, the learned Judge made
three introductory observations:

(1) With the possible exception of [Child 2], no child had made any
contemporaneous complaint. Moreover, so far as Child 2 was concerned,
having regard to the terms of what she had said, no action was taken at the
time.

(2) It was conceded by the Crown that it was impossible, by way of a
process of elimination, to prove of any child in respect of whom physical
damage was found that access and opportunity to inflict such damage were
confined to Mr Lillie and Miss Reed.

(3) Save to the extent that physical findings corroborated the allegation
of physical interference (in some cases), and save to the extent that one
child could provide “similar fact” support for one or more of the other
children, there was no corroboration of the allegations of wrongdoing.
Indeed, his Lordship added, to the extent that the children had provided
detail as to venue, and as to the circumstances of various alleged
incidents, no support had emerged for their contentions (despite extensive
police enquiries). Thus, there would be insufficient evidence to prosecute
without evidence from at least one child, and preferably more than one.

39. That was the background against which the Crown, through Mr Aidan
Marron Q.C., applied under s.32A of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (inserted
by reason of s.54 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991). The Defendants
objected to the introduction of the video recordings of the various
interviews, and that was the subject of the Judge’s ruling. It had been
decided to confine consideration, at least initially, to the recordings
made by [Child14] and thus to Counts 1 to 3. This was on the basis that if
the Crown failed in that instance, then Mr Marron would not try to secure
the admission of any of the remaining video recordings. The Judge explained
the background to this decision and gave three reasons why it had been
decided to focus on that particular child:

a) In a context in which “age is at a premium”, she happened to be the
oldest girl.

b) Her allegations were the most serious that had been made (i.e. there was
a charge of rape).

c) There was a limited measure of corroboration for her evidence afforded
by the physical findings following medical examination.

40. His Lordship then identified the consequences that would follow from a
ruling in favour of the Crown’s application. First, the admitted recordings
would have to be played to the jury. Secondly, any statement made by Child
14 would be admissible evidence of any fact which could have been admitted
by way of direct oral testimony from her: s.32A (6). Thirdly, the child
would then be called by the Crown to give evidence, by way of video link,
to supplement her evidence in chief to the limited extent permitted by
s.32A (5).

41. The three video recordings which the learned Judge viewed (as I have
done) lasted in total for three hours. It was necessary to bear that in
mind because, if cross-examination of Child 14 were to take place, it would
plainly have been desirable for her to have had the opportunity of
following that footage (in the usual way, concurrently with the jury). She
would need to have it in mind as the necessary point of reference to
understand the questions she was likely to be asked.

42. In addressing the exercise of the court’s discretion, the learned Judge
asked himself first, “Does such statement [or statements] serve to provide
admissible evidence of fact that could have been the subject of admissible,
direct oral testimony by [Child 14]?”

43. It was necessary for him, assuming that he concluded that a statement
or statements could be classified as prima facie admissible, to address
three separate concerns:

i) Was he satisfied that Child 14 was available for cross-examination?

ii) Was he satisfied that any rules of court requiring disclosure of the
circumstances in which the relevant recordings were made had been complied
with?

iii) Were the circumstances of the case such that, in the interests of
justice, all or part of the recordings should be excluded?

44. His Lordship then turned to consider the matter of admissibility with
regard to any statement or statements the child might have made. He bore in
mind, in particular, the opinion of the Privy Council in * Noor Mohamed v.
The King * [1949] A.C. 182 , 192, and the statutory reflection of those
same considerations of policy as later embodied in s.78(1) in the Police
and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. His Lordship then considered whether any
statement or statements could be said to be discernible within each of the
relevant video tapes. As to the first (4 October 1993), he concluded that
there were three discernible propositions, each qualifying as a “statement”:

i) Mr Lillie exposed himself to her in the toilets of the Nursery in the
course of an indecent assault carried out by him on another little girl
[who plays no direct part in the present libel proceedings but was known as
Child 35].

ii) Miss Reed had done nothing at all to her.

iii) Child 14, Mr Lillie, Miss Reed and a woman called Moira (apparently
another member of staff) had been to Mr Lillie’s house by bus.

45. As to the second video tape (13 October 1993), the learned Judge found
again three propositions which qualified:

i) Mr Lillie had put a needle into her bottom (which, in this context, the
Judge took to mean her vagina) and also into the other little girl.

ii) Miss Reed had also put a needle into her bottom and that of the other
girl.

iii) All of these events had taken place in the Nursery toilet.

46. Returning to the third video (22 October 1993) the Judge extracted the
following “statements”:

i) Mr Lillie had acted indecently towards her (initially), and then
(finally) had raped her in the toilet of the Nursery.

ii) Miss Reed had done nothing to her.

iii) Child 14, Mr Lillie, Miss Reed and a woman called Amanda (understood
to be another member of staff) had been to Mr Lillie’s house (this time by
train), where Mr Lillie was seen to be in bed with a lady called Doreen.

47. The Judge began his consideration of admissibility by addressing the
Crown’s case against Miss Reed. He then gave the following important ruling:

“… I do not regard any of the statement[s] as set out by me, as disclosed
by the recordings, potentially probative of anything at all against Miss
Reed. It affords, in my judgment, no evidence upon which any reasonable
jury could convict her upon Count 3.

It is true that the second video includes a description to the indecent
assault by Miss Reed that is relied upon, but the first and [third] videos
include, effectively, total exculpation of Miss Reed. One of the striking
features of both first and [third] videos is the insistence with which
[Child 14] seeks to exculpate her, and the fact that she does so upon her
own initiative. Indeed, one of the points made by Mr Cosgrove [her counsel]
in the course of his cross-examination of WPC Foster and of Mrs Lyon is
that nobody picked up and thought to examine, in any way, this piece of
initiative on the part of [Child 14].

The statement would only become potentially probative against Miss Reed if
the graphic support for her that is initiated by [Child 14] herself – and
that is seen on the videos one and three—is put aside. I can see no basis
for doing so. I remind myself that no jury can convict Miss Reed upon Count
3 without being sure and satisfied of her guilt. It is manifest on the
evidence of [Child 14] (as disclosed in the statement from the three
videos) that there could be no basis upon which they could be sure and
satisfied. Indeed, there is a rather better basis for being sure and
satisfied that she is innocent of that particular charge. Thus, in dealing
with Miss Reed, I have no hesitation in ruling that the Crown’s application
to adduce that part of the video recordings as making a statement to be
relied upon in the furtherance of their prosecution of her fails.”

48. The learned Judge then turned to the case against Mr Lillie. In his
judgment, it could not be said, in his case, that the relevant statements
lacked any potentially probative effect. A possible interpretation of the
tapes was of “… a young victim of sexual abuse slowly overcoming
constraints imposed by the abuse and abuser, so as to make a full
disclosure in response to sympathetic interviewing and effective
reassurance”.

49. His Lordship then went on to make an evaluation of the prejudicial
effect so as to balance it against probative weight. He regarded that
exercise as being required by the common law, as well as reflecting the
exercise of discretion provided for in s.32A (3) of the 1988 Act.

50. He concluded that the material relating to Mr Lillie could not safely
be put before a jury until a full opportunity was afforded for
investigation into the history of any complaint. Overwhelming prejudice to
Mr Lillie could only be avoided, for example, if there was an opportunity
to enquire of the child why nothing he was alleged to have done had been
the subject of a contemporaneous complaint by her; why she had made no
complaint of assault during her first video interview; why there was no
complaint of rape in the second interview; and “above all, as to why the
complaint of rape in the third video followed upon an initial cessation of
the interview, which cessation had been instigated by her”.

51. The learned Judge added that there was a prospect of overwhelming
prejudice to Mr Lillie if it was not possible for inquiries to be made on
his behalf, of Child 14 in cross-examination, as to why her accounts had
varied with regard to Miss Reed. Moreover, the Judge drew attention to the
fact that information supplied by the child about any house or flat would
not stand up to further investigation. Police inquiries, in other words,
had brought forth no confirmation at all. For that reason, he observed,
“Those parts of her account cry out for like inquiry…”

52. The main difficulty confronting the learned Judge was that there was
really no other way of testing her evidence or exploring the
inconsistencies, unless cross-examination were to be permitted. There was
no other potential source for answering the queries. His Lordship turned
next to the statutory pre-condition for admissibility provided for in
s.32A(3)(a); that is to say the child’s availability for cross-examination.
He held that she was not so available on any material matter. She would
have to be physically present, willing to answer questions put on Mr
Lillie’s behalf, and not incompetent; see s.52(2) of the Criminal Justice
Act 1991. He added that it was, in his judgment, necessary also for her to
have the capacity to give “an intelligible account of events” (a phrase
borrowed from an Irish statute: s.27(1) of the Civil Evidence Act 1992).

53. His Lordship held, without hesitation, that Child 14 did not have the
capacity to give an intelligible account of material events at the time
when the recording was made (i.e. in October 1993). This was based largely
upon his viewing of the three hours of material. While emphasising that his
conclusion was in no way intended to reflect upon the child, his Lordship
pointed out that her incapacity to give an intelligible account was merely
a reflection of her age, of the subject-matter, of its emotional impact
upon her, and also of the delay between the events under investigation and
the interview itself. In other words, she would be cross-examined almost a
year after the original interviews, which were themselves concerned with
events which had occurred (if at all) at least 15 months earlier. His
Lordship, secondly, saw no reason to conclude that her capacity would be
materially improved by the time any cross-examination took place. Since she
would not have the attention span necessary to view the three hours of
video material concurrently with the jury (as confirmed in evidence by a
psychologist), she could not appreciate the necessary premise upon which
the line of cross-examination would proceed. Further, and in any event, her
1994 memory for events in 1992 would be “speculative”.

54. His Lordship confirmed that the very same factors which led him to the
conclusion that Child 14 was not “available for cross-examination”, for the
purposes of s.32A(3), would have operated to lead him to the conclusion
that the admission of any such statement by her would have a prejudicial
effect far outweighing any probative value.

55. Following Holland J’s decision and the direction to acquit, there was
apparently a violent outburst of emotion in court, during which the two
Claimants were threatened and reviled.

The steps taken by the City Council meanwhile

56. So far as the City Council was concerned, the acquittals made virtually
no difference. One of their representatives, a Mr Flynn who was at that
time Deputy Leader, confirmed outside the court that the dismissals still
stood and that the Council still regarded them as guilty of “gross
misconduct” (i.e. of abusing a number of children in their care, including
those in respect of whom they had just been acquitted). Almost immediately,
a widespread view took hold that the criminal proceedings had come to a
halt as a result of some technicality or inadequacy in the system of
justice. Very little attention was paid to the comments of the trial judge
as to the state of the evidence; and, in particular, to the remarks made by
Child 14 in two of her interviews to the effect that Dawn Reed had done
nothing wrong.

57. It is now necessary for me to address, in a little detail, the steps
which had been taken in the meantime by the local authority and the
statutory context. The government of the day had, in 1988, issued guidance
to local authorities under s.7 of the Local Authority Social Services Act
1970. This was intended to facilitate co-operation between various agencies
with a view to effective child protection. The guidance operative at the
time of the Shieldfield events was that originally published in 1991. It
was published under the title * Working Together * . Each local authority
was required to establish an Area Child Protection Committee (ACPC),
composed of representatives from the local authority, the police, the
health authority, the probation service and other relevant agencies. One of
the purposes underlying the establishment of the Area Child Protection
Committees was that they should be preventative. It was also, however,
intended that there should be a forum for co-ordinating an efficient
response to any perceived incidents of child abuse, as they arose.

58. There was a meeting under the auspices of the relevant ACPC in
Newcastle on 26 May 1993. By that time 14 families had already been seen by
social workers. There were further meetings as events developed. There is a
procedure laid down by Part 8 of * Working Together * for reviewing
specific cases. There would certainly be an obligation to carry out a Part
8 Review where a child has died in circumstances where abuse is suspected
or confirmed. Nevertheless, an ACPC should always consider whether to carry
out such a review where there is a child protection issue likely to give
rise to major public concern. It was felt that the criteria had been
fulfilled in the case of Shieldfield, because it was perceived that the
ACPC had a case of multiple abuse on its hands, and a Part 8 Review was set
in motion in the autumn of 1993. Once information had been gathered from
all the relevant agencies an “overview” report had to be submitted to the
Social Services Inspectorate (SSI) within the Department of Health. In the
present case the Part 8 overview report took some time to complete, and was
not submitted to the SSI until October 1996.

59. There exists a quite separate regime for dealing with “complaints” from
consumers or other members of the public about services provided by a local
authority. Relevant provisions are to be found in the Local Authority
Social Services (Complaints Procedure) Order 1990 made under s.7B of the
1970 Act. Every local authority is obliged to establish a procedure for
considering representations (including complaints) made to it by or on
behalf of a “qualifying individual” relating to its social services
functions in respect of the individual concerned. A “qualifying individual”
is someone for whom the relevant local authority has the power or
obligation to provide a service. By reason of the day care obligations
arising under s.18 of the Children Act, it was now necessary for the
Council to establish a procedure for considering any complaints made by
parents/carers with regard to the services at Shieldfield.

60. It is also provided by s.26 (3) of the Children Act that a procedure
should be established when considering any representations (including a
complaint) from parents/carers of children “in need” as to the discharge of
local authority functions (including the provision of day care under s.18
of the 1989 Act). Thus, one way or another, there was a duty upon the City
Council to consider complaints relating to the discharge (or failure to
discharge) day care duties with regard to Shieldfield.

61. The Newcastle City Council had established a Comments and Complaints
Policy in 1991 following the model laid down by the Representation
Procedures (Children) Regulations 1991 (SI 1991/894).

62. In 1993 the current procedure was that a complaint should be registered
with the Comments and Complaints Unit (part of the Council’s Standards and
Quality Assurance Division). It would then be for Mr Bob Hassall (the then
complaints officer) to appoint an “investigating officer”. Normally, that
person would be a local authority employee unconnected with the specific
matter under investigation. In an ordinary case, the investigating officer
should report to the complaints officer within 28 days upon the outcome of
his investigation and the appropriate response to the complainant. In the
event that the relevant complainant was not satisfied with the response, it
would be open for him or her to request the Complaints Review Panel to
investigate the complaint. Such a Panel would comprise an independent
chairman, a member of the Social Services Committee of the local authority
and an Assistant Director or Principal Assistant of the department (not
being directly involved).

63. There was yet a third stage whereby, if the complainant was not
satisfied with the recommendation of the Panel to the Director of Social
Services, there could be a reference to the Social Services Committee. This
three tier complaints structure was in place in 1993 at Newcastle for
dealing with complaints made under the 1970 Act or the 1989 Act.

64. It was recognised that there might be occasions when the standard
procedure would be inadequate to the task in hand. In this instance, when
the complaints were first made about events at Shieldfield, they were
registered for investigation in the normal way. Nevertheless, it soon
became apparent that there was the possibility of multiple abuse at the
hands of Council employees, and it was thought desirable to set up a
procedure tailored for this specific case. By the end of 1993, a firm of
local solicitors (David Gray & Co) were acting for a number of the
Shieldfield parents and, on 20 December, the City Council notified them
that an alternative complaints procedure was being set up to investigate
and report on the overall situation, in addition to dealing with individual
complaints. This was by means of a letter from Jennifer Bernard, the then
Director of Social Services.

65. At about the same time, it was resolved that there should be an
investigation into the multiple abuse allegations by an ad hoc Review Team.
The standard complaints procedure was suspended and the solicitors were
notified accordingly by Jennifer Bernard on 23 December. By that time some
six complaints had been formally registered, although it was appreciated
that more would be forthcoming. In effect, what was being proposed was that
there should be an inquiry into what had gone wrong, and that
recommendations should be made to avoid similar problems in the future,
quite apart from specific complaints. It is right to record that it was
being contemplated by Jennifer Bernard as early as 3 December 1993 (in a
letter to Det. Insp. Findlay of the Northumbria Police) that the Final
Report of the proposed complaints review team would be presented to a
public meeting of the social services committee.

66. There is a wide discretion under s.111 of the Local Government Act 1972
to do anything calculated to facilitate the discharge of a local
authority’s statutory functions. If the circumstances warrant it, a local
authority may thus commission and fund a public inquiry (such as that
carried out by Mr Peter Hunt following the Jason Dabbs case). It was
decided, however, in the Shieldfield case that it would not be appropriate
to set up a similar inquiry. This was partly because of what was at that
time perceived to be the cost and inherent delay, and partly because it was
believed that an “adversarial” procedure would not be in the best interests
of the Shieldfield parents or children. It was also considered that people
might feel inhibited in a public forum and that accordingly it would be
difficult to establish the full facts.

67. Not surprisingly, however, there was considerable pressure for the
hearing to take place in public because, as often on such occasions, there
is a fear of a “whitewash” or “cover up”. With such considerations in mind,
another firm of solicitors made representation to the Secretary of State
requesting that a public inquiry be carried out pursuant to s.81 of the
Children Act. There would also be the power, if this course were adopted,
to compel the attendance of witnesses. This proposal was rejected in August
1994 and then, no doubt reluctantly on the part of some parents, it was
decided to accept the City Council’s compromise proposal. It was thus
resolved that matters would be investigated by a Review Team, independent
of the Council, consisting of members qualified and experienced in matters
of social work and child protection. Their task would include both
responding to complaints made by individuals and reporting, more generally,
upon the running of the nursery and upon the way in which the Social
Services Department of the local authority had discharged its
responsibilities. To avoid charges of “cover up”, it was at an early stage
perceived to be necessary that individual complainants, and indeed all
those directly involved with the events at Shieldfield, should be fully
informed as to the outcome of the inquiry. How this was to be achieved was
left until the Report became available (much later than originally
anticipated).

68. Although the terms of reference for the Review Team were already being
discussed at the end of 1993, they continued to be debated for some time.
(I was told that they were not actually finalised until shortly before the
Report emerged.) For example, a change was made in September 1996 to enable
the Review Team to “consider and report upon relevant concerns raised by
parents or persons interviewed”, even though this might go outside the
notion of dealing with formal “complaints”. Another later amendment
concerned the machinery for submitting the Report to the City Council. It
was specifically provided, in May 1998, that the Report should be submitted
to the Council through the Chief Executive (rather than to the Standards
Quality and Assurance Division Manager, as would be normal). The reason for
this change was that it was perceived as underlining the principle of
independence. The terms of reference, as set out in the published report,
will be fully identified in due course (see Section 3 below).

69. For reasons which are perhaps understandable, there was considerable
delay setting up the Review Team. The plan was that applicants should be
considered by a panel consisting of a chief officer of the Council, a
senior medical officer nominated by parents and a project manager for NCH
Action for Children (the providers of the Independent Persons Scheme under
the Children Act). I understand that there was some delay in the parents
choosing their representative on the appointments panel but, in any event,
candidates were not interviewed until August 1995.

70. There was a short list of ten candidates and the panel eventually
appointed Dr Richard Barker, who was at that time Head of the Division of
Child and Family Studies at the University of Northumbria (Team Leader),
Judith Jones, a former child protection officer, Jacqui Saradjian, a
consultant clinical psychologist and Roy Wardell, whose experience lay in
the provision of social services by local authorities. It was not thought
appropriate that any of the members should have had any legal training or
experience. Their activities were overseen by representatives from the
Independent Persons Scheme.

71. Between the end of 1995 and the publication of the Report on 12
November 1998, more than 150 witnesses were interviewed by members of the
Review Team. It is to be noted that they chose to divide their labours,
with the result that not every member of the Team had the opportunity of
assessing every witness or, for example, every child interview. They were
only working part-time and there were limitations on the resources
available to them. There is no doubt that the Team members worked very hard
and showed considerable dedication to their task. Mr Bishop suggested, in
closing, on behalf of the Review Team that if they had known how much time
and effort was going to be involved they would probably have stayed out of
it. I am sure they now regret it.

72. Neither Mr Lillie nor Miss Reed agreed to be interviewed by members of
the Review Team although they were invited. They made their respective
decisions in accordance with legal advice, and neither felt that they would
receive a fair hearing. They did not trust the City Council in the light of
the procedures adopted over their dismissals and the remarks made following
their acquittals at the Crown Court. Subsequently the Review Team was
critical of this “refusal to co-operate”, as they perceived it, but in the
circumstances the Claimants behaved reasonably. It is one thing not to
“co-operate”. It may be quite another, however, to be wary of placing one’s
fate in the hands of individuals who have arrogated to themselves a right
or duty to find out whether a citizen has committed serious criminal
offences. If such a person would not be afforded any of the basic
safeguards which the law has long provided for individuals in jeopardy of
such findings, he or she would be fully entitled to regard the process as
flawed and unfair. This would be so even if those carrying out the inquiry
were open and above-board about their intentions. Here, as I shall describe
in due course, they were not.

73. In the meantime, a number of parents had made claims for criminal
injuries compensation and substantial sums of money were paid on the basis
that the children concerned had been physically and/or sexually abused by
Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed. These claims were supported by Dr Camille
San Lazaro, the consultant paediatrician, who played a very significant
part in the history of events forming the subject-matter of these
proceedings. She was later to admit in the witness box that what she told
the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board was (in her words) “exaggerated
and overstated”.

74. In due course, no less than 47 children sued the Council for damages
for negligence. Although not directly relevant to the present proceedings,
some of the witnesses were asked about the stage which those claims had
reached. It emerged that some had been settled before the libel hearing
started and others not. At all events, the basis of the negligence actions
was the same as that of the criminal injuries compensation claims, namely
that Mr Lillie and/or Miss Reed had abused the children when they were in
the care of the Newcastle City Council at Shieldfield.

75. Before I come to the publication of the Review Team Report, which forms
the primary subject in matter of the present dispute, it is right that I
should introduce the Claimants in more detail in the light of the evidence
I have received. Hitherto, so far as the citizens of Newcastle are
concerned (and, for that matter, the general public), they have remained
rather shadowy figures about whom only limited information has been
available, either through the content of the Report or through the media.
Since some of that has been distorted or is inaccurate, it is appropriate
to introduce them by reference to their background and careers up to the
point when they are alleged to have committed these very serious offences
against children in their care.

76. Much attention has been focused on their time at Shieldfield, and in
particular the period from March 1992 to April 1993 when they were jointly
responsible for the children in what was known as the Red Room in the
Nursery. Rightly so. Nevertheless, there is a wider context which it is
necessary to take into account. For example, there was no suggestion prior
to April 1993 that either of them had misbehaved with any child. Nor has
there been any suggestion of paedophile activity or indecent assault, or
anything similar, having occurred since the time of their suspensions (on
16 April and 12 May 1993 respectively). I therefore now attempt to
summarise the wider background of the two Claimants before addressing the
allegations made against them.

2) Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed

a) Mr Christopher Lillie

77. Mr Lillie was born on xx xxxx 196x in Wallsend. His parents were
separated when he was about five years old and, together with his younger
brother and two sisters, he went to live with his mother and the man she
then married. He described the period with his mother and stepfather as “a
happy time”.

78. In May 1977, when Mr Lillie was almost 1x, his mother died. At that
stage the children went back to live with their natural father, despite not
having very much contact with him for about nine years. He had re-married
and two children had been born within that marriage. Things did not work
out. Mr Lillie and his brother were not happy in the new environment. They
began to get into trouble and were, for example, cautioned for shoplifting
in August 1979. Mr Lillie also ran away from home for brief periods.
Eventually on 6 November 1979 he was put into care, with a placement for
two or three months in Clavering House at Blaydon.

79. In January 1980 he was given a two year supervision order after having
pleaded guilty to stealing a bicycle. Thereafter, he was moved to Chalfont
Road Children’s Home where he remained until September 1981. During this
period he was attending Manor Park School in Benton. He took CSE
examinations and obtained Grade II passes in Mathematics, Religious
Education and Chemistry together with a Grade IV pass in English Language.
He left school in May 1980 at the age of 16.

80. My attention was drawn to page 265 of the Review Team Report in which
it is suggested that Mr Lillie had been placed in establishments “…in which
it appears staff – both male and female – sexually abused children. He may
have been exposed to models of vulnerable children being abused as of right
by those with power over them”. Mr Lillie’s response is that in the two
care establishments in which he stayed he never saw or heard of any
behaviour of that kind. He was not sexually abused himself; nor was he
aware of any such abuse having taken place in those establishments.

81. I was told that Mr Lillie prospered to an extent in care, gaining in
self-confidence and getting on particularly well with one of the members of
staff (and her husband). He recalled how they gave him practical help when
he moved into a council flat in Newcastle after he became too old for the
residential home.

82. On leaving school, Mr Lillie faced very high unemployment in the
Newcastle area and entered some schemes which were being organised through
the Job Centre. He worked for several months as a labourer for Community
Industry in Heaton, and subsequently as a baker and shop assistant in the
Kew House Delicatessen in Eldon Square. He was also, in about 1983–1984, a
catering trainee on a youth opportunity programme in Morden Street. Each of
these schemes lasted about six months.

83. During the period 1987–1988 he became an assistant organiser of the
Newcastle Children’s Adventure Group (“NCAG”). This lasted for about a
year. Subsequently, from 1989 to 1991 he was a relief caseworker for the
Social Services Department.

84. Mr Lillie explained the background of his involvement with NCAG, which
began in 1979 when he went away on a trip with the group. It was an
organisation which provided adventure opportunities for inner city and
other disadvantaged people. Because he had admired the work which they were
doing for disadvantaged children, he later volunteered in response to a
newspaper advertisement. He worked as a volunteer with them from about 1982
during a period of unemployment. He maintained the day to day running of
the office and helped to run a summer camp for NCAG, which catered for
children between the ages of 6 and 15. They were camping in tents and took
part in activities such as canoeing, windsurfing, climbing and walking. He
worked at the camp from 1984 to 1989 (with only one exception) and also
attended camp in 1991.

85. He decided that this sort of work suited him and that he had the right
temperament for it.

86. One of the leaders at NCAG had a child who attended a mother and
toddler group run by Gosforth Social Services on Thursday mornings. Since
they were looking for volunteers, Mr Lillie went along and decided that he
wanted to work with that age group. When that group ceased to function
through lack of funds after about a year, Mr Lillie then enrolled at the
North Tyneside College for a two year course training to be a Nursery
Nurse. Not surprisingly, references were required and he was able to name
referees with whom he had worked at NCAG.

87. The nursery training course ran from September 1988 through to the
summer of 1990. Again Mr Lillie invited my attention to a passage in the
Review Team Report (at page 48) where it is suggested that he had to repeat
his final year. This he disputes. They report a Veronica Dawson as stating
that his final year did have to be repeated and that he was a “lazy bones”.
She was described in the Report as being his ex-tutor. In fact, as he
points out, she was his tutor for one course only. His overall tutor was a
Ms Doreen Bailey who was never interviewed by the Review Team. He accepts
that he had some problems on what he describes as the “craft side” (which
apparently included such skills as knitting and artwork), and that for
those he had little aptitude. His evidence is that, subject to those
problems, he worked hard on the course and was motivated to gain his
qualification so as to earn a living in nursery work. He referred to the
fact that another male student was required to do a third year, and
suggested that this may be the source of confusion. At all events, his
evidence (which I accept) is that he completed the course in the standard
period of two years.

88. The training course consisted partly of academic study and partly of
gaining practical experience. The general pattern was that six days were
spent in college and four days on a “placement”. It happened that his first
placement was at the Shieldfield Nursery. He worked at that stage under the
supervision of the then Manager, Susan Eyeington. During the first
placement he worked with the age group up to three years for nine days and
for 37 days with children of three to five years of age. Miss Eyeington
apparently recognised that “progress was necessary” in relation to the
preparation and organisation of craft work, but she described him as being
good at establishing relationships with children and as being aware of each
child’s individual needs. So far as she was concerned, he behaved
appropriately towards the children and was pleasant and good humoured in
his relations with other staff. She also commented that he showed
perseverance and commitment to his work.

89. Other placements during his training included work at Raby Street
School, Dunston Nursery School, Ashleigh Special School and Monkseaton
First School. There was also a “home placement” between January and March
1990 where he was responsible for looking after a baby and a two year old.

90. Mr Lillie found that the work suited him and he considered that he was
getting on well at Shieldfield. He decided that this would be the right
career for him, despite a certain amount of ‘general prejudice’ to the
effect that nursery work should remain a field for women rather than men.

91. Mr Lillie worked as a relief worker at Shieldfield between May and June
1989, for about eight days, to help with money for completing his course.
He did the same at Armstrong Road Nursery between 24 July and 20 August
1989 and also for a week at a children’s special needs home. Subsequently
he also did a few weekends at various homes for the aged. He accepts too,
although he does not have any particular recollection of it, that he is
recorded as having worked for a total of five afternoons at Shieldfield
between October 1989 and January 1990.

92. As he came towards the end of his two year course, he worked at
Shieldfield again in May 1990 so as to cover for Maria Buck, who took
maternity leave. Between September and October of the same year he worked
at Dunstanburgh Road Nursery as a relief worker. At the stage when he left
Shieldfield for Dunstanburgh Road, he received a card from some of the
parents at Shieldfield expressing good wishes and saying that he would be
missed. One of them was apparently the mother of the girl referred to in
this case as Child 14.

93. Just before Maria Buck returned from her leave, another member of
staff, Diane Wood, also left for maternity leave and Mr Lillie covered for
her as well. He stayed on in a temporary capacity until June 1991. During
that summer he did a six week adventure camp with NCAG in Northumberland
(and subsequently went on a two week canoeing trip to Norway with two of
the NCAG leaders).

94. In September 1991 at the invitation of Susan Eyeington Mr Lillie
returned to Shieldfield as a full time temporary nursery officer and
remained until he was offered a permanent post there, following the
standard interview procedure, in April 1992. (Mr Lillie wished to emphasise
that he did not lie in any way in order to be taken on at Shieldfield,
since he construes page 47 of the Review Team Report as suggesting that he
may have done so.) For almost exactly a year Mr Lillie remained on the
staff at Shieldfield, leaving abruptly upon his suspension on 16 April 1993.

b) Miss Dawn Reed

95. Dawn Reed was born in South Shields on xx xxxxx 197x, her mother at
that time being aged about 18. Her mother was the second of eight children
born to her grandparents. The youngest of her aunts was only seven when
Dawn Reed was born. She was brought up by her mother in her grandparents’
home with her aunts. She explained in the course of evidence that she has
never referred to her mother’s sisters as “aunts” because, in a sense, they
were more like sisters to her. Her mother took the responsibility of
looking after her throughout her childhood and did not go out to work until
such time as she was old enough to look after herself. She has only ever
met her father on one occasion when she was about 19 years of age (i.e. in
or about 1989 – 1990). She knows very little about him but understands that
his family came from Pakistan, although she does not actually know where he
was born.

96. She was keen to make it clear that she was part of a “very large,
loving and caring family” and that she had a very happy childhood. Her
grandfather, who has since died, was a very proud man who was a former
coal-miner. She has said in her statement that there was no time when she
was deprived of love, affection or attention. The reason she wished to make
this clear was that in the Review Team Report (page 61) the observation is
made that “… she had a troubled background and lived with her grandparents
for much of her childhood”. Miss Reed told me that her background was not
in the least bit “troubled”. (She was also rather puzzled by a comment in
the Report, at page 89, that “… We have been told that Dawn Reed’s
ethnicity was not considered with regard to its impact on her as a worker
or on the nursery”. She has no idea why the issue was raised in the Report,
since she has never been conscious of any problems of “ethnicity” at all.)

97. One of the experts called on behalf of the Defendants, Dr William
Friedrich, describes her as having grown up with a single parent and a
number of “alternate caregivers”. He says that she was therefore “at risk
for maltreatment even sexual maltreatment”. That is speculation. Miss Reed
and her mother gave evidence on oath and made clear there were no such
problems. One of the recurring features of this case has been the
willingness of psychologists, professional or amateur, to impose
pre-conceived stereotypes or theories upon the facts of the case. I have
had to remind myself that evidence must always come first and theory kept
in its proper place.

98. At the time of the trial, Miss Reed was half way through a University
law course and apparently doing very well. On this basis, it was put to her
in cross-examination by Mr Bishop that she must have under-performed at
school, in the sense that she left in July 198x (aged 1x) with only one GCE
qualification and several CSE passes. As she accepted, it has subsequently
emerged that she has greater capacity and application than this would
suggest. Asked for an explanation, she told him that she “fell in love”
when she met her future (now former) husband. She spent a lot of time with
him and generally enjoying herself, rather than applying herself to her
studies.

99. In 1990, when 2x years of age, Miss Reed bought a house with her then
boyfriend and moved out of her grandparents’ home. They lived together
throughout her time at the Shieldfield Nursery and eventually married in
November 1994, a few months after the termination of the criminal
proceedings. The marriage lasted for approximately five years, when they
split up and divorced. The main reason for this, she explained, was that
they were unable to cope with the pressures and emotional turmoil caused by
the “lead up to the Report, its publication and its aftermath”.

100. Meanwhile, before she left school, Miss Reed had already decided she
wished to qualify as a nursery nurse. She chose to go to North Tyneside
College in order to train, and began a two year course in September 1987.

101. Miss Reed had a number of outside interests from an early age. She had
been active in the Brownies from the age of seven, with one of her friends,
and later progressed to the Girl Guides. She was the first Girl Guide
locally to achieve the Baden Powell Trefoyle badge, which was apparently
introduced shortly beforehand as a replacement for the Queen’s Guide Award.
This was the highest distinction available in the Girl Guides.

102. Miss Reed also regularly attended Sunday School in South Shields, when
she was small, and later helped in running it by carrying out activities
with the children, reading bible stories, creating pictures and making
Christmas cards. She was looking after children from the age of seven
upwards. The lady who was responsible for the Sunday School at that time
was Miss Hazel Singleton, who noticed that she appeared to be “very good
with children” and suggested that she might think about becoming a nursery
nurse.

103. In due course, Miss Reed trained for a Young Leader’s Certificate to
enable her to take on a supervisory role in the Girl Guides. She qualified
to serve as a Guide Leader at St John’s Church. Shortly thereafter she gave
this interest up for other things; in particular, she wanted to spend more
time with her boyfriend and enjoying social activities. She also had begun
to do night classes to achieve an A-level in Sociology. While Miss Reed was
at North Tyneside College (1987–1989), she continued to live at home with
her grandparents. Like Mr Lillie, she divided her time at college between
studying and placements. Her courses included child development, child
psychology, social studies, health, biology, education, communications,
craft, physical education, music and computer awareness.

104. She also set out in her evidence details of the various placements she
obtained during her course.

105. She spent 29 days with five to six year olds at the West Jesmond
Infants’ School. She also did a home placement as a nanny for 22 days in
Jesmond. This was clearly satisfactory as the mother concerned also
employed her during summer holidays to look after her four children. At the
time, these comprised three girls of eight, three and two years old,
respectively, and a baby boy.

106. Miss Reed spent 16 days at the Ingham Infirmary Children’s Ward in
South Shields with children up to about five years of age. Then there were
58 days spent at Raby Street Primary School with three to four year olds.
There were also 14 days at Ashley Special School, North Shields, with
children and young people up to the age of 18. This was a difficult
placement from her point of view, as it involved dealing with various age
groups where all concerned, in effect, had the minds of young children.

107. When she was 18, Miss Reed did 26 days at Shieldfield with two to four
year olds.

108. She told me that all the reports in respect of her placements were
positive and drew my attention to the terms of the final report dated 16
June 1989:

“Dawn has continued to show the capabilities noted during her first year.
She proves to be very much a part of any team she works with and has
equally good relationships with children and staff. She has a quietly
confident, caring manner with children and is very perceptive of their
needs. She carries out duties reliably and without constant direction,
although if unsure always has the confidence to clarify matters with staff.
Activities have been planned and carried out with children, showing great
adaptability and these are always displayed attractively when completed.

Two of her great strengths are her awareness of the needs of children,
especially those with problems and the other is her appropriate handling of
parents.

She has been an excellent student in all her placements, resulting in her
gaining employment in the family centre where she spent a term”.

109. She applied for a temporary Nursery Assistant post at Shieldfield,
which was advertised by Newcastle Social Services Department, and was
appointed on 19 June 1989 subject to passing her examination. The post was
duly confirmed. In the light of subsequent events, it is to be noted that
on 8 July 1989 she received confirmation that the Department had received a
satisfactory police report on her.

110. A six month probationary period was completed without any problems and
in early 1990 she applied for a permanent post. She was interviewed on 13
March 1990 and appointed with effect from 19 March 1990. She was upgraded
18 months later to Nursery Officer with a corresponding pay increase.

111. Until the events of April 1993, there had been nothing to suggest to
parents or colleagues that Miss Reed was in any way behaving cruelly or
improperly towards children in her care. Nor had anyone noticed anything
about the relationship between her and Mr Lillie to suggest that they were
anything other than work colleagues. There is no doubt that, for one reason
or another, perceptions changed among some parents and colleagues as the
months passed and it came to be accepted as received wisdom that multiple
abuse had been taking place on a massive scale from 1991 to 1993.

112. It is, therefore, instructive to reflect on one example of the
contemporaneous reaction of her colleagues. On 2 June 1993, Diane Wood was
interviewed by Joyce Eyeington and Mr Mike Godridge (Assistant Director,
Residential and Day Care) in the presence of Mr Kevin Hattam. I was
supplied with a transcript. She answered “categorically no” to questions as
to whether she had ever seen Miss Reed smack Child 22 or any other child or
use inappropriate language. Shortly before the interview terminated, she
was asked by Mr Mike Godridge for her impression of Miss Reed as a
colleague. She replied as follows:

“I have known Dawn since she was a student. Goodness knows how long that
must be now. I can’t think how long it is, but she got the job to work in
the parents’ room which, in those days, was a very hard job. I always
admired her for her youth and her age to be able to go into a situation
like that and cope very well with it.

I have worked with her myself. She had covered the room that I’ve been in
on several occasions, when a member of staff has been on the sick, and I
have always got on very well with her. She is a very unassuming person. She
is a very personable type woman (and I say ‘woman’ because she is not a
girl anymore) and I like her an awful lot. To have to listen to what has
been said – even the slightest thought of an allegation against her I find
totally and utterly ludicrous, because she is such a very, very nice girl –
woman I should say – and I hope this doesn’t do her career prospects a
downer, because as nursery nurses go she has got a lot more patience with
younger ones that I ever, ever had. And I have done that job and, yes, I
got a lot out of that job, but probably not as much as Dawn’s got out of
the job with the [two to three year olds]. She has got the right
personality for it. She is calm, she is cool, she is quiet, she is
unassuming. I have a lot of children in my room who have been with Dawn,
who are asking now, bit by bit, ‘Where’s Dawn? I haven’t seen Dawn for a
long time. I like Dawn. ‘She’s nice’. Not being pushed or pressured by me,
or any other member of staff to say those things. So in those respects Dawn
is a very nice woman, and I miss her – miss her a lot, and I think we have
a lost a very, very valuable member of staff”.

113. On 27 May 2002, Diane Wood gave evidence briefly before me. There is
no doubt that her perception changed some time later. She told me that what
came like a “bombshell” to her, in about October 1993, was when she learnt
that the mother of one child in particular [Child 10] had begun to make
allegations. Previously, she too had been supportive of Dawn Reed, and
indeed wrote a letter of support to her when allegations began to be made.
It seems to have been the fact that this mother had changed her mind that
persuaded Diane Wood to change her own view. I need say no more about this
for the moment (and the evidence in relation to Child 10 is considered in
further detail later in the appropriate place), but in setting out the
background prior to the events of April and May 1993, I believe it is worth
noting the impression she was making on the colleagues with whom she had
worked by that time for several years.

3) The Review Team’s Report published on 12 November 1998

114. The Review Team’s report was eventually published on 12 November 1998.

115. Central conclusions with regard to the Claimants were as follows:

Children were hurt, they were hurt involving sexual acts, they were hurt
both in the nursery and when they were taken out to other places, some of
which were houses, flats and caravans. They were told that some of those
places were libraries or Chris Lillie’s home, sometimes other people were
present and involved in the hurting, sometimes videos and photographs were
taken of them, that the children were very frightened and many were most
certainly traumatised by their experiences (p.224).

That Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed, sometimes in conjunction with other people
outside the nursery participated in sexual acts with children at times
involved them in the making of illegal child pornography (p.228).

That Chris Lillie also regularly abused children acting alone both inside
and outside the nursery. These sexual assaults took place in various places
within the nursery, in particular in the toilets adjacent to the Red Room
(ibid.).

In addition, the children were physically and emotionally abused both
inside and outside the nursery by Dawn Reed and Chris Lillie in order to
attempt to ensure the children’s compliance and prevent disclosure of the
abuses (ibid.).

There appeared to be a possibility that [the Claimants] had covered their
abuse of the children by recording fictional accidents in the Nursery
Records for the purpose of disguising either the physical signs of abuse or
distress caused thereby (p.244).

From the evidence we have seen, it is clear that Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed
had conspired as a pair to abuse children and it is also clear that people
outside the nursery were also involved (p.264).

116. On 6 November 1998, it appears that three advance copies of the Report
were sent from the printers to the Chief Executive of the City Council and
one copy to the Social Services Inspectorate of the Department of Health.

117. On 9 November, a further copy of the Report was supplied to the City
Council so that it could be forwarded to the parents of one child, who were
by that time in New Zealand. It was accompanied by a letter from the Review
Team responding to her parents’ particular complaints.

118. On the publication date, 12 November 1998, the Report was placed
before a meeting of the Council’s Day Nursery Complaints Review Panel (a
sub-committee of the Policy and Resources Committee). Copies were supplied
not only to members of that sub-committee but also to any members of the
press and other persons attending who wished to have one.

119. On the same day, the City Council also distributed it by post, courier
or by other means to complainants, parents, solicitors and other persons
who were perceived as having a legitimate interest in its contents. The
Review Team’s individual letters generally accompanied the copies of the
Report supplied to the complainants.

120. It appears that the City Council was responsible overall for the
distribution of 743 copies of the Report. The circumstances of publication
will have to be considered carefully, category by category, when I come to
address the arguments on statutory and common law qualified privilege. At
all events, the impact of publication was immediate and devastating. It
received massive publicity throughout the jurisdiction and, of course,
particularly within the Newcastle area. That is hardly surprising. The
subject matter of the report was of great interest to the public and the
conclusions were striking and a source of great anxiety not only for the
parents concerned in this case but also for parents of small children
generally.

121. The Report has come under wholesale attack in the course of these
proceedings from the Claimants, their legal representatives and expert
witnesses. Their criticisms, however, were by no means the first.

122. Shortly after publication, the eminent leading counsel who had
appeared in the criminal proceedings (Mr Patrick Cosgrove Q.C. for Miss
Reed and Mr Aidan Marron Q.C. for the Crown) penned a letter to the Chief
Executive of the City Council making plain their concerns over what they
considered to be a travesty. Their letter was in the following terms:

“REPORT: ‘ABUSE IN EARLY YEARS’

Thank you for sending me two copies of the above report. The second I have
passed on to Aidan Marron Q.C., who was Leading Counsel for the Crown in
the criminal trial of Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed.

Although I was Leading Counsel for Miss Reed in that trial, I have no
continuing professional interest. My continuing interest is in helping to
ensure that we can all learn from this case how best to improve the course
of justice.

Rightly, there has been much praise of many of the people who were involved
in the criminal investigation, such as police officers and social workers.
They and others, such as the lawyers in the case, were edging forward in
trying to improve their understanding and abilities in these difficult
matters. No-one can doubt that the objectives are (a) to protect children,
and (b) to do justice by all parties.

I could not agree more with the observation made at the beginning of the
Report (page i), namely that: “Given the proposed massive expansion
nationally of day care provision in early years settings this case raises
important lessons for consideration in relation to the delivery of services
to young children outside their families.”

It is tragic, therefore, that the Review Team has laboured for so long only
to bring forward a report that is fundamentally flawed.

Both academic literature and forensic experience indicate that justice has
been hindered by incorrect prejudices that sexual abuse doesn’t happen in
the family, or isn’t committed by natural parents, or by women generally,
or by a mother, or by caring professionals outside the home. Our increased
understanding leads most of us to reject any such prejudices.

Modern prejudices are more likely to be twofold. At one extreme is the
prejudgment that complaints of sexual abuse are likely to be the creation
of some form of false memory syndrome. At the other extreme is the
prejudgment that sexual abuse once suspected is present, and the only
difficulty is in obtaining the evidence to prove it.

The Report’s authors implicitly criticise unsolicited correspondents who
fall into the trap of the former. There is considerable evidence throughout
the Report that they themselves have fallen into the latter prejudgment.

The only safe approach is to keep an open mind in each case, to approach
the evidence as objectively as possible in order to discover what it shows.
In a free society that is the function of a Court, not the function of
investigators, nor of persons with a therapeutic responsibility, nor of
teams like the authors of the Report.

It is clear that Professor Davies (see the first paragraph of Appendix 6)
has had sight of the Ruling of Mr Justice Holland in the criminal trial,
given on 13th July 1994, but it is not clear whether the authors of the
Report have read it.

If they have not done so, they have been grossly negligent. If they have
read it, their conduct is disgraceful. Nowhere in the Report is there
sufficient reference to the Ruling. That fact and the way in which the
Report deals with the issues also dealt with in the Ruling lead to the
inevitable misleading, even deception of the Report’s readers.

It should be remembered that Mr Justice Holland delivered his judgment
after careful consideration of the evidence.

The Crown Prosecution Service, no doubt acting on the advice of the police
and of counsel, brought forward an indictment based on the six best cases
(all of them involving Mr Lillie and four of them involving Miss Reed) from
the point of view of the prosecution. No-one, to my knowledge, has
questioned the industry or judgment of the prosecution in this case.

Of those six, one complainant (identified in the Report as Child F [now
Child 14]) was taken as a ‘test case’ for preliminary submissions. The
details of how this was done are set out clearly in Mr Justice Holland’s
Ruling. The Report’s authors, to be fair, (see pages 148, 225 and 277) also
appear to identify this young girl as providing the best evidence in the
case.

It is helpful, at this stage, to set out what Mr Justice Holland said about
this child’s evidence. In the following quotation I have quoted the Judge
verbatim, except that I have substituted ‘Child F’ for the girl’s real
name. The passage is to be found at pages 17 and 18 of the Ruling.

‘It is convenient to start with the Crown’s case against Miss Reed. As to
this I do not regard any of the statement as set out by me, as disclosed by
the recordings, potentially probative of anything at all against Miss Reed.
It affords, in my judgment, no evidence upon which any reasonable jury
could convict her upon Count 3.’

They should pause in their righteousness and consider these questions. What
if Child F is correct? What if Miss Reed is wholly innocent of any abuse?
They have purported to find her guilty of a most serious criminal offence,
and have done so in direct contravention of their terms of reference (see
below), for which there can be no excuse.

Sexual abuse of children is horrendous. Few things approach it for
awfulness. One that does is to be wrongly accused of it. There is no
justice for abused children if a wrong person is accused, condemned,
convicted and punished.

We do not need to look to America, to the Kelly Michaels case, for examples
of how people can be falsely accused. Close to home there is the ‘Bishop
Auckland satanic abuse case’, for example. And we need look no further than
Cleveland to see how misplaced zeal can cause a counter-reaction, and
confuse the cause of protection of children.

It may be that the Report’s authors will claim that they could not refer to
the Judge’s Ruling because of their Terms of Reference, particularly term
1A (at page 5): “it should be noted, however, that the Review cannot make
any finding on matters dealt with by the Criminal Court”. If so, that claim
would be specious.

In apparent disobedience of that term of reference, the Report does make
findings on matters dealt with by the Crown Court, and does so in direct
contradiction to the findings made by the Court, although the Report’s
authors do not have the candour to draw that to the attention of their
readers. A classic example is to be found at page 148.

During September a child who had previously been at the nursery began to
disclose abuse by Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed. The child, Child F, was
medically examined and clear physical evidence of sexual abuse followed.
Over three video interviews, she detailed abuse of herself and other
children by Chris Lillie, to a lesser extent by Dawn Reed, and she also
mentioned other nursery staff’s names. Her testimony in these videos, which
we have seen, is extremely powerful and provided persuasive evidence of her
abuse in the nursery and elsewhere.

In at least one other respect there is a material contradiction between the
conclusions drawn by Mr Justice Holland and the Report’s authors, and, once
again, they do not draw it to the attention of their readers. This concerns
the existence or otherwise of any corroborative evidence. I quote (again
verbatim) from page 8 of the Judge’s ruling.

“… save to the extent that the physical findings corroborate the fact of
physical interference in the case of certain of the children and save to
the extent that one child might provide ‘similar fact’ support for one or
more of the other children, there is no corroboration of the allegations
that are made. Indeed, to the extent that the children have provided detail
as to venue and as to the circumstances of various incidents, no support
has emerged for their contentions, despite extensive enquiries to see
whether any corroborative evidence is available.”

The Learned Judge also gives significant details of the ages of the six
‘indictment children’, at various stages. Had they been included in the
report, which they weren’t, readers would have been able to make their own
assessments in the light of the valuable research reviews contributed by
Professors Bull and Davies.

“It is true that the second video includes a description of the indecent
assault by Miss Reed that is relied upon, but the first and second videos
include, effectively, total exculpation of Miss Reed. One of the striking
features of both the first and second videos is the insistence with which
[Child F] seeks to exculpate her, and the fact that she does so upon her
own initiative. Indeed, one of the points made by Mr Cosgrove in the course
of his cross examination of WPC Foster and Mrs Lyon is that nobody picked
up and sought to examine, in any way, this piece of initiative on the part
of [Child F].

“The statement would only become potentially probative against Miss Reed if
the graphic support for her that was initiated by [Child F] herself – and
that is seen on videos one and three – is put aside. I can see no basis for
doing so. I remind myself that no jury can convict Miss Reed upon count 3
without being sure and satisfied of her guilt. It is manifest on the
evidence of [Child F] (as disclosed in the statement from the tree videos)
that there could be no basis upon which they could be sure and satisfied.
Indeed, there is a rather better basis for being sure and satisfied that
she is innocent of that particular charge.

“Thus, in dealing with Miss Reed, I have no hesitation in ruling that
Crown’s application to adduce that part of the video recordings as making a
statement to be relied upon in the furtherance of their prosecution of her
fails.”

It may be that the Learned Judge made a slip of the tongue in the second
paragraph quoted, and that he meant to refer to the first and third, not
the first and second, videos. I rely on my memory for that, and I may be
wrong.

In any event, in twenty two years of practice at the bar I have never heard
a High Court Judge be so emphatic in an expressed view that the evidence
pointed to someone’s innocence, as opposed to it being insufficient to
prove his or her guilt.

During the course of the criminal trial, there were groups of people
outside the Court protesting on behalf of the children. They had placards
saying things like “We believe the kids”. On this point at least, Mr
Justice Holland believed Child F. Why are others so reluctant so to do?

The Report gives the clear and unequivocal impression that the criminal
case against both Defendants collapsed only because of the difficulties in
getting children’s evidence admitted in criminal trials, and that, as a
result, two guilty paedophiles have wrongly gone free. The final paragraph
of the body of the Report (page 303) is an example of this:

“Like many of the professionals who we have interviewed we share the
distress of parents that the Shieldfield children were not able in the end
to receive justice. We find that there was a failure of the adult world to
provide the processes, systems and environment to ensure that child victims
of assault are not disadvantaged and are regarded as being as entitled to
justice as adults.”

Yet we can see from Mr Justice Holland’s Ruling that the primary reason why
the not guilty verdict was entered against Miss Reed was that the evidence
of the child pointed to her innocence. Why have the Report’s authors hidden
that from their readers? Why have they deceived them into thinking
otherwise? Why have they misled opinion formers and policy makers like the
Council and Members of Parliament? Why have they fed the feeding frenzy of
the tabloid press?

There are other elements of the Report which give rise to concern, but the
ones canvassed above are particularly grave. The flaws are such that they
must bring the reliability and integrity of the whole of the Report into
dispute. This is a great pity, as it may well be that many of its insights
and judgments have value. It would be a mistake to place reliance upon it,
however, as (to adapt a line of the Report at page 130): “Thus, if the
[authors] were wrong with one thing they could be wrong and unreliable
about everything else”.

It would be wrong to pretend that any one of us has the answers to what
happened, and what went wrong. That is why people were looking forward to
the publication of the Report in the hope that it would give an indication
of the best way forward. It is a matter of great disappointment that it
does not.

What the Report does highlight is how many of the problems are not to do
with the children or their accuracy or reliability, but with the adults,
not least in their interpretation of what the child is trying to say. It is
clear that the interpretation is not always as objective as the children
and those caring for them have a right to expect.

One further area is of continuing concern. The parents of the children have
suffered much anguish. The Report finds that children were subject to abuse
by a paedophile group and were filmed for pornographic purposes. Given the
other flaws in the Report, it would be foolish to rely upon these findings.
They may or may not be true. If not true, the authors of the Report are
guilty of unnecessarily causing yet more pain to the parents.

It is to be hoped that such a dangerous document does not have a lasting
influence.

I appreciate that the Council is now in an impossible position, having
agreed to publish the Report without any amendments. I do ask, however,
that a copy of Mr Justice Holland’s Ruling (amended only by removing
identification of the children) be appended to every copy of the Report
that is published or distributed. In this way, readers will have a more
balanced picture.

I have yet to decide to whom I will send a copy of this letter, but I would
be grateful if you would draw it to the attention, at least, of the
appropriate chief officers, the chairs of the relevant committees and to
the Leader of the Council.

Within the constraints of time, I would be willing to expand upon any of
the points raised, preferably in a face to face meeting.”

It was signed by both leaders.

123. Moreover, one of the City Council’s officers, Mr Tom Dervin (Director
of Social Services), expressed his own serious reservations about the
content of the Report in no uncertain terms in a letter addressed to the
Council Leader, the Chief Executive and the Chairman of the Social Services
Committee on 22 January 1999:

“…I have spent many hours examining and evaluating the information in the
Report and in the complaints, and I feel I must offer you my objective
opinion on both of them.

In the context of equivalent major inquiry reports this to me is without
exception the worst I have read. I mean the worst in terms of quality of
information, consistency, judgment, evaluation etc. I think we should be
beginning to find a position statement which allows us to accept the report
without attributing any significant status to it…..

With regard to the Inquiry Team’s responses to the individual complaints, I
have the following observations:—

1. Similar complaints received from a number of parents were given
different answers by the Team.

2. Some comments by parents were turned into complaints when it was not
necessary to do so.

3. Some complaints were given responses even though the complaints were not
recorded.

4. Some complaints were sustained when the reply had clearly shown that
they couldn’t be sustained.

5. Some complaints were not sustained but the Review Team merely introduced
a parallel issue and turned that into a sustained complaint instead.

6. The Review Team said it couldn’t comment on police matters and then
proceeded to do just that.

7. Many parents made general statements about child care, or staff, or the
nursery; these were not answered directly but turned into an opportunity
for critical analysis.

My off the record conclusion:

I am certain that children received very poor care at the Shieldfield
nursery and I do believe that various forms of abuse and ill treatment took
place there. What concerns me in the analysis by the Team however is that
they don’t evaluate the whole disorganised and haphazard way things appear
to have happened.

The context is one where all the symptoms are overt, e.g. the missing
clothes, parents turning up for their children and nobody knowing where
they are, children showing symptoms of inappropriate regression and so
forth. The clear impression given is that Lillie and Reed were among the
most disorganised and chaotic abusers in the history of child care, an
unusual feature of abusive personalities.”

Mr Dervin gave evidence about this letter before me and I address that in
due course (section 15 below).

124. The Report itself cannot be reproduced in this judgment and inevitably
it is necessary to resort to summaries or extracts whenever addressing
criticisms. This naturally gives rise to a risk of unfairness of which I am
only too conscious. Those passages selected for complaint by the Claimants
as being defamatory are set out in full at Section 5 below.

125. The criticisms levelled at the Report on behalf of the Claimants are
essentially of inaccuracy, bias and (specifically in the context of malice)
deliberate misrepresentation.

126. With the benefit of hindsight, it is indeed possible to identify a
number of inaccuracies in the content of the report. Those are considered
later (see sections 12 and 13).

127. I turn next to the allegations of bias. The Review Team considered it
part of their responsibilities to enquire into the allegations of multiple
child abuse and to arrive at conclusions which were tantamount to findings
of guilt of rape, indecent assault and other offences (such as would
probably have justified life sentences had the conclusions been reached in
a criminal court). Whether this was appropriate at all is a question I
shall consider in due course, but it surely goes without saying that anyone
taking on such a task has to approach it with fairness and act in
accordance with the principles of natural justice.

128. The four members of the Review Team were appointed from outside the
City Council because it was regarded as necessary to ensure that the
modified complaints procedure, which it was intended they would implement,
should be, and be seen to be, independent of the Council itself.
Commendable though this idea was in general terms, the Claimants and their
advisers have always been troubled by the premises or pre-conceptions upon
which they were appointed. The members of the Review Team applied to the
City Council to be considered for the task and were interviewed for that
purpose. As Councillor Flynn frankly admitted when the Report was
published, “We commissioned this report with [the] firm belief in what the
children told us and we continue to hold this belief. Our top priority was
for the children, parents and carers……” The Review Team’s task, in that
context, was to conduct a review of the complaints made relating to the
Shieldfield Nursery and specifically those of the parents. It is necessary,
however, to have regard more fully to the vexed question of their terms of
reference. I was told that these presented something of a moving target and
were not actually finalised until shortly before publication. In a later
section of this judgment I shall need to try to identify the precise scope
of the Terms of Reference, to construe them in the context of a plea of
qualified privilege and make an assessment of how important they were in
the developing events with which I am concerned. For the moment, however, I
shall merely attempt to set the scene.

129. In the final Report, as published, the Terms of Reference were
identified as follows:

A. The investigation of specific complaints made by parents. It should be
noted, however, that the Review can not make any finding on matters dealt
with by the Criminal Court.

B. Consider and report upon relevant concerns raised by parents or person
interviewed.

C. A review of recruitment, selection and vetting procedures as they relate
to Social Services Nurseries in general and the relevant day nursery in
particular.

D. An investigation into how an alleged abusive situation may have
developed and whether or how it may have continued over a period of time
without detection.

E. A review of the way that the Social Services Department managed the post
disclosure investigation, including Social Services’ contribution to
inter-agency collaborative working arrangements under Part 8, Working
Together, and as outlined in Newcastle Area Child Protection Committee
Procedural Manual.

F. A review of the Department’s response to parents’ concerns once the
allegations of abuse were made, including the continuing safety and welfare
of children and babies still attending the nursery.

G. To formulate appropriate conclusions and recommendations.

There then followed instructions as to how the investigation was to be
conducted:

a) The Complaints Review Team will be provided with accommodation located
outside of the Civic Centre and secretarial/typing support.

b) As the Team is being established under amended Complaints Procedures, it
will not hear or take evidence in public. Team Members, accompanied as
appropriate by an Independent Person from NCH, will visit all complainants
and other interested parties in their own homes or other meeting place
where evidential statements will be taken. All parties volunteering
evidence may have a friend/advocate, legal or trade union representative
present.

c) All statements will be returned in typed format to the complainants or
other persons or their representatives for them to check accuracy. Any
additional information or evidence which an individual wishes to give
outside of the formal interview should be added to the typed text in
writing and clearly indicated as such.

d) With the author’s agreement, these statements may be published as part
of the final Report.

e) The Complaints Review Team as proposed is not an inter-agency or
multi-agency collaborative venture, and as such, records and documentation
belonging to third parties, e.g. health, police etc., have not been made
available to the Team. Social Services Department records relevant to the
Terms of Reference and subject to any public interest immunity issue will
be made available to the Complaints Review Team. In addition, publication
of certain material may need to be restricted until the final outcome of
any criminal or civil cases relating to this particular nursery. Further,
and again subject to their relevance to the Terms of Reference and any
public interest immunity issue, individuals’ personal files and other
confidential person records, though open to scrutiny as appropriate by the
Team, will not be available for publication.

f) The Local Authority will fund the costs of legal representation for
parents as stated in the attached Schedule.

g) As part of the process of evidence, parents will be enabled to discuss
with Members of the Complaints Review Team names of witnesses whom they
would wish to see interviewed. Staff members who choose not to provide
statements, if requested, will have this noted in the Report.

h) In taking evidential statements, the Complaints Review Team will have
the discretionary authority not to identify the source of the information,
and to record that the statements were given anonymously. This will not
apply to employees of the City Council, or former employees, or employees
of other public sector organisations concerned with the relevant day
nursery or the Child Protection Investigation relating thereto.

i) Throughout this process, the Manager, Standards and Quality Assurance
Division, will ensure that meetings are arranged between the Complaints
Review Team and the parents involved and their representatives, so as to
allow for discussion on progress being made. The Complaints Review Team
will not, however, disclose statements made by individuals, or comment on
their findings or view on events until their report is presented.

Directions were also given as to the Report itself:

a) The final Report will be a typed document which covers and answers the
areas included in the Terms of Reference.

b) Specific complaints made by parents and their outcome will only be
included in the Report with the complainant’s agreement.

c) With the authors’ consent, and subject to public interest immunity,
evidential statements may be published as an addendum to the main Report at
the discretion of the Complaints Review Team.

d) The Report will be submitted to the city council through the Chief
Executive of the Authority. The Local Authority will determine its
publication date, but will undertake not to amend the report, subject only
to any public immunity issue.

e) All parties to the report will have the opportunity to have their
written observation on the Report considered in full by both Policy and
Resources committee and the Social Services committee.

f) A separate Report will be prepared by the Independent Person Scheme.

g) Current legal advice indicates that the Review Team should not begin
interviewing witnesses or taking evidence until the completion of all
criminal cases relating to the Nursery.

130. An important bone of contention between the parties (having particular
relevance to issues of qualified privilege and malice) is the extent to
which it was appropriate (if at all) for the Review Team to make findings
of “guilt” in respect of what were effectively criminal offences – in
particular, those of which the Claimants had already been acquitted in July
1994. It was at least for a time something which troubled those who were
responsible, ultimately, for appointing the Review Team. It was drawn to my
attention that there had been a significant amendment in the draft terms of
reference at that stage, because someone had apparently pointed out that it
was going to be difficult for the Review Team to come to conclusions about
how things went wrong, or how to avoid similar mistakes in the future,
without determining what it was that had gone wrong and to what extent.
Accordingly, the complete ban on investigating the subject matter of the
criminal proceedings was relaxed. It was coming to be recognised that some
investigation would be integral to the task of establishing the facts and
making recommendations for the future.

131. I was shown a document apparently from Bob Hassall dated 11 July 1994,
in which the first paragraph in the draft terms of reference had been
expressed in the following words:

“The investigation of specific complaints made by parents excepting any
investigation into whether or not the alleged abuse occurred”

The last words were crossed out and new wording was substituted in
manuscript. As a result of this change, the paragraph then read:

“The investigation of specific complaints made by parents. It should be
noted, however, that the Review cannot make any finding on matters dealt
with by the criminal court”.

That obviously corresponds to the final version of paragraph A of the Terms
of Reference. It is not possible to say exactly when that amendment was
made, but I note that the acquittal of the Claimants was recorded two days
after Mr Hassall’s note. It is conceivable that somebody made that
amendment once the outcome was known. The wording would appear to represent
an unsatisfactory compromise between two irreconcilable positions. It was
recognised, at least in general terms, that it would not be appropriate to
go behind the findings of the court; on the other hand, it was perceived
that meaningful recommendations could not be made on the basis of taking
the Claimants’ innocence (or, for that matter, guilt) as a datum.

132. In their witness statements and in their oral evidence in this
litigation the members of the Review Team have insisted that they went into
the exercise with no preconceived notions and with open minds, as would
befit anyone undertaking a quasi-judicial task. On the other hand, the
Claimants’ case is that “Throughout the whole of the narrative of their
Report, it is strikingly obvious that the Review Team were intent upon only
selecting for inclusion material or interpretations of material which they
could by some means use to destroy the reputations of the Claimants….
Alternative hypotheses involving the possible innocence of the Claimants
were not explored or suggested at any stage throughout their Report…. The
gravest assumptions of guilt were made without any warrant or evidential
basis. All notions of fairness and justice towards the Claimants were
abandoned in the effort to give authority to the guilty findings that the
Review Team had pre-determined” (para. 4.2.1 of the Reply).

133. There is no doubt that the Review Team members were placed in an
almost impossible position unless they were to assume guilt (in accordance
with the City Council’s declared belief, originating at least as far back
as February 1994, when the dismissals took place). They would otherwise
have the task of carrying out an investigation into potentially hundreds of
criminal offences without the power to compel witnesses or call for all
relevant documents. For this reason alone, it is obvious with the benefit
of hindsight (and indeed should have been obvious at the time) that they
were simply not equipped for the task. In any event, none of them
apparently had any expertise in conducting such an enquiry or in legal
principles or processes (as to which, it emerges from their Report in
several places that they were, in any event, quite disdainful).

134. The four members of the Review Team claimed that they were throughout
fair and open-minded. The Claimants, however, never had any confidence in
the outcome because they felt it was going to be a foregone conclusion.
Their fears were undoubtedly confirmed by one incident which even the
Review Team now recognises as a major embarrassment.

135. On 6 October 1997, the BBC broadcast a Panorama programme about sexual
abuse perpetrated by women upon children and teenagers. This was, of
course, some 13 months before the Report was published. Yet this apparently
in no way inhibited the Fourth Defendant, Jacqui Saradjian, from
participating in the programme, in the course of which the fact of child
abuse at Shieldfield Nursery was taken for granted. It happens that Ms
Saradjian had a special interest in female perpetrators of sexual abuse,
and that is no doubt why she was invited to participate. What is clear,
however, is that during the course of the programme two Shieldfield
children and their mothers were interviewed and allegations were made
against Dawn Reed to the effect that a knife and fork were inserted into
[Child 4’s] vagina, resulting in bleeding.

136. The appearance of Ms Saradjian on the programme led to a complaint to
Dr Barker from Miss Reed’s advisers on 17 October 1997:

“The Independent Complaints Review Team – Shieldfield Nursery Case

You will no doubt by now be aware of the fact that there was a program
[sic] on Panorama entitled “the Ultimate Taboo” screened on the 6th October
this year. We refer to your letter of 12th May in which you indicated that
information leaks did not emanate from the review team and that we could
reassure our client in that respect. However, you will agree that the
program is likely to lead people to the assumption that at least one of the
team members by commenting on child abuse matters on a program that was
dealing almost specifically with the Shieldfield Nursery case could lead
one to assume bias. At no time during the film was Ms Sardijian’s [sic]
connection with the Independent Complaints Review Team into this case made
known. Whilst she did not comment directly on the Shieldfield case, clearly
the researchers for the program must have interviewed Ms Sardijian prior to
her taking part in the program and one could be forgiven for reaching the
conclusion that perhaps information on this case would be made known to the
program researchers.

The particular program was in itself alarmist and very damaging and you
will forgive us for wondering about the independent stance of members of
the review team who involve themselves in programs of this type which are
commenting specifically on cases which they are reviewing.

You will now perhaps appreciate why our client has taken the stance that
she would not be afforded a full and fair hearing by the review team ‘in
private’ as you state in your letter of 12th May, notwithstanding it’s
terms of reference require it to do so.

As a result of this program, our client has now been convicted in the
public’s mind notwithstanding being cleared by the Court and with no means
of defence.

We understand this matter has already been taken up with the makers of the
program and with the complaints authorities but you will appreciate our
concern in a member of an enquiry panel taking part in a television program
which in effect, itself pre judged the outcome of that persons
investigation. We look forward to hearing from you as to your thoughts in
relation to this matter and how it can be resolved.”

137. Obviously, if a judge or juror in the midst of criminal proceedings
had participated in such a programme, when charged with the responsibility
of deciding those very issues, the trial would have been terminated and the
person in question no doubt suitably chastised. It is surprising that even
a lay person should think it appropriate to take part in a television
programme relating, at least in part, to the issues which she herself
thought she was responsible for impartially determining. She told me on 20
February that she had known from early Summer 1997 that the programme maker
had been talking to Shieldfield parents. But she said she faced a dilemma
because if she did not appear on the programme she would have no control
over how her published work would be used on the programme and it might be
sensationalised. I did not find this very compelling because once her work
was in the public domain they would be able to refer to it in any way they
thought right—whether she appeared or not.

138. It appears, moreover, that she discussed the invitation to participate
in the programme with her colleagues on the Review Team. Professor Barker
told me that he had indicated to her his preference that she should not
accept, but left it to her professional judgment. Ms Jones took a similar
approach. Mrs Saradjian thought she was given some encouragement by Mr
Wardell, but he rapidly dissociated himself from that suggestion when he
entered the witness box. He said she must have misunderstood him.

139. This one incident may be thought to demonstrate a particular mindset
and a remarkable naivety over the concept of natural justice. Mrs Saradjian
now accepts that it was unwise. She believes she was misled by the
programme makers, and deeply regrets her involvement.

140. Needless to say, the Claimants’ criticisms do not end there. A number
of other matters are pleaded in the Reply and I summarise those below
(Section 5).

4) Media coverage of the case

The Newcastle Chronicle

141. Following the publication of the Report on 12 November 1998, the
Newcastle Evening Chronicle published a large number of articles. In these
proceedings each of the Claimants originally sought a remedy in respect of
well over 100 articles against the Newcastle Chronicle and Journal Ltd.
They were published between 12 November 1998 and 23 September 1999. Each
article was given a separate number although on some occasions one edition
of the newspaper contained several articles within it. In some cases, it is
possible to say that the whole or part of an article consists of a report
of or comment upon the content of the Review Team Report. In other cases,
there is to be found coverage of issues which are undoubtedly related to
the subject-matter of the report but do not derive from it. I was going to
consider the issues as to meaning and the limits (if any) to the protection
afforded by statutory and/or common law privilege.

142. On 24 February, however, when the evidence of the Review Team had been
all but completed, the proprietors of the Newcastle Chronicle withdrew from
the action on undisclosed terms. That left only the claims against the City
Council and the Review Team. Up to that point, the Newcastle Chronicle,
represented by Miss Victoria Sharp Q.C., had been advancing defences of
both justification and privilege. It is not possible to put them completely
out of sight and out of mind because they had participated in the trial for
six weeks by that time. Miss Sharp had cross-examined and made various
submissions of law. This contributed to my overall view of the case.
Moreover, even after the departure of the Chronicle, Miss Page continued to
rely on some of its coverage by attributing responsibility for it to the
City Council and/or the Review Team. For the moment, I must attempt to
summarise the content of the articles one by one.

Articles 1–4: 12 November 1998

143. The first article is headed “SHAMEFUL” and is accompanied by the
sub-heading “Report reveals scandal of child abuse at nursery”. It is
attributed to Mr Peter Young, the Political Editor. It is continued inside
the newspaper with the heading “Years of anguish: We waited for nothing,
say abuse probe families”. This comprises 23 paragraphs reporting upon and
quoting from the Report, published earlier that day.

144. Alongside the continuation inside the paper, there are two subsidiary
articles, headed respectively “Where are they now?” and “Scandal report a
waste”.. The first was apparently also written by Mr Peter Young and the
second by Miss Charlotte Gapper.

145. “Where are they now?” contains four paragraphs alongside photographs
of Mr Lillie and Miss Reed. It points out that they have not been seen
since the criminal proceedings “collapsed in 1994”. It asks readers “Do you
know where they are now? If you have any information about them please
contact the Chronicle newsdesk on 0191 201 6497”. This is a theme to which
the newspaper returned on a number of occasions.

146. “Scandal report a waste” contains eight paragraphs with quotations
from or on behalf of parents complaining of delay, absence of compensation
and what is generally described as “a denial of justice”.

Articles 5–10: 13 November 1998

147. On the front page of this issue appears Article 5 under the heading ”
£7500 – That could be the price of a stolen childhood”. The article is
described as an “exclusive” by Andrew McKegney. It consists of 10
paragraphs on the theme of the introductory words:

“TRAGIC toddlers who were systematically abused at a North East nursery
will receive just a few thousand pounds in compensation, their solicitor
revealed today”.

148. It goes on to allege that 65 children were abused by the Claimants
over a three year period. Most are said to have been suffering nightmares
after being taken to houses and, in some cases, used in pornographic films.
Reference was made to damages measured in tens of thousands of pounds “for
those who suffered extensive physical and psychological damage”. A mother
whose daughter was said to have been “raped by Lillie” is quoted as saying:

“No amount of money would be enough but £7500 as a start is pathetic. My
daughter was robbed of her childhood. Her family has been shattered by
this”.

149. Article 6 was headed “Abuse robbed my son of his boyhood” and is
attributed to Charlotte Gapper. It describes the consequences for one of
the boys concerned and is introduced as follows:

“AN ANGUISHED mother told of her heartache today as she struggles to
restore her son’s stolen innocence.

The mum, whose son was abused at the nursery, told how the ordeal threatens
to tear her family apart. The mum-of-4 says her son was a normal little boy
when he went to the nursery. Now he has severe behavioural problems and the
mental capacity of a child half his age. He is being treated for
hyperactivity and she said the things he suffered had robbed him of his
childhood.

The boy, now 10 joined the nursery when he was 18 months old. His mum said
‘he started coming home with blood on his nappy so I went to speak to the
people in charge but nothing was ever done about it.

On several occasions I sent him to the nursery dressed as a boy and he came
back dressed as a girl. I went back to the nursery but nobody knew what
happened to his clothes.'”

150. In the midst of that article appears a further notification to the
readers about the two Claimants’ change of identity and the latest
information of which the newspaper has knowledge. They are once again
invited to “Contact the Chronicle newsdesk”. That article, however, is not
complained of in these proceedings.

151. On the same page there is an article spread across two pages under the
heading “It’s time for some answers” . There is a sub-heading “Authorities
must come clean over damning report which has shocked the region”. This too
is by Charlotte Gapper. It is 23 paragraphs long and contains a whole lot
of questions to be answered by “the authorities”. It is introduced by the
following allegations:

“TODAY the Chronicle challenges the authorities to answer the following
questions. An appalling catalogue of child abuse, by two nursery nurses was
exposed yesterday in a damning report which criticised staff and managers.
Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed were part of a paedophile ring which
abused children as young as two in the nursery where they worked. The
400-page report has taken three years to produce and although it is
extremely detailed it has thrown out lots of questions which we want
officials of the city council and other organisations involved to answer”.

152. The article is set alongside photographs of the Claimants with the
caption:

“ACCUSED – Nursery nurses Christopher Lillie, left and Dawn Reed, right,
are branded abusers in the council-commissioned report, but escaped
prosecution as children were ruled too young to testify”.

(That purports to be a summary of the ruling of Mr Justice Holland in July
1994.)

153. Article 8 (published on the right hand side of the two-page spread) is
under the heading “Long chain of incompetence” and is not attributed to any
particular journalist. It consists of nine paragraphs complaining of “a
chain of incompetence and ignorance” relating to a number of Council staff,
such as Joyce and Susan Eyeington and Mr Brian Roycroft, the former
Director of Social Services. There is a photograph published alongside of
“a mother of one of the abused children” comforting her youngster.

154. Article 9 (on the same page) is also unattributed and appears under
the heading “Former boss is under attack”. It is mainly concerned with Mr
Brian Roycroft, whose photograph appears alongside. It consists of nine
paragraphs relating to the “heavy criticism” directed at him in the Report.

Articles 11–12: 14 November 1998

155. The front page of this issue contains Article 11 within a box
described as an “exclusive” by Charlotte Gapper. The heading is “WE WANT
ACTION!” There is a sub-heading “Parents demand new police probe into
nursery sex abuse scandal”. There are 15 paragraphs calling for further
police investigations and prosecution of Mr Lillie and Miss Reed. One of
the mothers is quoted as saying, “I want to see a lot of heads roll”. The
article again accuses them of having abused “60 children over a three year
period” and of having taken children to houses where they were “abused by a
paedophile ring” and, in some cases, “used in porn films”. The article also
contains quotations from a “spokesman” to the effect that there had been no
evidence to support any other charges than those originally brought. The
police enquiry was described as “thorough and complete”.

156. Alongside the article there are again photographs of Mr Lillie and
Miss Reed, with the caption “WALKED FREE – The case against Christopher
Lillie and Dawn Reed was halted”.

157. On page 5 of the same issue appears Article 12 under the heading
“Under fire bosses still working with children”. This is attributed to
Andrew McKegney. There are 18 paragraphs, mainly directed towards the fact
that some of the individuals criticised in the Report were still working
with children (Audrey Palmer, formerly Deputy Head of the Nursery, and
Joyce Eyeington). There are again photographs of the Claimants with the
caption “DEPRAVED – Nursery workers Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed
systematically abused as many as 65 children as young as 2-years-old and
took youngsters to home where they were raped and abused by a ring of
paedophiles”.

Articles 13–15: 16 November 1998

158. Article 13 is by Charlotte Gapper and appeared on page 5 of this issue
under the heading “Abuse replies leave a lot to be desired”. It contains 21
paragraphs and complains that satisfactory answers have not been supplied
by the “authorities” to the questions posed by Chronicle on 13 November. In
the midst of this article appears Article 15, returning to the theme of
“Where are they now?” and inviting readers to supply information as to the
Claimants’ whereabouts.

159. Article 14 appears on the same page under the heading “Sacked from
chef’s post” and was also written by Charlotte Gapper. There are 10
paragraphs purporting to describe comments by a “former boss” of
Christopher Lillie and an attack upon his “lover Lorraine Kelly”. It
alleges that the former employer only discovered Mr Lillie’s “sordid
background after sacking him”. He is quoted as saying that he had worked as
a trainee chef for four months but had been asked to leave because “he
wasn’t good at his job”. There then follow two paragraphs:

“I had no idea who he was until a gang of guys came in asking for
Christopher Lillie. Within days it all came out and I felt sick.

The girlfriend of one of the chefs who worked for me had a daughter at the
nursery and he was physically sick outside when he realised he had been
friendly with him.”

160. The article continues by asserting that Lorraine Kelly “knew about his
terrible past before he was branded a child abuser in the Report”. It
continued:

“It was claimed Lorraine Kelly only found out about his involvement in a
paedophile ring when the report was published on Thursday. But experts who
investigated the child abuse scandal said nursery nurse Lillie developed a
relationship with Miss Kelly while he worked at the nursery. According to
reports yesterday Lorraine Kelly moved out of the house she shared with
Lillie in Gateshead last week”.

Precisely what is being alleged there is unclear.

Articles 16–18: 17 November 1998

161. On page 5 of this issue appeared Article 16 under the heading “Tots
are targeted in pioneering project”. This too is by Charlotte Gapper. There
are 16 paragraphs on the following theme:

“The Newcastle nursery where Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed abused more
than 60 children in their care has been running a pilot scheme which will
soon be extended across the city.

It targets tots aged 18 months to four years and encourages them to tell
someone if they have been frightened”.

162. Article 17 is unattributed but appears on the same page under the
heading “Mum’s horror find”. It consists of seven paragraphs alleging that
a “mum whose son was abused by Christopher Lillie has discovered video
footage showing the nursery nurse with youngsters at a party parents knew
nothing about”. It suggests that Mr Lillie had “dressed up as Santa”.

163. Article 18 is also unattributed and appears on the same page under the
heading “Inquiry demand made by City MP”. There are six paragraphs
describing how a local member of Parliament, Mr Brown, had called upon the
Law Society to investigate circumstances in which local firms of solicitors
had represented Mr Lillie and Miss Reed, despite the fact that they had
connections with people who had served on the City Council.

Articles 19–20: 18 November 1998

164. In this issue there is, in effect, one article beginning on the front
page and continued on page 2. On the front page there is a box containing
the introduction with the headline “A MUM’S TORTURE”, and on page 2 it is
continued under the fresh heading “Mum in abuse probe agony”. The article
was written by Charlotte Gapper, again described as an “exclusive”.

165. There is a photograph of each of the Claimants on the front page with
the caption “EVIL PAIR – nursery nurses, Christopher Lillie and [sic] Dawn
Reed abused up to 60 or so young children in their care”. The article
consists overall of 17 paragraphs and describes the agony of a “tragic mum”
who was deeply troubled by the allegation in the Report that Mr Lillie and
Miss Reed had used children for obtaining pornographic photographs for the
use of a paedophile ring. The effect of it may be summarised by reference
to the fifth paragraph:

“She hopes she will finally be able to end her anguish by discovering if
her son was abused in any of the films made by nursery nurses Lillie and
Reed”.

The article also contains quotations from the Review Team Report.

Articles 21–24: 19 November 1998

166. On the front page of the issue of 19 November 1998 appeared an
“Evening Chronicle comment” (unattributed) under the heading “A CAN OF
WORMS”. There is a sub-heading “Council chiefs should hang heads in shame”.
There are eleven paragraphs devoted to criticising various people including
the Northumbria Police, the City Council and the “boss of the college”
where Mr Lillie and Miss Reed trained (for apparently having lost their
“training records”). The introductory paragraphs give the flavour:

“IT is hard to imagine a more shabby and shameful episode.

Up to 60 children are abused by the people who are meant to be caring for
them, nursery nurses, Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed. The men and women
running the Newcastle City Council – they presided over this nightmare –
can’t even bring themselves to say sorry!

They should hang their heads in shame.

From the moment this can of worms was opened, the powers that be have done
nothing but wriggle.”

167. On pages 8–9 of the same issue there is a two page spread (Article 22)
under the heading “Why can’t they say sorry?” This is attributed to Peter
Young and Charlotte Gapper. Again Mr Lillie and Miss Reed are accused of
having caused “up to 60 ruined lives”, and the bulk of the article is
devoted to asking why the City Council had failed to apologise to the
parents of those alleged to have been abused. Alongside that there is
another box inviting readers to call the Chronicle newsdesk if they had any
information as to the Claimants’ whereabouts.

168. Article 23 appears on page 8 of that issue under the heading “College
boss is still in the dark”. There is an eight paragraph article by
Charlotte Gapper about Mr Paul Harvey of the North Tyneside College (where
both Claimants trained as nursery nurses). It contains a summary of the
criticisms as to the lack of information available about their training.
The Chronicle apparently paid £20.00 for a copy of the Review Team’s Report
so that he could respond to the “slamming” and “rapping” given to his
college. He is quoted as saying:

“My main source of what has been said is the Chronicle. The college will
take seriously any criticisms and a full action plan will be prepared.

These particular students were at the college eight years ago and lots of
changes have been made since then. The way we monitor courses and students
has changed.

We will be looking to see if points have been addressed and if they haven’t
I will be dealing with them with the utmost priority.”

169. Article 24 appears on the same page and contains eighteen paragraphs
under the heading “Children let down by error after error”. Again the
author is Charlotte Gapper. It summarises in eighteen paragraphs “some of
the more shocking findings” of the Review Teams Report.

Articles 25–30: 20 November 1998

170. On page 1 appears Article 25, by Peter Young and Charlotte Gapper
under the bold headline “SORRY – Chronicle shames council bosses into
issuing an apology to nursery abuse families”. It consists (together with
“Article 28”) of a total of seventeen paragraphs recording how “Council
bosses bowed to public pressure today and said sorry to the families whose
lives had been ruined by the Newcastle child abuse scandal. An
eight-year-old is quoted as telling the Chronicle, “I am glad they have
said it today. It is a good birthday present that they have said sorry but
they should have said it ages ago”.

171. Article 26 appears inside the paper under the heading “How many more
of our children were abused?” There is the usual box containing photographs
of Mr Lillie and Miss Reed with the caption “WHERE ARE THEY NOW? If you
have any information about Dawn Reed or Christopher Lillie call the
Chronicle newsdesk on 0191 201 6497”. The main body of the article contains
twenty two paragraphs devoted to the theme that hundreds of other children
could have been abused by Christopher Lillie but that their parents were
not even told that he was under investigation. There is reference to the
schools at which Mr Lillie took student placements during his training and
the newspaper adds:

“The Chronicle believes parents have a right to know which schools are
involved as the local authorities have not said they will tell the mums and
dads”.

172. It is said that the Report revealed that the two Claimants came into
contact with 1,450 children in various locations and that, according to the
Review Team, there was evidence to indicate that some of the children in
those settings “were possibly abused by Lillie or Reed”.

173. On the same page appears Article 27 under the heading “Social Worker
is suspended”. This is unattributed and contains nine paragraphs referring
to the suspension of Joyce Eyeington “in the wake of the Newcastle nursery
abuse scandal”. It refers also to the earlier suspension of Audrey Palmer
and Maria Buck.

174. Article 29 consists of a leader on page 27 of the same issue under the
heading “Evening Chronicle says A Good Man”. It praises the “dogged but
gentle expertise shown by the men and women investigating the case” and, in
particular, Detective Inspector Campbell Findlay who, the Chronicle
declares, “can retire, with his head held high, knowing that Newcastle’s
trail-blazing child protection work has shown those youngsters that the
world is not all bad – and shown it in a way they can understand”.

175. Article 30 is by the Chronicle’s chief features writer Emma Andrews
under the heading “Tough task to protect the young”. It too consists of a
paean of praise for Detective Inspector Findlay, on the verge of
retirement, who had “the heartbreaking task of telling the young victims
that the people who had hurt them were not going to prison”. He is
described as the man who led the harrowing investigation into “one of the
most shameful episodes in the history of childcare – the man who fought to
bring perverted nursery nurses Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed to justice”.

Articles 31–32: 21 November 1998

176. On the front page of the Chronicle for 21 November 1998 there appeared
an article, by Peter Young, under the heading “I’LL MEET TRAGIC FAMILIES –
Council boss will meet nursery abuse scandal mums and dads”. In the eight
paragraph article, the Chronicle reveals that Mr Tony Flynn, the City
Council’s leader, will have a face-to-face meeting with parents and
families “devastated by the child abuse scandal”. It was said that the
Council would be seeking a change in the law so that young victims of abuse
would be able to give evidence in court. This is in the context of Mr
Lillie and Miss Reed “walked free” from Newcastle Crown Court “after a
Judge ruled video evidence from a four-year-old was inadmissible”.

177. Article 32, also by Peter Young, appears on page 5 of the same issue
under the heading “I’ll meet parents”. There are a series of questions
posed by the Chronicle and brief answers from Mr Flynn. There is also the
usual call for information as to the whereabouts of Mr Lillie and Miss Reed.

Articles 33–35: 23 November 1998

178. On page 7 of the issue for 23 November 1998 appears Article 33
“Battling for justice as victims speak up”. This article is by Julie Cush,
and is largely devoted to allegations about a Mr Leslie Newton, who had
pleaded guilty to some 23 charges involving eight children between 1974 and
1995. It is introduced, however, by reference to a solicitor called Clare
Routledge who is said to be representing 27 families whose children were
assaulted by nursery nurses Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed. Alongside,
appears Article 34 “Warning signs ignored”. This is a short article, also
by Julie Cush, in which it is said that Mr Lillie and Miss Reed were, in
1990, asked to help a mother with two young sons. It is alleged that, after
they helped bath and put them to bed, one of them had displayed “sexualised
behaviour”, but the allegations were never followed up.

179. On page 5 of the same issue Article 35 appears under the heading “My
first boyfriend – a monster in disguise”. Described as an “exclusive” by
Charlotte Gapper, the article contains allegations made by an anonymous
former girlfriend of Mr Lillie, detailing her “shock at finding former
sweetheart ruined children’s lives”. There are 27 paragraphs in all,
introduced as follows:

“HE LOOKS like a normal young man enjoying himself at his girlfriend’s
birthday party.

But the person in this exclusive picture is Christopher Lillie, former
nursery nurse responsible for the abuse of up to 60 Newcastle toddlers.

And there are no happy memories of that night for the young woman who
joined Lillie to celebrate her 18th birthday. She can no longer bear to
look at the pictures after just finding out that her first boyfriend was a
pervert who preyed on little children.

The woman, who does not want to be named, contacted the Chronicle to
express her disgust at the crimes committed by the man who was her first
boyfriend”.

Articles 36–38: 24 November 1998

180. On page 2 of the issue for 24 November 1998 there was published
article 36, believed to be by Mr Peter Young, headed “Abuse scandal staff
will not be rapped”. This consists of seven paragraphs complaining that
senior staff criticised after the “child abuse scandal” will escape
disciplinary action. It is said, however, that most of them have left the
Council, “which ran the nursery where more than 60 children were abused”..

181. Article 37 appears on page 7 of the same issue headed “We warned of
evil abusers years ago”. Once again there is a box in the middle of this
article inviting information as to the whereabouts of Mr Lillie and Miss
Reed. The article is by Charlotte Gapper and consists of 22 paragraphs
describing how a couple, whose children were alleged to have been abused by
Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed, claimed to have blown the whistle on “the
evil pair” two years before they came under suspicion. They are alleged to
have raised concerns with social workers in 1990 after one of their four
children received cuts and bruises while living in a children’s home and
attending the Shieldfield Nursery. It continues:

“But they said their complaints were dismissed and it meant Lillie and Reed
were able to go on and abuse dozens more children”.

182. The article is based upon a section of the Review Team Report quoted
as follows:

“We have been told that Chris Lillie took a particular interest in the
youngest little boy and that they cared for the children away from the
other residents and staff group in an old staff flat which had a separate
entrance.

Thus during the day the children saw them at the nursery and in the
evenings they were on their own with them from around 6 o’clock through
bathtime until when they put him to bed.

One little boy who was cared for by Dawn Reed exhibited sexualised
behaviour which concerned staff and was recorded.

A little girl was recorded as being distressed and collecting flowers for
her mother whom she seemed to think was dead”.

183. Article 38 appears on the same page, also by Charlotte Gapper, headed
“We stand by decision”. There are six paragraphs referring to City Council
condemnation of the Chronicle for identifying the other premises where Mr
Lillie and Miss Reed had worked earlier in their career. It is said that
the Chronicle’s actions can only have the effect of creating unnecessary
concern and distress among the parents and carers of the children who
attended those premises. The Chronicle defends its position by saying:

“We took the decision to name the other three as parents were not told
their children could have been abused by Lillie. The Report into the
scandal reveals social services staff failed to trace youngsters who were
at schools where Lillie carried out student placements. In the face of the
council’s inactivity, we felt those parents had a right to know. We stand
by that decision”.

Articles 39–40: 26 November 1998

184. On page 2 of the issue for 26 November 1998, there is an unattributed
article, possibly by Mr Young, headed “Council repeats abuse apology”. This
alleges that “City Council chiefs” were not admitting anything which could
lead to compensation being paid to the families involved, despite repeating
their apology and pledging a detailed response to criticism. It yet again
repeats the allegation that “more than 60 children were abused at a council
run nursery”. At the foot of the article appears an invitation to turn to
an article on page 9 in the words “PERVERT FLEES”. On page 9, Article 40 is
headed “Flat abandoned as abuser Lillie flees”. There is also above it a
small heading “EXCLUSIVE: Dozens of video tapes left behind as nursery
attacker vanishes”. There is a photograph of Mr Lillie dressed as a chef,
with a knife in front of him on a table, and the caption “DISAPPEARED –
Pervert Lillie pictured recently before leaving hotel where he worked as a
chef”. There are also photographs taken inside the flat where he had been
living with his girlfriend, Lorraine Kelly. He said in evidence that
permission for those photographs must have been given by the landlord.
There is a caption underneath in the words “HOME OF SHAME –Christopher
Lillie’s flat left abandoned as if he and his partner were forced to leave
quickly”.

185. The body of the article, by Andrew McKegney, consists of eleven
paragraphs introduced as follows:

“VILE Christopher Lillie has fled his Tyneside home with his new partner,
leaving behind a flat full of videos.

The couple have not been seen at the upstairs Tyneside flat since the
nursery abuse scandal broke.

And after learning the true identity of his tenant Lillie’s landlord has
revealed that he will not be renewing the lease and has boarded up the
flat. Lillie, 34 had been living at the terrace in Gateshead with Lorraine
Kelly for 18 months under his new name Christopher Allen.

But his landlord said he never knew who he was and said the discovery that
his tenant was the man who abused dozens of children in his care had left
him stunned.”

186. The article also repeats the allegation (to be found in the Report) to
the effect that Mr Lillie “also filmed his crimes with fellow worker Dawn
Reed”. Reference was also made to the fact there were two television sets,
two VCRs and dozens of tapes. These were said to be the subject of police
enquiries “as a result of information received from the Evening Chronicle”.

Article 41: 27 November 1998

187. On page 2 of the issue for 27 November, there appears Article 41,
“Storm erupts over abuse case”. There is a photograph of Sir Jeremy
Beecham, a former City Council Leader, who is also a solicitor. The caption
is “NO CONFLICT – Sir Jeremy Beecham says any enquiry will conclude that he
acted properly in the matter”. The criticism was directed to Sir Jeremy
because he was a partner in the firm of Newcastle solicitors which was
representing Mr Lillie at one stage.

Article 42: 30 November 1998

188. On page 11 of the issue for 30 November 1998, Article 42 was published
under the heading “End of the line”. This article is by a new journalist,
Miles Starforth, and reports an announcement by the Secretary of State for
Health of a “Nationwide plan to drive out the evil abusers”. There is a
photograph of Mr Frank Dobson, the then minister, next to a photograph of
Miss Reed. The caption is “READY TO ACT – Frank Dobson wants action to stop
abusers like Dawn Lillie [sic] right, preying on children”. There is also a
photograph of Mr Lillie with a caption “SET FREE – former nursery nurse
Christopher Lillie pictured when he worked as a chef at a Sunderland
Hotel”. The body of the article consists of 16 paragraphs describing the
launch, in the wake of the Newcastle nursery scandal, of a “blue print to
protect children from cruelty and sex abuse”. In the middle of the article
there is a strap heading “Dismissed” followed by these words:

“Nursery nurses Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed walked free from court in
1994 after indecency charges were dismissed after inadmissible evidence.

But an independent report out two weeks ago [sic] disclosed the full extent
of the abuse at the nursery and revealed proper recruitment and selection
procedures had not been adequately followed”.

Articles 43–44: 2 December 1998

189. On page 5 of the issue for 2 December 1998 appeared an article by Mr
Peter Young under the main heading “Blunder threatens youngsters’ parties”.
It is reported that various youth projects were being closed down because
of a failure to clear the backgrounds of volunteer workers. These
developments are the main focus of the story but there is a third paragraph
which makes reference to the Claimants:

“It comes with the Council still reeling over the damning report on serial
child abusers Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed employed at a city nursery”.

190. In paragraph eleven it is said that:

“Nursery nurses Lillie and Reed are accused of child abuse but walked free
from Newcastle Crown Court when the case against them collapsed”.

191. It is also alleged that Mr Lillie was unqualified and had spent two
years under the supervision of a social worker after appearing in court
accused of theft.

192. On the same pages appears Article 44, “No action sparks fury”. This is
a short article (unattributed) which refers to parents yet again “reacting
with fury”, for the reason that no action was being taken against a police
officer who had refused to co-operate with the Review Team inquiry. The
article continues:

“Det. Con. Peter Smith declined to be interviewed by the Inquiry Team which
investigated how nursery nurses Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed were able
to abuse more than 60 children in their care. Det. Con. Smith was one of
only seven witnesses, including Lillie and Reed who refused to help the
Inquiry Team, which praised other police officers. He declined to be
interviewed or provide a written statement”.

Article 45: 3 December 1998

193. Article 45 was also apparently by Andrew McKegney and appeared under
the heading “Inquiry misled”. The newspaper raises a series of questions to
be asked of Sir Jeremy Beecham’s partner, David Lamb, resulting from a
mistake he made when he informed the Review Team of the date on which he
began to act for Christopher Lillie. It appears that he gave the date 9
November 1993 when in fact he had taken the case up on 21 September. The
questions posed by the Chronicle to Sir Jeremy Beecham and David Lamb are
not complained of in these proceedings. The principal article consists of
ten paragraphs setting out the mistake and appears under small photographs
of the two Claimants with the caption “ABUSERS – nursery workers Lillie and
Reed”.

Article 46: 4 December 1998

194. Article 46 is headed “Angry parents seeking answers” and consists of
eleven paragraphs about the meeting of Mr Tony Flynn with “Families
devastated by the Newcastle nursery scandal”. It refers to invitations
having been sent out to parents “of more than 60 children sexually abused
by nursery nurses Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed”. The fifth paragraph
contains the following:

“One mum, whose daughter was raped by Lillie, says ‘I want to ask the
leader if the council has any intention of stopping this pair working with
children again. It’s terrible to think that other children could be at
risk'”.

195. One of the main themes of the article is that the press were not
permitted to be present for the meeting with Mr Flynn.

Article 47: 8 December 1998

196. The next article is also by Andrew McKegney and headed “Don’t lose out
on showdown”. This is an eighteen paragraph article reporting fears
expressed by a “self-help group”, Parents Together Working Together, that
few of the parents involved would accept the invitation to meet Mr Flynn.
It was suggested that as few as six families might be represented. There
are also pictures alongside of Christopher Lillie, with the caption “ABUSER
– Nursery nurse Christopher Lillie”, and of Dawn Reed with the caption
“ASSAULTS – Dawn Reed”.

Article 48: 9 December 1998

197. Andrew McKegney is also the author of this article published in the
issue for 9 December 1998 under the heading “Parents take fight to the
top”. There are eighteen paragraphs, underneath photographs of Mr Flynn, Mr
Brian Roycroft and Sir Jeremy Beecham. The parents of “young children
abused at a Tyneside nursery” are reported as having demanded “showdown
talks” with two men at the centre of the scandal (namely, Mr Tony Flynn and
Director of Social Services, Mr Tom Dervin).

198. The newspaper reported that many parents came away thinking that the
meeting with those two representatives had been helpful, but anger was said
to have been expressed at the fact that Mr Roycroft and Sir Jeremy Beecham
had not been present. There is reference in the body of the article to the
meeting having been called “to meet parents whose children had been abused
by nursery nurses Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed”.

199. One woman is referred to in the context of her nephew having been
“abused at the age of two”. Another “mum” is described as having a daughter
abused by Lillie when she was four. She is quoted also as saying:

“He said as far as he was concerned abuse had happened and they had no
doubt that these two had done it and that was as much as they could say”.

Articles 49–52: 11 December 1998

200. The story returned to the front page of the issue of 11 December 1998
under the large headline “WE’LL SEE YOU IN COURT – Abuse families reject
council’s fast-track compensation offer”. There are nine paragraphs on the
front page, but the story is continued (“Article 52”) on page 7 under the
heading “Speedy moves”. The article is mainly concerned with the dispute
between parents/carers and their representatives, on the one hand, and the
City Council on the other as to the matter of compensation. The direct
references to the Claimants are to be found in paragraph two:

“Newcastle City Council said it is keen to settle compensation claims by
parents abused by perverts Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed out of court”.

201. The next paragraph refers to “one of Britain’s worst cases of child
abuse”.

202. In the continuation article it is said:

“It remains unclear how many of the other 1,162 children Lillie and Reed
may have came into contact with in the years before they were arrested in
1993 will be re-visited”.

203. On page 6 of the same issue appear articles 50 and 51 under the
headings, respectively, “Quick cash for abuse victims” and “Angry parents
lash former Council Chief”. Only the first is formally attributed (to Mr
Peter Young). It consists of twenty two paragraphs reporting that the
Council has not admitted negligence or any form of legal liability “for the
abuse of more than 60 children at a city day nursery”. It refers back to
the Review Team Report and their conclusion that “… the pair took children
out of the nursery to be abused by a paedophile ring”.

204. There is another paragraph headed “Investigating further possible
cases of abuse”, containing the following allegations:

“There are 1,162 children who may have been in contact with Lillie and Reed
and the council says this requires further consultation with the Social
Services Inspectorate to see whether the investigation needs to be
re-opened.”

205. Article 51 is set in a box on page 6 under photographs of Mr Lillie
and Miss Reed, each captioned “Abuser”. The article reports criticisms,
once again, of the two Claimants being represented, at various stages, by
firms of solicitors with partners who happened to be members of the City
Council.

Article 53: 12 December 1998

206. On page 13 of the issue for 12 December 1998 there appears an
unattributed article under the heading “Whistle blowers’ charter to foil
abuse”. Once again photographs of Miss Reed and Mr Lillie accompany the
article with captions, respectively, “ABUSER – Dawn Reed” and
“PERVERT—Christopher Lillie”.

207. There are thirteen paragraphs in the article, reporting a proposal to
create an official charter encouraging council workers to inform on
colleagues having affairs or relationships. It is described as a “charter
for whistle blowing” and was supposed to deal with problems arising where
personal relations had developed between colleagues. The relevance of this
is that the Review Team referred to the one time “close personal
relationship” between Mr Brian Roycroft, former Director of Social
Services, and Joyce Eyeington. It was alleged that she was appointed
without the job being advertised and without an interview. The Report is
described in the article as following “their lengthy probe into the
horrific actions of perverts Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed”. The seventh
paragraph contains the following allegation:

“The inquiry also found once she was established in the job, Eyeington went
on to employ five of her relatives, including her niece who incompetently
managed the nursery where Reed and Lillie preyed on youngsters”.

208. An element of bathos was introduced at the end of the article where Mr
Roycroft is quoted as saying that the relationship between him and Joyce
Eyeington had taken place “25–30 years before the abuse happened”.

Article 54: 14 December 1998

209. Article 54 in fact consists of a letter published on the
correspondence page on 14 December 1998, under the heading “Such a shock”.
It was signed by a Mr R. Kirkwood of North Shields. It contains the
following passage:

“The actual case of multiple sexual abuse is terrible and the families of
the victims have every right to feel hatred and bitterness and all right
thinking people will feel revulsion at the behaviour of Christopher Lillie
and Dawn Reed. They have escaped conviction and some of the frustration
resulting from this has caused the anger to be displaced from the
perpetrators on to Brian Roycroft and the staff who have been suspended”.

Article 55: 17 December 1988

210. On page 19 of the issue for 17 December 1998 there appeared an
unattributed article (in fact by Mr McKegney) entitled “We won’t let this
ever happen again”. It consists of twelve paragraphs about “council moves
to prevent a repeat of the Newcastle nursery scandal”. It reminds readers
that the Review Team Report had investigated Mr Lillie and Miss Reed “… who
abused dozens of youngsters in their care at a council run nursery”. There
is a photograph of Mr Lillie alongside the article with the caption
“ABUSER—Christopher Lillie carried out sex attacks on kids”.

Article 56: 24 December 1998

211. Article 56 was published on Christmas Eve with the heading “Pictures
of Santa reminds city child of sex assaults”. The article is attributed to
Charlotte Gapper and is accompanied by two photographs. That of Miss Reed
appears the caption “I WISH SHE WAS DEAD – How one mother of a victim feels
of Dawn Reed”. The picture of Mr Lillie bears the caption “DRESSED AS SANTA
– Former nursery nurse and abuser Christopher Lillie”. There are nineteen
paragraphs, reporting that “The only thing on the tortured youngster’s
present list was a desperate plea for justice”. It is a reference to what
is alleged to have been the only Christmas wish of a boy abused during the
Newcastle nursery scandal”. The boy’s mother is said to have been moved to
tears because all her son is asking is why Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed
are not in jail. The mother is further quoted:

“If Reed and Lillie were found that would be our best Christmas present. I
want them to go through some of what we are going through.

My son asked me if they were in jail and I had to say no. He asked if we
could move house because he is frightened that they will come and get him.”

212. The article later contains the allegation that “Lillie and Reed abused
more than 60 children in their care but they escaped prosecution because
the victims were too young to give evidence”. One of the mothers from the
Parents Together Working Together is quoted as saying:

“The best Christmas present would be for Reed and Lillie to be locked up or
found dead. They have caused so much heartbreak and broken so many families
up.”

Article 57: 26 December 1998

213. On Boxing Day article 57 appeared on page 3 under the heading “Probe
attack”. It was reported in a small article that a former Assistant
Director of Social Services, David Johnstone, had attacked Brian Roycroft
“for his alleged failure to help investigators probing abuse case nursery
nurses Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed”.

Article 58: 2 January 1999

214. Article 58 appears as a small item within a larger “Review of 1998”:

“PARENTS demanded justice after nursery workers Christopher Lillie and Dawn
Reed were condemned as being child molesters who escaped prosecution
because their victims were too young to give evidence. A damning 312-page
report laid much of the blame at the doors of the Newcastle City Council
which ran the nursery”.

Articles 59–60: 7 January 1999

215. Although described as Articles 59 and 60, there was in effect only one
article published on 7 January 1999 under the heading “PROBE INTO SPORTS
CENTRE CHILD ABUSE”. It was attributed to Charlotte Gapper and was
published on pages 1 and 2. The article was apparently reporting a “new
abuse alert” in relation to allegations of a sports centre coach abused of
indecently assaulting children. On the second page the following four
paragraphs appear:

“It also follows the damning report into the Newcastle nursery abuse
scandal which revealed a catalogue of errors made by the City Council.

One of the mums whose child was abused by nursery workers, Christopher
Lillie and Dawn Reed while they worked at the council run nursery, said
‘You would hope the City Council would now have in place a rigorous system
of checks on those employees who worked with children and young people’.

The inquiry team investigating the scandal concluded proper recruitment and
selection procedures were not followed in the case of Lillie and references
and police checks were not followed up.

The council is supposed to carry out checks with police on staff working
with children and young people every three years”.

Article 61: 13 January 1999

216. On 13 January 1999 an article appeared on page 18 headed “Parents
Together”, attributed to Charlotte Gapper. The main focus of the piece is
the “latest council abuse probe” concerning the Scotswood Sports Centre.
The Parents Together Working Together Group was inviting concerned parents
to get in touch with them. There was a passing reference to Mr Lillie and
Miss Reed in the context of how the group came to be set up after the
allegations against them first came to light.

Article 62: 15 January 1999

217. On page 2 of the issue for 15 January 1999, there appeared an article
by Peter Young and Charlotte Gapper with the heading “A war of words over
probe into ex-leader role”. It returns to the theme of Sir Jeremy Beecham
and the allegation of conflict of interest. Sir Jeremy is said to have been
“totally vindicated” after a council investigation into an allegation that
he breached a code of conduct because of his firm’s taking on the case of
Mr Lillie, “one of the two nursery nurses accused of child abuse at a
council day nursery”.

Article 63: 19 January 1999

218. An article under the heading “Vetting for councillors” was published
on 19 January 1999. The article was unattributed and referred to the fact
that councillors who would come into regular contact with children and
elderly people had volunteered to be vetted by police. The background is
said to be criticism of the City Council “after a probe into the case of
nursery nurses Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed, pictured left, accused of
sex abuse”. On this occasion, there are no captions to the photographs.

Article 64: 22 January 1999

219. On 22 January 1999 an article was published, attributed to Peter
Young, under the heading “Bitter abuse row is over at last”. The story is
about a councillor, Norman Povey, who is reported as having decided not to
pursue a complaint against the former City Council Leader, Sir Jeremy
Beecham, in the wake of the Newcastle child abuse scandal. Although the
story refers to Councillor Povey not having had the chance to “state his
case properly and put a series of questions to the Chief Executive Kevin
Lavery”, the article recognises that Sir Jeremy was “cleared of breaching
the code of conduct”. The article contains background references to the
fact that Sir Jeremy’s firm had acted for Mr Lillie following the
accusations of child abuse against him.

Article 65: 25 January 1999

220. On 25 January 1999 Article 65 appeared, written by Charlotte Gapper,
under the heading “Parents seek more answers on abuse”. There are three
photographs alongside the article. The first appears under the heading and
has attached to it the caption “STILL IN THE DARK – Parents attack a police
van outside Newcastle Crown Court during Lillie and Reed’s trial”. The
second photograph is of Christopher Lillie with the caption “Paedophile
ring”, and the third is of Dawn Reed with the caption “Shamed nurse”. The
main body of the article consists of thirteen paragraphs describing how
parents were at that time seeking a meeting with councillors over “some
unanswered questions”. The article quotes “one of the mums” as saying:

“We still want to know who the other people in the paedophile ring with
Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed were and why they were not investigated”.

221. There is a further paragraph, in the third column, alleging that the
Review Team had revealed Mr Lillie and Miss Reed as having “procured other
young children for paedophiles”. The reaction of Northumbria Police is also
given; namely that they would not reopen their investigation unless new
evidence was produced.

Article 66: 30 January 1999

222. A short piece was published under “Local News” in the issue for 30
January 1999 with the heading “Nursery abuse parents hit back”. The article
refers to a meeting which parents had apparently had with one of the
Newcastle members of Parliament, Mr Jim Cousins, to discuss their
continuing concerns. Although parents are described as wanting to see Mr
Lillie and Miss Reed “brought to justice”, it is once again recorded that
the Northumbria Police would only re-open their inquiry if new evidence
came to light. Mr Cousins is described also as wanting to press for a
change in the law to deal with the admissibility of children’s evidence.

Article 67: 3 February 1999

223. On page 13 of the issue for 3 February 1999 there appeared an article
by Charlotte Gapper with the heading “We warned of abuse”. The usual
photographs of Mr Lillie and Miss Reed appear, with the captions “CHILD
ABUSER” in each case. There is also a photograph of people standing with a
large banner saying “We believe the kids!” and the caption “FURY –
protesters demand action over the scandal”.

224. The article consists of eleven paragraphs describing how a family
plans to sue the City Council and to apply for compensation from the
Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. The article is about the couple who
“raised fears about child abusers Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed two
years before they were suspected”. Their complaint is that they were still
being ignored by the City Council. The article continues:

“Their four children were living in a residential home where Reed and
Lillie worked and told social workers of their fears in 1990.

Dismissed.

One of their sons received cuts and bruises and when he came home is
behaviour was very aggressive.

But they claimed complaints were dismissed and Lillie and Reed went on to
abuse at least 60 children in the Newcastle nursery scandal”.

Article 68: 4 February 1999

225. On page 5 of the issue for 4 February 1999 an “Exclusive” was
published by Charlotte Gapper. The article consists of eleven paragraphs
and is headed “Ex-Tory leader calls for new abuse probe”. There is a large
photograph above the article with the caption “TEARS FOR ABUSED CHILDREN –
Parents still feel that the full facts of the nursery abuse scandal have
still not been revealed”. A Mr Mike Summersby is reported as having called
for a government investigation into the Newcastle nursery abuse scandal
following a meeting with parents. He is a former conservative leader from
the North East and is quoted as saying:

“The more you hear about the details the more shocking and distressing the
whole thing is”.

The following words are attributed to him:

“This is a national disgrace not just a local one and I think these parents
have a right to a proper hearing of their situation.

Even at this late stage there has got to be intervention. It screams out
for justice and proper regard for the facts. It’s my intention to involve
national politicians”.

226. The article concludes as follows:

“The inquiry team found that Lillie and Reed procured young children for
other paedophiles but Northumbria police said that they would not re-open
their investigation unless new evidence was produced.

Fighting

Mr Summersby said: ‘I cannot understand why the police cannot pursue people
named’. One of the mums added: ‘It was a very constructive meeting. I hope
we can finally get something done after all these years of fighting’.”

Article 69: 9 February 1999

227. On page 20 of the issue for 9 February 1999, in the “Any Other
Business” column, Peter Young returns to the theme. Yet again he raises to
the allegations about Sir Jeremy Beecham and claims that Labour councillors
have been involved in a bitter, behind-the-scenes row. The article was
introduced as follows:

“FAMILIES involved in Britain’s worst case of multiple child abuse can only
sit helplessly on the side lines as councillors squabble over the rights
and wrongs of the affair.

Parents are still awaiting some sort of justice six years after their
children were badly abused at a council-run Newcastle day nursery. If ever
a group have been betrayed by the system and the authorities, it’s them.
Two nursery nurses accused of abuse, Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed,
walked free after the case collapsed. No one has been brought to justice,
despite claims a paedophile ring was in operation.”

Article 70:11 February 1999

228. There is a feature article by Noreen Coltman appeared in the issue of
11 February 1999 with the heading “When cash pay-outs just don’t add up”.
Her theme is developed in a sub-heading:

“A WOMAN who took ecstasy tablets and fell ill is to receive £250,000
pay-out for her suffering, yet the families of those involved in the
Newcastle child abuse scandal will get as little as £7,000 each. NOREEN
COLMAN asks: Is our compensation system falling apart?”

229. The main article consists of 32 paragraphs developing her arguments
and referring to examples of personal injury compensation. The article
includes reference to a “Julie Smith” whose son is said to have suffered
years of sexual abuse at the hands of his nursery school carers. It is said
that “mum Julie”, aged 50, will be picking up the pieces for years to come.
He is said to have been abused by “nursery carers Dawn Reed and Christopher
Lillie”, and she feels the system has let her down.

Article 71: 13 February 1999

230. In the issue for 13 February 1999 under “Local News” appeared another
article by Charlotte Gapper, “Dream trip is planned for abused kids”. She
describes how parents were aiming to raise cash for a “Disney Holiday”.
There are nine paragraphs describing how members of Parents Together
Working Together were organising fund raising events to collect money for a
trip to Disneyland Paris. The planned trip was for the purpose of helping
to “heal wounds”. The article includes the following passages:

“At least 60 children were abused by Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed and
many of them still suffer from severe behavioural problems. They have told
how they were taken out of the nursery, molested in houses and flats in the
neighbourhood, and there is evidence they were used in pornographic films.

Lillie and Reed were dismissed by the City Council for gross misconduct but
walked free from court in 1984 when a Judge ruled as inadmissible video
evidence from a four-year-old”.

231. There is also a photograph of the banner (“We believe the kids”) with
the caption “OUTRAGE – Protesters outside Newcastle Crown Court where
nursery abusers Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed were on trial”.

Article 72: 19 February 1999

232. On page 2 of the Chronicle for 19 February 1999 appeared a two
paragraph article with the heading “Abuse parents meet”. It refers to a
second meeting between Mr Flynn and “mums and dads” to discuss what was
described as the “council’s action plan”. The introductory paragraph
contains the assertion that “children were abused by Christopher Lillie and
Dawn Reed in the Newcastle nursery scandal”.

Article 73: 23 February 1999

233. Charlotte Gapper produced another article for the issue of 23 February
1999 under the heading “We’ve been snubbed again – abuse parents”. There
are the usual photographs of Mr Lillie and Miss Reed – this time with the
captions, respectively, “CHILD ABUSE – Former nursery nurse Christopher
Lillie” and “NURSERY SCANDAL – Dawn Reed abused children in her care”.

234. Once again Miss Gapper returns to the theme of parents who are said to
have raised fears about Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed two years before
they were suspected of abusing children. They were complaining that they
were not aware of the Review Team investigation until they saw a report on
television about it, despite the fact that it mentioned their children.

Article 74: 24 February 1999

235. Another short piece appeared on 24 February 1999 under the heading
“Focusing on abuse”. It describes a call for the installation of CCTV in
nurseries from parents whose children were alleged to have been abused by
Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed.

Article 75: 1 March 1999

236. Charlotte Gapper wrote another piece in the issue for 1 March 1999
headed “New rules aim to weed out perverts”. Yet again the photographs are
published each with the caption “ABUSER” attached. The article itself
describes how colleges across the North East were drawing up new guidelines
for vetting students in the wake of the “Newcastle nursery abuse scandal”.
The theme is summarised in the heading “Colleges link up to make sure
abusers cannot join child courses”. There is a reference in the middle of
the piece to Mr Lillie and Miss Reed having “abused at least 60 children in
their care”.

Article 76: 19 March 1999

237. Charlotte Gapper wrote another piece dated 19 March 1999 alongside the
usual photographs with the captions “ABUSER”. It describes the fight for
compensation under the heading “Abuse families could fight all the way”.
Again the accusation is repeated that they abused “more than 60 youngsters”
at the Newcastle nursery. One “mum” is quoted as saying:

“My son was terrified out of his wits physically and sexually abused and
still suffers flashbacks. He’s still got to live with that for the rest of
his life.

I don’t want to settle but fight through the courts and sue the council
because of what they have done”.

A little later she adds

“My child didn’t ask to be raped and this is what I am fighting for. I hope
the other parents stick it out and take it to court”.

Articles 77–78: 26 March 1999

238. Peter Young published another “Exclusive” on the front page of the
Chronicle for 26 March 1999 under the heading “Child abuse fury”. There
were six introductory paragraphs on the front page with the “full story”
inside on page 2. The front page piece covers a “furious row” because the
Council would not admit liability for “what happened at one of its day
nurseries when children were abused”. The reason given was that such an
admission could invalidate the insurance policy which would be used for
covering the compensation claim. An angry parent is quoted as saying:

“The children were taken out of the nursery and abused so they can’t say
they weren’t negligent.”

239. Inside on page 2 appear the usual photographs with the usual captions
“ABUSER”. There are eighteen paragraphs under the heading “Families’ fury
over report on nursery”. Once again Mr Lillie and Miss Reed were said to
have taken children out of the nursery and abused them. A representative of
Parents Together Working Together is quoted as saying:

“Had the nursery been run correctly, that would not have happened. As soon
as they saw the children returning in a distressed state, something should
have been done. Somebody has to be liable for the management of the
nursery”.

240. Again reference was made to the Review Team’s conclusion that they had
been involved in paedophile ring that abused children.

Articles 79–80: 27 March 1999

241. On page 17 of the issue for 27 March 1999 there is a Chronicle comment
under the heading “Video nasty”. The point was made that had CCTV cameras
been installed outside the nursery “…Reed and Lillie would have been
captured on film taking children away to carry out their wicked attacks”.
The introductory paragraph observes:

“PARENTS of children who suffered at the hands of evil nursery nurses
Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed have every right to be disappointed by
Newcastle City Council”.

That is because their pleas for cameras to be installed have “fallen on
deaf ears”.

242. Article 80 was published on page 13 of the same issue under the
heading “Parents’ spy hope bites dust”. There are 18 paragraphs devoted to
the City Council’s reaction to the call for the installation of CCTV
cameras. There are also the usual photographs. This time the caption for
Miss Reed was “ABUSE – Nursery nurse Dawn Reed” and for Mr Lillie
“EVIL—Christopher Lillie later became a chef”.

243. The article was introduced as follows:

“A CALL for spy cameras in council run nurseries in wake of Newcastle’s
child abuse scandal looks set to fail. Parents asked for cameras to protect
children after the case of evil nursery nurses Christopher Lillie and Dawn
Reed.

The pair were accused of abusing children at a council-run day nursery six
years ago, but walked free after a crown court case collapsed”.

Article 81: 29 March 1999

244. On 29 March 1999 a two page feature appeared in the Chronicle by
Noreen Coltman under the heading “Dealing with evil when little children
are suffering”. There are 49 paragraphs dealing with the general problem of
paedophilia, and how to deal with it, and a new campaign which had been
launched by the NSPCC to tackle child cruelty. The article concludes by
reference to a woman whose son was said to have been physically and
sexually abused by Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed. She is quoted as
saying that “only one thing can cure paedophiles” and adding:

“Some people argue chemical castration but I think they should have their
arms and legs chopped off to stop them getting anywhere near children. When
I think what my son went through it really is unbelievable that these
beasts got away with what they did for so long.

My son was two and a half when the abuse started and he’s nine now and he
is still suffering”.

245. It is said that the woman’s son was one of 60 pre-school children
abused by Mr Lillie and Miss Reed.

246. The mother was also quoted as saying:

“My son not only suffered terrible sexual abuse which led to him having to
have an aids test and treatment for a venereal decease, but he also had a
knife held to his throat and was told his eyes would be cut out if he ever
spoke about it”.

Article 82: 30 March 1999

247. On page 33 of the issue for 30 March 1999, Miss Gapper published an
article headed “Abuse row parents win their battle to be heard”. Once again
the photographs appear with the captions “PERVERT” for Mr Lillie and
“ABUSER” for Miss Reed. Miss Gapper focused once again upon the family who
claimed to have “blown the whistle” on child abuse by Mr Lillie and Miss
Reed back in 1990. It was said that her complaints were ignored, “allowing
Lillie and Reed to go on to abuse dozens more children at a Newcastle
nursery”. She also is quoted as describing the Report as a “joke”.

Articles 83–84: 2 April 1999

248. On the front page of the Chronicle for 2 April 1999 appeared another
article by Charlotte Gapper under the heading “Abuse pair fight claims”.
There are eight paragraphs by way of introduction with the “Full Story”
(article 84) appearing on page 2. The introduction on the front page was in
these terms:

“STUNNED parents of abused nursery children were left reeling today after
paedophiles Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed protested their innocence. The
pair, who abused more that 60 children in a Newcastle council-run nursery
are preparing to clear their names”.

249. There is reference to a fax from their then solicitors Bindman and
Partners, indicating that in due course Mr Lillie and Miss Reed would be
responding in full to all the allegations.

250. Inside there is an 18 paragraph article under the heading “Nursery
abuse duo say they are innocent”. This time the photographs appear with
captions “NOTHING WRONG” for Mr Lillie and “I’LL CLEAR MY NAME” from Miss
Reed. Parents were described as being shocked by the “claim of innocence”
made by the “couple… accused of abusing as part of a paedophile ring in
Newcastle”. Reference is made back to the Report and its conclusion that
they were involved in the paedophile ring “which abused at least 60
children at the nursery”. There is also a quotation from “one of the mums
whose child was abused”:

“I don’t know why Reed is going to comment after all this time.

It would be interesting to see what they say and it would be really good if
they went back to court. It seems really strange that they want to clear
their names at this point.”

Article 85: 7 April 1999

251. On 7 April 1999 Charlotte Gapper wrote a piece, eight paragraphs in
length, under the heading “Lawyer in vow to clear abusers”, in which she
reported an announcement by Mr Geoffrey Bindman who was at that stage
instructed on behalf of Mr Lillie and Miss Reed. The third paragraph
includes the following allegation:

“He said that the hated pair, accused of being part of a paedophile ring
which abused children at a Newcastle nursery are in hiding in fear of their
lives.

But a representative of the Parents Together Working Together action group
said: ‘they have had six years to clear their names and have said nothing.
If they were innocent they should have been screaming it front the rooftops.

Now, six years down the line, when things are getting too hot, they are
saying they are not guilty.

There is no way my child made these things up. They were found not guilty
in a court of law on a technicality because the children were too young to
give evidence'”.

252. It did not seem to occur to anyone that they had been acquitted in
1994 and did not need to “scream their innocence” until the Review Team
Report was published at the end of 1998. Accordingly, Mr Bindman was quoted
as saying, “They have contacted me since there was a barrage of press
comment about them. They obviously have become extremely worried”.

Articles 86–87: 20 April 1999

253. Article 86 was published on pages 20–21 of the issue of the Chronicle
for 20 April 1999 and attributed to K. Jordan. The two page spread consists
of 25 paragraphs under the heading “Dreaming of a day when child abuse
nightmare is ended”. It consists of an interview with Margaret Asquith, who
had just taken over the newly created post of head of children services for
Newcastle. It does not actually refer to Mr Lillie or Miss Reed directly
but is introduced by reference to “the Newcastle nursery abuse scandal”.

254. Article 87 is headed “Inquiries uncovered the scale of abuse”. The
article is not attributed to anyone, but consists of seven paragraphs
referring to how the whole nation was shocked when the Report “into the
Newcastle nursery abuse scandal” was published. It reports, and adopts, the
suggestion that children were taken from the nursery and molested in houses
and flats in the neighbourhood, and “evidence” that they were sometimes
filmed. It also included a final paragraph referring to the fax from Mr
Bindman’s firm.

Article 88: 23 April 1999

255. There is a short article in the issue for 23 April 1999 under the
heading “Rapped worker leaves”, which is unattributed. This announces that
Joyce Eyeington, suspended the previous November, has finally “quit”. It
alleges, on the basis of the Report, that her relationship with Brian
Roycroft had “harmed the investigation into the abuse by Dawn Reed and
Christopher Lillie, whose trial collapsed in 1994”.

Article 89: 26 April 1999

256. Another short piece appeared in the Chronicle on 26 April 1999 under
the heading “Parents’ fury”. It is alleged:

“The parents of 60 youngsters suspected of being abused by Reed and Lillie
have been invited to a meeting of the charity Childline and are furious
that an organisation called ‘Relatives and Friends of those falsely accused
of sexual abuse’ are to demonstrate on behalf of the pair”.

Articles 90–91: 30 April 1999

257. On 30 April 1999 two articles appeared on page 5 of the Chronicle,
both apparently by Julie Cush and Penny Spiller. Article 90 is headed “Lost
tot scandal” and consists of 16 paragraphs. It refers to an incident where
nursery school teachers were alleged to have taken a group of toddlers to a
supermarket and lost one of them. A terrified three year old girl is
alleged to have been left “wandering around the store’s aisles for about 20
minutes”. This provided an opportunity to refer back to “the wake of the
Newcastle nursery abuse scandal”. The other article (article 91) is headed
“Parents standing by nursery staff”. This contains nine paragraphs set in a
box on the same page. It is introduced as follows:

“THIS is the second scandal to rock the city’s nursery school system and
comes after a damning probe into the abuse scandal.

Then, inspectors found that Dawn Reed and Christopher Lillie systematically
abused youngsters in their care at a city nursery”.

Article 92: 12 May 1999

258. Julie Cush wrote another article in the issue for 12 May 1999 under
the heading “Blunder staff to go”. The theme is summarised by the smaller
heading, “More teachers are being removed from nursery after girl
abandoned”. This is a reference back to the “Lost tot” story but includes a
paragraph in the following terms:

“The case comes in the wake of the Newcastle child abuse scandal, when
toddlers at a council-run nursery were taken out and abused by perverts in
a paedophile ring”.

Articles 93–94: 17 May 1999

259. On the front page of the Chronicle for 17 May 1999 a three paragraph
article appeared under a large headline “5 years too late”. There is
another heading in smaller type at the top of the page: “Fury as child
abuse pair break their silence”.

260. There is a photograph of Mr Lillie with the caption “WHY DID IT TAKE
SO LONG? – Christopher Lillie has protested his innocence at last”. There
is a smaller photograph of Miss Reed with the caption “DENIAL – but Dawn
Reed is accused of abusing children at a Newcastle nursery school”. The
substance of the article is as follows:

“A CLAIM that two Tyneside nursery nurses accused of child abuse are
innocent sparked uproar today. The row followed an investigation which said
the Independent Inquiry that concluded Mr Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed
were guilty was flawed. The pair walked free 5 years ago when a court case
against them collapsed. They protested their innocence but angry families
are challenging them to go back to court”.

There is an invitation to turn to the full story on page 5.

261. The article on page 5 is attributed to Peter Young, Dave Clark and
Andrew McKegney. It is headed “Families’ fury”. It is also said in a
smaller headline that “Claims that city nursery abuse duo are innocent,
condemned by parents”. There is a large photograph of Miss Reed over the
article with a caption “DID SHE DO IT? – A new report says Dawn Reed was
wrongly accused of child abuse”. There is a smaller photograph of Mr Lillie
alongside the text with the caption “BRANDED A CHILD ABUSER- The latest
picture of Christopher Lillie”. The article is in the following terms:

“OUTRAGED families today condemned attempts to rubbish the enquiry into the
Newcastle child abuse scandal.

Families remain convinced that the report reached the correct conclusions
in branding nursery nurses, Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed, guilty of
child abuse.

The case against them, at Newcastle Crown Court, collapsed after video
evidence from alleged child victims was ruled inadmissible.

Shocked

An independent inquiry team later concluded children at the nursery were
abused by Lillie and Reed and the victims of a paedophile ring.

Parents were shocked by a report in a national Sunday newspaper following
an investigation by journalist, Bob Woffinden, and author, Richard Webster
suggesting inquiry conclusions were flawed.

Reed, 28 and Lillie, 34 are protesting their innocence, but the families
are asking why they refused to give evidence to the independent inquiry,
chaired by Dr Richard Barker of the University of Northumbria. They also
want to know if the authors spoke to any parents or members of the inquiry
team. And they said Lillie and Reed should not be afraid to stand up in
court and be cross-examined.

Mr Woffinden, who campaigns against alleged miscarriages of justice, said
today he believes Lillie and Reed are innocent.

His information will be passed to Bindman & Co, the London lawyers
representing Lillie and Reed. Mr Woffinden declined to say if he had spoken
to parents or the enquiry team.

Mr Woffinden said ‘the families of the children have been through hell but
the important thing is to make sure this story is told correctly and
properly. The truth should never hurt anybody.’

Opportunity

But one angry representative of the Parents Together Working Together
group, fighting for justice for the families involved, said ‘Parents will
be outraged at this. Lillie and Reed have had every opportunity to protest
their innocence at the independent inquiry but they kept quiet’.

One parent who believes her son was abused by Lillie and Reed condemned the
claims and said ‘I helped out as a volunteer at the nursery at the time and
I could see what they were like.

If they wanted to clear their names, why didn’t they come before the
inquiry I’m sick of it – every time this comes up there is more sleepless
nights’? ”

Article 95: 18 May 1999

262. The next day Dave Clark and Peter Young returned to the same theme in
an article on page 2 of the Chronicle. The headline was “Where do they get
the cash?” There is another smaller heading “Abuse families demand to know
who is backing the pair”. There is a photograph of Miss Reed standing by a
tree with an inset photograph of Mr Lillie. The caption is “MAINTAINING
INNOCENCE – nursery nurses Dawn Reed and, inset, Christopher Lillie who
were cleared of abusing children in 1994”.

263. The article consists of 13 paragraphs. The article queries how the
“pair” can afford to be represented by Mr Bindman, or whether they are
being represented free of charge. Once again, the point is taken that they
should have spoken out a long time ago.

264. It is said that families of the abused children are “outraged that
doubt should be cast over the findings of the inquiry”.

265. The article concludes as follows:

“The parents would like to see Lillie and Reed back in court so they could
be cross-examined, but the only way that can now happen is through the
civil action. That is still possible but it would take big money, the sort
of money Lillie and Reed would appear to have found to sustain them”.

Article 96: 21 May 1999

266. Article 96 appeared in the issue of the Chronicle for 21 May 1999
under the heading “Court bid by Lillie and Reed”. It is attributed
Charlotte Gapper and appears underneath photographs of Mr Lillie and Miss
Reed. Above the photographs appears a heading “Nursery abuse pair in new
legal threat”. Underneath there is a caption “BRANDED – Nursery nurses
Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed were named as child abusers in an
independent report which rocked Newcastle City Council”. The article
consists of ten paragraphs. It quotes Mr Bindman as saying:

“They are people without resources and in hiding and unemployed and in a
very weak situation.

I have only been involved for quite a short time. There’s no evidence
against them except very confused statements by very small children and in
most cases made long after the event.

There are statements by other children saying that Dawn and Chris did
nothing to them at all. The evidence against them is incredibly weak. Of
course they can say quite a lot about their experiences but they’re in the
position of being asked to prove they didn’t do something”.

267. There is then reference to Mr Bindman’s age, education and background.

Article 97: 24 May 1999

268. On 24 May 1999 under the heading “Local news” appeared an article by
Lisa Hutchinson under the heading “TV cameras needed to prevent sex abuse”.
There is a photograph of Miss Reed with the caption “BRANDED BY REPORT –
Dawn Reed was found not guilty in court, but an investigation into the case
claimed there was abuse”. A smaller picture of Mr Lillie appears with a
caption “CASE DROPPED—Christopher Lillie was cleared by a court”. The
article contains 15 paragraphs.

269. It is mainly concerned with the need for CCTV cameras to prevent
attacks upon children at nurseries. This was apparently a suggestion made
by Dr Barker at a Forum on Children and Violence in the City. He warned
that the government’s plan to increase day care provision for children,
with the aim of encouraging women back to work, could mean more chances for
abusers to “strike”. The article also contains reference to Mr Lillie and
Miss Reed having “walked free from court in 1994 after the case against
them was dropped”.

Article 98: 1 June 1999

270. On page 12 of the issue for 1 June 1999 there is an article by
Charlotte Gapper headed “A disastrous holiday for sex-abuse family”. It is
primarily an article about an unsuccessful holiday at Santa Ponsa Holiday
Park in Majorca. The unfortunate holiday makers were a woman and her 11
year old son. Since he was alleged to have been abused by Christopher
Lillie and Dawn Reed, the opportunity was taken to include photographs of
them. Mr Lillie’s is captioned “BRANDED AN ABUSER – nursery nurse
Christopher Lillie” and Miss Reed’s “ALLEGED ABUSER – nursery nurse Dawn
Reed”. It is said the holiday was intended to help the son “get over the
trauma of the Newcastle nursery abuse”.

Article 99: 9 July 1999

271. On 9 July 1999 in the “Chronicle Says” column there appears a four
paragraph article under the heading “Answers now”. It was said to be
intolerable that Dawn Reed was “now involved in martial arts training,
working in an environment where close contact with children is almost
inevitable”. The article concludes:

“The proposals for tough monitoring of suspected child abusers, registers
to keep track of their movements, and a locked door policy when it comes to
future activity where it could pose a threat to youngsters, were all
designed to provide the protection so clearly necessary. So what has gone
so badly wrong?”

Article 100: 7 July 1999

272. Two days earlier, on 7 July 1999, there appeared on page 2 of the
Chronicle an article by Peter Dickinson under the heading “Parents’ fury as
duo escape axe”. There are, once again, two photographs published alongside
the article. In Mr Lillie’s case, it is caption “LABELLED AN ABUSER –
Ex-nursery nurse Christopher Lillie”. Miss Reed’s photograph is caption
“CONDEMNED BY REPORT – Former carer Dawn Reed”. The article consists of 17
paragraphs describing how parents at the centre of the nursery abuse
scandal have slammed the decision to let two Newcastle council workers keep
their jobs. The workers referred to are Susan Eyeington and Peter Blythe,
in respect of whom the City Council had apparently announced that they had
not committed any acts warranting dismissal. Reference is made to the
contents of the Report, alleging that Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed had
abused “more than 60 children in their care”. Parents were “disgusted” that
Eyeington and Blythe had not been sacked. The article contains a quotation
from one “mum”, whose son is said to have developed major behavioural
problems “because of the abuse”.

Articles 101–105: 19 July 1999

273. On 19 July 1999 there was a two page spread across pages 2 and 3 of
the Chronicle under the heading “Local News”. The main article was headed
“Scandal nurse is back in town”. The article is attributed to Dylan
Dronfield and Dave Clark. There is a prominent photograph of Miss Reed with
the caption “NEW LIFE – Dawn Reed, who was at the centre of the Newcastle
child abuse scandal, pictured when she was living in the Midlands”. There
is another photograph of her standing by a car with the caption “BACK HOME
– Abuse scandal nurse Dawn Reed is helping out at Perth Green Community
Centre”. The article consists of 19 paragraphs alleging that “horrified
parents” were angry to learn that Dawn Reed was “working alongside children
at a martial arts club”. One of the parents, whose son was said to have
been molested by Dawn Reed and Christopher Lillie, says that she was
“stunned”. She is quoted as saying:

“She tortured my son and to be honest I would trust Myra Hindley with my
children more than I would her.

She seems as nice as pie on the face of it but I would warn parents to keep
a very sharp eye, especially as this must be a contact sport”.

Another “mum” is quoted as saying:

“I wouldn’t want my daughter training with her – you just never know do
you, after all she has been accused of some terrible things”.

274. Article 102 is headed “A catalogue of pain”. This includes a brief
summary of past events and includes the following:

“February 1994: Newcastle Council dismisses nursery nurses Christopher
Lillie and Dawn Reed for gross misconduct.

July 1994: Lillie and Reed stand trial at Newcastle Crown Court. Lillie
denies raping and molesting one girl, indecently assaulting four others and
abusing a boy. Reed denies indecently assaulting two girls and one boy. The
case collapses after Judge Christopher Holland [sic] refused to admit video
evidence.”

275. There is also reference to the Report in November 1988 and its
criticism of Council staff for “failing to spot the abuse or prevent it”.

276. Article 103 was published on the front page of the same edition as an
“Exclusive” by Dylan Dronfield. The main heading is “TRACKED DOWN”. There
is a photograph of Dawn Reed with the caption “BACK ON TYNESIDE – Dawn Reed
outside the community centre where she helps out”.

277. There is a sub-heading “WE FIND ABUSE SCANDAL NURSERY NURSE HELPING
OUT AT TYNESIDE CLUB ATTENDED BY CHILDREN”. The Chronicle claims to be able
to reveal that Dawn Reed was “helping out at martial arts classes attended
by children”. She is said to have been “helping to organise lessons which
are open to children from the age of four upwards”.

278. These revelations are said to have “sparked outrage … with parents of
children she is alleged to have abused demanding action”.

279. Article 104 was published on page 2 under the heading “Innocent dad
pays the price”. The story relates to a Mr Gary Steele who lived near where
Dawn Reed once lived and who apparently drove a similar car to her. He had
endured a series of attacks on his car leaving him with him with a £1,000
bill. He blamed the trouble on claims by Mr Woffinden and Mr Webster that
“Reed and Lillie were innocent”.

280. Article 105 also appeared on page 2, attributed to Dylan Dronfield,
under the heading “Children told of ordeals and videos”. The article harks
back to the report of the previous November and its allegations that Mr
Lillie and Miss Reed “abused children for their own needs but also
subjected them to sexual attacks for a paedophile ring”. It refers to the
conclusions:

“We find many children at the nursery were abused sexually, emotionally and
physically by Lillie and Reed.

Evidence suggests children were sometimes filmed when they were being
‘abused’ outside the nursery and have drawn the conclusion Lillie and Reed
were procuring children for pornographic purposes as well as their own
motives”.

281. The article also refers to “powerful testimony” from a small child
naming Lillie and Reed as responsible for sexual abuse. The article refers
to the allegations that Mr Lillie and Miss Reed had taken the children from
the nursery to places called “libraries”, which were in fact houses. It was
alleged that they were abused and filmed on these trips.

Article 106: 20 July 1999

282. On 20 July 1999 there appeared an article, attributed to Dave Clark,
under the heading “Crisis meeting over scandal nursery nurse”. Council
officials were described as reviewing their options after a Chronicle
revelation to the effect that Dawn Reed had been involved in martial arts
classes attended by children. Reference is made to her training alongside
children at a Tae Kwondo martial arts club at the Perth Green Community
Centre in Jarrow. The article continues:

“She was branded an abuser in a report into alleged assaults involving up
to 60 children in a Newcastle nursery and fled the North East.

But she has now returned and parents are furious that she is involved with
children at the popular sports club”.

283. Later on the article alleges:

“Reed was prosecuted along with colleague Christopher Lillie, 34, for
alleged child abuse in 1994, but both were formally acquitted when the
judge ruled the evidence against them was unreliable.

The independent report which later named her as an abuser has come under
attack from lawyers who claim that the report itself is flawed.

But Reed has never had to answer questions in court.”

Article 107: 21 July 1999

284. On page 11 of the issue for 21 July 1999 there is an article headed
“Abuse case woman is welcome to stay” by Charlotte Gapper. It reports a
“martial arts instructor, defending the presence of Miss Reed at her
classes. Matt Krywko is reported as saying he can see no reason why she
should leave. There are 19 paragraphs altogether, four of which reflect the
general theme:

“Reed, who now uses her married name Jackson, and her former colleague
Christopher Lillie, were cleared of abuse allegations when the court case
against them collapsed in 1994.

But an inquiry into the scandal later concluded that they had abused up to
60 children in their care at Newcastle nursery.

Mr Krywko said ‘The Traditional Tae Kwondo Association (North East) is well
aware of her position.

This person has not been proven guilty in the court of law and we respect
that judgment, we follow the same principle and will not pass moral
judgement about anybody unless proven guilty by the court of law’.”

Article 108: 22 July 1999

285. On page 19 of the issue for 22 July 1999 Dave Clark wrote another
piece headed “Suspects clamp”. There is a smaller heading “MP moves to
close loop hole where child abuse suspects can still work with children”.
There is a photograph of Miss Reed with the caption “ACCUSED – Dawn Reed
caused a new uproar by going to a martial arts class attended by children”.

286. The article is introduced as follows:

“A CAMPAIGNING MP behind a move to root out child abuse is told of her
shock today at the Chronicle’s Dawn Reed revelations.

Debra Shipley had her Private Member’s Protection of Children Bill passed,
which should close a loop hole and stop those who are strongly suspected,
but not convicted, of child abuse from working with children”.

287. A little later, the article continues:

“The Chronicle revealed Reed, 28, branded a child abuser in an independent
report into the Newcastle nursery scandal, has been training alongside
children at a Tae Kwondo club.

Reed was named with fellow nursery worker, Christopher Lillie, 34 in the
report as abusing children and being part of a paedophile ring”.

288. Matt Krywko is quoted as saying that “everyone involved in the club
believed Miss Reed was innocent, and that she had the backing of parents
and trainers”. But one “angry mum” angrily dismissed the claims and said
that she would never take her son back. She is quoted as saying:

“I didn’t know Dawn Reed was going to the club, and I don’t think many
other parents knew.

It’s an outrage that the trainers did not tell us, and I’d like to thank
the Chronicle for warning us. My son won’t be going back. I used to drop
him off at the gate and let him go in so I couldn’t have seen her myself.”

Article 109: 23 July 1999

289. The issue for 23 July 1999 contained an article by Charlotte Gapper
under the heading “Family hope to get abuse answer”. At the top of the page
appear two photographs of Miss Reed and Mr Lillie both captioned “NAMED”.
The article consists of twelve paragraphs and returns to the theme of “the
couple who said they blew the whistle on nursery nurses Dawn Reed and
Christopher Lillie two years before they came under suspicion”. It was
reported that they were to have their case investigated because the
Newcastle City Council was looking at cases which were missed, or not
looked at in detail, at the time of the Review Team Report. The article
recites an allegation from the Report:

“We have been told Lillie took a particular interest in the youngest boy.
They cared for the children away from other residents and staff in an old
staff flat with a separate entrance”.

Article 110: 29 July 1999

290. Dave Clark wrote an article published on page 4 of the issue for 29
July 1999 under the heading “Clamp down on abusers’ jobs”. There is a small
photograph of Miss Reed with the caption “PERVERT – Nursery nurse Dawn
Reed, branded a child-abuser is working with children again at a club in
South Tyneside”. There are 12 paragraphs in the article. It is on the theme
that new legislation is to be introduced to make it more difficult for
convicted paedophiles to work with young children for at least ten years.
The article continues:

“Although the legislation will cover paid work and voluntary activities,
including sport and religious groups, it would not have prevented alleged
paedophile Dawn Reed from joining the North East martial arts club where
she has trained alongside children.

The new order will apply only to anyone jailed for more than a year for
serious criminal offences against children. Reed, 28, was acquitted of any
offence by the courts but later branded an abuser by an official report
into allegations of child abuse at a Newcastle nursery”.

291. A Home Office minister is quoted as saying that it was “vitally
important to plug the loop holes which could be exploited by paedophiles
seeking to gain access to children”.

Article 111: 23 September 1999

292. On 23 September 1999 an article was published on page 9 of the
Chronicle by Charlotte Gapper under the heading “Voices must be heard”. The
photographs of Mr Lillie and Miss Reed are published alongside the article
with the joint caption “ACCUSED”. The subject of the article is a new book
published by Beatrix Campbell and Judith Jones (one of the Defendants in
these libel proceedings) with the title “Stolen Voices”. It is described by
the Chronicle as hitting back at claims that abuse accusations are often
more fiction than fact. The authors, who both live in Newcastle, are quoted
as saying:

“This book is about a scandal. It is about a decade of discovery and
denial, a time towards the end of the 20th Century when the British state
briefly took the side of children and almost instantly recoiled from the
consequences, producing one of the most bewildering and tumultuous themes
in British politics, in policing and in the welfare professions.

The outcome? It became almost impossible for children to get justice in the
British Courts”.

293. The article goes on to describe Judith Jones as being one of the four
people on the independent Review Team, which investigated the scandal and
concluded that Miss Reed and Mr Lillie had “abused at least 60 children in
their care at a Council-run nursery”.

Other Media Coverage

294. One of the unusual features of this case is that very little was said
about the words complained of. I believe that the reasons for this are that
there was so much coverage of the Review Team’s allegations about the
Claimants that it was virtually impossible to go through it all, and
secondly the allegations were obviously so serious that there was little
room for debate on different levels or shades of meaning. At one point in
the trial I was handed a bundle labelled simply “Media Coverage” and left
to read it. Neither counsel addressed me on it at any stage, but it
nonetheless forms part of the case and I should say something about it.

295. The bundle consisted of articles and broadcast items in the aftermath
of the Report’s promulgation. Apart from the 111 articles from the
Newcastle Chronicle summarised above, there were some 306 items spread over
a period from 11 November 1998 to 12 November 1999.

296. The first item was a broadcast on BBC television at 6.30 p.m. on 11
November 1998 in anticipation of the Report’s publication the following
day. Reference was made by Luke Walton, Social Affairs Correspondent, to
“uproar when the case collapsed of two Newcastle nursery nurses charged
with indecent assault against toddlers within their care”. The story also
told how 64 children had been taken for medical assessment because they
were “showing signs of abuse”. Tony Flynn was quoted as saying, “I want the
truth to come out and I want, you know, everyone publicly to see the truth
come out at the end of the day”.

297. There was then massive coverage on the day of publication itself.
There were broadcast items on national and local television and also on a
number of radio stations. There were 61 items altogether on that day alone.
For obvious reasons, the vast majority were broadcast rather than newspaper
coverage. Some coverage was given to Professor Barker’s press conference on
Sky News, for example, at 2.00 p.m. He said:

“It’s relatively easy for a skilled person to get the general truth from
them about major issues like, who abused you. But the problem might come
that your child might get confused over whether or not the person who
abused had got a red shirt on or a blue shirt on a particular occasion”.

298. On I.R. Metro at 1.00 p.m. he said

“Whilst it is true that the risk of abuse can never be completely
eradicated, we believe that this report contains some indication of how a
system to protect children in early years and other settings can be
improved. If that happens perhaps some of the pain and suffering endured by
the children and families involved in this case may have been put to good
purpose”.

299. On BBC television, North East, at 1.32 p.m. it was said that:

“A damning report published in the last few hours has revealed a catalogue
of child abuse at a Newcastle City Council day nursery. Some of the victims
were only two years old. The Report on the running of the Nursery, which
can’t be named to protect the identity of the young victims, highlights
several key points. It names former Nursery workers, Christopher Lillie and
Dawn Reed who deliberately abused children in their care. It says others,
who weren’t officers or elected members of the Council – were also involved
in the conspiracy. Proper recruitment procedures were not followed. And
Brian Roycroft, Newcastle’s former Director of Social Services was
criticised for allowing personal relationships to interfere with management
of the case. The Report is a severe embarrassment to Newcastle City
Council…”

There was also much criticism of the perceived inadequacies of the criminal
justice system and the need for courts to be more accessible to very young
children.

300. At 6.00 a.m. on Radio 4 James Naughtie introduced an item:

“An independent Report is coming out this morning into a nursery run by
Newcastle City Council, where it is alleged more than 60 children were
sexually abused. It is expected, the Report, to be critical of the way the
council handled the really quite dreadful case. Parents say their
complaints were not taken seriously, there were not proper checks on staff.
An awful familiar story. Two nursery nurses were found not guilty of abuse
of the children in 1994. The case virtually collapsed”.

There then followed a long item including part of an interview with Claire
Routledge, the solicitor acting for some of the families, who said, “There
was quite horrific medical evidence showing very unpleasant injuries to the
children which were of a sexual nature”.

301. I have provided merely brief extracts from the saturation coverage,
since there would be little point in going into greater detail.

302. On the following day, 13 November, there was still television and
radio coverage but the newspapers, both national and local, were now able
to publish summaries of the Report. There were 42 items altogether,
including articles in the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail,
the Express, the Sun, the Daily Record, the Times, the Daily Mirror, the
Daily Star, the Western Daily Press, the Western Mail (Wales) and the
Newcastle Journal.

303. In the Guardian, for example, under the heading “Parents to sue
Council over sex abuse at Nursery”, there appeared an article by Peter
Hetherington, which included the following:

“PARENTS of young children who suffered systematic sexual abuse at a
Nursery in Newcastle Upon Tyne were last night planning to sue the City
Council for substantial damages after an independent report outlined a
string of failures by the authority.

After a lengthy investigation, following the collapse of a child abuse
trial involving two nursery nurses, a four-strong inquiry team said
toddlers had been taken away from the Nursery for short periods – and it
hinted broadly that a paedophile ring was in operation.

The team said that as well as the two nurses at the centre of the affair,
Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed, it was clear that others outside the
Nursery were involved in abusing children ‘for their own gratification and
probably also for production of pornographic materials’.

They added: ‘These people have not been found.’

With 64 children affected by abuse at the Shieldfield Nursery, and 434
formal complaints made against the Council’s Social Services department,
Clare Routledge, a solicitor representing 27 families, said her clients
intended to pursue compensation claims for all the children affected and
were preparing legal action against the council…”.

The article continues with quotations from Clare Routledge, referring to a
“paedophiles’ charter” and to the fact that paedophiles (obviously
referring, in this instance, to Mr Lillie and Miss Reed) are “sophisticated
people and they know how to target their victims and escape justice”.

304. Inside The Guardian on the same day there was a large spread under the
heading “Nursery staff ran paedophile ring”. There are pictures of Dawn
Reed and Christopher Lillie and of Professor Barker. It included the
passage:

“Crucially, the team found that as well as Lillie and Reed, others outside
the Nursery were involved in abusing children ‘probably also for the
production of pornographic material’.

The Report adds: ‘These people have not been found’.

Asked by the Guardian whether this implied the existence of a paedophile
ring, Mr Barker, after consultation with the Team’s solicitors sitting
alongside said people would have to draw their own conclusions”.

305. In the Daily Telegraph the same day, there was also extensive coverage
including the words:

“The Independent Complaints Review Team, led by Dr Richard Barker, Head of
the Division of Child Family Studies at the University of Northumbria,
Newcastle, catalogued damning evidence against the Council. It found that:
The Nursery was run for the convenience of the staff not the children.

Staff failed to recognise the distress among the abused children.

Staff ignored parents’ sex abuse concerns and blamed the families.

Parents were wrongly suspected of abuse because of staff attitudes.

There was a failure to recognise the high number of so-called ‘accidents’
that had occurred under the care of the abusers.

The Report also found the Nursery had been manipulated by Reed and Lillie
for their own purposes”.

306. The Daily Mail for the same day had a front page lead story under the
headings “NIGHTMARE AT THE NURSERY” and “Shocking report reveals how
ruthless paedophiles robbed the very young of their innocence and their
childhoods”. It was alleged that more than 60 children were involved and
continued:

“Children as young as two were repeatedly molested by staff and taken out
of the building to be supplied to paedophiles for filmed sex sessions.

The abuse led by nurses Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed left scores of
families damaged, perhaps forever. The children, robbed of their innocence
before they were old enough to go to school, are haunted by the attacks and
the accompanying threats.

They were warned that if they said anything their parents would be shot.
The abusers said they would come out of the children’s wardrobes to get
them”.

307. There was extensive coverage also inside the newspaper which included
photographs of Mr Lillie and Miss Reed, described as “partners in evil” and
“the perverted pair who violated the youngsters in their charge”. It was
said that they were appointed as child carers despite coming from disturbed
backgrounds and that neither of them should ever have been let near a
child. It also contains the following passage based on the Report:

“The Report says that there is no evidence that the pair arrived together
at the Nursery as some form of paedophile conspiracy to procure children.

It was more likely that they met by chance and that one or the other was
already connected to a paedophile group and then ‘coerced, pressurised or
encouraged the other into becoming involved into the sexual abuse and
exploitation’.”

308. There was a leading article in the Daily Mail the same day under the
heading “A depth of depravity that defies belief”:

“THERE are no words adequate to describe the perverted creatures who
inflicted such horrors on tiny children at that Nursery in Newcastle. Some
depths of human depravity simply defy belief.

Here was an environment where babies and toddlers should have been safe and
secure, a place where trained staff would care for them with warmth and
love. Instead the children were delivered into the hands of sexual
predators who systematically abused them in a manner which numbs the
imagination.

Two members of staff, Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed, made it a practice
to take toddlers -–some of them less than two years old – out of the
Nursery on the flimsiest pretexts and deliver them to convenient locations
around the city, where they were abused and filmed for the pornographic
pleasure of paedophiles.

As we report elsewhere the children lived in uncomprehending terror at what
was happening to them. Even today, some five years after Lillie and Reed
were charged, many of the children and their shattered parents need
continued therapeutic support.

… take the way Lillie got his appointment.

References and police checks were not adequately taken up. He was
unqualified. He had himself been through an unsettled childhood and home
life. He spent years in care. The Report says that ‘his experiences were
such that he should never have been allowed to work with children’…”

309. In the Express the headline was “Nursery couple sexually abused ‘up to
60 children'”. Again the allegation from the Report which was given
greatest prominence, not surprisingly, was that Mr Lillie and Miss Reed
were “part of a paedophile pornography ring”. It continued:

“Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed procured children as young as two to be
filmed as they were sexually abused, the Report found. The victims were
attacked in Nursery toilets and at Lillie’s flat.

A total of 60 children under five were examined for evidence of sexual
abuse during a police investigation”.

310. Professor Barker’s allegation is also repeated:

“It is clear others outside the Nursery were involved in abusing children
for their own gratification and probably for the production of pornographic
material”.

311. The Sun on 13 November 1998 carried the headline “Beasts abused 60
children”. Mr Lillie and Miss Reed were described as “two perverts who
abused up to 60 children and got away with it”. It continued:

“Other toddlers at the Council run centre were farmed out to the evil
pair’s paedophile pals”.

312. There was considerable coverage inside on page 9 of the newspaper
including, for example, the paragraph:

“The Report told how children were filmed as they were abused in the
Nursery toilets or at Lillie’s home to make videos for paedophiles”.

313. There was also a box in the middle of the page with the heading “HELP
US FIND THESE FIENDS”. The Sun called upon its readers to help find out
where “perverts Lillie and Reed are now”. Phone numbers were supplied so
that readers could supply relevant information.

314. The headline in The Times for 13 November was “Nursery staff ‘were
part of child sex ring'”. The introductory paragraph highlights the same
point:

“TWO Nursery teachers who allegedly abused more than 60 children in their
care were probably part of a paedophile ring, an investigation has
concluded. Some of the victims were less than two years old.”

315. Other coverage in The Times on the same day included a quotation from
the mother of Child 22:

“He had been carted around the homes of other perverts. Reed and Lillie
were not the only people to abuse him. He spoke of a man in a wheelchair
and another person he referred to as just a dafty man”.

316. In the Mirror for the same day on page 17 appeared photographs of Mr
Lillie and Miss Reed at the head of an article summarising the allegations
in the Report. There was a sub-heading “457 complaints at Nursery where
children were abused.. so why did no one in authority take action?”. Under
a photograph of Miss Reed there appears a caption “SHAMED Dawn Reed … ‘she
filmed children'”.

317. Coverage continued periodically throughout November 1998 both in
newspapers and on television. There was a further burst of activity on 11
December 1998 when the City Council gave its first response to the
recommendations of the Report. There was then a significant reduction in
coverage although allegations continued to surface regularly from time to
time. In 1999 there began to appear some balancing coverage, in the sense
that the Mail on Sunday and some other newspapers gave coverage to the
Claimants’ denials and to the possibility of their bringing defamation
proceedings to clear their names.

318. In May of that year, for example, the Journal was giving coverage to
the comments of Mr Patrick Cosgrove Q.C. and, in particular, to his warning
that it would be foolish to rely upon the Report’s findings “…that children
were subject to abuse by a paedophile group and were filmed for
pornographic purposes”. He is quoted as saying, “Given the other flaws in
the Report, it would be foolish to rely on these findings”.

319. On 21 May 1999 space was given in the Journal for Professor Barker to
reply to Mr Cosgrove under the heading “Abuse inquiry leader hits back”. On
23 May of the same year there was an article by Rosie Waterhouse in the
Mail on Sunday reporting a “Call for inquiry into ‘flawed report on Nursery
child abuse'”. Mr Arnold, leader of the opposition, was quoted as saying,
“I no longer know what to believe. I am a magistrate and I hear alarm
bells”.

320. A Conservative councillor on the other hand, Mr Mike Summersby, came
to the Report’s defence in the correspondence columns of the Journal on 24
May:

“GIVEN what is at stake for those concerned, we should not be too surprised
by recent attacks on the Abuse In Early Years Report.

These spurious attacks, together with belated protestations of the
innocence of Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed by two journalists whose
speciality is to challenge legal decisions, have all the appearance of an
orchestrated campaign designed to create a climate of doubt around the
findings of the independent Review Team which investigated abuse in a
Newcastle Council-run Nursery.

This may be of some value to the Council’s insurers. Coincidentally, of
course. But those best served by the Report’s critics are child abusers
everywhere. They will take great comfort in the certain knowledge that
there will always be those in high legal places who will come to their aid
with suggestions that the abuse is more likely to be at home and that,
anyway, the evidence of very young children is unreliable.

Paedophiles will know that, provided they are careful to select nursery age
victims, they face little danger of being convicted”.

321. There is no need for me to set out further citations from the very
extensive coverage given over that period. It will suffice to say that
there are many repetitions of the grave allegations about the Claimants
contained in the Review Team’s Report (as well as a small number of
misrepresentations or distortions). In so far as they were natural and
foreseeable consequences of the original publication, the Claimants seek to
recover compensation from the Review Team in respect of those
republications.

5) The issues raised in the litigation

322. The Claimants have brought separate proceedings, in which for the most
part the issues overlap, against the Newcastle City Council (first
Defendant), Professor Richard Barker (second Defendant), Judith Jones
(third Defendant), Jacqui Saradjian (fourth Defendant), and Roy Wardell
(fifth Defendant). Throughout the proceedings, for convenience, the second
to fifth Defendants have been referred to as the “Review Team”.

323. Reliance is placed on various publications of the allegations
contained in the Report officially published on 12 November 1998. Although
commissioned by the Newcastle City Council, the members of the Review Team
were supposed to be genuinely independent of it and, accordingly, it has
not been suggested that the Council is vicariously responsible for the
primary publication by the Team members of the Report itself shortly before
12 November 1998. On the other hand, not surprisingly, they have received
an indemnity from the Council in respect of any liability brought about by
their publication of Report.

324. The Claimants have selected certain passages in the Report for
complaint. It is necessary to set them out in full, as it is the various
publications of these words that constitute the cause or causes of action
(the numbering on the left relates to pages in the Report). These are the
passages complained of by Dawn Reed:

“i We have concluded that many children, some less than two years of age,
were abused both in and outside the nursery.

We have found many of the events and incidents that were believed by some
to indicate a conspiracy proved to have taken place. However having
carefully considered all the evidence available we conclude that we are
satisfied that there was no organised planned conspiracy by Newcastle City
Council officers and elected members to procure children at Shieldfield
nursery for abuse, or to cover up what happened at the nursery and
elsewhere. We do think that there are individuals—Chris Lillie and Dawn
Reed—who did probably conspire with others unknown, but we conclude that
these others were not officers or elected members of the City Council.

iii There was a failure to notice and consider the significance of the
large number of ‘accidents’ Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed recorded on children
in their care, and a subsequent failure to notice and consider that an
accident book covering the period immediately prior to Chris Lillie’s
suspension is missing.

Children were frequently and inappropriately taken out of the nursery by
Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed on the flimsiest of pretexts ….

v A lack of an overall steer by Brian Roycroft and a low key response to
the first allegations from within the nursery sector contributed to the
nursery staff and their management’s denial that abuse had occurred for
some months after the first suspension ……….

………..Over 1450 children came into contact with Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed
during their training and employment, and whilst many have been identified
the information given to some parents minimised what might have happened.
There has been an apparent failure to contact or evaluate some of the
children concerned.

1 This document considers the case of young children abused whilst they
were being cared for outside their families. The location of the abuse was
initially perceived to be in one small group of children, the evidence is
that it was much more widespread than that.

2 Police and Social Services child protection investigations led to papers
being submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service and a subsequent criminal
trial which collapsed in the initial stages when the judge directed that
‘not guilty’ verdicts be returned on the two defendants. This was because
of problems which were anticipated in dealing with the evidence of young
children, as the defendants had not admitted to the charges.

18 We are …. deeply aware that many parents prior to and immediately after
our appointment had been terribly keen that the review into Shieldfield
should be held in public, in part to compensate for what they perceived as
the prematurely truncated public court proceedings involving the two
alleged perpetrators of the abuse.

20 In the case of the nursery staff, parents were not always clear about
who might be the subject of their complaint—for example, many parents
complained that staff in the nursery should have noticed the effects of
abuse amongst the nursery children cared for by Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed.

25 The overriding concern of parents was that children left in the care of
staff at Shieldfield Social Services day nursery were abused.

27 The overall concern in this category was that it was the poor management
of the nursery that created the condition which allowed the children in the
nursery to be abused.

The complaints specifically referred to: …………………

•the lack of effective management of Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed and/or lack
of the proper supervision of Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed

29 The overall concern was that the abuse has gone on unnoticed, and that
there were behaviour and incidents that the nursery staff should have
picked up and seen as signs of something untoward occurring.

43 The college also stated that at the time of the (alleged) offences Chris
Lillie and Dawn Reed were Newcastle City Council employees: ‘there is no
responsibility on the college concerning any checks or supervision related
to their employment’. This appeared to overlook the possibility that Chris
Lillie and Dawn Reed could have abused children whilst on placement, and
seemed to minimise the college’s responsibility as the educators and
trainers of Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed for their future practice.

63 On 12 May 1993 [Dawn Reed] was suspended from duty and on 22 April 1994,
was dismissed after a disciplinary hearing on the grounds that she
sexually, physically and verbally abused children attending the nursery.
She appealed within the Council’s internal disciplinary procure against
this decision and on 11 May 1994, her appeal was unsuccessful and the
decision to dismiss was confirmed.

90–1 In one case a member of staff was rightly concerned about an actual
injury to a child’s vagina. She acted appropriately and took the child to
be examined. Susan Eyeington was able to recall this incident but dismissed
it as saying she believed that the child ‘had fallen or had had some
accident at home’. Other staff told us that they knew that this child was
very frightened of going into the Red Room. However we do not know if Susan
Eyeington was aware of this at the time. She was unable to reconsider this
in hindsight of what is now believed to have happened at Shieldfield
nursery. When asked the same question as almost everyone else who was
interviewed by the Review Team, Susan Eyeington did say that she thought
that ‘something awful’ happened at Sheildfield nursery. When asked to
explore that further she was eventually able to say by that she meant ‘it
had come to light that a number of children have been abused’. Regardless
of her knowledge that Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed had been dismissed for the
abuse of children, she struggled to associate those two workers,
particularly Dawn Reed, with the abuse of those children.

106 Following the action against Chris Lillie … Dawn Reed had four weeks to
manipulate the evidence in the nursery if she so wished. If there were
other perpetrators in the nursery they also had time to pressurise
children, and to interfere with evidence.

135 It has been clear to the Review Team that in considering a way forward
in the investigation of sexual abuse of very young children we must
question the pivotal role of the video interview in the investigation. Its
central importance will for good reason concern parents who may feel that
the court processes which might flow from it might be not only abusive but
also, as in this case, disappointing.

143 It was decided that the situations of all the children attending the
nursery during April 1993 (Stage I) and all the children who had attended
the nursery whilst Chris Reed and Dawn Reed had worked there (Stage II)
should be examined. It was agreed that Social Services and the police would
make contact with all the parents who currently had children attending the
nursery. It was noted at this meeting that over 200 children had passed
through the nursery during the period of Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed’s
employment. The potential enormity was being considered. …… The information
that was presented was that there were 26 children about whom there were
concerns, including changes of behaviour, sore bottoms, sexualised
behaviour, and changes in toileting habits.

148 During September a child who had previously been at the nursery began
to disclose abuse by Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed. This child, child F, was
medically examined and clear evidence of sexual abuse followed. Over three
video interviews, she detailed abuse of herself and other children by Chris
Lillie, and to a lesser extent Dawn Reed, and she also mentioned other
nursery staff’s names. Her testimony in these videos, which we have seen,
is extremely powerful and provided persuasive evidence of her abuse in the
nursery and elsewhere.

150 By September news of the allegations had begun to reach other parents;
in addition many of those parents who had thought that their child had not
been hurt, were thinking otherwise as their children began to talk. Some of
these children were found to have medical evidence of abuse. Nursery staff
told us that the situation was becoming very difficult. They had expected
that there would be an improvement and a return to normal, even that Chris
Lillie and Dawn Reed would return to work. However by September there were
further disclosures, further police action and a growing realisation of the
seriousness now reflected in the remand of Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed. The
conclusions that something very wrong had occurred at the nursery was
unavoidable.

154 In relation to the possibilities of ongoing child protection concerns
about children with whom Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed had come into contact,
a process developed in which, as we have shown, children were categorised
into 3 different Stages. The Part 8 Overview Report notes that Stage I
constituted those 60 children who had places at the nursery on April 16
1993, the day Chris Lillie was suspended, Stage II those 230 children who
had had places at the nursery during the period of Chris Lillie and Dawn
Reed’s employment there, and Stage III those 1162 children who Chris Lillie
and Dawn Reed would appear to have had contact with during their careers as
nursery workers, childminders, relief residential staff, etc. Therefore, at
least 1452 children were potentially involved.

155 In relation to their role as employers, as outlined elsewhere in this
document, the Social Services Department suspended Chris Lillie in April
and Dawn Reed in May 1993 and subsequently dismissed them for sexually,
physically and verbally abusing children.

156 Stage III … involved the examination of the large number of children
with whom Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed had come into contact prior to working
at Shieldfield nursery. The need for such an investigation occurs because
evidence tends to indicate that those who sexually abuse children tend to
have a long history of involvement in such activity—this had been
highlighted by the case of Frank Beck whose history of abuse as a
residential social worker with children for Leicester Social Services
Department and others, received widespread publicity when he was found
guilty on 17 counts of sexual and physical assaults of children in his care
(including buggery and rape) on 29th November 1991 …

159 We were told that the results of Stage III were that no children
emerged about whom there were child protection concerns relating to Chris
Lillie and Dawn Reed. …. It is the Review Team’s opinion as we discuss
later, that this conclusion was not merited on the basis of the evidence we
heard and saw. There is evidence, some of which is detailed below, that
possible abuse by Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed was missed in Stage III, that
some situations were never assessed at all, and that in some cases the
approach was too low key and minimised the possibilities of abuse.

162 On 7 March 1994 a memo from the computer data advisor gave details of
establishments and settings worked in by Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed and
their ‘risk’ ratings. An undated list of March 1994 we have seen appears to
be this rating ….

163 ….. The notion of risk and abuse is problematic. Whilst it is clear
that there may have been a difference of opportunity between different
settings, it is not automatically the case that those in ‘low risk’ groups
were necessarily safer than those in ‘high risk’ groups. …. Unfortunately,
we also do not feel that those who abuse children cannot also abuse adults,
eg in the Frank Beck case he abused both children and adults, the latter
did not necessarily find it any easier to report the abuse.

We feel that was an error of judgment to have classified Stage III in this
way, all those whom Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed had been in contact with,
including the residents of elderly homes, should have been considered to
have potentially been equally at risk.

170 Fernwood, a large Victorian House set in extensive grounds, was a
residential establishment based approximately one mile away from
Shieldfield nursery. …. Whilst it was still a children’s home, on two
separate occasions sibling pairs of young children were placed in Fernwood,
the J’s and the K’s. Because of their ages, it was decided to use nursery
staff to assist in their care, and Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed were amongst
the limited number of staff who volunteered, for overtime pay, to care for
these children after their normal working day at the nursery ……

…. One little boy who was cared for by Dawn Reed exhibited sexualised
behaviour which concerned staff and was recorded……

171 …..One set of siblings, noted as having been moved out of the area
having been returned to the care of their parents, the implications being
that they were not contactable. The parents were therefore unaware of the
potential risk from Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed…….. The other brother and
sister were picked up by Stage III. Indeed they were interviewed because
social workers were concerned about their recording in the day book. We
were able to interview the social worker who was able to confirm that he
did speak to the boy, who by this time was 8 years old and able to speak
coherently. He described being cared at Fernwood by a woman, for a short
time, who had hurt him and frightened him.

172 ………..we asked Mike Murphy for his views. He agreed that there was a
high risk that these children had been abused in care …..

…. Fernwood thus needed to be included as part of Stage III of the
investigation. It was not clear which children other than the J’s and the
K’s Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed had been in contact with, some children and
young people were still in local authority care, others were not. The
records, which differ, indicate that between 44 and 50 children were
involved from Fernwood.

178 We are also concerned that clear evidence from Stage III, that some of
the children involved appeared to have been abused by Chris Lillie and Dawn
Reed, was misinterpreted and not followed through appropriately. We
conclude therefore, that the results of Stage III indicate that some of the
children in these various other settings had also possibly been abused by
Chris Lillie and/or Dawn Reed.

196 …. As has been mentioned, nearby in the city of Newcastle immediately
prior to these events, other parents had experienced their children being
abused whilst in the care of local authority employees, when Jason Dabbs, a
student on placement in a local authority nursery, sexually abused
children, and was subsequently imprisoned. …. We have been told that the
Shieldfield parents were able to learn from some of the experiences of the
Dabbs parents.

198 This plan noted that two nursery nurses were, at that time, in custody
on charges of sexual abusing up to 240 children who had been in their care
in the nursery.

209 Whilst it is recognised that the following sections may be very
difficult and distressing to read, the Review Team felt that it was
important that the children’s disclosures were described. ….. The children
described what had happened to them at the nursery prior to the suspension
of Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed over the months that followed. Many of these
disclosures were not included as part of the criminal proceedings.

Both girls and boys describe being sexually assaulted in Shieldfield
nursery and when they were taken out of the nursery. Within the nursery the
children only name Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed as the perpetrators of abuse.
However two children both mentioned that another member of nursery staff
(Jackie) dealt with them when they were bleeding after being abused. The
member of staff denies this occurred. When taken out of the nursery a
number of children describe other people also being involved in the abuse.

The children not only described what happened to them but also what they
saw happening to other children. On the basis of these disclosures,
children who had not been able to talk of their experiences or because of
their young age could not talk of their experiences were identified. When
investigations were carried out, in many of these cases physical evidence
was found that validated the children’s testimonies.

210—216 At the nursery

Boys and girls describe being sexually assaulted and witnessing other
children being sexually assaulted by Chris Lillie and to a lesser extent by
Dawn Reed. These assaults were said to have taken place in the toilets, in
a cupboard, and in the play house at the nursery. For example one boy said
that Chris Lillie had held his penis and ‘rubbed it until it hurt’. One
girl said that when she was angry with her at lunchtime, Dawn Reed had
taken her to the toilet and put cutlery into ‘into her bum and fairy’.
Another child said a ‘hammer with water coming out of it ‘was put into her
‘jenny’, her ‘bottom’ and ‘on her head’. Another child describes Chris
Lillie ‘weeing on his hair’. Children also describe being shouted at and
hit, particularly by Dawn Reed. One child said that ‘Dawn did most of the
scary stuff’.

Out of the nursery – the places to which children say they were taken

Children describe being taken to many places by Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed.
Some of these trips out seemed to be innocuous while at other times the
children describe being taken to places where they were abused. The
children said that they were taken to ‘the library’ but said they were
‘different libraries’. They said various things about these libraries such
as they had no books and you could eat there and sleep there. The places
that the children later pointed out to be libraries were in fact normal
houses and flats.

The children were able to take parents to and/or describe places to which
the parents had no idea their children had ever been. Parents were also
surprised at the level of distress and panic some children experienced when
they went to these places. Sometime in the course of a routine journey, a
child would suddenly become distressed and identify a place that they said
they had been taken to by Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed. One child had such a
reaction to a house near St Dominic’s. The child said that that was ‘where
Chris lives, other people go there too. Dawn goes with us and that’s where
she hurts children’. One child took his family near to a railway track
where he says he was taken by Chris Lillie. Where he pointed to looked like
a dead end but he said there was a gap in the fence and hedge to get
through and on the other side was ‘a long house’. On further investigation
the parents found that the child was correct; there was a path through on
the other side of which were two mobile homes. However the child then
panicked saying ‘Don’t go in. Your bum will get sore’. When investigating
this place the police found a half burnt pair of child’s underpants, of a
similar colour, style and make to one that the child was missing. One child
described a house with a garden. Another child talked of going to a place
where horses were. The child describes falling asleep and waking up with no
clothes on. He said Dawn covered him with a blanket.

Several children told of a house with a black door in a named road.
Children were also able to give a detailed description of the man who lived
in the house which proved to be accurate. A parent said that when she took
her child near that house she ‘regressed and went into a panic state’. The
child said ‘the man who lived there was known as her daddy’. Children also
talked of being taken into lifts to flats. Children talked of going to
Chris Lillie’s home and children identified this accurately. All the places
that the children identified were within walking distances of Shieldfield
nursery, close to local parks or en route to the Civic Centre.

Two member of the Review Team were taken by a parent on the route that her
child had taken her from Shieldfield nursery to what is now know to be
Chris Lillie’s home, at the time, in Red Barnes. The members of the Team
were struck by the complexity and intricacy of the route, which was not the
most direct one and which would have been unknown to many local residents,
let alone a very young child. The Team members shared the parent’s surprise
as to how a child could have know such a route.

As well as taking children out with Dawn Reed, Chris Lillie also took
children out alone, for example to pick up pay slips or to go to a shop or
hairdressers.

What children say they experienced

Children describe acts that they endured in these places that would be
difficult to understand as anything other than sexual, physical and
emotional abuse by Chris Lillie and/or Dawn Reed and/or other people. They
describe other people being present some of the time. One child said ‘they
gave you to strangers’. Sometime the children referred to these people as
‘other mummies and daddies’. In these places the children describe cameras,
including video cameras, being used.

They described ‘games’ which included doctors and nurses. The described a
‘white ambulance car and being been cranked up like a hospital bed’.
Another child told her mother she had been to the seaside and laid on
towels. The children describe Chris and Dawn being in bed together with no
clothes on; ‘Chris lying on Dawn’s tummy’; ‘they were fighting in bed with
no clothes on’ and ‘a child being in the bed with them’; Dawn being in the
bath with children, one child said that she and another child had to sit in
the bath with Dawn ‘like fairies and not cry’. One child described as Chris
Lillie’s ‘willy pointing to the ceiling’. A child talked about ‘Chris’s
willy getting bigger and sweeties would come out and I (the child) would
get some’. The same child talked of ‘more than one willy’. Another child
talked of ‘the daft man hurting my bottom’. The child said that ‘Chris had
told him he’s daft and it wouldn’t happen again but it did’. It was
reported children said that ‘he made blood in their bottoms’ and ‘he turned
tiddlers round and round’. One child described how Chris Lillie had put
‘his tiddler in her fairy’ while she was sitting on the edge of a settee in
his house. Some children (boys and girls) also physically illustrated how
they were held and what was done to them while in this position indicating
they had been raped. They also demonstrated what had been done to them by
using dolls and/or teddy bears.

Several children described being give an injection which, we deduce from
their descriptions, contained some form of analgesic. One child described
injections in the arms, legs, and bottoms that ‘make me go whoooo’ and
‘they hurt my fairy’ but after injections ‘it did not hurt’. Another child
said it make ‘bottoms feel alright’. Another child called it ‘nice juice
into bottoms so it would not hurt’, and another said needles in his bottom
‘make him dead’. Another child also talked of ‘nasty people’ putting ‘cream
on bottom’.

Other people children say were involved

Children described several other adults being involved in the abuse of
them; ‘an old woman who looked funny like a man’; ‘man dressed as a woman’;
‘Kelly’; ‘lady’, ‘Michelle, with red hair’; ‘Neil who had a camcorder, he
was laughing’; ‘a woman called Doreen’; ‘Doreen was in bed with Chris’; ‘a
nasty doctor – Alistair with brown hair’; ‘Larry – no eyes and a dog’;
‘Susan and James (big people)’.

Apart from Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed there is no evidence that any other
staff of the nursery were involved in the abuse of children. Two children
did suggest that a third member of staff was involved; but they each named
a different person, so that their allegations were wholly uncorroborated.
Both persons were questioned by the police, who took no further action. We
accept that Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed were the only nursery staff involved
in the abuse.

Strategies which appear to have been used to control the children

Children have variously stated they have been ‘shouted at’, ‘sworn at’,
‘smacked’, ‘pinched’, ‘hit’ and ‘locked in cupboards’, ‘punched in the
belly’, ‘hit on the willy’, called ‘a bastard’, ‘naughty’, ‘horrible’, and
‘shitty knickers’ by Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed.

They also describe many threats if they told about what was happening.
These threats were in relation to the children themselves, their parents or
grandparents. For example children were led to believe that they or their
family would die. They say they were told ‘a man will shoot daddy’; ‘a boy
and girl had been stabbed because they told their mum’; ‘Chris could get
into the house at any time and mum will die’. Other threats the children
were able to talk about were of monsters, and a dog that would hurt you or
scratch your fairy (vagina). One child described Dawn Reed stabbing an
orange and saying that she would do that to their eyes. The children were
told that the police did not believe children and if children told they
would be locked up. Another child said that if they told the lift doors
would get stuck and they would stay in the lift forever.

Behaviours the children were said to exhibit

Complainants describe changes in their children’s behaviours after they
attended the nursery. A number of parents describe talking about their
concerns in relation to their children’s behaviours to staff at the
nursery. In some cases parents say they told Susan Eyeington and/or Audrey
Palmer about the difficulties but in most cases they say that Dawn Reed was
the person they discussed the child’s difficulties with as she was the
class teacher. However whoever they told of their concerns they say that
the member of staff dismissed them as being ‘normal’, ‘the terrible twos’,
or due to something that was happening in the family.

The most common symptoms parents described was an increase in wetting and
to a lesser degree, soiling. Many children were described as being afraid
of going to the toilet. Children who had been previously ‘potty/toilet
trained’ regressed to having frequent ‘accidents’. A number of children
developed urinary tract problems from trying to retain urine and some
children developed problems with constipation. Children experienced
soreness of the genital and/or anal region which was generally attributed
to ‘wetting’ or children not ‘wiping themselves properly’ after going to
the toilet. There was more than one incident involving blood on knickers or
in nappies.

Parents also noted that children they had previously experienced as
cheerful, confident, outgoing and/or friendly, became withdrawn, unhappy
and had a tendency to be frightened of and/or aggressive towards strangers.
A number of parents describe children seeming ‘cut off’ at time, as if in a
daze. There was a higher level of ‘clinging’ to parents and a reluctance to
be left at the nursery. Parents described children screaming and/or crying
on the way to the nursery.

Parents described an increase in difficult behaviours including an increase
in tantrums. Some children’s speech regressed and/or was inhibited and when
the abuse was disclosed their speech seemed to improve dramatically.
Parents described children regressing in other ways such as going back to
using a dummy or a comfort blanket and needing a sleep in the day.

Many children became quite aggressive and would direct this aggression
towards adults, including their parents and also towards other children.
Some children began to harm themselves in some way; hitting themselves,
head-banging, picking at their skin.

Almost all the complainants described behaviours that indicated the
children had a high level of fear. At night this manifested itself as
sleeping difficulties which included frequent nightmares and waking from
sleep shouting and screaming, difficulties in going to bed and only being
able to sleep in bed with their parent/s.

The children were also described as seeming to develop a great many fears
of things to which they had previously not shown any distress. These fears
manifested themselves during the day as well as by night. Parents related
children showing uncharacteristic terror in relation to nappy cream, baths,
loud noises, lifts, old women, men on roofs, an elderly man, dogs, ghosts,
monsters, clowns, masks, dressing up clothes, things in a box, and the baby
buggy. Several children developed a terror of needles &syringes) and some
were terrified of doctors.

Many parents described their children becoming extremely anxious and
distressed if they were called ‘naughty’. Some children repeatedly
questioned parents about whether or not they were naughty.

Several parents noted that their children exhibited symptoms of panic and
extreme fear when taken near specific places and/or houses to which the
parent had no knowledge of the child ever having been taken.

Children were said to have an unusual concern about the well-being of their
parents, worrying that they would die. One parent described her child as
‘obsessed by death’.

Many parents noticed their children engaging in sexualised behaviour. This
involved touching their own genitals and inserting objects into their
genitals and anus. Children were also seen to try and act sexually with
other children, at the nursery and/or in the family, and towards adults
both male and female. Parents also noted that children used sexual words
not used at home. A number of the children also drew pictures which had
sexual aspects.

Physical evidence of abuse

Many of the children were taken to have internal examinations. The majority
of the children were seen by Dr Lazaro. She found physical evidence in
numerous children of penetrative injury. In four children testing also
revealed the presence of a bacterium that was found in the anus which is
much more commonly found in the throat. Dr Lazaro describes this as an
unusual finding which suggested a common source.

A number of parents also noted that during the time the children were in
the care of Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed they were frequently bruised.
Initially they attributed this to normal childhood ‘rough and tumble’ but
after the disclosure of the abuse they considered that some of these
bruises may have had a more malevolent cause.

217 -218 Many aspects of the children’s evidence that could be verified and
were checked out, proved to be accurate. We do know that they were taken
out of the nursery more by Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed than anyone else. We
do know that the managers of the nursery sometimes said that Chris Lillie,
Dawn Reed and the children were in a specific place but they were not. The
man the children said lived in the house with the black door did look
exactly as the children described him. Chris Lillie did live in the place
that the children said he did and more than one child could describe how to
get to his home from the nursery. We know that Chris Lillie took a large
number of photographs of children, that he regularly borrowed a video
camera, and that he told people he could copy videos at home. We also know
there was physical evidence corresponding to the sexual assaults that the
children said had occurred. In Chris Lillie’s interview with the police, he
admitted taking one boy to his flat (although he did not admit to the abuse
of the child). The Review Team believe this indicates that for some reason
which we have been unable to determine, this child was of particular
significance in this case.

Process

Despite the methodological difficulties when the information collected was
examined in its totality, the Review Team were impressed by how compatible
the process of the disclosures were with how research indicates it is
typical for pre-school children to describe traumatic events such as sexual
abuse. The review Team was also impressed at the consistency of the core of
the children’s disclosures while there were significant individual
differences in the accounts. The individual differences would be expected
due to the individual differences in the sense they were able to make out
of such unfamiliar experiences. This pattern of presentation of information
lends credence to the validity of the disclosures.

219—220 The Review Team concluded that the style of the children’s
disclosures related closely to their template suggested by our expert
witnesses as indicating non-suggestive disclosures. The children were more
likely to describe events that happened in the nursery and the ‘library’
rather than in less familiar places. They were also more likely to report
experiences with CL and DR than with other people who may have less
familiar. The children describe many sexual acts which were evidently
central to their experiences with these carers.

While accepting that very young children can misinterpret some events and
experiences, during the lengthy process of the investigations, criminal and
disciplinary, the perpetrators have never been able to offer an alternative
explanation to account for the children’s knowledge and disclosures.
Professor Davies states that it is very unlikely that children of this age
tell convincing lies about sexual acts. He emphasises that children of this
agree can lie but that these lies are not elaborate and usually consist
solely of an assertion or denial.

Professor Davies recommends that in evaluating a child’s statements it is
important to scrutinise very carefully the history of those statements. Was
the name of the accused suggested or did the statement consistently
identify the accused from the earliest stage? As far as it was possible to
do so, the Review Team considered the children’s statements in the light of
this advice. In doing so the Review Team was convinced of the spontaneity
of disclosures particularly in relation to: the acts children endured, the
involvement of other people, the use of cameras, and syringes, and that
Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed had both been consistently, and differently,
implicated as the perpetrators of those acts from the earliest stages.

It is highly likely that the original disclosure was in fact ‘accidental’,
that is the child did not intend to disclose that he was being sexually
abused and the mother had no intention of eliciting a disclosure. The child
could not have been aware of the significance of his response and would not
have initially realised that he made disclosures. Sorenson and Snow
describe how this is a common process of disclosure for pre-school
children.

221 In the case involving the children at the Shieldfield nursery, not only
are there very compelling aspects of both the content of the children’s
evidence and the process by which the evidence became known, there is also
a considerable volume of medical and circumstantial evidence that verifies
many of the children’s disclosures.

223 In addition it is now recognised that children who are not themselves
the direct victims of sexual assaults nor have been made to touch adults or
other children in a sexual manner but who are present while this occurs to
other children are also likely to have suffered serious psychological
damage as a result of trauma. In an environment where children are
physically and sexually abused by staff, a corrupt culture is established
which facilitates that abuse. This culture often involves the terrorising
of the children and/or the rewarding of the children for behaviours that
are grossly inappropriate. Thus some children in contact with Chris Lillie
and Dawn Reed may not have been directly sexually abused but may have
suffered trauma from being within this environment and from what they have
seen happening to other children. Research shows that children who have
endured abuse and children who have witnessed the abuse of others within a
corrupt environment created to facilitate such abuse, are susceptible to
developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

223—224 Conclusions in relation to the children’s disclosures

Whilst to an adult much of what the children say may appear confused and
hard to believe, the Review Team has formed the view that the children
attempted to describe to the best of their abilities experiences that were
cognitively and emotionally overwhelming for them, which they did not fully
understand, nor for which they had the appropriate language.

We have considered that some of what we have heard has come via the parents
in statements to us which we took some time after the events. Thus we have
assumed some changes from the original disclosures due to the time lag and
the hearsay nature of the evidence. Thus whilst we cannot form an opinion
about the veracity of each individual disclosure we are impressed by the
compelling nature of the core factors in these disclosures: children were
hurt, they were hurt involving sexual acts, they were hurt both in the
nursery and when they were taken out to other places, some of which were
houses, flats and a caravan, they were told that some of these places were
libraries or Chris Lillie’s home, sometimes other people were present and
involved in the hurting, sometime videos and photographs were taken of
them, that the children were very frightened and many were almost certainly
traumatised by their experiences.

227 One of the terms of reference of the Review Team was to consider how a
sexually abusive situation was set up and maintained at Shieldfield
nursery…..

…. It is our hope that by trying to analyse closely what we know occurred
at Shieldfield and the context in which it happened ….

228 No one other than those that perpetrated that abuse can provide
definitive knowledge as to how this was carried out and those perpetrators
that we know of have declined to talk to us. Therefore what follows can
only be speculation based on those aspects of the situation that we do know
about placed within a theoretical framework of what is known about
perpetrators of child abuse.

The Review Team finding as to what occurred at Shieldfield nursery

We have considered various possibilities as to the meaning of the
disclosures made by the children. We have concluded that it is most likely
there were two simultaneous arenas in which the children were being
sexually, physically, emotionally abused:

1. That Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed, sometimes in conjunction with other
people outside the nursery, participated in sexual acts with children which
at time involved the making of illegal child pornography.

2. That Chris Lillie also regularly sexually abused children acting alone
both inside and outside the nursery. These sexual assaults took place in
various places within the nursery, in particular the toilets adjacent to
the Red Room.

In addition the children were physically and emotionally abused both inside
and outside the nursery by Dawn Reed and Chris Lillie in order to attempt
to ensure the children’s compliance and prevent disclosure of the abuses.

229 How Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed came to be together at Shieldfield
nursery

The Review Team deliberated over various suggestions as to how Chris Lillie
and Dawn Reed may have come to act together at Shieldfield nursery to abuse
children. …..

…….. It is possible that they met by chance at the nursery; that either DR
or CL had connections to a paedophile group; and, that one coerced,
pressurised or encouraged the other into becoming involved in the sexual
abuse and exploitation.

The third possibility is that someone arranged for one or both of them to
obtain posts at Shieldfield nursery so that they could provide children for
sexual use and exploitation. This could have been someone within Social
Services, someone at the nursery, someone at the college or someone from an
unidentified area also common to them both.

232—3 CL and DR decided not to be interviewed by the Review Team and not
enough is known about their lives, beliefs, nor the true relationship
between them to be able to categorically say what their specific
motivations were to sexually, emotionally and physically abuse children.

…. Sexual offenders tend to think in a distorted way about the children
that they sexually abuse which makes them feel they are entitled to meet
their needs, whatever they may be, by abusing those children. Thus they
tend to objectify the children, and put into these children whatever
characteristic they want which will enable the abuser to abuse them. There
are many ways of doing this. Some abusers construct ‘a special
relationship’ between themselves and the children. They then see the abuse
of the child as ‘a natural expression of that relationship’. Some abusers
objectify the children by making them ‘bad’ and behaving as if those
children deserve to be hurt. In the case of Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed
there are some indications that they used both these justifications. Chris
Lillie particularly was seen as having special relationships with some
children. There is also evidence that both Dawn Reed and Chris Lillie
objectified the children in a highly negative manner, making the children
out to be bad. This can be surmised from the names the children said they
called them, such as ‘bastard, horrible, shitty knickers’.

233 As CL and DR refused to be interviewed we cannot conclusively determine
their personal motivations to abuse children, nor can we conclude what
internal inhibitions they had against doing so and how they overcame any
such inhibitions. However much more can be said about how they overcame the
external inhibitors to allow them to gain access to children, to be with
those children and have the opportunity to offend.

236 It appears that CL and DR took advantage of the re-organisation of the
groups in the nursery to manipulate the situation so that they were working
together with children aged between two to three years old ….

237 …….The location of the nursery and the fact that the little garden
there was, was out of use for some time meant that there was an acceptance
in the nursery that children would be taken out regularly ….

…….The role of DR was vital in enabling this to happen. While the nursery
staff and many of the parents admit to finding it hard to believe and
accept that Chris Lillie was alleged to have sexually abused children, they
found it far more difficult to accept that Dawn Reed could have done so. In
part this was because she appeared to them to be ‘so normal’, a person that
many of them like but more than that, it was because she was a woman. Women
in our society are seen as carers, nurturers protectors and sexually
passive. The idea that a woman particularly a young, bright, articulate and
heterosexual woman such as Dawn Reed could be involved in the sexual abuse
of children in this way for many people is unthinkable. Consequently people
were far less questioning than they may have been, of the fact that Chris
Lillie was repeatedly taking groups of children out of the nursery than
they would have been if he had always done so alone or with another male.
The children were considered safe as they were with her.

238—239 Due to the young age of the children, it would not have been
difficult for CL, DR and/or any other abusers to overcome the child’s
resistance. …..

….. From the descriptions of staff, parents and what we know from the
children, it would seem probable that DR and CL manipulated the children by
being very rewarding to them and then being very punitive. It has been
shown that very young children are very sensitive to this kind of treatment
and subsequently become highly attuned to the moods of their carers. Thus
the children would have learned not to do anything to go against them nor
to displease them in any way. From what the children and staff have said
Dawn Reed was more effective in instilling fear and controlling the
children than Chris Lillie seems to have been.

Initially the children would not have understood the nature of the acts
that were taking place. From what the children say it seems that the
children were often abused in the context of games or being made to play
‘lets pretend’. One particular game described seems to have involved
children playing chase with ‘water pistols’. When the children began to
recognise that these ‘games’ led to the pain and discomfort associated with
the sexual assaults, any resistance they then put up could have easily been
overcome by threats and physical abuse. From the disclosures of the
children and the degree of terror they showed at times to a whole range of
objects, people and places, it is highly probably that the main technique
used to overcome any resistance of the children was threatening behaviours
and physical assaults.

The coding on the registers at the nursery could have conveyed at a glance
to any potential abuser important information that could be used in
manipulating a child to comply with abuse and also the most effective way
of instilling fear in that child to try and prevent the risk of disclosure.

In addition, the children’s disclosures would indicate that some of them
were injected with some form of medication that reduced the children’s
abilities to physically and/or emotionally resist the abuses perpetrated
against them.

239 Instilling fear in the child also appeared to be the main means by
which the children were prevented from disclosing what was happening to
them. Once children had made any disclosures about what had happened to
them children tended to believe that something terrible would happen to
themselves and/or one or both of their parents. Many of the children
believed a dog would get to them and hurt them. Many were terrified that
someone close to them, particularly a parent or a grandparent would die. It
is likely that these were the threats made to the children as to what would
happen if anyone found out about the abuse……

………. The children also talked about other people’s involvement and
mentioned the names of other staff from the nursery. This could be because
these staff were also involved but it could also be that CL and/or DR
deliberately confused the children into making these often isolated
disclosures so that if any disclosures were made they were all the more
unbelievable.

244 What emerges from an analysis of the relevant documents is that:

1. There appears to be the possibility that CL and DR abused children and
covered their activities by recording fictional accidents to disguise
either physical abuse or signs of distress caused by the abuse.

252 As evidence began to emerge what might have happened to children who
had been in CL and DR’s case in Shieldfield nursery and elsewhere,
alongside the investigation a number of children and parents began to need
a therapeutic service.

259 As the children who were abused by CL, DR and others grow and develop,
there will be a continuing need to provide age appropriate services at
particular points in the future.

260 From our enquiries we can suggest that these children were dealing with
a number of significant issues resulting from the abuse and to which
attention should be paid by those offering a service. The factors which may
have made an impact on an individual child are:

•that some children were made to believe that their parents delivered them
to the abuse and that they knew about it

•that the distress the child was showing was not recognised as being
associated with abuse and was often attributed to home circumstances or the
child’s age

•that the child may have been led to believe that the abuser had power over
all the child’s world

•that the child was led to believe that the abuser had power over life and
death including the well being of relatives

•that the child was told the abuse was as a consequence of them being ‘bad’

•that the child and those close to the child would be harmed if the child
told

•that the child may have experienced abuses other than sexual, such as
physical assaults, emotional humiliation and rejection

•that the child may have been abused in a group where there were
hierarchies imposed by the perpetrators

•that the child may have seen other children abused, or made to abuse others

•that the child still may not feel protected from those who hurt him/her

•that the child may not feel that they have received justice from the adult
world.

264 From the evidence we have seen, it is clear that CL and DR had
conspired as a pair to abuse children, and it is also clear that other
people outside the nursery were also involved.

265 We do think that there are individuals—CL and DR—who did probably
conspire with others unknown, but we conclude that those others were not
officers or elected members of the City Council.

268 CL and DR were also amongst the small number of nursery staff who
volunteered to provide extra care for young children in a nearby children’s
home. There is evidence that CL and DR sexually abused some of the children
they cared for in the home, although this was not suspected or investigated
at the time or since.

269 The police investigation improved after the appointment of DI Findlay
to lead it. Children gave their parents detailed information about the
venues in which they had been abused, and by whom, which appear to have
been followed up e.g. children’s allegation that the ‘house with a black
door where a man with a black beard had abused them’ were progressed, there
proved to be—where they said – a house with a black door in which a man
with a black beard lived, but we were told that the evidence was not strong
enough to be used in court. We are not aware of anyone in this case whom we
have interviewed or who is employed by any of the agencies involved who
fits this description.

274 After the initially slow start, the police investigation of the case
appears to have been pursued with vigour. The Council disciplinary
proceedings were also pursued robustly, for which the Council should be
commended—CL and DR were dismissed for abuse, not on some other, perhaps
more convenient, pretext….

….. As well as CL and DR, it is clear that others outside the nursery were
involved in abusing children, for their own gratification and probably also
for the production of pornographic materials.

282 FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

1. We find that many children at Shieldfield nursery were abused sexually,
emotionally and physically by Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed, who were
dismissed for the same by Newcastle City Council. It is our view that the
children described to the best of their ability abusive experiences by
Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed and other adults who as yet have not been
identified, both inside and outside the nursery, in houses and flats in the
locale. We find that there is evidence which suggests that the children
were sometime filmed when they were being abused outside the nursery and we
have drawn the conclusion that Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed were procuring
the children of Shieldfield nursery for pornographic purposes as well as
their own motivations.

2. In the absence of being able to interview them we have been unable to
find either Chris Lillie or Dawn Reed’s personal motivations for their
abusive behaviours. However, the indications from the children were that
Chris Lillie took every opportunity to abuse them, and Dawn Reed was a
party to abuse in particular situations, including during filming.

302 We do think that there are individuals, CL and DR, who did probably
conspire with unnamed others, but we are satisfied that there was no
involvement of officers or elected members of the City Council.

303 Like many of the professionals who we have interviewed we share the
distress of parents that the Shieldfield children were not able in the end
to receive justice. We find that there was a failure of the adult world to
provide the processes, systems and environment to ensure that child victims
of assault are not disadvantaged and are regarded as being entitled to
justice as adults.”

325. The Claimants attributed to the words complained of the following
natural and ordinary meanings, namely that they:

(a) sexually, physically and emotionally abused a very great number of
young children whose care had been entrusted to them at Shieldfield
Nursery, Fernwood House and in other institutions in which she had worked;

(b) were members of a paedophile ring, and used their position at
Shieldfield Nursery to procure young children for rape and abuse by
themselves and other members of the ring, including the handing over of
children to be raped and assaulted and used in sexual acts and in the
making of pornographic films; and

(c) had injected children with drugs in order to assault them sexually more
easily; and

(d) terrorised children in their care into submission and silence in order
to attempt to cover up the evidence of their crimes, including physically
assaulting and verbally abusing children, and threatening them with
physical harm and with the death of their parents and relatives; and

(e) were reasonably suspected of disposing or trying to dispose of evidence
of their crimes in an attempt to prevent them coming to light and to
pervert the course of justice; and

(f) were also reasonably to be suspected of the physical and/or sexual
abuse of elderly residents of homes, whose care had been entrusted to them.

326. Both the City Council and the Review Team are potentially liable in
respect of the publication to the world at large following the official
communication of the Report to the Council. It is also alleged that they
are thereby also, in law, responsible for the foreseeable re-publications
thereafter (most particularly those in the media). This is no doubt based
on the principles set out in * Speight v. Gosnay * (1891) 60 L.J. Q.B. 231
, C.A. (recently considered in * McManus v. Beckham * [2002] E.W.C.A. Civ
939 ). The Claimants’ contention in this respect would be that these
Defendants would not be able to avail themselves of any privilege, and in
particular statutory privilege, made available to the media for onward
re-publication of such material, since they would not fall within the scope
of the public policy underlying that protection (since they are obviously
original publishers).

327. On the basis of that argument, the Claimants pray in aid, for the
purposes of damages, the devastating consequences caused to them by the
widespread publication of the allegations contained in the Report.

328. There is a claim for general and special damages, as well as for
aggravated damages. By contrast with the claims originally made against the
Newcastle Chronicle, there is no corresponding claim for exemplary damages.
(I assume that this decision was made because of the difficulty of
establishing any financial or similar motive for publication by these
Defendants.)

329. The defences raise a multiplicity of issues. There are arguments about
meaning and the responsibility on the part of the various Defendants for
the different publications. Also, whereas the Review Team Defendants plead
justification, the City Council does not. It was explained to me, at one
stage, that the decision was made for tactical reasons in connection with
claims for negligence brought against the Council by various parents, who
seek damages in respect of the alleged abuse. The Council does not wish to
be seen to be asserting the truth of the allegations of abuse, in these
proceedings, while leaving the matter open for proof by the various
claimants in the negligence proceedings. In practice, this divergence of
strategy between the two sets of Defendants made very little difference to
the conduct of the trial.

330. The City Council has not been averse to attacking the Claimants, as
though they were pleading justification, and clearly wants the best of both
worlds. Miss Page has described its attitude as “shameful, hypocritical and
offensive in the extreme”. What Mr Lavery, the former Chief Executive, said
was this:

“… the Council continues to accept the findings of the Review Team and
believes that, on the balance of probabilities, Christopher Lillie and Dawn
Reed did abuse a significant number of children in their care whilst they
were employed by the Shieldfield Nursery. In addition, the Council stands
by its decision to dismiss Lillie and Reed for gross misconduct following
the finding of a disciplinary hearing and upon appeal that Lillie and Reed
had physically and sexually abused children in their care. The Council is
unable to plead particulars of justification because to do so would risk
compromising claims which have been brought against it by parents who
allege that their child were [sic] abused by Lillie and Reed while they
were in the Council’s care. The Council is required by its insurers not to
allege particulars of abuse of those children which might amount to an
admission in those other proceedings”.

331. The Council was thus in what it no doubt considered the fortunate
position of being able to shelter behind the Review Team and watch its own
legal team attack the Claimants – but only in their capacity as
representing the Review Team. It is this unusual stance which led to Miss
Page’s strictures.

332. For the purposes of justification, the Defendants relied at the outset
of the trial on dozens of allegations in relation to the 27 children
selected and to a large extent based on statements attributed to the
children concerned (which I have ruled to be compendiously admissible under
The Children (Admissibility of Hearsay Evidence) Order 1993). None of the
children has given evidence, and therefore close attention has to be paid
to the various routes by which the accusations find their way into this
litigation. For example, although I have thus allowed in the three video
recorded interviews with Child 14, which had been excluded by Holland J
from the criminal proceedings in July 1994, that is not to say that the
serious concerns expressed by his Lordship on that occasion do not have to
be carefully addressed in assessing issues of weight and credibility. By 13
May 2002, five of the children had been withdrawn and the Review Team were
ordered to pay the costs of meeting those allegations. It was noteworthy,
however, that Mr Bishop confined himself to saying that his clients were
not asking for findings of abuse in respect of those children – there was
no acknowledgement that the allegations were untrue.

333. In the case of each child pleaded, the Defendants have set out a brief
summary of the allegations followed by two schedules. Table A, in each
case, consists of information (not all of it, by any means, agreed) about
the child’s personal history, parents, dates at the Shieldfield Nursery,
regularity of attendance, time spent (if any) in the Red Room in the care
of the Claimants, whether or not the child was interviewed or medically
examined and, if so, the findings made.

334. Table B consists of a series of numbered instances of “disclosures” by
the child and/or behavioural symptoms. A certain amount of other
information is given about the circumstances or context of each such
instance, together with references to documents or witness statements.
These are matters to which I shall need to return, in much greater detail,
when I address the evidence introduced to support the plea of
justification. It would be impossible, however, to address every factual
allegation which the Defendants chose to incorporate, since they run into
hundreds. There is no doubt that the Review Team threw everything into the
defence they could possibly think of. Unfortunately, in respect of much of
it, it was not easy to see what significance was supposed to be attached to
it. Miss Page characterised the pleading as “oppressive, burdensome and
often misleading or confusing”. She pointed out that even in relation to
allegations of the utmost gravity there was confusion and obfuscation as to
what the Defendants were prepared to support – especially with regard to
the insertion of cutlery into vaginas. Even now I am not clear whether the
Defendants are really alleging this or not. If ever there was a case for
clarity and precision, this would surely be it. At the close of the case,
the allegations were put rather on the basis that it may have been the
handle end of a knife or even that no knife was involved at all – but
rather abuse that “felt like a knife”.

335. There was a lack of clarity for much of the case also on what the
Review Team were saying about the “paedophile ring”. This too crystallised
on 27 May when Mr Bishop stated the case as follows:

“… the children were taken, alternatively there are reasonable grounds for
suspecting that they were taken, by Lillie and/or Reed to one or more
houses or flats in the Sandyford area, including [named] Road, where they
were abused by strangers, including one or more men [physical description
follows]. One or more of the houses had a black door. Although some of the
children have identified particular houses on [named] Road as places to
which they were taken, we do not seek to establish or ask the court to find
that they were taken to any particular house or that they were abused by
any particular person living in the Sandyford area”.

336. There was a time when it was said that the plea ought to state the
charge with the same precision as an indictment: * Hickinbotham v.
Leach * (1842)
10 M.&W. 361 . The above formulation appears to fall some way short of
that. A Claimant setting out to meet such a case would have some difficulty
in knowing how to refute it. It tends to slip through the fingers as one
tries to get to grips.

337. There are defences of qualified privilege pleaded on behalf of both
the City Council and the Review Team Defendants. Reliance is placed upon
the setting up of the Review Team in 1995, for the purpose of conducting a
review of the complaints made in connection with Shieldfield Nursery and,
in particular those of parents. Reference is also made to the limited
nature of the publication and the attempts to communicate the serious
allegations about the Claimants to those with a genuine legitimate interest
in the subject-matter. The following factors are naturally relied upon to
support the defence of qualified privilege:

(a) The obligations and powers of the City Council to provide day care in
accordance with s.18 of the Children Act 1989.

(b) The history of the allegations of abuse made in relation to children
over the course of the spring and summer of 1993.

(c) The duty undertaken by the Review Team Defendants to report and submit
their conclusions and recommendations (which they did through the Chief
Executive of the City Council on 5 November 1998).

(d) The duty of the Chief Executive to place the Report before a meeting of
the Day Nursery Complaints Review Panel and to provide its members with
copies of the Report.

(e) A duty claimed under ss.100B and 100E of the Local Government Act 1972
to make copies of the Report available for members of the public present at
the meeting of the Complaints Review Panel held on 12 November 1998.

(f) The City Council is also said to have been under a duty to make a copy
of the Report available for inspection at its offices, at all reasonable
hours, and to supply copies to any persons who required one: ss.100B, 100C,
100E and 100H of the 1972 Act.

(g) It is said that the City Council was also under a common law duty,
and/or had a legitimate interest, to supply a copy of the Report to persons
with a corresponding legitimate interest in receiving it. Accordingly,
prior to the meeting of 12 November 1998 copies were supplied only to
persons who had such a legitimate interest, and on 12 November to persons
who were present at the meeting of the Complaints Review Panel, and
thereafter only to persons who required a copy of it and/or satisfied the
City Council that they had a legitimate interest in receiving a copy.

(h) Alternatively, all five of the Defendants rely upon a common law duty,
and/or a legitimate interest, to publish the Report to the public at large.
A large number of particulars are set out, giving the reasons why it is
said that the subject-matter of the Report was of legitimate public
interest, both locally and more widely. I shall return to consider these
when I come to rule on the issues of qualified privilege.

338. The Claimants raise allegations of malice against the City Council
and, separately, against the Review Team members. Indeed, it was largely to
this issue that the cross-examination of the Review Team members was
directed.

339. The particulars of malice directed to the City Council were originally
relatively short, but I gave permission to amend and expand them on 28
February 2002. They relate to the named individuals and are considered in
detail in section 15 below.

340. Those against the Review Team members run to some 60 pages in all. It
is not necessary for me to set them all out in the course of this judgment,
but I shall attempt to summarise them.

341. The plea of malice against the Review Team is divided into various
sections. The first is concerned with the Team’s supposed pre-determination
to pronounce guilt.

342. Attention is drawn to page 274 of the Report which notes that, in
respect of the criminal proceedings, “all the evidence available at that
time appears to have been made available for the court proceedings”. The
point then made is that the Review Team effectively have no new evidence to
support allegations in respect of any of the six children in respect of
whom those charges had been brought; nor indeed in respect of the greater
number of children now alleged to have been abused; nor yet to support the
parents’ allegations about a paedophile conspiracy and/or the production of
pornography.

343. In so far as there were obvious deficiencies in the evidence, the
Claimants rely upon the approach adopted by the Review Team in their Report
of explaining those deficiencies in terms of the Claimants’ guilt; for
example, late, reluctant or unspontaneous disclosures being explained on
the basis that Claimants must have instilled fear into the children. Lack
of credibility or inconsistency in the children’s accounts was similarly
explained on the footing that the Claimants must have deliberately
implanted distorted knowledge in the children’s minds to achieve that
purpose.

344. Despite the absence of any evidence to support the proposition that
the Claimants were indulging in “an intimate, bizarre and highly perverted
sexual relationship”, the Team nonetheless came to the conclusion that this
was in fact the case.

345. Attention is also drawn to the inconsistency of approach on the part
of the Review Team as between Mr Lillie and Miss Reed, on the one hand, and
any other adult apparently implicated by the children, on the other.
Whereas the latter were rightly exonerated because there was nothing to
corroborate their involvement, a different test must have been applied to
the Claimants since there was little or no apparent corroboration relating
to them either. A particular example cited, on the Claimants’ behalf, is
that of a well known local politician who was quite rightly exonerated
through lack of any evidence. So far as the Claimants themselves are
concerned, however, the absence of corroboration was explained in terms of
their guilt rather than being treated as exculpatory.

346. Despite being very familiar with Mr Peter Hunt’s report into the Jason
Dabbs affair, Multiple Abuse in Nursery Classes, the Review Team announced
their findings against the Claimants without giving any weight to the two
formidable difficulties which had prevented Mr Hunt from making any other
specific findings of child abuse than those admitted by Jason Dabbs. The
two main problems were, of course, that video interviews were likely to be
flawed by the introduction of leading questions and, secondly, that
accounts given by parents as to their children’s disclosures had not been
tested or explored, but simply for the most part taken at face value (see
para 2.3.5 of Mr Hunt’s Report).

347. Reliance is placed upon the appearance by Mrs Saradjian in the
Panorama programme of 6 October 1997, to which I have already referred.

348. It is suggested also that the claims made in Chapter 3 of the Report,
as to the safeguards adopted to ensure fairness to those who might be
criticised, were simply untrue, so far as the Claimants were concerned, as
the Review Team must have appreciated. In particular, the Claimants were
not sent “Salmon letters” or forewarned of the contents of the Report prior
to publication. Ironically, in relation to the well known political figure
from the North East, the Review Team pointed out at pages 275–276 that
public figures (who they thought might become the subject of wild
allegations because of their being in the public arena) should not be
perceived as having to prove their innocence; they were recognised as
having the right to be judged by “exactly the same legal and evidential
standards as any other citizens”. Particulars are given at paragraphs 12.6
and 12.7 of the Reply of a number of respects in which the Team are said to
have applied quite different standards to the Claimants. I shall return to
these in due course, when considering my conclusions on the allegations of
malice.

349. The Reply goes so far as to allege that the Team’s claim in the Report
to have carefully evaluated the probative quality of the children’s
testimony implicating Mr Lillie and Miss Reed was “a dishonest sham”; so
too the claim to have performed the investigations necessary to eliminate
the possibility that the “disclosures” were led.

350. This is said to be demonstrated, in part, by the Team’s attempt to
explain away, by way of anticipation, anything that might be thought false,
incredible or inconsistent in the children’s “disclosures”. It was said
that their statements were likely to be a mix of accurate and distorted
information, implanted by the abusers deliberately for the purpose of
rendering their accounts incredible. It is pleaded that this explanation
was offered without any evidence to support it at all.

351. It is pleaded also that there was no serious attempt on the Team’s
part to investigate the origin or cogency of the children’s “disclosures”
in a dispassionate or objective manner; indeed, that there were only two
children in respect of whom the Report discloses any evidence of the Team’s
attempting to analyse the material, namely Child 22 and Child 14. The
Team’s approach is said to have been fundamentally flawed in respect of
both.

352. The next section of the particulars of malice is devoted to the Team’s
alleged use of distortion and suppression. This, in turn, is broken down
into misrepresentations in respect of the ruling of Holland J and its
treatment of the disclosures of Child 14. Because these matters are so
central to the case, I have considered them in detail elsewhere and do not
intend to set out the lengthy particulars at this point of the judgment.
There are also passages relating to the Team’s treatment of the
“disclosures” made by Child 22.

353. Finally, there are shorter sections dealing with the treatment of
“disclosures” by other children generally, the Team’s finding of abuse at
other establishments, without apparently any evidence at all, and their use
of unsubstantiated hearsay and smear.

6) What is the correct approach to justification ?

354. Child abuse is sadly a common issue in the courts nowadays. Normally,
however, it arises in the context of family work or in the course of
criminal trials. In those courts the correct approach to matters such as
admissibility and the standard of proof has been worked out in the light of
experience. These High Court proceedings do not fall into either of those
categories. It is thus necessary to consider such questions in the
different context of civil defamation proceedings, recognising that whether
either of the Claimants was in fact guilty of child abuse is a crucial
issue in the case. Analogies with other types of proceedings may be helpful
but cannot be pressed too far.

355. So far as admissibility is concerned, I ruled in the first week of the
trial that hearsay evidence from the young children in question would be
admissible in accordance with the order made by the Lord Chancellor in
1993: The Children (Admissibility of Hearsay Evidence) Order 1993. In the
light of that ruling, there is no need to conduct an enquiry into the
competence of any individual child, which would otherwise have to be
addressed in accordance with s.5 of the Civil Evidence Act 1995. Obviously,
however, I recognise that issues relevant to competence would be germane,
in any event, to the weight and credibility to be attached to any such
evidence.

356. As to standard of proof, the law seems to be clear in the light of
cases such as * Hornal v. Neuberger Products * [1957] 1 Q.B. 247 and, more
recently, * Re H and Others (Minors) (Child Sexual Abuse: Standard of
Proof) * [1996] A.C. 563 . What has to be applied is the civil standard of
proof as traditionally understood. In * Re H and Others * (cited above)
Lord Nicholls (with whom Lords Goff and Mustill expressed agreement)
approved the approach of the Court of Appeal in * H v. H (Minors) (Child
Abuse:Evidence) * [1990] Fam. 86 , 94, 100, * Re M (A Minor) (Appeal)
(No.2) * [1994] 1 F.L.R. 59 , 67 and * Re W (Minors) (Sexual Abuse:
Standard of Proof) * [1994] 1 F.L.R. 419 , 424. It was also made clear that
contrary observations in * Re G (A Minor) (Child Abuse: Standard of Proof) *
[1987] 1 W.L.R. 1461 , 1466 and * Re W (Minors) (Sexual Abuse: Standard of
Proof) * [1994] 1 F.L.R. 419 , 429 did not accurately state the law.

357. For the Chronicle, Miss Sharp argued that the proposition of which I
have to be satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, is that in each case
the relevant Claimant was guilty of child abuse. She submitted that it is
not necessary to reach a separate determination in respect of each child
pleaded (as a jury would be obliged to do in a criminal case on each
count). She was arguing that I need only determine that one child has been
abused (in the case of each Claimant) in order to decide that the
allegations of sexual abuse were “substantially true”. She may be right, as
a matter of logic, but it seems to me that it would be highly
unsatisfactory to leave any of the allegations hanging in the air and
undetermined.

358. In any event, Miss Sharp argued that once abuse has been found in the
case of one child, it becomes easier for the Defendants to establish it in
relation to another. She referred in this context to the words of Lord
Nicholls in * Re H and Others * (cited above) at page 586:

“The balance of probability standard means that a court is satisfied an
event occurred if the court considers that, on the evidence, the occurrence
of the event was more likely than not. When assessing the probabilities the
court will have in mind as a factor, to whatever extent is appropriate in
the particular case, that the more serious the allegation the less likely
it is that the event occurred and, hence, the stronger should be the
evidence before the court concludes that the allegation is established on
the balance of probability. Fraud is usually less likely than negligence.
Deliberate physical injury is usually less likely than accidental physical
injury. A step-father is usually less likely to have repeatedly raped and
had non-consensual oral sex with his under-age stepdaughter than on some
occasion to have lost his temper and slapped her. Built into the
preponderance of probability standard is a generous degree of flexibility
in respect of the seriousness of the allegation.

Although the result is much the same, this does not mean that where a
serious allegation is in issue, the standard of proof required is higher.
It means only that the inherent probability or improbability of an event is
itself a matter to be taken into account when weighing the probabilities
and deciding whether, on balance, an event occurred. The more probable the
event, the stronger the evidence that it did occur before, on the balance
of probability, its occurrence will be established. Ungoed–Thomas J
expressed this neatly in * Re Dellow’s Will Trusts, Lloyd’s Bank v.
Institute of Cancer Research * [1964] 1 W.L.R. 451 , 455: ‘The more serious
the allegation, the more cogent is the evidence required to overcome the
unlikelihood of what is alleged and thus to prove it’.”

359. In the light of * Hornal v. Neuberger Products * (cited above) and
other cases, Professor Cross has commented (see now Cross and Tapper on
Evidence, 9th Edition, at p.152):

“When the commission of a crime is alleged in civil proceedings, the stigma
attaching to an affirmative finding might be thought to justify the
imposition of a strict standard of proof; but the person against whom
criminal conduct is alleged is adequately protected by the consideration
that the antecedent improbability of his guilt is ‘a part of a whole range
of circumstances which have to be weighed in the scale when deciding as to
the balance of probabilities’.”

The words in quotation marks were cited from the judgment of Morris L.J. in
* Hornal * (at p.266).

360. I saw the force of Miss Sharp’s submissions, but it is necessary to
remember that the logic of her case would require me to make the finding of
abuse in respect of at least one child (for each Claimant) before the
hurdle is lowered in the way contemplated by Lord Nicholls. I must,
therefore, start with the usual presumption of innocence (which applies in
defamation as it does in crime). I must consider each of the children and
the evidence that is specific to him or her. Because of the gravity of the
allegations, I should look for cogent evidence to overcome that presumption.

361. I propose to avoid what Miss Page characterises as the “no smoke
without fire” approach. This is perhaps best summarised in the Review
Team’s pleaded response to a request for further information:

“It is the Defendants’ case that it is necessary to look at the totality of
the statements and disclosures of all the children referred to in the
particulars of justification and that, looking at those statements and
disclosures as a whole, there is overwhelming evidence that Chris and Dawn
abused the children in their care”.

362. The argument was similarly expressed in the opening submissions of Mr
Bishop on their behalf:

“In the vast majority of cases the evidence relating to that child alone is
sufficient to establish that the Claimants did sexually abuse the child,
although if in any individual case there is any lingering doubt it is
dispelled by looking at the picture as a whole. However, there are a few
cases where the evidence specifically relating to a particular child would
probably by itself not be sufficient for the court to conclude that the
Claimants had abused him or her. Again in those cases it is necessary to
look at the totality of the evidence to decide whether abuse probably
occurred.”

363. I reject any analysis to the effect that, abuse having been alleged in
so many instances, it must be a true bill in all or even some cases. Not
only is that an inherently sloppy approach to any serious allegation, but
it ignores an essential part of the Claimants’ case in this litigation;
namely, that there has been a “feeding frenzy” leading to a grave risk of
cross-fertilisation between the accounts given. Such an approach would in
my judgment have obvious dangers. At one level, that which may legitimately
be prayed in aid as corroboration is elevated into a substitute for primary
evidence. In relation to each child, there must be admissible and credible
evidence before one looks elsewhere for corroboration. At its worst, such a
reasoning process leads to manifestly flawed conclusions, such as that
reached by the Review Team with regard to Child 9. So confident were they
that abuse had taken place, that they were prepared to infer it even in
relation to a child who had probably left the nursery before the Claimants
arrived on the scene. On the other hand, if in relation to any given child
there is credible evidence against a Claimant of abuse, then I believe I
can look for corroboration of it (for example, of a particular modus
operandi) to any comparably credible evidence relating to others.

364. The “no smoke without fire” approach is to be distinguished from the
“jigsaw” process, for which the Defendants also contend. It is possible to
speak of fitting together the pieces of “a jigsaw” when seeking to
determine whether abuse has taken place with regard to one child. It may be
possible, for example, to piece together a credible case of child abuse
from “disclosures” (i.e. statements from the child in question),
observations by others (including from other children), medical examination
or laboratory findings, and from observation of the alleged victim (e.g.
disturbed or sexualised behaviour). That is clearly a legitimate approach
for establishing child abuse, especially in very young children. I wish to
make clear, however, that I do not intend to adopt a “jigsaw” approach to
the evidence as a whole – by amalgamating a suspicious finding about one
child with something comparable from another, and then concluding that
abuse must have taken place in relation to “somebody”.

365. It is perhaps relevant to bear in mind the words of Lord Hewart C.J.
in * Bailey * [1924] 2 K.B. 300 , 305:

“The risk, the danger, the logical fallacy is indeed quite manifest to
those who are in the habit of thinking about such matters. It is so easy to
derive from a series of unsatisfactory accusations, if there are enough of
them, an accusation which at least appears satisfactory. It is so easy to
collect from a mass of ingredients, not one of which is sufficient, a
totality which will appear to contain what is missing. That of course is
only another way of saying that when a person is dealing with a
considerable mass of facts, in particular if those facts are of such a
nature as to invite reprobation, nothing is easier than confusion of mind;
and, therefore, if such charges are to be brought in a mass, it becomes
essential that the method upon which guilt is to be ascertained should be
stated with punctilious exactness”.

366. I propose to treat myself, therefore, as having been given a similar
direction to that which a jury would receive when faced with an indictment
containing many counts. I do not propose to regard the allegations of child
abuse in this case, formulated as particulars of justification, as being a
“job lot”. I intend to proceed on the basis that each has to be considered
separately, but without prejudice to the possibility of the evidence in one
child’s case serving to corroborate credible evidence in relation to
another. My approach is thus to be contrasted with that claimed by the
Review Team, who said that “…whilst we cannot form an opinion about the
veracity of each individual disclosure we are impressed by the compelling
nature of the core factors in these disclosures”.

367. It is necessary, however, for me to bear in mind the Claimants’
submissions in the context of the problems thrown up by * R v.
Ananthanarayanan * [1994] 1 W.L.R. 788 and in * Hoch v. The Queen * (1988)
165 C.L.R. 292 , Federal Court of Australia. I must focus upon the
essential principle. Evidence about what A has done to B may be admissible
and probative of what A has done to C. The value of such evidence, however,
depends upon its independence. If there is a significant risk of
contamination undermining that independence, the relevance and value may be
correspondingly diminished. It is necessary to be wary in cases where a
risk of contamination arises (which is real, as opposed to fanciful)
because of the investigation process itself.

368. For example, where a social services department investigates
allegations of sexual abuse, whether from the recent or distant past, its
inquiries may prompt complainants who would not have come forward of their
own accord. It was made clear in * Ananthanarayanan * that a jury may well
need to be given a specific direction in such cases to meet the problem. It
would not suffice merely to direct the jury that they need to be sure that
there has been no conspiracy to give false evidence; they would need to be
sure also that there had been no influence from hearing of the allegations
made by other people or by suggestions from some other person. In this
case, the Claimants contend that there was a substantial risk of
contamination throughout the investigation. Indeed, the Review Team were
expressly warned by Constable Helen Foster of the specific risks in this
case. Miss Page submits that it was pervasive.

369. She did not submit that this rendered the evidence inadmissible but
asks me to bear it very much in mind wherever it may be suggested that the
evidence of one child or parent should be treated as corroborative of
another’s. Here there are various “pervasive” problems. There was a risk of
contamination through social services asking questions or suggesting that
questions be asked; through parents speaking to children or to other
parents; through children speaking to other children; through police or
social services interviewers suggesting concepts or events to children;
through Dr San Lazaro suggesting that questions be asked, or passing on
between parents or children negative messages about the Claimants, or about
behaviours or phobias to watch out for.

370. It is also important to remember that if a witness’s evidence is
incredible it should be rejected. It cannot be given credibility through
corroboration: see the remarks of Lord Hailsham in * Kilbourne * [1975] AC
746 . The principle is one of common sense and therefore just as
significant in the context of civil litigation.

371. Thus, if I am doubtful about an allegation in relation to Child X,
because of a risk of contamination or for any other reason, I should assess
it on its own merits. If I find Child X’s evidence persuasive, then I can
take into account corroborative evidence from Child Y provided I keep a
sharp lookout for risks of contamination of the kinds I have identified.

372. Miss Page submits that all these considerations underline the need for
me to approach each allegation of abuse independently in the first instance
and to reject the “overall picture” approach.

373. It is helpful to have regard to some of the family law cases with
regard to the court’s approach to finding child abuse proved.

374. As so often, an important element in the evidence relied upon in this
case (by both sides) consisted of taped interviews carried out with some of
the children in 1993 or 1994. I was invited to view some 24 hours of video
material. On this aspect of the evidence, therefore, I should take into
account the decision of the Court of Appeal (Neill and Ward L.JJ.) in * Re
N (A Minor) (Sexual Abuse: Video Evidence) * [1997] 1 W.L.R. 153 . There
guidance was given on the approach to be taken by courts generally towards
video recordings of such interviews. Despite the unusual nature of such
evidence, it is nonetheless for the judge to decide its weight and
credibility. Thus, although expert evidence may be admitted to explain and
interpret what the child has said, and is often helpful, it follows that
usually evidence of an expert’s belief in the truth of the child’s account
will be inadmissible. It is obvious that there are special factors in such
cases, but the exercise of determining credibility is essentially the same
as in any other instance of comparing conflicting evidence. In this
particular situation, of course, careful attention has to be given to the
whole of the circumstances including, for example, how the evidence came to
be elicited. It is clearly relevant for the court to take into account such
matters as whether the accusations came in response to leading questions,
or in the context of a regime of promises and rewards.

375. In * Re N * Ward L.J. expressed agreement with a passage in the
judgment of Wall J in * Re and B (Minors) (No.1) (Investigation of Alleged
Abuse) * [1995] 3 F.C.R. 389 ,409:

“From a forensic view point para. 12.35 of the [Report of the Inquiry into
Child Abuse in Cleveland (1987) (Cm 412) – the unsuitability of having a
parent present at an interview] remains a correct statement of the proper
practice, particularly in a case where the only evidence of abuse up to the
date of the first interview was what the mother has said the child has said
to her. Quite apart from any pressure which the mother’s presence may place
on the child, the golden rule is that each interview is to be approached
with an open mind: such a rule is in my view immediately broken if the
mother is present at the interview”.

376. Attention was also drawn to the words of Morritt L.J. In * Re F.S.
(Minors) (Care Proceedings) * [1996] 1 F.C.R. 667 , 676–677:
——————————
[2002] EWHC 1600 (QB)
75

“The use of child psychiatrists is obviously of the greatest assistance to
the court in many cases. In some instances that will extend to pointing out
features of the child’s evidence which tend either to support or undermine
its credibility. But it is usurping the function of the judge to give an
opinion directly on whether the man did that of which he is accused. In
this case three of the experts stated their respective beliefs that the
father had sexually abused N in the way of which she complained, not
because of the results of medical examination, but because they believed
what she said in the video interview. Not only was such evidence
inadmissible, it was capable of being highly prejudicial. …Though judges
are often required to put out of their mind inadmissible and prejudicial
matters they are entitled to expect the parties and their representatives
to use care to see that they are not faced with it in the first place.
Moreover, not only may the wrongful admission of such evidence cause
problems for the judge, it is also susceptible to giving the accused person
the impression that he is being tried by the experts and not the judge”.

377. It is now recognised that particular attention has to be paid in the
consideration of video evidence to the recommendations of Dame Elizabeth
Butler-Sloss in the Report of the Inquiry into Child Abuse in Cleveland
(1987). At para. 12.34, it is to be noted that unanimity was recorded among
the experts who had given evidence to the inquiry in relation to a number
of matters. Those were endorsed by the inquiry team:

i) The undesirability of calling them ‘disclosure’ interviews, which
preludes the notion that sexual abuse might not have occurred.

ii) All interviews should be undertaken only by those with some training,
experience and aptitude for talking with children.

iii) The need to approach each interview with an open mind.

iv) The style of the interview should be open-ended questions to support
and encourage the child in free recall.

v) There should be where possible only one and not more than two interviews
for the purpose of evaluation, and the interviews should not be too long.

vi) The interview should go at the pace of the child and not of the adult.

vii) The setting for the interview must be suitable and sympathetic.

viii) It must be accepted that at the end of the interview the child may
have given no information to support the suspicion of sexual abuse and the
position will remain unclear.

ix) There must be careful recording of the interview and what the child
says, whether or not there is a video recording.

x) It must be recognised that the use of facilitative techniques may create
difficulties in subsequent court proceedings.

xi) The great importance of adequate training for all those engaged in this
work.

xii) In certain circumstances it may be appropriate to use the special
skills of a ‘facilitated’ interview. That type of interview should be
treated as a second stage. The interviewer must be conscious of the
limitations and strengths of the techniques employed. In such cases the
interview should only be conducted by those with special skills and
specific training.

378. In the Cleveland Report it was also emphasised that a careful
distinction should be drawn between diagnosis or evaluation, on the one
hand, and therapy on the other. As was pointed out by one of the experts,
“The attempt to encourage disclosures while providing therapeutic treatment
is fraught with difficulty”. He was opposed to the notion of treatment and
‘disclosure’ proceeding in parallel. Another of the Cleveland experts, Dr
Underwager, underlined the importance of distinguishing the treatment and
investigation of abuse, “one of which was in conflict with the other”.

379. In the context of the Cleveland guidelines, my attention was drawn
also to the decision of Wall J on 11 November 1993 in * B v. B (Child
Abuse: Contact) * [1994] 2 F.L.R. 713 where he highlighted flagrant
breaches of the guidelines in the interviews in the case before him. He
drew attention to what apparently was at that time an unfortunate tendency
amongst those investigating child abuse to concentrate all their efforts on
extracting information from the child. He made the following observations:

“The need for investigators of child sexual abuse to keep an open mind
cannot be overstressed. Child sexual abuse is a highly emotive subject. Its
investigation requires great skill and sensitivity. Interviewing children
is a highly specialised skill which should only be undertaken by those who
have been properly trained. Even then the trained interviewer must
constantly bear in mind and put into effect the Cleveland guide-lines and
now the Memorandum of Good Practice.

Where the interviewer approaches the case with the belief that abuse has
occurred it is dangerously easy for the interviews with the child, as
happened here, to degenerate into a cross-examination of the child in which
the interviewer puts, in leading form, and in an increasingly pressurised
way, what he or she believes has happened. It cannot be said too often that
such an approach is wholly unacceptable. It not only renders the interview
valueless as evidence but is abusive of the child, particularly where, as
here, I find that the child has not been abused in the manner which emerged
particularly in the final interview.

Let nobody be in doubt that the courts are in the forefront of those who
believe that child sexual abuse is a major social evil. At the same time, a
false allegation of abuse is equally damaging to family life. My criticisms
of the incompetent investigation are twofold. First, it is a further abuse
perpetrated in the name of child protection on a child who may or may not
have already suffered the evil of abuse. Secondly, by muddying the waters
it frequently renders impossible the task of the court in deciding whether
or not there has been abuse. Thus it may not be possible to make a finding
against an alleged perpetrator who is in truth guilty”.

380. As late as March 1999, Sir Stephen Brown P was commenting on a serious
disregard of the requirements of the Cleveland guidelines in * Re M (Sexual
Abuse Allegations: Interviewing Techniques) * [1999] 2 F.L.R. 92 . His
Lordship referred to the fact that leading questions were frequently being
asked, combined with a good deal of coaxing. He noted also the “different
approach by those who are seeking to ‘treat’ children and those who are
seeking to elicit evidence which will be appropriate for legal
proceedings”. He again emphasised that the opinion of an expert is not
sufficient, however eminent; nor that of a therapist, however experienced.
He continued;

“The charge of sexual abuse is a grave one and has serious implications.
The law requires that whoever makes an allegation must prove it. It is not
an idle or artificial burden”.

7) The expert evidence relevant to child abuse

Introduction

381. One of the factors I have noticed with regard to the experts in this
case is that there are few surprises, in the sense that each expert’s view
on any given issue was fairly predictable. They tended to be divided along
“party lines”. That is not, of course, in any way to reflect on the
integrity or objectivity of any individual, because in this field there are
quite different viewpoints on the significance of relevant data. If an
expert starts from one set of assumptions, the conclusion will almost
inevitably differ from another person who operates on different
assumptions. In this case, it was not difficult to see where each expert
was “coming from”. It is thus important to focus on the differing
“philosophies” about child abuse as much as upon the differing opinions or
conclusions about any given child.

382. The expert material adduced was grouped into the following categories:

i) Paediatric evidence relating to physical findings.

ii) Psychological evidence relating to statements or “disclosures” by
children.

iii) Evidence about the potential significance of child “behaviours” as
possible indicators of sexual abuse.

Dr Jane Watkeys and Dr Kathryn Ward: The paediatric evidence

383. The paediatric evidence was from Dr Jane Watkeys, called on behalf of
the Claimants, and Dr Kathryn Ward on behalf of the Defendants. Both are
very experienced. Dr Ward is currently Consultant Paediatrician at Airedale
General Hospital and has a special interest in child protection. Dr Watkeys
is Consultant Community Paediatrician with Camden and Islington NHS
Community Trust and is its “named doctor for child protection”.

384. The difference of approach between the two professionals is perhaps
illustrated by reference to their general comments in the reports. Dr
Watkeys observed (in paragraphs 5 and 7 of her overall summary) that the
cohort of children in this case contained “…a surprising number of children
in whom abnormal physical findings have been reported”. She adds that most
of the girls have been reported as having abnormal findings. She finds this
unusual for the relevant age group “…even assuming abuse had taken place”
(emphasis added). She commented that it was surprising to find so many
children with abnormal findings attributed to them, bearing in mind the
fact that the majority of children who have been abused usually yield none.
She confirmed this in evidence on 24 May and highlighted the fact that Dr
San Lazaro appears to have found physical signs pointing to abuse in no
less than 56.6 per cent of the girls examined (17 out of 30).

385. Moreover, Dr Watkeys would have expected more parents/carers to have
noted bleeding, given the number of girls apparently displaying evidence of
tears and scarring. She believed, significantly, that Dr San Lazaro had
displayed inconsistencies in her descriptions at various stages and
exaggerated, or over-interpreted, the findings. She was clearly right,
although the true scale of this only emerged when Dr San Lazaro came to be
cross-examined. Nevertheless, despite her reservations, she recognises from
the reported findings that some children did appear to have diagnostic
features of sexual abuse.

386. She points out, however, that the medical findings cannot establish by
themselves when or by whom the abuse occurred. She drew attention to the
fact that the one child who did have a history of bleeding from the genital
area, which she found “concerning”, presented with genital bleeding much
later (and in circumstances in which abuse was not apparently suspected).
She was referring to Child 23.

387. Dr Ward, on the other hand, went so far as to conclude that there was
“…significant evidence that children who had attended Shieldfield Nursery
were the subject of abuse by Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed”. While
recognising the primary role of the forensic paediatrician as being the
assessment of physical signs and symptoms, she regards it as essential to
take into account the “global presentation of the child” and, most
importantly, to listen to the child. She reminded me of a principle
identified in * Physical Signs of Sexual Abuse in Children * , 2nd Edition:
“The single, most important feature in the diagnosis of abuse is a clear
statement by the child”. She recognised the concern that very few physical
signs are diagnostic of abuse and that, accordingly, if one limits
investigation to such findings many abused children will “slip through the
net”.

388. I know that the “jigsaw”, global or holistic approach is very much in
line with current thinking, but what has emerged from this case is that
there are inherent drawbacks. First, it is asking a great deal of any
paediatrician, however dedicated or experienced, to be a psychologist, a
detective, and a social worker as well as struggling to identify the
significance of genital findings (especially in the elusive anatomy of the
infant hymen). It is necessary for a judge placed in my position to
recognise that no one expert can embrace all these disciplines. I must, of
course, acknowledge that on physical signs great weight must be accorded to
the opinion of the physicians. Nonetheless, when it comes to notches,
nodules and disruptions there is enormous scope for difference even over
the appropriate terminology. In listening to Dr Ward and Dr Watkeys, I
sometimes had the impression that it was a case of “your guess is as good
as mine”.

389. Indeed, it is the very intractability of infant genitalia that leads
to the fear that abused children may (as Dr Ward put it) “slip through the
net”. That is all very well, but when a paediatrician moves off that
territory and starts to interpret the “surrounding circumstances”, it is
vital always to focus on the boundaries of the particular witness’s true
expertise. When it becomes necessary, in order to interpret a particular
physical finding, to take into account what a mother says, or what the
mother says the child has said, the judge may be in as good a position to
weigh that evidence as the paediatrician – especially where the judge has
heard the mother in person or seen the child on video, and the
paediatrician has not.

390. The experts in this case were inevitably dependent on the information
they were provided with by the instructing solicitors. So far as physical
signs and children’s behaviours were concerned, it is necessary for me to
bear in mind not only the second or third hand nature of their basic raw
materials but also the scope for interpretative overlay. Also, Miss Page
invites me to bear in mind the Review Team’s ambivalent approach to the
Nursery Day Book from Shieldfield.

391. Information from these is relied upon by the Defendants for the
purpose of establishing behavioural symptoms. On the other hand, they are
often in other contexts disparaged as inaccurate or incomplete. As the
Review Team told the parents of Child 28, “….as we have found that much of
the information was recorded inaccurately, we would not expect that the Day
Books gave us a realistic insight into the Child’s behaviour”. Yet, as Miss
Page points out, these very Day Books form a significant part of the
materials upon which the experts were supposed to pronounce in respect of
behavioural indicators.

392. A loud warning about the holistic approach is to be found in this case
in the evidence of Dr San Lazaro herself. On 16 May she was attempting to
explain why she had deliberately overstated and exaggerated her findings
when reporting to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board:

“The problem about sexual abuse and the issue of compensation is that
physical findings alone – the absence or presence of physical findings are
of no consequence. The largest consequence for sexually abused children is
the emotional and traumatic effect upon them, upon their families, upon
their future and on their children. So in essence the damages have very
little to do with a tear in the hymen or a tag of the anus. It is to do
with the emotional aftermath and the long term effects. I think that I am
qualified to talk about those things and I still do them”.

393. The truth is that, where physical findings were negative or equivocal,
Dr San Lazaro was prepared to make up the deficiencies by throwing
objectivity and scientific rigour to the winds in a highly emotional
misrepresentation of the facts (as, for example, in her so-called “generic
report” for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board or in her cranky
letter about Child 1: see below). The problem is that her emotive
misrepresentations carried with some readers the authority of a senior
medical practitioner.

394. Mercifully, I can assume that Dr San Lazaro is very much the exception
among senior paediatricians. But it is necessary to recognise the dangers
of the holistic approach which make it so important to have colposcopy and
the ready availability of peer review. Dr San Lazaro told me that she
slipped into the role of advocate because she was so affected herself by
the children’s trauma (real or perceived). Although she rejected Miss
Page’s suggestion that she had a “morbid” obsession, she did accept in
re-examination that she had a real “dread” of child abuse. I am sure she is
not alone in this. I must remember the stress and the pressures to which
paediatricians are sometimes subject in these circumstances when dealing
with parents. The more routine use of colposcopy and peer support may help
to reduce the risk of professionals going off the rails, as she undoubtedly
did. But I do believe that the nature of the problem needs to be spelt out.

395. First, where physicians are advising on broader matters outside their
immediate expertise, whether in court proceedings or otherwise, it is
essential to make clear when they are doing this, so that readers are not
unduly influenced by the professional status of the witness in areas where
it is of less significance. The classic example is where a conclusion as to
abuse is based not upon physical findings but upon hearsay or partial
information which the doctor is in no better position to assess than anyone
else.

396. Secondly, in an area where there is so much room for subjective
interpretation based on “experience”, it is important to be sure that
external factors are not allowed to convert a neutral or non-specific
finding into an indicative or diagnostic finding of abuse. The two types of
information should be kept quite separate. It is one thing to say of a
child there are no physical findings but that her sexualised behaviour
strongly suggests trauma. It is quite another to elevate neutral notches or
nodules into a physical indicator purely because of the behavioural signs.
Unhappily, in this case there are some examples of Dr San Lazaro ratcheting
up the physical findings as she went along.

397. Dr Watkeys explained how she thought child abuse should be diagnosed.
She and Dr Ward both recognise the importance of the holistic approach, but
Dr Watkeys regards it as necessarily an inter-disciplinary exercise
involving all relevant “agencies”. Despite her own great experience of
examining and interviewing children, she would be reluctant to pronounce on
matters falling outside her paediatric expertise; in particular,
behavioural or psychological issues. By contrast, Dr San Lazaro’s approach
seems to have been to take it upon herself to carry out a holistic
diagnosis without making clear to what extent she was applying judgments
extraneous to whatever skills she possesses as a paediatrician.

398. Since the physical appearance of normality is often to be found in
cases where abuse has occurred, it is important in Dr Ward’s view to
document carefully even minor ano-genital signs as well as negative
findings (as did Dr San Lazaro). Much turns upon interpretation of physical
findings, which will often depend in part upon the professional skill and
experience of the paediatrician. As I have said, it may also have much to
do with the wider context of how the child is behaving, what he or she is
saying, and the circumstances to which that child has been exposed.

399. It is important for me also to bear in mind that much attention has
been given over the last 15 years or so to the scope and extent of “normal”
genital anatomy. As Dr Watkeys explained, in girls there is recognised
nowadays a wide range of attributes within the definition of “normal”
including the presence of nodules, notches, hymenal bands and adhesions.

400. It is thus obvious, but important, that there are pitfalls to be
carefully negotiated in all elements of the “global presentation” of a
child. Quite apart from the uncertainties of physical findings, there is
also the need to be wary of statements or “disclosures”, in order to ensure
that they have not been tainted in the ways contemplated by the Cleveland
guidelines and the Memorandum of Good Practice. Even if, as some clearly
think, the Memorandum is not tailored to the requirements of very young
children (say under-fives), one cannot simply ignore the possibility of
tainting. In those age groups, suggestibility is at least as important a
factor as in any other.

Professor Maggie Bruck and Professor William Friedrich: The “disclosures”

401. That brings me to a general consideration of the expert evidence
directed towards that very subject. Not surprisingly, in the circumstances
of this case, the Claimants have placed reliance upon Professor Maggie
Bruck, whose research work and publications with Stephen Ceci have
attracted so much attention in recent years.

402. The “disclosure” evidence for the Claimants came from Professor Maggie
Bruck and that for the Defendants from Professor William Friedrich. This is
a subject which is being investigated in various parts of the world, as a
matter of on-going research, and has given rise to a good deal of
controversy. There is plenty of room for divergence as to the correct
interpretation of the data so far available, and there seems to be no doubt
that there are strongly held views among the differing experts. A mere
lawyer has to approach such matters with care, conscious that nothing is
certain, and to pay close regard to the evidence in the specific case or
cases, without being drawn into taking sides on the more general debate.

403. An important proposition based on Professor Bruck’s influential
research, in recent years, is that when young children are interviewed by
an adult about some question of fact, by no means confined to sexual abuse,
their accounts may come quickly to conform to the suggestions or beliefs of
the interviewer. Moreover, when the inquiry is extended to issues going
beyond matters of fact, such as interpretation or value judgments, a
child’s responses will often come to conform similarly with the
interviewer’s point of view. It is impossible, of course, to do justice to
that research when summarising for the purposes of this judgment.
Nonetheless, it is fair to say that a central thesis is that, if
interviewers believe that all the children they are interviewing have
experienced a certain event, then it is probable that many of the children
will come to make such claims even if they did not.

404. A separate but related thesis thrown up by the research of Bruck and
others is that biased interviewers will inaccurately report or interpret
what children have actually said, thus bringing their testimony into
compliance with their own hypothesis. Indeed, Part IV of Maggie Bruck’s
report for the present litigation was concerned with adult memory and its
vulnerability in such circumstances. Objection was taken to this passage,
on the basis that expert evidence was to be confined to the children rather
than adults. Therefore I should not take Professor Bruck’s findings into
account in assessing the statements of adults, such as social workers,
police officers, parents or carers. I had pre-read the Report over the
Christmas vacation and the objection was formulated afterwards, but I think
that the objection is well founded and I must therefore do my best to apply
my own judgment to the adult evidence without reference to Professor Bruck.

405. She made a number of general observations about the children’s
“disclosures” in the present case, as well as addressing the children
individually by reference to what they are recorded as having said. I shall
summarise her views shortly. I should say, however, that what I derive from
the expert evidence generally (and indeed from the Cleveland Report, the
Memorandum of Good Practice and the recent judicial pronouncements on the
subject) may be shortly and simply stated:

(1) Young children are suggestible.

(2) Great care is required in analysing and assessing the weight to be
given to statements from young children.

(3) It is important to take into account the context of any such statement
and how it was elicited (for example, whether any pressures, rewards or
leading questions were used).

(4) It is necessary to focus also on the wider circumstances of the child’s
life in the period leading up to any such “disclosure” that might explain
or colour what the child is saying.

(5) It is vital to take into account delay between any event recounted and
the statement itself.

(6) One should take into account carefully any bias or pre-conceived ideas
in the mind of an interviewer.

(7) It is desirable to have in mind throughout any scope for contamination
by statements from others, whether children or adults.

(8) Similarities between what one child is saying and the statements of
another may be two-edged, in the sense that they might tend to corroborate
one another’s accuracy or merely reflect a common source.

(9) One should be wary of interpreting childish references to behaviour, or
parts of the body, through the distorting gauze of adult learning or
reading (e.g. with regard to matters of oral or anal sex).

406. I note that the Review Team’s own expert Professor Bull told them that
“… the way in which a child is interviewed/questioned will have a profound
effect on the accuracy of a child’s testimony, especially if the child is
very young and the event(s) in question are in the distant past…”.

407. The general thrust of the research carried out in recent years by
Professor Bruck and her colleagues is well known. Indeed, as Ms Judith
Jones herself volunteered in the course of evidence, anyone nowadays
looking into allegations of child abuse would be “mad” not to take it into
account. It is, of course, elementary that one should put to one side any
notion that an unwillingness to place reliance on a child’s evidence of
sexual abuse necessarily imputes bad faith to the child, its parents or any
other adult interrogator. What the research has thrown into stark relief is
quite simply that very young children do not appear to have the same clear
boundary between fact and fantasy as that which most adults have learnt to
draw.

408. At the risk of over-simplification, it is possible to highlight some
of the propositions thrown up by the research that need to be addressed.
(The research is still at a relatively early stage, of course, and in due
course these may prove to have greater or less significance than is now
attached to them.) It is important, first, to recognise that, although such
obvious factors as leading questions, repetition, pressure, threats,
rewards and negative stereotyping can fundamentally undermine the
evidential worth of a child’s account, it may well be that a child will
tailor his or her account in response to more subtle and less easily
detected influences. In particular, there is (or may be) a tendency to say
what the child perceives the questioner would like to hear. Moreover, it
may not be as easy to spot that a child is adopting such an approach, as it
would be to identify a leading question. What had, I believe, not been
generally appreciated prior to the recent research was that children do not
merely parrot what has been suggested to them but will embellish or overlay
a particular general theme with apparently convincing detail. This can be
very difficult to detect, even for those who are experienced in dealing
with children.

409. Turning to the interviews in the present case, Professor Bruck drew
attention to the general point that any statement by a child about any
adult, other than Mr Lillie or Miss Reed, as being either present or
involved, tended to be disregarded by police or social workers. Where such
adults were eliminated from suspicion, for example because a denial was
accepted, the child’s evidence was nonetheless taken to be sufficiently
reliable for condemning one or the other of the Claimants. Indeed, she
added (in the case of four children) that statements positively exculpatory
of Dawn Reed were ignored.

410. In some cases, Professor Bruck thought it possible that repeated
questioning led children to learn the notion of sexual touching, where
there had been an initial inability or unwillingness to indicate any such
thing. She also referred to instances of silence or denial where the Review
Team hypothesised fear or lack of vocabulary as possible explanations –
without apparently addressing the third possibility (i.e. that abuse did
not occur).

411. In her view, children from Shieldfield were interviewed “until they
could stand it no longer”. Their distress or frustration was then
interpreted not as due to the interviewers’ pressure but rather to the
child’s resistance to telling the truth.

412. She also had comments to make on the approach to behavioural symptoms,
although her primary focus was upon oral disclosure. There is clearly an
overlap between the two concepts, although the parties to a greater or
lesser extent tended to draw a rigid distinction between them. Professor
Bruck’s point was that it is a fallacy to presume that there is a common
constellation of symptoms that are diagnostic of sexual abuse. Indeed, the
majority of sexually abused children are asymptomatic. Where children are
displaying unusual behavioural traits, before attributing them to sexual
abuse one needs carefully to examine other possible causes. In this case,
many of the relevant children were reported as suffering such symptoms as
anxiety, enuresis, night terrors and apparently sexualised behaviour. Yet
these are not uncommon in children of certain age groups and, sometimes,
may be associated with other circumstances. Professor Bruck referred to the
work of Kendall-Tackett, Williams and Finkelhor, 1993, * Psychological
Bulletin * , 113, 164–80.

413. She highlighted in this context also the tendency for some
parents/carers to change their accounts of behavioural symptoms with the
passage of time, and as they became more convinced (for whatever reasons)
that their children had been abused.

414. Professor Bruck also emphasised that initial disclosures were made to
parents/carers who, in turn, provided their own memories of what they were
told after considerable periods of delay. There are thus obvious questions
as to:

i) how spontaneous the disclosures were in the first place;

ii) whether the disclosures were in response to questions and, if so, how
many;

iii) whether the accounts were derived from information coming untainted
from the child or from suggestions put by the parent;

iv) how accurately the parent recalled the child’s statement.

415. In the light of such considerations, Professor Bruck suggests that the
most reliable evidence of disclosures would be found in the video
recordings. This would also help to determine how much prompting, if any,
was required to elicit them. Unfortunately, in the present case the
interviews were largely unsatisfactory. Those she was asked to review
contained so many suggestive interviewing techniques that they were
“chaotic”. Not surprisingly, she referred to the literature which
demonstrates that the number of false allegations is liable to increase as
the interviews become more suggestive. One reason for this is that the bias
of the interviewer becomes correspondingly clearer.

416. Professor Bruck’s overall conclusions (at page 132 of her report) were
as follows:

“I have reviewed hundreds of interviews with children suspected of abuse;
the quality of these interviews has ranged from excellent to very poor. The
interviews that I examined in the present case are among the worst that I
have ever encountered. In this case, extremely young and bewildered
children were brought in and interrogated (sometimes for over an hour) by
one, by two and even by three interviewers. These interviewers used the
full array of suggestive techniques to elicit allegations of abuse. When
the children denied that they had been abused, they were bombarded with
more suggestions, they were scolded, they were threatened and they were
bribed. And when some children whimpered, moaned or begged the interviewers
to end the questioning, the interviewers continued. In sum, the interviews
were abusive and the children were victims of the interviewers. There were
three aspects of these data that are incontrovertible: (1) these
video-taped interviews provide the only opportunity for us to hear the
children’s own words; (2) the children did not initially make statements
that were indicative of abuse; (3) when they did make statements these were
preceded by extremely suggestive techniques that render all subsequent
statements unreliable”.

417. Professor Bruck gave evidence from 10–12 April. She was a careful,
moderate witness. She was always ready to acknowledge the limitations of
her experience or skill and to recognise that some of her opinions might
have to be revised in the light of later knowledge or second thoughts. She
was not in the least dogmatic. She seemed to me to be objective and
measured in her assessments. She did not claim to have all the answers, and
she emphasised the limited value of some of the literature. In particular,
she stressed more than once that there is often difficulty, when assessing
data, in determining how certain one can be that any particular child or
class of children has been abused.

418. Another central plank of her evidence was that it was important to
focus on what a child first said and, if a voluntary disclosure had been
made, that a video recorded interview should take place very shortly
thereafter without encouraging the child to say anything further in the
interim. It was undesirable, in her view, that days or weeks should elapse
before the child’s account was recorded.

419. Professor Bruck did not hold herself out as an expert on child
behaviour for the purposes of this trial and had intended to confine her
report to the significance of verbal disclosures (and in relation to the
limited number of children reviewed). She was nevertheless asked questions
about child behaviour in general and some of the behaviour disclosed in the
video interviews in particular. She did not attach significance to what the
children were doing in the videos, as opposed to what they were saying and,
in so far as she thought that the interview techniques were deeply flawed
(as she clearly did), she saw no reason to think that behaviour should be
regarded as somehow immune from the same tainting process as that affecting
the statements.

420. I found her approach illuminating and in no way undermined in
cross-examination. In particular, I did not find her prone to overstatement
or exaggeration. Quite the opposite. She seemed keen to be as accurate as
she possibly could while recognising the limitations of scientific studies
into very young children. It is true that she had an informal, almost
casual style. She tended to smile and laugh a good deal – certainly more
than the average expert witness. But I did not construe this as in any way
undermining the rigour of her analysis or the seriousness with which she
approached her task.

421. In closing, Mr Bishop described Professor Bruck’s performance as “just
lamentable”. This took me by surprise. It is almost as if he and I were
watching different witnesses. All I can do is record my own impression.

422. Dr Friedrich approached the case from a different angle and his
original overall conclusion was as follows:

“It is my clinical impression, based on the view of the documents and video
tapes provided to me, in combination with my experience in the evaluation
and interviewing of very young children, that the majority of the evidence
points to sexual abuse of these 28 children. I believe that the abuse onset
can be tied to their entry into the Shieldfield Nursery and the weight of
the evidence indicates that the perpetrators were Lillie and Reed”.

423. There was, however a new development at a relatively late stage. On 10
April, I was handed a short supplementary report from Dr Friedrich which
contained the following introductory paragraph:

“The actual interview process as well as the verbal output from the
interviews of the Shieldfield children can be criticised for many reasons.
For example, parents were present during interviews, leading questions were
common, and the rooms were filled with distracting toys. In addition, the
children that were interviewed were typically 2–3 years old. Not only are
children of this age more likely to comply with suggestions/leading
questions by adults, their expressive language was extremely immature, not
just in terms of vocabulary, but in understanding the ‘rules of
conversation,’ e.g. the need to respond to questions. They also lacked a
grasp of self-representation, the purpose of the interview, and had no
mastery of advanced concepts such as number and place. These difficulties
are particularly true for the boys given the typical lag in maturation that
young male children exhibit relative to same-aged females. In addition, all
of the children were expected to converse in an emotionally charged setting
about an emotionally charged subject.”

424. Not surprisingly, on receiving this Miss Page queried whether it was
any longer necessary to call Professor Bruck, since he appeared to be
conceding her central thesis. Indeed, in her closing submissions Miss Page
submitted that his supplemental report “laid to rest” the Review Team’s
reliance upon the video interviews (all 24 hours of them). It must follow
too, she argued, that any subsequent statements by the children would be at
least as unreliable.

425. But Miss Page was unduly optimistic in thinking that Professor Bruck’s
evidence could be agreed. The emphasis of Dr Friedrich was now placed
rather more on behaviour than verbal disclosures and he wished to make
reference to his recently developed Evaluation Rating Scale. This is a list
of behavioural symptoms said to be indicative, to a greater or lesser
extent, of sexual abuse.

426. Like Professor Bruck, Dr Friedrich is a clinical researcher. He has
published 14 articles on the topic of child abuse and another 49 articles
on that of specifically sexual abuse. He has also written 17 chapters on
sexual abuse. He received the Research Career Achievement Award in 1995
from the American Professional Society on Abuse of Children. He is also on
the editorial boards of three specialist journals, namely * Child
Maltreatment, Journal of Interpersonal Violence * , and * Journal of Child
Sexual Abuse. * He has studied the sexual behaviour of over 3,000
non-abused children between the ages of two years and twelve years and of
over 1,000 sexually abused children within the same age group. He also
developed the Child Sexual Behavior Inventory as a checklist to assist in
the evaluation of children where sex abuse is suspected. It has been
translated into Dutch, Swedish, Spanish, German, Flemish, Latvian and
Italian. His most recent book, * Psychological Evaluation of Sexually
Abused Children and Their Families * , 2001, outlines various strategies
for assessing such children.

427. Elements of what one might call “refined prejudice” emerge in the
section of the Report entitled “Risk Factors”, relating to each of the
Claimants’ backgrounds. I have already referred to his erroneous assessment
of Dawn Reed’s family background. He also addressed that of Christopher
Lillie, highlighting such factors as that he is that relatively rare
phenomenon a “male nursery care provider”; his “history of violating the
law” (i.e. consisting principally in a conviction for the theft of a
bicycle when he was aged 15); his mother’s premature death; and the fact
that, with the benefit of hindsight, various Shieldfield parents describe
him as aloof and as not making good eye contact.

428. These factors do not loom large in my assessment of the grave charges
against Mr Lillie, and the fact that Dr Friedrich has highlighted them has
not given them added significance. Although he comments that a “thorough
assessment must review the alleged perpetrators”, any such review would
presumably need itself to be thorough in order for it to be of any value.

429. It is interesting that Dr Friedrich has also prayed in aid the
relationship of Joyce and Susan Eyeington (i.e. aunt and niece by marriage)
as support for an increased “odds ratio” of the children being maltreated.
This is what he describes as the “incestuous nature of the nursery
staffing”. This example of prejudice may be somewhat less “refined”, and I
am wary of an expert who is prepared to clutch at straws in this way on the
basis of incomplete information. His expertise as a clinical psychologist
does not assist me to take into account factors of that kind, in so far as
they are relevant.

430. One matter that Dr Friedrich emphasised was the need to “rely on more
than a child’s statement in a forensic setting”. In particular, he asserted
the validity in young children of physical demonstrations of what has
occurred, without verbalisation. He mentioned a small child who
demonstrated that she had been anally penetrated by poking a pen into a
doll in broadly the right location. The particular case he had in mind was
an instance where the perpetrator had confessed. It is probably fair to
say, however, that context and background would be equally important in
assessing the weight to be attached to such a statement, as in the case of
a verbal account.

431. He was clearly conscious of the risks of contamination and expressed a
general scepticism about “multi-victim/multi-perpetrator sexual abuse
cases”, largely because he had experienced allegations of that kind “where
their contamination could be observed”. A major factor in enabling him to
overcome his doubts in the Shieldfield case was that the children disclosed
similar matters, which were accompanied by agitated behaviour. It was not
to me self-evident that this necessarily weighed against contamination. Be
that as it may, other significant factors for Dr Friedrich were to be found
in the “evidence” he had pertaining to the Nursery and “the alleged
perpetrators”. I have already commented on the quality of that. It is
merely superficial.

432. Dr Friedrich warns of the difficulty of evaluating verbal disclosures
by pre-school children, owing to their immaturity and lack of communication
skills. That is, of course, a statement of the obvious. Disclosures by
“pre-schoolers” are lacking in detail and, at times, appear “random,
bizarre, and unbelievable”. Dr Friedrich then moves from that general
proposition, in paragraph 13 of his report, to “these children” (i.e. those
from Shieldfield). He asserts that it is likely that they “were threatened
to give their co-operation and secrecy”. That “likelihood” surely only
arises, however, if one assumes that they have been abused. At all events,
Dr Friedrich believes it important to focus on evidence of distress and
behaviour, as much as upon verbal reports, which may often consist of bare
denials or fragmentary accounts. “At this very young age, non-verbal
reports are as important as verbal reports”. Also, he comments that the
statements of very young children become more believable when “linked with
genuine affect and behaviour”.

433. Dr Friedrich then proceeds to address the evidence made available to
him in relation to each child. He concludes in each case that abuse is
likely to have taken place. Subject to what follows, I shall take into
account the factors he lists in due course, when I come to assess the
overall picture of the evidence relied upon by way of justification.

434. In the witness box on 12 April Professor Friedrich seemed objective
but so cautious as to be non-committal – making such observations as that
it was a very complex case and that he was glad that he did not have to
decide the facts. When pressed in cross-examination as to his methodology,
he spoke very slowly and cautiously, his answers being circumlocutory and
difficult to follow. For the most part, they seemed to amount to little
more than saying that one had to gather as much information as possible
before attempting to make a judgment. He seemed to experience particular
difficulty when asked to explain with what degree of probability he was
advancing his conclusions of sexual abuse; whether it was uniform in
respect of all children or varied from child to child, and the extent to
which his conclusions were based on individual cases or global impression.
It was all a bit vague:

“A: That is – you know I do not think anyone told me that the, what the
standard of proof that we are using a standard of proof, but the standard
of – you know if I asked to provide expert testimony in a criminal trial
based on this information I would provide that information and I would make
that statement and the standard of proof in a criminal trial is beyond a
reasonable doubt and I approach this. Yes, I was not informed about the
standard of evidence that I had to meet. It was what do you think of this
data? What is your conclusion?”

435. Professor Friedrich’s cautious approach in the witness box appeared to
contrast with some of the bolder statements in his original report. I take
the following examples:

Paragraph 13 “It is likely that these children were threatened to gain
their co-operation and secrecy. In fact 17 out of the 28 children reported
threats to either self or others. Most child molesters are not silent
during this process but will actively shape the child’s view of what was
going on”.

Paragraph 14 “With this group of nursery children, there is ample evidence
that the perpetrators shaped the child’s view both of himself and of the
abuse”.

Paragraph 18 “In fact, it is likely that many of the sexual behaviors that
were perpetrated on these children were subtle and deliberately mislabelled
by the perpetrators. This is the likely explanation for Child 14 stating
that Lillie’s ‘Wiggy’ landed in her friend’s ‘Mary,’ rather than a
statement that more clearly describes what actually happened”.

Paragraph 40 “It is also very likely that the alleged perpetrators actively
distorted what was going on by relabeling what was happening or where the
child was. For example, many of these children talk about their ‘other
parent’ or their ‘other house’. Masturbation is likely to have been called
‘water pistols,’ ‘a game’ mentioned by at least two children. Buildings
became libraries with a few books, a perfect ploy to use if the child was
asked where they had gone that day. The abuse occurred in situations of
high anxiety, further reducing the child’s capacity to retain what was
happening. All of these strategies by the alleged perpetrators add to the
difficulty we can having in understanding young abused preschoolers”.

436. In the light of Professor Friedrich’s cautious and restrained approach
in the witness box, I can only interpret these assertions as theories or
postulates. The report consists of a theoretical construct as to what could
have happened. Professor Friedrich was completely open and frank in
cross-examination. When speaking of his “Evaluator Rating Scale to rate
specific behaviors” which emerged from the waves fully formed on 10 April,
he recognised that it contained a list of behaviours which could be
consistent with abuse (e.g. touching the crotch) or could also be
consistent with another explanation (e.g. needing to empty the bladder or
some other form of discomfort). He said he never attached points to any
such findings by way of marking their significance. This rather suggests
that the terms “rating” and “scale” might perhaps give a misleading
impression of greater precision and rigour than is truly warranted. He
described it as being just a “check list”.

437. He was asked about the scope for cross-contamination between children
who were seeing a good deal of each other. He readily accepted (unlike the
Review Team) that this was a major factor, although it was not clear how it
was taken into account in arriving at his conclusions. He was asked how he
approached a situation in which a child was giving an account which
included an apparent allegation of sexual abuse against Mr Lillie or Miss
Reed but which also contained verifiably inaccurate information (e.g. that
other children or teachers were present). How was he able to decide that
the one nugget of truth in such an account was that relating to the
Claimants? He described it as “an excellent question” but appeared to have
no especially informative answer.

438. Miss Page was doing well, it seemed, because later the same afternoon
she asked another question he characterised as “excellent”. This time she
wanted to know (with reference to paragraph 14 of his report) how he could
have concluded that “the perpetrators shaped the child’s view both of
himself and of the abuse” unless he assumed that abuse had taken place.
Similarly, one needs to know how he could have arrived at his conclusion in
paragraph 13 (that the children had been threatened to ensure their
silence) unless an assumption had been made. These “excellent” questions
required a cogent answer. There was a long rambling response extending over
two pages (164–166) of the transcript. It was, however, no more than
incomprehensible verbiage. It would be a waste of space to include it in
this judgment.

439. Rather engagingly, he said that when he was first instructed in this
case he thought to himself “Not another day care case!” He regards such
cases as “very daunting”. They provide “a huge challenge”. Much of the
information is, as he described it, “contradictory and difficult to
fathom”. He was invited by Miss Page to suggest how the court might
approach this “daunting” task. He said that it was desirable to look not
only at verbal statements but also at the children’s behaviour, but to see
it all in context. The example he gave was that Child 2 had other factors
in her life which could cause anxiety or account for behaviours relied
upon, quite apart from the possible explanation of child abuse at the
nursery.

440. In the course of his evidence, Professor Friedrich said that children
need to feel good about themselves. He gave the example of his own small
son whom he had often taken to play football and who, on one occasion,
asked his father if he had seen the two goals he had scored. In fact, his
team had lost and the boy scored no goals. This is an example, no doubt, of
a child feeling good about himself but, more important for present
purposes, it illustrates the tenuous boundary for young children between
fact and fantasy. It demonstrates a fundamental difficulty about this case
overall. It is, moreover, noteworthy that Professor Friedrich told me that
at the time of the football incident he described his son was as much as
five years old – significantly older than the Shieldfield children were at
any material time.

441. Mr Bishop put to Professor Bruck more than once that very young
children (of three to four years old) might well need prompting to say
anything at all. In other words, a certain amount of leading is required.
Professor Bruck did not dissent but put her finger on the central problem
about all the “disclosures” in this case; namely, that while leading
questions may yield allegations consistent with sexual abuse there is no
sure way of telling whether they are true or false. One simply has to
assess them like any other piece of evidence, taking into account the
overall context and how they came to be elicited (if that information is
available).

442. It is necessary not to lose sight of the elementary fact that the
study of human behaviour is not a precise science. One needs to be wary
also of over-interpreting child behaviour and of what Dr Cameron (the
Claimants’ child behaviour expert) rather grandly called the “fallacy of
post-event matching”. What this means, simply, is that one cannot merely
look at disparate aspects of a child’s behaviour and ascribe them to
trauma. One needs also to assess the evidence (if any) that trauma actually
occurred. All this, of course, falls well short of “rocket science” and
leaves me in the position of having to make up my own mind in the light of
the evidence.

443. Unfortunately, when the court re-assembled on the morning of 15 April,
Professor Friedrich’s cross-examination went into a downward spiral. He
appeared to be out of his depth. It soon emerged that I could place no
reliance on his evidence at all. He was very frank and apologetic about it
but agreed with Miss Page that his report was of very poor quality. He
could hardly do otherwise. It now became quite apparent why there had been
such a divergence between his original report and his cautious approach in
the witness box.

444. Although Appendix 2 indicated that he had seen the videotapes listed
there, it appears that he had not done so before writing the Report in
December 2001 (except for part of Child 14’s interviews). Nor had he seen
transcripts, except in two or three cases. He only had videotapes in the
American format in February 2002. When he did see them, he was obviously
not very impressed and this must have accounted for the first paragraph of
his supplementary report provided on 10 April (quoted above). He was asked
why he had not come to that conclusion in his first report. What emerged
was that he had not seen enough to form a view although, crucially, anyone
reading his report between December and April would have thought that he
had seen all relevant videos.

445. This was not a promising start to the day – especially in view of the
fact that Professor Friedrich was the expert put forward on the
significance of the children’s verbal disclosures (in opposition to
Professor Bruck). I infer that, having seen the tapes, he realised how
deeply flawed the interviews were. Since, however, he had already committed
himself to firm conclusions to the effect that child abuse had taken place,
he had to find some other peg on which to hang those conclusions. He
shifted his centre of gravity to “associated behaviours” in his
supplemental report, despite the fact that Dr Hewitt was supposed to be the
expert in that arena. This seismic shift failed to carry conviction, and he
would have done rather better to own up at an earlier stage that he had
never seen the “disclosures” he was supposed to be evaluating.

446. Miss Page put to him that, in his capacity as “disclosures” expert, he
should have focused on the transcripts (if the tapes were not available) as
his first priority. That was obviously right. He said he would have been
doing a disservice only to focus on them. This was to miss the point of
Miss Page’s question, since he had not focused at all on either the videos
or the transcripts in respect of approximately a dozen children he was
telling the court had been abused. That was a disservice.

447. It might have seemed that things could hardly get worse. They did. In
relation to Child 1, he purported on page 19 of his report to be describing
the content of the first video interview on 28 July 1993. It seems in fact
that he was actually having a shot at describing the second video of 7
February 1994. Even that, however, was inaccurate. He gave the impression
to anyone reading his report that Child 1 was saying, as early as July
1993, that Christopher Lillie had “hurt” him. He did not. Worse still,
however, is the fact that he did not do so in the second video interview
either. Instead of recognising his blunder, Professor Friedrich decided to
have a third crack at upholding his conclusions “on the spot” (in both
senses). He said that the content of the first (28 July) video was quite
“rich” even though the child said nothing at all against Christopher Lillie
or Dawn Reed.

448. Not unreasonably, Miss Page put to Professor Friedrich that his rather
bold conclusions were based on misinformation. He replied merely, “I would
conjecture there are a couple of date errors here and there”.

449. He then tried to say that his mistaken account of the July interview
at least corresponded to what the child had earlier told his mother.
Professor Friedrich would then be able to base his conclusions (at this
stage free-floating and without support) on such earlier statements.
Unfortunately, this was simply not true. He had not told his mother that
Chris has “hurt” him. The next strategy was to say that, even if he had not
reported physical harm to his mother, he had at least said things to her
that were capable of being construed as emotional abuse. At this stage I
could hardly keep up with Professor Friedrich’s footwork. At all events, I
realised finally that I could place no reliance on him at all. It was a
complete waste of time and money.

450. I was in two minds as to whether to bring the exercise to a
conclusion, as it would simply be better in some respects to move to the
next witness. But I thought this would probably be unfair to both sides.

451. Next, Professor Friedrich was asked if he had been told of Chief
Inspector Campbell Findlay’s warnings to the Review Team about placing any
reliance on the mother of Child 1 (which they chose to ignore or reject) or
anything about his difficult home background. There was a certain amount of
obfuscation, but it was clear that he had not been told. That was hardly
his fault since he could only proceed on what he was given.

452. In his report (page 18) Child 1 is described by Professor Friedrich as
adopting a posture and he uses the words (in quotation marks) “proffers his
bottom”. That supposed quotation came from nowhere. Despite being in
quotation marks, it is Professor Friedrich’s interpretation of the
information form the mother’s police statement of 17 August 1993 that he
had his head and shoulders near the ground with his bottom raised in the
air. There is no information contained in that document as to whether the
child was clothed, naked or partially clothed or as to which way he was
facing. His mother’s reaction was apparently to tell him to sit properly.
He made the point that the boy did not say who had “taught” him to do this.
Clearly, the sinister but unspoken assumption is that Christopher Lillie
had taught the child to position himself with his bottom raised in the air
for the purposes of buggery or some other penetrative abuse. When Miss Page
confronted Professor Friedrich with this grave allegation, which he
appeared to be endorsing in his expert report, he rather drew back from it
(as well he might). Nevertheless, his report makes the claim (on page 21)
that “his physical findings are consistent with sexual abuse”. The only
relevant physical finding is in Dr San Lazaro’s report of 22 July 1993.
This was that anal inspection “revealed a symmetrical pattern and no
evidence of previous significant damage”. Another false point.

453. When one remembers the gravity of these allegations, and the truly
daunting implications for Mr Lillie and Miss Reed, it beggars belief how
casually this so-called expert report was thrown together and served up to
the court.

454. Attention was then turned to Child 5. This was the girl who only
overlapped with Mr Lillie at Shieldfield for a few days up to 7 April 1993,
and was throughout in the care of Jackie Bell, Diane Wood and Patricia
Hammemi. Professor Friedrich for some reason proceeded in his report on the
misinformation that the child had been in the Red Room with Mr Lillie.
According to Appendix 2, Professor Friedrich had seen the relevant Day Book
entries for Child 5 which cover the days in question. For obvious reasons,
they were not in the writing of either of the Claimants, and there was not
the remotest possibility of forgery or collusion by any of the three actual
carers.

455. Professor Friedrich, in order to prop up his allegation that Child 5
had been abused, asserts “… even in this brief time period, she is reported
to have started to wet herself”. There is nothing in the Day Book entries
to support the assertion. Where he got it from is the “disclosure chart”
prepared by the lawyers, but there no date is given. It was Professor
Friedrich who decided to attribute it to the brief period up to 7 April
1993. If he had bothered to read the Day Book entries, he could have seen
for himself that the child was not in the Red Room and that there was no
evidence of wetting. In these respects, therefore, Professor Friedrich does
not have the excuse that he was given misleading information. The mistakes
are his.

456. Miss Page also focused on Child 28. With my permission (contained in a
ruling on 15 April), she carried out this exercise, in order to save time,
by inviting Professor Friedrich’s comments on the much longer comments of
Professor Zeitlin on this child. Professor Zeitlin is the expert engaged on
the City Council’s behalf in the negligence proceedings. He presented a
rather different picture, but it is important to emphasise that this
extract from his report was not introduced as evidence of its contents, but
as a convenient vehicle for challenging Professor Friedrich on his
methodology (both in relation to Child 28 and generally). As it happened,
by the time she turned to this Miss Page did not really need it. She had
already despatched Professor Friedrich over the pavilion for six. He was no
longer in contention.

457. There came a time when Professor Friedrich was asked by Miss Page to
choose any child and demonstrate to the court how he had satisfied himself
in that instance that other factors could be eliminated, so as to enable
him to conclude that the weight of the evidence pointed to the child having
been abused by Mr Lillie and Miss Reed. He chose Child 10. This was perhaps
surprising in view of the fact that this boy had been later diagnosed as
suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The case
therefore presented a particular challenge because the symptoms had to be
carefully considered with a view to eliminating that as a potential
explanation – quite apart from addressing the usual factors of family and
domestic circumstances and other life events which could be relevant.

458. Nevertheless, having opted for Child 10, Professor Friedrich tumbled
straight into the elephant trap. He was invited to look at what he had
written on page 35 of his original report. He said that “Child 10 had
considerable exposure to the care of Lillie and Reed and his persistent
behavioral regression, sexualization, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress
disorder are in keeping with this exposure”.

459. Miss Page put to him that this was an example of his “palpable bias”.
He was starting from an assumption that there had been abuse in the Red
Room. His response was unimpressive. He said that he found the mother of
Child 10 to have been “benign” and that accordingly he was left with
Shieldfield as the source of his problems. Given the scale of this boy’s
problems, even as disclosed in the Day Books (which Professor Friedrich
received), and the pressures that his mother was having to cope with (as a
single parent), it was a superficial approach to put the ADHD to one side
without any apparent attempt to fit it into the picture.

460. This was perhaps all the more remarkable in the light of what
Professor Friedrich was saying on p.138 of his most recent book on sexually
abused children; namely, that some of the clusters of symptoms are commonly
found in groups of children other than those who are known to have been
sexually abused – including specifically those with ADHD. It seems
extraordinary that Professor Friedrich, of all people, should not have set
about explaining carefully how Child 10’s cluster of behaviours could with
such confidence be attributed to sexual abuse rather than ADHD. What he
said was that he was looking at the Shieldfield children as a whole and
that, so far as Child 10 was concerned, he focused on his sexualised
behaviour:

“Well, if we stay with Child 10 the degree of sexual and aggressive
behaviour that he does exhibit is going to be very separate from, say, a
diagnosis of ADHD or a stressed out single parent and so we do go back to
sexual behaviour and the origins of that and thinking about what is
possible in this child’s life”.

This does not really meet the point.

461. An important topic for Professor Friedrich to address, as I have said,
was that of cross-contamination. There were obvious potential sources of
contamination both with regard to parents and children. But one in
particular became the main focus of Miss Page’s cross-examination. That was
the Yellow Room during the period when Child 23 was there. There were a
number of common themes which, she argued, on a balance of probabilities
could be attributed to contamination by Child 23 in that environment. Miss
Page wanted to know how Professor Friedrich had eliminated that factor as a
possible explanation for statements made by Children 4, 5, 7, 8, 17 and 28.
He did concede that over the weekend of 13–14 April, when doing some
“homework” set him by Miss Page, he had decided that he could not conclude
that Child 5 had been abused. Nevertheless, he still held out for abuse in
the case of the others. It was therefore pertinent to find out how he had
discounted cross-contamination for them. Much time was spent pressing for
an answer and there were generalities in response, such as taking into
account early statements and other behaviour, but I was not convinced.
There is no evidence that it was addressed in any analytical way at all.

462. Similarly, there was the Child 87 factor. He was exhibiting worrying
and persistent sexualised behaviour and aggression during the summer of
1993 and had been a thorough nuisance in this respect. He was trying to get
into girls’ knickers and simulate intercourse (in particular, with Child
21). Professor Friedrich was only told about this after his report was
written. It is obvious therefore that he was not in a position to eliminate
it as at least a partial explanation for sexual interest on the part of
those who came into contact with him. Anyone who failed to address these
points might just as well be giving a general seminar on potential factors
in child abuse. It does not greatly assist the more specific inquiry as to
what happened in the Shieldfield environment a decade ago.

463. Professor Friedrich was also pressed on how he could possibly, on the
limited information before him, make the claim contained in paragraph 100
to the effect that the weight of the evidence pointed to abuse by
Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed. Miss Page put to Professor Friedrich that
his evidence was flawed, unscientific and lacking in objectivity. He begged
to differ, but she was clearly right. It might be thought offensive of Miss
Page to suggest, as she did, that Professor Friedrich’s reasoning
represented no advance on the reading of tea-leaves. But it was a good deal
less offensive than the accusations he was making against Christopher
Lillie and Dawn Reed, for which he was claiming scientific and professional
objectivity. He told me that he had his introduction to the two Claimants
through the Review Team Report. That clearly coloured his whole approach.
Everything he addressed was used as a pointer to child abuse. That is the
opposite of scientific objectivity. It is simply a case of the very
phenomenon of cross-contamination he was being asked to analyse.

464. At one point Professor Friedrich said (I believe somewhat unguardedly)
that he had calculated the likelihood of the Defendants’ allegations being
true. When asked for the answer he had worked out, there was nothing very
precise forthcoming. That is hardly surprising, but what is objectionable
is that all his speculations should be clothed in a mantle of scientific
rigour. What he actually said was this:

“A: Well, take, for example, the association of sexually intrusive
behaviour – by that I mean children touching other children sexually. That
was reported in 17 of these children. That is a very unusual behaviour for
it to be reported in a group of children like this. It suggests something
that is clearly not random. It suggests something that is very likely –
very unlikely to have occurred without some actual sexually abusive
experience having been common in these children’s lives and so that would
make it highly likely that these children had been exposed to a sexually
abusive experience. If you simply go to the risk factors in Mr Lillie’s
life, you do not have that high degree of likelihood. You simply have
increased the likelihood of him having—of him maltreating, maybe on the
order of two to three times more likely. So that is one way that I looked
at probability across different scenarios, different behaviours, different
individuals.”

465. This stream of consciousness material is of no value whatever (even if
it is possible to attribute meaning to the words). As to the “risk factors
in Mr Lillie’s life”, Miss Page asked him if he had a single piece of
evidence outside the Shieldfield context of Mr Lillie maltreating anyone in
his life before or since. Of course, he had not.

466. Miss Page asked several times for the validation of his evaluator
scale methodology. She got nowhere. His supplemental report included a
statement that it had been validated by the research of a postgraduate, but
he was being supervised by Professor Friedrich himself. In any event, this
research was not produced. As a checklist, there is nothing wrong with a
catalogue of symptoms or behaviours, as Dr Cameron recognised, but just
because he accords it the smart title of “Evaluator Rating Scale” it does
not mean that Professor Friedrich’s opinions need to be given particular
weight. Fundamentally important for any scientist’s opinions, in court or
elsewhere, are the data on which they are based. Here the material was so
partial, incomplete and misleading as to render any opinion worthless. Once
flaws are pointed out, a scientist will go back to the drawing board or the
laboratory bench and start afresh. Here what was so astonishing was that
Professor Friedrich clung to his original opinions with whatever piece of
rope he was thrown. In re-examination, for example, he was shown odd bits
and pieces of material he had not seen at the time of his original report
and adopted it as support for his conclusions without any testing or
analysis at all.

467. In re-examination, he was shown a report by an expert instructed in
the City Council’s negligence action and said that his approach was quite
similar. But I did not find this helpful as that report had clearly got
several of the children hopelessly muddled up.

468. At the conclusion of his evidence, I was glad that I had not
encouraged greater brevity the day before (as I had contemplated) because
the longer he went on the more it became apparent just how feeble his
pseudo-scientific claims were.

469. I was seriously troubled how it could have come about that an expert
could have presented the Claimants’ advisers and the court with a report on
the children’s disclosures while claiming in Appendix 2 to have seen the
video interviews (the raw data he was being asked about) when he knew that
he had not. Moreover, he actually states in his overall conclusion (quoted
above) that his clinical impression was “based on the view of the documents
and video tapes provided to me” (emphasis added). That was just simply
untrue. On 16 April I asked Mr Bishop whether his solicitors were aware of
this at the time they served the report. I wanted to know how it was
allowed to happen that for some four months the Claimants’ advisers (and,
for that matter, the court) had been misled into thinking that Professor
Friedrich had seen the videos on which he was purporting to base his
conclusions. It was a continuing misrepresentation. Either he misled the
solicitors (for the Review Team and the Newcastle Chronicle) or he had
informed them that he could not view the material (because he did not have
the American formatted video tapes). If the latter, the unlikely scenario
was beginning to emerge that solicitors had been party to this deception.
The following day I was told by Mr Bishop that his instructing solicitors
did find out shortly after serving the report that Professor Friedrich had
not seen the videos – but they failed to pass this on to the Claimants’
advisers. I asked for an explanation by way of witness statement from the
solicitor.

470. I was provided on 13 May with a statement by Mr Cunningham of Wragge &
Co, the firm representing the City Council and Review Team Defendants. It
emerged that Mr Bishop had been misled. It did not dawn on Wragge & Co
until 12 April that Professor Friedrich had not seen the video tapes prior
to writing his report which contained the false claim to which I have
referred. Indeed, I was shown an attendance note of a telephone
conversation on 15 January, when it appeared that Wragge & Co were assured
by Cathryn Smith of Foot Anstey Sargent (the Chronicle’s solicitors) that
experts “had seen copies of all the video interviews”. In due course, in
the midst of closing submissions on 18 June I received a full witness
statement from Cathryn Smith explaining the position form her point of
view. She said that she only became aware that Professor Friedrich had not
watched the tapes prior to his Report being served when she read the
transcript of these proceedings for 17 April. She said “I was astonished by
this revelation, because Professor Friedrich had been instructed to comment
upon the verbal disclosures contained within the interviews, had been
provided with copies of them for the purpose of viewing them”. She also
said that it was not right that she had given an “assurance” to Wragge & Co
that Professor Friedrich had actually watched the videos. The discussion
was rather about the provision of DVD copies to Professor Friedrich and the
court. I expect she is right about that, but what is clear is that neither
of the firms of solicitors were aware of the omission. It would seem that
the primary responsibility therefore lies with Professor Friedrich.

471. In June, after the evidence was concluded, I was invited to take into
account a letter from Professor Friedrich explaining his position. In
fairness to him, I should set out its contents:

“I was asked to reply to a question raised on Thursday, April 25th ,
regarding the intent of my statement from paragraph 11–100 of my report.
The statement reads “It is my clinical impression based on a review of the
documents and video tapes provided to me in combination with my experience
in the evaluation and interviewing of very young children that the majority
of the evidence points to sexual abuse of these 28 children”.

The concern of the court is that this statement constitutes a
misrepresentation as to what I had and had not reviewed prior to writing my
report. I will address three issues in this reply. The first pertains to
what I had told Foot Anstey Sargent about my materials review. The second
issue is [sic] pertains to what it is that I meant in the above quote, and
the third issue addresses the relevant circumstances regarding the review,
e.g. timetable, time pressures, deadlines, etc.

The primary issue pertains to the fact that while prior to my report I had
reviewed all of the transcripts that were provided to me (Children 1, 14,
19-a partial transcript, 22-a partial transcript, and 24), I had only fully
reviewed 1.5 videotapes. These were half of the 3 videotapes that were
available on Child #14. I do not have any documentation of what I
specifically informed Foot Anstey Sargent prior to sending the report to
them. I do know that after my first phone call with Cathryn Smith on 10–19,
I had phone calls with Foot Anstey Sargent representatives on 11–13, 11–20,
11–30, 12–3 and 12–4. I was receiving boxes of materials on a regular basis
and using every available moment to read what was being sent to me. I do
know that on at least one of the phone calls, I said that I was having
problems reviewing the videos since they were in a European format. I was
informed around the 20th of December that Wragge & Co. had already embarked
on transferring the video material to DVD format and these arrived in early
January. By that time I had personally arranged to have the videos changed
into a North American format and had embarked on the task not only of
reviewing the verbal content but also coding the nonverbal behavior
displayed during the interview.

Finally, I did not create the list of documents reviewed (Appendix 2) that
was attached by Foot Anstey Sargent to the end of my report. On April 24, I
did provide Mr Cunningham with an itemized list that indicated what of that
list I had reviewed. Appendix 2 was generally complete, although I had
reviewed several documents that were not cited in Appendix 2.

The second issue asks for an answer as to what I meant in my statement, ‘…
based on a review of the documents and videotapes provided to me…’. First,
I would like to offer that this statement does not mean that I read every
line of every document or watched every second of videotape. My charge was
to primarily focus on the verbal productions of these children. As soon as
case materials began to arrive in early November, I first reviewed an
executive summary of the review team’s report. I next reviewed all
materials that were specifically about or from Lillie and Reed. I then
reviewed every parent statement and then all of the interview transcripts.
I was not surprised to read in these transcripts what I typically hear from
American preschoolers. What I read were earnest and well-meaning
professionals interviewing minimally disclosive children. That impression
was supported by the videotaped interviews I reviewed on Child#14. I
concluded that the child interviews would not be the source of data that
would enable me to arrive at a decision about what if anything had happened
to these children.

Consequently, I then began to read the therapist notes, the daybooks, and
the expert reports by a variety of mental health professionals. I used the
disclosure summaries to point to specific primary sources that I would read
if I had not yet done so. In addition, I reread the case data in order to
code behaviors of these children along the dimensions of PTSD and sexual
behavior. I moved in this direction since it has been my experience which
is supported by research literature, some of which I had contributed to,
that behavior was the most important source of information about a
preschool child’s abuse status.

I can appreciate that there was a decision in this case that asked for an
expert to review the verbal disclosures and another to review the
children’s behavior. This decision makes sense if these children had been
older at the time they were first interviewed, or if the interviewers had
been more expert. But the transcripts were clear that what I heard in Child
14’s videotapes was typical of the other children. The same is true of the
brief quotes from the child interviews that were summarized in the
disclosure tables for each child.

Consequently, I believe I comprehensively reviewed the key material that
was available on these children, and partially reviewed the direct verbal
output of these children in the forensic interviews. I believe that I
targeted my efforts to maximize the utility of my time spent on the volumes
of material that were sent to me.

If I had meant to misrepresent my review to the court, I would have been
less straightforward on the witness stand when I stated that I had only
reviewed half of the taped material on Child #14. In addition, I also
expressed to the court that some the handwritten therapy notes and Daybook
materials were also difficult to read in their entirety, although I made
every attempt to do so. Finally, after reviewing additional material during
the course of my testimony, I reversed my decision about one child. This
speaks further to my objectivity and willingness to listen to the data.

Finally, I have never worked so intensely and under such pressure as I have
on this case. I had only put in 2 hours of document review prior to 11–14,
when I was able to clear my calendar and concentrate on the regularly
arriving boxes from the U.K. Between 11–14 and the delivery of the report,
I spent over 130 hours reading case materials and coding data points that I
could further analyze. This does not begin to reflect the additional hours
I spent thinking about the case when away from the actual material. I have
occasionally completed document reviews on similar cases with fewer
children and have never spent as much time per child as I did with the
Shieldfield case. I truly do believe that I gave the material the review
that was necessary to analyze the data and arrive at a valid and completely
justifiable conclusion.

I hope that this information will make my position clear and I would be
pleased to answer any further questions the court may have about the
preparation of my report.

Yours sincerely

William N. Friedrich, Ph.D., ABPP”

472. Ms Smith also commented on this letter. She said that she had no
reason to believe that Professor Friedrich had not overcome any
difficulties he had mentioned in watching the videos in European format.
She certainly believed that he had watched them.

Dr Sandra Hewitt and Dr Hamish Cameron: Child behaviour

473. The experts dealing with interpretation of child behaviour, and the
extent to which certain manifestations might or might not be linked to
sexual or other abuse, were Dr Sandra Hewitt for the Defendants and Dr
Hamish Cameron for the Claimants. Each of them considered individual
children and the available information about their behavioural patterns,
but also addressed more general issues.

474. Dr Hewitt records how she would often encounter very young children
and experience difficulty in structuring interviews in a way that would
efficiently extract reliable information. She explained that this was, or
appeared to be, because the children were lacking in the language skills
(and presumably also concepts) that were necessary to communicate what she
wanted to know. She then decided that she could regard behaviour as “the
language they did have”. She claimed that “suddenly” it was easy to
understand children. “Behaviours are the mirrors of young children’s
experiences. In assessing cases of pre-school sexual abuse, that is where
we were to look for information about a child’s past”.

475. As to the 28 Shieldfield cases she reviewed, she referred to a
recurring leitmotiv (“something very powerful”) which they had in common.
She claims that they were caused “massive dysregulation from their stable
entrance behaviours”. She identified eight issues to be considered:

1) The combination of significant trauma and atypical sexual behaviours.

2) A commonality of fears, actions and references to places (not normally
experienced in a random sampling of abused children) pointing to a common
source.

3) She thought old memories were triggered and recalled in detail following
a medical examination or formal interview. She describes “remarkable
responses” to such events that were “unprompted and unstructured”, thus
emerging “with emotion and content intact”.

4) Consistency of recall “not only within their accounts, but also across
many children”.

5) The commonality of atypical sexual behaviours she regards as “virtually
impossible” without a common source.

6) She excluded the hypotheses of cross-contamination and suggestive
questioning in her child-by-child analysis.

7) The commonality of atypical symptoms across so many children defies the
probability of other causes than the origin of the trauma at Shieldfield.

8) In sum, she concludes, the cases reviewed match a “research and practice
population of sexually abused pre-school children” but, in any event, the
rich behavioural data cannot be explained by any other reasonable
hypothesis than the experience of sexual abuse at Shieldfield Nursery
during the time the children were in the Red Room with Lillie and Reed as
their nurses.

476. This list gives rise to questions that I shall have to consider
carefully, namely (1) the extent to which these eight issues are truly
distinct from each other, (2) whether significant questions have been
begged, and (3) whether Dr Hewitt has been operating on correct factual
data. (For example, Child 5, Child 11, Child 14 and Child 31 were never in
the Red Room.)

477. Once again, the experts divided more or less on “party lines”. Dr
Cameron was asked to consider a sample of only seven Shieldfield children.
While he agrees that sexualised behaviour in two to four year olds,
provided it is “persistent, intrusive and seems ‘driven’ within the child”,
should alert one to the possibility of sexual abuse, neither this nor any
other behaviour can be regarded as probative or diagnostic of sexual abuse.
So much depends on context. He highlighted the very important point that
one cannot come up with a responsible diagnosis on paper without having
seen the child and investigating his or her particular circumstances. That
is something Dr Cameron is used to doing either clinically or for the
purposes of family litigation.

478. Some of the behaviours noted at Shieldfield are neither probative nor
indicative of sexual abuse in two to four year olds (e.g. nightmares or
disturbed sleep, lack of speech development, fear of dogs, becoming upset
in certain locations, fear of clowns or beards, pre-occupation with death,
aggression, bed-wetting or soiling). In the course of cross-examination, Dr
Hewitt was quite prepared to put the issue of clowns to one side as
irrelevant to the matter of child abuse.

479. On the other hand, unusual sexual posturing or play can at least be
indicative of sexual abuse. It is thus important to be careful about what
is classified as “sexual” in this context – a matter I shall turn to again.

480. It is necessary to allow for “separation anxiety” when starting at a
nursery, or changing rooms within it, as a possible explanation for
behavioural changes or regression. Moreover, behavioural deterioration
arising after questioning might connote the awakening of dormant memories
of past abuse or, alternatively, the arousal through clumsy interviewing of
fears about certain individuals, if portrayed as threatening or wicked
people. It is inevitably the case that a belief that one (or, in the case
of a parent, one’s child) has been subjected to wicked behaviour can in
itself lead to trauma and severe disruption of one’s life.

481. While Dr Cameron recognises that it is established knowledge that one
of the techniques used by paedophiles is that of threatening or cajoling
their victims into silence, he regards it as unrealistic to suppose such a
technique could have worked in relation to all of these children, so as to
prevent the making of contemporaneous complaints. He considers that a
significant proportion, at least, would have complained immediately to a
principal carer or trusted relative. He expressed “grave doubt” as to
whether any of the relevant children’s remarks could be construed as
indicating coercive threats or enticement. It is his opinion, in respect of
the children he reviewed, that such remarks as could be interpreted as
reflecting enticement, or coercive threats, were so inconclusive that a
reader would have to construct that scenario out of very few facts. In this
context, it is naturally worth remembering how widely the Review Team cast
the net of the Claimants’ alleged abuse. They did not in the Report confine
their findings to the 27 children in this case. Far from it. They suggest
that the abuse was much wider. On Dr Cameron’s thesis, therefore, it
becomes even less likely that all the supposed victims would have remained
silent.

482. Dr Cameron considers that it is important to focus first on more
common or expected causes for clusters of symptoms in young children,
before attributing an explanation which is not within ordinary experience.
Each child has to be considered individually, with particular reference to
family background and personal circumstances. It is also important to
recall that the large majority of children suffering from sexual abuse
incur it within the family. “Stranger sexual abuse is less common. Even
rarer is sexual abuse by an unrelated man and woman working together to
organise and systematically sexually abuse a large number of children in
their care”. Unlike Dr Hewitt, Dr Cameron does not regard the recurring
themes in the children’s “disclosures” as pointing inexorably to abuse by
Mr Lillie and Miss Reed. He refers to some of these notions (e.g. “flats”,
“lifts”, “an old woman”, “nakedness in bed together”) as having an
“interactive imaginative quality, typical of childhood story telling under
questioning”. He went, originally, so far as to offer the opinion that,
focusing specifically on the behaviours described, the balance would be
90:10 in favour of common place explanations rather than a planned sexual
abuse programme engineered by Mr Lillie and Miss Reed which, in his view,
remains no more than a “possibility”. (I believe, in the witness box, he
accepted that putting a precise figure to the probabilities was
unsatisfactory and that, in any event, if one were to assess the evidence
separately in relation to each child the probabilities would vary.) In
coming to an overall conclusion, of course, Dr Cameron accepts that one has
to factor in to the exercise other forms of evidence and, in particular,
statements by the children and any physical findings by paediatricians.

483. Because he was taking a cautious approach rather than claiming
certainty, very little was added to the overall picture by his oral
evidence on 16–18 April. But I found him helpful, cautious and objective.
It is true that he started off a little bumptiously and cracked a few
jokes, but he soon got into his stride. His primary message was to warn
about leaping to conclusions too readily – especially in the light of the
Cleveland inquiry to which he had given expert assistance 15 years ago. One
needs to approach the matter in an open-minded way and without being wedded
to pre-conceptions or any idée fixe. He was referring particularly to Dr
Marietta Higgs and her apparent obsession with reflex anal dilatation. He
said that one always needs to be watchful for any professional who was
narrowly specialised and over-zealous in diagnosis. That is wise advice and
I bore it in mind.

484. There was an interesting example of the need for full information in
the course of his cross-examination. His attention was directed to Child 23
whose video material he had been asked to watch before giving evidence. He
said that it was necessary to consider carefully all possible explanations
for her symptoms. He had not been given her GP notes and was, therefore,
unaware of her history of urinary problems and associated soreness. When
told about this, he immediately recognised that it was a material factor.
This is simply one of many examples in the case where the addition of one
new category of information about a child can significantly shift the
balance of probabilities derived from first impressions.

485. There were a number of significant general propositions put forward by
Dr Cameron and underlined with considerable conviction. First, at the
beginning of his evidence on 18 April, he referred to the situation where a
mother may suddenly come to believe (as a result, say, of a parents’
meeting or some other conversation) that her child has been abused, and
thereafter becomes obsessively committed to an idea which had not
previously entered her head. This is, as it were, the “zeal of the
converted”:

“A difficulty, my Lord, is that that kind of sudden understanding, the
flash of understanding comes with such force into the mind of the mother, a
very reasonably concerned mother about her child, is often so strong that
[it] becomes really a very entrenched belief which has far more energy from
the emotions attached to it than from the logic attached to it, but I agree
that it is understandable and reasonable presumption that the mother leapt
to. But it is the way it sticks in the mind. It is the sudden conversion of
belief which is driven emotionally as much as by intellect”.

486. Secondly, Dr Cameron was asked by Miss Page about the possibility for
diagnosing child abuse without the opportunity of seeing the relevant child
or children or of investigating the family circumstances. He made the
following point:

“I actually think paper exercises are very difficult things to do and
fraught with risk in drawing conclusions. I like the approach that Dr
Hewitt talked about the interview and I particularly like when she says [in
her book] ‘to schedule at least a 2 hour intake period’. ‘At least’ is in
my experience quite the operative word. You often need a long time to
really get the feel of the child. A paper exercise can take you so far, but
actually it is in my view a very risky business going and drawing
conclusions from papers alone. That is the difficulty I have myself found
in giving evidence in this case – that I have been asked about behaviours
on paper, and that is it, and I think it has come out in cross-examination.
This is – it is a limited exercise”.

487. Shortly afterwards, Dr Cameron gave evidence which is fundamentally
important for this case and it is therefore desirable that I should set it
out in extenso:

“Did it occur or did it not occur? What I was trying to say is that, as I
understand this case, Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed are alleged to have
abused a group of children, a substantial group of children, so that the
children themselves are the focus of having been abused, and the case
emerges out of that group phenomenon. The parents say ‘our child has been
abused’. The alternative view is that there is still a group phenomenon but
the group phenomenon is based on a collective belief that the children have
been abused. The first one, the child has actually been abused. The second
one, is there is a collective belief the children have been abused. When
that collective belief takes root in a group it is a very powerful force.
It actually holds people in a group, who mutually reinforce each other and
it is quite difficult for professionals, unless they are very experienced,
to stand back from the weight of that belief system. Now, that is the sort
of belief system that child psychiatrists (of whom a number have been
mentioned in this case) are familiar [with] when parents have a belief
about a sickness in their child. That is the factitious disease by proxy
idea: ‘I believe my child is ill or harmed, therefore my child is ill or
harmed, and my neighbour’s child is ill or harmed, and my neighbour’s
neighbour’s child is ill or harmed. All of us together as parents who have
a child at this nursery – our children are ill or harmed’. What is striking
is that when one looks at that group of parents who come to occupy that
belief, you find that others within the group will not say the same and
that they refuse to join that group. They say, ‘No, no, we do not think
anything went on’, but the belief system is a very powerful one. So when I
am talking about the alternative hypothesis I am not trying to have a ‘yes
– no, were these children abused or not?’ I am trying to say these children
have suffered harm. Either these children have been physically and sexually
abused, as described, and they had actually been harmed, or the belief
system in the group of parents, supported sometimes by professionals, has
led to the perception that they had been harmed, and that perception has
itself been abusive to the children. These children have been emotionally
abused by the collective belief. So that is what I am saying, when I just
wanted to set out the context within which I would analyse the case”.

488. I asked Dr Cameron to elaborate further, so as to give any examples
either from his own experience or from the literature of such a group
phenomenon in operation. He told me that he had come across it himself in
the context of new religious movements and, in particular, the “Children of
God” case in which he was involved. He said that there was a collective
belief system about the children within that organisation. He did, however,
refer to other examples in the literature such as the Kelly Michaels case
and the Little Rascals case in the United States. As to this jurisdiction,
reference was also made to * Re E * [1991] 1 F.L.R. 420 (Scott Baker
J) and * Rochdale
Borough Council v. A * [1991] 2 F.L.R. 192 (Douglas Brown J). Both of these
cases are well known and I do not think anything would be gained by my
summarising them or addressing parallels with, or distinctions from, the
present case. Each factual situation must be addressed individually.

489. Dr Sandra Hewitt found herself in a difficult position because she was
being asked to offer an opinion in a case for which, as she put it, there
were “no road maps”. She agreed with Dr Cameron as to the limitations upon
a purely paper exercise such as that she was required to carry out. She did
not regard it as her function to “diagnose” child abuse in this case. She
accepted that the decision as to whether abuse had taken place at
Shieldfield could only be taken by the court in the light of the overall
evidence. Since, however, she had been asked by the Defendants’ solicitors
to offer an opinion on the behaviour of children in this case, she would do
her best. But she emphasised that it was an artificial one-off exercise,
since not only was her task to be carried out on the papers alone but it
was to be confined to behaviour (thus excluding many potentially relevant
factors).

490. This was a perfectly reasonable stance to take, but it seemed a little
difficult to reconcile with what she had actually said in her report. For
example, Miss Page referred her to page 21, where she appeared to be
offering something very like a diagnosis in respect of Child 2:

“Child 2’s patterns, over time and across situations, strongly indicate
that she suffered trauma as a result of the placement with Lillie and Reed.
Her behaviours, coupled with [her] statements best identify the source of
trauma”.

491. Dr Hewitt would not accept that this could be described as a
“diagnosis”; she preferred to call it “a conclusion from data”. This is, of
course, to some extent a matter of semantics.

492. It is quite obvious to me that Dr Hewitt took a great deal of time and
trouble over preparing a report in this case and that she was determined to
be as objective and helpful as she could. I must pay particular attention,
however, to the fact that she (like the other experts) finds herself in
unusual circumstances in this case. The exercise is inevitably an
artificial one because she had to work on what she called “retrospective
data” without seeing the children or having an opportunity to establish the
complete factual background in relation to any child. Nevertheless, her
terms of reference may somewhat obscure the limited nature of the
enterprise. She referred me to a passage on page 9 of her report, which
included the request from the Defendants’ solicitors that she should “…
express an opinion as to the extent to which any inference may reliably be
drawn from the behaviours of those 28 children as to (a) whether they have
been abused; and if so (b) what form the abuse took; (c) when the abuse
took place and (d) the setting in which the abuse occurred”. It is
noteworthy that Dr Hewitt was not, in principle, prepared to take what has
been described as a “leap too far”. She has rightly emphasised that all she
could do was to assist the court by reference to the limited data in the
light of her experience. I am grateful for that assistance but naturally I
can only regard anything in her report that looks like a “conclusion” or a
“diagnosis” as of limited value.

493. Dr Hewitt focused very much in her report on the concept of traumatic
stress disorder and referred to the recognised criteria for understanding
trauma responses in young children to be found in the Zero to Three
Diagnostic Classification Manual. As I have already made clear, Dr Cameron
has pointed to the danger of looking at symptoms sometimes associated with
traumatic stress disorder and working backwards from them to a conclusion
that, in any given case, a trauma must have taken place. In the course of
his re-examination, he said this:

“I have great respect for Dr Sandra Hewitt’s work, my Lord, but I have to
say that when children have experienced a major trauma at the hands of
carers they will actually tell people that they have experienced something
awful and frightening and in my view if trauma (by that I mean menacing
violent actions towards the child) is fundamental to the assessment, and
there is no evidence of that, no satisfactory evidence of that whatsoever…
then I cannot professionally see how there can be a post traumatic stress
disorder assumption. You have to have a trauma before you can have a PTSD.
If you diagnose PTSD in a child and then say, ‘therefore there must have
been a trauma’, that is not logical and it does not add up”.

494. This warning ties in with the content of a chapter in * Expert
Witnesses in Child Abuse Cases: What Can and Should Be Said in Court *
published by the American Psychological Association under the editorship of
Stephen Ceci and Helene Hembrooke. The chapter is by Celia B. Fisher and
Katherine A. Whiting, How valid are child sexual abuse validations? It
contains the following relevant paragraphs, at p.166:

“Psychologists applying the PTSD diagnosis as validation of child sexual
abuse fail to recognise the tautological nature of this position (Fisher,
1995). According to * DSM-IV * (American Psychiatric Association, 1994),
the essential feature of PTSD is ‘the development of characteristic
symptoms following exposure, to an extreme traumatic stress’ (italics
added, p.424). Thus, the validity of the PTSD diagnosis depends on first
establishing that the child has been a victim of an uncommon trauma.
Accordingly, to meet ethical and forensic demands for scientifically based
evidence of child sexual abuse, a PTSD diagnosis cannot be established in
the absence of independent documentation that sexual abuse has occurred.

In some cases, PTSD-like behaviors may be a consequence of the stressful
nature of repeated interrogations by investigators, parents, therapists, or
some combination of these people who attempted to substantiate whether
sexual abuse had occurred (Fisher, 1995; Gardner, 1994). For example, in
some instances, overenthusiastic social workers, police investigators, or
psychologists may attempt to elicit from a child information regarding
suspected abuse by describing lurid accusations made by others about the
accused (see Bruck, Ceci, & Rosenthal, 1995). According to * DSM-IV * ,
learning about serious harm experienced by family or close friends may also
trigger PTSD symptoms. Gardner suggested that court-appointed evaluators of
child sexual abuse should attend to the temporal framework of PTSD
symptoms, thereby distinguishing between abuse-related PTSD symptoms due to
a sexual abuse trauma (usually present, to varying degrees, during and
immediately following the discontinuation of the abuse) and
investigatory-related PTSD that does not appear until after the disclosure
and interrogation. Other investigatory-related PTSD-like symptoms, such as
repetitive play in a therapist’s office, may be a product of the repetitive
nature of the therapy sessions rather than a pathological acting out of a
traumatic event (Fisher, 1995).”

495. Against that background, it seems to me, Dr Hewitt’s resort to Zero to
Three has to be approached with caution. I did not understand her to
disagree. As Miss Page pointed out, at an early stage in cross-examination,
that document in itself quite expressly makes clear that it is not intended
to be used in the context of any legal application. She accepted this,
although she agreed that with the benefit of hindsight it would have been
better to make that clear in the body of her report. She emphasised that
she was not using the criteria in a standardised way, but merely as an aid
to assisting the court in these very unusual circumstances. She explained
how she came to use it shortly before her report was due for delivery in
the middle of December:

“I was trying, as I said earlier, to look at this data through the
framework that I used to analyse the cases or to organise the cases that
come to my practice – the prior history, ‘rule out’ factors, objective
measures – and somewhere, about a week and a half before my report was due,
I was feeling very crazy because none of the data … I could not manage it,
there was no way I could get it into conceptual framework that made sense
to me and then suddenly I realised I could not stay with the framework – as
it was not working and I did not know where to go. Based on what I had read
and the cluster of symptoms which I was concerned about, it felt to me that
the best framework was going to be some measure of traumatic stress
behaviours that are seen with children that comes out of a reliable source.
Now, I went to the conference at Zero to Three when the sequelae to some
earlier research were discussed and ended up being in this version of the
manual with the traumatic stress disorder and I thought, I bet if I look at
this data, organised around traumatic stress factors and central behaviour
factors, it may make some sense, and in fact that is what I did. Suddenly,
that lens organised the data for me. It is from looking at that, I could
then reach the conclusions that the combination of traumatic stress
behaviours, coupled with the atypical and unusual level of sexual
behaviours would come together to say there has been a traumatic history
for this child”.

496. Shortly afterwards, Dr Hewitt emphasised the special use she was
making of these criteria:

“If I am not to make a diagnosis, then I am not using this in that sense to
frame a diagnosis, I am using it in combination with factors. I am using
this cluster of behaviours which ends up being at a level which is
significant. It is across the various types of behaviour that children can
exhibit and across a number of sub-categories”.

497. She was very clear that the manual was intended for assisting the
diagnosis in individual cases – not to have application in the present
circumstances for what she called “a review of group data”. It follows that
I must look at the available data for each child separately and weigh any
of the behavioural symptoms in the individual context (remembering that
there is no cluster of symptoms diagnostic of sexual abuse).

498. Miss Page took Dr Hewitt through her conclusions relating to a number
of individual children (which looked remarkably like diagnoses of sexual
abuse). There is no need for me to reflect them in detail in this judgment,
but she focused particularly on Children 1, 2, 11, 14, 21 and 24. She
demonstrated in doing so that (despite her terms of reference, however
artificial) Dr Hewitt had in fact taken into account matters other than
behaviour.

499. She purported on a number of occasions also to take into account
statements, but without having seen the videos, up to that time, or without
having the full context of the statements before her. Miss Page suggested
that Dr Hewitt had indeed made a “leap too far” and, what is more, that she
had displayed bias in her methodology. This may have been partly a factor
of her limited information, and I am sure it was unconscious. Nevertheless,
Miss Page was clearly right about this. There were a number of examples,
but perhaps the most striking was Dr Hewitt’s classification of vulval
soreness as an “unusual sexual behavior” with reference to Child 2. It was
also curious that this should have been so readily accepted as a pointer to
Red Room abuse since Dr Hewitt herself listed the symptoms before as well
as during the Red Room period. When pressed, Dr Hewitt agreed that her
report was “misleading” at least in this respect. No doubt all the experts
are very busy people, but by December 2001 when the reports of Dr Friedrich
and Dr Hewitt were prepared it must have been apparent how grave the
allegations were that the Review Team had chosen to make. Sloppiness of
this kind is not good enough.

500. Dr Hewitt explained that her very strong conclusion in respect of
Child 2 (that she had suffered trauma while in the Red Room) had been
reached by combining behaviour with statements. I can readily understand
the artificiality of separating out behaviour and statements. I noted the
same problem with Professor Friedrich, who was supposed to be concentrating
on verbal disclosures but decided to refer to behaviour in addition (for
reasons I have explained). Nevertheless, it was a fair point for Miss Page
to make that Dr Hewitt did not make clear when and to what extent she had
departed from her specifically behavioural brief. Miss Page pointed out to
her that the picture she had been given was somewhat incomplete since the
mother of Child 2 had in May 1993 described her as “loving” the Nursery at
the material time (i.e. prior to July 1992).

501. One of the more surprising claims of Dr Hewitt was that the court
could rule out cross-contamination as a factor in respect of certain
children (including Child 2). Miss Page suggested this as an indicator of
bias, but more importantly it was a matter outside Dr Hewitt’s expertise
and she lacked a good deal of relevant information now before this court.
In any case, although she tried to explain how she had ruled out
cross-contamination (on the morning of 19 April), I found this part of her
evidence difficult to follow.

502. Once again, I shall have to address the opinions expressed by these
two experts on child behaviour, in relation to the individual children,
when I come to assess the evidence relied on for the purposes of
justification.

8) The evidence of multiple abuse

General Introduction

503. I shall now turn to consider the evidence relied upon by those
Defendants pleading justification to support the primary allegations of
rape and indecent assault, child by child, as well as the secondary (but
obviously grave) allegations of involvement in a paedophile ring and the
supply of pornography.

504. Ms Judith Jones made the point in her evidence (probably regarded in
some quarters as controversial, and certainly of some sensitivity) that,
since this was primarily a social services nursery, one would expect a
significant proportion of the children to be suffering from some form of
abuse simply on the basis of ordinary experience. She would also have
expected to find some of them on the child protection register. What
surprised her in the present case was how few, relatively, were so
registered. It is clearly necessary to factor in this evidence to the
exercise of weighing what is or is not inherently unlikely, in the context
of applying the principles discussed by Lord Nicholls in * Re H * (cited at
paragraph 358 above).

505. As I have noted elsewhere (paragraph 481), Dr Cameron made the very
telling point that, over a large cohort of supposedly abused children, it
would be quite astonishing if threats by abusers could be so effective as
to prevent any single child from making a contemporaneous complaint. One of
the factors mentioned by Holland J in July 1994 was that none of the
indictment children (subject to one possible minor qualification) had made
such a complaint. Given that the Review Team have now airily accused Mr
Lillie and Miss Reed of abuse on such a massive scale, the absence of
contemporaneous complaints has become a major factor. It is true that the
Review Team brushed it aside, on the basis of speculation, but I cannot
take such an approach. Such a widespread and deafening silence prior to
April 1993 could be explained on the basis that Mr Lillie and Miss Reed had
so skilfully terrified dozens of children that they were unwilling to
disclose ongoing abuse to parents/carers, but Dr Cameron thinks it highly
unlikely. So do I. The relevance of the point is that I propose to look
carefully at each and every case to seek some solid evidence of threats by
Mr Lillie and/or Miss Reed that might account for the child’s silence.

506. Miss Page sought to introduce similar evidence given by Professor
Bruck in a supplementary report served in June 2002. Her focus was not so
much upon threats to child victims but rather to the ability of children,
in general, to “keep secrets”. She cited a number of studies, from which I
believe it is fair to say that the general import is that a significantly
high proportion of children appear to be unable to comply with requests not
to reveal matters which they have been asked to keep secret and, what is
more, that the proportion would appear to increase inversely to age.

507. Professor Bruck suggested in the light of the papers she cited (and
indeed some others which were not available for production) that the data
indicate that at least 50% or more of children under the age of five will
tell a secret even if asked not to by their mother or a familiar adult.

508. It is unnecessary to rehearse the underlying materials in any detail,
but one study might have appeared to be of particular interest which
focused particularly upon children aged three to five. They witnessed “a
male confederate” break a particular glass. He instructed the children not
to tell anything about the incident. Some of the children were offered a
reward not to tell; some were told “sternly” not to reveal the information;
others were told it would be “fun not to tell”. Most of the children who
were simply instructed not to tell revealed the secret in due course (86%
of three year olds and 57% of five year olds). Those who were instructed
not to tell “sternly” appeared more reluctant to reveal the information,
but the pattern was similar (64% of three year olds and 50% of five year
olds).

509. Another factor which emerged from research by Douglas Peters and
colleagues was that there is a tendency to keep a secret only for so long
as the “transgressor” is present (see Jeopardy in the Courtroom, Ceci and
Bruck, 1995, p.145). Another trend revealed by research (Thompson,
Clarke-Stewart and Lepore, 1997, What did the Janitor do?) is that, perhaps
not surprisingly, there is a greater initial reluctance to reveal such
information when questioned in a neutral manner (e.g. “What happened?”).
Leading questions, of one sort or another, are more likely to reveal “a
secret” without delay. Even, however, neutral interviewing, if pressed
further, appeared to lead to revelation.

510. Shortly after I received this supplementary report, Mr Bishop
responded and it became clear that he did not accept that what Professor
Bruck was saying amounted to a fair representation of the current state of
research. It would not be right for me to take these matters into account
without Mr Bishop having an opportunity to cross-examine or call evidence
in rebuttal.

511. I naturally appreciate, in any event, that these experiments have to
be approached with caution. Not only are they inherently artificial, but
the factual circumstances are very far removed from the issues with which I
am concerned in this case. It would, therefore, clearly be appropriate to
approach this information conservatively and to allow a considerable
discount when addressing percentages. I propose, therefore, to concentrate
on the evidence of Dr Cameron, to which I have already referred, which
suggests strongly that the scenario for which the Review Team would contend
(upwards of 60 children being cowed or cajoled into silence) is at least as
unlikely as untutored common sense would suggest.

512. A further general point arises from the evidence of Lorraine Kelly.
She has been Mr Lillie’s partner over the last decade. It is necessary to
emphasise that it has never once been suggested, or even hinted in the
Review Team’s case, that Miss Kelly was implicated in any way in criminal
or paedophile activity. She gave evidence about the flat they shared in Red
Barns from December 1992. It will be remembered that a constant theme in
the pleas of justification advanced on behalf of the Review Team (and until
23 February also by the Newcastle Chronicle) was that children were taken
to “Chris’s flat” and that abuse took place there. Allegations are
variously made that on such occasions people took baths, indulged in sexual
intercourse, rape, buggery, oral sex, and also sadistic assaults with
knives, forks, spoons and scissors. There was urination, ejaculation and
bleeding. Yet not once did Lorraine Kelly come home before, during or after
December 1992 and find any signs of disturbance. There were no blood
stains, no seminal stains on carpets or bedding, no wet sheets or clothing.
There was not so much as a damp towel. There was nothing.

513. She was cross-examined by Miss Sharp (still participating at that
stage for the Chronicle) on the basis that she must surely have found
disturbed or damp towels because a friend of hers came sometimes to
exercise and feed the dog – and he surely must have washed his hands from
time to time. It did not seem to strike any particular chord with Miss
Kelly. But even if he did wash his hands, that would hardly advance the
case Miss Sharp was then putting forward of regular orgies and sadism.

514. Naturally, Miss Kelly’s evidence would not trouble the Review Team. Ms
Jones, for example, took the line that if a child refers to “Chris’s house”
that may not actually mean Chris’s home at all. It might simply be a
reference to Mr Lillie’s domain in the Nursery. If this reasoning is taken
to its logical conclusion, it might well apply to every reference made to
“Chris’s house”. Therefore, presumably, one should take every such
allegation with a pinch of salt. Moreover, if it is reasonable for me to
treat one or more of the “disclosures” about Chris’s house as truly
relating to the Nursery, one has to address the alternative scenario that
the orgiastic behaviour alleged took place in the Nursery without parents
or other members of staff spotting anything amiss. The Jason Dabbs case
affords no precedent for anything remotely like that.

515. As Detective Constable Helen Foster confirmed, in evidence on 22 May,
the immediate neighbour at Red Barns had been shocked when she found out
about the allegations because she had heard and seen nothing suspicious. It
is hardly realistic to suppose that if children and/or paedophiles were
trooping in and out of Miss Kelly’s flat she would have remained oblivious.
The police were given this important piece of evidence but it seems to have
been accorded no significance. Nowadays, Miss Foster acknowledged, a
statement would have been taken from the neighbour.

516. Of course, one could overcome these difficulties if one transfers all
these abusive trips to an unspecified flat (perhaps with a lift) or a house
(perhaps with a black door or a red door) in some other location within
push-chair distance of the Nursery. That is a very attractive option to the
Defendants because not only is it difficult to prove a negative but
virtually impossible to destroy a chimaera. The problem I face is that this
would be purely speculative. It is not simply that there is no
corroboration for such allegations (although that is certainly true). In
the present context, I am postulating (at Ms Jones’ invitation) that one
rejects all references to “Chris’s house” as being inaccurate. I am
therefore not concerned with corroborating a child’s account at all (since
it is ex hypothesi wrong). I am not prepared to conjure up such flats or
houses, to serve as imaginary substitutes for “Chris’s house”, out of thin
air. There is simply no solid evidence. There are some statements
attributed to children which I shall have to consider in individual cases,
as I come to them, but they all have to be assessed according to the
circumstances of each particular case – including Ms Jones’ warning that
they are not necessarily to be taken literally.

517. One of the general propositions to which great significance was at one
time attached by the Defendants was that Mr Lillie and Miss Reed were
supposed to have an exceptionally high ratio of recorded accidents as
compared to other staff. The theory was that they were recording bogus
accidents to cover abuse. What was said at page 244 of the Report was:

“There appears to be the possibility that Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed abused
children and covered their activities by recording fictional accidents to
disguise either physical signs of abuse or distress caused by the abuse”.

518. This fell apart as soon as it was examined. Not only was there no
correlation between the “accidents” and reported examples of abuse, but the
Defendants were not even comparing like with like. The statistics they
produced made no allowance for the fact that some of the comparator staff
had only been in the Nursery for a relatively brief period, or that others
were responsible for less vulnerable age groups, or even primarily for
administrative duties rather than the direct care of children. It was
utterly spurious. No more was heard of it (apart from a brief mention in
closing submissions). Yet it was used both in the Report and in the
Defendants’ case on justification. In court, one could see the inadequacy
of the allegation and discount it. Unfortunately, however, the readers of
the Report were not in a position to see through the Review Team’s
“statistics” because, as in other instances, the reasoning is not set out
for readers to make their own assessment. They were supposed to take it all
on trust. They were presented with a picture of careful, planned and
long-term manipulation of records to disguise paedophile activity. This
would naturally carry conviction, on a superficial level, because
paedophiles are widely perceived as cunning and manipulative. Ironically,
of course, it does not tie in with Mr Dervin’s sceptical assessment of the
two Claimants as being “among the most disorganised and chaotic abusers in
the history of child care”.

519. There is another aspect of the regime at Shieldfield at the material
time that needs to be borne in mind when assessing opportunities for abuse
and the likelihood, or otherwise, of its having occurred. I am prepared to
accept that there were legitimate matters for criticism and that later the
Newcastle City Council attempted to make radical improvements. In
particular, so far as the present Claimants are concerned, there was a lack
of accurate record-keeping as to when and with whom children left the
Nursery premises. As one parent pointed out, had there been a serious fire
on the premises, it would not have been easy to pin down at any given
period who was supposed to be on the premises and who had gone out (for
whatever reason). Several parents spoke of having come to collect a child
and finding that he or she was not there and of having to wait for staff to
bring them back. Moreover, on some such occasions, no one on the premises
(including managerial staff) was able to say where they had gone or when
they were due back. That was obviously not satisfactory, to say the least.
Not surprisingly, much has been made of this by the Defendants in
suggesting that such occasions provided opportunities for abuse outside the
premises.

520. Another aspect of the “chaotic” administrative arrangements often
referred to was the problem of clothes being muddled up. Children sometimes
wore different clothes when collected from those worn were delivered at the
Nursery that day. On occasions, these were ill fitting and uncomfortable.
No one disputed that there were sometimes “accidents”, requiring a change
of garments, or that children’s clothes were sometimes wet from playing
with water, or dirty from playing inside or outside, or from food being
dropped over them. The criticism was that there seemed to be no system, and
everything was done on a “hit or miss” footing. Again, this is relied upon
as affording opportunities to cover up abuse. Although never quite spelt
out, I understand Mr Bishop’s point to be that evidence of abuse, such as
bleeding or seminal staining, could be removed and substitute clothing
provided. On the other hand, I believe that these “chaotic” elements of the
Shieldfield regime were what Mr Dervin had in mind when he expressed
scepticism (as I find that he did) in his letter of 22 January; in other
words, I believe he was expressing doubt whether any cunning and
manipulative paedophile would ever be so “chaotic” about covering tracks.
One of the more bizarre allegations is that a small boy was delivered in
the morning wearing his new football strip and came home in a pink dress
and cardigan. Neither Claimant would accept this was possible. They
certainly knew nothing of it. On the other hand, it is not the sort of
thing a mother would forget. If it did happen, however, it hardly has the
stamp of a manipulative paedophile trying to cover his/her tracks.

521. In the light of the allegations of widespread abuse outside the
Nursery premises, in unspecified flats or houses, it is necessary to have
in mind some background context as to the typical daily regime at
Shieldfield during the relevant period.

522. I quite appreciate that, as the Review Team have emphasised, it is
rarely possible from contemporaneous records to identify when children were
taken out of the nursery, where they were taken, or how many children went
at any one time. It is fair to say that record-keeping was, to say the
least, sketchy. Nonetheless, I have received evidence from Mr Lillie and
Miss Reed about the general pattern of daily routines and activities which
was, at least in general terms, not the subject of challenge.

523. There was in operation a shift system, with nursery officers tending
to alternate the shifts between themselves from day to day. Accordingly, Mr
Lillie would be on early shift (beginning at 8.00 a.m.) one day, whereas
Miss Reed would take that slot the next. I was told that the manager and
assistant manager also alternated their shifts in a similar manner.

524. The building was normally opened at 8.00 a.m. Those present at that
time would be the early shift nursery officers, the cleaners, the cook and
one of the managers. Those children who arrived early would all be ushered
into one room. The other staff and the majority of children would arrive at
about 9.00 a.m. At that stage, the children were moved to their individual
rooms. The next event was a trolley round bringing milk and biscuits for
everyone at about 9.30 a.m. It was quite usual for some parents to stay on
the premises and chat rather than leaving immediately after the child was
delivered.

525. It was expected that the individual rooms would be set up for the
day’s activities by about 9.30 a.m., so as to be ready for 10.00 a.m., by
which time it was anticipated that all those arriving for the morning
session would be in place.

526. When Mr Lillie and Miss Reed were in the Red Room (i.e. from
approximately the end of February 1992 until April/May 1993), it was
generally the case that they would be joined once or twice a week by a home
care worker. Such persons were employed by the Social Services Department
for the specific purpose of looking after a child if the parent/carer
needed a rest for some reason. (It so happened that one of the home carers
was also called Dawn. Her only potential relevance to the case is (a) that
it is conceivable that some children when referring to “Dawn” might have
had her in mind rather than Dawn Reed, and (b) that on a trip to Whitley
Bay on 10 February 1993 she accompanied Mr Lillie and Miss Reed.)

527. It was generally the case that the “morning session” lasted from 8.00
a.m. until 11.30 a.m. The lunch period seems to have taken up a significant
part of the day. By about 11.15 a.m., the children were being encouraged to
tidy up in readiness. It was necessary for them to wash their hands and
clean up for lunch, while tables were laid. During this period, also, there
would be some movement between the rooms while staff were replacing
borrowed toys.

528. Lunch normally began at about 11.30 a.m. Some children ate faster than
others, and regularly the meal went on for over an hour. Sometimes members
of staff would add 15 minutes on to their lunch break if they had been
unable to take their scheduled break during the morning period.

529. From about 12.30 p.m., the children would be tidying up after lunch
and having nappies changed where necessary. Some would at that stage have a
nap. Also, the parents of those children who were attending the morning
session only would begin to come along to collect them.

530. At around this time, the member of staff who had come on for the early
8.00 a.m. shift would generally take a break while other members of staff
supervised the children. The second member of staff (i.e. the one who had
not been on early shift) would take a slightly later lunch break at around
1.00 p.m.

531. At this halfway stage, it was also necessary to set up the activities
for the afternoon session. In most cases, this was shorter than the morning
session. It would generally last until about 3.00 p.m. At that time, or
shortly afterwards, the bus would arrive to pick up those children placed
at the Nursery by Social Services (if parents were unable to collect). The
children, therefore, began to thin out at this point and, if there were not
many children left in the Nursery after 3.30 p.m., then the number of rooms
in use would be reduced.

532. Another regular practice at the time was that there was a rota for
cleaning rooms. This meant that each room would be vacated once a week
between around 3.30 and 4.00 p.m. for a thorough cleaning. Meanwhile, the
other rooms would have floors only cleaned.

533. For those children still remaining at the Nursery at 4.00 p.m., tea
would then be served. By that stage, only the staff on late shift would
still be in attendance. Members of staff from the early shift would leave
the premises or stay on to write up their books.

534. Those members of staff on late shift (i.e. up to 6.00 p.m.) might
leave early if there were only a few children remaining at the Nursery.
There would always be a manager present until it closed at 6.00 p.m.

535. In this context, Mr Lillie pointed out that the bald statement on page
236 of the Review Team Report, to the effect that he was alone with
children in the early mornings and late afternoons, gave a misleading
impression. He made clear, first, that he worked alternate shifts and,
secondly, that there would generally also be a student or home carer
present as well. At the beginning of the day, those members of staff from
the other rooms who happened to be doing the early shift would also
congregate with the children arriving early. It would, therefore, be
exceptional for him to be the only member of staff present between 8.00
a.m. and 9.00 a.m. Moreover, one of the cleaners (“Jackie”) would usually
be there at 8.00 a.m. as well.

536. It will thus be appreciated that within this broad structure the
opportunities for lengthy trips out of the nursery were necessarily
restricted. I was told by Miss Reed that she and Mr Lillie were keen to
take the children out whenever possible for fresh air and exercise and to
provide a more interesting environment. Naturally, however, such activities
were limited by a number of factors. Obviously the weather played a part.
Also, it was obligatory to have a certain ratio of staff to children. It
was necessary to have a group of less than eight children. One of them had
to be able to take the hand of each child who was walking, but if there was
a child in a buggy then it would be possible for them to take three
children each (i.e. a maximum of six). They would only be able to go out
with more than six children if there was an additional adult (for example,
a student or careworker).

537. During the relevant period, there were building works going on
upstairs and use of the garden was therefore restricted. There were no
opportunities, therefore, for outdoor play on the premises. Trips out of
the Nursery were more frequent in the afternoon than in the morning and,
generally, it was necessary to be back in time for 3.00 p.m. when the
Social Services bus arrived. I was also told that normally the time for
going out would be between 1.30 and 2.00 p.m. I was told by witnesses (for
example, the parents of Child 1, Child 7, Child 10 and Child 14) that there
were occasions when Mr Lillie and Miss Reed were not back in time for the
Social Services bus and that, on occasion, a parent might have to wait for
half an hour longer than expected. I have no reason to disbelieve this
evidence.

538. Miss Reed took particular offence at the assertion made by the Review
Team in their Report (page iii) that “children were frequently and
inappropriately taken out of the Nursery by Christopher Lillie and Dawn
Reed on the flimsiest of pretexts”. The implication seems to be that they
were taken out frequently for purposes of child abuse. This is one of the
central allegations in the defence of justification, and I shall return to
it in due course. It is necessary, however, to bear in mind just how
circumscribed the opportunities were for trips out of the Nursery and that,
in the periods available (i.e. normally a maximum of one and half hours),
it would be necessary to transport the children back and forth from the
Nursery – quite apart from any time spent at the relevant destination.

539. In this context, I should record that in February I acceded to the
request of the parties that I should go to Newcastle and visit the Nursery
(which has undergone significant physical changes since the material time)
and also to walk over the various routes that were considered significant.
Not least, I was taken to various roads and blocks of flats where it was
suggested that abuse might have taken place. I therefore have the geography
of the locations very much in mind.

The evidence of Dr Camille San Lazaro

540. Dr Camille San Lazaro gave evidence on 13, 14 and 16 May. She was in a
somewhat ambivalent position since, although she is a consultant
paediatrician at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, and a senior
lecturer in paediatric forensic medicine at the Newcastle University, she
was not for the purposes of these proceedings an expert witness, but rather
a witness of fact. Nevertheless, her findings in respect of many of the
children formed a significant part of the Defendants’ case on
justification, as they did in the ill fated criminal proceedings in 1994.
They are relied upon, together with certain oral statements made in her
presence, as part of the factual material from which I am invited to draw
an inference that Mr Lillie and/or Miss Reed abused the children in one way
or another. She personally examined no less that 53 children from
Shieldfield looking for signs of sexual or other abuse.

541. Dr San Lazaro has practised in the field of paediatrics for about 30
years, and has specialised in alleged child abuse or neglect since about
1980. Those were the very early days in the recognition and diagnosis of
widespread child abuse and experience was gathered somewhat “on the hoof”.
Until relatively recently, and particularly before the routine use of
colposcopy, practitioners in this field sometimes felt isolated and under
pressure. It seems also to have been the case that there were few
opportunities for training, peer review or the auditing of individually
developed practices.

542. She produced reports or records of examinations carried out in
relation to the children and also documents described as “child protection
records”. Many of these were made available along with her original witness
statement and other materials were produced later along with a supplemental
witness statement. The purpose of this was mainly to clarify some of the
terminology which she had used in her records and also to meet some of the
points made about her evidence by Dr Watkeys. I shall consider the impact
of her various assessments when I come to the individual children; and I
shall confine myself at this stage to general matters.

543. Dr San Lazaro immediately recognised in the witness box that her
approach would be quite different nowadays. She said that “we” are less
isolated and that paediatricians are more ready to consult others on issues
of child abuse. She recognised also that there were points during the
Shieldfield inquiry where she “lost her way”. There were things written
then which she would not write today. There were also inaccuracies in what
she had written. Indeed, on 14 May she admitted in cross-examination that
her records were in some cases inconsistent and difficult to interpret. As
to Child 14, so fundamentally significant in this case, the following
exchanges took place:

“Miss Page: I am suggesting the whole picture is so unreliable and so
flawed that the court could not safely conclude that this child had signs
of penetrative injury at all?

Dr San Lazaro: I accept that this – that the medical findings as laid out
in this child’s records cannot be relied on in their specificity,
specifically. But I believe that all the information put together is clear
on the fact that there was penetrative damage to the hymen and I quite
accept that that is a difficult matter for this court”.

544. This was not easy to follow. A finding of penetrative damage in a
hymen is “specific”. Unlike cases where the physical findings are neutral,
it is not a question of “all the information put together”. One ought to be
able to rely on a paediatrician to give a clear factual assessment of
whether there is diagnostic evidence of abuse or not. If I cannot rely on
her medical findings “specifically”, I am not clear what is left.

545. A little later she was asked about the particular inconsistencies in
her descriptions:

“Miss Page: Why did you not take the opportunity to clarify and write down
in your notes whether you had one or two complete transections or no
complete transections, partial tearing, how many partial tears? Is it not
extraordinary, bearing in mind that you were going to go into court as a
prosecution witness on a charge of rape, that you should have the
opportunity, with this child under anaesthetic, [and yet] you did not make
any note of what you observed in those conditions?

Dr San Lazaro: It is regrettable. The whole of this is regrettable and I do
not know why it was not done.

Miss Page: It was a professional lapse not to have done it, was it not?

Dr San Lazaro: All of this is a substantial professional lapse, I would
have said.”

546. It is to some extent a question of trying to assess through written
records what the witness found eight or nine years ago with the benefit of
hindsight. In some cases, the surviving information is so defective that it
is just not possible. Unfortunately, things are not quite that simple.
However ready Dr San Lazaro may be now to recognise her human frailties,
and the improved techniques available today for dealing with such cases,
there are certain facts that cannot be obscured. The truth is that Dr San
Lazaro’s professional judgment and objectivity were in some of these cases
hopelessly compromised. In particular, I can hardly sweep under the carpet
the untrue accounts she was giving to the Criminal Injuries Compensation
Board with a view to assisting some of the parents recover compensation out
of public funds. She herself recognises that there were “inaccuracies”. She
could hardly do otherwise. I am afraid, however, that the problem is more
fundamental and goes to professional integrity rather than competence.

547. To take but one example, Miss Page drew to her attention a passage in
her so-called “generic report”, which was produced to provide the Board
with a general summary (but presumably a fair and accurate one) of the
supposed multiple abuse at Shieldfield. She apparently did it “from
memory”, which would be hardly satisfactory in itself. More importantly,
however, I need to consider the terms in which she referred to the
streptococcal infection found among a few children. She included it in the
generic report in a very short section supposed to be identifying physical
signs relevant to the issue of child abuse. It had no place there at all.
Such infections are quite common and the presence of the infection was not
probative of child abuse. Indeed, it could easily be due to poor hygiene.
Yet she deliberately gave the impression that it was significant. It was
given a prominence in the overall picture of Shieldfield that was wholly
disproportionate. This was reflected in the Review Team’s Report also,
where it was said, “Dr Lazaro describes this as an unusual finding which
suggested a common source”. Its only relevance in the Report would be to
give the impression that it was evidence of some sinister (but unspoken)
form of child abuse.

548. She spoke of “negotiating” the content of this report with a man from
the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, but she accepted responsibility
for its contents. She actually admitted to Miss Page that she had adopted
the role of “advocate” for the children’s compensation claims – and this
inevitably seriously compromised her professional independence and
integrity. Many thousands of pounds of public money were paid out at least
in part as a result of her assertions.

549. More generally, on 16 May, Dr San Lazaro made the following startling
admissions:

“Dr San Lazaro: I think I did advocate for these children. I think there
was – I was certainly very distressed for them and affected by their
trauma, and I accept that I attempted … to do my best for them, or to
present the best case for them. I do not think that is unusual practice for
doctors in any situation.

Miss Page: The usual practice for a doctor is to simply send to the
Criminal Injuries Compensation Board their original report on the child and
not to elaborate save to the extent that they are asked to do so.

Dr San Lazaro: In children who have been sexually abused, and I have been
doing Criminal Injuries Reports for a very long time, I recognise that they
have been emotive and they have been exaggerated and overstated in the past
… and they are much more measured now”.

I cannot believe, as she appeared to suggest, that it would be “not
unusual” for doctors generally to behave in this way with regard to their
representations to the C.I.C.B.

550. She accepted specifically in relation to Shieldfield that her
presentation to the Board was exaggerated and overstated in the “generic
report” (in other words, the report applying to all the children claiming
compensation). That is indefensible.

551. It is ironic, in the light of this very serious state of affairs, to
recall what Mrs Saradjian had to say about Dr San Lazaro on 20 February:

“As a result of seeing Dr Lazaro I was impressed by her professionalism. I
was also impressed by the information that she had to give about the large
number of children that she had interviewed and examined that had medical
findings of abuse, and also the level of trauma that she had witnessed and
heard from these children.

I was also impressed by her impression of the parents, in that she did not
feel that they were exaggerating the situation with the children. I was
also impressed by her analysis of the situation, as she saw it, from her
point of view as a very experienced forensic paediatrician”.

The Review Team clearly fell under her spell.

552. Dr San Lazaro’s admissions are not only serious in themselves, but
they have profound implications for the evidence in this case. It is not
simply that there are numerous examples of poor record-keeping and
inconsistent entries, which make it difficult to be satisfied what Dr San
Lazaro actually perceived at the time of her examinations. Everyone agrees
that hymenal examinations in small children are difficult, such that even
the average paediatric registrar would not be equipped to carry out or
interpret them. Therefore a good deal of subjective interpretation is
involved for a consultant in arriving at the basic data before they come to
be recorded.

553. Even where it is possible to identify what her original conclusion
was, the question arises as to how safe it is to rely on Dr San Lazaro’s
interpretation of what lay before her. Since she was so committed to what
she perceived to be the children’s best interests and was “affected by
their trauma”, and because she was apparently prepared habitually to
overstate and exaggerate, I must approach her unaudited personal
conclusions with the utmost caution. It is as clear as can be that I must
not proceed on an assumption of objectivity or truthfulness. On the other
hand, I cannot simply dismiss everything she claims to have found. I do not
believe she was setting out mischievously to misrepresent everything. It is
rather that she was unbalanced, obsessive and lacking in judgment. I have
thus to chart my way through a very treacherous terrain. In doing so, I
have been greatly indebted to Dr Ward and Dr Watkeys, of whose experience
and integrity there can be no doubt.

554. Dr San Lazaro even went so far in May 1996 as to tell the Review Team:
“I believe that children were removed from the nursery for reasons either
of specific paedophile activity or to be used in possible commercial
paedophilia or both”.

555. She also told the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board in her generic
report “there were syringes with medicines inside to make their bottoms
feel all right”. She was only regurgitating her interpretation of what some
children had said, but appeared to be endorsing the allegation with her
professional authority. As far as I understand her own view of the matter,
she said she believed that they were objects used as part of a deception
rather than actually to inject the children with drugs or medication. She
added, “I still think I have that view”. It is not easy to reconcile these
statements. Either she believed that syringes were used to drug the
children or she believed that they were part of a deception. Of course,
either way she was merely speculating, but she does not seem even to have
passed on her true belief.

556. The overall picture she conveyed to the C.I.C.B was that the abuse had
been “bizarre… almost certainly involving instrumentation, drugs and
pornography”. It was put to her by Miss Page that she had no proper basis
to make such claims. Her answer was that she believed the children had
placed inside them “items of cutlery—objects”. Miss Page was obviously
right.

557. There can be little doubt that, because of the weight the Review Team
appeared to be willing to give to people’s opinions, Dr San Lazaro must
have given them considerable encouragement in respect of their conclusions
about the administration of drugs and the use of pornography. It is a good
illustration of why it is necessary always to keep in mind the distinction
between evidence, on the one hand, and imaginings on the other.

558. It is important to note that Dr San Lazaro also supplied dubious
information relating to individual child applicants. I cite an example
below in relation to Child 1. The same pattern is to be found replicated in
other cases. It is clear to me that it was not only in the generic report
that Dr San Lazaro was saying things that were untrue. Some of the
individual reports are flawed. What is deeply disturbing is her tendency,
when writing a witness statement or letter to the Criminal Injuries
Compensation Board, to “beef up” her basic findings by adding a sinister
slant to what had been recorded originally as a neutral or non-specific
finding.

Child 1

559. This child was born on 28 March 1990 and attended the Nursery from 1
October 1992 to July 1993 (usually 2 days per week). Until their
suspensions, he was in the care of Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed. He is
the one child Mr Lillie admitted to taking briefly into his flat at Red
Barns – something which he has no doubt bitterly regretted for the last
nine years. He explained that he was a child who needed individual
attention most mornings to settle him down. On this particular morning, he
took him out of the nursery for a walk because he was on his way to the
flat to collect something he had forgotten. Miss Reed confirmed that the
child was difficult in the mornings and needed individual attention to
settle him.

560. No professional person has ever heard Child 1 make any accusation
against Christopher Lillie or Dawn Reed. No criminal proceedings were ever
instigated. The “disclosures” seem to have been largely through the mother.
The Review Team were warned by Detective Inspector Findlay that the Child’s
mother had suffered mental health problems, and also that she appeared to
be obsessed with the allegations of abuse at Shieldfield and “determined to
get in on it”. Mr Wardell said, on the other hand, that they did not accept
this assessment as being accurate, and he thought the mother was “sincere”.
He clearly attached weight to her evidence as to the behaviours and
disclosures of Child 1. It was a fundamental tenet of the Review Team’s
approach to accept, unquestioningly, what complainants said on the basis
that they believed what they were saying (or were “sincere”). They seem to
draw no distinction between that which is sincerely believed and objective
truth. What was perceived as sincerely believed was accepted as having
happened.

561. I cannot speak, of course, as to her demeanour nine years ago when it
is quite clear that police officers had reservations about her, but the
impression I formed on 23 April 2002 when she gave her evidence was a
favourable one. She was the most visibly distressed of the mothers to give
evidence and had to pause from time to time because she found it so
upsetting. There is no doubt that this mother was in 1992–1993 having to
endure real stresses and strains in her life. She was divorcing her husband
who, she said, only occasionally turned up when he felt like it and was
behaving unpredictably because of a drug problem. She started a new
relationship with an old friend by whom she became pregnant in the Spring
of 1992 and who moved in with her in that July. But by December he was
telling her that he wanted to bring the relationship to an end. She had the
baby on 12 February 1993 but shortly thereafter she had to worry about the
Shieldfield “scandal”. This took its toll finally on her relationship with
the new partner. From the records, it appears that she had to cope with
episodes of violence during this period involving each of the two men. It
is easy to understand what an unhappy time this must have been for her.

562. When she was first seen by social workers on 12 May 1993, she said
that Child 1 got on well with Chris and often talked about him, asking
where his house was. It is important not to lose sight of this in the light
of later developments. Her account changed, however, after contact from
other mothers. In particular, she was given information by the mothers of
Child 22, Child 23 and Child 12. Child 22 had apparently referred to Child
1 in the course of his own disclosures.

563. She came into contact with two pivotal figures in this case who
clearly had a significant influence upon her, namely Dr San Lazaro and the
mother of Child 22. The latter came to see her on 26 June. Later that day
when she was reporting her conversation to her partner in front of the boy,
Child 1 kept putting his hand over her mouth. What significance this was
supposed to have remains unclear, but more importantly a fresh observation
(recorded by social workers) was made the following day.

564. It will be remembered that one of the matters to which Professor
Friedrich attached particular significance was what he chose to call the
“proffering of the bottom”. I have already discussed that in the context of
his expert evidence, but for present purposes it is important to note when
this was first recorded. It appears on a note made by Kulvinder Chohan on 7
July 1993 referring back to an incident reported to her as having happened
at 8.20 am on 27 June – in other words, the morning after the mother of
Child 22 had been round to her home spreading alarm and despondency.

565. The boy was lying on his bed “with his bottom in the air”. His mother
at that stage, according to the note, said that he should lie down
“properly”, to which he replied that this was the way to be nice. According
to the mother, he lay in that position on more than one occasion and,
indeed, still does so from time to time. I am supposed to infer that he was
taught to do this by Mr Lillie to facilitate buggery or other anal abuse.
Mr Bishop seemed to suggest that this was the only reasonable
interpretation. I cannot agree. I am not prepared to dismiss as coincidence
the fact that it was first observed the very morning after she had to
listen to the mother of Child 22 cataloguing her concerns about her own
son. The mother of Child 22 can, when in full flow, be a dominating and
disquieting presence. It seems to me quite likely that she alarmed her and
led her to misinterpret something which was of no consequence.

566. This was, of course, a month before the police paid the mother of
Child 22 a visit to try and stop her spreading alarmist notions, which they
perceived as jeopardising the whole investigation. It appeared in Julie
Kinghorn’s notebook for 30 July that the police had received information
that she had been putting words in the mouths of “children of tender
years”. She could not recollect what the information was or to which
children it related. But it shows the need for a cautious approach to
interviews with children if they had come into contact with her.

567. The visit also occurred some six weeks after Detective Inspector
Findlay had told her, “No bull shit. I don’t want you talking to anyone”.
She clearly ignored that friendly advice.

568. The other pivotal figure this child’s mother came into contact with
was Dr San Lazaro. She apparently gave her regular “support”, but Dr San
Lazaro appears to have behaved oddly with regard to this child. When he was
examined and she found no physical abnormality, she did nothing to put the
mother’s mind at rest but left her believing that there was reason to think
he had been abused. She then arranged for him to be examined under
anaesthetic and for swabs to be taken to see if he had a sexually
transmitted disease. Of course he did not. Yet again the mother was left to
believe the worst. She was given some medication but not told that the
child was merely suffering from a streptococcal infection common in
infants. I have no doubt that Dr San Lazaro fostered this mother’s belief
that her son had been abused. As the mother put it in the witness box, “she
confirmed my worst fears”.

569. Dr San Lazaro played the psychologist and the detective and seems
almost to have forgotten her role as a paediatrician. When she wrote a long
letter to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, she set out a whole
series of speculative thoughts, but she failed to mention at all the one
matter directly within her expertise – namely the negative physical
findings. The letter is by no means unique to Child 1, but it is worth
setting out in the context of assessing the nature of Dr San Lazaro’s role
in the development of the Shieldfield “scandal” and the extent to which she
was, or was not, capable of professional detachment:

“Thank you for your enquiry about this child. I can confirm that I saw him
on 7.7.93. [Child 1] had been in the Shieldfield Nursery for 9 months.

At first he seemed happy there and his mother was gradually able to leave
him alone. Within 2–3 weeks, however, [Child 1] became extremely
distressed, screaming and wrapping his legs around his parents, begging
them to allow him to go home. Mother remembers that she always tied double
knots in [Child 1’s] training shoes and that these had never come undone
before he had gone to the nursery, or indeed when she had him home.
However, he would often return from the nursery with a single knot in his
shoes or his laces undone.

[Child 1] also stopped using the toilet to open his bowels and began to
display markedly aggressive behaviour, often looking as if he had been
crying when they picked him up from school. There was soiling and periods
of marked aggression when he hit his mother, telling her that he hated her
and that she didn’t love him. He developed odd sexualised posturing and
other sexualised behaviour and he appeared very frightened about having his
nappy changed.

There is little doubt that this is one of the most severely affected
children from the Shieldfield Nursery. He had gross signs of traumatic
behaviour with regression, sudden phobias and anxieties, abrupt changes
into infantile speech whenever the nursery was mentioned and he also gave
an account to the police of being removed to a caravan site and having his
underwear burnt. I understand that the police did indeed recover artifacts
which supported this story.

His mother’s relationship broke down after the discovery of abuse and
events in the home have been very difficult and fraught. Certainly mother’s
distress and [Child 1’s] own behavioural patterns have been such that I
have spoken to her and seen the child on more occasions that I can count. I
would suggest that there have been at least 30 contacts with our department
since this original event and I also have spent hours late at night talking
to the mother to try and help her through her distress.

This boy is receiving psychotherapy and I believe that it will be some time
before he is going to recover from these experiences.”

570. This was a classic example of Dr San Lazaro’s role as an “advocate”
(to which she admitted in the witness box). Some of the information was
simply untrue. The child did not give an account of having his underwear
burnt. In any event, most of what she was saying merely regurgitated or
garbled what she had been told and had nothing to do with her medical
expertise. Nor did she make any attempt to discern any other possible
explanation in the troubled domestic background for any of what she was
told. Everything was hung on her theory of multiple abuse at Sheildfield. I
strongly suspect that the “hours late at night” talking to Dr San Lazaro
were not so much “supportive” to this mother as baleful and depressing.

571. There was a legal dispute at some stage, with Child 1’s father seeking
an order for contact with him. Dr San Lazaro made a witness statement dated
19 September 1994 in which she asserted that Child 1 “had suffered
previously damaging experiences” and that further harm would occur if he
had contact with a parent (i.e. his father) who declined to recognise this
and was capable of minimising it.

572. The father was thus apparently being criticised by Dr San Lazaro over
a conversation she had had with him in which he appeared sceptical and
dismissive. He felt that the mother was harming the child by her persistent
focus on sexual abuse. The doctor went so far as to accuse him of being
“extreme” and likely to destabilise the mother and child. It is disturbing
that someone with such flawed judgment should have such power and influence
over people’s lives.

573. The same weekend as the visit by the mother of Child 22, Child 1 was
also sick more than once, having woken at 3 a.m. sweating and restless. He
said he had a sore tummy. I do not see why this is supposed to have any
more significance than any other childhood ailment. I would need to be
given cogent expert evidence to persuade me that it should be interpreted
as a symptom of child abuse. Why should he not just have had a slight
temperature and a tummy upset?

574. There was a home visit by social workers Kulvinder Chohan and Vanessa
Lyon on 9 July 1993. It appears that Dr San Lazaro had upset the mother by
this time, telling her that Child 1 had been traumatised and that he froze
up every time the Nursery and the “perpetrators” were mentioned. Dr San
Lazaro was thus, it would appear, making certain assumptions and passing
them on to the mother.

575. During July 1993 Child 1 was, it is true, indicating that he was to
some extent not happy at the Nursery, but this was associated with
aggressive conduct by another child who hurt his “bum” and hit him on the
head. In so far as Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed were mentioned at this
time, it was only in the context of chastising the other child for hitting
him. There is no evidence that he was cowed into silence by threats.

576. Child 1’s last day at the Nursery was on 9 July 1993, when he was
discharged for non-attendance.

577. When Child 1 was interviewed on video on 28 July 1993, he had nothing
to disclose about Christopher Lillie or Dawn Reed. Persistent attempts were
made to get him to say things about them (including by leading questions).
Nothing emerged.

578. Despite this, a second interview took place on 7 February 1994. Again,
it produced no evidence of abuse, although it becomes apparent early on
that Child 1 was aware that he was supposed to be talking about Christopher
Lillie and Dawn Reed; it was he who introduced them into the conversation.
What he said was that they had hurt Child 95, but he then qualified this by
pointing out that, like Pinocchio, his nose was growing longer and longer;
this, he explained, was because he had just been telling a lie. The mother
told me that he was particularly interested in Pinocchio at that time and
made it a habit to say the opposite of what he meant. The difficulty about
such a habit, of course, is that one never knows what can be relied upon.

579. There were a number of unusual behaviours noted about Child 1. For
example, there was an unwillingness to let his mother’s current partner
change his nappy or bathe him. Also, there was an incident of self-harm
(arm-scratching) recorded by Miss Reed on 25 February 1993. But Dr Kate
Ward drew attention to the fact that there had been significant events in
his home life over the relevant period, which could have accounted for at
least some of the changes in behaviour. She cited parental separation, the
mother’s change of partner and a new sibling. Nonetheless, she was of
opinion that these factors would be unlikely to account for sexualised
behaviour. She was referring, essentially, to the following incidents.
Child 1 is reported by his mother to have invited her, in or about December
1992, to kiss his genitals. He was at that stage two and a half years old.
Later, in March 1993, aged nearly three, he is said to have touched his
grandfather’s thighs and referred to a lollipop. It is certainly odd
behaviour, but it would be a long leap to infer from this that he had been
taught about oral sex by Christopher Lillie or Dawn Reed. The remarks were
in no way linked to them.

580. Child 1 is significant in the context of a passage in the Review
Team’s Report on page 210:

“The children were able to take parents to and/or describe places to which
the parents had no idea their children had ever been. Parents were also
surprised at the level of distress and panic some children experienced when
they went to these places. Sometimes in the course of a routine journey, a
child would suddenly become distressed and identify a place that they said
they had been taken to by Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed. One child had such a
reaction to a house near St. Dominic’s.”

581. Child 1 took the police on a roundabout trip ending up at a caravan or
mobile home. The matter was referred to in discussions between the Review
Team and Detective Inspector Campbell Findlay. The Review Team were
prepared to conclude (as they would claim on the balance of probabilities)
that Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed had taken him there for sexual abuse,
no doubt with other children. It is quite obvious from the discussion with
the police officer that he was highly sceptical about this and certainly
that he had found nothing to support the contention. Without such
corroboration the incident can give rise to nothing more than speculation.
It is to be noted that there had been an occasion when the children had
been taken to see trains. That is reflected in the mother’s evidence on 23
April (at pages 11 and 141). Indeed, according to her, the child himself
had “said about standing and watching the trains” by way of explaining why
he had been taken by Chris and Dawn to that particular spot. She agreed
that there were train lines there (although “you could not even see over
the wall”).

582. Detective Inspector Campbell Findlay had found a pair of partially
burned underpants there, and there was some suggestion that they might
correspond to a pair of red underpants that had gone missing from a pack of
three the mother had bought from Adams. She told me that she supplied the
other two pairs to the police for identification purposes but it appears
that nothing came of it. There is nothing in police records to confirm this
and I cannot be confident in the mother’s recollection on this point. I
have seen records which suggest that the police contacted Adams and
obtained from them a pack of red underpants for comparison.

583. At all events, the mother heard no more. No doubt she would have been
informed if a link was established. As so often, the Defendants put these
matters forward in evidence without making clear what inference is supposed
to be drawn from them. It was not obvious to me why a child abuser would
wish to burn underpants rather than seeking to give the impression that
everything was normal. It makes no sense. One might reasonably anticipate
that the parent of a small child would raise a query as to where they had
gone. It is all inconclusive. It is not merely that there is nothing to
corroborate an allegation that child abuse took place at these caravans; it
is important to bear in mind that the child made no such allegation in the
first place. (The mother did report to the police, however, by September
1993 that the child had told her when she took him there that she should
not go into one of the caravans because it was a “bad house” and she would
get a “sore bum”.)

584. It is worth remembering what Campbell Findlay told the Review Team
about the underpants – “… that did not take us anywhere because this place
is frequented by drunks, alcoholics … it is used for illicit purposes, that
place”.

585. One of the mother’s complaints was that having previously been a “good
eater” Child 1 began to refuse food after joining the Red Room. What is
striking, however, is how regularly the Day Book entries record quite the
opposite – that he had a good appetite. I see no reason to believe that
these entries were deliberately falsified. As a matter of fact, the mother
had a number of criticisms about the record-keeping. She thought that Mr
Lillie and Miss Reed had been under-reporting. The particular example she
identified several times (see e.g. the transcript at pages 61–62) was that
there was nothing from Christmas 1992 onwards about her son’s constipation.
I have to bear in mind, on the other hand, that it is a normal concomitant
of constipation that there is nothing to record.

586. I am unpersuaded that these records are anything but genuine. They can
perhaps be criticised in terms of lack of detail or occasionally
compendious entries covering more than one day’s visit, but that is wholly
different from false entries to disguise child abuse. In particular, I
cannot for one moment believe that the “good appetite” entries are there to
give a false impression of general well-being in order to put people off
the scent of child abuse – nor can I derive any such sinister intent from
the absence of any mention of constipation.

587. On the other hand, if constipation was a problem at the time, it could
account for soreness of the bottom and reluctance to have it touched – both
of which are factors the mother has mentioned. It could also account for
traces of blood apparently found in his underpants in January 1993. It may
be significant, on the other hand, that even at that stage the mother’s
reaction was not to explain it by reference to current constipation, but to
say “Anyone would think he had been abused”.

Child 2

588. Child 2 was born on 2 September 1989. She started in the Nursery on 11
November 1991 in the Red Room but Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed did not
become her carers until the end of February 1992. She left then to go to
the Orange Room the following July.

589. Child 2 was one of the original indictment children in 1993–1994,
although at that stage the allegation consisted of indecent assault only.
There was no allegation of rape.

590. It appears that in September 1992 (i.e. aged just three) she said to
her mother and grandmother that “Chris” had touched her in the region of
her vagina. I will assume that this referred to Mr Lillie. This in itself,
of course, has to be seen in the context that he would have been quite
probably responsible, when she was two years old, for taking her to the
lavatory. It was this comment by Child 2 that Holland J had in mind in his
ruling when he referred to a possible exception to the general absence of
contemporaneous complaints. The Defendants place great weight upon this
apparently spontaneous comment of the child and submit that it was “heavily
probative of sexual abuse by Christopher Lillie in that he inappropriately
touched the child on the genitals”. Yet, at the time it was made, no
significance was attached to it. The mother did not pursue it with her or
associate it with impropriety. It only loomed large in the mother’s
thinking eight months later when she mentioned it to social workers on 19
May 1993 in the context of the Shieldfield suspensions.

591. It is important to note that the Review Team on page 212 of the Report
describe a number of “acts” endured by various children, which they say
would be difficult to understand as anything other than sexual, physical
and emotional abuse by Chrisopher Lillie and/or Dawn Reed and/or other
people. One of the more striking allegations that follows is clearly
attributable to Child 2 (it comes from her mother’s statement). It consists
of an allegation that she was raped on a settee in Christopher Lillie’s
house. The child has also apparently made “disclosures” of other
penetrative injuries at his hands, including the insertion of knives and
spoons from the kitchen drawer in his house.

592. The Review Team thus will clearly be understood as making a finding of
rape by Christopher Lillie of Child 2. The fair-minded reader might
therefore be not a little surprised if told that she was found by Dr San
Lazaro on 13 August 1993 to have normal outer genitalia and an intact
hymen. This fact does not emerge from the Report; nor does it seem to have
given the Team any pause for thought before endorsing and passing on such a
grave allegation to the general public. It is one of the more lurid in that
part of the Report (Chapter 13) which is introduced on page 209 by
informing the reader that he or she is in for a “very difficult and
distressing” read. The Defendants argue that it need not actually have
involved penetration at all, but merely a placing of the genitals together.
So also it is suggested that the knives and spoon may just have been placed
at the entrance of the vagina. It is, of course, possible. The
probabilities have to be assessed, however, in the light of her disclosures
as a whole (e.g. where the incidents are said to have happened and in whose
presence).

593. I turn to the video interviews. The first interview took place on 22
June 1993. It produced nothing significant. Child 2 was able to recall some
of her friends and members of the staff, but made no reference to either
Christopher Lillie or Dawn Reed.

594. After the interviewer had drawn a blank, her mother entered the room
and began to question her (not, of course, good practice). At this stage,
the furthest she would go would be to say that “Chris” had smacked another
child’s “bum” on an occasion when Child 2’s mother was present. Eventually,
she made an allegation that “Chris” had also hit her “bum” as well as
taking her bouncy ball off her. Whether she thought this “Chris” was a
child is unclear, but she spoke of “the teacher” (Diane Wood) telling Chris
off. A good deal of pressure was then exerted both by Vanessa Lyon and the
mother. In addition, the mother chastised the child while the social worker
was out of the room, telling her she was being very silly and that she
would not get any juice if she started “acting like a baby”. The child
moaned and said her mother was hurting.

595. It is quite apparent from watching the video recording that by this
stage the child has given up completely. She had become floppy and inert.
She merely moans and whines. Meanwhile, her mother manhandles her back and
forth to no effect.

596. The Review Team did not all have the opportunity of watching this
recording. No doubt, if they had, they would have concluded that the
child’s behaviour indicated that she had something to disclose and that she
was reluctant to do so for fear of retaliation. I can draw no such
inference. I saw with my own eyes simply a bored and frustrated three year
old.

597. She was interviewed again on 1 December 1993. It became apparent that
she realised she was there in order to tell the interviewer about “silly”
things done by Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed. Things did not go well,
since she appeared to have no recollection of them as Nursery staff at all.
Despite this, she said that she had seen them “in their house”; and that
she had been there on more than one occasion by car. She knew it was Chris
and Dawn’s house because Diane had told her. She claimed that she had been
taken there by Patricia, Jackie and Diane (i.e. three members of the
Shieldfield staff). Although she claimed to have been taken to “Chris and
Dawn’s house” in “Diane’s car”, there is no truth in this. Not only is
there no place corresponding to “Chris and Dawn’s house”, but none of the
three named teachers ever took them to any place that could be so described.

598. Child 2’s mother is totally committed to the idea that her daughter
was raped and abused by Mr Lillie and Dawn Reed. On 20 March in
cross-examination, she was unable to deal at all convincingly with this
difficulty about Diane Wood. She therefore resorted, so far as I am aware
for the first time, to hinting that it might have been Lorraine Kelly who
was participating and her daughter had mistaken her for Diane Wood. It is
very sad that she felt driven to make such an allegation in a public court
room. I can say, however, without any hesitation that it is quite untrue.
It is necessary to recall, also, that Child 2 left their care (i.e. the Red
Room) at the end of June 1992. This was six months before Christopher
Lillie moved to Red Barns to live with Lorraine Kelly. It was about the
time he was just beginning to go out with her. In any event, I have seen
both Diane Wood and Lorraine Kelly giving evidence. I do not believe
anyone, even a small child, could confuse them in a month of Sundays. Where
it is alleged the child was taken remains entirely obscure, but clearly
there was no confirmation for the story from any of the three other members
of staff. That fundamentally undermines the allegation, obviously, but the
Review Team failed to address the point. Even at the stage of closing
submissions, the Review Team seemed to think it a sufficient answer to say
that “…it should be noted that she does not allege them to have taken part
in any abusive act or indeed that either they or the other children that
she named as present witnessed the abuse”.

599. The supposed trip described involved a minibus. Apart from the five
members of staff, there were about eight other children. Despite all these
“witnesses”, it is said that on the landing of the house Christopher Lillie
raped her and also inserted into her vagina his knife, his gun, his pencil,
his spoon, a crayon and his fingers. This is hardly likely to be the
product of one child’s fevered imagination. It seems more likely that it
was an amalgam of stories picked up from other children or parents. It is
unclear whether this was a second rape (i.e. additional to that on the
settee) or whether it is a different version of one incident. At all
events, it simply cannot be true.

600. The Defendants seek to overcome this by suggesting “the likelihood
that some names are supplied simply because the interviewer is asking for
more and more names”. This raises two concerns. First, it hardly squares
with the Review Team’s professed conclusion in their Report that children’s
allegations could not be the result of suggestive questions or other
pressure from interviewers. Secondly, if this child was so willing to come
up with answers she thought the interviewers wanted to hear, how am I to
distil the “core” allegation(s) that are free from such influences?

601. I need hardly say that I am not suggesting that the child was
dishonest. She was aged three and four when being asked to recall events
that supposedly took place when she was two years old. It is a classic
example of the general problem at Shieldfield following the suspensions in
April and May 1993. Anxious staff and parents were asking questions and
exerting pressure; frightening stories were doing the rounds among very
small children, who were being encouraged to talk about events and concepts
the significance of which they could barely understand.

602. The Review Team point to corroboration in the account, for example, of
Child 23 who claimed that she had been present during abuse by the
Claimants. Their submission ignores, however, two fundamental points,
namely (i) that Child 2 and Child 23 did not overlap in the same room at
Shieldfield and (ii) that there is no evidence that Christopher Lillie and
Dawn Reed took children out of the Nursery from other rooms.

603. Reliance was also placed on behavioural problems. It was this child
who Professor Friedrich cited when giving an example of how difficult it
was to attribute behavioural symptoms to child abuse because of the various
other factors that could account for them. Indeed, one of the incidents
which had clearly stuck in the mother’s mind was that on one occasion she
had found her daughter looking out across Newcastle from a spot in their
garden in the direction of where her father lived. She was expressing
apparently some concern about whether he was all right. I am invited to
draw the inference that this must have come about because Christopher
Lillie had abused her and threatened that, if she told her mother, he would
see to it that some harm befell her father. There is a more humdrum
explanation, however, since it has to be seen in the context of a father
who (according to the mother’s evidence) more or less swanned in and out of
their lives when he felt like it. Since the child was clearly fond of him,
it seems plausible that she would have been upset by unexplained and
prolonged absences.

Child 3

604. Child 3 was born on 28 June 1988. He began with Amanda Caisley and
Clare Parrish towards the end of October 1990. He left the Nursery finally
on 22 January 1992. This was before Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed teamed
up in the Red Room and they never cared for him directly. Physical findings
were non-specific and within normal limits. No oral testimony was given in
relation to this child. An unsigned witness statement was served on the
Claimants from Child 3’s mother. Also a Civil Evidence Act Notice was
served in respect of her interview with the Review Team.

605. On 10 November 1993, nearly two years after his departure from
Shieldfield, and when he was aged five years five months, his mother was
visited by social workers. She told them apparently that she had questioned
the child about Chris and Dawn. That is not a promising start to his
“disclosure”, since I can know nothing of how this questioning proceeded,
or in such ignorance form a conclusion as to the significance of the fact
that he apparently “froze”. It is recorded in Social Services records
between 12 January and 9 February 1994 that there had still been no
“disclosure”. The mother was, however, clearly becoming anxious. She
reported that she felt very left out of things “and this became more
evident when she had spoken to [the mother of Child 14]”. She had informed
his teacher at his new school “about Shieldfield” and was met with the
response, “Oh not another one”. She therefore did not feel “very
supported”. By 9 February it was being recorded that the mother was
self-harming after a break up with her boyfriend. She was described as
“very distraught”.

606. By 27 February of that year, however, Child 3 was apparently
recounting to Dr McArdle of the Fleming Nuffield Unit that “they put
pencils on my bottom”. This needs to be seen against the background of what
seems to have been persistent questioning at home (how suggestively I do
not know) and the usual reservations required in respect of discussions in
therapy (see the Cleveland Report).

607. It is necessary to record an unusual feature about the child’s medical
background. He was in nappies until he was three because of a stomach
problem. He had two bowel biopsies and also required a special diet.
According to Audrey Palmer, he was “not always easy to deal with”.

608. Nearly two years on, matters progressed to the stage where Child 3’s
mother was reporting to Judith Jones, shortly after the Review Team had
been set up, that Mr Lillie had at some stage stuck a paint brush up his
bottom – and it hurt. By this time, of course, three years and six months
had elapsed since the boy’s departure from Shieldfield. Ms Jones in
evidence referred to the fact (while “trying not to be too indiscreet”)
that the mother had suffered “emotional difficulties” of her own and had
received “some treatment for depression”. According to Dr McArdle, the
mother had lost much of her authority over her son. There was a
vulnerability which “perhaps preceded Shieldfield”. The mother described
her rejection of the boy following a difficult birth, and Dr McArdle
thought this related to puerpural depression. Without making too much of
it, that does need to be weighed in the balance. Ms Jones said she found it
“a difficult account”.

609. This conversation took place on 9 November 1995. The mother also
reported to Judith Jones that she had taken him on a bus to find where this
particular act of cruelty was supposed to have taken place. He apparently
alighted near St Dominic’s Church and asserted that Mr Lillie lived nearby.
Other people were said to go there also (echoes of the paedophile ring) and
Miss Reed accompanied them on several visits. This was where she too hurt
children. This is not the only example of anachronism in the case, since Mr
Lillie did not move to live in the Red Barns district until about 11 months
after Child 3 left Shieldfield and was therefore completely beyond the
clutches of Mr Lillie and Miss Reed. By whatever means, the story of child
abuse at Red Barns was clearly doing the rounds. But in Child 3’s case it
simply cannot have been true. Ms Jones recognised this, in evidence on 15
February, and thought that paragraph 101 of her witness statement needed to
be corrected. She had reported a conversation with the mother of Child 3,
in which the child was said to have become agitated on alighting “just in
front of Red Barns”. She fairly accepted that she had probably jumped to a
conclusion by adding those words.

after attending meetings about abuse at Shieldfield. She admitted to the
social worker, Marion Harris, that she “led” the child and put ideas in her
head. She also described her as “gobby” and as being ready to “tell
anything”. Nevertheless, nothing of note was in fact said at that stage. On
6 August 1993, when there was a home visit, neither Child 4’s mother or
grandmother had any concerns about abuse. Indeed, the grandmother was
expressing sorrow that Dawn Reed had left Shieldfield as she thought she
was a “good nursery employee” and had been very fond of her.

616. Eventually, there was a totally unproductive interview recorded on
video. This took place on 18 May 1994 (wrongly labelled 1993).
Significantly, the child was recorded on 17 May 1994 as saying in class,
“My mummy says Chris and Dawn are naughty”. The member of staff also
recorded the same day how she had talked to the child about the forthcoming
interview. Indeed, this member of staff (Fiona) had actually been to
discuss the meeting with Helen Foster and others at 9.00 a.m. that morning.
She passed on to the child that she had informed them how clever she (Child
4) was in class. The interview itself is a striking example of how
unsatisfactory the interviewing techniques were, especially in the light of
the Cleveland guidelines. The child begins the interview quite happily and
chats easily to Helen Foster while drawing. Then (contrary to good
practice) the mother is brought in. The child has a dummy stuck in her
mouth and is rocked back and forth on her mother’s lap while Helen Foster
bombards her with questions in a wheedling and cajoling voice. The child is
visibly bored and frustrated and becomes as unresponsive as a sack of
potatoes. Helen Foster tells her she is there to help children and that her
friends at Shieldfield have been to see her and she can help them. But she
cannot help children if they do not tell her about what she had described
as the “muddles” in their heads. From the child’s reaction to all this, I
regard the interview as abusive in itself. Her demeanour was very similar
to that of Child 2 in her first interview. It is fair to Helen Foster to
record that she recognised that interviewing would be conducted, generally,
quite differently nowadays.

617. When Child 4 was seen by Dr San Lazaro for the second time, there had
been another child born to the family and the mother had been in hospital
with post-natal depression. This was recorded on 21 February 1994. The
child was obviously under some emotional pressure too. On 13 May 1994 Dr
San Lazaro was recording that the mother had days when she felt distant
from her daughter, did not feel physically attached to her or able to give
her a kiss or cuddle.

618. By July 1994, much more serious allegations about Christopher Lillie
had come to the fore and the child had apparently been speaking of a knife
in the vagina, which had caused bleeding. (Needless to say, there had been
no contact between her and Mr Lillie between the first examination in July
1993 and the second in July 1994.)

619. The first mention of Dawn Reed was apparently on 17 March 1994 when
she said that she had been to a house with “Chris and Dawn”. No cutlery was
mentioned at that stage. It is vital in my judgment to see all the 1994
“disclosures” by Child 4 and her behaviour against the background of a
letter dated 9 August 1994, in which Dr Kaplan, a consultant psychiatrist,
reported to Dr San Lazaro that since February 1994, according to her
parents, she was “starting to go on about Chris and Dawn”. There was a
recurrent theme that they had been smacking her on the vulva. There were
also from that time various behavioural difficulties including perpetual
anger, swearing and touching her baby brother’s genitals. The mother
reported that the problems began in February 1994 after she was discharged
from the hospital with post-natal depression. This may be coincidence but
more likely not.

620. There was a later history of urinary infection, beginning in November
1994. There was a history too of vulvitus and vaginal discharge. By 1996,
Dr San Lazaro was noting erythema or redness and petechial changes over the
hymen. She had also been reported as having bled into her underwear. This
was three and half years after Mr Lillie and Miss Reed had been suspended,
and there was no evidence whatever to link them to these subsequent
physical findings.

621. By May 1997, her mother was still concerned about the possibility of
urinary problems. The evidence is that urinary tract infections are not
uncommon in girls of that age. The redness and soreness could be explained
by itching, scratching or masturbation or, at least in theory, by ongoing
sexual abuse. There was a (later) pattern of medical and behavioural
symptoms, sometimes associated with sexual abuse, which was described as
“far-reaching and prolonged” (in the words of Dr Ward). In the light of the
absence of findings on first examination, two to three months after last
contact with Christopher Lillie, none of this is likely to have any bearing
on the issues I have to decide.

622. I note elsewhere in this judgment (paragraphs 1181 and 1330) that the
impression was given by the Review Team on pages 209 and 217 of the Report
that there was physical evidence to validate Child 4’s dramatic allegations
of penetration. It is thus important to record that there was not. It is
also relevant that the story went on developing as the years went by. In
the Panorama broadcast of October 1997, the mother alleged for the first
time (certainly so far as the Review Team were aware) that Christopher
Lillie was present, and laughing, while the assault was taking place
(somewhat reminiscent of an allegation made by Child 14: see paragraph 759
below). It was embellished further on that occasion by the mother adding
that “…they seem to have done it a few times”. There is nothing in the
evidence to suggest that either of these important elements had ever been
mentioned before. The Review Team chose not to address the point, but I
obviously cannot take the same approach, since it further undermines what
was always an implausible suggestion.

Child 5

623. Child 5 was born on 29 October 1989. She entered Shieldfield on 22
March 1993, attending usually three days a week, and remained there until
September 1994. She thus overlapped with Mr Lillie only for the briefest
period, since he was suspended three weeks after she entered the Nursery.
It is to be noted that during that period she was in the Yellow Room – not
under the immediate care of Mr Lillie or Miss Reed.

624. For the first two visits she was in the company of her mother. The
Register shows that she attended unaccompanied only for 7 days during Mr
Lillie’s time. He maintained his composure throughout most of what must
have seemed to him a distressing time in the witness box, but he was moved
by mild exasperation to observe that, in view of what he is now supposed to
have done to her, she must have spent most of her time during those 7 days
being abused by him.

625. Against this background, it is hardly surprising that when questioned
about Mr Lillie and Miss Reed by her parents (in May and December 1993)
Child 5 said that she had no recollection of either of them. Yet on 27 (or
25?) May 1994 she made her first “disclosure”, as recorded by staff in the
Yellow Room, to the effect that Chris and Dawn had hurt her hand.
——————————
[2002] EWHC 1600 (QB)
114

626. She had by this time spent 14 months in the Yellow Room with other
children who was “disclosing” serious allegations about Mr Lillie and Miss
Reed, who were making visits to the NSPCC for video interviews, and who
were undergoing therapy. The talk was therefore of “bums” and “fairies” and
the use of crayons. She later stated at home that “Chris put the crayon
beside my fairy”. The word “fairy” was not used by her at home and it is
likely that she picked it up at Shieldfield – along with the notion of a
crayon being used for abuse. These two concepts reflect closely what was
being said, for example, by Child 23 in her video interview in July 1993.

627. There then followed over the succeeding weeks and months a litany of
allegations involving many of the regular Shieldfield themes (e.g. visits
to Mr Lillie’s house, Miss Reed’s house and libraries, and also references
to dogs, snakes and threats of death to relatives). None of this has any
contact with reality, since it would be very odd if during her seven days
in the Yellow Room Mr Lillie and Miss Reed had managed to spirit her away
from her carers for abusive visits outside the Nursery—without the
connivance of those carers.

628. In relation to Child 5, Dr Hewitt referred to the virtual absence of
any behavioural re-enactment of abusive acts and concluded that it was
impossible to say with any level of certainty that she was abused. The
Defendants’ “disclosures” expert Professor Friedrich observed that the
relative absence of sexualised behaviour would indicate minimal exposure,
but considered her statements to be consistent with exposure to a sexually
threatening and abusive environment. Having done some “homework” at Miss
Page’s request over the weekend of 13–14 April, even he was prepared to
concede that he could find no support for this child having been abused.

629. As to physical symptoms, there is a complicating feature in this case.
Child 5 had the misfortune to suffer what must have been a painful straddle
injury some time prior to her examination. She had slipped on a climbing
frame. It is against that background that one has to assess the
significance of the ano-genital findings. There was a substantial trauma to
the hymen with a central scar, altered vascularity and a split through the
fourchette. There was a wide hymenal orifice and some tissue loss. Dr Ward
regards this pattern as more consistent with sexual abuse by means of a
blunt penetrative injury.

630. Dr Watkeys was unable to form a clear view in the light of
discrepancies in Dr San Lazaro’s notes and report and of her inadequate
description of the hymenal damage. She does, however, make the cogent point
that the child was examined in connection with her straddle injury on 18
May and 22 June 1993. Both these examinations thus occurred after any
conceivable contact with either of the alleged abusers. On the first
occasion, it was not possible to carry out an inspection of her genitals
(possibly because of pain or distress), although it had been noted that
there was blood on her knickers. On the second occasion, the GP (Dr Kattan)
found her anatomy “entirely normal”. It is true that there is no detailed
description of the genital area on that occasion but, if it was “entirely
normal” on 22 June 1993, this would suggest that the injuries spotted by Dr
San Lazaro a year later, however they occurred, had no connection with Mr
Lillie or Miss Reed.

631. Dr Watkeys was cross-examined by Mr Bishop on this subject on 24 May.
He was putting that the GP could have lacked the experience, knowledge or
competence to pick up what Dr San Lazaro observed a year later. As I have
noted elsewhere, the diagnosing of hymenal injury is such that even a
paediatric registrar might not be up to it. On the other hand, Dr Watkeys
made the very telling point that even a GP could hardly miss a split
through the fourchette.

632. In this case there had been some preoccupation with death, but it has
to be seen in the context that the child was upset during this period by
the death of her grandmother.

633. This was another child who was withdrawn from the plea of
justification on 13 May (the Review Team being ordered to pay the costs of
meeting these allegations up to that point).

Child 6

634. Child 6 was born on 26 January 1991. When she was just under two years
of age, on 4 January 1993, she began at Shieldfield in the Red Room under
the care of Mr Lillie and Miss Reed. She left in October 1993.

635. One of the particular features of this child is an apparent phobia of
doctors. She mentioned “nasty doctors” to her mother towards the end of the
Summer of 1993. She also showed a marked reluctance to be medically
examined or even to make eye contact with Dr San Lazaro. She was anxious
and unco-operative on 3 and 19 November 1993, so that physical examination
was not possible. She had been referred by her mother and social workers
because of suspected abuse. This came about as a result of remarks she had
made shortly beforehand, after leaving Shieldfield. She had pointed to her
genitalia and alleged that Dawn had smacked her “jenny” with a spoon. She
had also accused both Chris and Dawn of putting spoons up her bottom. Her
mother described herself as having been “in denial” up to October (i.e.
until she left Shieldfield). The Review Team suggest that these revelations
came so late because she only began to describe what happened to her once
she could construct sentences. When she became sufficiently articulate at
the age of 2 years nine months, she was recalling events which occurred (if
at all) between 24 and 27 months of age. Miss Page suggests that there is a
possibility of cross-contamination as a result of contact with Child 26
and/or her mother. This is partly because Child 6 incorporated references
to Child 26. But this is speculative.

636. Physical examination was finally achieved only on 5 May 1994 under
anaesthesia. This revealed adhesions between the hymen and labia minora
extending on to the fourchette. There was a disagreement between Dr Ward
and Dr Watkeys as to the significance of these findings. The former
considered them, together with her statements and behaviour, as being
strongly suggestive of sexual abuse. The latter considered that adhesions
can be caused either by abuse or by infection. Not having seen the original
notes, however, she queried whether what were described as adhesions might
in fact be perihymenal bands (a “normal variant”). This was partly because
Dr San Lazaro’s sketch (in so far as it could be relied on) appeared to
show a symmetry (at 5 and 7 o’clock), such as is often to be found in
congenital features of that kind. The Defendants cite a recent paper
(published in 2000) which suggests that labial adhesions may be more
significant than previously thought (indicative of abuse). It is
interesting, however, that it refers to fusion of the labia to the hymenal
membrane “resulting in an asymmetric appearance” (emphasis added).

637. The mother emphasised the child’s phobias and clinging shyness, which
she refused to accept could be attributed to life events, such as concerns
about her father in America or the arrival on the scene of a new male
partner. Even today, apparently, Child 6 has a phobia about doctors and
dentists.

638. When Miss Reed is alleged to have smacked her with a spoon on her
“jenny”, others present are said to have been Child 26 and “Chris”. Child
26 had been with her throughout her period in the Red Room. One possible
confusion is that Child 26 had a brother called “Christopher”. In any
event, there is no confirmation for this story. Child 26 said nothing about
other children being present. Child 6 also mentioned Child 4 as being
present on more than one occasion when she was abused. It is true that
Child 6 overlapped with both these girls in the Red Room, but neither bears
out her account.

639. The mother spoke of potentially significant disclosures being made
over Christmas Day 1993 at the time when they would normally have been
having lunch. She had made contemporaneous notes of the child’s disclosures
which turned up in the course of the trial. On 20 and 24 December 1993 the
child said that Mr Lillie had hurt her with a large pink hammer, as wide as
her outspread arms, on the head, the vagina and the bottom. She also
mentioned this on 26 January 1994. She described the hammer as having a
black hole in one end and as having water coming out of it. This is a
description that is unique to her and is thus relied upon by the Defendants
as confirming that she was not merely copying some other child’s
statements. Moreover, the only other child to suggest abuse with a spoon
was Child 2. She left Shieldfield in May 1993 and Child 6 left months later
and moved on to a different Nursery from that attended by Child 2. Again,
therefore, it is said that there was no scope for copying. Although the
mother was attending “all the meetings, the social services meetings”, and
the “Sunday evening group”, she “did not discuss it in great depth”.

640. It is necessary to focus on the fear of doctors and dentists and
consider its significance in relation to the question of whether Mr Lillie
and/or Miss Reed abused Child 6 and, if so, how. There was some reference
also to a “nasty doctor” called Alastair (the mother was unable to recall
whether this name corresponded to anyone in the GP practice she had used at
the time). Of course, if abusers dress up as doctors, or pretend to be
doctors, and under that guise set about indecently assaulting children, it
would be easy to understand how such a phobia could arise. On the other
hand, it is not the only conceivable explanation for a fear of doctors or
dentists. Such people, in the nature of their occupations, tend to be
associated with fear, pain or discomfort. Much will depend on the child’s
particular experiences. Child 6, for example, clearly underwent some
distress at and following the unsuccessful consultations with Dr San Lazaro
in November 1993. One has to address the possibility at least of iatrogenic
harm (analagous perhaps to that discussed in a rather different context by
Richard J. Lawlor in Chapter 5 of * Expert Witnesses in Child Abuse Cases *
, eds. Stephen J. Ceci and Helen Hembrooke). I do not find it inherently
implausible that Dr San Lazaro could have put the child off doctors,
although it does appear that there was apparently some reference to a
“nasty doctor” in September 1993 before she ever met her.

641. It was interesting to note that Child 6 was cited by Dr San Lazaro in
her witness statement and on 13 May, when she first went into the
witness-box, as one of those in respect of whom she would now express a
different opinion. This was because she has changed her views about the
significance, or otherwise, of hymenal adhesions:

“Suppose that child walked off the street and was not involved at
Shieldfield at all, what would I do with that child? Would I refer that
child for a child abuse inquiry? I would not.”

It may be that much heartache could have been saved if a different
consultant had been brought in all those years ago. The remark is also
telling in another respect; namely, because it seemed that the very fact of
coming from Shieldfield had pre-disposed her to finding abuse. This may
well account for the unusually high percentage of physical findings which
puzzled Dr Watkeys (see para. 384 above).

642. The Defendants’ case is that on a number of occasions between January
and April 1993 Mr Lillie and Miss Reed put their fingers, cutlery and other
objects into her vagina and anus. Mr Lillie is also said to have raped and
buggered her (or alternatively put their genitals into close contact). The
serious allegations of penetrative abuse made by the Review Team in respect
of this child have never been withdrawn. They clearly owed a good deal of
their early sustenance to Dr San Lazaro, but even though she has changed
her mind subsequently the allegations remain on the record. She was not one
of the children withdrawn from the plea of justification on 13 May.

Child 7

643. Child 7 was born on 14 November 1990 and began at Shieldfield in the
Baby Room on 6 May 1992. Following an introductory visit, she joined the
Red Room on 26 November of that year. She was thus in the joint care of Mr
Lillie and Miss Reed until the suspensions, when she would have been just
under two and a half years old. She was not one of the “indictment
children” and the findings at her medical examination on 2 June 1993 were
not specific. There was redness and inflammation around the vulva, and a
small disruption in the hymen in the posterior margin at 7 o’clock. The
anus was slightly lax. None of these findings could be classified as
diagnostic of sexual abuse (although, as so often, it is not possible to
exclude that possibility). There was no video recorded interview. The
Defendants’ case depends, therefore, largely on statements made to parents
or behaviour witnessed by them. Both parents gave evidence before me on 19
March. In certain respects it emerged that neither of them was what medical
experts sometimes call “an accurate historian”.

644. The first oral statement (which could hardly be called a “disclosure”)
occurred in August 1993, when she told her mother that a man would come and
stab her (i.e. her mother) if she was not a good girl. This is relied upon
not so much as direct evidence of any inappropriate behaviour but rather as
being consistent with the child having been threatened in some way.

645. There was then a statement involving Mr Lillie and Miss Reed on 13
October, when the child was answering a question from her father following
a nightmare. She said that they had “bitten her legs”. She also told her
mother that Chris and Dawn had upset a lot of children at the nursery and
that they had made her cry. This almost certainly reflects regular
discourse between the children at the Nursery about what had been going on.
At this stage there is no allegation of indecency or assault so far as
Child 7 herself is concerned.

646. It needs to be noted that in early 1994 Child 7 lived next door to
Child 4, and their mothers had been discussing matters. On 17 March of that
year Child 4 spoke of going to the library and “Chris” making certain
children cry; in particular, Child 7, Child 8 and Child 17. A few days
later, on 23 March, Child 7 told her mother that Mr Lillie had hurt her and
Child 4 with a big knife. Later the same day she reported that Chris had a
big, sharp pointed knife and demonstrated that Mr Lillie and Miss Reed had
used it on her (running her hand up and down her tummy, and then swishing
it about). The disclosures book from the Yellow Room contains an entry for
6 July 1994, recording that Child 4 on this occasion said, “Chris and Dawn
stick the knife up my bum and [Child 7’s] bum – up my friends”. At the same
dining table, on that occasion, Child 7 corrected her by saying “not up my
bum; up your bum”.

647. On 27 May Child 4 is alleged to have said that Mr Lillie and Miss Reed
smacked a number of children including Child 7.

648. On 3 June 1994 Child 4 told her mother that Mr Lillie and Miss Reed
had put her in a bath with Child 7, Child 8 and Child 28. On 23 June 1994
Child 6 alleged that Mr Lillie had hurt a baby and also mentioned other
children in that context including, apparently, Child 7.

649. Accordingly, so far as verbal statements are concerned, allegations
are being made by others about things done to Child 7 rather than she
herself making such statements.

650. At the examination by Dr San Lazaro on 2 June 1993, Child 7’s mother
informed her that since Mr Lillie’s suspension on 16 April Child 7 had been
brighter and happier. She was also apparently readier to go to Shieldfield.

651. Two of the more striking allegations in relation to Child 7 are
focused upon her conduct in January 1994. Apparently, on 16 January that
year she insisted on playing doctors with her mother, and made her lie on
the bed. She covered her face with a pillow, pretended to stick needles in
her and attempted to pull off her mother’s knickers. She then said “I want
to do your eyes… Chris did it, Chris did my eyes and Dawn watched”.

652. It is difficult to know what significance this was supposed to have.
Both parents said they had raised the subject of sore or red eyes with
Christopher Lillie. The father suggested he had been out “on the booze” the
night before, but Mr Lillie was non-committal. The mother said that when
she raised this subject Mr Lillie replied that he was suffering from
conjunctivitis. Neither explanation seems to support an allegation that he
had done something sadistic to Child 7’s eyes.

653. On 23 January, she once again insisted on playing doctors, pinched her
mother all over, pulled down her knickers, and made as if to push a tube of
hand cream into her buttocks. When asked by her mother if anyone had done
that to her, Child 7 replied “yes, Chris”.

654. Mr Lillie explained, in this context, the circumstances in which
nursery officers were permitted to use cream on children’s buttocks. He had
no specific recollection of using it on Child 7, but he could easily have
done so. If they noted any soreness, the procedure was that one of the
nursery officers would watch over the child while the other went to the
relevant manager, who would then inspect the child’s bottom and approve the
use of the cream. Since this child regularly seems to have suffered from
redness and soreness, she would clearly be a candidate for such treatment.
It would in those circumstances be wrong to assume that the use of cream
implied some impropriety. Mr Bishop submitted that the incident cannot
simply be explained as a result of Mr Lillie putting cream on the child’s
bottom, but the argument ended in bathos:

“If Mr Lillie did put cream on the child’s bottom he would not have been
the only one to do so in her life. When asked if anyone had done this to
her, Child 7 is clear and says ‘Chris’.”

655. Another submission of Mr Bishop was that the incidents involving
“sexual behaviour” with her mother “lasted about 30–45 minutes” and that
the child really looked as though she wanted to hurt her mother. It is very
difficult to interpret these events because the scenario is such an unusual
one. Normally a parent would not permit inappropriate behaviour of this
kind to go on for such a very long time. The behaviour was certainly odd,
but I cannot construe it as a re-enactment of something Mr Lillie did to
Child 7. One of the problems about permitting inappropriate behaviour is
that the longer it is allowed to go on the more inappropriate it may become.

656. On 29 January Child 7 said that she had been in a bath with Dawn Reed
– but not with Mr Lillie. If that is indeed what the child said, I find
without hesitation that it is untrue. Reliance is placed on what is said to
be corroboration for this allegation by Child 4. In June 1994 she
apparently told her mother that Mr Lillie and Miss Reed had put Child 7 in
a bath and that they had photographs taken of them. I have already set out
my concerns about Child 4’s own problems in 1994 which, sadly, may have
prompted a certain amount of attention-seeking.

657. It is said that there was other behaviour suggesting traumatic stress
while Child 7 was in the Red Room with Mr Lillie and Miss Reed. Examples
given were regression in toilet training (Mr Lillie’s recollection is that
she was still in nappies, although she had begun potty training before his
suspension), being clingy, reluctance to go to the Nursery and sleep
disturbance.

658. Dr Sandra Hewitt expressed the view that:

“The rich and diverse patterns of behaviour noted in Child 7’s history is
strongly indicative of a child who has suffered trauma as a result of
sexual abuse during the period in which she was in the Red Room, and under
the care of Dawn Reed and Chris Lillie. No other explanation of Child 7’s
behaviours can be found to fit the data”.

659. Professor Friedrich noted that Child 7 was reluctant to speak directly
about “what happened to her”, tending to suggest that other children were
hurt rather than herself. He took the view that the data deriving from her
statements and behaviour “clearly indicates sexual abuse and is consistent
with the medical evidence that has also been reported”.

660. Unfortunately, the information supplied is not necessarily accurate.
Child 7’s mother said in her witness statement that “between Christmas and
Easter” (i.e. when she was in the Red Room) Child 7 had redness to her
vulva on occasions “which had no obvious cause”. Her recollection is
somewhat at odds with contemporaneous records. Such redness was recorded in
the Baby Room Day Book on 14 October 1992. Dr San Lazaro referred to
redness and soreness of the vulva at her examination on 2 June 1993 and,
over a year later, when she was tested for sexually transmitted disease on
29 June 1994, she was described as being “still very red and sore”. It was
a recurring theme which could not be linked specifically to the Red Room.
Moreover, it is important to see the redness in the context of what was
happening so far as potty training was concerned. Contrary to the
impression given by her mother (I am sure quite honestly), Child 7 was not
potty trained by the time she went into the Red Room. Also contrary to the
mother’s statements, she did not regress in this respect in the Red Room.

661. These are classic examples of how memory has played tricks with
anxious carers so as to lead them to invest various incidents from the past
with undue and sinister significance. There is little doubt that this
mother was anxious from a very early stage in the Shieldfield “scandal”.
She described in her witness statement how at the first parents’ meeting
she came out in tears because she had become convinced that her child had
been abused. Memories are re-assembled and attributed to child abuse in the
light of information subsequently supplied. But, in some cases, such as
this one, it is possible to demonstrate from contemporaneous records that
the truth has been distorted. A standard response to this, made by parents
or the Defendants in the course of the evidence, is that the
contemporaneous records (in particular, the Shieldfield Day Books) cannot
be trusted. This will certainly not wash, however, so far as Child 7 is
concerned. There is no reason to suppose that the Baby Room entry of 14
October 1992 was falsely made to disguise child abuse (to be conducted
several months into the future). Nor is there any conceivable reason to
doubt, in this respect, the entries made by Dr San Lazaro in June 1993 and
June 1994. The supposed causal link between child abuse and vulval soreness
simply cannot be established.

662. My attention was also drawn to an interview with the mother reported
in the Daily Mail for 13 November 1998 (the day after the publication of
the Review Team Report). This further illustrates how the mother’s anxiety
had led her to give an account of events which (although no doubt an honest
one) simply bears no relation to reality. Some of the inaccuracies she put
down to mis-reporting by the journalist, but this seems unlikely in this
particular case. Some of the allegations were of a lurid character (I shall
not repeat them) and they underline the caution that is required in
weighing this parent’s evidence.

Child 8

663. This boy was born on 30 December 1990. At less than 18 months, he
began in the Baby Room at Shieldfield on 26 May 1992. He transferred, after
two or three introductory visits, to the Red Room on 21 January 1993. He
attended usually for two days a week. When Mr Lillie was suspended, he was
still less than two years four months old. When he was medically examined
on 10 June 1994, nothing abnormal was revealed. Nevertheless, his behaviour
and statements, as subsequently reported, provide evidence for Dr Sandra
Hewitt of “the classic hallmarks of sexual abuse”. She is ready to conclude
that he suffered trauma as a result of sexual abuse when he was in the Red
Room, as the content of his dreams revolves around acts associated with Mr
Lillie and Miss Reed.

664. This is based upon the evidence that from about March 1994 (aged about
three years two months) he woke up shouting “Don’t hurt my bottom, Dawn”.
In April he apparently shouted out “Don’t put it up my bottom”. This was
said by his mother to have happened several times quite spontaneously.
Naturally, one has to approach such a very specific allegation with some
caution. It is almost too “pat” to carry conviction. It is necessary to
allow for over-interpretation on the part of a mother who had become
anxious partly as a result of attending a meeting. In evidence, she told me:

“I went to one out of curiosity, I think, really. I wanted to know what was
going on. I wanted to find out what was happening with the investigation ….
and parents said things that made me think – that sounded like what my
child was doing, and I started to feel a bit alarmed, and I decided that I
would no longer send him to the nursery”.

665. Child 8’s baby sitter gave evidence on 15 March and his mother on 18
March. The baby sitter said that in late 1992 or 1993 she noticed changes
in the boy’s behaviour. He became easily upset, had temper tantrums, and
took to wetting. His mother said that when he entered the Red Room his
toilet training either remained static or regressed. He began to talk of
monsters and masks.

666. The baby sitter recounted an occasion (she thought before the criminal
trial but in mid-1994) when Child 8 went stiff as a board and asked “Why
did they do that to me?” He referred to Mr Lillie and/or Miss Reed having
pushed a sharp implement up his bottom – she could not recall whether it
was scissors or a needle. She said her mind was racing at the time and she
was trying to control her emotions. She knew that there had been
allegations about the Nursery by that time and that his mother had some
anxieties. By this time, of course, the allegations had been in circulation
for approximately a year.

667. It is to be noted that at the end of July 1993 his mother had told
social workers that Child 8 had actually liked Chris and Dawn. She also
commented, perhaps significantly, that he tended to agree with “whatever
you say”. It is therefore necessary to recall that he remained at
Shieldfield for about a year after the allegations first surfaced (being
removed from the Nursery in March 1994). Throughout that time rumours were
doing the rounds and Mr Lillie and Miss Reed were being portrayed among the
children in negative and frightening terms. For a suggestible child,
therefore, there was much to take root and cause alarm. His mother was
dismissive of this idea, and was of opinion that “children of that age
would not have the intelligence to be able to do that”. It is not much to
do with intelligence. Young children do tend to be suggestible and to talk
about “taboo” topics (as Dr Cameron uncontroversially deposed).

668. The mother said in evidence that she had liked Dawn Reed and found her
friendly and open. Mr Lillie she found “more shifty”, as he would not look
her in the eye. She found the Red Room had a different atmosphere from that
of the Baby Room. It was more subdued but “it was not a contented
quietness”.

669. It seemed from her statements made in June 1994 and January 1996 that
the child’s behaviour had not seemed disturbed or significantly changed
after going into the Red Room. Even in January 1996 the mother said, “…
even looking back we cannot say that his behaviour changed”. The problems
seem to have been noticed after he left Shieldfield (i.e. nearly a year
after the suspension) when “his behaviour deteriorated dramatically”. Up to
that point, the mother had (as she put it) “spent a year in denial”. She
did not want to know. She viewed matters differently thereafter, especially
when she learnt that some children do not readily disclose abuse and that
some are afraid to do so.

670. I was told that the mother (and indeed on one occasion the baby
sitter) had attended meetings organised for Shieldfield parents. “Up to ten
of us would meet in a pub on a Thursday night, including [the mothers of
child 10, Child 22 and Child 6]”. One of these had been addressed by Dr San
Lazaro. She was also in regular contact with other mothers by telephone in
1994. Those specifically mentioned were the parents of Children 6, 7, 10,
22 and 30.

671. Child 8 underwent therapy at first with Dr McArdle and later with Mr
Rick Telford.

Child 10

672. Child 10 was born on 3 July 1989 and joined the Orange Room at
Shieldfield on 27 August 1991. Dawn Reed was working there at the time and
Christopher Lillie joined her on 16 October of the same year. When they
both moved to take over the Red Room at the end of February 1992, Child 10
went with them. He moved on to the Yellow Room in mid-June 1992. He
generally attended full-time during this period but at some point in the
Yellow Room he reduced to four days a week. He left Shieldfield finally on
3 September 1993.

673. Child 10 was one of the six children in respect of whom the Claimants
faced criminal proceedings. The Defendants make wide-ranging and very grave
allegations. Mr Lillie is alleged to have inserted fingers or other objects
into his anus, pulled at his genitals, squeezed his leg, hit his bottom,
punched him, masturbated in front of him, urinated over him, tied him up
and threatened to poke his eyes if he told anyone. Miss Reed is said to
have been present and encouraged or permitted some or all of these
activities. Cogent evidence is required to establish such a litany of
wickedness.

674. When he was examined on 1 September 1993, there were no abnormal
genital or anal findings. Nevertheless, this is clearly a worrying case in
the light of the boy’s statements and behaviours. Dr Sandra Hewitt was of
the view that his behaviours and their frequency strongly suggested trauma
arising from sexual abuse in the Red Room. Professor Friedrich referred to
his persistent behavioural regression, sexualisation and symptoms of
post-traumatic stress disorder, which he thought in keeping with the
child’s “considerable exposure to the care of Lillie and Reed”. He observed
that as much as any child in the Shieldfield group he combined verbal
disclosures with physical positioning as if he were reliving the
experience. He found it compelling as an indication of sexual abuse by Mr
Lillie and Miss Reed. I have already noted, however, at paragraphs 457–460
above how unsatisfactory Professor Friedrich’s approach was to this child.

675. As I have already discussed, there is a very important factor to be
weighed in relation to this child in the form of his subsequently diagnosed
ADHD. He had a long term pattern of behavioural problems which presented
his (single) parent with a very heavy burden. This pattern was, however,
already established before he arrived at Shieldfield. Even his mother used
to describe him as “a little rocket”. There had been a visit to a therapist
before any concerns arose about the possibility of abuse at Shieldfield.
The GP had suggested referral to the Nuffield in (she thought) February
1993.

676. It is clear from the Day Book that he was a handful at Shieldfield
from the outset. There were tantrums and, although his mother was reluctant
to confirm this, I am also satisfied that there was a regular pattern of
aggression towards his peers (mainly in the form of pushing). Dawn Reed
made a note on 16 September 1991, presumably because she thought it a good
sign, that for the first time he “cuddled a child after hurting them”.

677. When allegations began to be made about Mr Lillie and Miss Reed in the
Spring of 1993, Child 10’s mother had no concerns. She thought everyone had
gone “barking mad” and that “the whole thing was ludicrous”. What is more
she wrote letters of support to Mr Lillie and Miss Reed. She wrote to Miss
Reed in the following terms:

“Dear Dawn

I felt I had to drop you a note after hearing of your suspension. When we
were told of Chris’s suspension my reaction was ‘nonsense’ – now that you
have been caught up in this ridiculous mess, I can only think its all gone
far to far. I trusted both you and Chris with my son for a year and never
had any worries – and I still haven’t and I would trust you again without
hesitation.

I have told [Child 10] that you and Chris have gone away for a while and he
was very sad. He misses you and he misses Chris.

Dawn, I know all this must be very distressing for you, but please remember
there are a lot of us in the Nursery who are behind you 100%.

We miss you and hope to see you back soon.

Lots of Love”

678. Now, with the benefit of hindsight, this mother like a number of
others regards herself as having been at that stage, as the jargon goes,
“in denial”. The social workers were doing the rounds visiting all
Shieldfield parents and things really changed for her shortly after she
received what she described as her “automatic” visit. She told Isabella
Hepplewhite that she did not believe the allegations and trusted Mr Lillie
and Miss Reed. Nevertheless, she talked to her “quite a lot about [Child
10’s] behaviour”. She added, “but at the end of the meeting I had a very
different feeling than I had had prior to it, in that I felt maybe I should
consider that something may have happened”. A fundamental problem here is
that Isobel Hepplewhite was given a description of Child 10’s behaviour
which she was only too ready to attribute, at least as a matter of first
impression, to child abuse. She wrote a letter to Dr Kaplan, the consultant
psychiatrist on the day of the visit. It concluded with the words:

“Since the family was seen as part of the Shieldfield Nursery Investigation
and [sic] I would be obliged if you could arrange to see the family and
perhaps offer some help and support”.

679. Unhappily what Ms Hepplewhite did not (and indeed could not) know at
that stage was that this child was affected by ADHD.

680. There is no doubt that, quite apart from his behaviour, Child 10’s
eventual verbal “disclosures” are among the most striking and lurid of all.
It is clearly necessary, on the other hand, to approach them with the
greatest caution. The first disclosure was on 16 August 1993 (i.e. 14
months after his moving on from Mr Lillie and Miss Reed). As in other
instances in this case, it came about as a result of questioning by the
mother at the suggestion of a social worker (Isobel Hepplewhite) who had
visited her that very day. He said that Chris was nice except when he had
taken Child 10 to his house (and he mentioned a lift). He said that on such
occasions Chris had hit him and pulled his hair. There was nothing sexual
at that stage. The vehicle for his description was a Sooty puppet. He
demonstrated that “Chris goes biff, biff, biff, to Jo”.

681. It is important at this stage to record that there was a “Jo” in Child
10’s day to day life (a female friend of his mother), whose home Child 10
was used to visiting. Jo was someone who had earlier lived in Child 10’s
home and had babysat for him.

682. The mother was inclined in her evidence on 11 and 12 March to explain
that the child did not really mean that Chris had been to Jo’s home or
attacked her. (He had, of course, done neither.) She says that one has to
transpose the whole scene so that it takes place in Mr Lillie’s own home
and that it was Child 10 he attacked—not Jo. I am not prepared to make that
leap of faith. The account the child gives is anchored very much not only
to Jo’s flat but also to Jo personally. That story is obviously not founded
in fact, and there is no way that any adult can filter out fundamental
elements, substituting others, and have any confidence in the final version.

683. It was submitted for the Review Team, somewhat creatively, that:

“The flat he was taken to by the Claimants could have reminded him of Jo’s
flat, he could have been told it was ‘Jo’s flat’, or he could be mixing two
separate incidents” (emphasis added).

The word “could” is used three times, but I have to remember that I am
concerned with evidence, rather than speculation, and with probabilities
rather than possibilities.

684. In accordance with Professor Bruck’s preferred practice, Child 10 was
interviewed on video shortly afterwards (on 18 August). In the meantime, on
17 August, Isobel Hepplewhite had returned to Child 10’s home with Helen
Foster and debriefed the mother on her son’s story of the previous evening.
Sooty again played a leading role at the video suite. Helen Foster was
supposed to be conducting the interview but the dialogue to a large extent
takes place through the puppet. The mother was also present. It appears
that he was unable to bring to mind who the teachers were in his “old
class”, but Helen Foster was persistent: “Sooty says he bets you can
remember who the teachers were in the Red Room”. The idea that someone’s
liberty and whole future career could depend on this level of
evidence-gathering is sobering indeed. Despite this technique, Child 10
still was unable to bring either Mr Lillie or Miss Reed to mind.

685. Helen Foster was undaunted: “I’ll see if Sooty can remember. Sooty
says ‘were your teachers nice people?'” The response was not, however, what
she wanted. When Child 10 replied that they were, his mother said “He’s
lost”. Thus both adults present were proceeding on the assumption that he
had been abused by the Red Room staff and that it was only a question of
finding a way to unlock the information.

686. Sooty then asked a leading question, “Was one of your teachers called
Dawn?” As leading questions so often do, this triggered a more specific
response: “Yes. But one of them was Chris”. He then goes on to volunteer
(apparently) that Chris was nasty and horrible to everyone. These
propositions were (naturally for a child of that age) expressed in the
present tense. Thus, it is possible that the child was giving his own
recollection from the time he was two years of age, or that he was giving
an answer he thought the “police lady” and his mother wanted to hear, or
that he was reflecting the negative “press” which the Claimants had been
receiving at Shieldfield over the last four months.

687. Through Sooty further details were elicited. It is an obvious risk
(borne out by the expert evidence of Dr Cameron) that if a child is invited
to enter a dialogue with a teddy bear or puppet he will think he is playing
a game and fantasise accordingly. He proceeded to demonstrate the “biffing”
he was given by Chris but confirmed that this had taken place at Jo’s flat.
In case there was confusion about the location, he re-affirmed that Jo was
a woman he visited with his mother. What is thus clear beyond doubt is that
once again the child was indeed fantasising. No such incident occurred.
Nevertheless, he does assert that he was hurt by the “biffing” in his
genitals and bottom. Dawn Reed, incidentally, he acquitted of any
involvement.

688. As so often in these interviews, given the shaky grip of small
children on concepts of future and past, the child stated that he was
wearing the same clothes during the supposed violent attack as those he was
wearing at the interview (at least 14 months later).

689. Child 10 confirmed that the incident had taken place at Jo’s flat. In
due course Helen Foster left the room but permitted the interview to
continue (quite inappropriately) with the mother interrogating the child
through Sooty. Tellingly, the mother uttered the following words: “And
remember what I said it was very important that you had to tell about what
Chris did”. This certainly does not instil any confidence in the process at
all.

690. Eventually Helen Foster returned. Both adults continued to question
the child. Rather curiously Child 10 introduced a new element of fantasy by
saying that “Chris” had no hair and no arms (despite being able to “biff”).
Nonetheless, by some means or other, he hurt him under his trousers but
over his underwear.

691. Through Sooty Child 10 was asked what Dawn did (despite his earlier
denial that she had done anything). This time, perhaps to please his
interrogators or to get them off his back, he alleges against “Dawn” also
that she punched him at Jo’s flat on the genitals and the bottom – this
time over his clothes and underwear. The whole account is fantasy and I
propose to treat it as such. (It is always to be remembered that criminal
proceedings were brought in respect of this child.) At the conclusion of
the interview Ms Hepplewhite recorded what impact the interview had made:

“[Child 10] appeared to be O.K. when the interview was terminated. However,
I did feel some concern about mother who described herself as feeling numb
and in a state of shock. She very sensibly took [Child 10] into town for an
ice cream.”

692. The next day, after a telephone call, there was yet another home
visit. The mother was saying at that stage, perhaps significantly, that
after the video experience her son was “fine” but she herself was still
“dazed”. She reported that the previous evening the child had talked again
of being in a lift and that there were ghosts but, crucially, she added
that he went on to associate his thoughts with something he had seen on
television. Although this mother was still able to be reasonably objective,
it illustrates how easy it is, once social workers have rattled a parent,
for everything a child says to be over-interpreted.

693. In a rather chilling note, the social worker also recorded on 19
August:

“Intellectually she understands why… she has had to move her position
regarding Dawn and Chris from a very different belief, but clearly she
finds this worrying in terms of emotion”.

One (perhaps unfair) interpretation of these comments is that the social
workers had long since decided that there had been widespread abuse by the
Claimants and that they were determined to convert and recruit as many
“believers” as possible. As in other cases, this mother found herself
putting to one side her judgment based on her own common sense and
experience of people and placed her trust in the “professionals”.

694. A second interview took place on 4 October. This was the same day as
Child 14’s first interview (the one in respect of which the Review Team
falsely claimed that she alleged rape). In the course of that interview she
alleged that Child 10 had been on a visit with her to “Chris’s house”. He
was obviously on her mind because earlier in the interview she asked
whether he had been to the video suite that day (as indeed he had). They
had been for a time together in the same room at Shieldfield but had just
come together again at a new school. Child 10 never confirmed Child 14’s
involvement of him in this story.

695. Returning to Child 10’s second interview, it seems that the objective
was to persuade him to repeat something he had said to his mother “the
other night in bed”. All he would say (Helen Foster having withdrawn) was
that Chris had punched him at Jo’s flat – but this time solely on the mouth
and head. That would, of course, be serious in itself but it was quite a
different account from that given on the previous occasion, albeit equally
fictitious. These allegations were only made after a good deal of
questioning and at a stage when the child had decided to go home. That
would in itself cast doubt on a small child’s allegation, as it might be
made purely to bring the process to an end, but it should already have been
clear by that stage that the child had no cogent evidence to give.

696. By December, Child 10 was apparently saying that Chris had pushed his
wand into Child 5 in the Red Room causing her to scream. The mother
suggested to police that this might be due to the fact that Child 10 was
interested in wands at that stage – not least because Sooty used one. He
also wanted to be given a wand as a present. It will be remembered that
Child 5 was never in the Red Room and only overlapped in Shieldfield with
Mr Lillie, in any event, for a few days prior to 7 April 1993. No experts
are now prepared to support the suggestion that she was abused, and there
has been no parental evidence. Not surprisingly, however, when Child 10’s
mother passed the allegation on to them (via her aunt) it alarmed her
parents. Child 5 had no recollection of any such incident.

697. The mother of Child 10 readily acknowledged that one of the subjects
on which she had led her son was that of “needles”. This followed a
conversation with the mother of Child 14. She approached her because her
daughter had mentioned Child 10 in that context.

698. She agreed that she had herself had counselling in roughly the Spring
of 1994 and that she had also attended parents’ support group meetings.
Parents she met by this means would have included those of Children 1, 2,
14 and 24. She also became friendly with the parents of Children 6 and 30.
This all goes to underline the scope for swapping accounts of alleged abuse
and particular concepts (such as lifts, clowns, etc.) or sources of anxiety.

699. She agreed also that she became something of an activist and spoke of
her experiences as the mother of an abused child at a conference in 1995.
Her participation had been organised by the mother of Child 30. Others who
were involved in the conference included parents who had been affected by
the Jason Dabbs case. Judith Jones had also participated in organising the
conference. The witness regarded her as another local activist. As a matter
of fact, she also knew Judith Jones personally through having worked for
her (cleaning her home) in 1994 – not something that Judith Jones saw fit
to declare before publicly pronouncing the Claimants guilty of having
abused Child 10. It may well have made no difference, and both witnesses
downplayed the significance of this, suggesting that they had not even
discussed the subject of Child 10’s abuse. That may seem unlikely, but I
see no reason to disbelieve them on this matter.

700. Dr San Lazaro was offering advice generally to various parents and the
mother of Child 10 found her a calming influence because she understood the
nature of why and how children “disclose” (or so she claimed).
Unfortunately Dr San Lazaro’s “advice” tended to be a contaminating
influence because she had decided at a very early stage that the “alleged
perpetrators” had been guilty of multiple abuse and was not averse to
spreading ideas from parent to parent. (That was confirmed, for example, by
the mother of Child 29.)

701. The mother agreed that her attitude had changed in August 1993 as a
result of meeting the social worker Isabella Hepplewhite. It was only then
that she began to think it was possible that her son had been abused by the
Claimants. The way she set about questioning her son, however, did not
derive from the social worker. It was she who decided to interrogate her
son using Sooty. She decided to play a kind of game, involving saying which
people were “nice” and which were “not nice”.

702. The witness was referred to her police statement of 23 August 1993, in
which she appeared to be saying that it was she who had introduced
“bottoms” into the discussion with her son. She did not, however, accept
that the police had accurately recorded what she was saying. She was
extremely traumatised when she made those statements and may not have been
paying very close attention to what the police were writing down (or, by
inference, to what she signed). Miss Page was asking her about a sentence
which began, “I then asked [Child 10] if Chris had ever looked at his
bottom and he pointed and prodded to the bottom area on a teddy he had…”.
There does not seem to be much scope for misunderstanding that sentence.

703. It thus looks very much as though the mother introduced “Chris” (but
not necessarily “Dawn”) into the “nice and nasty” game, and that she too
introduced “Chris” into the context of bottoms. She also subsequently (in
the following October) introduced the subject of needles following the
approach by the mother of Child 14. One can readily see how it all came
about and why (mainly as a result of Isobel Hepplewhite’s approach in
August) she had become anxious. But, with the benefit of hindsight, one can
easily see also how unsatisfactory this process was. In particular, it
raises considerable doubt over the weight that should be attached to Child
10’s account on these topics.

704. The matter does not stop there, however, since once she had started
the ball rolling, Child 10 went on to make further disclosures, which I
have already described as “striking and lurid”. Following the video
experience, he spoke of being hurt with a knife in a high rise block of
flats. He mentioned also, apparently, masturbation, injections in his
bottom administered by Dawn Reed, and of Mr Lillie and Miss Reed with no
clothes on, fighting on a bed, and of Mr Lillie urinating on his face. He
later said that lots of “Chrises and Dawns” had urinated on his face. He
had been buggered by Mr Lillie and said that he had an erection and that
“sweeties would come out and he [Child 10] would get some”. Dawn and Chris
were coming to kill him.

705. He said that Chris had kissed his [Child 10’s] private parts and that
he had seen Dawn with no knickers on, that her private parts were furry and
that he [Child 10] had put cream on them. In this context, I am asked to
bear in mind evidence to the effect that on 29 December 1994 the child
asked his mother not to go round the house in a state of undress as it
reminded him of Mr Lillie and Miss Reed. I do not know how “undressed” his
mother was or how regular a habit this may have been in the home. It is a
sensitive area, and I have to be wary of jumping to conclusions about what
effect (if any) it may have had on his apparently vivid descriptions of
various bodily parts. What is clear is that there was a large element of
fantasy in what Child 10 was saying at this period in his life. There was
also apparently an instance of exhibitionism when on 18 November he came
downstairs (aged 5 years 4 months) without trousers or underpants in order
to demonstrate “what the man had done”. It is important to remind myself
that he left the care of Mr Lillie and Miss Reed some two and a half years
before (and that exhibitionism is a characteristic symptom of ADHD).

706. Dawn Reed was also alleged to have put a napkin round his mouth and
tied him and other children up with coloured string. She had also picked
him up and put him in a cupboard with no handle or windows, but that he had
turned into a gladiator and killed everyone. He also spoke of Chris and
Dawn swapping bodies and heads. None of this has any obvious meaning.

707. By 1995–1996 he was expressing concern that Mr Lillie and Miss Reed
had not gone to prison and asked how he could be sure that they were not
abusing other children. There seems to be no doubt that he and his mother
believe, and always will, that he was regularly abused in the most
horrendous ways but the accounts given are wild and implausible. Moreover,
there is no corroboration for any of it.

708. Dr Cameron listed 31 worrying aspects of Child 10’s behaviour and
noted how in about 1995–1996 after medication was prescribed for ADHD he
responded effectively. He said that impulsivity and disinhibition,
particularly indecent exposure, are characteristic of untreated ADHD. His
strange behaviour could largely be accounted for by his developmental
problems together with certain domestic factors. It seems to me that his
verbal disclosures have to be approached in the light of this evidence too.

709. Child 10 was in the Yellow Room for the whole of the time between the
suspensions and the beginning of September 1993. When a child with
undiagnosed ADHD is exposed to the rumours circulating that summer and,
what is more, to the sexualised antics of Child 87, it is necessary to
recognise that one has a very powerful brew indeed.

710. This case also provides a vivid illustration of how belief in the
Shieldfield “scandal” spread from person to person. Just as the mother of
Child 10 had originally been incredulous, and supportive of Miss Reed, so
too had Diane Wood. She spoke out in very positive terms about Dawn Reed,
as I have recorded above. Once, however, the mother of Child 10 had been
converted, Diane Wood was also persuaded that Dawn Reed could, after all,
be a child abuser. The mother of Child 10 would also no doubt have stirred
up anxiety on the part of Child 5’s parents when she mentioned the “wand”
episode in December 1993. So too, she herself would have been alarmed by
talk of “needles” passed on to her by Child 14’s mother.

Child 11

711. This child was born on 23 May 1989. She began at Shieldfield on 5
August 1991 with Dawn Reed, who was at that stage not in the Red Room but
in what was to become the Orange Room. She was joined there by Mr Lillie on
16 October 1991. The child left their joint care on 2 March 1992, when they
took over responsibility for the Red Room, because she remained in the
Orange Room. She later transferred to the Yellow Room on 26 August 1992.
She generally attended full time, although on some occasions 3–4 days per
week. She left Shieldfield altogether in September 1993.

712. Child 11’s mother gave evidence before me on 25 and 26 March. Like the
other parents, she is firmly of the view that her daughter was abused at
some stage by the two Claimants. It is something which caused her great
anxiety both at the time and over the intervening years. There were times
when she found the process of giving evidence in itself distressing.

713. Like some other parents, one of the sad consequences of coming to
believe that her child was abused is that she has tended to blame herself.
She was already feeling guilty to some extent, so she told me, because she
was embarking on a time-consuming university course with one small child to
look after and, after her son was born on 8 March 1992, with two. She was
apparently getting a certain amount of pressure from her partner’s parents
and her own mother, who rather took the view that she ought to have been
looking after the children full-time – at least in the early years. On
looking at the Day Books, she also reacted sensitively because she thought
that the staff at the Nursery were making too many notes about her and her
activities, and not enough about Child 11 or (subsequently) her brother.
For example, notes were made from time to time that she referred to Child
11’s eczema and was informing the staff that this might sometimes be a
reaction to stress. I am afraid that the mother of Child 11 was unduly
sensitive about this issue, since (rightly or wrongly) the Day Books at
that time all had a space for remarks under “Parents”. This was to enable
them to record information which the parent or parents had given to staff,
or alternatively matters which the staff wished to pass on to the parents.

714. The mother of Child 11 is another witness for whom the traumatic
experience of the Shieldfield “scandal” has meant that she now views events
through a somewhat distorted memory. This is apparent from comparing her
own (quite sincere) beliefs as to what was happening with the
contemporaneous records.

715. Two matters in particular stand out. First, although she believes that
Child 11 regressed in toilet training and began to wet herself while under
the care of Mr Lillie and Miss Reed, the Day Books clearly demonstrate that
this problem really began after she left their care. There are many
entries, in particular, by Amanda Caisley. The mother responded several
times in the witness box by saying that she did not trust the records kept
by Mr Lillie and Miss Reed. It is a point which others have made. I am
conscious, of course, that paedophiles or child abusers can be very
manipulative. On the other hand, I have to bear in mind that there are
many, many entries both by Mr Lillie and by Miss Reed in various Day Books
recording incidents of wetting or soiling and, indeed, other behavioural
features of children which could easily be attributable to stress of any
kind (including child abuse). There is no reason to suppose that they
should be economical with the truth over wetting specifically in relation
to Child 11, and her alone. I see no reason to doubt the general pattern
which emerges from the written records.

716. The other aspect of the Day Book entries is that it is quite apparent
that Child 11 very much enjoyed the Nursery and, for the most part, got on
well with the staff and fellow pupils. It is necessary to take account of
the fact that a new sibling arrived on the scene in March 1992, and that
this would have been bound to affect her in various ways. She was obviously
competing for her mother’s attention at that time, as almost always
happens. There is a record on one occasion, just after he began at the
Nursery, of the child being rather fixated on her young brother and going
to the Baby Room to keep an eye on him. She also picked up a teddy bear on
that occasion and treated it as her own “baby”. It was also about this time
that the problem of wetting became prominent. Mr Lillie and Miss Reed, as I
have already noted ceased to be her carers just a week before her brother
was born.

717. Apart from these understandable factors, however, the general pattern
is of an intelligent and lively child. It appears from the Social Services
file note on 19 May 1993, when the mother was first interviewed, that she
was describing Child 11 as an “articulate child who can embroider stories”
and, moreover, that “Chris and [Child 11] have a good relationship”. The
mother was also apparently telling the Social Services on 13 July 1993 that
“there have never been any concerns about [Child 11] or her brother”. The
same message was being conveyed in that month to police officers, when
Constable Kinghorn and Det. Sgt. O’Hara visited the mother. Once again,
however, the mother now views the historical position rather differently
with the benefit of hindsight. Despite all these contemporaneous records,
she now says that she did have concerns about Child 11 at that time, and
indeed that she had had such concerns from shortly after she entered
Shieldfield Nursery. In so far as she was expressing herself as not having
any real concerns at the time, she now construes this as her having been
“in denial”.

718. It is also to be noted that when she subsequently started making
“disclosures” Child 11 claimed to have visited “Chris’s house” with other
children whom she identified. These were children, however, who were with
her during her period in the Yellow Room. They had not been under the care
of Mr Lillie or Miss Reed. It is interesting to note that in a record dated
26 July 1993 Kulvinder Chohan, one of the social workers, was drawing to
the mother’s attention that neither Child 11 nor any other child in the
Yellow Room would be expected to go out of the Nursery with other members
of staff – in particular, Mr Lillie or Miss Reed. She was relaying to her
that she would only have been out during the period of the Yellow Room with
Diane Wood and possibly with another child. Despite this, the mother of
Child 11 now clearly believes that she was taken out by Mr Lillie and Miss
Reed and cruelly abused.

719. It may be relevant that the child began attending therapy at
Barnardo’s from 21 September 1993. It was only after this that allegations
of indecency or being hurt begin to be made.

720. For a considerable period of time the mother was reluctant,
understandably, to put her daughter through the process of either being
medically examined or that of a video recording. Eventually, however, the
child was interviewed on video on 24 November 1993. Before that, she had
been examined by Dr San Lazaro on 14 October. The relevant entry in her
Report of the same date is somewhat confusing:

“Genitalia were noted to be normal externally, but the hymen appeared to be
somewhat distorted and scarred with a rather high free edge.

The findings in this little girl would suggest previous significant trauma
to the hymen with granulatory healing. Because the healing is complete,
however, the appearance of the hymen could pass as normal, or indeed having
a mild congenital abnormality. I cannot be absolutely certain about trauma”.

721. I cannot be sure what to make of that. Nor indeed could Dr Watkeys.
She considered Dr San Lazaro’s comments on both Child 11 and her brother to
be “confusing”. She is surprised that she made no drawings of her findings
in view of the fact that she was claiming it, in her police statement, to
be “highly likely” that penetrative trauma had caused the findings. Dr
Watkeys emphasised that, in her opinion, the presence of previous
significant trauma cannot be confused with a normal variant. As for Dr
Ward, she observed that the physical examination did not satisfy diagnostic
criteria for sexual abuse, even though there might have been some scarring
of the hymen. This is just one example of Dr San Lazaro overstating the
case and “beefing up” her findings for the police statement.

722. It is important in this context to note that the mother had observed
Child 11 on various occasions inserting fingers into her vagina and saying
that she enjoyed doing it. When asked by her mother where she had learnt to
do this, she referred not to Mr Lillie or Miss Reed but to another small
girl in the Yellow Room.

723. As for the video interview, this was conducted for the most part by
Vanessa Lyon, although the mother was invited in when the child was
perceived by Ms Lyon as being reluctant to speak. There is a classic
passage of leading questions under the guise of summing the position up for
“Helen”, who was not in the room:

“Vanessa Lyon: You know what? I think Helen’s a bit deaf. You know what?
She wants me just to make sure I’ve got everything right, [Child 11]. So
can you tell me if I have got this right?

Child 11: What?

Vanessa Lyon: This naughty man hurt you with a knife?

Child 11: Yeh

Vanessa Lyon: And he was called?

Child 11: Monster

Vanessa Lyon: Monster. And he was also called “Chris”.

Child 11: Nothing

Vanessa Lyon: Chris. Isn’t that right?

Child 11: (nods)

Vanessa Lyon: It was Chris, wasn’t it?

Child 11: Yeh

Vanessa Lyon: And he used to work at the nursery.

Child 11: (nods)

Vanessa Lyon: You’re nodding. So I must be right.

Child 11: Yes

Vanessa Lyon: And he hurt you with the knife?

Child 11: Yes

Vanessa Lyon: And we must especially remember this – and we’ll speak loudly
cause, as I say, I don’t think Helen heard – but it was in a house.

Child 11: A house

Vanessa Lyon: And it was a monster’s house.

Child 11: Yes

Vanessa Lyon: And Dawn was there?

Child 11: Yes

Vanessa Lyon: And was anybody else there?

Child 11: (shakes head) Just the naughty people.

Vanessa Lyon: Naughty people.

Child 11: And a good lady.

Vanessa Lyon: And a good lady who was called R- R—

Child 11: R

Vanessa Lyon: R

Child 11: Ker

Vanessa Lyon: Ker

Child 11: sss

Vanessa Lyon: R – Ker

Child 11’s mother: I don’t know that name, do I?

Child 11: It was a R –

Vanessa Lyon: R

Child 11:—and a Ker and a sss

Vanessa Lyon: Like an ess is that?

Child 11’s mother: It’s a bit like Rebecca that, isn’t it?

Child 11: A line with a dot.

Vanessa Lyon: And a dot.

Child 11: A line with a dot.

Vanessa Lyon: Roxi? Rooks, no, I can’t work that one out. But she was nice?

Child 11: (nods)

Vanessa Lyon: That’s good. And did anybody else hurt you? I know Chris hurt
you. Did anyone else hurt you?

Child 11: (Shakes head)

Vanessa Lyon: All right.

Child 11: Shall I write down the word again – in –

Vanessa Lyon: You could try, please, yes

Child 11: And I can cut it out so –

Vanessa Lyon: We can show Helen, couldn’t we?

Child 11’s mother: Hm mm

Vanessa Lyon: What pen are you going to use for that?

Child 11: This one I wanted – oh I need a pen.

Vanessa Lyon: OK that’s fine. Start with a clean piece of paper there.

Child 11: R

Vanessa Lyon: R

Child 11: Ker

Vanessa Lyon: Ker. Hm – I don’t think I know her. What does she look like?
What colour hair does she have?

Child 11: Ginger

Vanessa Lyon: Ginger?

Child 11: Flowery dress and ballet shoes. Princess shoes and a –

Vanessa Lyon: Flowery dress, ginger hair and ballet shoes. Gosh, you have
got a good memory. Really good.

Child 11: Yeh – and um –

Vanessa Lyon: Was she a grown up lady or a child, children? Was she
children – one of the children?

Child 11: Erm a grown up.

Vanessa Lyon: Grown up. OK. Ginger hair. Erm, she was there and she was OK.

Child 11: She was nice lady.

Vanessa Lyon: She was nice. And Dawn was going to tell the police because –
did she – did Dawn see what Chris did to you?

Child 11: (nods head).

Vanessa Lyon: Yeh, she did. You’re right. I see you nodding there and you
told me before, didn’t you, that?

Child 11: (nods head)

Vanessa Lyon: Erm

Child 11: Doesn’t she look nice in that (indicating doll)?

Vanessa Lyon: I think she looks nice, but I’ll tell you what, I bet she’s
getting cold.

[There is then a discussion about a doll’s knickers. Then the name of a
small boy is mentioned, who according to Vanessa Lyon was said to be
present, and Child 11 says nothing happened to him.]

Vanessa Lyon: You don’t think anything happened. How did you get to this
house? Who took you to the house?

Child 11: Chris

Vanessa Lyon: Chris took you to the house. Right. How did he take you to
the house? Did you walk or –

Child 11: Walked

Vanessa Lyon: You walked

Child 11: Oh, I want to put it like this [putting clothes on doll].

Vanessa Lyon: So did – was it just Chris? Did anyone else take you to the
house or just Chris?

Child 11: Chris and Dawn

Vanessa Lyon: Chris and Dawn

Child 11: But, I was safe with Dawn

Vanessa Lyon: You felt safe with Dawn. Because – and she was all right to
you?

Child 11: Yeh

Vanessa Lyon: That’s good. And you went to this house, just you? No other
children with you?

Child 11: Yes

Vanessa Lyon: Who? Sorry, which children were with you?

Child 11: [Two boys and a girl are mentioned – but none of the
justification children]

Vanessa Lyon: Right

Child 11’s mother: [The girl’s name was mentioned].

Child 11: (nods head)

Vanessa Lyon: [She repeats the name of the girl and one of the boys] And
Chris and Dawn, and you walked to this house, can you remember anything
about the house, what it looked like? What colour doors or furniture?

Child 11: (shakes head)

Vanessa Lyon: Was there chairs? Can you remember anything about it?

Child 11: (shakes head)

Vanessa Lyon: No? Did you have anything to eat or drink when you were there?

Child 11: Can you read the word? Can you?

Vanessa Lyon: I’ll show it to Helen but I’m not – I can’t work that out.

Child 11: Can you know what that mean?

Child 11’s mother: Can I work out what it says? No, I don’t know that name.

Child 11: Well, we will have to show it to –

Vanessa Lyon: And this is the girl with ginger hair isn’t it? Woman, lady,
with the ginger hair?

Child 11: Yeh (plays with doll’s clothes) Right. She’s not having this
cardi on.

Child 11’s mother: It might keep her warm.”

The interview continues to no effect.

724. In fact, the child seemed cheerful, friendly and good-natured. She
was, like so many of the children, primarily interested in playing with the
array of toys accessible in the room. She had nothing very much to say at
first, but when pressed came out with allegations to the effect that she
had been cut by a multi-coloured knife (not “part of Chris”) which had hurt
her tummy, and that she had been frightened by as many as 10 men. The child
showed no anxiety or distress but was making these observations
incidentally to the process of playing – as if almost just to get the
interviewer “off her back”. The descriptions she gave did not match her
manner or emotional state at all. Moreover, she said that although “Dawn”
was present she had not hurt her but had told “Chris” that she would tell
the police about him. None of this carried conviction.

725. It was interesting that Professor Bruck, who had previously only seen
the transcripts, was asked what she gained from actually seeing the
children on tape and replied that it had only then became apparent to her
how casual or offhand some of the children’s remarks had been. She made the
point that some at least appeared to be very much by the way, when the main
focus was playing or drawing. It seemed to me that Child 11 provided a very
good example of this.

Child 12

726. This child was born on 15 February 1990. He attended Shieldfield
full-time from 1 June 1992 until September 1993, although at one period he
was attending four days a week rather than five. He was in the Red Room
with Mr Lillie and Miss Reed from the start until 28 August 1992 when he
moved to the Orange Room. His first verbal “disclosure” was apparently as
early as October 1992 when he began having nightmares, in which he is
alleged to have cried out either “Stop it, Chris, Stop it” or “Stop it,
Chris don’t do that”. On the face of it, of course, very compelling but (as
with Child 8) a little scepticism is appropriate. It is not always easy to
interpret what a child appears to be saying in sleep. At one stage the
mother’s account included her asking what it was “Chris” was doing (after
he woke up). He replied “Nothing”.

727. There were no clinical findings to suggest abuse but Dr San Lazaro
introduced an element of drama when he visited her on 11 November 1993. She
produced a 10 ml syringe and invited him to use it for transferring
lemonade from a bowl to a plastic bottle. When he saw it, Child 12 is said
to have recognised it and said “I know about that. Chris had one [i.e. at
least 15 months earlier]. He used it to make my bottom nice and not sore.
He put special juice in it”. Again I find myself a little wary of such a
“pat” scenario. By that, I am not suggesting that anyone is not telling the
truth about what the child said, but I am sceptical of taking it as a
spontaneous and unprompted description of an injection by Christopher
Lillie. During the Summer of 1993 there was much going on among children
and parents, and I need to be cautious about his account being overlaid
with what he had heard. The mother’s memory is clearly also unreliable
because she put this incident some six months earlier.

728. A perianal swab yielded haemolytic streptococcus. This is not a
sexually transmitted disease but, according to Dr Ward, this was “of
interest” since Child 1 exhibited the infection too. It is, however, no
longer “of interest”, since it was dropped at an early stage of the trial
by the Defendants as part of the plea of justification, and quite rightly
since it is by no means uncommon in small children. It is perhaps
surprising that Dr Ward did not make that clear at the time of her report.
It reflects a little on her objectivity.

729. The background may be of some importance. This child’s mother had been
concerned since Mr Lillie’s suspension in April about the possibility of
abuse. She took him to her GP who gave her no encouragement. She instigated
a visit to Dr San Lazaro on 24 May 1993. Even she had her doubts and noted
on 10 June that the child had made no allegations of abuse himself. She
told me on 14 May that “I do not think I was impressed enough with this
child to even examine him”. Moreover, she observed that it was many months
since he left Mr Lillie’s care. Rather oddly, however, she referred to him
as “the alleged perpetrator” at a time when she had nothing more than an
unconfirmed allegation by the mother of Child 22. She agreed with Miss Page
that, when she wrote “alleged perpetrator”, neither Child 12 nor his mother
was alleging that Christopher Lillie was a perpetrator of anything.

730. The matter was clearly to the forefront of the child’s mind as well as
his mother’s, and on 23 July 1993, the day when he was arrested in
connection with Child 23, the boy told other children and staff in the
Yellow Room that the police had been to see “Chris” because he was naughty.
Three days later, when Miss Reed was arrested, he was again giving the
“lowdown” in the Yellow Room and saying that they had been taken away so
that they could not be naughty anymore. This confirms my anxiety about
treating his statements as reliable. Without a clear explanation as to who
was feeding him this information, and why, I must remain sceptical. Miss
Page suggested that it came from child 23, but there is no solid evidence
to support that. At some point around this time he is also recorded as
having told his mother that he had people up his bottom.

731. The first video interview took place on 9 August 1993. Not
surprisingly, on this occasion he also referred to Dawn and Chris as having
left the nursery and to the involvement of the police. The child’s mother
refers to the fact that it was Dr San Lazaro who gave him the information.
This, of course, is another warning sign as to her impartiality in these
events and as to her role in cross-contamination. After a certain amount of
prompting, Child 12 refers to a horrible dog who bit “Chris”. This has an
odd ring to it, since it rather sounds as though the child has picked up a
story involving a dog and given it a twist of his own. He refers to having
seen it at Chris’s flat which he visited with Children 36, 48 and 87. There
are anachronistic aspects to this story. First, it is necessary to recall
that at the time Child 12 was in the Red Room Mr Lillie was not yet living
with Miss Kelly in Red Barns or with her dog. Secondly, the other three
children he refers to were with him in the Yellow Room in the Summer of
1993 – very shortly before the video interview. Two of them had never been
in the Red Room, although Child 48 had briefly overlapped. It thus looks as
though a familiar phenomenon is at work here. The child is telling a story
which he peoples with his current or recent companions, just as several of
the children refer to incidents having happened in the past but when they
were wearing their present clothes. As it happens, the incident he
describes simply could not have happened. It just does not fit.

732. There was a second interview on 25 November 1993. This had followed a
report by the mother to social workers on 9 November that Child 12 was now
saying that he had been in bed with Mr Lillie and Miss Reed and that they
had put a needle up his bottom. There was also an anal discharge. All this,
of course, was well over a year after he had moved on to the Orange Room.

733. The second interview was quite short and Child 12 immediately
announced that Dawn put needles up his bottom to make it wiggly and Chris
put orange juice up it to make it not wiggly. He said it was done in his
own home and “with the gun from the doctor’s”. It seems as though this
account, at least in part, derives from his experience a few days earlier
at Dr San Lazaro’s surgery. It was explained by his mother in evidence on
25 April that Dr San Lazaro had actually given her the syringe to take
home, so that Child 12 could familiarise himself with it and so that he
should lose his fear of it. Whether he had actually displayed any fear at
the consultation is not clear, but in any event Dr San Lazaro’s
intervention creates a significant question mark over the reliance that can
be placed on the “injection” allegations. In any event, it appears that he
later denied that anything had happened. Kulvinder Chohan recorded on 28
November the upshot of a meeting attended by the mother and child, Julie
Kinghorn and Helen Foster:

“[Child 12] had a cold that day and later went on to say nothing had
happened”.

734. In February 1994, when he was just four, Child 12 apparently made
further allegations (going back at least 18 months). He told his mother
that Dawn had slashed an orange with a knife in his presence and told him
that she would put his eyes out if he told what happened to him. Moreover,
on this occasion Child 11 intervened and tried to wrest the knife from Miss
Reed. This lacks the ring of truth, and once again it is necessary to
recall that Child 12 and Child 11 did not overlap in the Red Room but had
been together in the Yellow Room. They then moved on to the next school
which they attended. They were also friends and indeed still are. Thus, it
appears to be the same phenomenon at work again. A story is told about the
relatively distant past but the characters are from the present or recent
past.

735. It is also significant that the lurid story about Dawn Reed slashing
an orange came in the immediate aftermath of watching a highly unsuitable
film called Jumping Jack Flash.

736. The story found its way into the Newcastle Journal on 28 November 1998
under the heading of “Legacy of fear for young victims of nursery
nightmare”. The film was said to have caused the boy to begin screaming
uncontrollably. His mother is quoted as saying “Dawn Reed used to stab at
an orange and threatened to do the same to his eyes. You never know what is
going to trigger off flashbacks to the horrors they suffered”. In the
course of the mother’s cross-examination, she was shown certain extracts
from the dialogue. It was full of swearing, sex and violence of a rather
outlandish variety which could well be harmless for teenagers or adults but
which was quite capable of frightening a child of four, or stoking up his
imagination, or a combination of the two. The mother’s recollection was
that the film had been shown before the evening watershed and therefore
must have been heavily edited. That was somewhat vague, however, and the
point remains in my judgment a telling one.

Child 14

737. It is by now obvious that Child 14 is at the heart of this case, as
she was in the criminal proceedings. As Holland J explained, she was the
oldest of the indictment children, she had yielded physical findings
consistent with penetrative abuse, and she gave rise to the most serious
charge facing Mr Lillie (i.e. rape). Although she was put forward as the
strongest prosecution case in the 1994 proceedings, the present Defendants
do not rate it so highly. Child 14 has now slipped to third place behind
Child 24 and Child 23.

738. She was born on 17 November 1988. She began at Shieldfield on 21
January 1991 and left the Nursery on 22 July 1992. She had not been under
the care of Mr Lillie and Miss Reed since 19 February 1992. (Thus, when Dr
Sandra Hewitt asserts that she spent “over 2 years having some contact with
Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed”, it would seem that she has misinterpreted the
facts. Joint care was from 16 October 1991 to 19 February 1992.)

739. Child 14 was first examined by Dr San Lazaro on 8 October 1993 (i.e.
20 months later). A confusing feature of the evidence relating to this
child is that there are discrepancies between the available medical
records. The medical notes show the presence of moderate hymenal loss with
thick fibrotic changes and a complete tear at the 4 o’clock position. In
her police statement of 23 October 1993, Dr San Lazaro describes a tear at
the 5 o’clock position plus one anterior to that (itself not on the
diagram). As Dr San Lazaro put it herself in the witness box, “It is
regrettable … All of this is a substantial professional lapse, I would have
said”.

740. Dr Watkeys found the records confusing. She did not understand what is
meant by the phrase “thickened fibrotic changes”. One interpretation would
be that it referred to scar tissue throughout the hymen – but this seems
unlikely in view of her other record of tears. Dr Watkeys was also puzzled
by reference to partial tearing and whether this was supposed to be
additional to the complete tear (or tears, as the case may be).
Nevertheless, there are potentially significant indicators of hymenal
damage. On the other hand, such findings as there were relating to her anus
were not indicative of sexual abuse.

741. It was agreed by all concerned that Child 14 came from a home
environment in which a significant level of domestic violence was
encountered. On one of the controversial videos, her mother is seen to have
a black eye. That is merely part of the background. Of course, it is not
suggested on behalf of the Claimants that a child from a violent home
cannot experience sexual abuse outside it. That would be ludicrous. On the
other hand, domestic violence can sometimes be a contributory factor
towards disturbed and even sexualised behaviours. It cannot be simply left
out of account. Furthermore, it is clear that she had behavioural problems,
including violent temper tantrums, prior to entering the nursery. Her
mother was finding this difficult to cope with.

742. No significant disclosures or behaviour were noted until May 1993.
(This was at or about the time of the suspensions, when rumours and
speculation first became rife.) It appears that the mother of Child 14 had
been told about Christopher Lillie’s suspension by a neighbour, the mother
of Child 92.

743. At about this time Child 14 apparently invited a cousin to kiss her on
or near the vagina and declared, “You see it on videos”. Explicit videos
are commonly available nowadays and it is possible that she had heard about
such matters in gossip at school. What I am invited to conclude is that
this comment provides in itself evidence that she had been present at some
unspecified location, and time, when a pornographic video was made during
which oral sex had been recorded. That seems to me to be fanciful. Some of
the allegations about “Chris’s house” in this case are said to relate to
Red Barns; but it is important to note that Child 14 left the nursery
months before he moved there. Furthermore, Mr Lillie said that no child,
nor any member of staff, had ever been to his earlier address in a
different part of Newcastle. Miss Reed said she had no idea where he had
lived before. There is not one scrap of evidence that any child had been
taken to any other of his addresses.

744. Her other comment in May 1993 was that a boy had been to Chris’s
house. This could, for all I know, have been a reference to allegations
being made at the time about Child 22. But, at all events, there is no
allegation so far of any assault upon herself.

745. By September 1993, Child 14’s mother was expressing anger that no one
from Social Services had been to see her to discuss what was going on at
Shieldfield. On 24 September, according to her mother, Child 14 was
alleging “Chris” had at some time placed his “wiggy” near Child 35’s
“Mary”. It is necessary to see this against the background that Child 35
was a close friend of Child 14 and was at the same school. Moreover, the
mother of Child 35 was present on the first two occasions when social
workers talked to the mother of Child 14. Be that as it may, Child 35 did
not corroborate what Child 14 said about her. Ms Jones accepted that in
cross-examination on 15 February.

746. There was still no allegation by Child 14 that anything untoward had
happened to her. She did say, however, that she had been on one occasion to
Chris’s house with Dawn and Moira (Martin), but nothing to the effect that
anything unpleasant had happened there. Three days later, these allegations
were repeated, but she added that other children were present, including
Child 35 and Child 10. Child 10 did not corroborate her account either.

747. On 15 September her mother had reported to social workers that Child
14 had said nothing about misbehaviour at Shieldfield. The first
“disclosures” emerged after a home visit by Vanessa Lyon and Marion Harris,
who had encouraged her mother to talk to her about the matter, and to use
suggestive techniques such as drawing and the naming of body parts. The
difficulty is to know, at this distance of time, what passed between mother
and daughter and how, if at all, this influenced subsequent disclosures.
What is clear from Social Services records is that the mother’s memory was
shaky to say the least. At various stages, she suggested that Child 14 had
gone to Shieldfield aged 14 months (she was actually aged 26 months) and
that she left in December 1992 (in fact it was July).

748. On 23 September 1993 the mother was expressing quite strong antipathy
to Christopher Lillie, whom she claimed to know from childhood. She said
that he came from a dirty family and that she had not wanted him changing
Child 14’s nappy. She also suggested that Christopher Lillie and/or his
sisters had been taken into care because of sexual abuse. There is no
evidence to support this. The Review Team took another line (i.e. that he
had probably suffered child abuse while in care). There may be a
considerable element of ex post facto reasoning about this. Certainly Mr
Lillie denied having known her as a child, and I see no reason to
disbelieve him. It was on the next day that Child 14 was making
disclosures. By this time her mother had told her that Christopher Lillie
and Dawn Reed were in prison and could not hurt anyone.

749. The first video interview took place on 4 October 1993. Up to that
point, no one apart from the mother had heard what Child 14 had to say. I
have already pointed out that the allegation on page 41 of the Report is
inaccurate in suggesting that Child 14 referred on this occasion to being
raped and to being video taped.

750. What she did say was that she had been to somewhere described as
“Chris’s house” where there were two dogs, cats and hamsters. She said that
Child 35 came with her.

751. By this stage it had already emerged that the child was supposed to
relate to the interviewers something described at home as “the business” or
“the biz”. This seems to be the term used to cover whatever it was that she
was supposed to say about Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed. Time and again,
however, it was clear that she was unwilling or unable to recall what she
was supposed to say. She was asked to say something that was “silly or
naughty they shouldn’t have done”. What this first elicited was that
Christopher Lillie had said that he was in charge of the Nursery and that
he could “wipe her bum”. She said that she would not be very pleased and he
therefore refrained from doing so.

752. Asked if he did anything else, she said not. It then emerged that the
child had been told that “Chris had been naughty” and “went to jail”. This
shows that there was a background of negative stereotyping underlying “the
business” that she was supposed to relate. That information can only have
come from an adult, as indeed her mother had already admitted to the Social
Services on 27 September 1993.

753. When she was asked what she had to tell, Child 14 said she could not
remember. There were confused accounts of going to a house with Amanda or
Moira (from Shieldfield Nursery) and Chris and Dawn. But nothing unpleasant
or improper happened. She seemed also to be saying that there were other
children present (Child 35, Child 10, Lucy and Sam). None of this was
corroborated by any other person, child or adult.

754. Several times she exculpated Dawn Reed, saying that she “done nothing”
and “wasn’t silly”. She should be let out of jail: “Say Dawn can come out
today”.

755. She did make allegations about Christopher Lillie taking his trousers
down and holding his “wiggy”. There were leading questions, designed to get
the child to suggest an erection, but she said it was pointing neither up
nor down but at Child 35. Mrs Saradjian found this very compelling
evidence, displaying independence on the child’s part. The trouble is that
there is no corroboration at all from Child 35. Also, it is alleged to have
taken place at Shieldfield Nursery. The idea of Mr Lillie moving around at
Shieldfield Nursery with his trousers down does not sound very compelling.
Even if he escaped the observation of his colleagues, it would have
presented something of a risk. If spotted, it would have taken some
explaining. This did not trouble the Review Team because it had emerged in
the Jason Dabbs case that abuse can happen in a busy environment even in
the presence of colleagues. Presumably, however, this would require
watchfulness and discretion – rather than the abandoned exhibitionism
attributed to Mr Lillie by Child 14.

756. During this first interview, Child 14 was obviously aware of the
broader context, since she enquired whether Child 10 had been to the video
suite that day (as indeed he had). She, Child 10 and Child 35 were all at
the same school at the time.

757. Professor Bruck was of the opinion that there was at that stage no
justification for taking the matter further or subjecting the child to
another interview.

758. Nevertheless, Child 14 had a second video interview on 13 October. In
the meantime, the examination by Dr San Lazaro had taken place. Although
the child made no allegation of abuse to her, the physical findings led her
mother to press her further. She told her that she knew something else had
happened at the Nursery and apparently elicited an allegation of rape from
the child, which she reported to Social Services on 11 October.

759. At the second interview, in due course, Child 14 alleged that Dawn
Reed had been silly. There was an incident in the toilets at Shieldfield,
when Mr Lillie and Child 35 were supposed to be present, and Miss Reed had
stuck needles up their “bums”. Asked what she was wearing on this occasion,
she said her green trousers and “this top”. The needle had gone under her
trousers but over her pants. The same thing happened to Child 35, who was
crying; meanwhile, Chris was supposed to be laughing. She also claimed to
have seen them put a needle into Child 10’s bottom. (He did not offer any
confirmation either as to having been present on such an occasion.) The
needle was described as a “toy” one or “pretend” one.

760. Child 14 was asked again what had happened at Chris’s flat, and she
said “nothing” but she did confirm that she had been there with “Chris,
Dawn and Moira”. There is no confirmation from Moira Martin; indeed, she
was not even asked about it by the Review Team.

761. Child 14 had clearly been talking again about “the business”. She
offered to show Helen Foster where Chris lived, but her mother would have
to come: “If Mummy doesn’t tell you, I’ll forget”. This is obviously highly
unsatisfactory. Where this trip would have led is something of a mystery.
Had it taken them to Red Barns, it would clearly have been anachronistic,
since Mr Lillie did not move there until six months after Child 14 left
Shieldfield. When she gave evidence, her mother said that she thought the
child must have been referring to another named road, where she had told
her she had been taken to a house with a black door. That particular road
and a “black door” had first appeared on the scene six months earlier in
the allegations being made by the mother of Child 22 (see below).

762. After further questioning from Helen Foster and Vanessa Lyon, it was
alleged that “Chris put a needle up me and all” (also up Child 35’s
bottom). At this point, contrary to what she had already said, she added
“Dawn just did nothing, because Dawn was in the class”. This interview
dragged on for 78 minutes (far too long) and her mother was allowed to
badger her to tell Vanessa and Helen “the business”. But nothing was
forthcoming.

763. Despite Child 14’s resistance to coercive questioning, over that
length of time, Vanessa Lyon and her mother contend that the child did
allege rape during the journey home. What prompted this is not clear.
Vanessa Lyon regards it as quite spontaneous. She was driving and just
coming to some traffic lights. She looked in her mirror and could see the
mother and child in the back seat. They were sitting close together but she
saw no whispering or any exertion of influence upon the child.

764. On the other hand, when she was later pressed to repeat this on tape,
she said it was not true and “just stupid jokes”.

765. I am asked to bear in mind that in the first and second interviews the
child asserts that “they” or “Chris” had told her not “to tell” because she
would not see her mummy and daddy again.

766. Next came the highly controversial third video on 22 October. During
the criminal proceedings, the police originally only disclosed two video
interviews. Whether this was by oversight is unclear. It is contrary to
good practice to subject children to three such interviews, save in
exceptional circumstances. When one of the defence lawyers spotted
something on one of the tapes, suggesting that Child 14 had been to the
suite before, an earlier video tape (the first one of 4 October) was
revealed. It had also been withheld at the time of the disciplinary
proceedings by Vanessa Lyon.

767. At the third interview, there is the startling comment by Child 14
that she has been told by her mother that, if she does not “tell the
business”, Christopher Lillie can come out (i.e. may be released from
custody). This is very worrying, because that was indeed the very day on
which there was a bail application. It was in fact successful, and Mr
Lillie was just leaving Durham Prison when he was re-arrested because Child
14, at the end of the interview, finally came out with an accusation of
rape. It looks, therefore, as though someone was exerting pressure on the
child to make this grave allegation on the basis that, if she failed to do
so, Mr Lillie might come out and do further harm. So far as Miss Reed was
concerned, as in the first interview, Child 14 exonerated her completely.

768. The matter dragged on and Child 14’s mother was brought in to
encourage her to say something. She was told, “Then we can go to town and
have presents”. She is pressed repeatedly to say what they wanted to hear.
She asks to go home and, at that point, the tape blanks out. After a 13
minute gap, the tape resumes and Helen Foster claims that she had been next
door to check, and the tape had not been switched on. She asks Child 14 to
tell her again what happened when Chris took his pants down.

769. Even at this stage, the child shows little interest in “the business”
and is much more interested in play. She constructs a “choo choo train” in
which Helen Foster takes her place and Child 14 goes up the train
collecting tickets.

770. It is true that Child 14 claims that Chris put his “wiggy” in her
“Mary” and it felt “tickly”. This was hardly spontaneous, however, since it
was only elicited by a grossly leading question from an exasperated Helen
Foster: “Chris put his wiggy where?” She then talks again about going to
his house with Chris, Dawn, Amanda, Child 10 and Child 35. The interview
finally terminated with her mother saying, “Now they can’t hurt nobody
anymore”. (The implication is clear; now the child has finally delivered
the allegation of rape, bail will be revoked. That is exactly what
happened.)
——————————
[2002] EWHC 1600 (QB)
134

771. In her evidence before me, the mother said that she would have had no
idea about the bail application that was taking place that day. She may
well believe that to be true in 2002, but if that were the case, it would
be difficult to explain the remarks I have quoted about Mr Lillie “coming
out” and “hurting” people.

772. Miss Foster was asked about this in her evidence on 22 May. She had no
recollection of whether the mother knew of the bail application; nor of
when she herself had known about it. There are various comments in the
transcript which make it, in my judgment, quite clear that the mother did
know about the bail application. The most likely candidates for informing
her would be the police officers in the case. As to Miss Foster, she
recollected turning up for the re-arrest of Mr Lillie outside Durham
Prison. But she did not appear to recollect anything of what I described to
her as the “race against time”.

773. She produced quite a detailed note of the end of the third Child 14
interview and also records that within 10 minutes she had gone to the
Infirmary to collect a report from Dr San Lazaro (in fact dated the
following day) and that, thereafter, she went to Durham Prison, but she
does not appear to recall what might appear to be the obvious links between
those events. I found this quite a difficult area because, just as on the
many hours of video tape, Miss Foster presents as a likeable, kindly and
straightforward person. She was frank about the defects in the interviewing
process in 1993 and how differently things would be done today. She was
also frank about the risks of cross-contamination between the various
accounts and speculations in this case. But on the “race against time” I
was less convinced.

774. It is important to record what she said in her notebook about the
circumstances in which Child 14 at last came out with her allegation of
rape. As Holland J recognised, this cried out for close inquiry. It is
clear that the child terminated the interview (or so she thought) and said
to her mother “Let’s go home”. The tape then fades out at 11.38.11.

775. At this point Helen Foster records that there is a “break for toilet
facilities”. This is not consistent with the transcript, which appears to
show that the interview had ended. Her note then continues:

“11.42 Resumed video interview. Message received on ear-piece that video
equipment was not working. Left video room, liaised with [Social Workers],
checked equipment, appeared in working order but it hadn’t been switched on.

11.51 Resumed interview with equipment on!

12.10 Interview concluded. Two video tapes taken from machine one selected
as master tape, sealed. Second video tape and two audio tapes to be working
copies (B/77/93). Retained by me.

12.20 To RVI, witness statement signed by Dr Lazaro.”

776. Vanessa Lyon also dealt with this in her evidence. She had no clear
recollection after so long an interval. But she did say that she was in
with the video camera at the point when the interview resumed. The child
was recalling to Helen Foster that she had been raped when Vanessa Lyon was
embarrassed to note that the video equipment was not working. Hence the
need for re-enactment.

777. This was not a satisfactory passage in the evidence. Vanessa Lyon was
at pains to distance herself from the video equipment and to say how
untechnical she was. She could not even switch on her own video equipment
at home. This is difficult to reconcile with the fact that there were
various Shieldfield interviews when she herself was operating the camera
(e.g. Child 19 and Child 21).

778. I do not wish to be unfair to either of these women. Neither claims to
have a clear memory of what actually happened. Mr Bishop submits that it is
clear that there was simply a glitch in that an entirely voluntary
“disclosure” was taking place, but not recorded for the prosaic reason that
the untechnical Mrs Lyon forgot to switch on the machine. Holland J clearly
thought this gap cried out for an explanation. It still does. In light of
their memory lapses, I am not prepared to conclude that either Miss Foster
or Mrs Lyon was lying. Nevertheless, I am not prepared to “buy” the
explanation that somebody “forgot” to record Child 14 all of a sudden and
spontaneously making the most serious allegation in the Shieldfield story
(i.e. that which resulted in a charge of rape). What happened between 11.39
and 11.51 on 22 October 1993 is unlikely now to be finally resolved, but
what is clear is that it triggered Mr Lillie’s re-arrest at Durham a couple
of hours later at 14.10 hrs.

779. The Memorandum of Good Practice makes clear that there should be “a
record of what occurred during any interval(s), including all periods away
from the interviewing facility”. This is obviously because it may become
“…important to be able to demonstrate that the child was not prompted or
coached between interviews”. It has not been possible to demonstrate that
in this instance, where it was especially important to do so because of the
demonstrable history of pressure on this child and her previous resistance
to making the allegations.

780. Mr Bishop wanted to introduce an expert report after closing
submissions to explain how the video and recording equipment in the suite
actually worked. It was to the effect that one could look through the
viewfinder and see and hear what was going on in the interview without the
equipment actually recording. Unfortunately this evidence could not be
agreed and I decided that it would not be right to take this into account
without giving Miss Page an opportunity to explore it fully. I do not
therefore propose to attach any weight to it (just as I decided to ignore
Professor Bruck’s post-trial supplementary report). In any event, Mrs Lyon
did not have any recollection, nine years on, of actually looking through
the equipment.

781. In the meantime, Dr San Lazaro had apparently put together a report
between 12.10 and 12.20, in double quick time, which was compatible with
the allegation of rape made between 11.50 and 11.55. In fact, her relevant
witness statement (at least in the typed version) appears to be dated the
following day. Dr San Lazaro has no recollection of this incident which, if
it happened, is rather surprising in view of its importance in the criminal
proceedings and the “race against time”. It is possible that she jotted
something down “from memory” (as she did with her generic report to the
C.I.C.B.) but it is not now feasible to come to a firm conclusion.

782. One can have no confidence in this flawed process at all. I have
already cited what Professor Bruck said generally (at paragraphs 409–416
above). She described Child 14’s third interview as one of the most
coercive and abusive interviews she had ever reviewed, with no
consideration being shown for the child’s feelings. After the 13 minute
gap, she appeared to her to be quite different in demeanour, i.e. “totally
subdued by her interrogators”.

783. One does not need to be an expert to recoil at the whole exercise. I
agree with Professor Bruck’s assessment that “the evidence that was
produced was so tainted that it is unreliable”. Despite this, the Review
Team described the child’s evidence as powerful and compelling. They
praised the interviewers and publicly stated that there were no leading
questions. The clear implication is that there was consistency over three
interviews, when obviously there was not.

784. It seems that three days after Mr Lillie was re-arrested at Durham the
child was telling her mother that she had been in bed with Mr Lillie and
Miss Reed who were indulging in mutual oral sex and using a vibrator. A
little later, in November, she added that she had been rubbed all over with
a vibrator herself and had been put in a bath after she had been in bed
with Mr Lillie and Miss Reed after making videos.

785. On 16 November 1993, Child 14 referred to the name of a man with a
certain disability (which I do not need to spell out), and to a woman with
red hair. The mother of Child 23 had provided the names of these persons to
Child 14’s mother. They were obviously relayed to Child 14, who identified
them as having been involved in some way in abuse. The police investigated
this and found no evidence for it whatever. The Review Team knew this.
Nevertheless, the smear was incorporated into the Report at pages 211, 213
and 269.

786. Following the final “disclosure” of 22 October, the social services
records disclose over several months various demands made by the mother for
money from the local authority. She wanted to be paid for telephone bills,
costs of re-housing, decorating, a kitchen unit, a shower unit, rubber
sheets, a new bed, a washing machine, a wardrobe and a floor covering. She
received a number of payments. I do not believe it would be right, however,
for me to draw the inference that the pressures on the child were
financially motivated. I have to assess the evidence in a broader context.

787. The child appeared in 1997 in two television programmes when she was
aged eight. One was a Channel 4 programme called * Death of a Childhood *
and the other was the Panorama programme about female abusers. She was seen
in shadow, but would be recognisable to those who knew her. She was invited
to recount for the public at large the details of the abuse and rape she
was alleged to have undergone more than five years before.

788. It was obvious that Mr Wardell was shocked (perhaps naively) by the
fact that these broadcasters had been party to such exploitation. It is
indeed difficult to understand what could be gained by her reliving such
horrible experiences. It appears that money again changed hands, but the
mother said she could not remember how much. She thought it was probably no
more than a “token” sum, in each case, to compensate for the use of her
home for filming.

789. The motivation for putting the child through this is hard to follow.
The mother explained in cross-examination that it was not revenge, but
rather a desire to overcome the injustice her daughter had suffered through
the criminal justice system by proving to everyone that she could give a
cogent account. Miss Page cast doubt on this evidence by referring to
unguarded remarks she had made to Professor Barker:

“I know where Chris is living now and we have been watching it, and you
feel tempted to do something, but we have been told that he is under
surveillance and we cannot do anything about him yet. But we will get to
know when he is not under surveillance, and then we’ll see what will happen
then”.

790. In the light of this Miss Page suggested to her that vengeance must
have been a significant factor. This was again denied. I do not need to
decide what the motive was, since it does not really affect my task.

791. It is desperately sad that the events at Shieldfield can have had such
an apparently all consuming effect upon a family. But the truth is that the
account that Child 14 was giving, when she was nearly nine, was quite
different from what she had said earlier. That may not be very surprising
since she was purporting to recall events when she was two or three years
old. What is more worrying is that in the unedited interview I was shown,
with Su Pennington, Child 14 on several occasions said that she could not
remember what happened. She did not appear to be in any distress, but
merely smiled rather shyly when she said she had forgotten. In due course,
she came out with the allegations of abuse (including rape) but they were
now different. They located the incident not at Shieldfield but at a house
reached by a metro journey behind a red (not black) door. Curiously, there
is nothing in the mother’s witness statement about this version at all.
Miss Page asked whether this was because the mother did not believe that
version. No clear answer was received. The mother’s position was that she
believed everything her daughter had told her (clearly taking no account of
contradictions or inconsistencies).

792. Miss Page also called upon the Review Team, through Mr Bishop, to make
clear their position on the plea of justification. They preferred, however,
to keep a low profile. They did not wish to adopt any of the 1997 versions.
I see no reason to ascribe this to any scruple or fastidious judgment on
their part. They were quite prepared to allege against Mr Lillie and Miss
Reed anything they felt they could get away with, but even they must have
recognised that they could not adopt contradictory positions and would
simply have to plump for one or the other.

793. As I have already recorded, Mr Wardell’s position about the Panorama
programme was that it did not affect their thinking about the credibility
of Child 14’s evidence. They tried to put it out of their minds.

794. As to the Channel 4 programme, this involved a dramatic reconstruction
of the Child’s distress. She was referred to as “Louise” and the mother as
“Jenny”. The child is shown holding Barbie dolls and stroking one of them.
She then portrays a pretend nightmare, calling out “Mum, Mum”. The mother
comes into the bedroom, asks if she needs to go to the toilet and carries
her. She is described by her mother as prone to depression and is portrayed
as rolling about with a large teddy bear. She refers to her peers as “going
around dead happy, but I’m like the only one going around dead sad”.

795. Her mother describes how the child, at the time she was in Shieldfield
Nursery, had “a lot of cystitis” and sores, but she put this down at the
time to “fizzy pop” and to the fact that “I left her in a wet nappy all
day”. The implication is that, with the benefit of hindsight, the
explanation is that the cystitis and sores were caused by abuse “by two
staff members at this nursery—one of them male”.

796. Like the other children, Child 14 had made no contemporaneous
complaint. This was covered in the programme by the child explaining that
Mr Lillie and Miss Reed had threatened her: “They says, keep it a secret. I
didn’t tell them because they said … not see your mam or dad or your family
any more”. The commentator adds that it was therefore over a year before
“Jenny” suspected.

797. The mother is quoted as saying:

“When I picked up the paper, and I seen they were arrested straightaway
alarm bells was ringing in my head. I asked Louise if anyone had ever been
silly in her nursery and she then went on to say that the male member of
staff had exposed himself to her… and then she went on to say he’d done
other things to her”.

(The arrests were in July and Child 14 said nothing until mid-September).

798. The child then describes being taken to a place with a red door where
“they did things but I don’t like to talk about it – like they had a big
camera”.

799. The mother was clearly less inhibited. She went on to describe how
Dawn Reed had inserted a needle into her vagina, by way of introducing a
relaxant. She told how photos were taken, a video recording was made, and
how oral sex had taken place. This despite the child’s persistent (and
spirited) insistence on exonerating Dawn Reed (e.g. “Dawn done nothing. Say
Dawn can come out today”).

800. There was then shown an extract from the child’s first video interview
of 4 October 1993. As I have already described, there was no allegation of
misbehaviour against Dawn Reed and no allegation of assault involving
herself. Despite this the Review Team falsely summarised it at page 41 of
the Report as containing allegations of rape and the use of a video camera,
as though they had completely muddled up her 1997 allegations with the 1993
version (while claiming to have put the 1997 allegations out of their
minds). At all events, her mother described for the Channel 4 viewers why
on 4 October 1993 “she didn’t really say very much”. Her explanation for
the child’s reticence was, “She didn’t know what she could tell them and,
like, what she could be, like, trusted to tell them”. The daughter added,
“It’s a bit embarrassing, like, because you don’t know them”.

801. Chief Inspector Campbell Findlay then contributed by saying that he
did not agree with Holland J’s decision. Then Child 14 expresses her view
about how child evidence should be approached in the criminal courts: “If I
was a judge, I would let children have one chance. Then if they didn’t
think they were telling the truth, they just wouldn’t get any more
chances”. It is difficult to make much sense of this, since I have no idea
what she meant by “any more chances” but it reflects an attitude to be
found among various adults in the course of this case (including Mr
Wardell). The approach taken is that if one does not believe the child’s
remarks if they could be construed as allegations of rape, sadism or
indecent assault (rejecting any inconsistent or exculpatory statements),
then one must be dismissing the children as dishonest.

802. I am not going to comment further on these broadcast items. Suffice to
say, they have done nothing to change my view either as to the weight to be
attached to her three video interviews in October 1993 or as to the Review
Team’s misrepresentations about them. In the light of the Civil Evidence
Act 1995 and the Lord Chancellor’s order of 1993, relating to children’s
evidence, all of the material I have referred to above is admissible. It is
all a matter of weight for the fact-finding tribunal. I would like to make
it clear, therefore, that I have no confidence in any of the allegations of
misconduct made by Child 14 or her mother. The concerns expressed by
Holland J so clearly in 1994 remain as valid today and nothing revealed
subsequently has gone any way to allay them.

Child 15

803. Child 15 is an interesting case. He was seen playing quite happily on
the video recording of the visit to the soft play centre on Mr Lillie’s
birthday in June 1991. He was born on 7 May 1988 and attended Shieldfield
more or less on a full time basis between 3 September 1991 and 25 August
1992. He was never in the Red Room with Mr Lillie or Miss Reed or under
their care in any other room. There were no medical findings. When Dr San
Lazaro went into the witness box, Child 15 was one of those she first
mentioned in respect of whom she had changed her mind.

804. This child’s first disclosure came in February 1996, when he was
nearly eight years old and no less than three and a half years after
leaving the Nursery. It happened in the course of therapy at Barnardo’s. It
may well be, therefore, iatrogenic (see Chapter 5 by Richard J. Lawlor
in * Expert
Witnesses in Child Abuse Cases * , eds. Stephen J Ceci and Helene
Hembrooke).

805. What he actually alleged was that Mr Lillie had hurt his genitals by
rubbing hard, and this happened many times. The mother was visited by
police officers in October 1993 and she told them that she had no concerns
about her son. She has not provided evidence for these proceedings. It
appears, therefore, that she may well be an example of what Dr Cameron
described in his evidence about the group phenomenon – a parent standing
out against the group belief (see paragraph 487 above). It is true that
Professor Friedrich asserted that, “He had internalised this fear of Lillie
and Reed to such a degree that he continued to be acting as if he were
under threat even several years after discharge from the nursery”, but I am
not prepared to give this any weight at all. It is bare assertion.

806. Inevitably, the time came when the allegations about this child were
dropped by the Review Team – albeit somewhat late in the day, on 13 May.
The usual costs consequences followed.

807. This child was born on 2 May 1990 and entered the Nursery in September
1992 in the Red Room, where he remained in the care of Christopher Lillie
and Dawn Reed until their suspensions. He continued to attend Shieldfield
Nursery until September 1994 (usually for two days a week). He was living
with his father, who managed to care for him largely on his own.

808. No concerns were expressed until 13 months after Mr Lillie’s
suspension. At this point, Child 17 was in the Yellow Room with a number of
other children who had already made allegations of abuse. In particular,
Child 23 was in the room with him. She by this time was already undergoing
therapy under Mr Rick Telford.

809. On 17 May 1994, she blurted out in class (at the age of 4 years and 3
months) the curious sentence “[Child 17] has got bad feelings”. There is an
apparently full manuscript record of what then passed between them. She
then said that he had bad feelings because of “what happened to him”. The
boy appeared to be taking no notice, when Child 23 went on to tell
“Gillian” (the relevant member of staff), “Chris and Dawn tickled [Child
17’s] fairy bum with a crayon and hurt him and poked him”. The boy looked
angry and denied it. The Defendants argue that he over-reacted and that his
anger shows that Child 23 had hit the nail on the head. I do not see why it
is not explicable as embarrassment or confusion at personal and intrusive
remarks made in front of a member of staff. Even very young children can
feel awkward and embarrassed at such comments.

810. The phrase “bad feelings” sounds as though it comes straight out of
Child 23’s ongoing therapy. This is borne out by a document in the bundle
relating to her. It is a letter of 13 June 1994 in which Mr Telford, Head
Occupational Therapist at the Fleming Nuffield unit, records how she had
been attending weekly since 21 March 1994. He said “[Child 23] has been
able to talk to other Shieldfield children telling them to go to the
Nuffield to get rid of their bad feelings”. From this it emerges clearly
that Mr Telford was proceeding on the assumption that abuse had taken place
at Shieldfield and he implied that Child 23 (and perhaps others undergoing
therapy) were being encouraged to go out and bring in others with “bad
feelings”.

811. It is clear from the Cleveland Report, and indeed common sense, that a
distinction has to be drawn between spontaneous disclosures emerging in the
course of a properly controlled interview and what might be said in
therapy. (See also the observations on iatrogenic harm by Richard J. Lawlor
in chapter 5 of * Expert Witnesses in Child Abuse Cases * , 1998, eds.
Stephen J. Ceci and Helene Hembrooke.) It appears that a further danger
would be that of one child’s therapy experiences being communicated to
others, particularly if a child has been encouraged to go out and “cold
canvass” other children who may have been abused or generally proselytise
for the perceived benefits of therapy.

812. The other “disclosures” emerged not only at the Nursery, in
conversation with Child 23 and Gillian Smith (whom the Review Team did not
interview), but also at home with his father. References were made to Mr
Lillie having thrown “a crayon down the hill” and to Child 17 having been
to Christopher Lillie’s house. He also told his father that Chris and Dawn
had been “put in a cage” – this is obviously something deriving directly or
indirectly from adults and might fairly be classified as “negative
stereotyping”.

813. There is no doubt that “crayon” allegations figured significantly in
what Child 17 said, in particular suggesting that crayons had been used on
Child 4 and Child 5. There were also references to people dying. Most
notably, accordingly to Gillian Smith’s record, he referred to Child 23
having died, when he was actually talking to this child on 18 May 1994.
This is quite likely to be a confused recollection of what others had
alleged about Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed, rather than something that
they had told Child 17. The Defendants invoke his reference to death as
evidence of his having been threatened over a year earlier, but he appears
to have placed some emphasis on the fact that, whatever Chris and Dawn had
said about people dying, nobody had died. In so far as it is wise at all to
place reliance on what children of this age are saying, such comments are
as consistent with scepticism as with succumbing to threats.

814. Sure enough, within days of his first “disclosure”, someone from the
Social Services turned up together with Constable Helen Foster. Matters
developed from there.

815. It is important to note that Child 17 was in communication not only
with Child 23 but also with Child 4 and Child 5. Child 4 was talking about
Chris and Dawn being naughty on 17 May 1994 (the very same day as Child
23’s reference to “bad feelings”), and she had just been referred for
therapy because of her poor relationship with her mother. This does not
seem to have been implemented until August. Child 5 did not begin therapy
until later in the year, but she too began to “disclose” in May 1994 and in
due course began to talk of “crayons” and “fairies” – both concepts which
could have been picked up from Child 23.

816. The scope for cross-contamination is obvious and needed to be
carefully addressed. This is now recognised quite explicitly in the Review
Team’s closing submissions. Mr Wardell appeared rather grumpy at this
suggestion, and thought it wholly unrealistic that this could have
happened. The long dialogue, as apparently recorded by Gillian Smith on 17
and 18 May 1994 (but never explored by the Review Team with her), had all
the “hallmarks” of reflecting genuine disclosures by Child 17, so far as Mr
Wardell was concerned. If there were commonly recognised hallmarks whereby
to judge accurate disclosures, life would be much easier for paediatricians
and other professionals involved. Unfortunately, there are not.

817. In the Review Team’s response to Child 17’s father, on 11 November
1998, they told him that they had seen medical evidence that a number of
children, including Child 17, had suffered sexual and other forms of abuse
during the time that they had a place at the nursery. This is somewhat
surprising since Dr San Lazaro had said, following an examination on 13
June 1994, that Child 17 was “overtly normal” and that “minor changes that
were seen could not be specifically attributable to trauma”, and were
probably normal for him. She was, I think, referring to his anus. Dr San
Lazaro is generally not backward in making findings of penetrative abuse,
and it is noteworthy that she definitely did not do so in the case of Child
17. She acknowledged the “possibility” of significant damage having been
inflicted in the past, but no more. I find it difficult to see how that
could be said to be fairly reflected in the Review Team’s letter of 11
November 1998. But Mr Wardell saw no inconsistency. A “possibility” was
enough for him. He was content to equate that with “medical evidence” of
sexual abuse. This time it was not Dr San Lazaro “beefing up” her findings;
it was the Review Team. Nevertheless, by the end of the case, Child 17 had
been relegated to a position three from bottom of the Review Team’s list of
likely victims.

818. There were behaviours in Child 17’s case to which significance has
been attached—rather more than to his “relatively few” disclosures
(Professor Friedrich). The behaviours were described by Dr Sandra Hewitt as
“not rich with specific detail”, but involved some element of sexualised
behaviour at the Nursery.

819. Various examples of incontinence are relied upon from the Day Books
occurring between 2 years 4 months and 2 years 9 months. But these are
difficult to pin down as indicative of sexual abuse. As to “sexualised
behaviour”, he was spotted on 1 February 1994 licking toys and equipment.
The Day Book also records licking or kissing of other children on 14 and 21
June of the same year.

820. On 11 May he was noted to be observing a girl’s bottom. On 22 June it
seems that another child was seen on top of him making what were
interpreted as sexualised movements. By 28 June he was recorded in the
Yellow Room disclosure book as claiming to having had cars, bricks and
crayons put in his bottom.

821. It is submitted that although Child 17 “did not make a disclosure
until May 1994 when he was in the Yellow Room, his disclosures cannot be
explained simply as ‘Yellow Room Contamination'”. I would not “dismiss” his
statements at all, but I do regard the powerful contaminating influences in
that Room, at that time, as impossible to ignore.

Child 18

822. Child 18 was born on 22 October 1989. She is one of those who started
life at Shieldfield under the care of Mr Lillie and Miss Reed before they
moved to the Red Room. She had joined them on 5 November 1991 and moved
with them into the Red Room at the end of February 1992. She progressed to
the Yellow Room on 22 September 1992.

823. Her first “disclosure” came seven months later in April 1993. She was
thus one of the very first to disclose, if that is a correct
interpretation. She appears to have said to her mother while in the bath
the somewhat enigmatic remark “Someone playing with us didn’t hurt my bum”.
She was asked a leading question; namely whether it was a lady teacher or
Chris. She apparently replied “Chris” (it can only be “apparent” because
there was no parental evidence adduced). Other allegations appear to have
been made at about the same time to the effect that her mother was not to
wash her in the perineal area because Chris had punched her there. A few
weeks later, on the other hand, she was touching herself between the legs
and said that she had learnt it at the nursery. By September 1993 there was
the very serious allegation that while Miss Reed had held her legs Mr
Lillie had held her head; and they had tickled her vagina. By this time,
she had been out of their care for just over a year.

824. In January 1994 the story was that she had been to the seaside with
Dawn and Chris (presumably some 18 months earlier, or more). Another
unidentified male had been present. She had been held upside down and sand
was put in her “Nicky” (vagina).

825. There was the by now familiar cluster of “traumatic stress behaviours”
(e.g. clinginess, wetting, fear of lifts and monsters). There was also said
to be a reluctance to go past Red Barns. As with other children, however,
any such reluctance can only have been induced by other people investing
Red Barns with some sinister significance, since Child 18 left Mr Lillie’s
care over three months before he moved to Red Barns.

826. Genital and anal findings were of no significance. No parental
evidence was given and, on 13 May, the child was duly dropped from the
Review Team’s defence of justification. They were ordered to bear the costs.

Child 19

827. Child 19 was one of the children in respect of whom charges of
indecent assault were brought. She was born on 7 February 1990 and entered
the Nursery, in the Red Room, on 10 September 1992. She moved on to the
Yellow Room a few weeks before her third birthday. (Thus, when her GP wrote
in July 1993 that she “was in the class taken by the accused person for
almost 1 year until Easter 1993”, that is simply inaccurate.) She was
withdrawn from Shieldfield in July 1993. She was therefore present during
the three months following Mr Lillie’s suspension. It is necessary,
however, to take account of the fact that her attendance was more sporadic
towards the end and that for the first three weeks of June 1993 she was on
holiday in the United States.

828. Her mother had a meeting on 3 August with a social worker and Helen
Foster, during which she was given advice as to how to question the child.
The introduction was by reference to her daughter’s earlier complaint of
vulval soreness. It is significant, however, that the mother had told the
social worker that this had occurred some time after Easter (i.e. several
months after moving to the Yellow Room). The Review Team have suggested
that, on a proper reading of the Social Services records, the mother’s
account embraced soreness earlier. The mother at the time seemed to believe
that she had moved to the Yellow Room at Easter. She was putting the
soreness “since moving to the Yellow Room”. Thus, it could have been
earlier. The Review Team also submit that soreness while in the Yellow Room
was consistent with Mr Lillie and/or Miss Reed having taken the opportunity
for abuse while she was in the Yellow Room. This is somewhat unfair on Miss
Reed, however, since the child did not accuse her of doing anything.
Furthermore, vulval soreness in itself is an unsure guide to abuse.

829. Her mother, who gave evidence on 11 March, readily acknowledged that
there was nothing unusual in a small girl about such a symptom.
Nevertheless, having asked the child on 3 August if she could remember
having a “sore fairy”, the mother then asked her if anyone had touched her
while she had been at Shieldfield. She said “They call him Chris”. She
apparently said that she had been touched “inside”. It is a slightly
curious way of describing him and Miss Page suggests that it might reflect
the fact that Child 19 had been exposed to a good deal of talk in the
Yellow Room over that summer about Chris and Dawn and what they were
supposed to do to “bums” and vaginas. On the other hand, it is submitted
for the Defendants that “They call him Chris” is simply a local (Geordie)
expression equivalent to “His name is Chris”.

830. Another contributory factor could well be that the mother (obviously
through understandable anxiety) had asked her in the previous May whether
anyone (or possibly “Chris”) had ever touched her at the Nursery. For
example, the mother told the police on 6 August 1993 that when she heard of
the suspension she asked her daughter “outright if Chris had ever touched
her fairy”. Although Child 19 denied this at the time, it could have sown a
seed which accounted for her answer in August.

831. On 10 August there is the first of two video interviews. Helen Foster
made no progress and therefore the mother was invited to join in
questioning her daughter to try and elicit the “disclosure” made to her on
3 August. The next stage was that an aunt was invited to come in and the
police officer left the room. This was unsatisfactory to say the least. The
child was subjected to leading questions, pleading, ticking off and the
offer of rewards. These included clothes for a Barbie doll, a “sleep-over”
with her aunt, and “a McDonald’s”. Despite all this, there was no
disclosure of sexual abuse. Moreover, there was actually no indication of
her resisting because of fear or threats. She asked to be allowed home. She
was told, variously, to stop being silly, to stop telling fibs and that she
would not be allowed home until she gave the required information. Still
nothing came of it.

832. On 12 August 1993, there was a medical examination by Dr Alison Steele
which revealed a notch at around 9 o’clock. It is agreed by the experts
that this would not be diagnostic of sexual abuse.

833. There was a second video interview on 2 November 1993. She opened by
saying, “I’m going to tell you all about Chris”. She was asked who he was,
and replied “My other school”. She said that he touched her “fairy” and
that it happened inside. She was asked on how many occasions, and said
“yesterday”. She referred also to the fact that “the police got him”. That
is a recurring theme in the Shieldfield investigation. Manifestly, it could
only come from an adult. There is some confusion apparently, since she
describes Chris and Dawn as though they were other children.

834. The nub of Child 19’s disclosure on 2 November was that whatever it
was happened in the lavatory at Shieldfield. What “Chris” did was to put
his finger outside her knickers; it did not hurt, and he said “sorry”. This
took place in the presence of “loads” of other children. He was fully
dressed and nothing else occurred. She was not threatened or told to keep
it a secret. She told her mother as soon as it happened. She, like other
children, referred to Mr Lillie as being “in a cage where the policeman’s
took him”. That is also a phrase that seems to have been in common usage in
the Yellow Room. There is nothing that would appear to qualify as “a clear
statement by the child” (see paragraph 387 above). Dr San Lazaro, however,
told the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board that the earlier statement
(in August 1993) represented a “clear statement indicating that she had
been traumatised in the vaginal area”.

835. It is true that she also appears to have given an account involving a
finger “inside” her in response to further questioning by Helen Foster but
she also said he “put his hand in”. When asked where, she twice indicated
her waist. She later told Dr Fundudis in therapy that he had touched her on
the “fairy” when “on the toilet”. But this seems to me to be neither
spontaneous nor unequivocal. The Defendants argue that her disclosure
remained “pure” and “demonstrably untainted at least into January 1994”. I
am afraid I do not know what that means.

836. Since none of this amounts to very much, more reliance is placed on
behaviour. In particular, it is said that there was regression and daytime
wetting. There were occasions when the Nursery provided different clothes
when she was picked up, but some of this could be accounted for by other
factors such as playing with water. But there is very little in the Day
Book about wetting, except two entries for 18 and 25 February 1993, after
she was in the Yellow Room. This seems inconclusive.

837. I should also bear in mind that she had said to her mother that she
loved “Chris” and that he loved her. It is unclear how these statements
came to be made or what her affect was at the time. It does not necessarily
imply anything sexual or improper. Similarly with another of the
behavioural symptoms. There was apparently some cheekiness and answering
back to her mother. If that were taken to be a symptom of sexual abuse, no
adult would be safe.

838. There was also mention in the mother’s witness statement of nightmares
starting while Child 19 was at the Nursery, although this was not
apparently mentioned to the social workers at the time. An obsession with
dying was another factor relied upon, but this does not seem to have been
mentioned either.

839. By 6 June 1995 Dr San Lazaro was writing that the child had not shown
serious signs of emotional disturbance earlier on, but that psychiatric
assessment had revealed that “the family have been highly stressed by this
incident and that [Child 19’s] statements had altered her mother’s feelings
towards her”. She added that it was difficult to know “how these children
will behave within the background of anger, recrimination and loss of trust
that has been generated by this incident”.

Child 21

840. I heard evidence from Child 21’s mother on 12 and 13 March. There is
no doubt that she believes her daughter was abused by Christopher Lillie
and Dawn Reed. She was controlled and dignified in the witness box, but I
believe she found it a stressful experience and it took considerable
courage for her to go through the ordeal. An incident that has clearly
stuck in her mind over the years, and to which she attaches significance,
is that she found her daughter when she went to collect her one day in the
lavatories at Shieldfield. She was standing outside the door of a cubicle
near the washbasins with her knickers round her ankles. Meanwhile, Mr
Lillie was still inside the cubicle wearing rubber gloves. As she entered,
the mother heard Mr Lillie say “Now wash your hands, [Child 21]”.

841. When, cross-examined, it emerged that the mother had been unaware all
these years that the staff had been required to wear disposable rubber
gloves when taking the children to the lavatory. In some way she seemed to
associate the use of rubber gloves with child abuse. She said she thought,
remarkably, that everyone at the Nursery was toilet-trained and that
Christopher Lillie was not “authorised to be with children in the toilet”.
Needless to say, this was all in retrospect. She had seen no reason to make
any complaint at the time. There is nothing in this point at all. The
mother felt uneasy about the incident with hindsight and, given the
atmosphere that later developed at Shieldfield, one can hardly blame her,
but there is nothing of substance in the episode.

842. The child was born on 31 August 1989. The mother knew that two of her
nephews had been to the Nursery, and had no problems, and she was therefore
happy to send her daughter. She began in the Baby Room on 21 October 1991
and moved to the Red Room in February 1992 just before Christopher Lillie
joined Dawn Reed there. She normally attended three days a week from 10
until 3. The child left the Red Room in August 1992. This means that, for
whatever reason, the social worker Marion Harris was wrong when she
recorded on 24 May 1993 that Child 21 had been in the Red Room “since
October 1992”.

843. She left in the summer of 1993 and moved on to another school in
September. At some point thereafter (which her mother did not specify), she
began to talk about how she and other girls at the school had been
inserting pencils into their vaginas. By 16 September 1993 she recounted
that Mr Lillie had inserted scissors in her anus and that Mr Lillie and
Miss Reed had inserted scissors in each other’s “bums”. She was by now four
years old and purporting to recall an incident which, if it involved being
taken out of the Nursery by the Claimants, could only have happened when
she was aged two. Although the Defendants only suggest that there are
“reasonable grounds to suspect” that some of the abuse occurred outside the
Nursery, it is hardly feasible to suppose it could have happened on the
premises.

844. On 28 September 1993 she alleged to her mother that Chris and Dawn had
taken “all the children” to a flat or house which “stunk of dog shit”. On
this outing, apparently, Mr Lillie and Miss Reed had stripped off and wet
the bed. Child 21 had been raped by Mr Lillie and she [Child 21] had bitten
Miss Reed’s vulva. The very grave allegation the Review Team make is that
Miss Reed was present when the child was raped by Mr Lillie and that she
herself forced the child “to perform oral sex on her”. She is also said to
have been threatened that her mother would die if she revealed the abuse.
These allegations need to be assessed with care. (It will be remembered
that Child 21 was not one of the six “indictment children”.)

845. There is a medical report from Dr San Lazaro dated 24 September 1993,
which revealed a small disruption to the hymen in the 3 o’clock position.
Otherwise, there were no abnormalities either within the hymen or the anus.
Dr Ward agrees that there was nothing diagnostic of penetrative abuse. It
is theoretically possible, according to Dr San Lazaro, that a two year old
could be raped and still retain an intact hymen. It is also, according to
her, possible that scissors could be inserted in a child’s bottom without
leaving signs of damage. I am concerned, however, with probabilities – not
with fanciful possibilities. The small disruption in the hymen is
consistent with no penetrative damage and also with prodding with a pencil
(although I cannot be sure that the insertion of pencils occurred, if it
occurred at all, prior to the medical examination). I have to remember, in
any case, that the expert evidence is that self-injury in that area would
be highly unlikely because the hymen is so sensitive and such activity
would be very painful. It is in all the circumstances, therefore, unclear
how far (if at all) a pencil was inserted.

846. Dr San Lazaro’s findings came under the spotlight on 16 May. The
report of the examination, which took place on 24 September 1993, records
her as giving “a very good history of trauma”. That gives the clear
impression that she had “disclosed” to Dr San Lazaro. On closer inspection,
it emerged that this was not the case and that what she had originally
recorded was “finger at vaginal area” as something indicated not at this
interview but beforehand to the mother. (This is a very important
distinction, as becomes apparent when one focuses on how that information
came to be imparted to the mother.) Dr San Lazaro said: “I cannot explain
that. It is too long ago for me to remember what happened”.

847. Miss Page then turned to physical findings. There was recorded a small
disruption of the hymen at 3 o’clock, but the hymen was otherwise normal.
Dr San Lazaro agreed that terminology was used in a rather confused way,
accepting that “disruption” was sometimes used to describe a normal variant
or non-specific finding. It was put to her that a 3 o’clock “indentation”
or “disruption” was not significant. Dr San Lazaro’s evidence was that she
must have excluded a “normal variant” because she reported whatever it was
as “diagnostic of minor trauma”. That is not satisfactory. It has about it
a kind of circularity. It is especially unsatisfactory given Dr San
Lazaro’s lack of objectivity and admitted proneness to let emotion cloud
her judgment. I would not trust her findings without corroboration, save
perhaps in the case of “barn door” certainty (to use her expression). This
is certainly not such a case.

848. Rather surprisingly, this child was deemed on 26 November 1993 in need
of screening for a sexually transmitted disease, but this was not carried
out until 30 March 1994. Dr San Lazaro wrote to her mother on 26 April with
the negative results and observed, “You will be relieved”. Miss Page wanted
to know why her mother had been kept in suspense over this concern, for
some four to five months, when there was no evidence of any relevant
symptoms in November 1993 (i.e. fifteen months after leaving the Red Room).
There was nothing in the notes to suggest grounds for concern. Rather
startlingly, Dr San Lazaro said in answer:

“Miss Page, I think that if we look back on every piece of minutiae over
the years, we are going to find matters which appear at times irrational. I
cannot account for what appears to be aberrant from time to time in these
records. I can only speculate that we thought it was important – that she
must have had symptomatology for me to have reported it…”.

This hardly instils confidence in her findings. Dr San Lazaro may be
prepared to speculate but I am not permitted to do so.

849. By the time Dr San Lazaro came to write to the Criminal Injuries
Compensation Board, on 1 December 1994, she had “beefed up” her findings in
a remarkable way. By then she was describing a tear in the hymen compatible
with an object having been inserted.

850. She admitted that she used the words “tear”, “disruption” and “scar”
interchangeably and “… sometimes even to describe something normal”. There
is no consistency at all and I cannot place any reliance on Dr San Lazaro’s
claim to the C.I.C.B. that she had found a “tear compatible with an
object”. In the light of her records from the examination a year earlier,
it is clear that this was one of her customary “overstatements” by way of
advocacy. She also informed them that Child 21 had been in contact with a
paedophile ring. She had no evidence of that but lent the claim her
professional authority.

851. The allegations that Child 21 was making by September 1993 are so
implausible and lurid that I could not accept them as accurate without some
element of corroboration. There is none. It is necessary to remember that
she remained from April to August 1993 in the hot house atmosphere at
Shieldfield, where rumours and stories were flying around. Indeed, she was
a “victim” in the Yellow Room of the highly sexualised Child 87 who was one
day found astride her simulating intercourse. The Defendants submit that
“children were not talking amongst themselves and copying one another”.
This is said to be demonstrated by the fact that none of the children Child
21 was in contact with at that stage repeated what she said (in particular,
Children 10, 11, 19, 23 and 27). I agree that there is no direct badge of
copying, but it is putting it too high to say that it has been shown that
children were not talking amongst themselves. That seems contrary to the
probabilities.

852. Although her “disclosures” had certainly hotted up by September, her
video interview on 6 August 1993 was rather more low key. She raised the
subject of Mr Lillie and clearly knew that she was there to talk about him.
She also used the expression (that one sees elsewhere) that he was “locked
in a cage”. An adult had obviously been giving her negative messages about
him prior to the interview. The mother accepted that she had probably told
her that the police had “Chris” and that she was safe from him.

853. In the interview she alleged that he had “smacked us” and,
importantly, that this took place when other teachers were there (Patricia
and Diane). Yet again, there is no confirmation from the relevant staff.
She seems, therefore, to have been locating the alleged incident in the
Nursery itself, and no reference was made to any outside location.
Considerable pressure was exerted by Helen Foster and the mother and
various inconsistent answers were given. She denied that anyone had touched
her “minnie” but was pressed further by Helen Foster, who asked her “Do I
need to talk to any more silly people who have touched your minnie?” She
replied “Teddy”. Helen Foster and her mother then tried to get her to say
she had been touched, and she was invited to draw a naked man and show what
bit of his body he used to touch her “minnie” with. She asked for a
handkerchief to blow her nose and that was the conclusion of the interview.
Meanwhile, she was chided for being “silly” and at one point (perhaps for
the sake of being left alone) she made the meaningless allegation that
“Chris” had “cut me bum off”. There was no second interview.

854. It defies belief that the Review Team could possibly assure the public
that the questions were not in any way leading.

855. Considerable reliance is placed on Child 21’s behaviour. Dr Sandra
Hewitt offered the conclusion that “the combination of behaviours related
to trauma and atypical sexuality are strong indicators that Child 21
suffered trauma as a result of sexual abuse during the period she was in
the Red Room” (i.e. between 2 February and 9 August 1992).

856. Professor Friedrich found her clear demonstration to her mother of
having been “sexually touched” very convincing. It is necessary, however,
to see this in context. In or about April 1993 she was asking her mother to
check her bottom, and her mother asked her who wiped her bottom at the
Nursery. She replied “Chris”. This obviously would not have been current
information by that time. She had for the last eight months been in the
care of four other (female) staff at the nursery.

857. Up to that time, perhaps surprisingly, the mother seemed unaware that
Mr Lillie had any specific responsibility for her daughter. This despite
the fact that she had been directly under his (and Miss Reed’s) care for as
long as six months during the previous year. This lack of awareness may
possibly account for the inaccurate information Marion Harris was given on
24 May 1993.

858. The demonstration of “sexual touching” was carried out in response to
a quite specific question from the mother as to how Christopher Lillie “had
wiped her bum”. The child then demonstrated what in some other
circumstances could easily be interpreted as “sexual”, but it is quite
wrong to leave out the important context of the question asked. Once again,
I find Professor Friedrich wide of the mark.

859. As to other aspects of behaviour, it is worthy of note that neither
bedwetting or nightmares were mentioned to the police when a statement was
taken (by Helen Foster) on 20 August 1993. Moreover, it is appropriate to
have some regard to the best contemporaneous records that we now have in
order to see how far current memory is borne out. In this case, the Day
Books do not appear to disclose a serious regression in day time bladder
control. There is only one entry for Child 21 (on 9 March 1992). The mother
was very frank in saying that she kept no notes at the time and could not
be sure as to dates. As in other cases, in attempting to assess the
probabilities, I must allow a considerable margin for the influence of
hindsight.

Child 22

860. This boy was born on 20 November 1990. He entered Shieldfield in May
1992 and was transferred to the Red Room in September of that year. Known
for some time as “the Index Child”, his statements to his mother on 7 April
1993 were the first to raise the spectre of child abuse at Shieldfield
Nursery. He suggested to her first that “Chris” had hurt his bottom and
then, by way of demonstration, that “Chris” had inserted his fingers into
his anus and hurt him. This appears to have arisen because the mother chose
that day to ask him why he was upset when she took him to the Nursery. That
was, as it happens, the very day that Jason Dabbs was given saturation
coverage in the media. His mother reported the matter to the police over
the Easter weekend (on 11 April) and police inquiries developed from there,
culminating in the collapse of the criminal proceedings 15 months later.
When the matter was raised with Mr Lillie for the first time, all he could
think of by way of a possible explanation, if indeed he had hurt the
child’s bottom, was that he had done so accidentally in the course of a
nappy-change. He was suspended on 16 April.

861. The child was seen by Dr Shabde on 15 April and by Dr San Lazaro on 29
April 1993. Dr Shabde recorded that the physical findings were normal and
that there was no evidence of anal penetrative trauma. The only apparently
unusual item of note was that he had been on iron tablets since about
December 1992 (aged just two) for treatment of anaemia. These can sometimes
lead to constipation with associated soreness. (It may be significant that
the mother was reporting to the GP in May 1993 that since Christmas he
would only go to the lavatory on “odd days”.) During the examination, Child
22 did confirm to Dr Shabde that “Chris” had hurt him, but he gave no
further detail. It appears that, on the day after he was seen by Dr Shabde,
Child 22 visited his GP because of a history of abdominal pain, diarrhoea
and vomiting (first apparently noted on 15 February 1993). There were no
abnormal medical findings. By way of background, it seems that relations
between the mother and the GP had not been altogether happy. In a referral
letter with respect to anaemia, following a visit to the surgery the
previous month, on 16 March 1993, the GP described the mother as “extremely
anxious and indeed often aggressive”. (She herself, it seems, had a history
of anaemia and suffered thyroid problems for which she was receiving
medication. It was accepted that this would have had a significant adverse
impact on the reliability of her memory.)

862. By the time Child 22 was seen by Dr San Lazaro on 29 April, his mother
was reporting further allegations and behavioural changes. He had been
exhibiting episodes of “trance-like behaviour” when visiting a park. Since
there was a normal EEG, this was perceived as likely to be of emotional
origin. He referred to being frightened of a “black door” and had been
noted (by his mother) to kneel and put his bottom in the air during
nappy-changing. Something similar was later to be described by the mother
of Child 1, who also made reference to “black doors”. Significantly,
however, her observation of the phenomenon took place the very morning
after a visit from the mother of Child 22.

863. Child 22 also alleged that an object had been inserted into his anus.
No formal statement was taken from the child, as he was perceived as not
being of sufficient maturity. Dr Shabde thought this unfortunate, since in
her opinion he would have been articulate enough for the purpose.

864. Nevertheless, on 16 April there was a recorded interview with the boy,
those present being his mother, Helen Foster and Mr Waterworth of Social
Services. Nothing was forthcoming of any significance although he was asked
many questions including if all his “bits” were OK and whether he had
anything that was sore. He said that his tummy was. There were many
attempts by Helen Foster to get him to identify the person who had changed
his nappies at school. Eventually he was asked whether it was “Chris”, to
which he said “yes”. He was then asked whether he liked him changing his
nappy, to which he also said “yes”.

865. He was then asked specifically whether it hurt when he changed his
nappy. He replied that it did. Later he was questioned as follows:

“Q: Do you know your teacher Chris at the nursery school?

A: (Nods)

Q: Has he ever hurt you?

A: He hasn’t

Q: He hasn’t. Has anybody ever hurt you?

A: No

Q: Somewhere where you didn’t want them to hurt you? (a curiously phrased
question in itself)

A: No

Q: I thought you said somebody had hurt you at nursery and you didn’t want
to go back.

A: No.”

866. The interview yielded no evidence of abuse. In so far as he was
claiming to have been hurt (as opposed to denying it), the context is
clearly that of nappy changing. Yet at page 101 of their Report the Review
Team summarise the interview by saying merely that “… at that point little
of evidential value emerged”. That is only a fair summary if one proceeds
on the basis of ignoring evidence favourable to Mr Lillie.

867. The Defendants submit that it is hardly surprising that the child did
not repeat his “disclosure” on video because he was only 29 months old and
was in the company of people he did not know very well. It is necessary to
bear in mind that he did not simply clam up. He answered the questions but
exonerating Mr Lillie. What hurt was having his nappy changed. Nobody seems
prepared to acknowledge the fact that it is possible to interpret the video
interview and the earlier remarks to members of his family as compatible in
this respect.

868. There are obvious difficulties of interpretation here. Pain associated
with nappy-changing could be caused by accidental injury, or be linked to
the history of diarrhoea and abdominal pain. On the other hand, abdominal
pain and diarrhoea could have a psychosomatic origin. This could be brought
about by anxiety or emotional disturbance of any kind. That would include
stress flowing from sexual or physical abuse, or from some other origin.
Conversely, constipation caused by iron tablets can lead to discomfort or
pain.

869. I have already noted that the mother herself was undergoing some
stress at the time, as recorded in the GP’s notes; indeed, on one occasion
she was described as “frantic”. Whether these factors communicated
themselves to the child can only be a matter for speculation.

870. There was disagreement as to this child’s comprehension and
articulacy. Dr Shabde thought him, for his age, articulate. Dawn Reed and
Christopher Lillie did not. They commented upon his tendency to parrot what
he was told, in the sense that he did not always answer a question but
would repeat the last words of the question. Dawn Reed was cross-examined
by Mr Bishop about these matters. She said he had poor language skills,
comprehension and vocabulary. If she tried to explain that he should not be
aggressive, or point scissors at other children, he carried on doing it. He
would mimic the play of others but not join in.

871. There might seem little point in my attempting to adjudicate on such a
difference of opinion. It would be an issue on which subjective impressions
could easily differ and the matter can, in any case, only be of marginal
significance in the case of a two year old. Yet the Review Team sought to
attach importance to these differing views. On page 30 of their Report,
they actually appear to be accusing Mrs Eyeington of dissembling over Child
22’s speech. I am quite satisfied that this was unwarranted. Moreover, I do
not simply have to rely on the evidence of Mr Lillie and Miss Reed for
judging Child 22’s speech quality at the time. Dr San Lazaro asserted in
her generic report of November 1994 that it was because of “his poor
language development” that the investigation was inconclusive. There is
also the contemporaneous comment of Helen Foster, “He was unable to talk
clearly or form sentences”. Moreover, she confirmed that view in the
witness box on 22 May. Similar remarks were made to the Review Team in
January 1997 by Detective Inspector Campbell Findlay. He may not have been
in a position to make a personal judgment about it, but it does seem clear
that there was at least a genuine difference of opinion. Dr Shabde gave
evidence on 21 May and stuck to her guns but nothing of significance
emerged. (I should add that the boy has done very well at school in the
intervening years and there is no suggestion that he was in some way
intellectually impaired.)

872. When assessing the reliability of Dr Shabde’s opinions about Child 22,
I must also bear in mind that in her report of 21 April 1993 she was
hopelessly wide of the mark in recording that there was no history of
behavioural problems. I do not say this in a critical way. She could only
proceed on the information she was given.

873. There was no consistency in the mother’s descriptions of Child 22’s
behaviour over the relevant period. It is entirely clear to me that during
the first few months at Shieldfield, spent in the Baby Room, there were
constant behavioural problems which cannot conceivably be attributed to
abuse by Christopher Lillie or Dawn Reed. Also, his patterns of sleep were
poor before he even arrived at the Nursery.

874. In the Red Room, to which he was moved because of these recurring
behavioural problems, they continued, in the sense that it was regularly
being recorded that he was showing aggression to his peers and also to
dolls and toys. Ironically, his mother was initially reporting that the
move to the Red Room had led to some improvement.

875. In her statement of 26 April 1993, she was saying, “[Child 22] seemed
to enjoy attending nursery and got on well with Dawn and Chris. He was
always happy to go to nursery and was willing to talk about what he had
done”. She suggested in the witness box that she was in no fit state to
give a statement on that occasion, but Helen Foster denied this and said it
would have been quite unprofessional to take a statement in such
circumstances. I can see no reason for the mother to have been so confused
as to say that the child got on well with Mr Lillie and Miss Reed if she
meant to say the opposite. The mother then placed her son’s change in
attitude at somewhere between 20 November and 25 December 1992. He had
entered the Red Room in September 1992. The account she gave to Joyce
Eyeington was consistent with this. There would thus seem to have been more
than two trouble free months with Mr Lillie and Miss Reed so far as the
mother was then concerned. The Review Team, however, at page 30 of their
Report shifted his changed behaviour back in time to the point where he
entered the Red Room. It may be unfair to conclude that this was done to
make the story fit their conclusions, since the mother’s account varied
significantly over the years and they may have opted for a later version.

876. It is crucial to understand that, according to this early account of
the mother, the child seemed not to be too well in the run up to Christmas
1992. There was vomiting, coughing and a sore tummy. He began to complain
of a sore bottom at about that time, and this continued while he was
attending the nursery after the Christmas break. On one occasion his mother
noticed blood in the nappy and, not unreasonably, linked this with what she
describes as a “weeping” sore at his anus. She applied cream and decided
that if she saw any further blood this would merit a visit to the GP – “but
it was fine”. The significance of this is blindingly obvious. It was part
of Mr Lillie’s responsibilities during this period to change the child’s
nappy and, if he was suffering from a sore bottom (and, for good measure,
what his mother described as “loose stools”), there would be plenty of
scope for Mr Lillie to become associated in his mind with pain or
discomfort at the time of nappy changes. Mr Lillie’s first thought, when
Joyce Eyeington put the accusation to him in April, was that he might have
hurt him inadvertently when performing that task. Far from being a lame
excuse, it seems eminently reasonable as being the likely explanation.
Furthermore, it ties in with the child’s video interview of 16 April.

877. The mother rejected that explanation in her police statement on the
ground that the child had not mentioned Dawn Reed as also hurting his
bottom. This reasoning is bizarre to say the least. Her logic appears to be
that since both Dawn Reed and Christopher Lillie were responsible for
changing Child 22’s nappy from time to time, if he made a statement
involving only one of them the allegation must relate to some other
activity than changing his nappy. It is, of course, in any event a complete
non sequitur. It is also to be noted that the fact that Child 22 did not
mention “Dawn” on the same occasion as “Chris” has not inhibited anyone
subsequently (including the mother of Child 22) from implicating her in the
abuse as well.

878. One of the mother’s most startling allegations was made from the
witness box on the morning of 22 March, when she asserted that even the
boy’s anaemia had been caused by sexual abuse. She said that they were
making him bleed so much through repeated acts of buggery. All I need say
is that this hardly squares with the medical evidence. More importantly,
however, the suggestion was just plucked out of thin air in the middle of
what I can only describe as a rant. If nasty allegations of sadism could be
conjured up so readily in the witness box, I cannot believe that greater
restraint has always been maintained in less formal surroundings.

879. By 12 May 1993, the mother appeared to be telling journalists that
Child 22’s personality had changed dramatically since 7 April. If this was
indeed the case, then one explanation might be that he was reflecting her
own stress and anxiety arising from her “discovery” on that very day that
he had been abused. She is recorded as telling a Brenda Hickman (Crime
Reporter of the Journal) that:

“My son complained that a man had ‘hurt’ him and he has gone through a
complete personality change… His temperament has changed drastically. He
has nightmares and gets aggressive.”

880. Consistent with this would be a GP note made in May 1993 under the
heading “Other Symptoms of Disturbance” to the effect that “All since
Easter 1993”.

881. After the interview with the journalist, the mother told the Review
Team that Campbell Findlay came round and told her off. He told her “No
bull shit. I don’t want you talking to anyone”.

882. The police had to pay her a visit at the end of July 1993 in order to
warn her against putting words in people’s mouths. By that time it had been
decided that there was no sufficient evidence to justify criminal
proceedings in respect of her son, but she seems to have remained active in
spreading her views and suspicions. She had, for example, visited the
mother of Child 23 at the beginning of May and caused her to worry about
her daughter. She also supplied Mr Lillie’s address, with the result that
Child 23’s father went round and assaulted him. She also visited the mother
of Child 1 on 26 June and expressed her concerns. Indeed, by the time of
their July visit, the police were fearful that she might be jeopardising
the whole investigation. Whether their visit was at all effective, and
whether it was made sufficiently early, I am unable to tell at this
distance of time.

883. When the spectre of child abuse first loomed over Shieldfield,
following the allegations of Child 22’s mother from 11 April 1993 onwards,
not everyone took it seriously. For example, the father of Child 7 said on
19 March 2002 that he thought nothing of it at the time because she
regarded herself and her child as the centre of the universe. She was
always kicking up a fuss about something. Her own daughter apparently
commented that she was sick of hearing about it. Others, of course,
especially in the wake of the Jason Dabbs publicity of the previous week,
felt bound to act upon her allegations (i.e. the Newcastle Social Services,
the police, the City Council and Mrs Joyce Eyeington). As Patricia Thompson
put it in her statement:

“… we were mindful that we needed to think in wider terms than just Child
22. The allegations had been against a member of staff at the nursery and
it was possible that this could be another incident of multiple abuse. I
had been involved in the Jason Dabbs investigation as a Senior Social
Worker in the office dealing with the investigation and it was fresh in our
minds. We obviously kept an open mind as to whether this may have been the
start of another multiple abuse case.”

884. I am reminded in this context of the words of Lord Nicholls in * Re H *
at page 592, where he said:

“The task of social workers is usually anxious and often thankless. They
are criticised for not having taken action in response to warning signs
which are obvious enough when seen in the clear light of hindsight. Or they
are criticised for making applications based on serious allegations which,
in the event, are not established in court. Sometimes, whatever they do,
they cannot do right.”

885. For whatever reason, it has become clear with the benefit of hindsight
that the mother of Child 22 is a completely unreliable “historian”. Her
accounts changed radically over time. For example, she was not even
consistent over what (if anything) she knew by 11 April about the Jason
Dabbs case. She told Joyce Eyeington that when her son first complained on
7 April she was hesitant about following it through because the police
would think she was a neurotic mother who had read about Jason Dabbs. It
appears that she told Joyce Eyeington that she had not even read about it.
According to Mrs Eyeington’s memorandum of 25 April, she had heard about it
but was not interested. The truth is, of course, that if she was worried on
7 April for the reason she gave, she must have known at least something of
the Dabbs case at that stage. If this was so, she would be no different
from the majority of Newcastle’s citizens since the Jason Dabbs case was
big news that very day. This timing could be just a very remarkable
coincidence but, realistically, it seems to me that the Jason Dabbs
publicity must at the least have been a contributing factor in turning her
thoughts to child abuse on 7 April. What she now says is:

“Although it is difficult now to remember, I have no clear recollection of
being conscious of reading any press report about the Jason Dabbs case
prior to my son’s disclosure to me”.

886. It was in the mother’s statement of 26 April 1993 that the notion of
the “black door” first appeared on the scene:

“Whenever we leave the local park to come home, we have passed a house with
a black door. As soon as [Child 22] sees any black door, this one in
particular, he started getting very upset and agitated. On another occasion
[Child 22] didn’t want to go up a particular street with black doors, he
seemed to lose his speech and start talking funny and when he calmed down
he said. ‘I don’t want to knock at that black door’. I asked him what he
meant and he said ‘because there is a lady who looks like a man who scrubs
me’. I didn’t know what he meant and just left it. On another occasion we
were out in the street and happened to see a man knocking at a black door
and [Child 22] wouldn’t let us go by and we had to go a different way. On
another day [Child 22] has mentioned a ‘dafty man who hurts him because
he’s a naughty boy and it’s his fault’. I tried to reassure [Child 22] that
he wasn’t a naughty boy. [Child 22] then said that he couldn’t tell me what
had happened ‘he can’t tell and doesn’t remember’ and he says he doesn’t
want to remember”.

She then said that by that stage she believed that something terrible had
happened to Child 22 behind a black door. The mother gave no less than six
specific addresses with black doors, five in one road and one in another.
Police checks on the residents proved negative. Black doors were also
mentioned by Child 1, Child 11 and Child 14 in due course.

887. By the time the mother of Child 22 was interviewed by journalists on
28 November 1998, she was dating the child’s behavioural changes back to
May 1992, when he started at Shieldfield. This is hardly consistent with
the account she was giving in April 1993 and, in particular, with the
history she must have given to Dr Shabde on 15 April for her to conclude
that there was no history of behavioural problems. This point was picked up
in a letter from one of the doctors in the GP practice on 6 May 1993, who
pointed out that Dr Shabde’s note did not accord with their knowledge of
the patient.

888. As the mother frankly acknowledged, she had for some time been
suffering from a thyroid problem which can affect the memory. Moreover, she
accepts that her memory was suffering for this reason at the end of 1992.
She claimed, however, that medication had subsequently brought these
problems under control. There are some records, however, which suggest that
she sometimes failed to take her tablets.

889. On 20 May 1993, there is a note to the effect that she was telling Pat
Thompson that Christopher Lillie was paid £100 for taking children from the
Nursery to be abused by paedophiles. This she apparently based upon a
passing remark made by the child when the milk lady came to the door. When
she asked how much she owed, Child 22 piped up “£100”. The milk lady
responded laughingly that she wished she could collect such a sum. It seems
a long step for the mother to conclude from this casual exchange that the
only reason why her son could have mentioned £100 would be that Christopher
Lillie had been demanding similar sums for supplying the children for
paedophiles. It is not difficult to understand how a mother in such
circumstances might fear the worst, but I cannot possibly treat this
allegation as having any rational basis or evidential weight. It is another
product of a fevered imagination. Patricia Thompson, the social worker,
told her that it was dangerous to jump to such conclusions, but it was her
view that the mother of Child 22 “had already made her mind up about what
had happened”.

890. I have little doubt that Pat Thompson was correct, but this unhappily
introduces a real problem as to how reliable the mother’s evidence is in
relation to any behaviour or disclosures she reported. She was quite
obviously looking for signs of abuse in her own child, and trying to find
evidence of it from other Shieldfield children. That may be quite
understandable, but it poses a real danger of over-interpretation both for
her and for others.

891. The mother seems to have become obsessed with the notion of a
paedophile ring. I would not dream of criticising her. Like many of the
parents, this horrendous notion had a profound effect on her life.
Moreover, there is no doubt that there were various people over the
succeeding years who were prepared to cultivate this belief so that it took
a firmer and firmer hold. One of them was Dr San Lazaro. But I must
approach the issue in the light of the evidence, rather than seeking to
empathise with their fears and suspicions—and evidence is there none.

892. The child one day in October 1993 pointed to a picture of a well known
singer and said that this man had hurt him. It was obviously untrue, but
the mother sought to invest it with significance by concluding that a local
resident of similar physical appearance must have been abusing him on the
procurement of Mr Lillie. She found out where such a person lived, and
proceeded to spread the story that he was a paedophile. The police pursued
the suggestion and, as I have noted elsewhere, found nothing whatever to
support it. The mother of Child 22 believes it to this day, and no doubt
always will. She asked rhetorically in the witness box how her child could
possibly have described to her that the man had a downstairs flat with a
bed in the front room, if he had not been taken there for abuse. The answer
was, however, not far to seek as Miss Page pointed out. The witness had to
accept that she had kept the house under watch and had herself peered in
through the windows. At one stage she described the occupant as “a big fat
slob” and added, “when I think about him having my child, I could kill
him”. I am not suggesting that she is dishonest, but I have to proceed on
the basis that she has been irrational and obsessive about it.

893. Another common feature in the behavioural symptoms noted by the
Defendants is the reference by various Shieldfield children to clowns and
masks. The origin of this theme is, once again, to be found in the account
of this mother. She passed these notions on to others. It seems to derive
from an incident at Child 22’s birthday party in November 1992. It was
noted by those present (the mother and aunt of Child 22) that some of the
children present from Shieldfield were upset by the female entertainers
wearing clowns’ masks. It seems that later the same entertainers reappeared
wearing animal heads. This too apparently caused upset. From the video, it
certainly would appear that Child 1 was upset. There may have been others.

894. What is puzzling is how this is supposed to be linked to child abuse.
Children aged two could be upset by clowns or people wearing animal heads
if they were not used to it. There is nothing very surprising about it. I
fail to grasp the logic which requires me to assume that the fear stemmed
from their having been abused by other adults, in other unspecified places,
who happened to be wearing clown masks. Such a link requires to be
established by solid evidence.

895. Libraries played a significant part in Child 22’s disclosures. He was
in the Central Library one day when his mother asked him to be quiet
because they were in a library, whereupon he began screaming and had to be
taken out. From this I am invited to infer that he was screaming because he
associated the concept of a “library” with abuse. Other children have also
mentioned “libraries” or “libraries with few books” as places where abuse
is supposed to have taken place. The explanation is said to be that Mr
Lillie and Miss Reed took children to places for abuse but described them
to the victims as “libraries” to give a colour of respectability in case
anyone asked where they had been.

896. This child apparently mentioned an occasion when Mr Lillie left him at
a library after he had eaten his pie and hurt his genitals. He also
referred to Mr Lillie having taken his clothes off but Dawn Reed putting
them back on. He was two and a half years old at the time the allegation
was made (3 June 1993) and obviously younger at the time of the supposed
incident. He is also supposed to have been encouraged by Miss Reed to give
Mr Lillie oral sex. This all sounds horrendous, of course, but my
difficulty is to know precisely how these statements came to be elicited
and the extent to which the mother’s anxieties and obsession with sex abuse
might have been communicated to the son. These concerns certainly seem to
have conveyed themselves to other adults (e.g. the parents of Child 1 and
Child 23) and thus contributed significantly to the dynamic of the
“Shieldfield scandal”.

897. This is a factor to be given particular attention in view of the
child’s tendency to mimic and parrot what others have said (echolalia). It
is said that the Claimants have invented this characteristic in order to
discredit the child. I do not accept that. Both Claimants have a fairly
detailed recollection of his mannerisms and behaviour. That is not
surprising in view of the enormous impact he had on their lives in April
and May 1993 (and indeed subsequently) but I do not find anything in the
contemporaneous documents obviously inconsistent with their accounts of him
in evidence. Their evidence on these matters I found persuasive.

898. By November 1993 Dr San Lazaro was reporting that Child 22 was making
dramatic and bizarre allegations. From having said on 16 April that he had
not been hurt (or, if he had, only in the context of nappy changing), the
story has become totally different. He was apparently claiming to have been
tied up and had a drill inserted in his genitals and/or anus. This was
after months of pressured questioning about abuse and I am not persuaded
that it was in any way to be relied upon as a voluntary and unprompted
disclosure. It is just fantasy.

899. Ms Jones in her evidence put it more diplomatically. She had no
difficulty accepting this child’s early disclosures but said “As time went
on, it would be difficult to judge how far you could place weight on some
of the later disclosures”. Unfortunately, however, one looks in vain to
find any such caution or discrimination reflected in the Report itself.
Moreover, I need to focus on how late is “later”. Judging by the assessment
of Pat Thompson (that the mother had made up her mind at least by May), I
should be wary of her claims from a very early stage. She clearly
kick-started the rumours about a paedophile ring very early in the inquiry
and passed them on to others. It is a pity that Ms Jones and her colleagues
did not exercise caution when addressing the source of those allegations.
The mother was still active in promulgating the wickedness of the Claimants
in 1999 when she apparently received £250 from “Best” magazine for her
story. This was published under the heading “My Son’s Courage” and told how
she had uncovered “the most shocking child abuse scandal of the decade”.
She was quoted as saying:

“I was frightened at how violent my thoughts towards them were, but I had
to learn to control my rage. My only consolation is I believed every word
[Child 22] said and acted immediately. [Child 22] is proud of his part in
uncovering the abuse – he thinks his bravery saved the other children. I
couldn’t bear to tell him the truth … So, for now, I’ve told him that
Lillie and Reed have been locked up forever. The inquiry team told me
[Child 22] was a hero. If he’d not spoken up, who knows how many other
innocents would have suffered? But the ordeal has destroyed our family. My
husband couldn’t talk about it and has left me”.

Child 23

900. Child 23 was born in [exact date redacted]  1990. She was at Shieldfield for
about two years until August 1994. She was in the Red Room, under the care
of Mr Lillie and Miss Reed from 1 September to 20 November 1992. Her mother
gave evidence on 27 March. I found her to be a careful, moderate and
truthful witness. She told me that her daughter had got on with both the
carers and appeared to enjoy being at the Nursery. She was moved up
relatively quickly to another room because, as Mr Lillie explained at the
time, she was not obtaining sufficient mental stimulation in the Red Room.

901. Child 23 was examined by Dr San Lazaro on 20 July 1993 (three months
after Mr Lillie’s suspension). This followed the mother’s having heard of
allegations of sexual abuse at the Nursery, originally from the mother of
Child 22 who called on her out of the blue on Saturday 1 May. That very
evening her mother questioned her as to whether anyone had touched her
bottom. She is now unclear as to exactly how she put it, but there seems to
be little doubt it was a leading question in some form. In May 1993 she was
recounting it to social workers as “Did anyone touch your bottom?” By July
it was “Has anyone touched your bum or your fairy?”. Child 23 alleged that
“Chris” had touched her on or near the vulva and that she did not like it.
She said he tickled her bum “hard”. It is said that she illustrated this to
her mother by reference to a doll, which she had in her hand, by tickling
it between the legs. It is only fair to record that the Review Team attach
particular significance to this “disclosure” because they say that it
cannot be explained as bare assent to a leading question or as parroting a
phrase the mother had used. It is the child who is said to have used the
notion of “tickling hard” quite spontaneously. At all events, the mother
made no record of what the child said on 1 May; nor did she report it to
Pat Thompson until 17 or 18 May.

902. The Review Team rely upon the account given by the mother of this
first “disclosure” to Mrs Saradjian on 29 November 1995. But Miss Page
points out that there are three new elements that have crept in over the
two and a half year interval. First, the account now incorporates a
reference to Dawn Reed as well as “Chris”. Secondly, the mother’s question
(and therefore the child’s answer) includes a reference to being “hurt”.
Thirdly, there is one of the most unpleasant allegations adopted by the
Review Team against these Claimants. The suggestion is that the child is
supposed to have told her mother that they had threatened her that dogs
would scratch her vulva if she told anyone. It is strange that this nasty
allegation should only see the light of day for the first time in November
1995. Everyone accepts that it is right to trace back the allegations
attributed to children to the proper time and context in which they were
first uttered (if at all). That is certainly what the Review Team were
advised to do by Professor Davies. In the light of the later significant
accretions, it is especially important in the case of Child 23 to focus on
the nearest contemporaneous account.

903. At interview with Dr San Lazaro, the child is supposed to have
confirmed the allegation and told her that Mr Lillie had used a crayon.
This is of some importance, because it has been argued on the Claimants’
behalf (i) that Child 23 was the source of the other references to crayons
being used for insertion, and (ii) that Child 23 had answered in her video
interview of 12 July by reference to a crayon for the simple reason that
this was what her eye happened to fall upon when she was asked by the
interviewer what had been used to hurt her.

904. Between her first disclosure on 1 May and the interview of 12 July
there seems to have been some pressure on the child. Her mother, for
example, told the police that she had “checked her story” on a couple of
occasions. It is not possible for anyone now to determine the content of
those conversations, but it is obvious that whatever was said could have
had a significant impact on later accounts given by the mother and
daughter. What is more, her father had reacted quite emotionally to her
first statement (understandably so). He clearly got angry and, having
obtained his current address from the mother of Child 22, went round to Red
Barns on 10 May and punched Mr Lillie. He was also claiming as early as 18
May (to Joyce Eyeington) that Mr Lillie was supplying children to a local
paedophile ring. This is highly likely to have derived mainly from the
mother of Child 22. But, given all that was happening, it would be
reasonable to assume that this highly charged atmosphere would have
impacted on the child prior to her interview.

905. At the time of her first “disclosure” on 1 May Mr Lillie had already
been suspended but not Miss Reed. By the time of the video interview, Miss
Reed too had been suspended. It was during the interview that Child 23
first made any allegation against her. For Miss Reed she was, of course,
the “Index Child”. She too is then accused of “tickling”.

906. This interview Dr Cameron did not believe had about it the “ring of
truth”. She seemed too uninvolved and (like, for example, Child 11) not to
show any sign of mentally reliving an unpleasant experience. He spoke of
the distinction between historical truth and narrative truth. His comments
about her general affect in interview are naturally entitled to
considerable respect, in the light of his experience, but I should not lose
sight of the principle that the assessment of witnesses (even in these
circumstances) is ultimately for the judge as the tribunal of fact. My own
reaction was similar to that of Dr Cameron.

907. Attention has been drawn to a discrepancy between Dr San Lazaro’s
type-written statement and her manuscript notes. Dr Ward pointed out that
the allegation that a member of staff had put a crayon into her vulva and
caused bleeding into her knickers appears in the former but not in the
latter. Miss Page emphasises that, if a child had indeed told her in
interview that a member of staff had done this, then it should have been
carefully recorded. Anyone who knows anything about child abuse would know
(as I have discovered from the evidence) that it is elementary to make a
record of a clear and unequivocal allegation of abuse made by a child –
especially one as startling as this. Dr San Lazaro agreed that there should
have been a “better record”. She said that she dictated the statement “on
the spot” and the manuscript notes were merely an aide-memoire. I am left
in the position that I cannot be confident as to how much additional
information (if any) came from the child, when talking to Dr San Lazaro,
over and above what emerged in her recent video interview. Dr San Lazaro is
unfortunately prone to glossing or muddling things she has been told and,
in some cases, attributing statements to children which came from adults (a
classic example being the burning of Child 1’s underpants).

908. Looking back at earlier events, the mother then remembered behaviour
on the child’s part pre-dating Mr Lillie’s suspension, which is now relied
upon with hindsight in support of the allegation of abuse and especially of
penetrative injury. At the end of October 1992, the child complained of
soreness in the genital area and a reluctance to use the lavatory at least
by herself. The GP’s note of 15 October 1992 records a 2–3 day history of
abdominal pain and also pain on passing urine. There was no evidence of
infection. There were also respiratory problems at about that time but,
more significantly, on 18 December 1992 it was noted that the child seemed
always to have thrush, and cream was prescribed for associated soreness. A
similar problem was recorded much later, in July 1995. That fact naturally
must weigh heavily in the balance against drawing an inference that earlier
such problems (i.e. before 20 November 1992) should be attributed to abuse
by Mr Lillie.

909. In view of how common urinary problems are, and vulval soreness, it is
manifestly important to focus on timing before attributing it to child
abuse. The Review Team in their Report refer to “a number of children”
developing urinary tract problems from trying to retain urine and others
developing problems with constipation. They lump these symptoms all
together and seek to give the impression that they are attributable in
every case to “being afraid of going to the toilet”. Thus the perception
arises that these common childhood problems derive from abuse having
occurred in lavatories at Shieldfield.

910. The mother was also referring to incidents of nightmares prior to
Christmas 1992 and to her complaining of a hissing or scraping noise in her
bedroom. This may be a case where memory is unreliable to some extent. In
May 1993 the nightmare scenario was being placed at around Christmas 1992,
which would be a month after leaving the Red Room. Now the recollection is
that the nightmares were happening during the Red Room period but cleared
up by about Christmas. It may not matter greatly, since the nightmares
apparently occurred fairly closely together in time.

911. Another possible area of confused memory relates to day time wetting.
The Red Room Day Books do not provide any confirmation for this problem.
They may not be wholly accurate but, if it was a persistent problem in the
Red Room, experience of the Day Books suggests that there would be a record
at least of the general pattern. The mother recalls one instance when Dawn
Reed reported to her that Child 23 had “wet herself again”. She explained
that this had come about through playing with water. Dawn Reed added,
according to the mother, that she (Dawn Reed) was liable to wet herself
when playing with water. The mother thought this remark odd. If it
happened, and I have no reason to doubt it, it sounds as though it was a
light-hearted off-the-cuff remark intended to reassure the mother that
there was no particular significance in the episode.

912. It seems that on 25 October 1993 Child 23 referred to having been in
Christopher Lillie’s flat with Child 2 and they were both naked. The two
children did not, however, overlap in the Red Room. There was thus no
opportunity for Mr Lillie to spirit them both out of the Nursery at the
same time and take them to the other side of Newcastle where he then lived.

913. One aspect of Child 23’s behavioural patterns that is worthy of note
is that she does not seem to have been upset about anything at the school.
She was even, as her mother accepted, “unfazed” by the medical examination.
That very much ties in with Dr Cameron’s observation about her video
interview. There does not seem to have been any problem in getting on with
Christopher Lillie or Dawn Reed when she was under their care. The mother
did say that after she had left the Red Room she proved reluctant, on one
occasion, to go back to be temporarily looked after. But she recognised
that this might have been because her daughter had settled in her new
environment and felt she had outgrown the Red Room.

914. There was damage to the hymen apparently diagnostic of penetrative
abuse. There was, however, a further episode of bleeding into her underwear
on 3 December 1993 (months after any contact with Dawn Reed or Christopher
Lillie). She then had a small denuded area on the labia minora, which was
thought to be the source of the bleeding. The mother dismissed this,
however, as being due to the child’s using soap in the vaginal area. This
was not an explanation that impressed Dr Watkeys. Dr Ward observed, “The
aetiology of the bleeding remains unsolved but was likely to be traumatic
caused by either Child 23 herself or another individual”.

915. It is also to be borne in mind that Dr Desai, who examined her on the
December visit in Dr San Lazaro’s absence, noted that there was no other
evidence of trauma. This would appear to be inconsistent with what Dr San
Lazaro had recorded. I have very much in mind that Dr Desai, being less
experienced than Dr San Lazaro, could have missed something, but it
naturally raises a doubt as to the quality of Dr San Lazaro’s findings in
respect of a “barn door” child.

916. That is not, however, the full extent of the diagnostic problem in
connection with this child. Miss Page relies on “extremely serious
inconsistencies” in Dr San Lazaro’s records. It is said that this is one of
the cases where she “beefed up” her findings for the benefit of a police
statement. She there refers to a “central deep tear”, whereas her
contemporaneous records appear consistent with a “partial” tear or tears.
There was no reference on that occasion to depth. Moreover, Miss Page
argues that it is possible to misinterpret a normal variant as a “partial
tear”. She goes so far as to suggest that the phraseology “deep tear” must
have been a fabrication. I am not able to conclude that it was dishonest,
although I am only too well aware of Dr San Lazaro’s accepted role of
“advocate” for the children. I am especially cautious, for that reason, in
the cases where she has put something different into a later account such
as in a police statement or C.I.C.B. report.

917. Dr San Lazaro indicated 3 partial tears on her printed form and also
ticked “gross hymenal loss”, although her drawing does not appear to show
such loss. Nor does it show a “deep tear”. Miss Page submits that at this
distance of time, and in view of the inconsistencies in the documents, I
cannot be satisfied whether there was one tear or more, or if whatever tear
there was could be classified as “partial” or “deep”, or whether there was
in fact loss of tissue. It naturally raises a doubt as to loss of tissue,
and the existence of a deep tear, that Dr Desai spotted nothing abnormal on
her December genital examination. Dr San Lazaro did, however, describe her
as “the paediatrician who had no know-how in observing the hymen. …I do not
say that of Dr Desai of my own knowledge. I just know that junior and
middle grade paediatricians, and indeed the consultant paediatricians of
the RVI and in most district hospitals, recognise that they are not experts
at displaying or identifying injuries to the hymen”.

918. Another factor of these records giving rise to doubt as to the nature
of the findings is that Dr San Lazaro referred to lateral “nodular
scarring”. This is quite possibly a record of a nodular but congenital
feature rather than scarring caused by trauma.

919. Professor Bruck pointed out, in relation to this child, that she was
one of those who mentioned a variety of other identifiable adults being
present when the incidents occurred. One, in particular, was said three
times to have been there when “Chris” hurt her bum with a crayon. That
particular person had nothing to do with the Nursery. This is a point which
fundamentally undermines the reliability of the child’s accounts. It is
inconceivable that Mr Lillie would have abused her in the presence of that
other person. There are undoubtedly elements of confusion and fantasy and
it is impossible to conclude now (as Dr Ward and Dr Watkeys confirm) how or
when the child incurred such trauma as Dr San Lazaro detected.

920. Mr Bishop argues that even if Child 23 had been abused by some other
person, in or about December 1993, this would not prove that she had not
also been abused by the Claimants. This is to address the burden of proof
in a rather misleading way. It is for the Defendants, surely, to prove that
despite the possibility of abuse by some other person Child 23 was in fact
abused by Mr Lillie and/or Dawn Reed. In view of the obvious measure of
agreement between Dr Ward and Dr Watkeys, I do not see how that could be
achieved. This is one of many factors underlining the importance of
eliminating all other possible candidates before attaching such abuse to Mr
Lillie and/or Miss Reed.

Child 24

921. Child 24 was one of the six “indictment children”. She was also, by
the time of closing submissions, placed in the forefront of the Defendants’
case on justification. She was their strongest example of child abuse by
the Claimants. She was born on 14 August 1989 and began at Shieldfield, in
the Baby Room, on 21 October 1991. She moved to the Red Room on 21 February
1992 and from there to the Yellow Room on 3 September 1992. There were two
visits to the Red Room on 1 and 3 September but, otherwise, her last visit
had been at the end of July 1992. Her final day at the Nursery was 5
February 1993. Thereafter she apparently had no direct contact with other
Shieldfield pupils. There was clearly an unhappy family background to the
extent that she had a father who was sometimes given to violence—although
not against her directly. She did, however, begin her interview on 30 July
1993 by telling Helen Foster of an occasion when she was frightened by her
father (and apparently some “friends”) kicking the door. Thereafter,
although she liked to see him, contact apparently ceased.

922. Her mother gave evidence on 11 March. She was a quiet and moderate
witness who seemed to me to be clearly doing her best to recollect the
events she was asked to recall. In respect of Child 24 there was found
“unequivocal evidence of previous trauma compatible with full penetration
through the hymenal orifice” (Dr Kate Ward). She was examined under
anaesthesia on 18 November 1993. There was found apparently a central deep
transection throughout the width of the hymen at 6 o’clock. There was also
nodular scarring of the hymen which was gaping (that in itself is not
significant since she was anaesthetised). Also, disruption of the hymenal
margin was noted at 3 o’clock. Both free edges were thickened, and there
was marked attenuation. Things were not quite so straightforward, however,
as they appeared to be.

923. On 16 May Dr San Lazaro was questioned about her findings. In her
police witness statement she purported to record a deep central scar on 12
December 1993. A further lateral indentation was noted at 3 o’clock. This
is to be contrasted with the medical report prepared shortly beforehand
following examination under anaesthetic on 18 November. There the
description was of “at least two deep tears” with accompanying nodular
scarring. She accepted that there were inconsistencies and that she would
do better now, but Miss Page suggested that in 1993 (six years on from
Cleveland) no one could have been in any doubt about the need for
scrupulous care and accuracy in recording findings. This would perhaps be
especially so in the case of criminal proceedings – Child 24 being one of
the indictment children. Dr San Lazaro accepted it was embarrassing to see
errors of this nature.

924. Miss Page submitted that such was the unfortunate state of the
records, coupled with Dr San Lazaro’s lack of objectivity where Shieldfield
was concerned, that I cannot be satisfied that Child 24 did exhibit
diagnostic signs of abuse. I am naturally doubtful, but I believe I should
accept that there was evidence of penetrative damage. I cannot find what it
was exactly, because of Dr San Lazaro’s inconsistent records. But, unless
she imagined or invented the whole thing, it does look as though there was
some scarring. It could just be nodules, but I think scarring seems more
likely. When or how it occurred is quite another matter.

925. She was also asked why she did not take the opportunity while the
child was under anaesthetic to crystallise her findings by photography so
as to record the evidence of penetrative injury. She said it was not
commonly done in those days.

926. Dr Sandra Hewitt described her as showing early and prolonged signs of
traumatic stress behaviour and of unusual sexual behaviour. Professor
Friedrich referred to her ability to demonstrate penetration and other
indications of inappropriate sexual knowledge. There was also the worrying
feature of self-injurious behaviour (biting her arms or scratching her legs
if upset).

927. It seems that her mother first learned of what had happened at
Shieldfield from a friend (“JT”). This led to her questioning Child 24
about Shieldfield on a Bank Holiday at the end of May 1993. She told her
that she knew someone had been “naughty” at the Nursery and it would be all
right to talk to her about it. She went quiet at first and then spoke of
going to a library and a flat with Chris and Dawn. She described Mr Lillie
as wearing boxer shorts, of an old woman with a horrible face and of a dog
called “Shelly”. She mentioned other children being present, whether on
that occasion or on other occasions. Children mentioned were Child 2, Child
8, Child 22 and Child 23.

928. Much weight is attached by Mr Bishop to the fact that Child 24 appears
to have described Mr Lillie’s dog as “cream, brown and black”. There are,
however, a number of factors to be borne in mind:

a) The only dog Mr Lillie was associated with at the relevant time was Miss
Kelly’s. He had only just begun going out with Miss Kelly by July 1992 when
Child 24 passed out of his care, and did not move in with her (and her dog)
until the following December. At the relevant time, he was living in West
Newcastle.

b) The dog was called Ben – not “Shelly”.

c) The dog was essentially black, with brown patches, and a token bit of
cream on the chest (barely visible from photographs).

929. It emerges from Marion Harris’ note of 22 June 1993 that the first
broaching of the subject by the mother went as follows:

“…asking if she remembered and liked Chris and Dawn. Mother said, ‘I know
Chris is a naughty boy, police have got him and he cannot get you’. [Child
24] agreed Chris was naughty – said she sometimes went to the library and
also spoke of going on the bus to a house – there was a dog, possibly
called Shelly …and there were big people and an old woman present. [Child
24] said Chris took his clothes off in front of the other people and
smacked her on the bum – he had no clothes on”.

930. It is to be noted that in this (the earliest) record there is no
mention of boxer shorts. It is recorded also that, apart from being
present, no allegation was made against Dawn Reed. Moreover, it is most
unfortunate that the mother got off on the wrong foot (by Cleveland
standards) by negative stereotyping. I cannot possibly be confident that
the allegation of Mr Lillie taking all his clothes off was volunteered
rather than prompted by a leading question. This child was bombarded by
leading questions that summer (as emerges from the video interviews) and
there is no reason to suppose that the first questioning by the mother was
any exception.

931. It is noteworthy also that the (by no means uncommon) assertions about
the police having “got” him are generally intended as reassurance. Normally
reassurance is required if a child is reluctant or unwilling to say
something. Since this formula was introduced on this occasion, that would
tend to suggest that the child was not willing (at first) to make
allegations.

932. I cannot ignore, either, the evidence that Child 24 did not overlap in
the same room at Shieldfield with Child 8. Moreover, there is no evidence
that Mr Lillie and Miss Reed ever took any children out of the Nursery, on
their own, who were not in their direct care. Child 22 and Child 24 only
overlapped on the 1 and 3 September 1992. Child 23 and Child 24 appear to
have overlapped (if at all) for a maximum of 2 days, but a different two
days (i.e. not 1 and 3 September 1992). It is therefore not a practical
option for those identified children to have gone out on such a trip.

933. Boxer shorts first appear on the records in a police statement of 16
August 1993. The statement appears to be something of an amalgam, however,
as it also has the formulation (already seen in June 1993) that “Chris took
his clothes off in front of other people and smacked her on her bum.”.

934. There is another statement of the mother’s which is of some interest.
This refers to a statement of 25 November 1993, but is itself undated and
unsigned. This gives a different account of how the mother came to learn of
the Shieldfield suspensions: “I found out about the allegations of abuse
through a network of friends originating from information from [the mother
of Child 23]…. I only found out about the allegations in June 1993 and
using my own initiative I contacted the RVI to say my daughter may have
been abused… Social Services only became involved when they were contacted
in turn by Dr Lazaro and I received a visit from Vanessa Lyon alone and it
was after that that my name went on the mailing list and so I was kept
informed about other meetings which were being held. My third complaint
therefore is that Social Services Department took no steps to notify me
that my daughter had been at risk of abuse whilst at the nursery”.

935. This document appears to me to throw doubt on the notion that there
was no scope for cross-contamination of ideas before Child 24’s first
allegations, and also to reduce the likelihood that her allegations were
unprompted, spontaneous and freely volunteered. It is true that the mother
now denies the accuracy of the document, but the doubt remains. I cannot
assume that someone simply made up its contents out of nothing.

936. Her mother took her first to the hospital casualty department and then
social services staff visited her and arranged for an examination by Dr San
Lazaro. There were two video-taped interviews. The first was on 22 June
1993. It is an unfortunate aspect of this interview, as Professor Bruck
pointed out, that the interviewers used the word “naughty” more than 50
times. (I make it a total of 76 times.) All this elicited, however, was an
allegation that, “He smacked my bum”.

937. This is difficult to interpret because on one view a child will
sometimes, in response to pressure and negative stereotyping, come up with
the worst thing he or she can think of (i.e. smacking). On the other hand,
as Professor Bruck acknowledges, children who have been sexually abused
sometimes begin to disclose by reference to physical abuse such as hitting
or smacking.

938. The allegations of sexual abuse came later. Sometimes this can happen
as a result of interviews suggesting such matters or supplying sexual
information to the child. Naturally, however, one is sceptical of such an
attribution in the case of a child with apparently diagnostic physical
findings.

939. I return to the first interview and to other unsatisfactory features
of it. It lasted for an hour and a half (clearly excessive). It also
involved the unacceptable pressure, from one point, of three interviewers
(the police officer, the mother and the friend). The child resisted all
pressures (including the offer of a “McDonald’s”) to “tell” that Chris and
Dawn had done anything “naughty”. The pressure continues despite her claim
to have a headache. The most that emerges is a smack of the “bum”.

940. It has to be remembered that she left the Red Room some nine months
before (aged 3), and that it is by no means entirely clear that she recalls
“Chris and Dawn” as members of staff. In particular, one of the things she
recalls is that “Chris can’t do his laces” (which might suggest that she is
thinking of another child). It is necessary to bear in mind, however, that
another parent suggested that the idea of not being able to do up shoelaces
was a means of belittling Christopher Lillie suggested by Dr San Lazaro,
for the purpose of making him seem less frightening. This is something of a
problem. Not only is it a form of negative stereotyping, but it is
conceivable that it would bring Christopher Lillie to mind artificially
when the child might otherwise have forgotten him to a greater or lesser
extent.

941. There was a ten minute supplemental interview a short while after the
long one concluded (or possibly as a continuation of it). This was
conducted by the mother’s friend. Child 24 seems bored by this time and
only interested in playing. She said, variously, that she was wearing the
same dress as she had on at the interview, that Chris had his clothes on
and that he had them off. Dawn was present when Chris smacked her, but on
this occasion she described the smack as being to the head rather than the
“bum”. She was then released for the “McDonald’s”.

942. A further interview took place on 30 July when Mr Lillie was said to
have poked her in the “bum” and vagina. She linked the incident also to
Child 2, who is said to have been given the same treatment. She also made
the comment that Child 2 would have to come back for interview. That
clearly reveals that some communication had taken place as to what had been
going on. It would be quite unrealistic for me to treat Child 24 as having
been beyond the scope of cross-contamination since 5 February. In the
course of this interview, despite several attempts by Helen Foster to
encourage Child 24 to say differently, she nevertheless said persistently
that when the incident happened she was wearing her dress and knickers.
There then followed a grotesque series of questions by Helen Foster:

“Q: What clothes did he [Chris] have on?

A: Don’t know.

———- —

Q: Have you seen Chris’s willy?

A: No

Q: Have you seen anybody’s?

A: No

—-—-——

Q: Can you tell us what they look like?

A: It looks like a bum

Q: Like a bum?

A: No, fairy

Q: Like a fairy? And have you seen Chris’s?

A: [Non-committal]

Q: And where have you seen Chris’s?

A: Don’t know”.

Despite the child’s negative response the officer persists:

“Q: And when you saw it, what did it look like when you saw Chris’s willy?

A: [No response]

Q: What did Chris’s willy look like?”

A: [No response]

There then follows this sequence:

“Q: [Child 24], when you saw Chris’s willy, was it sticking up like that,
like up to the ceiling or was it pointing down to the floor?

A: Up.

Q: Up? And what else did it look like, apart from pointing up?

A: Bum”.

943. In responding “up”, she was giving the answer she perceived was
required. This was a travesty and was thoroughly irresponsible. It is the
sort of behaviour that can lead to the gravest miscarriages of justice.
Helen Foster persisted and asked the child if anyone else had seen it. She
replied that Child 2 had and, asked if Dawn had also seen it, she assented
to this too. Having badgered the child into apparently assenting to an
erection, she then tries for ejaculation as well. This only results in a
series of quite meaningless answers about black urine.

944. As if this were not bad enough, the mother is then brought in to
participate in the interview and, shortly afterwards, the friend (“JT”).
After a good deal of questioning by the officer, the mother and the friend,
Child 24 is prepared to say (implausibly) that Mr Lillie inserted all his
fingers into her vagina. This resulted from a question by the mother “Did
he use all his fingers?”. Helen Foster then intervened and asked “Did it go
inside?” This brings a nod. She herself had been unsuccessful for well over
a half an hour. The sexual assault allegations she was desperate to extract
only emerged once the mother’s friend came into the room. She got things
moving briskly by asking the child without further ado to show how Chris
had poked her. The mother then elicited the allegation that all his fingers
had been used. One is left with the overall impression that she is going
along with any suggestions put to her (as happened, for example, with Child
27).

945. As so often, when addressing the children’s interviews, I find myself
wondering how the Review Team could conceivably have assured their readers
that there were no leading questions.

946. Both interviews are tainted by the pressure to which the child was
subjected and the “disclosures” elicited appear to be neither consistent
nor freely volunteered. It means that I can give them very little weight.
Furthermore, if all this took place on camera, I can see no reason to have
confidence in the proposition that on earlier unrecorded occasions there
was a scrupulous avoidance of such pressures.

947. There was then an incident on 2 August when the child escorted various
adults to premises to which it was being suggested that she had been taken
for abusive purposes. Vanessa Lyon recorded, “She showed us a flat where
she was taken by the alleged perpetrators”. This led nowhere.

948. The position in relation to Child 24 is especially unsatisfactory. On
the one hand, it looks as though there was evidence at least indicative of
penetrative trauma when she was examined in November 1993 (14 to 16 months
after leaving the Red Room). Yet there are “embarrassing” errors and
inconsistencies which throw the medical findings into a state of
uncertainty. Moreover, the interviewing process was truly hopeless. It is
thus impossible to come to any clear conclusion as to what happened, when
or who (if anyone) was involved. What is clear, however, in my judgment, is
that there was no opportunity for this child to have been taken by Mr
Lillie or Miss Reed to Red Barnes (where the dog lived) as early as July
(or even September) 1992; nor could she have gone on any such trip with
Child 8, Child 22 and Child 23 who were identified by her as having been
present.

Child 25

949. Child 25 is one of the oldest concerned in this litigation. She was
born on 20 December 1986 and attended at Shieldfield between January 1989
and August 1991. In those circumstances, it is not surprising that Mr
Lillie said that he had no recollection of her at all. Although he worked
on a temporary basis for some of the time she was there, any contact would
have been at most sporadic. It does appear, however, that Miss Reed
overlapped with her while in the Red Room. She remembers Child 25 as having
behavioural problems and as being something of a “bull in a china shop”,
but only recalls her in the Baby Room. She thought it highly unlikely that
she or Mr Lillie would ever have been left alone with her.

950. There is no doubt that this child has had a difficult life, to some
extent connected with the fact that her mother suffered from manic
depression. She has herself exhibited extreme behaviour, and was in due
course diagnosed as suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity
disorder. She was also for a long time suffering from vulval soreness and
urinary tract infection. Her problems pre-dated her time at Shieldfield and
also have continued thereafter until the present time. Indeed, at one stage
her father was of the opinion that her extreme behaviour had settled down
as a result of her regular attendance at Shieldfield. It appears that there
came a time when she had to attend Shieldfield more or less daily because
of her mother’s problems. Her father agreed in his evidence on 18 March
that it may very well have been at the time when her mother was admitted to
hospital in March 1989 because she was suicidal and depressed.

951. The father’s attention was drawn to a letter dated 11 July 1989 from
Dr S Wressell, a senior registrar in child psychiatry, who was reporting to
her then GP that she had spoken to Mrs Eyeington at the Day Nursery, who
had in turn described a change in Child 25’s behaviour over the last few
months:

“Initially she was irritable, not very responsive towards adults, had a
short concentration span and would not share toys. She has however, become
much more settled with good relationships with peers and adults and enjoys
appropriate nursery activity. There have been short periods when she has
needed firm supervision because of aggressive behaviour towards other
children. Careful monitoring linked these episodes with either mother’s
hospitalisations or a move of house.”

952. There were episodes during her time at Shieldfield when she was having
trouble with urinary tract infection, because of E-coli, and later the same
year with thrush.

953. It would clearly be a serious mistake to tie in any of child 25’s
extreme behavioural symptoms with sexual abuse at Shieldfield Nursery. It
is true that, when he read of the Shieldfield problems (probably the
criminal proceedings) in the newspapers, her father understandably made a
connection with the benefit of hindsight but, as I have already indicated,
it is impossible to make any such link with confidence because the patterns
of eccentric behaviour seem to have been a regular feature of her life from
a very young age.

954. As for medical findings, Child 25 was seen first by Dr San Lazaro in
July 1994 (almost three years after she left the Nursery). She seems to
have given the child’s mother the impression that there was some evidence
of abuse. Certainly the mother reported to Edna Davis of Barnardo’s that
“Dr Lazaro had found physical evidence that [Child 25] had been sexually
abused”. This must have added greatly to her pre-existing stress and
anxiety. She apparently found labial adhesions and nodular scarring at 11
o’clock. Dr Ward has pointed out that, although Dr San Lazaro’s conclusion
that there was a well healed trauma was reasonable in the light of medical
knowledge at the time, subsequent publications would tend to diminish the
significance of her findings. Furthermore, by the time Dr San Lazaro saw
this child, her mindset had long been fixed along the tramlines that the
mere fact of having been to Shieldfield constituted some evidence of abuse
in itself (as she seemed to admit in relation to Child 6). Her report of 11
July also contains the muddled and uninformative sentence: “Her history of
repeated reviews both by the psychiatrists and with renal problems does
suggest a history which looked at in retrospect is highly suspicious of
repetitive trauma to this little girl”.

955. In any event, it was being noted at least in March 1994, when she was
seven years old, that she was stripping off her clothes in an uninhibited
way in front of people and regularly touching her private parts. Whether
this originated because of her persistent vulval irritation can only be a
matter for speculation, but it cannot be ignored in this context.

956. Against Child 25’s unusual history, it is very difficult to attach
much weight to the opinions expressed by Dr Sandra Hewitt and Professor
Friedrich.

957. Dr Hewitt offered the opinion that:

“The pattern of behaviours in Child 25 strongly indicated that she suffered
trauma as a result of sexual abuse during the period she was in the Red
Room”.

958. Professor Friedrich referred to Child 25 exhibiting self injurious
behaviour, sleep problems and stereotypic drawings that had a strong trauma
link. He added:

“It seems very likely, and is also supported by the medical evidence that
also exists, that Child 25 was severely traumatized as well as sexually
abused while in the care of Lillie and Reed”.

This is yet another of Professor Friedrich’s wild and irresponsible
assertions. The child simply never was in the joint care of Mr Lillie and
Miss Reed. Furthermore, as with Child 10, the diagnosis leaves ADHD totally
out of account.

959. Because they were only disclosed late, I assume that neither of these
experts had the benefit of the child’s medical records. Indeed, Miss Page
herself only obtained them over the weekend immediately prior to the father
giving evidence on 18 March. Those background records clearly put a very
different complexion on the child’s behavioural patterns. Neither of them
was asked in cross-examination about Child 25 or, specifically, as to
whether their opinions would have been revised in the light of the unusual
background. Having seen those experts give evidence, I do not think I would
have found their answers to such questions particularly helpful one way or
the other. In my judgment the background is clearly critical.

960. As to the “stereotypic drawings” referred to by Professor Friedrich,
it is certainly the case that Child 25 seemed to be drawing a great many
clowns at one stage during her life. In particular, it emerged from
Barnardo’s reports dated 3 May 1994 and 20 February 1995 that she appeared
to be drawing clowns frequently for pleasure. The entry on 3 May 1994, for
example, states, “[Child 25] enjoys making things and drawing things –
mainly clowns, people and houses”.

961. It is also clear that she had a fear of monsters for a considerable
period of time. Her psychotherapist, Edna Davis, recorded on 23 February
1996:

“From the beginning [Child 25] made her agenda clear, she was having bad
dreams and was afraid of monsters and wanted to do something about this”.

Indeed, much attention was given during her therapy to helping the child in
“confronting her monsters”. She received assistance from her mother and
sister in doing this. There is, however, no evidence to link this child’s
problems with monsters or her apparent obsession with clowns to either Mr
Lillie or Miss Reed.

962. There is a note from Barnardo’s (Barbara McKay) recording the meeting
of 3 May 1994 between herself, Edna Davis, Marion Harris and Child 25’s
mother, in which it is observed that the mother “explained that [Child 25]
has not actually disclosed sexual abuse”. There is a further note of Edna
Davis dated 26 January 1995, in which she summarises the play therapy
undertaken to that date with Child 25. The conclusion is recorded as
follows:

“While [Child 25] has been unable to talk about what has happened to her;
possibly for fear that her mother will die; [Child 25] has shared a good
deal with me. It is clear to me that [Child 25] was traumatised, this
together with Dr Lazaro’s findings leave me in no doubt that [Child 25] has
been sexually abused”.

963. It does seem, however, clear that there is no unequivocal statement of
abuse by Child 25 that can be attributed to Christopher Lillie or Dawn
Reed. The adverse conclusions drawn by experts so far appear to be based on
behaviour, which is much more likely to be explained by the other factors I
have mentioned. The case provides a vivid warning about jumping to
conclusions on an incomplete story.

964. By the end of the trial Child 25 had been placed last in the Review
Team’s list on the basis that she represented their weakest case. That is
perhaps not surprising, but she remained in contention to the bitter end.
She was never withdrawn. What is said is that:

“Clearly the evidence in relation to this child cannot alone result in a
finding of sexual abuse against Ms Reed or Mr Lillie. However, the medical
findings, coupled with the fears and behavioural deterioration of Child 25
whilst at Shieldfield … and the fact that because of the hours she kept at
the nursery Mr Lillie and Ms Reed would have had access to her even though
she was not officially under their care, in the context of the totality of
the evidence of the children, makes it [sic] more likely than not that
Child 25 was sexually abused at Shieldfield, and was abused by Christopher
Lillie and or Dawn Reed”.

965. Resort to the concept of “the totality of the evidence” illustrates
the backs to the wall nature of the case. What is perhaps the most
unpleasant aspect of it, in the light of the mother’s background, is
expressed in the following submission:

“Child 25 makes very limited verbal disclosures, the common theme of which
appears to be that she was threatened with the death of her mother. Given
her mother’s obvious fragile mental state it is not surprising that this
threat was more effective in silencing Child 25 than other children in the
case”.

966. During a therapy play session in 1994 it was recorded:

“At one point [Child 25] told her mother, Barbara and I that someone had
told her … when she was a baby at school that if she didn’t do what they
wanted her mam would die. [Child 25] told us that she didn’t do what she
wanted. [Child 25] didn’t tell us who this person was.”

967. I believe I am being invited to infer from this material that Miss
Reed tried to abuse her and threatened that her mother would die, but it
would appear from the statement that no abuse actually took place.

968. Reliance is also placed on a Social Services diary sheet entry of 29
June 1994 (reporting a phone call from “Alison”) to the effect that Child
25 had said in play therapy “that she is frightened that if she says
anything her mum will die and talks about being hurt by Chris and Dawn”.
These are described as the “key disclosures”, but play therapy disclosures
are notoriously unreliable and I cannot possibly have confidence that
“Chris and Dawn” were mentioned as a duo entirely spontaneously. That is
particularly so in the case of a child who never experienced them as a pair
at all. It is much more likely to have been suggested in some way.

Child 26

969. Child 26 was born on 11 November 1990. She began at Shieldfield in the
Baby Room on 26 February 1992 and, after three introductory visits, moved
to the Red Room on 26 November 1992. She remained there until the
suspensions and beyond, finally leaving the Nursery in November 1993. It is
obvious that she was therefore in and around Shieldfield following the
suspensions and during the period of anxiety and rumour. (Somewhat
confusingly, perhaps, she had a brother called “Chris”.)

970. It was against that background that her grandmother spotted her (in
September) bouncing a teddy bear between her legs. The grandmother
questioned her about this (in what terms is unclear) and the child said
words to the effect “tickle, tickle here”, while pointing to her vagina.
She was asked who had “done that” to her (certain obvious assumptions being
made), and she replied “Chris and Dawn”. Up to this time, according to Dr
Ward, there was no history of disclosure, physical symptoms or behavioural
disturbance. Dr Hewitt describes the record as “sparse”. Once, however,
behaviours began to be recorded, she was prepared to classify them as
associated with traumatic stress. I have referred already to the logical
flaws in this process when summarising the evidence of Dr Cameron, but in
any event Dr Hewitt was prepared to make the leap and to conclude that “the
pattern of behaviours indicates that Child 26 suffered trauma in the Red
Room”. This is one of a number of conclusions that look remarkably positive
for a witness who denied that she was in a position to make any diagnosis.

971. This child (or at least someone with the same first name) was
mentioned by Child 6 as having been present when her “Jenny” was smacked by
Dawn with a spoon. It is certainly the case that the two children
overlapped in the Red Room from January 1993. Child 26 herself, however,
does not mention any other child as having been involved in abuse.

972. In her medical report, Dr San Lazaro claimed that Child 26 during
interview on 1 October 1993 “pointed to the vaginal and anal area and said
that she had been hurt there by Chris”. The actual notes of the interview,
however, do not record that any identified person (let alone Mr Lillie) had
been responsible for hurting her. Had the child identified Mr Lillie, it
would have been her first “disclosure” of an indecent assault by him and,
therefore, vital to record at the time. So much is elementary.

973. Dr San Lazaro’s evidence on this (on 16 May) was, “I am not sure that
everything that she said was recorded. I cannot be sure with this passage
of time about the accuracy. I cannot be sure of whether something is
missing or not”.

974. Miss Page asked her to explain whether the inconsistency was just
“appalling sloppiness” or “mischievous embroidery”. She said that she would
not have reported something the child did not say but that her records were
“less than adequate”. Unfortunately, that will not do. There are too many
other examples of “embroidery”. It may be that she honestly believed what
she wrote at the time she wrote it. From my point of view, however, that
makes little difference. For whatever reason, she just cannot be relied
upon to provide reliable data for the experts to interpret.

975. Another allegation in her report of 8 October was that the child had
“also mentioned being taken to another house from the school”. It purports
to record a disclosure from the child going to an important part of the
Review Team’s defence of justification. I asked Dr San Lazaro where this
came from. Her only reply was, “I am afraid that might not be in my notes
as well”. In other words, it is impossible to say whether the child said
this to Dr San Lazaro, or a parent reported the child as earlier making
some such claim, or whether it is simply another example of the doctor’s
“beefing up” her reports as a creative “advocate”.

976. Miss Page turned to the physical findings. The report referred to an
“awkward shaped hymen”. She naturally asked Dr San Lazaro if this was
merely a mis-transcription in the process of dictation and whether it
should actually read as “orchid shaped”. At first the witness denied this.
She said it reflected “a hymen which was not smooth and crescentic but was,
in a sense, angulated” When it was pointed out that she had actually ticked
a box for “orchid shaped”, she then accepted that this was how the report
should read. That would mean, she said:

“That is crescentic – that there was enough redundancy to produce material
which was proud of the hymen. I cannot describe it. It is a hymen which has
not become so atrophic that its outer edge is clearly defined as crescentic
or annular. It means it ascends as a sleeve.”

977. The significance of this was the need to try to understand which she
had found and in precisely which location. She described “nodular scarring
and disruption at the left anterior edge at around the 3 o’clock position”.
The drawing she had made was similar to that for Child 21. Miss Page
suggested that they could both be described as a “squiggle at 1 o’clock”.
In the case of a crescentic hymen, notches are apparently quite common in
the “horns” of the crescent (i.e. at about 11 o’clock and 1 o’clock). That
is an important piece of information because a disruption at either of
those points could be perfectly normal. Also, as Dr Watkeys confirmed,
notches and indentations can be confused with tears.

978. The position remains unclear. Nevertheless, at the time the doctor was
prepared to conclude that some penetrative damage had occurred to the
hymen, supportive of the intrusion of a finger. It is impossible to be sure
about this. I am inclined to think that this was over-interpretation of a
nodule or notch.

979. Another difficult problem is that she recorded “swelling/redness ++”.
If there was swelling, this would positively suggest a need to eliminate
the possibility of ongoing abuse. There had been no opportunity for Mr
Lillie or Miss Reed to interfere with her for many months. It would be a
reasonable interpretation of her notes that there had indeed been swelling
(as opposed to simply redness). Dr San Lazaro, however, thought she had
probably simply intended to record redness and had forgotten to cross out
“swelling”. We cannot now tell. If there was redness alone (even “++”),
this could have a quite innocent explanation. It is to be noted that she
had earlier that summer been taken to her GP with genital soreness and
urinary symptoms.

980. Child 26 was one of those who dropped out of the case on 13 May when
the plea of justification was withdrawn (with the usual costs consequences).

Child 27

981. Child 27 was born on 20 February 1990 and began at Shieldfield on 18
November 1991 in the Orange Room but under the care of Mr Lillie and Miss
Reed. He moved with them to the Red Room on 2 March 1992. He moved on in
mid-November 1992 and left Shieldfield altogether in July 1993. Mr Lillie
had no recollection of him.

982. He was not examined by Dr San Lazaro but by Dr Steele. She found no
diagnostic signs of physical abuse, but as Dr Ward points out this does not
exclude the possibility. She also referred to behavioural problems such as
chronic soiling and enuresis, as well as disruptive and challenging
behaviour. She fairly made the point, however, that these could have been
related to problems within the family. There was regular violence in the
home, for example, but the mother made clear that, even though his father
was “quite nasty” to him, he would “never have physically hit him”.

983. The Defendants make no allegation against Miss Reed in relation to
this child, but she has a clear recollection of him because he would just
stand and wet himself or dirty himself where he stood. She had to sluice
him down on one occasion in a bath on the Nursery premises. She described
in evidence how she always thought he was crying out for something, but she
did not know what it was.

984. One of the points made on the Defendants’ behalf is that the
“sluicing” of Child 27 did not find its way into the Day Book. I am invited
to take that into account in the context of the Day Books being incomplete.
There is no doubt of that. On many occasions the Day Books are brief and
uninformative.

985. The principal focus of the Defendants was the child’s limited verbal
accounts to his mother (not recorded on video). The first allegation seems
to have been in August 1993 just after leaving Shieldfield. He was
apparently referring back at least nine months to the period when he was
aged between 21 and 33 months old. What he said was that “Chris” had
flicked his “bum” with his fingers and turned his penis round with his
hand. Later the same month he repeated the allegation, and said that he did
not like “Chris”. He also placed the incident in someone’s room who might
have been either “Diane” or “Dawn”. It is difficult to know what to make of
this, bearing in mind the long gap and questionable reliability of a
child’s memory over such a period.

986. Moreover, the nature of the allegations cannot necessarily be
characterised as sexual. As with several of the children, it is essential
to remember that Mr Lillie and Miss Reed would have had legitimate and
routine reasons for touching the children in the genital and perineal
region – especially having regard to his incontinence. The boy had, of
course, been in the Yellow Room during the Spring and Summer of 1993 when
parents and children were anxiously concentrating on the subject of sexual
abuse. It is not therefore possible to attach with confidence the sinister
significance to his remarks which they might merit if taken in isolation.
Professor Bruck made the important point that sometimes, with statements
that adults “imbue with a lot of meaning”, it takes “a very skilled
interviewer” to follow up and to try to understand exactly what the child
is saying. That was, of course, not available in the present case.

987. Child 27’s mother gave evidence on 12 March. She was a calm and quiet
witness—so quiet in fact that she had to be positioned in the well of the
court in front of counsel so that they could hear what she was saying. Her
evidence was low-key and straightforward. She said that the child was
wetting and soiling himself every day when he first went to the Nursery and
that she regularly had to bring back dirty clothes. There was one occasion
when Dawn Reed told her that “he needs a good smack” (although Miss Reed
does not accept that she would have said that). After a few weeks he began
screaming and crying when he went to the Nursery, and so she decided to
“put him in full-time thinking he would settle”. He had always been a bad
sleeper but the problem worsened while he was at Shieldfield. There was
also “a chronic problem of aggression to his peers”. (He had, for example,
hit his brother over the head with a hammer.) There was in addition a
speech development problem, for which he was receiving help from a speech
therapist at the Nursery and which was being monitored while he was in the
Red Room. She remembered the meeting at which parents were told that a
member of staff had been suspended because of allegations of child abuse.
She was naturally shocked.

988. When the child began to talk about the Nursery some time later, “he
was pushing on the thigh of his leg saying he was doing that to my bum”.

989. There were clearly elements of fantasy in what the child had said to
his mother. For example, he told her that he had been to Mr Lillie’s
mother’s house, that she now lived in London and that she “had a green
budgie”. Mr Lillie’s mother had, of course, died many years ago. One could
no doubt go through a speculative exercise of constructing an alternative
scenario; for example, that he had been taken to someone else’s house and
abused there (with or without a budgerigar). But it would not be evidence.

990. The child said that the house was in the Battlefield area near St.
Dominic’s (close to Red Barns), but once again it is necessary to recall
that the child left Mr Lillie’s care before he moved to Red Barns (albeit
only a few weeks before).

991. He appears to have alleged to his mother that Mr Lillie ejaculated
over his stomach, but the court has to be wary in receiving such
information from an anxious parent because of the possible overlay of
interpretation based on adult experience. Nor does one have the full
context of the conversation and how the allegation came to be made. He also
alleged that “red stuff – he thought it must have been blood – came out of
his own”.

992. A particular problem so far as this child’s disclosures are concerned
is how they came to be elicited. It appears that in August 1993, on first
contact with Social Services, Kulvinder Chohan and Julie Kinghorn were
advising her to question him “about whether he had been upset or hurt by
anybody”. Unfortunately, his mother has no clear recollection of how she or
her mother questioned the boy.

993. A potentially significant entry in the Red Room Day Book for 28
October 1992 was made by Dawn Reed. She recorded that Child 27 was tearful
while being changed after he soiled his pants. She noted redness around the
anus and asked if he was sore. She then noted “Tears came down [Child 27’s]
face. There did not appear to be a reason for this”. I do not believe that
this was a cunning double bluff on Dawn Reed’s part to divert attention
from her abuse of the child. The mother also gave evidence about an
occasion when he had a sore bottom and said that after she heard about the
allegations in the Spring of 1993, “It all fitted in”. It appears, however,
that her own mother had raised the possibility of abuse earlier because of
the sore bottom: “She like wondered to herself if anything could have been
done to him, but she thought it couldn’t because he was in the nursery and
like – and he was only like in her care, my care and the nursery’s care”.
This conversation may be one reason why with the benefit of hindsight the
child’s mother thought it “all fitted in”.

994. At about the same time, after the rumours of child abuse began doing
the rounds at Shieldfield, her then husband (whom she had married in 1992)
took to drink. “He was drunk continuously 24 hours a day … and he was
overdosing”. She said that during this period “he was nasty to all my
kids”. Later in 1993 the mother and children left him and went to a refuge.
This is an especially sad example of the fallout from the Shieldfield
“scandal” if the mother’s evidence is correct (and I have no reason to
doubt it). The husband had himself been abused in care and began drinking
because he could not cope with the possibility that his own son had been
abused. Things went from bad to worse, the marriage broke up and eventually
the husband died in January 2001.

995. Given this very distressing background, it is worthy of note that Dr
Steele recorded her thoughts as follows on 12 August 1993: “I have little
doubt that [Child 27] has suffered sexual abuse whilst in the care of the
male nursery worker under investigation despite the lack of clear physical
signs”. It is unfortunate that she should have leapt to such a conclusion
without taking full account of the other seriously disturbing features of
the child’s life that could account for the symptoms on which she based her
judgment. She actually went on to say, “However, it is difficult to assess
how much of his behaviour is due to this and how much is due to
considerable problems within his family”. The Defendants are now prepared
to acknowledge that one explanation for Child 27’s behaviour might be the
family situation, but they draw attention to the possibility that children
with problem families are targeted by paedophiles who hope that unusual
behaviour will be put down to the domestic situation. In this case,
however, the bulk of those problems post-dated the Claimants’ suspensions
from Shieldfield and the explanation thus carries little conviction.
Indeed, the boy had left the Red Room six months before that. His father’s
drinking and violence largely stemmed from the sex abuse allegations.

996. We all watched the video interview with Child 27 on 11 April in the
presence of Professors Bruck and Friedrich and Dr Cameron. It yielded
nothing at all. Professor Bruck described the boy as “catatonic” for a
large part of the interview. Julie Kinghorn was supposed to be the
interviewer but she handed over to the mother until she re-entered the room
and terminated the process altogether. She explained that she was doing so
because the stage had been reached where he was simply saying “yes” to
everything he was asked. So far as I have observed, that is the only
example of a police officer recognising this hazard and acting on it. It
illustrates, of course, the fundamental difficulty about the Shieldfield
interviews as a whole. How is one supposed to distinguish between a genuine
allegation and a child saying “yes” for the sake of a quiet life? The short
answer is that in the absence of corroboration one cannot.

Child 28

997. Child 28 was born on 25 February 1991 and joined Shieldfield in June
1992. She first entered the Baby Room and joined the Red Room in January
1993. She left the Nursery finally on 29 July 1994. Her parents both gave
evidence on 25 March. The mother told me that she had settled in well after
about two weeks in the Baby Room but shortly after going into the Red Room
she became “clingy”.

998. The first symptom she noticed was sleep disturbance; she wanted to
come into her parents’ bed. But this she placed in mid-1993. She also
noticed masturbation and Child 28 from time to time was observed trying to
insert beads from one of her games into her vagina. Other behavioural
factors referred to were aggression and excessive wetting.

999. There is no video-taped interview in the case of Child 28 and I am
left therefore with behaviour and statements as reported by others. It is
necessary to be cautious in both these categories of evidence as to when
things occurred and whether there were other aspects of the child’s
circumstances at the relevant times to contribute to them.

1000. The mother was quite agitated and anxious in giving her evidence.
This unfortunate history has clearly had a considerable impact on her, as
it has in various ways on most of the parents. Understandably so. Two of
her suggestions from the witness box suggest that these anxieties may have
taken their toll in distorting her perceptions. First, she alleged that Mr
Lillie and Miss Reed used to tranquillise her daughter for the purpose of
sexual abuse and, indeed, that there were times when she noticed that she
was still tranquillised when she picked her up from the Nursery (although
she appears to have done nothing about it at the time). She referred also
to a reluctance to go in a bath in February 1995, and this she attributes
to Mr Lillie and Miss Reed having given her cold baths to rouse her from
the effects of their tranquillisers.

1001. The second particularly striking suggestion, when she was being asked
about the Red Room Day Books, was that they are simply not to be relied
upon because they are later forgeries. The implication seems to be that
Dawn Reed wrote them up after her suspension either for the first time or
as substitutes for the originals. Either way this highly unlikely scenario
would require the active co-operation of other members of staff in the wake
of the suspensions. I can give no weight at all to this proposition.

1002. This is a case in which worrying “disclosures” from the child were
made much later which are now relied upon as accurate. It is necessary to
approach them with caution as some of them seem to have been triggered by
therapy. This was because of a referral by Dr San Lazaro on 18 October 1994
– for the very reason that the child had made no allegations. As the
Cleveland Report makes clear, such material can often be misleading. In
March 1995, for example, the child referred to being kicked downstairs by
“Daddy”. This is two years after the suspensions. It is suggested that it
cannot relate to the child’s father, and is in that respect unreliable. I
am quite prepared to accept that. But I do not see why I should convert it
into an allegation about Mr Lillie. If the statement is unreliable, it
cannot be given weight for any purpose.

1003. It is important to have regard to such contemporaneous material as
remains available. On 13 October 1994 the mother’s account was that Child
28 had enjoyed attending Nursery throughout. She also recorded that there
was only one aspect of her behaviour that caused her concern while she was
in the Red Room and that was masturbation. What she now says is that there
were “so many symptoms”. She relates how the child became clingy and
distressed after going into the Red Room, but that was not the
contemporaneous account.

1004. The medical findings were explored on 16 May with Dr San Lazaro. She
was examined in October 1994 (some 18 months after Christopher Lillie was
suspended). She appeared to have recorded a complete linear scar at the 5
o’clock position, but went on to attribute what she saw to a “previous
transection”. She said it was “well healed” and that “in months to come it
will probably not be visible”. There is a degree of subjective
interpretation about this, as to which I have to be wary in respect of Dr
San Lazaro. She would know of the lapse of time since the child had last
been in contact with Mr Lillie and Miss Reed. This could well have played a
part in her deciding that what she was looking at was a “well healed” scar.

1005. I have to be particularly cautious in the light of her claim that it
would probably in future not be visible. Miss Page put to her that a
complete transection would never heal to obscurity. This was on the
instructions of Dr Watkeys. Dr San Lazaro would not give a straight answer.
She said, first, “I believe that certain types of injuries to the hymen can
heal to obscurity” but was pressed further and was prepared to say, “I
think that a complete transection in a pre-pubescent girl can heal to
disappearance”. In so far as Dr Watkeys differs on that important
proposition, I prefer without hesitation the evidence of Dr Watkeys. The
possibility thus begins to emerge that what Dr San Lazaro actually saw was
not evidence of transection at all, nor a scar, but a natural linear
indentation.

1006. The holistic approach led Dr San Lazaro to assert boldly that Child
28 had unequivocal signs of penetration to the hymen; that a considerable
time had elapsed since the incident; and that there was no suggestion of
ongoing trauma to her. The whole description is coloured by her assumption
that the child had been penetrated by Christopher Lillie at least 18 months
earlier. In other words, she starts off with the presumption of what her
evidence is adduced to prove. Even Dr San Lazaro accepted that it is
impossible to age any lesion and that the timing of a penetrative injury
would have to depend on history rather than clinical findings.

1007. She readily concluded in her “Medical Evaluation and Opinion” that
there had been “gross exposure to multiple abusers”. This was four months
after Mr Lillie and Miss Reed had been acquitted of the criminal charges.
There was a total lack of professional objectivity.

Child 29

1008. Child 29 was born on 13 March 1990. She began at Shieldfield in the
Baby Room on 19 March 1992 and moved to the Red Room in the care of Mr
Lillie and Miss Reed on 19 June 1992. She left at just under three years of
age on 26 February 1993 for financial reasons. There was no oral disclosure
of sexual abuse on her part and no video interview. The matters relied upon
by the Defendants relate mainly to behaviour.

1009. She was examined by Dr San Lazaro on 26 October 1993, who found
nothing diagnostic of sexual abuse. There was, however, at the 5 o’clock
position some degree of hymenal distortion, together with thickening,
adhesions and altered vascularity. Dr San Lazaro considered the possibility
of these findings relating to something congenital but thought that past
trauma was the more likely explanation. The reason the child’s mother was
given for this was a non-medical one, namely that Child 29 had been under
the care of Mr Lillie and Miss Reed. This provides a further clear warning
about Dr San Lazaro’s objectivity. Dr Ward pointed out that a report by
Berenson in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 2000, 182:
820–834, has suggested that notches and altered vascularity are no more
common in abused that in non-abused children.

1010. The mother of Child 29 gave evidence on 25 March. (By coincidence she
also happens to be stepmother to Child 18.) Miss Page in cross-examination
invited her to consider the fact that in October 1992 her partner had moved
in to live with them and that, for the first time, Child 29 found herself
(aged two and a half) having to share her mother’s attention with someone
else. The child within a couple of days showed aversion to the partner. The
mother admitted that she originally put this down to natural jealousy. She
may well have been right to do so.

1011. One of the main behavioural symptoms relied upon was regression in
bladder control. There was regular daytime wetting and also at night. This
was challenged by Miss Page by reference to the Red Room Day Book. As in
some other cases, this mother would not accept these as an accurate record
and she preferred her own recollection that the day time wetting became a
regular feature in the Red Room, and it required her to supply extra pairs
of knickers. It was virtually an everyday occurrence, she believed.

1012. She went so far as to suggest that Christopher Lillie had written the
records up after her daughter’s departure (presumably therefore at some
point between 26 February and 16 April 1993). The theory presumably is
that, in order to disguise what he must have known were symptoms of his
abuse of Child 29, he deliberately wrote a false record to downplay the
wetting. That is altogether fanciful. It would have been difficult to
achieve without the connivance of management at the Nursery and, in any
event, it does not accord with the general pattern of Day Book entries,
whereby neither Christopher Lillie nor Dawn Reed was reticent about
entering details of wetting and the need for changed clothes.

1013. Miss Page also suggested that hindsight had influenced her thinking
on the matter. The mother told me that she had been on courses about child
abuse over the intervening years in order to be able to offer her daughter
support. That is, of course, one factor that could have enabled her to
attach a different significance to earlier patterns of behaviour. Miss Page
drew attention to another contemporaneous record, namely the notes of a
meeting with Kulvinder Chohan dated 4 November 1993 when she had actually
told her that Child 29 had liked her time at Shieldfield and, indeed, on
some occasions had proved reluctant to leave. She talked in a positive way
about Mr Lillie and Miss Reed after she had left, and on one occasion
actually went back to pay them a visit.

1014. Another aspect of the child’s behaviour thought to be significant is
that she came to show a fear of clowns. Her mother said that she had been
to a circus in April or May 1992 when she had seen clowns without any
adverse reaction. But, later that year, it seems she developed a phobia
which meant that she would not go near them. It is difficult to assess
this, since one has no idea how often or in what circumstances the child
would have encountered clowns. It is a recurring theme in this case, and so
far as some children are concerned it seemed to focus on what happened at
Child 22’s birthday party in November 1992. So far as I am aware, however,
Child 29 did not attend. There was an occasion when she said that Chris had
“put a clown to the window” but it conveys nothing significant to me or, so
far as I can gather, to her mother or anyone else. In these circumstances,
I cannot draw any inference adverse to Mr Lillie. There is no evidence that
he ever dressed as a clown, still less that he did so in circumstances
involving abuse. The mother attached significance to this issue because Dr
San Lazaro told her that other Shieldfield children had similar fears. Once
again, Dr San Lazaro is stepping outside her purely professional role and
contributing to the general dynamic of the Shieldfield “scandal”.

1015. Child 29 is also said to have developed an aversion to men in beards
and was frightened at Santa’s grotto in 1992. Her mother was under the
impression that Mr Lillie had dressed up as Santa Claus for Christmas 1992.
Others too have spoken of children being frightened of Santa Claus at
various stages. This may be connected with the fact that some press
coverage referred to Mr Lillie dressing up as Santa Claus or included
photographs of someone dressed up as Santa Claus under the false impression
that they were of him. In fact, he never did so. She also said that there
was some point (presumably between June 1992 and February 1993) when Mr
Lillie grew a beard. I am not aware of any other evidence about this. In
any event, none of this takes matters any further so far as sexual abuse is
concerned.

1016. Reference was made to Child 29 having drawn children with sellotape
over their mouths. Her mother was asked what significance she attached to
this in the context of the present case. She did not attach any
significance to it. Accordingly, I do not propose to do so either.

1017. Apparently, on 8 February 1994, a psychotherapist called Dr McArdle
expressed the view that Child 29 might have been physically assaulted
rather than sexually. She had at some stage alleged that Miss Reed had
smacked her. This does not square with the account given to Kulvinder
Chohan as to the child having enjoyed her time at the Nursery and being
keen to go back. In any case, it is quite apparent to me that it would be
contrary to Miss Reed’s nature to smack or hurt a child. She told me on
several occasions, with some feeling, that she had never smacked a child. I
believe her. Moreover, it was so contrary to the practice and culture at
the Nursery that I do not believe it would have gone unnoticed. None of her
colleagues has suggested anything violent in her behaviour towards
children. Indeed, the picture I have from the evidence is that she was a
very calm even-tempered person.

1018. Other familiar Shieldfield themes were mentioned in the case of Child
29 too. There was a strong dislike of lifts, for example. Whereas the child
had got into a lift without any trouble when she was two and a half years
old (which would be September 1992), her mother later had to drag her into
a lift to get her to the dentist. I have to ask myself whether it is more
rational to explain this by positing that she had been taken by Mr Lillie
and Miss Reed to some unidentified block of flats for sexual abuse, and
acquired her dislike of lifts for that reason (on an unspecified date or
dates between September 1992 and February 1993), or by concluding that she
did not want to go to the dentist. In the state of the evidence before me,
I would think the latter the more plausible explanation. But what matters
is that her fear of lifts, taken by itself, does not provide me with
evidence of sexual abuse against either of the Claimants.

1019. Yet again, the subject of injections cropped up. Child 29 is said to
have a fear of injections. When she was given a pre-school booster at the
age of four (i.e. some time after March 1994) she “flipped”. Again,
however, this does not provide me with evidence of sexual abuse in itself.
If there were evidence, in other cases, of the Claimants injecting children
to facilitate sexual abuse, it would be easier to infer something
comparably sinister for Child 29. But the scenario has simply not been
proved. I was told by Dr Cameron that it is commonplace in young children
to react strongly against needles, syringes and injections. He also told me
that there are valium-based drugs which can be used to enable a doctor (or
indeed anyone else) to carry out painful or intrusive procedures on
patients without their being aware of it, at the time or later. He entered
the important caveat, however, that the administration of such drugs
requires skill and, what is more, it would very difficult to use such drugs
in the case of a small child because the dose would be so difficult to
judge. Either it would be too low, and would have no effect, or too high
and the child might die. This evidence was unchallenged. Such drugs could
only be available over the counter on prescription or, presumably, from
some illicit source. Police inquiries threw up not a scintilla of evidence
to support this sinister hypothesis.

Child 30

1020. Child 30 was born on 26 September 1990. He began at Shieldfield at
under two and a half years of age in January 1993. He was in the joint care
of Mr Lillie and Miss Reed until the suspensions. He left the Nursery
altogether in January 1994. I understand that he normally attended no more
than one day a week. He usually attended roughly from 9.30 a.m. to 2.30 or
3.30 p.m. Miss Page put to the mother that he attended nine such sessions
only prior to Mr Lillie’s suspension when he was present, and she did not
demur. Those dates were as follows: 11, 18, 25 January ; 1 and 15 February;
15, 22 and 29 March; 5 April 1993.

1021. When examined by Dr San Lazaro on 11 June 1993 she found nothing
diagnostic of sexual abuse. Such anal characteristics as she found were
non-specific (flattening of the skin folds and pigmentation). Dr Ward,
therefore, emphasised that it was important to take account of the whole
picture. She, together with Professor Friedrich and Dr Hewitt, consider
that his sexualised and self-injurious behaviour do point to a probability
of sexual abuse in the Red Room.

1022. Here is another child who is said (like Child 10 and Child 22) to
have been tied up and had knives put in his bottom. It was also suggested
(to his mother on 31 October 1993) that “they” poked his eyes with their
fingers and banged his head with both hands. Doing something to the eyes is
an allegation raised also in connection with Child 7. I was told that two
of the mothers with whom Dr San Lazaro was in regular telephone contact
were those of Child 7 and Child 30 (see paragraph 670 above). Whether there
is any connection I have no idea, but it is clear that unfortunately Dr San
Lazaro was not averse to passing on allegations between parents (see e.g.
Child 29). The mother has a diary entry for 11 July 1993 to the effect that
Dr San Lazaro had phoned and “no bones about it – something has happened”.

1023. Child 30 was interviewed on 28 July 1993 (shortly after the arrests
in respect of Child 23). There was nothing revealed about Mr Lillie or Miss
Reed. He was even contradictory as to whether he recalled them at all,
although it would be surprising if he had forgotten them altogether after
three months. He declined to say that “Chris” had ever done anything
“nasty” or that he “didn’t like”. When he was asked if he liked “Chris” at
one point, he said “no”. But it appeared that he did not like his current
teacher (Catherine) either. The interview amounts to precisely nothing.

1024. In November 1993, he said he had been locked in cupboards, and
mentioned a white ambulance and a bed being cranked up. Mr Bishop suggested
in cross-examination that perhaps there had been a hospital bed, capable of
adjustment, on the floor above the Shieldfield Nursery but that led
nowhere. It may conceivably be relevant that Dr San Lazaro has an
adjustable bed for examinations in the Lindisfarne suite. She described
this in her evidence on 13 May. Of course, I cannot conclude that this is
what the child had in mind, but it is at least something from his direct
experience rather than deriving from a speculative scenario.

1025. On 30 November 1993, a number of striking allegations were made to
his mother, including that “Chris and Dawn go like a fish”. He claimed to
have blown a raspberry on Mr Lillie’s private parts. That is clearly a
potentially important allegation. He is also said to have “proffered” his
bottom to his mother (a phrase used by Professor Friedrich in relation to
Child 1). That is much less specific and any significance it may have
depends so much on context (as with Child 1). There was apparently an
occasion when his mother threatened to spank him and he backed away with
the words, “No, no smacking bum, bum” – I do not find that either
surprising or sinister. Marion Harris was told about this by the mother on
22 June 1993.

1026. There are other troubling behaviour traits, in particular an unusual
focus on his own genitals including apparently smacking himself in that
region. He is also said to have put his finger in his brother’s bottom and
to have reported crayons being inserted in his own anus. However equivocal
some of the other children’s behaviour may have been, this child does
appear to have been exhibiting behaviour that can be described as
“sexualised”. Dr Hewitt described the quality of the behaviours she had
seen as “significant and atypical”.

1027. His mother gave evidence on 25 April. She was asked about Child 32
whose mother had been a friend of hers at that time. This was because Child
30 mentioned that child as having been present when he was taken somewhere
in a white ambulance. He said that “they” hurt Child 32. In testing the
plausibility of any such scenario, Miss Page pointed out that the two
children overlapped in the Red Room only on 15, 22 and 29 March and on 5
April. If there were any opportunity for them both to be taken out by Mr
Lillie in a white ambulance (an inherently unlikely occurrence in any
case), it would have to have occurred on one of those days. There is
nothing to corroborate it whatever. It is, however, necessary to bear in
mind that the two children did spend a good deal more time together after
the suspensions (during the time Newcastle had become a “rumour mill”, as
it was put to Professor Barker on 17 May). By now, the phenomenon is
familiar of children “disclosing” stories involving their current or most
recent companions but not necessarily grounded in reality.

1028. The mother of Child 30 was one of those who were told by Dr San
Lazaro that her son had a streptococcal infection that was very rarely
found. There is no reason whatever to suppose that it was indicative of
sexual transmission. Apparently Dr San Lazaro did not tell her that it was,
but instead of putting her mind at rest she left the information hanging in
the air as a source of anxiety. Moreover, in January 1996 the mother was
clearly linking the infection with abuse at Shieldfield in the course of
her interviews with the Review Team. She said that he had suffered
physically from a bleeding bottom as well as a lot of stress.

1029. It is perhaps also relevant to note that Child 30 had been attached
to Christopher Lillie and tended to call him “Daddy”, as he did most men
with whom he came into contact.

1030. The mother said she was aware of the possibility of sexual abuse, not
least through having done a certificate of education herself. She regarded
the extent and nature of her son’s unusual behaviours as indicative of some
form of trauma. An example she gave is of going on a holiday in the Lake
District in April 1993 when the child checked in all the cupboards. There
was also a later incident recorded in her personal notes in June 1993 when
the child was upset at a story in which a bear was shut in a cupboard. I do
not find it possible, however, to conclude from these incidents that they
show that Dawn Reed had shut him in a cupboard as part of a pattern of
abuse.

1031. The child also reacted adversely on different occasions to the noise
from a fizzy drinks machine and from a pneumatic drill. Not in itself
significant, but I believe I am being asked to infer that this is
consistent with one or other of the Claimants having used a vibrator in his
presence. There is no conceivable evidential basis for doing so.

1032. Like other parents, this mother went through great stress and anxiety
during 1993 and later. It is entirely understandable. She recorded as much
in her diary, for example on 28 July 1993. It seems that little was done to
put her mind at rest. On the contrary, there was a general tendency towards
raising awareness of child abuse. By 21 October 1993, she was meeting
Marietta Higgs through a parent from the Jason Dabbs nursery. In 1995 she
attended the Nursery Crimes Conference addressed by Mrs Saradjian.

1033. There was a sore anus on 14 September 1993. There was a reference by
the child to a knife in the bottom. As experts have pointed out, however,
children at that age may describe a soreness in the bottom as being like a
knife. The expression is not necessarily to be taken literally. Miss Page
pointed out that it appeared that he might have been suffering from worms
at the time. There was also a reference to knives on 29 October 1993.

Child 31

1034. Child 31 is the youngest of the children, having been born on 7
September 1992. She attended in the Baby Room, two days a week, from the
age of five months until she was eighteen months old. Because of her
immaturity, there is virtually no verbal disclosure and certainly no video
interview. The evidence relied upon is partly behavioural and partly
medical findings, the significance of which was fundamentally disputed by
the experts. When Christopher Lillie was suspended, she was just over six
months old. Because she was in the Baby Room neither Mr Lillie nor Miss
Reed has any recollection of her.

1035. Child 31’s mother was the first parent to give evidence, having been
interposed in the course of the Claimants’ case on 28 January. There is no
doubt that she has believed for many years that her child was subjected to
penetrative abuse by Christopher Lillie on one or more occasions during the
first year of life. It takes little imagination to envisage the strong
feelings that such a belief must have engendered. Her evidence, however,
did not betray this in any way. She was calm, dignified and clear. What she
had to say was primarily relevant to the behavioural changes she noticed in
the child, but there was also the negative evidence to the effect that she
knew of no opportunity for her to have been abused over the relevant period
other than at the Nursery.

1036. One of the puzzling features about this case is that all seemed well
until about September or October 1993, when she returned to Shieldfield
after an extended holiday in Central America over the Summer. There was
sleep disturbance and at least one bad nightmare. There were also cries
during her sleep. Two weeks after her return to Shieldfield, there was also
noticed aggression and bad temper. There had apparently, however, been no
cause for concern prior to Mr Lillie’s suspension in April nor in the six
months following (equivalent to fifty per cent of her life). It is
possible, of course, that the return to Shieldfield sparked memories of
earlier abuse in that environment which had hitherto been suppressed. But
it is impossible to conclude that this was in fact the case. It involves
speculation or theorising on incomplete information. It is one of those
cases where I am invited to see the symptoms in a wider context. If there
were an established pattern, or even perhaps one proved instance, of Mr
Lillie trying to penetrate babies, then it might be argued that they are
likely to be attributable to that same perversion. In the absence of such
evidence, however, one has to focus on the case in hand.

1037. Central to the Defendants’ case are the medical findings. Dr San
Lazaro and Dr Ward are of the view that these reveal evidence diagnostic of
penetrative abuse.

1038. The child was examined on 15 October 1993. Dr San Lazaro recorded a
thickened, wide hymenal orifice with deep disruptions at the 3 and 9
o’clock positions. Miss Page drew her attention, however, to the drawing
which did not appear to be showing deep tears – nor was it labelled with a
description. The witness was asked, therefore, whether she would interpret
it as showing notches, clefts, indentations or partial tears. In
particular, one has to have in mind that there is sometimes a tendency in
features which are congenital to find a natural symmetry. That is so, for
example, with hymenal bands. Where symmetrical features appear, the
possibility of something congenital should at least be addressed. Dr San
Lazaro admitted, not surprisingly, that she could not remember how
representative the drawing of her findings actually was.

1039. There was another sketch which the witness said must have been a
“practice” drawing. She believes that she was trying to see how best she
could define what she had seen. She added, “This is a child who has the
oestrogen effect on the hymen and I think it must have been terribly
difficult to draw”. She agreed that Miss Page was correct when she put to
her that all that one could gather, combining all this together, was that
there were present disruptions at 3 and 9 o’clock which were neither such
as to reach the base of the hymen nor in the posterior portion.

1040. She put quite clearly to Dr San Lazaro that there simply was no
indication of penetrating injury. She accepted that it was difficult:

“Children of this age have maternal oestrogen on board. The hymen at this
age is frilly. It does have redundant tissue around it… It can have the
appearance of having tears in it” (emphasis added).

1041. The witness added that she was sure that she would have taken care to
establish that they were indeed disruptions because it was not something
she would want to believe. On the other hand, she acknowledged that it is
usually quite difficult to look into the hymenal orifice and to examine
such small babies “because of the amount of tissue around”.

1042. Dr Watkeys, on the other hand, is prepared to conclude as follows:

“I would have said that these findings were completely normal for a girl of
this age, with two normal indentations which do not reach the base of the
hymen. The thickening may be due to the persistence of oestrogens.
Therefore it would be my opinion there is no indication here of penetrative
injury”.

1043. It is therefore clear that the medical evidence is to say the least
equivocal, giving rise to opportunities for genuine difference of expert
opinion as to their significance. The case provides just one illustration
of how little is really known about this tiny and variable membrane.
Because of the oestrogen factor, it tends to be fleshy and more difficult
to assess in children of this very young age.

1044. Returning, therefore, to the behavioural evidence, I need to take
account of the comments of Dr Sandra Hewitt:

“Something very powerful and dysregulating has happened to disrupt her
emotional homeostasis. She regulates when away on a family holiday but
returns to anger, fear, and disruption when she is back at Shieldfield.
This type of disturbance is not common, nor is it random. It is a classic
response of a child who is very fearful. Child 31 displays multiple signs
of Traumatic Stress Behaviours, clearly indicating that she is experiencing
some form of trauma. The primary adverse response of Child 31 to elements
in her environment is to nappy changing. This is coupled with her marked
sleep disturbance. Child 31 has suffered some form of trauma during her
stay at Shieldfield, the content of which appears to be centred around
nappy changing times, bags and strangers. Verbal accounts will be needed to
anchor the source of the trauma”.

1045. There is in fact no direct or reliable evidence that Mr Lillie
changed Child 31’s nappy. Nor is there anything to link him with bags. Nor
is there any verbal account to “anchor the source of the trauma”. Moreover,
there is nothing to explain the long gap in time before any behavioural
symptoms emerged.

1046. In so far as there is some evidence from other children (Child 6,
Child 23 and Child 18) which could be interpreted as suggesting that a baby
(even a baby with fair hair) was present at a location outside the Nursery
I have to discount this. There is no evidence to support the proposition
that a baby could have been taken out of the Baby Room and gone missing for
an hour or two without any of the staff noticing. However chaotic the
administration at Shieldfield was, or may have been, no criticism has been
levelled at members of the Baby Room staff. I was told that it was a very
high staff/baby ratio (sometimes even one to one). The idea that a baby
could have simply gone missing is fanciful. It is equally fanciful to
suggest that Mr Lillie and/or Miss Reed could have taken a baby out of the
room and abused her in the presence of or with the connivance of any of
those staff members.

1047. The Defendants’ case therefore must depend upon the abuse having been
carried out by Mr Lillie in the Baby Room itself with a stealth comparable
to that of Jason Dabbs. Since he was never authorised to carry out the task
of nappy changing, this allegation turns upon the fall-back theory of the
crayon inserted up the leg of a nappy and/or of elasticated training pants.
Of course, if one is determined to find Mr Lillie guilty of causing
penetrative injury to Child 31, there are various theoretical means that
one can construct whereby this could have been carried out. That is not,
however, the process I am engaged upon. I am looking for evidence upon
which to conclude that he probably did so. I will return to this theme of
elasticated pants shortly when considering the evidence of the Claimants
themselves.

1048. I should add that on 21 March the mother of Child 22 claimed that she
had seen Christopher Lillie changing nappies a number of times in the Baby
Room. I do not accept that as an accurate recollection. It does not accord
with the rather strict rules about the handling of babies, and in other
respects I have noted that the mother Child 22 cannot be accepted as an
“accurate historian”.

1049. In therapy, Child 31 referred to “Chris and Dawn” but it is important
to note the evidence of Dr Cameron in this context. He described it as “out
of the question” that Child 31 could then give a verbal account of any
abuse which occurred when she was a baby of no more than six months old.
That evidence would surprise no one with even the most cursory knowledge of
child development. I accept it.

1050. What this demonstrates, however, is the downside of therapy for
supposedly abused children (as recognised in the Cleveland Report). The
child can only have acquired the belief that she was abused as a baby from
being told about it at a later stage.

9) The evidence called for the Claimants on the abuse issue

1051. Unlike the Review Team, I have had the opportunity to consider the
sworn testimony of the two Claimants as to the allegations of abuse,
including their cross-examination on behalf of both sets of Defendants. The
criminal proceedings in 1994 never reached the stage when they would have
had the opportunity of giving their accounts, and accordingly this is the
first time that their case has been heard. The Newcastle Chronicle had
reported parents as expressing the wish for Mr Lillie and Miss Reed to be
subjected to cross-examination. That has now happened.

1052. It is nowadays to some extent unfashionable to focus on a witness’s
“demeanour”, but there comes a point when the fact-finding tribunal has to
decide by some means whether or not particular testimony is or is not
credible. It is not always possible to account for such findings by
reference solely to logical analysis. Jurors are often told to apply their
common sense and general experience of people in coming to their
conclusions on the evidence. I must obviously do the same.

1053. Miss Reed was in the witness box for six days (from 18 to 25
January), for most of that time under cross-examination. She was
cross-examined by Mr Bishop for over three and a half days, and by Miss
Sharp for one and a half days. Much of this exercise was unproductive, as
it consisted of “putting” the Defendants’ case that she had participated in
multiple child abuse, including rape and buggery, whereas her response was
that nothing untoward had happened. Miss Sharp isolated four instances of
what she described herself on 24 January as “lies” for the purpose of
undermining Miss Reed’s credibility. It is right that I should address
these individually.

1054. First, it was said that she lied during a police interview about
whether she had seen Mr Lillie’s dog at the Nursery. In fact, he never
possessed a dog himself but was often to be seen with a dog called “Ben”
belonging to his girlfriend, Lorraine Kelly. He was living in her flat from
December 1992 and took her dog for walks. Miss Reed was asked in a police
interview whether he had brought the dog to the Shieldfield Nursery. Her
reply was that she had not seen it. That is ambiguous, in the sense that it
could have meant that she had never seen the dog at all, or merely that she
had not seen it at the Nursery. Miss Sharp’s suggestion was that it meant
the former, and that this must have been a deliberately false answer to the
police officers. This was on the basis that she told me she had seen the
dog—on one occasion only (just outside the Nursery premises).

1055. It was put to Miss Reed that, if she had in 2002 a clear memory of a
dog outside the Nursery that was “black, shaggy and overweight”, it was odd
that she had not mentioned it to the police when she was questioned in
1993. I do not find this point impressive. First, the answer given was
ambiguous, and could certainly be reasonably construed as an answer to the
actual police question, namely “Has he ever had his dog into the nursery?”
Secondly, I cannot see how it would profit Miss Reed to tell the police
that she had never seen the dog if, as she told the court in these
proceedings, she had seen it once outside. There would be no point.

1056. The second “lie” attributed to Miss Reed related to the circumstances
in which Mr Lillie had, on one occasion, taken Child 1 out with him when he
was going back to his flat to collect something. According to his evidence,
in this court, Mr Lillie was on his way to his flat because he had
forgotten some item and simply offered, on the spur of the moment, to take
Child 1 with him to settle him down and take him off Miss Reed’s hands.
But, as Miss Sharp points out, that was not what Miss Reed told the police
when questioned in interview on 26 July 1993. She was asked on that
occasion whether she would tell the officers if she knew of anything
improper that Mr Lillie had done. She replied in the affirmative. She went
on to explain, at the officers’ invitation, why it would be important for
her to do so. She replied by saying, “If something like that had happened,
then that person should not be working with children”. Yet she did not tell
the police that Mr Lillie had taken Child 1 to his home. She had only
informed them that, “The only way we could settle him [Child 1] was to take
him out for a little walk, and we would take turns the two mornings [Child
1] was there.” She further explained that, “Usually we just walked along
the shops”.

1057. It was suggested by Miss Sharp that if she knew, at that time, that
Mr Lillie had taken Child 1 to his home on one occasion, she should have
told them. She replied that she thought she had told them. Miss Sharp then
pointed out that when interviewed by two journalists, Mr Webster and Mr
Woffinden, in December 1998, she told them that she had no recollection of
Mr Lillie taking Child 1 to his home. She was asked, therefore, how it came
about that she had no such recollection 1998 but a clear memory in 2002.
She thought the explanation might be, on reflection, that she had read it
somewhere. Miss Sharp was putting to her that she must have picked the
information up years after the event, from the two journalists in 1998, and
had not been told at the time by Mr Lillie that he was taking Child 1 to
his flat (contrary to her evidence in 2002).

1058. It was further suggested that Miss Reed was now backing Mr Lillie’s
own account (i.e. that he had told her where he was going with Child 1
before he left the Nursery) when knowing it to be false. The motive for
this, as put by Miss Sharp, would be to protect herself since, as she
accepts, if Mr Lillie was guilty of abuse, she would have been bound to
know of it.

1059. It is obvious that Miss Reed cannot have been giving an accurate
account to the journalists in 1998 and to the court in 2002. Either she
remembered Mr Lillie telling her that he was taking Child 1 to his flat, or
she did not. Is it more likely that she made a conscious decision to lie to
the court in 2002 to back up Mr Lillie’s story, or that she took the
information on board from her 1998 interview and, by the time she produced
her witness statement, had come to believe that it was part of her own
knowledge of what had taken place six years earlier?

1060. I think the latter is more likely (especially since she had not read
Mr Lillie’s statement before going into the witness box). I think Miss
Sharp was hitting the nail on the head when she put it to her “… the
information that Chris had taken this little boy on his own came from
either Mr Webster or Mr Woffinden”.

1061. Thirdly, Miss Sharp turned to the subject of Child 23. She had been
asked by police (in the July 1993 interview) if she had taken Child 23 out
and, if so, whether it would be recorded in the Nursery Day Book. She
replied that she could not remember if Child 23 had been taken out of the
Nursery (although children certainly were taken out on a regular basis).
She did, however, add that she would expect any such outing to be in the
book. She had told the police officers that it was the usual practice to
fill in the book but that, like any paperwork, it built up and several days
might sometimes go by without the record being completed. She could not be
sure, therefore, that an outing would have been recorded. Miss Sharp
highlighted what appeared to be a difference of emphasis in Miss Reed’s
evidence before the court. Here, she had not given the impression that
outings would routinely be recorded, but rather that an outing would only
be mentioned in a Day Book if there was something worthy of note. On the
basis of this, Miss Sharp suggested, she had not given a true account to
the police in 1993. Miss Reed’s answer was, “I answered their questions to
the best of my ability”.

1062. Miss Sharp was building up towards putting to Miss Reed that she had
been pretending to the police that most outings were on the record whereas,
in fact, she and Mr Lillie routinely took children out to Mr Lillie’s flat,
or other unspecified locations, in order to abuse the children, without
putting anything in the book. She never quite put it that way, however, and
I am not in any event persuaded that the interview will bear that
interpretation. After all, nobody has proceeded on the basis that recorded
outings were necessarily to be taken as accurately recorded or as
reflecting only innocent expeditions. For example, there was a trip to
Whitley Bay on 10 February 1993, during which pebbles were gathered for the
newly acquired Nursery fish tank. (Incidentally, the City Council disclosed
the receipt for the fish tank, which was dated 8 February.) Mr Lillie’s
unchallenged evidence was that a third member of staff (also called Dawn)
had accompanied them. Furthermore, records were disclosed to show that
three adults had indeed claimed travel expenses for such a trip. That did
not stop Mr Bishop putting that it was merely a cover for abuse and that,
because there was drizzle in the area on 10 February 1993, the more likely
explanation is that children were taken to an unspecified address near
Whitley Bay for child abuse. In those circumstances, I cannot quite see how
a calculated lie to the police about record-keeping would have assisted
Miss Reed. The police would not have been likely to take Day Book entries
at face value any more than was Mr Bishop.

1063. I cannot see how the Review Team can possibly float the rumour about
child abuse in Whitley Bay without taking the trouble to find out what the
other Dawn (a home carer) had to say about the matter. She needed to be
interviewed and asked whether she had disappeared for a time so as to leave
an opportunity for Mr Lillie and Miss Reed to go off and abuse the
children. Unless they took the trouble to do that, they could not
responsibly adopt the stance that the Whitley Bay trip was for purposes of
abusing the children concerned without implicating her. Yet that is what
they have done. It does not reflect well on them.

1064. The fourth point related to whether or not Miss Reed knew where Mr
Lillie lived. The Defendants’ case is that the two of them were conducting
an unhealthy sexual relationship with each other, and that she had been to
his flat in Red Barns (to which he moved with his girlfriend in December
1992) on numerous occasions. Her case (and, for that matter, his) has
always been that they were merely working colleagues who did not mix
socially, and who had no sexual interest in each other of any kind.
According to Miss Reed, she knew no more about his home arrangements, in
early 1993, than that he lived with his girlfriend (Lorraine Kelly)
somewhere near the nursery. Miss Sharp sought to undermine this account by
cross-examining her about another part of her evidence, during which she
had said that (after Mr Lillie’s suspension in April 1993) she had dropped
him off after a party given by one of the staff (called “Ros”). She had
dropped Susan Elsdon off first and then Christopher Lillie.

1065. Miss Sharp developed her attack in this way:

“…It is normal, is it not, whether he asks you for a lift or you offer him
one, that one of you will know where you are going? You cannot give him a
lift home if you do not know where home is, even approximately?”

Answer: “But I did not need to know where he lived because if he was in the
car he would give me directions.

Question: “Quite. But at some point you are going to find out, are you not?

Answer: “Obviously I did, because I dropped him off, yes”.

1066. Following this exchange, Miss Sharp went on to suggest that Miss Reed
must have deliberately misled the police in July 1993 (only a month or two
afterwards), when she told them, “I only know he moved in with his
girlfriend round the corner somewhere”. Her point was that, if Miss Reed
had dropped Mr Lillie off in the vicinity of Red Barns after the party, she
would have known by July where he lived.

1067. It is clear to me that the police were not interested in whether Miss
Reed had discovered where Mr Lillie was living through dropping him off
after a party in the aftermath of his suspension. They were interested to
know whether she was telling them the truth in denying that she knew where
he lived before his suspension. That was when she was supposed to have
visited the flat and taken part in orgies of child abuse. In all the
circumstances, this seems to me to be a non-point.

1068. What I have to decide is whether any of these four points undermines
Miss Reed’s credibility with regard to her evidence as a whole. It was put
to her by Miss Sharp that these provided instances of “very important
pieces of information” in respect of which she had given the police a false
account. I have taken some time to go through them because, as I understand
it, they represent the high point of the week-long cross-examination to
which her evidence was subjected. I do not believe her evidence was
undermined in any way by these points. In my judgment, the days of public
cross-examination yielded nothing of any significance. I believed Miss
Reed’s evidence. I feel rather like Mr Hattam, her former trade union
representative, who expressed the view so many years before that she was
“either innocent or a brilliant liar”. I wish to make it clear that I am
not deciding this case merely on the basis of standard of proof and saying
that I have not been persuaded by the Defendants’ evidence. The position is
rather that I found Miss Reed’s evidence wholly persuasive. I have no
hesitation, therefore, in ruling out Mr Hattam’s second alternative.

1069. It is necessary for me to remember also that, if Miss Reed had wished
to save her own skin, she was given the opportunity by police officers in
1993. She told me that it was made clear to her by police officers that if
she were to, in effect, “dish the dirt” on Christopher Lillie, then the
police might well not proceed against her. It had been put a little more
indirectly, but the purpose was explained to her by her then solicitor. Her
response was that she was simply not prepared to tell lies even if it meant
that she too would have to face charges of child abuse. I believe that
without a shadow of a doubt. The police must have been conscious of the
weakness of the evidence against Mr Lillie, and it would have made all the
difference if Miss Reed could fill some of the gaps for them.

1070. As for Mr Lillie, it seemed that during his cross-examination by Mr
Bishop there were two points to which the court was invited to attach
particular significance. First, a little time was spent viewing a video of
Mr Lillie’s 27th birthday party in June 1991, when he took the children to
the local soft play centre together with various other adults (including
parents and staff, although I could not tell exactly how many were
present). On the basis of this material, it was suggested that Mr Lillie
was over-physical with these children and going beyond the boundaries of
propriety. Mr Lillie and one of the mothers, and from time to time some of
the children, were rolling about in a large tank of soft balls which were
bouncing up and down. From time to time he would grab a child and tip it
into the tank and then throw some of the balls at him or her. I did not
find this footage helpful in the sense of demonstrating an inclination
towards paedophilia.

1071. Another point taken in relation to the video was that there was a
credit at the end of the performance, admittedly typed in by Mr Lillie, in
which he acknowledged the contribution from “the little darlings of
Shieldfield Nursery”. Mr Bishop put to him that it was a curious way of
referring to young children (and, implicitly, unhealthy). Again, this is
not a point which assisted me, one way or the other, in deciding whether to
conclude that Mr Lillie was guilty of paedophilia and child abuse. It is
more consistent with harmless and light-hearted irony.

1072. A separate point taken by Mr Bishop was that in one of the Day Books
Mr Lillie had recorded, on 31 January 1992, in respect of Child 14 that she
had arrived at the Nursery in a flimsy garment with see-through sleeves. Mr
Bishop put to Mr Lillie that this too was rather an unhealthy comment and
that it provided some evidence that he found the child “attractive”. Mr
Lillie’s response was that he was recording the fact in the Day Book
because it was 31 January, a very cold day, and the child had arrived
unsuitably dressed for the weather. It seems to me that this is a far more
plausible explanation than that Mr Lillie was recording in the Day Book,
for all to see, his lustful musings about a 3 year old. It is worthy of
note that the origin of this rather fanciful suggestion is to be found in
the mother’s statement to the Review Team after she had seen, or had drawn
to her attention, the 31 January entry (implicitly critical of her). She
returned to the point in her evidence before me in March. She told me that
she remembered the garment still (ten years later). She said that her child
was always appropriately dressed and that there was nothing “see through”
about the sleeves. The garment had been made specially on a knitting
machine. For the reason I have already given, I am unable to attach any
sinister significance to this episode.

1073. Mr Lillie was also cross-examined on the subject of nappies and/or
elasticated training pants. It was necessary for the Review Team (and at
that stage also the Newcastle Chronicle) to prove that he had abused the
youngest of the children concerned, namely Child 31. She was a baby and at
all material times therefore in the Baby Room. The only reliable evidence
is that at Shieldfield the rule was that only Baby Room staff were allowed
to perform any of the intimate tasks for the babies, including nappy
changing; what is more, a baby could only go out of the Nursery if
accompanied by a member of the Baby Room staff. One or two of the children
have made reference to a baby being present at some location outside the
Nursery, where he or she could have been abused by Christopher Lillie
and/or Dawn Reed. But I am quite satisfied that there is no evidence to
suggest that either of them took Child 31 or any other baby out of the
Nursery at all – let alone without any member of the Baby Room staff
accompanying.

1074. Mr Lillie accepted on 28 January, at the beginning of his
cross-examination, that he did go into the Baby Room not only to collect or
deposit toys but also to bring in the tea trolley and to talk to staff, but
he denied that he would pick up or “handle” babies while he was there. It
was put to him on 4 February that he had sometimes covered for other staff
at lunch times. He said he did not recall having done this but, if he had,
he could have “handled” babies on that temporary footing.

1075. Maria Buck did not give oral evidence, but I was asked to read parts
of her witness statement. In this context, she said that he came into the
Baby Room sometimes when it was not “necessary” to do so. He was told by
Carol Welsh and Susan Elsdon (neither of whom attended as witnesses) that
he was not supposed to do this. She added:

“He would also pick up the babies and handle them, even though he must have
known that this was technically forbidden. I do not recall that he just
grabbed a child at random. We were always told that we might pick up a
child who was indicating that it wanted to be held, for instance if the
child had its arms out to us. I cannot recall how long he would stay in the
room on these occasions, but I cannot think that it would be too long
because to do so would interfere with our work”.

This appears, to some extent at least, consistent with what Mr Lillie
accepted on 28 January:

“I would pick up the toddlers if they were next to the door or if they held
their hands out as I walked into the room, wanting to be picked up. I would
not go in and pick up a baby”.

1076. He was asked by Mr Bishop why he could not just have pushed a child
to prevent it getting out of the room – rather than picking them up. He
replied that it was “just a natural thing to do”. He added, “If a child is
next to the door, you pick them up to carry them into the room”.

1077. The Review Team had to come up with a scenario that would have
enabled Mr Lillie to cause penetrative abuse without being spotted. What
was put to the Claimants was that Mr Lillie would have been able to take a
crayon and go in to the Baby Room and, if not actually able to change Child
31, he would then have slid the crayon up the side of her nappy or
elasticated pants, while no one was looking. He was asked “… the
elasticated leg is very easy to put your hand up, is it not?” He could thus
have achieved penetrative injury by means of a perverted variant of keyhole
surgery. It was this suggestion that led Miss Reed to comment that she
would never have envisaged anyone doing some of the things alleged against
them in this case unless she had read of them in the Defendants’ pleaded
case. This was clearly one of those allegations she merely thought “sick”.

1078. The Review Team’s approach would seem to be that the Jason Dabbs case
opened everyone’s eyes to the possibilities of abuse in the nursery
environment and that the Nursery staff were just complacent in thinking
that lightning could not strike twice. No doubt the training pants scenario
is physically possible, given a crayon of suitable length and flexibility,
but I need not to lose sight of certain guiding principles (especially
having regard to Lord Nicholls’ exposition in * Re H * ). First, there is
an elementary distinction between what is likely or probable and that which
is merely physically possible. Secondly, the more serious (or, for that
matter, the more fanciful) an hypothesis, the more compelling the evidence
required to support it. Here there is no evidence that Mr Lillie or Miss
Reed did this perverted act, and they have both denied it under
cross-examination. The inference is invited, I suppose, from two facts
alleged: (1) that Dr San Lazaro claimed to have found evidence of
penetrative abuse to Child 31, and (2) that Mr Lillie has a propensity for
using crayons to achieve penetration. (That is itself is controversial,
however, and first surfaces in Child 23’s video interview of 12 July 1993,
which I consider elsewhere.) Suffice to say that cross-examination on this
front made no inroads.

1079. It is interesting that, although on page 269 of the Report the Team
chose to assert that Mr Lillie’s explanation with regard to the photographs
taken from his home “was probably false”, this was not put in
cross-examination. This is probably because the Team (and Mr Bishop)
actually knew that the police had found nothing untoward about them. They
had been told as much on 22 January 1997 by Detective Inspector Findlay. It
is, therefore, striking that they sought to bolster their conclusions in
the Report by this gratuitous remark (based on nothing). It is just an
example of an unsupported smear. It is based on no weighing or analysis of
conflicting evidence. There was none disclosed on the face of the Report.
Nor did any of the Review Team give evidence that any meaningful analysis
had been carried out behind the scenes.

1080. There was another factor placed right in the forefront of Mr Bishop’s
closing submissions, and to that I must now turn. Miss Reed explained how
during the car journey from Ros’s party in April or early May 1993 Mr
Lillie had told her something of the allegations he was then facing. These
related at that stage to Child 22. According to Miss Reed’s recollection,
he told her that he was being accused of using a crayon on the child. That
was not part of the case against him so far as Child 22 was concerned. It
would, therefore, be an odd story for him to pass on to Miss Reed.
Nonetheless, she did confirm (on 23 January) that this was indeed what he
had told her. Mr Bishop regards this as a “dead giveaway”. He said it
marked Mr Lillie out as “the man who knew too much”. He drew the analogy of
the suspect husband whose wife’s body has just been found in the woods, and
he says to the police “but I have never been to Sherwood Forest” – when no
one has mentioned Sherwood Forest. There was no reason for Mr Lillie to
mention crayons to Miss Reed if that formed no part of the Child 22
allegations. So why should Miss Reed have been persuaded that he did?

1081. Miss Page referred to Child 23 as the “index child” for Miss Reed.
She was the first child in respect of whom Miss Reed was tackled by the
police. Child 23 was, of course, the one who mentioned a crayon in her
police interview in July. This is a possible explanation for the prominence
of crayons in Miss Reed’s mind from then on in the context of child abuse.
Miss Page suggests that it simply transferred itself, in her mental
process, from her first police allegations to Mr Lillie’s. It seems to me a
possible explanation, and at least as likely as Mr Lillie introducing it by
mistake in his account of Child 22’s allegations when relating them to Miss
Reed. I need to have in mind too the Defendants’ overall case. On their
version of events, the conversation could hardly have gone as suggested,
since Miss Reed was fully implicated. The version of the conversation for
which they now contend would not have been at all plausible between two
paedophiles who were on their own and knew that they had been caught out.

1082. Mr Bishop referred to Mr Lillie having told lies in the course of his
evidence, for which there can be no other explanation (he submits) than
that he was trying to cover up his child abuse. First, he denied that his
sisters had been taken into care (as alleged by Child 14’s mother) when he
eventually had to admit they had (once documents were shown to him). He
also denied any knowledge of his being cautioned for a burglary. Mr Bishop
argues that he cannot have forgotten the burglary. I agree that it does
seem unlikely, unless perhaps he had over the years suppressed the memory.
Mr Bishop also placed reliance on the fact that Mr Lillie did not reveal
either his conviction for stealing the bicycle or the burglary caution when
he applied for his job.

1083. This led to a discussion on the effect of the Rehabilitation of
Offenders Act and the various orders made under the statute. It emerged
that even in respect of “spent” convictions anyone applying to work with
children should disclose. Mr Lillie said that he had not disclosed his
conviction when he applied to join the Army, because he had been told there
was no need, and he simply took the same course when he applied to work
with children. This in itself is rather inconclusive, since I am not sure
on the evidence that Mr Lillie necessarily realised that he should
disclose. It is, however, necessary to keep a sense of proportion. No one
suggests that the theft of a bicycle by a 15 year old, still less a
burglary (for which he was cautioned), could be to Mr Lillie’s credit. He
is now 38 years old, and was some 10 years younger when the child abuse is
alleged to have taken place. I have to ask myself whether the fact that the
offences were committed, or his subsequent non-disclosure of them, so
redounds to his discredit that I should disbelieve him on his primary
evidence about the issues in this case. I must, I believe, give them some
weight but what really matters so much more is the impression he made in
the witness box. I can only state my own conclusions in the light of the
evidence as a whole.

1084. Mr Lillie is a somewhat more taciturn character than Miss Reed.
Although calm and by nature somewhat “laid back”, he is shy (or was at the
time), as he himself admits. He may not be overburdened by “presentation
skills” but I found his evidence just as credible as I did in the case of
Miss Reed. I have no doubt that positions have been so deeply entrenched
over the years that few, if any, of the original protagonists are likely to
change their views in the light of anything I say. In fairness, therefore,
I wish to state my conclusions in the light of their extensive periods in
the witness-box, and indeed of the 74 days of the trial before the evidence
finally concluded on 27 May. I am entirely satisfied of Mr Lillie’s and
Miss Reed’s innocence. No doubt others will disagree, but I hope that at
least nobody will portray the outcome as turning on a legal technicality.

10) The privilege issues for the Review Team

1085. The primary publication by the Review Team was clearly that in
November 1998 to the City Council, which had commissioned it some three
years before. The four members of the Team were being remunerated in
accordance with contractual arrangements. In those circumstances, Mr Bishop
contends that they were under a legal, social and/or moral duty to publish
to the Council by whatever was the appropriate channel. Accordingly, this
aspect of the qualified privilege argument is one of the more
straightforward to resolve. In my judgment, there can be no doubt that
there was a prima facie privilege for that communication. It arose,
however, purely as a matter of contract. I am unable to see, apart from
that, how these four individuals were subject to any social or moral duty
to publish their Report.

1086. One argument that has been raised on behalf of the Claimants is that
in certain respects the Team went beyond the Terms of Reference and,
correspondingly, took themselves outside the protection of qualified
privilege. In particular, the argument is directed towards the expressed
conclusions to the effect that the Claimants had abused children in their
care (including those in respect of whom they had been acquitted in July
1994).

1087. I have already referred to the manuscript change to the Terms of
Reference made in July 1994, with a view to permitting investigation into
the extent of the Claimants’ alleged abuse. Leaving aside matters of
drafting, however, Mr Bishop submits that it was an inevitable and
necessary part of the Review Team’s task to come to a conclusion as to
whether or not the Claimants had in fact abused any, and if so how many,
children. He argues that without such a conclusion the basis of the Report
would have been entirely hypothetical and its recommendations worthless.
Moreover, the Review Team would not have been addressing the specific
complaints made by parents (which was perceived as one of their primary
purposes).

1088. Inevitably, reference was made in this context to the words of Lord
Diplock in * Horrocks v. Lowe * [1975] A.C. 135 ,151:

“Logically it might be said that…. irrelevant matter falls outside the
privilege altogether. But if this were so it would involve the application
by the court of an objective test of relevance to every part of the
defamatory matter published on the privileged occasion: whereas, as
everyone knows, ordinary human beings vary in their ability to distinguish
that which is logically relevant from that which is not and few, apart from
lawyers, have had any training which qualifies them to do so. So the
protection afforded by the privilege would be illusory if it were lost in
respect of any defamatory matter which upon logical analysis could shown to
be irrelevant to the fulfilment of the duty or the protection of the right
upon which the privilege was founded. As Lord Dunedin pointed out in * Adam
v. Ward * [1917] A.C. 309 , 326–327 the proper rule as respects irrelevant
defamatory matter incorporated in a statement made on a privileged occasion
is to treat it as one of the factors to be taken into consideration in
deciding whether, in all the circumstances, an inference that the defendant
was actuated by express malice can properly be drawn. As regards irrelevant
matter the test is not whether it is logically relevant but whether, in all
the circumstances, it can be inferred that the defendant either did not
believe it to be true or, though believing it to be true, realised that it
had nothing to do with the particular duty or interest on which the
privilege was based, but nevertheless seized the opportunity to drag in
irrelevant defamatory matter to vent his personal spite, or for some other
improper motive. Here, too, judges and juries should be slow to draw this
inference.”

1089. There has sometimes been argument as to whether or not Lord Diplock’s
remarks at that point in his speech are in fact consistent with those of
Lord Dunedin in * Adam v. Ward * [1917] A.C. 309 , but for many years that
passage has been treated as definitive. Indeed, if and in so far as there
is any inconsistency with the earlier House of Lords decision, it would now
be necessary to resolve it by reference to the terms and aims of Article 10
of the European Convention on Human Rights. There is little doubt that Lord
Diplock’s test would be less restrictive (or “chilling”) towards freedom of
communication. I intend to approach the matter by asking whether any
material within the Report that could be characterised as not being “really
necessary to the fulfilment of the particular duty or the protection of the
particular interest upon which the privilege is founded” provides evidence
from which malice could be inferred. It would not be appropriate to regard
such material as detracting from the prima facie privilege attaching to the
Report as a whole or, indeed, as leaving some part or parts of the Report
outside its protection.

1090. The traditional approach to malice, at least in the quarter of a
century since their Lordships’ decision in * Horrocks v. Lowe * , is that
it is for the claimant in a libel action to prove the defendant
“malicious”, in the sense of demonstrating either that he had no honest
belief in the words complained of or, at least, that the dominant motive in
publishing those words was to damage the claimant’s reputation. It was
recognised by Lord Diplock that recklessness too had a role to play, as in
other areas of law. Thus, malice could be demonstrated if a claimant proved
the defendant to have been genuinely indifferent to the truth or falsity of
the defamatory allegations.

1091. I am not aware of any example of malice having been found (in a case
where the judge or jury concluded that the relevant defendant was honest)
simply on the basis that the dominant motive was to injure the claimant. It
is, in the light of Lord Diplock’s speech, at any rate a theoretical
possibility. It may be, however, that it is an increasingly remote one in
the light of recent authorities.

1092. It is now clear, for example, in the light of * Albert Cheng v. Paul *
[2001] E.M.L.R. 777 that in the context of fair comment the issue of
malice requires to be judged solely by the test of honesty; there is no
room to find malice on the basis of “dominant motive” in circumstances
where a claimant fails to demonstrate that the comment was not made
honestly. Moreover, in the specific context of what is often referred to as
“* Reynolds * privilege” the concept of malice has receded somewhat into
the background. That is because issues formerly thought to be relevant only
to malice now come into play at the stage of determining whether there is a
prima facie case of qualified privilege (in particular, the application of
Lord Nicholls’ ten non-exhaustive tests: * Reynolds v. Times
Newspapers * [2001]
2 A.C. 127 , 205). As Lord Phillips M.R. observed in * Loutchansky v. Times
Newspapers Ltd * [2002] 1 All E.R. 652 at para. 33:

“Whereas previously it could be truly said of qualified privilege that it
attaches to the occasion of publication rather than the publication,
* Reynolds * privilege attaches, if it attaches at all, to the publication
itself: it is impossible to conceive of circumstances in which the occasion
of publication could be privileged but the article itself not so.
Similarly, once * Reynolds * privilege attaches, little scope remains for
any subsequent findings of malice. Actual malice in this context has
traditionally been recognised to consist either of recklessness, i.e. not
believing the statement to be true or being indifferent as to its truth, or
of making it with the dominant motive of injuring the claimant. But the
publisher’s conduct in both regards must inevitably be explored when
considering Lord Nicholls’ ten factors, i.e. when deciding whether the
publication is covered by qualified privilege in the first place…”

A little later (at para. 34), his Lordship added that:

“It may be doubted, whether in truth there remains room for such a
principle as “dominant motive” (malice) in a case of * Reynolds *
privilege”.

1093. By a parity of reasoning, in the present case, Miss Sharp has argued
that there could be little room nowadays for “dominant motive” in the
context of statutory qualified privilege, since the underlying policy
relates to the public’s entitlement to be informed through the media of
information within the categories identified by Parliament (specifically in
the Defamation Act 1996) as attracting such privilege. Indeed, one could
argue convincingly that in such a context the state of mind of the
journalist or publisher concerned (being effectively no more than a
conduit) is quite irrelevant to the considerations underlying the
privilege. Those are matters that might have been more aptly considered in
the context of the Chronicle’s arguments as to privilege when relaying the
contents of the Review Team’s Report. But the argument merely provides an
illustration of how “dominant motive” appears to be nowadays more of an
endangered species of malice than ever.

1094. In the context of the Review Team’s publication to the City Council,
it seems to me that these theoretical arguments are largely unnecessary. If
I come to the conclusion, in the light of the evidence as a whole, that the
members of the Review Team were acting in good faith in the compilation of
their Report, and that they honestly believed its contents to be true,
however imperfect their reasoning processes may have been, then there would
be little scope for a finding of malice to defeat the prima facie defence
of privilege. In any event, if I were to come to the conclusion that their
primary purpose was to improve the administration of child nurseries, and
other similar institutions, and ultimately the protection of children,
there would be no scope in this case for an adverse finding of “dominant
motive”.

1095. In the light of these considerations, I now turn to consider the
Review Team’s Terms of Reference.

11) The Review Team’s Terms of Reference

1096. No witness had a good word to say about the shifting sands that were
supposed to provide the Terms of Reference for the Review Team’s
independent inquiry into Shieldfield (see paragraph 129 above). Mr Henry
Warne with remarkable insouciance described them as “not perfect”. But he
thought they could be made to work with goodwill and co-operation from all
sides. That is sloppy thinking for an experienced lawyer. He did not regard
it, however, as his role to amend them “unless strictly necessary”.
Jennifer Bernard said: “The way in which we were trying to frame the terms
of reference did move because we learned from how we phrased things.
Questions were raised. Complaints came in. So I am afraid I cannot be
certain where we were when I left [April 1997]”. Nobody within the City
Council appeared to have any responsibility for or control over this
critical issue. Even more worryingly, there is a memorandum of Mr Warne
dated 24 July 1996 which appears to suggest that Professor Barker was
claiming that he could “adjust” the Review Team’s terms of reference
himself as they went along. Mr Brian Scott thought them “extremely muddled
and confusing… very difficult to follow in many respects”. I would
certainly endorse that view.

1097. It is right, out of fairness, to explain that although he was at all
material times Assistant Head of Legal Services Mr Scott had no direct
involvement in the Review Team’s inquiry until July 1998. Were it not so,
he could clearly be criticised for not expressing his view about the Terms
of Reference much earlier. As it is, the person ultimately responsible
would appear to be Henry Warne, who was Head of Administration from
December 1994 to June 1998. It is certainly true that the Terms of
Reference were in draft before he arrived, but there was almost a year in
which to focus on their remit before the Review Team began its task.

1098. No one owned up to having drafted them, although the principal
candidates put forward were Mr Stephenson (a lawyer who left in 1994) and
Mr Hassall who is still employed by the Newcastle City Council. Neither
gave evidence. From a purely construction point of view, it matters not.
The words must speak for themselves, however opaquely. On the other hand,
the intention or understanding of Council employees could be relevant in
the malice context. One of the factors prayed in aid by Miss Page is that
it should have been obvious to those officers who studied the Review Team’s
Report, between 6 and 12 November 1998, that the Team had exceeded the
terms of reference. Either, therefore, the Report went outside the scope of
privilege altogether, or their willingness to publish extraneous defamatory
material would provide evidence of bad faith.

1099. There is no doubt that from the time of the criminal trial (8–14 July
1994), or shortly afterwards, it was expressed as a limitation upon the
Review Team that they would, at least, not make findings on matters dealt
with before the criminal court. Exactly how or why that amendment came
about is unclear, but there was in evidence a document dated 11 July 1994
bearing Mr Hassall’s name and containing the manuscript amendment that
became the final version of Term 1A. Also, there is no doubt that some
people within the Council were taking the view that the Team should not
“point the finger” (i.e. at whoever was supposed to be responsible for the
abuse). This appeared, for example, in an article in the Journal in August
1995 as a statement attributed to Jennifer Bernard: “…the inquiry’s brief
isn’t to look at whether or not children were abused, as the council has
already acknowledged that they probably were… We want to make it absolutely
sure we have learned all the lessons from what happened”. She had no
recollection of this and thought the Journal might just have been
“journalistic”. Henry Warne, Bob Hassall and Jennifer Bernard appear from a
memorandum of 7 February 1995 to have had a meeting or discussion in which
they seem to have emphasised that the process was “not about reviewing
forensic evidence nor determining whether abuse took place or not”. This
was consistent with the stance taken by Mr Hassall at a meeting of parents
on 20 July 1994 where he said that the City Council could not re-run the
trial or comment on the guilt or otherwise of the accused.

1100. There is also a memorandum of June 1995 from Mr Hassall addressed to
Mr Warne and Ms Bernard to the effect that the Review Team would not be
“reviewing the issue of whether abuse occurred, and if so who were the
perpetrators”. He added that the Review Team would accordingly only need
limited overview or access to clinical and forensic notes.

1101. Moreover, as late as May 1997, Professor Barker was claiming in a
letter to Mr Lillie’s solicitors that they would not be “re-visiting” the
criminal trial. That was, of course, consistent with paragraph 1A of the
Terms of Reference to the effect that “… the Review cannot make any finding
on matters dealt with by the Criminal Court”.

1102. It seems that at some stage (possibly as early as July 1994) Ms
Bernard had come to a different conclusion. She told me on 1 March:

“I ….came to the view that it would not be possible [to carry out the
Review] without looking at what had actually happened to those children and
how those children had expressed it. I had thought, in the beginning, it
might be possible (particularly early on – before the criminal trial had
not been proceeded with). But I realised that it was not going to be
possible, because a core issue for the parents was simply going to have to
be ignored”.

Yet later in her evidence she appeared to be saying that she only reached
that state of mind (“where it became crystallised”) at the time when the
Review Team asked to see the video interviews (in 1996).

1103. Even more confusingly, Professor Barker was writing to Mr Warne on 19
September 1997 to the effect that the terms of reference “were framed
deliberately widely … to allow us to investigate what happened and why”. He
seems to be saying there that this was a task acknowledged from the outset.
If so, I find it difficult to reconcile with his stance in the earlier
letter to Mr Lillie’s solicitor.

1104. If anyone had properly thought through the implications, it should
have been quite obvious that the Team would not be in a position to
pronounce in a public Report upon the guilt of Christopher Lillie or Dawn
Reed of criminal offences, for a number of reasons:

1) The Claimants had been acquitted in respect of 11 specific offences
relating to the six indictment children.

2) There was no one legally qualified on the Team.

3) They were sitting in private.

4) There was no framework set up by the Review Team to operate within the
well known “Salmon” principles.

5) Neither Christopher Lillie nor Dawn Reed was notified of the “charges”
which the Team had taken it upon themselves to investigate.

6) Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed were not represented or offered any
legal assistance.

7) They had no opportunity to cross-examine, challenge or test the evidence
relied upon by the Review Team for their conclusions; they did not even
know what the evidence was.

8) The Review Team had no power to compel witnesses or documents.

9) The Review Team adopted as a policy the “child protection approach”, so
that they would not challenge or probe “evidence” from witnesses. As Moira
Luccock expressed it on 1 March, “You are not challenging the person. You
are actually accepting that they certainly believe what they are telling
you, and you have no reason to doubt that as the investigator”.

10) This policy even applied to police and social workers (not least
because the police had warned them that they had no power to trespass on
the area of police complaints, which was governed by statute, and asked
them by a letter not to upset PC Helen Foster who had conducted some of the
crucial interviews with children).

11) The Review Team had decided to adopt what Ms Jones described as an
“impressionistic” approach to the evidence, rather than analysing
individual cases of alleged abuse.

1105. Even Ms Bernard appeared to recognise the problem in
cross-examination:

“I have to say this was not primarily set up as a process for considering
the guilt or innocence of Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed. I agree – were
that to be the prime purpose, you probably would not start here”.

1106. The matter had, however, clearly not been thought through. Miss Page
asked whether anyone within the City Council ever addressed the rights of
Mr Lillie and Miss Reed at all in setting up the inquiry. This seemed to
come as a novel suggestion to Ms Bernard:

“… there was an intention that they should be treated as fairly as other
witnesses in relation to the matters set out. But, if I may add, it was not
a review which was set up primarily to determine whether or not Mr Lillie
and Miss Reed were guilty of these offences. It was a review set up to deal
with complaints and concerns raised by parents, which included matters at
the nursery…

The question of their culpability, therefore, I suppose would either have
to be assumed (which the City Council had done, on the basis of the
disciplinary proceedings it had undertaken) – so I suppose, thinking about
your question, the fact that the Review Team had almost in effect
re-considered it ….

What I am struggling with, I think, is that … the City Council had started
from the perspective that they had dismissed Christopher Lillie and Dawn
Reed for gross misconduct, associated with the abuse, and it was on that
basis that the Review Team had been set up. So, in a sense, what the Review
Team were doing, by considering again the evidential matters, [was] almost
having another look at it. So I suppose, in a sense – I had not thought
about it in this context before you asked the question – they gave a fresh
opportunity to Mr Lillie and Miss Reed’s case to be considered. I had not
thought about it until you put the question to me”.

1107. She added that she knew that they had already had the opportunity to
be represented for the disciplinary process, including the appellate
procedure, and to challenge their dismissal through the industrial tribunal
route. She did not seem to have any grip of the issue. I was not clear
whether she was saying that culpability was to be “assumed” or not. It
would perhaps, if anything, make more sense than the alternative scenario
she appeared to be putting forward; namely, that even though Mr Lillie and
Miss Reed had been acquitted of 11 counts at Newcastle Crown Court the
Review Team were “almost having another look at it”. Surely everyone
involved (parents, charge payers, employees and ex-employees) was entitled,
at the very least, to have the purposes and methods of the Review Team
carefully thought about and defined. Mr Warne should have got a grip. He
had long enough to do so and, if he did not have the necessary experience,
he could have taken advice from counsel.

1108. Nevertheless, there came a time when minds generally were made up
(e.g. Henry Warne’s mind for one), so that it became the received wisdom
that the Review Team not only could but should investigate the allegations
of abuse. That was certainly the case of the Review Team themselves. The
explanation given was essentially twofold. First, unless they did so, they
would not be able to address or rule upon the parental complaints – some of
which directly alleged abuse. Secondly, they could not find out “what went
wrong”, or make recommendations for the future, unless they were in a
position to make findings that abuse had happened.

1109. Despite this major shift in the perception of the Review Team’s task,
no one thought to revise the terms of reference. In particular, no one
thought to abrogate provision 1A of the terms of reference. It seemed just
to wither on the vine. (This may be because Henry Warne appeared to think
that it had no application anyway: “I therefore took the view that it was
open to them to investigate questions, on the question of whether abuse had
occurred and, if so, by whom”.) Nor did anyone point out that, if they were
going to meddle to all intents and purposes in the area of criminal guilt,
they would need a wholly different modus operandi so as to remove some of
the constraints identified above. Mr Warne seemed to suggest in evidence
that what was required was “a social services type judgment on the matter”
which was “not done according to the rules of criminal law”.

1110. In this context, Ms Jones gave some evidence which may be of
significance. She said on 15 February that, before she even signed the
contract, she had a conversation with Mr Warne in October 1995:

“I asked him … how we would actually deal with the issue of responding to
individual complaints and also producing a public report when those
complaints were likely to be about people who had been dismissed but
already been declared not guilty in court. So he said that we would need to
keep coming back to that and see how we progressed. I think he used the
words that we were in “uncharted waters”.

1111. Ms Jones had clearly raised a fundamentally important point with Mr
Warne. An experienced lawyer should have spotted the difficulty in any
event, but even if he was unable to see the wood for the trees the fact
remains that the problem was spelt out for him by Ms Jones with stark
simplicity. To give the answer he apparently gave her (in effect to see how
she got on in “uncharted waters”) was utterly hopeless. Much time and money
could have been saved (to say nothing of injustice) if the nettle had been
grasped at that time.

1112. The Council should clearly have confined the Review Team to
addressing any defects in their own systems and procedures or those of the
Day Nursery. They should have strictly enforced the provision in the
original terms of reference, to the effect that they steer clear of
re-opening the issues before the Crown Court and certainly not attempt to
address completely new allegations of assault and rape. In so far as
parents’ individual complaints needed to be addressed, that exercise should
have been kept quite separate from conclusions that were to be set out in a
public report.

1113. Henry Warne made reference to an earlier inquiry which had taken
place into a residential home called Meadowdale. He seemed to think it
provided an analogy or precedent for the Shieldfield review. It is fair to
say that he did not have a clear recollection of the circumstances, but a
crucial difference was that in the Meadowdale report the perpetrators of
the abuse were not named in the Report for public consumption. Mr Warne
considered that it was a matter for the Review Team’s discretion as to
whether they publicly condemned Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed. The only
“constraints” would be those of defamation.

1114. As Ms Jones seems to have perceived from the start, they were as a
team wholly unsuited and unequipped to make findings of criminal guilt; and
yet the City Council launched them on these “uncharted waters” in the most
irresponsible manner. The Council has only itself to blame for the mess in
which it now finds itself.

1115. Instead of identifying the dangers as the months went past, and
restricting the terms of reference, things were allowed to deteriorate.

1116. There was an amendment in September 1996 to enable the Review Team to
address matters falling short of actual parental complaints. They were to
be able to consider and report on “relevant concerns” raised not only by
parents but also by witnesses. This was clearly intended to make a
difference and, in particular, to widen the scope of the inquiry, but it
introduces further uncertainty. First, it extends the inquiry into matters
that concerned parents but which they had not chosen to complain about.
Secondly, it enabled even the “concerns” of witnesses to be considered.
But, at the same time, the concerns had to be “relevant” to the inquiry.
That must mean either “relevant” to the existing inquiry, as defined by the
pre-existing terms of reference (including 1A), or it is simply unclear.

1117. The difficulties about the Review Team making findings tantamount to
criminal guilt, and in particular with a view to pronouncing their
conclusions publicly, should have been obvious from Mr Peter Hunt’s Report
into the Jason Dabbs affair, since the Team had read it and indeed had
consulted Mr Hunt for his advice. He pointed out at para 2.3.5 that he was
simply not in a position to make findings as to instances of abuse beyond
those admitted by Jason Dabbs through his pleas of guilty. The two main
reasons he explains; namely, that the video interviews with child
complainants were tainted by leading questions, and that it was not thought
appropriate to test or challenge parental evidence. Both these
considerations were at least as relevant to the case of Shieldfield. Anyone
with an elementary sense of fairness who thought about the matter, and
certainly any of the City Council’s legal advisers who were asked to
consider the terms of reference, should have foreseen the hopelessness of
the task.

1118. It is all very well to say that the Review Team’s approach was
child-centred, or based upon the “child protection” model, but the fact is
that those methods are not usually adopted when the intention is to produce
a public pronouncement tantamount to findings that offences of indecent
assault or rape have been committed. Short of actually depriving them of
their liberty, the Review Team’s pronouncements had a very similar effect
on the Claimants’ lives and reputations to that which would have been
brought about by criminal convictions – but without being preceded by any
of the usual safeguards of the criminal process.

1119. Even if it be said that some of the parental complaints could not be
addressed without making findings of assault, or other forms of abuse, it
does not follow that such findings had to be made public. The
responsibility for dealing with complaints is, in any event, clearly that
of the local authority in accordance with the provisions of the Children
Act 1989. If the Council wished to contract out the investigative
responsibility, it remained its own duty to respond to parents, as Mr
Dervin ultimately did. There is no obvious public policy requirement for
the Review Team (having no statutory status whatever) to be accorded
privilege for making public their views on whether abuse had occurred.

1120. In this context, Miss Page referred to a Home Office circular
providing guidance for police officers on the limited circumstances in
which it might be appropriate to reveal the identities or whereabouts of
convicted paedophiles. Given those constraints, she argues, it could hardly
be appropriate for (still less the duty of) the City Council (or, for that
matter, the Review Team) to broadcast these very serious allegations of
multiple abuse against Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed.

1121. I need to bear in mind, however, that it was Lord Diplock’s clear
view in * Horrocks v. Lowe * [1975] A.C. 135 that the inclusion of
extraneous or irrelevant matter in a publication that was prima facie the
subject of privilege would go to the issue of malice. It is important,
therefore, to focus on what the Review Team’s individual states of mind
were on the issue of the terms of reference. If they genuinely believed
that everything they did was within the terms of reference, however
misguidedly, then the inclusion of the extraneous findings would not in
itself show malice.

1122. In my judgment they most certainly exceeded their originally
expressed terms of reference, which cannot reasonably be construed, in the
context of an obligation to make their findings public, as entitling them
to make public pronouncements of guilt against individual citizens, in
effect, of serious criminal offences (especially, of course, offences in
respect of which they had been acquitted in the Crown Court). It would be
so fundamentally in conflict with human rights that it would be an
unreasonable interpretation. Nonetheless, I believe that the Review Team
thought (almost incredibly) that they had the right to do this. This is to
a large extent the fault of the City Council in not properly addressing the
terms of reference in the first place or, at the very least, not rendering
them clear and providing strict limits to publication once it became
apparent that they were expected to look into individual claims of abuse.
It is also partly explicable on the basis of the Review Team’s naiveté and
lack of judgment. Miss Page submits that I must stick to the objective test
and rule that, because the findings of sexual abuse were outside the
written Terms of Reference on any reasonable construction, the defence of
qualified privilege cannot avail them:

“Not every infringement or excess of terms of reference would operate to
deprive the occasion of publication of the privilege it would otherwise
have attracted. However, this was an infringement of a nature and on a
scale that fundamentally affected the character of the Report. The Review
Team’s findings of sexual abuse of children by the Claimants were not
incidental or ancillary. The findings completely dominated the Report”.

1123. I naturally understand the force of these submissions, but the Team
were given to believe by the City Council that the Terms of Reference had
in fact been expanded in accordance with Mr Henry Warne’s superficial and
ill judged view “…that it was open to them to investigate questions, on the
question of whether abuse had occurred and, if so, by whom”. He was the
lawyer. The Review Team were lay persons. Even though this had the
consequence that they departed from the restrictions of the original terms
of reference in a fundamental way, it seems to me that I cannot conclude
that they stepped outside the protection of qualified privilege. They were
being required to make findings (albeit inconsistently with paragraph 1A)
by those who were instructing and paying them to carry out the Review. The
terms had, in effect, been changed.

1124. An argument raised at one stage was that the restriction imposed by
paragraph 1A was not intended to prevent findings or comments upon the
Claimants’ “guilt” (despite what Mr Hassall, for example, was saying in
July 1994 and June 1995). The suggestion was made that its purpose was the
very narrow one of stopping any challenge to the Judge’s ruling under the
Criminal Justice Act 1988. This seems to me to be quite untenable. It could
not conceivably have been within the remit of this Team to re-open issues
of admissibility already dealt with by a court. There would be no occasion
for them to do so. The matter had been finally disposed of; nor did they
have any locus or qualifications to act in a quasi-appellate capacity. It
cannot, therefore, have been in anyone’s contemplation that they would do
so when the restriction was drafted in or about July 1994 and put in the
forefront of the Terms of Reference. The only reasonable interpretation is
that apparently adopted by Mr Hassall at the parents’ meeting in July 1994
and by him, together with Mr Warne and Ms Bernard, on 7 February 1995.

1125. The Team clearly felt frustrated by even the very loose constraints
imposed upon them by the Council, but went along with them for reasons
explained at page 19 of the Report:

“… for legal reasons we were advised that the processes, determined by the
City Council prior to our appointment, had to be followed, as they were a
guarantee of both natural justice for all those involved, and the
independence of the Review Team”.

1126. As will shortly emerge, any claim to have accorded Christopher Lillie
or Dawn Reed “natural justice” in the course of this inquiry has no contact
with reality. I cannot believe that the Review Team knew what is meant by
the principles of natural justice and they badly needed guidance. To have
let them loose “on the question of whether abuse had occurred and, if so,
by whom” was to invite disaster on a massive scale.

1127. One of the arguments raised in defence of the Terms of Reference was
that they had been “run past” the Social Services Inspectorate without
objection. That may be a relevant factor on the good faith of those
involved but it does not in my judgment affect the substance of the matter.

1128. In my ruling of 28 February 2002, I characterised this situation as a
“shambles”, and it still seems to me to be an appropriate description. The
Council had only themselves to blame for this mess, since on Mr Scott’s own
evidence they let the matter proceed on the basis of instructions to the
Review Team that were “extremely muddled and confusing”. Since their
activities were to have such a profound impact on the lives of Mr Lillie
and Miss Reed, they at least might legitimately feel cheated over this
undisciplined and casual attitude. So too might the general public, and
those funding the City Council in particular. It is they who have had to
bear the cost of this dire episode.

12) The evidence of the Review Team Defendants

1129. Professor Barker went into the witness box on 6 February and was
giving evidence, with various interruptions, until 15 February. He also
returned briefly on 17 May. He was cross-examined at length, primarily on
the issues of the qualified privilege defence pleaded by the Review Team
and of his own alleged malice.

1130. I have no wish to be disparaging about the witness personally or
professionally. It may be that he has achieved a great deal in his chosen
field. Nevertheless, it is my duty to express my conclusions about his
important evidence in this case. As a witness, he did not impress. His
evidence was rambling and defensive. One reason why he remained in the
witness box for so long was that he seemed incapable of giving a straight
answer to a straight question. It was difficult to follow at the time, and
little better on the transcript. Much of it was waffle. More significantly,
however, I am afraid that there were certain respects in which I found it
impossible to believe what he was saying.

1131. It is necessary to preface my findings by some general observations.
First, the principal focus of Miss Page’s patient cross-examination was
upon the Review Team’s methodology and the states of mind of its various
members during the preparation of the Report. She sought to expose their
reasoning processes as being deeply flawed, and to demonstrate that the
explanation lay not in incompetence but in bad faith.

1132. Right at the outset of the case I recognised that such was the
enormous amount of detail that it would be impossible to “put” everything
to the central witnesses. That would not be consistent with efficiency or
economy. It is especially difficult with witnesses who fence with counsel
or avoid answering questions. I made it clear too that I would always be
receptive to a witness being recalled, if necessary, or to dealing with
points in writing. This is not a case which, therefore, lends itself to a
just resolution of issues on a nice determination of whether an aspect of
the case was “put” or not.

1133. Two facts emerged with clarity. Professor Barker and his colleagues
believed that the Claimants were guilty of child abuse on a very extensive
scale, as summarised in their Report, at the time it was published. I am
equally satisfied that, despite their protestations, some of them had
formed that view at the outset of their inquiry and never wavered. This
presents an interesting scenario in the context of the law’s concept of
express malice. On one superficial view, I suppose one might think that the
“honest belief” in the truth of what they alleged would be enough to get
them home on malice, however defective their reasoning process. I am not
sure that this is an analysis which does justice to Lord Diplock’s
exposition in * Horrocks v. Lowe * [1975] A.C. 135 . I do not believe that
it can be the law that it will always be an answer to claim zealotry, or
that one was only doing one’s bigoted best. (That is not, of course, how
these Defendants put their case in any event.) In the last analysis, it
must depend on whether one has published the words complained of in good
faith.

1134. A police officer who, believing an accused person to be guilty, bends
the rules in order to secure a conviction would be acting in bad faith. The
question here is not dissimilar. If the Review Team’s approach to the
evidence was to ignore or distort such parts of it as did not fit in with
their pre-conceived notions, that too would suggest bad faith. On such a
hypothesis, they would not necessarily be seeking to mislead their readers
as to the accuracy of their conclusions, but they might well be intending
to deceive them into accepting that those conclusions were based on a solid
evidential foundation, reflected in the 300 and more pages of the Report.

1135. The Report has been described by defence counsel as being
authoritative and as having a high status; they suggest it is a document
which it was in the public interest to communicate widely. The Review Team
were undoubtedly holding it out as such also. If, however, it was on close
examination as flawed as Miss Page and others have contended, that might be
due to wilful suppression and misrepresentation, or it might be through
(say) bumbling incompetence – or a bit of both. Yet that is an important
distinction in the context of the plea of malice.

1136. It emerged early on in Professor Barker’s testimony that he has a
fundamentally different attitude towards the weighing and analysis of
evidence from that of a lawyer. At several points, it became apparent that
he is rather dismissive of what he called “a forensic approach”. He
resorted from time to time to impressionistic mode, referring to his
“professional judgment” and to discussions in academic and other published
work. His colleagues were similarly minded. Indeed, Ms Jones voluntarily
espoused the word “impressionistic”. Yet the issue of whether any given
individual has raped or assaulted a small child, or for that matter upwards
of 60 small children, is not a matter of impression, theory, opinion or
speculation. It should be a question of fact.

1137. The Professor is entitled to be disparaging about the criminal
justice system, or “forensic analysis”, or the testing of evidence in
cross-examination. Many people are. Such criticism from the sidelines may
or may not be made on an informed basis. But surely when such a critic
steps forward to take on the responsibility of condemning a fellow citizen
as being guilty of such wicked behaviour, a little humility may be thought
appropriate. One would certainly expect a willingness to address the
strength or weakness of the factual evidence relevant to the individual
concerned.

1138. Such decisions must be taken in the realm of hard fact, and
speculation has no place. Juries are told not to speculate and to
concentrate on the evidence. That is not because of some quaint old
tradition, or because lawyers are out of touch; it is the nature of
deductive reasoning. In the weighing of criminal guilt, what is required is
dispassionate analysis and ego must be suppressed. Yet that is not
Professor Barker’s style.

1139. In response to some of Miss Page’s questions, he was keen to show
that he could see through the game of lawyers and referred to her
adversarial approach and to her “close forensic analysis”. But his having
“seen through” the nature of cross-examination did not mean that it was
inappropriate, or that Miss Page should slink away. What it demonstrated
was that Professor Barker knew perfectly well that careful analysis of the
evidence was going to show up flaws in his Report. This was the reason why
he was resistant to it. He realised that their approach had been
impressionistic and speculative. He thus had to take the stance that
careful analysis would be as inapplicable as it might be in assessing (say)
certain propositions of religious faith. What that reveals, however, is
that Professor Barker had eschewed rational analysis in the approach to his
task from the outset, thinking it no doubt too pedestrian. Accordingly, any
flaws demonstrated by such an analysis of his Team’s approach might prove
not to be the result of the incompetent attempts of an inexperienced team,
doing its best to grapple with unfamiliar rigour. It might be explicable
rather by their conscious rejection of the very methodology that was
required for the task they undertook. If that is the case, it is by no
means obvious where the notion of malice fits into that set of
circumstances. Much might depend on how frank they were, or were not, in
the Report and the claims made for their methodology.

1140. Two rather striking examples of Professor Barker’s shaky grip on the
concept of evidence were thrown up early in his cross-examination. They
illustrate the problem. It became quite clear that he regarded the findings
in the Claimants’ respective disciplinary proceedings as being in
themselves some evidence (albeit naturally not conclusive) of actual guilt.
He was asked why, when some of the children had identified members of the
Nursery staff other than Mr Lillie and Miss Reed as present on occasions of
abuse, the Team had discounted the child’s evidence but not in relation to
the two primary suspects. Part of the explanation he gave was that they,
unlike the two Claimants, had not been the subject of disciplinary
proceedings. That is a startling proposition. It was surely the Review Team
who were supposed to be investigating the factual position rather than
assuming from the outset that the disciplinary inquiry had got it right 18
months before.

1141. As on other occasions, it was very difficult to find out what
Professor Barker was saying about the influence of the disciplinary
findings on the Review Team. He said (on 7 February) that “the fact that
they had been dismissed did play a part in our decisions”. He was asked to
confirm whether it influenced them in their findings that they were guilty.
To this he responded, with his customary obscurity:

“I hope it did not predetermine me to make any decision in relation to
them, but I would be clear that I was aware of it.”

Miss Page had to battle on and a little later there was the following
exchange:

“Miss Page: I understood you earlier to say that you did take into account
the fact that they had been dismissed. Are you now saying you did not take
into account the fact that they had been dismissed for sexually abusing
children?

Professor Barker: If I have misled you, I do apologise. I was aware at the
start that they had been dismissed. We then found, when we interviewed
people, the reasons for which they had been dismissed. We interviewed
people who had been involved in the disciplinary, and looked at the
documents in relation to the disciplinary. When it came to us making our
findings at the end of the process in which we were involved, those
processes then played a part. If we had found, in the course of that, that
it was our judgment that they had been inappropriately dismissed, on the
wrong grounds, we would have said so”.

1142. When one comes up for air, the position remains the same; in other
words, the fact that they had been dismissed “played a part” in the Review
Team’s own conclusions. In his witness statement (para. 306), Professor
Barker had pitched it even higher, and described “the information presented
to the disciplinary hearings and the results of the disciplinary hearings”
as being “one of the main influences in our reaching the conclusions set
out in the report” (emphasis added).

1143. Even more disconcerting was the second example. The Professor was
asked how he had come to the conclusion (witness statement at para. 202)
that Mr Lillie was sexually motivated in his behaviour, whereas Miss Reed,
according to him, had been drawn into the production of child pornography
for financial reasons. This he described on 8 February as a “tentative
conclusion based upon my professional judgment”. He said he derived it from
the impression that she had been in financial difficulties. If it were the
case that Miss Reed had been finding it difficult to make ends meet, it may
be that she would not be the only nursery nurse in the country in that
predicament. It would be hard indeed if this were to bring them all under
suspicion of generating child pornography. It is, of course, an obvious non
sequitur. As it happens, however, when they were exploring Miss Reed’s
financial position, the Review Team were actually told by Detective
Inspector Findlay, at an interview in January 1997, that the police were
not aware of any financial problems on her part. This underlines the
worrying proposition that Professor Barker was simply speculating.

1144. Instead of recognising this, however, when it was pointed out to him
by Miss Page, Professor Barker turned through 180 degrees and responded
immediately (as he thought tellingly) that the reason why Miss Reed was not
in financial difficulty was that she had probably benefited from the
proceeds of child pornography. This shows a cast of mind, closed to all
reason, whereby whatever piece of evidence may be produced, however
inconsistent with the last, it is perceived as supporting the basic
unchallengeable datum that abuse occurred. It is not an unfamiliar cast of
mind, but it is one that is not normally associated with university
professors.

1145. It is necessary to bear in mind exactly what the Team’s stark
findings and conclusions were in this context (page 282):

“We find that there is evidence which suggests that the children were
sometimes filmed when they were being abused outside the nursery and we
have drawn the conclusion that Chris Lillie and Dawn Reed were procuring
the children of Shieldfield nursery for pornographic purposes as well as
their own motivations.

In the absence of being able to interview them we have been unable to find
either Chris Lillie or Dawn Reed’s personal motivations for their abusive
behaviours. However, the indications from the children were that Chris
Lillie took every opportunity to abuse them, and Dawn Reed was a party to
abuse in particular situations, including during filming”.

1146. The readers of the Report would not imagine that the Review Team was
simply speculating on this serious allegation of involvement in commercial
pornography. The reasonable reader would feel entitled to presume that such
a specific conclusion was based on something solid. In fact, there was no
evidence thrown up by police inquiries either of a paedophile ring or of
child pornography. Surely the readers were entitled to know that.

1147. Miss Page also queried the attribution of financial motive by
reference to some of the allegations against Miss Reed which could not
conceivably have been so motivated; for example, sticking cutlery up the
bottoms and vaginas of small children when no cameras were present. To this
there was no cogent response.

1148. On similar lines was Miss Page’s invitation to Professor Barker to
identify any child in respect of whom his or her allegations had been
discounted as unreliable. Professor Barker could not think of one and said
he would go away and see if he could come up with such an example. He later
cited one, and one only. This was Child 50. The complaint that was rejected
was in relation to “an unusual bruise on his leg” which Professor Barker
concluded simply could not be linked to Christopher Lillie. There is
certainly no indication for any reader of the Report that any of these very
grave allegations against Mr Lillie or Miss Reed was actually rejected or
found to be unsustainable. It looks as though every allegation mentioned in
the Report, however outlandish, has been upheld. Yet the reader will look
in vain for the reasons underlying such conclusions.

1149. It is necessary now to turn to the aspects of his evidence I found
myself simply disbelieving. Miss Page was putting the proposition to
Professor Barker that, far from keeping an open mind, he had always assumed
guilt. She referred him to various contemporaneous documents.

1150. Attention was drawn to a Progress Report from the Review Team dated
February 1996 (when they were no more than a few months into their three
year inquiry). I was told that this document was the work of Professor
Barker and Mr Wardell. It referred to multiple abuse having occurred
(without the slightest qualification). Professor Barker said airily that it
was just “clumsy wording” and did not represent their actual view at that
time. I do not believe him. (Some weeks later, on 1 March, Miss Moira
Luccock of the Independent Persons Scheme rather gave the game away when
she said that it had already become “clear” that they were “dealing with a
multiple abuse situation” before the Review Team began its inquiry.)

1151. At about the same time, in February 1996, there was an interview with
Ms Bernard who had taken over as Director of Social Services. Reference was
again made to Mr Lillie and Miss Reed as “the abusers”. Professor Barker
said that, with the benefit of hindsight, he would wish that the word
“alleged” had been inserted but it did not mean that their minds were made
up at that stage. Again, I do not believe him.

1152. Even earlier in the process, in November 1995, there was an interview
with the mother of Child 9 (no longer relied upon as part of the case of
justification). Reference is made in that note again to “the abusers”. This
was a summary of the interview – not in direct speech. Professor Barker
said that the description “abuser” must have been quoted from the mother.
It did not represent his perception at that stage. Again, I do not believe
him. It is part of a consistent pattern. In re-examination, Mr Bishop drew
attention to other documents, more carefully drafted, where the Claimants
were not so labelled. But this does not in my view serve in any way to
refute the point. In the nature of things, more is revealed when the mask
slips than when it is kept in position.

1153. Another revealing episode was the way in which correspondence was
handled between the Review Team and Mr Lillie’s advisers, at the stage when
they were inviting him to attend for interview. Miss Page put to Professor
Barker that Mr Lillie and Miss Reed were simply “second class citizens”
compared to other witnesses. For example, Joyce Eyeington gave evidence
about the “47 complaints” alleged by the Review Team to have been made
about her. In fact, a large number were quite wrongly directed at her, but
what matters for present purposes is that she had received advance written
notification of the supposed complaints against her, so that she would have
an opportunity of dealing with them in interview if she wished. Nothing
comparable was sent to Mr Lillie or Miss Reed.

1154. When, on 18 April 1997, Mr Lillie’s solicitor wrote to ask the nature
of the complaints he would have to answer, he received a remarkable letter
dated 7 May by way of response. I shall come to it very shortly but it is
necessary to bear in mind, in this context, that the Review Team described
their procedures on pages 18–21 of the Report, where the following claim
was made:

“As well as enquiring into what had happened, we were also interested to
discover evidence – which included opinion – about how and why events had
happened. For the most part, we were thus seeking to adopt an
inquisitorial, rather than adversarial approach, as such we have adopted an
approach similar to that outlined subsequently by Sir Ronald Waterhouse in
relation to the North Wales Tribunal:

‘We are not a jury. Our duty is to enquire and our procedure will be
inquisitorial rather than adversarial – subject to the important
qualification that any person against whom criticism or allegations are
made will have a full opportunity to answer'”

1155. The claim was also made that, in the case of witnesses who were the
subject of substantial complaints, the Review Team sent “Salmon letters”.

1156. It was pointed out (also on page 21 of the Report) that Mr Lillie and
Miss Reed had refused to be interviewed. Since they are recorded as having
had the greatest number of complaints against them, by far, the clear
implication is that they so refused after receiving a “Salmon letter”. Mr
Henry Warne told me (on 28 February) that he presumed that specific
allegations had been put to them in their letters of invitation. Most
people would make that assumption.

1157. Miss Page gave Professor Barker an opportunity to deal with this
allegation in the following terms:

“Question: You also lied did you not, in those passages of the Report at
pages 20–23 which we looked at this morning in which you set out all the
procedures of fairness to witnesses which did not apply, did they, to Chris
and Dawn?

Answer: If you are saying there is linguistic ambiguities, if you are
saying we were economical with the truth, if you are saying that we lied,
you are entitled to say those, but it is my belief that when I read the
final Report that we had written and when I read the complaints letters, it
is my belief that I honestly believed what we had written.

Question: You did not care what they had to say, did you, because you were
going to label them as abusers come what may; is that not the position?

Answer: I feel that in some ways without sounding patronising there would
have been – we had to find out what we had to find out, not what we were
determined to find out. We had to try and find out what had probably
happened and draw conclusions. In terms of my career as a social worker and
an academic who is also a social worker, as someone who trained to be a
teacher, as someone who has done research into child care, it saddened me
that in the case of Christopher Lillie it appeared to be the case in
relation to information that we had that a child, an adolescent who had
spent time in care had ended up in a position where he had abused children,
because I do believe that children and young people who have been through
the care system in Britain have to cope with disadvantages subsequent to
being in care and sometimes have to cope with quite difficult circumstances
when they are in care, and I find it very unappealing to believe that the
care system can damage children, but I know that it does. So actually my
personal inclination is to feel sympathy without I hope being patronising
in relation to people who have been in care. So had I been biased I would
have been inclined to have wanted to find information that minimised or
reduced the responsibility of your client in that respect”.

1158. This answer, of course, took matters no further. Earlier Miss Page
had tried in vain to obtain an answer as to why Mr Lillie and Miss Reed
were treated differently by the Review Team from other witnesses. This had
led to a rhapsody about legal advice, which was nothing to the point:

“Question: At this stage in the process Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed
were, as far as you were concerned, second class citizens in terms of the
fairness procedures that you thought you owed to witnesses, were they not?

Answer: When we were appointed the very first meeting I had had with Henry
Warne and Bob Hassell, I think in the minutes of that meeting the agenda
shows that one of the first items that was on that agenda was the need for
us to have independent legal advice. It took some time for us to have what
we considered independent legal advice. That is no disrespect to the
lawyers who were employed in the Newcastle Law, which at that point was the
arms length legal service of Newcastle City Council. They had gone for, I
think, what was called at that time a purchaser–provider split. So that the
initial discussions we had with Mr Warne was that Newcastle City Council
understood and appreciated that we wanted to have independent legal advice.

Question: Why do you need to resort to discussions about independent legal
advice in order to answer my question, Professor Barker?

Answer: Because if we were desirous of having independent legal advice to
pursue our processes, in relation to key items of correspondence, it is
appropriate for you to know that we took appropriate advice.

Question: You were conducting this inquiry; you had a duty of honesty; you
had a duty of fairness. You accept that, do you not, Professor Barker?

Answer: I accept that we had a duty of fairness to do what we had to do and
also to take account of appropriate advice. Had we not, it is my belief
taken account of appropriate advice, I could have been criticised and the
Review Team could have been criticised for saying ‘well, it is clear, is it
not, that you did not take advice?’

Question: Do you understand the concept of fairness? Do you understand the
concept which surely is steeped in you as a citizen of this country that
before somebody is condemned they should have a full opportunity to defend
themselves and to know what it is they are defending themselves against.
You do not need legal advice to know that, do you, Professor Barker?

Answer: If you carry on with these letters….

Question: Just answer the question. Can we have a question about you and
what you understood?

Answer: That is rather like saying ‘who is going to win the race?’ when you
are half way through it.

Question: Do you have an understanding of the concept of fairness,
Professor Barker, Yes or No?

Answer: It is my belief that the documentation that is in front of me in
relation to the correspondence which Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed,
which we wrote based upon appropriate advice, was appropriate and was fair”.

1159. I have set out these passages to illustrate how one had to fight
through the verbiage in order to understand what Professor Barker’s case
was.

1160. Against that background, I set out the terms of the letter of 7 May
1997:

“Thank you for your letter dated 18 April.

I am prepared to disclose in advance the complaints made against your
client so that he had adequate notice of the position and is given a full
and fair hearing about matters upon which I will be required to report.

I enclose of [sic] copy of the Independent Complaints Review Team’s Terms
of Reference which will give you an idea of the range of issues we shall
have to cover and you will see from the questions below those which are
relevant.

The main complaints from parents are that your client, together with Dawn
Reed physically and sexually abused children, whilst the children were
attending Shieldfield Nursery; and that the children were taken out of the
nursery without permission or oversight.

We would also like to ask questions about how your client was selected and
recruited to the Social Services Department, how he was managed and
supervised and how he came to work with Dawn Reed.

It would be interesting to hear his views on his earlier contact with the
Department and about his prior employment experiences.

I am anxious that in no way is the criminal trial re-visited. Our approach
is inquisitional rather than adversarial with the hearing held in private.
Interviewees can be accompanied by a friend or legal adviser.

The Review Team will be producing a public report after it has considered
the evidence presented to it. I hope that your client will feel able, with
your help, to meet with the Team and help further our consideration of
matters relating to our Terms of Reference.

(signed)

DR RICHARD W BARKER

TEAM LEADER”

1161. The sentence suggesting that the criminal trial would in no way be
re-visited is, to put it politely, disingenuous. Not only had the Review
Team made up their minds about Mr Lillie by this stage, but it must have
been obvious to them that they were addressing allegations made in relation
to each and every one of the six children named in the indictment in the
1994 criminal proceedings. They were quite likely to find him guilty of
abuse in relation to all of them, as well as many other children besides,
and of rape in relation to Child 14. (Professor Barker and Mr Wardell had
viewed the video recordings some nine months previously.)

1162. It is necessary to assess this letter against the background that Mr
Henry Warne, and the members of the Review Team themselves, decided at some
point that they were going to have to “re-visit” the criminal trial as part
of their task (“whether abuse had occurred and, if so, by whom”). It
appears that this had been recognised well before May 1997. Jennifer
Bernard thought it no later than the time when the video interviews were
obtained (i.e. the previous Summer).

1163. Miss Page put to Professor Barker that the promise not to re-visit
the criminal proceedings was simply a “lie”. As so often in
cross-examination, he said that he had received legal advice but did not
intend to waive privilege in respect of it. He would not, however, accept
that the sentence was untrue.

1164. The exchange went as follows:

“Question: Professor Barker, that sentence in that letter: ‘I am anxious
that in no way is the criminal trial re-visited’, I suggest to you is
nothing less than a lie?

Answer: I would have no reason to lie honestly. There is no reason, in my
mind, that I could think of why I would want to lie. I was not on a
vendetta. I did not know the two people concerned. I did not have any
aspiration to overturn a properly made judicial decision, as far as I know.
I was simply trying to deal with a complex and difficult situation where a
large amount of material had to be dealt with in relation to the terms of
reference that had been laid down by us and try to be involved in moving
those through those processes in a fair and appropriate way and reach a
conclusion that could then be appropriately written up, (1) in a report
that would then be made available to Newcastle City Council and (2) in
relation to complaints letters that we were empowered and required to
complete. So, I honestly do not feel that it would have been any benefit in
me trying to do what you are suggesting and it is honestly is not a lie in
my opinion”.

1165. The matter needs no elaboration from me, since anyone reading the
letter of 7 May (intended to lure him for interview) could not conceivably
imagine that the Review Team would be broadcasting, on publication of their
Report, that Mr Lillie had in fact committed all the offences of which he
had been acquitted several years earlier. The sentence was bound to mislead
and, therefore, I have no doubt that it was intended to do so. I am not
prepared to assume that he would or even might have been advised by
responsible lawyers to say something that was so obviously false.

1166. This was compounded by the fact that the Review Team held Mr Lillie’s
silence against him when setting out their conclusions. Professor Barker
admitted as much in reply to me. Miss Page pointed out to him that, since
he had received no indication of the specific charges, it could hardly be
said to be fair to criticise him for not responding (whether orally or in
writing). Professor Barker’s approach seems to have been that Mr Lillie and
his lawyers could surely have worked it out for themselves! Indeed Mr
Wardell made the rather sarcastic comment on 22 February, “I imagine the
lawyers must be the most ill informed people in the world if they did not
know that”.

1167. It is against this background that the Team included the following
sentence in their Report (at page 228):

“No one other than those that perpetrated that abuse can provide definitive
knowledge as to how this was carried out and those perpetrators that we
know of have declined to talk to us. Therefore what follows can only be
speculation based on those aspects of the situation that we do know about
placed within a theoretical framework of what is known about perpetrators
of child abuse”.

1168. It is also manifest that the claim made on page 23 of the Report is,
as Miss Page suggested, untrue:

“The Report has been checked for accuracy and consistency. Where particular
people have been significantly criticised, where possible this has been
raised with them in their interview or they have been forewarned prior to
publication and allowed a chance to respond”.

It is clear that the Claimants received no warning whatsoever. If that is
not a “lie”, I do not know what is. All these general claims of fairness
made in the Report are obviously false so far as Mr Lillie and Miss Reed
are concerned. On 22 February, Mr Wardell said that it was the
responsibility of the City Council to give advance notice to them of the
conclusions. He thought there was an agreement with Mr Warne, Mr Scott or
Mr Poll to this effect. He was clearly wrong about that. I am not
suggesting that he was dishonest in this respect. I think he was trying to
persuade himself that there must be some honourable explanation for having
got themselves into this untenable position.

1169. An unusual feature of the Defendants’ case is that it is integral to
the plea of justification that Mr Lillie and Miss Reed were conducting a
bizarre and perverted sexual relationship confined to their paedophile
interests. It is always to be remembered that they were not portrayed as
two paedophiles who happened by chance to be operating independently in the
same nursery. They are accused by the Review Team of also having sexual
relations with one another of various kinds, including sexual intercourse,
oral sex and sticking scissors up each other’s bottoms.

1170. There was no evidence of their having any social relationship outside
the Nursery, or of any signs of mutual attraction. Indeed, there was
evidence that Miss Reed had found Mr Lillie in some respects irritating to
work with and perceived him, sometimes, as inclined to “skive off” out of
the Red Room, leaving her to cope on her own. Not only did she tell me that
this was so, although she did not make too much of it, but there was
evidence from colleagues that this had been her attitude at the time.

1171. Apart from this, each of them had a partner with whom they had set up
home. Miss Reed had done so with her boyfriend Mark in 1990 and was living
with him at all material times, eventually marrying a few months after the
acquittals in July 1994. Mr Lillie had moved in with Lorraine Kelly in
December 1992, after going out with her (or as she described it,
“courting”) for about six months. Professor Barker thought none of this
significant. He referred in his witness statement to “couples” abusing
children jointly and cited the example, rather chillingly, of Fred and Rose
West. What he failed to address at all was the fact that there was no
evidence of these Claimants being a “couple” in any ordinary sense of that
term.

1172. Mrs Saradjian’s evidence on this subject was “breezy” rather than
analytical:

“We have a very interesting picture here, because it is not one that to
think is easily explicable, in the sense that ‘why would they need to be in
a couple relationship when they were already in a relationship?’ (although
a different sort—working in the nursery). They knew each other”.

She added:

“They were in a relationship where they knew each other over a long period
of time, and none of us knows what goes on within that relationship. They
could have been having a relationship that nobody knew about. Who knows? I
don’t know”.

1173. Miss Page put to her that there was no shred of evidence for such a
relationship. She replied, “No, except for what the children describe and
what the children say”.

1174. I wish to be very clear about this. I am conscious of the fact that
it is no answer to an allegation of child abuse, or paedophilia, that one
leads an outwardly “normal” or “respectable” life with an established
partner, whether heterosexual or homosexual. Although judges are supposed
to be out of touch, one unchallengeable proposition is that every one of
them is thoroughly familiar with the prevalence of child abuse and the wide
variety of lifestyles of those charged with such offences. Let it be
crystal clear, therefore, that I am not suggesting that the fact that
Christopher Lillie had a steady partner (who gave evidence before me, and
is still with him nine years later), or that Dawn Reed had a partner (with
whom she “fell in love” at the age of 15 and married when she was nearly
24), renders paedophilic tendencies inherently unlikely. What I do suggest,
however, is that it is truly remarkable that Professor Barker and his
colleagues seem to have thought that there was nothing implausible about
this “non-couple”, against that background, conducting an ad hoc sexual
relationship during working hours outside the Nursery, without any single
adult (for example, a colleague or one of their individual partners)
noticing. No one suggested that there was any precedent for this situation.
Of course, there appears to be no limit to the scope of human depravity,
and one should approach such allegations with an open mind, but it would at
least be worth looking into. In fact, it was looked into by the police, and
there was found absolutely nothing to confirm it. Moreover, Det. Sgt.
O’Hara expressed his incredulity to the Review Team in interview. Yet this
seems to have given the Review Team no pause for thought.

1175. In his witness statement Professor Barker had this to say on the
subject:

“The fact that they apparently did not have a relationship outside the
nursery is not significant. There is no research evidence to show that such
a relationship would have been an inevitable or necessary part of their
jointly abusing children, and the way they could come and go from the
nursery during work time almost at will meant that they had sufficient time
and opportunity both outside and inside the nursery to pursue their abuse
of the children together” (emphasis added).

This is a spurious and trumped up justification, after the event, for their
failure to address the point. It is hardly likely that there would be any
published research on the issue. No one suggested once, during 79 days of
this trial, that there was any precedent for a man and a woman engaging in
child abuse together when they were not in any kind of “couple”
relationship. There was therefore nothing to which research could be
directed.

1176. Miss Page’s cross-examination began with the case of Child 4. It was
an especially striking set of allegations. It is said that cutlery was
inserted into her vagina by Miss Reed, which led to bleeding; yet,
remarkably, medical evidence revealed no abnormality of the hymen at all.
As in every case, however, where the physical findings were negative, the
caveat was entered that “the absence of physical findings does not
necessarily mean abuse has not taken place”.

1177. It was as good a place as any to begin testing the methodology of the
Review Team. Professor Barker agreed with the general proposition that the
more serious the allegation, the more cogent the evidence required to prove
it. His avowed approach thus accords exactly with that of the Court of
Appeal in * Hornal v. Neuberger Products * (cited above). It was
appropriate, therefore, to ask Professor Barker how he satisfied himself
that this test, which he willingly set himself and his colleagues, had been
fulfilled in the case of Child 4. There seems to be little doubt from the
content of the Report itself that they purported to be so satisfied. So
much is apparent from pages 209–212. There is no doubt either that, by 5
January 1996, the mother of Child 4 had given written permission for the
Review Team to look at her medical records. Yet, in at least two (and
possibly three) meetings which the Review Team held with the paediatrician,
Dr San Lazaro, there is no record of their querying or discussing the
absence of physical findings with her.

1178. On 7 February 2002, Professor Barker acknowledged that, as a layman,
he would have found it surprising that there should appear no evidence of
damage to the hymen if a knife had truly been inserted and caused bleeding.
If that is so, it is surely inexplicable that, before finding the
allegation proved, the point was not raised with a paediatrician. This is
against the background of Professor Barker’s claim in his witness statement
that one of the other “main influences” in reaching their conclusions was
the medical information gathered by Dr San Lazaro.

1179. Professor Barker had also accepted that it would be inappropriate to
reproduce the words of one child to convey what had happened to another
child. He agreed that, where a child’s words were quoted, there was an
intention to inform readers that the disclosure was such that the Team were
satisfied it could be relied upon. This further underlines the importance
of testing Child 4’s own evidence for these grave allegations.

1180. Miss Page put to Professor Barker that it was very important to check
if the medical evidence cast doubt on Child 4’s serious allegations
because, if it did, the rest of her evidence might legitimately be thrown
into doubt. The response was a characteristic example of waffle:

“I am speaking for myself in that, as I say, I honestly do not recall
seeing the medical, and my view would be that I would have wanted to seek
further information in relation to that…. I think, in looking at any of the
children, we would have wanted to look at the whole range of information
that we had available to us, and obviously the medical would be an
important part of that…. We had difficulties getting access to a whole
range of information and amongst that we had difficulties getting access to
a range of medical information. It was not in our discussions with the
people who commissioned us, or in the advice that we sought from a range of
people, that necessarily the medical information of itself would be pivotal
because obviously medical information can describe a variety of things, and
that is why we did what we did”.

If any of these outpourings are intended to suggest that there was any
difficulty about seeing Child 4’s medical findings, that would be
manifestly untrue. As it was, Miss Page’s point remained unanswered,
because it was unanswerable.

1181. The statements of Child 4 were also used by the Review Team to
support their conclusions that Mr Lillie and Miss Reed injected not only
her but other children with “analgesics” to facilitate their sexual abuse.
She was also one of the children (referred to on page 209 of the Report)
who apparently contended that “Jackie” had wiped her blood away following
the insertion of an object into her vagina. There is no realistic
possibility, in my judgment, that “Jackie” referred to anyone other than a
member of the Shieldfield staff with that name. Yet the Report records that
this member of staff (Jackie Bell) denied what the child was saying (albeit
without recording whether the Review Team believed the denial). Yet again
this seemed to give the Team no reason to query the child’s account. (Later
Judith Jones suggested that it might have been another Jackie who wiped the
blood away – someone who had at some stage worked in the kitchens – but she
was never interviewed. If she truly believed that this woman was the
relevant “Jackie”, clearly she should have been approached for her account.)

1182. One of the striking failures of the Review Team was not to make any
appraisal of claims by any child (including Child 4) to the effect that
other members of staff were present during instances of abuse. If those
members of staff denied the child’s claims, and the Review Team accepted
the denial, it is hard to see how this would not undermine their confidence
in the child’s other evidence. For example, with Child 4, her suggestion
that “Jackie wiped away the blood after she had the cutlery inserted into
her vagina” was very important. If it was not true, why should the
fundamental allegation itself not equally be open to doubt? The child’s
account would entail apparently (i) that Child 4 was taken to somewhere
away from the Nursery, (ii) that objects were inserted, (iii) that there
was bleeding, (iv) that “Jackie” was present, or at least nearby, and (v)
that “Jackie” wiped away the blood. Which of these propositions did the
Review Team reject and why not the others? Professor Barker no doubt
regarded these questions as over-analytical. He considered that “all of
them were possible on the basis of what that child had said”. One of the
many bizarre twists and turns in this litigation was that Mr Bishop
suddenly remembered, well into his own evidence (and after cross-examining
the Claimants about it) that this allegation was supposed to have been
withdrawn. But that seemed to surprise the Review Team as much as everyone
else.

1183. Miss Page also asked Professor Barker about the fact that Child 2
apparently indicated no less than three other members of staff (i.e. Diane,
Jackie and Trisha) as being present. There was a rather feeble attempt to
suggest that the child may have been referring to three other people who
happened to have the same names, but this was manifest nonsense. If the
Review Team concluded that those three women were not implicated in or
condoning the assaults, why were they so happy to assume that the
allegations were accurate so far as these Claimants were concerned? There
was, of course, no cogent or comprehensible answer.

1184. The Review Team have a standard method for dealing with inaccuracies
and inconsistencies in children’s statements which is reflected on page 208
of the Report:

“The only people who really know what happened to the children of
Shieldfield nursery are those who perpetrated the abuse. It is highly
likely that even the children who experienced that abuse will have some
accurate knowledge and some distorted knowledge. This distorted knowledge
is likely to have been deliberately implanted by the perpetrators. The
implanting of distorted knowledge is a strategy that abusers describe
using. This tactic is particularly successful with very young children who
have limited knowledge and understanding of the world and thus, when
experiencing situations they cannot make sense of, they are likely to
accept an abuser’s interpretation of those experiences. As a result of such
distorted knowledge, when children try to disclose their experience, they
are often not believed as, along with accurate knowledge gained through
their own senses, they relate false or distorted information gained from
the abuser/s. This distorted information is likely to refer to not only
what happened to the child but also, who did it, to whom, where it was done
and who had known about it and given permission for it to happen.”

This is simply bare assertion or theory. It is not based on any evidence
relating to this case. But it seems to have been resorted to by the Team as
a reason for explaining inconsistencies among the children’s accounts.

1185. Child 14 was clearly of central importance (for the reasons explained
by Holland J in 1994) – and not least for assessing the intellectual
honesty of the Review Team. Professor Barker told me that he, like Holland
J, had viewed all three hours of the video interviews. I believe that all
members of the Review Team had done so. At all events, it is glaringly
obvious that the child’s evidence was not obtained in accordance with the
Cleveland guidelines or the Memorandum of Good Practice based upon them. As
it happens, Professor Bruck (the expert called on behalf of the Claimants)
regarded it as one of the worst examples she had encountered. Holland J had
raised in his ruling of July 1994 a number of fundamental concerns about it
(which I have identified above). No objective person could fail to
recognise that these concerns needed, at the very least, to be addressed.
Despite this, the Report contained the claim that the questions were in no
way “leading”. This is manifestly absurd.

1186. There are real concerns as to why the Review Team did not inquire
into that interview. I was told by Mrs Saradjian that they had received a
letter from the police force asking them to “go easy” on Helen Foster, who
had conducted the interview, and the Team were anxious not to upset her.
The transcript of their interview with Detective Inspector Campbell Findlay
expressly refers to that letter. Unhappily, it had gone missing. When it
went missing, and how it went missing, no one appeared to know. It
eventually turned up on or about 18 April. It was dated 19 December 1996
and the relevant passages were as follows:

“Another one of our officers had now been contacted by yourselves,
requesting her attendance at an interview on a date to be arranged in 1997.
The purpose in writing to you at this stage is twofold. Primarily my
concern is for the welfare and wellbeing of the officer concerned. I have
been made aware of the effects this particularly onerous and stressful
investigation had on her, both physically and mentally, and I would
question whether, having interviewed the Force Child Protection
Co-ordinator and then made arrangements to interview the female officer’s
direct supervisor who was, in effect, the officer in charge of the case,
there is any benefit in resurrecting this matter as far as WPC Foster is
concerned.

If it is considered important to conduct such an interview, and mindful of
the consequences on the officer’s health, I would wish that, to enable the
officer to prepare herself both physically and mentally, you provide at
least one month prior to the proposed interview, a detailed set of
questions you propose to put to her, which specifically include any
possible complaints that have been made.

The reasoning behind my request is that the incidents referred to occurred
approximately three to four years ago; the officer has been involved in
many large investigations since and the quantity of material to which she
would be obliged to refer precludes any spontaneous answers to detailed
questions”.

1187. Professor Barker’s reply of 17 January 1997, so far as material, was
in these terms:

“I can well understand the potential distress that recollections of past
events can cause in cases such as this, and can assure you that the team is
sensitive to the needs of those who it wishes to interview.

We do however feel that the valuable lessons that would potentially be
drawn from WPC Foster’s evidence warrant interviewing her; particularly
given her sympathetic approach to the children she interviewed which many
parents have commented upon.

It is our policy to provide in detail in writing the areas which we wish to
discuss with witnesses, and a witness can choose to be accompanied by a
lawyer if they wish”.

1188. This exchange is a classic illustration of how unsuited the Review
Team was, and how inappropriate its procedures, for determining guilt or
innocence on the part of Mr Lillie and Miss Reed. One has only to envisage
how unthinkable it would be for a court to enter into an under-the-counter
arrangement with the police to “go easy” on a prosecution witness. It would
almost certainly be regarded as a perversion of the course of justice.
Professor Barker and his colleagues probably knew no better. It
demonstrates how ill equipped they were for the task – something which
should have been glaringly obvious to at least the lawyers on the Newcastle
City Council staff at the time (whenever it was) when it was decided to
permit them to re-open the issues of rape and indecent assault. The
particular problem here was not just that it was inherently inappropriate,
and compromised the Review Team’s much vaunted “independence”, but that
neither the readers in general nor the “accused” in particular could
possibly know that they were cosying up to the police in this way. They
chose to withold questions that needed asking; they declined to challenge
in any way the police questioning of these children. Despite this, they
pronounced a clean bill of health to the public while claiming to be
“robust”. They described Helen Foster as having been an “impressive
witness” to the inquiry – but without revealing how Mrs Saradjian had
complied with the “go easy” letter and refrained from probing.

1189. An interesting sequel was that when she gave evidence on 22 May Helen
Foster said she knew nothing about the exchange. She had not supplied the
information for the 19 December letter; nor had she been consulted. She was
clearly rather unhappy that she had been described in the terms there set
out. She had not had to have any time off and was particularly concerned at
the suggestion that the case had taken a toll on her “mentally”. I must
conclude that the officer who wrote the letter about Miss Foster (Detective
Chief Inspector Machell) was only too well aware of the flawed methods
adopted in the video interviews and wanted to head off criticism. Her
“welfare and wellbeing” provided an excuse.

1190. On the Team’s relations with the police, it is necessary also to bear
in mind what passed between them and Detective Chief Inspector Blue on 20
March 1996. He was not very willing to release the video tapes to the
Review Team at that stage because the Child Protection Unit had only
finished their training on the Memorandum of Good Practice in May 1993.
Accordingly, the interviewing techniques were at a very early stage. He
wished to emphasise that they had come on in “leaps and bounds” and changed
“dramatically” since that time. He was concerned that any criticisms made
might make it more difficult for the future to obtain the participation of
social workers in child interviews. The Review Team, on the other hand,
were keen to obtain the interviews if they possibly could, mainly because
some of the parents wanted them to view the tapes:

“… and it somehow seems terribly important to a lot of them that actually
we see the pain that the children went through, because it feels so long
since those events, to them, and the pain that has gone on throughout that
time; somehow the pain of the children at the time became quite lost and
the statements that the children made may have become quite lost, with the
court denying the children the right to actually say that. So, in some
ways, although we cannot re-try Dawn and Chris (and there is no way we
would even begin to even want to do that), what the parents are virtually
saying is that ‘my children said something important, and it has just been
lost, and never been heard or seen’. I think, for the parents, that is
really what comes across. That is what they want me to do. So that, if we
can say in our report that we have had access to the video-tapes, where we
saw for ourselves the children … and this has had a profound effect on us”.

That has all the hallmarks of Professor Barker’s style.

1191. The clear implication of the conversation was that the Team would, in
exchange for access to the tapes, not make any criticisms of the early
efforts at applying the Memorandum guidelines. The Team’s offer was really
encapsulated in the following words:

“So if we were to say that the focus of our attention is the child and not
the way they were interviewed?”

Although he prevaricated for a while on the subject, I eventually asked
Professor Barker to say Yes or No to whether there was a quid pro quo for
seeing the videos that the Review Team would not criticise the police, to
which he replied “My memory is that there probably was”.

1192. This was hardly an arms length relationship but unfortunately the
readers of the Report would not know, when reading about the child
interviews, of these semi- official nudges and winks. One cannot fail to
notice that the observations of the Review Team on the video interviews, as
ultimately contained in the Report, were exactly in line with what they
were offering before they had even seen them (for “profound” one merely
substitutes “powerful”). It is thus tolerably clear that the reason why
they wanted access to the videos was not to assess them in any way
critically as evidence, or to appraise the extent to which they provided
reliable accounts of abuse, but so that they could emote about them in the
Report for the benefit of parents.

1193. The Team’s approach to the interviews clearly called for some
straight answers from Professor Barker. He said that he and Roy Wardell had
viewed the video interviews in 1996 and seemed to accept that they were the
members of the Team responsible for its overall assessment of the weight to
be attached to that material. I shall return to this issue shortly.

1194. Another striking aspect of Professor Barker’s evidence was that
relating to the identifiable adults who fell under suspicion as a result of
remarks made by some of the children (Child 4, Child 22 and Child 23). Some
of the descriptions they gave of other adults being present, on occasions
when abuse was supposed to have taken place, led some people with local
knowledge to interpret them as referring to specific people. Three of the
persons concerned had rather striking physical appearances, and suspicion
for a time fell upon them. I am not going to give the physical descriptions
in the body of this judgment, but everyone participating in the inquiries
and in these proceedings knew who they were. This is potentially very
important, because it provided apparent corroboration for what the children
were saying. It would be difficult to dismiss their suggestions as fantasy
if the descriptions corresponded to readily identifiable local residents.
For this reason, it was especially important to examine and test what was
said about them.

1195. The police did pursue these matters and checked out the persons
concerned, with a view to seeing if there was corroboration for what the
children were saying, and if there was evidence to justify criminal
proceedings against any of the individuals. Nothing emerged from those
inquiries to suggest that any of the persons had been involved, directly or
indirectly, in child abuse. On the face of it, therefore, there was nothing
to confirm or enhance what the children were saying. Indeed, if the persons
did correspond to the descriptions given, the result of police inquiries
would rather go the other way and cast doubt upon the children’s accounts.
It was thus an important matter for the Review Team to address. They did so
on pages 213–17 of the Report. The clear impression was there given that
the police inquiries had thrown up some relevant information consistent
with, or tending to confirm, the involvement of one or more such persons in
paedophile activity. For example, on page 217 it was said:

“Many aspects of the children’s evidence that could be verified and were
checked out, proved to be accurate”.

Further, at page 269, they claimed that they had been told by police that
they had found evidence relating to one of the identified individuals which
“was not strong enough to be used in court”.

1196. It is necessary to see what information the Review Team did have from
the police to justify that passage. My attention was drawn to an interview
with the police officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Inspector
Findlay. From that transcript, it appeared to be quite clear that the
officer told the Review Team members that there was nothing to put any of
the people concerned “into the frame” and that he had no evidence. Helen
Foster was able to confirm this from the witness box – by which time her
note books had been made available. It thus began to look very much as
though the Review Team had drafted the passages in their Report
mischievously in order to stoke up the fires of suspicion against the
various persons concerned. That would have been dishonest, irresponsible
and potentially dangerous.

1197. Miss Page pressed Professor Barker on this at some length (as she so
often had to, because he would not focus on what she was asking). On 12
February, I pressed him also. I said to him that it was very important
that, if the Review Team had some evidence, apart from what was recorded in
the Findlay interview, to back up what they said in the Report, he should
now reveal it. It seemed obvious that this was a necessary step for the
Review Team to take, in order to rebut the charge of dishonesty. It could
not have been explained more clearly to him.

1198. Still Professor Barker rambled and procrastinated. He said that Mr
Findlay had implied that there was some evidence (albeit not enough to
justify criminal proceedings), but he was unable to identify the words
which were said to give rise to this implication. Any such implication
would, of course, have contradicted what the officer actually said (i.e.
that he had no evidence). Every opportunity was given to Professor Barker
to focus on the issue and to do himself justice. Unfortunately, he did not
take that opportunity. Judith Jones and Mrs Saradjian did, in due course,
have the grace to admit that they did not have any such information. Mr
Wardell had not been present at the interview with Mr Findlay. Although he
read the transcript, he knew that the tape had been switched off at one
point. He seemed to think that something had been said off the record to
justify the words in the Report. He accepted, however, that only those
present could know if this was so.

1199. It was interesting to note that on 8 February Professor Barker used
this formula of “implication” by the police also in relation to pornography:

“…..is it not the case that at least one of the police, although they said
they could not find proof, believe that the children had been abused by
other people outside the nursery and implied that they believed that Lillie
and Reed [were] involved in some pornographic creation type activity which
involved some type of sexual activity?”

Thus it seems that any police confirmation for these two serious
allegations (the paedophile ring and pornographic filming) rests on
unspecified “implication”.

1200. Another individual who fell under suspicion as being present with a
camcorder (for the implied purpose of pornographic filming) was also
addressed. His first name was used in the Report. Again, I do not believe
it to be fair to use it in the judgment because he remained as a nursery
assistant (and so far as I know still works with children 10 years on). The
Report implies (again at page 213) that there was some truth in this grave
allegation. The Review Team did not approach the man concerned, or give him
an opportunity to put their suspicions to rest. The truth is that the
police had “no concerns” about him. That is clear from the statement of
Vanessa Lyon in these proceedings, and the Review Team was told as much in
the course of the inquiries.

1201. Miss Page pointed out what it was that had originally given
legitimacy to the Review Team’s enquiries into this young man. His name
appeared in a “complaint” made by the mother of Child 11. When eventually
the Review Team wrote to set out their findings in relation to her
complaints, the letter contained no reference to him. Miss Page put to
Professor Barker that it was thus fair to conclude that he had been
eliminated from their inquiries. He said that he did not know. His
attention was drawn to the fact that, on 29 October 1993, Vanessa Lyon told
Child 11’s mother that there were “no concerns” about him. The significance
of this matter is, of course, that five years later the Report gives the
name of the young man, and leaves the implication in the reader’s mind that
he was still “in the frame” for pornographic filming. Professor Barker
indicated that his memory led him to believe that there was “some other
evidence about him”. He was, however, unable to specify what it was. He
suggested that the right person to ask, in this context, would be Mrs
Saradjian.

1202. Professor Barker was asked why the young man’s name was left in the
Report in the light of the negative reply the Review Team had given to the
mother of Child 11 with regard to “Complaint 18”. There, it was said that
such connection as he had with any children at Shieldfield was
“non-sinister”. No satisfactory answer was forthcoming (over no less than
14 pages of transcript: 12 February pages 22–36). Accordingly, the matter
was left to see what Mrs Saradjian had to say about it. In fact, when she
was asked about the “camcorder” reference in the Report, on 21 February,
all Mrs Saradjian said was that the Team had simply been reporting what the
children had said. The cupboard was again bare.

1203. These passages in the Report, so plainly smearing identifiable
individuals with paedophile tendencies, give rise to very grave concerns to
which I shall have to return when I resolve the issue of the Team’s good
faith. At the time the Report was published, the Team could not know of the
frightening vigilante acts of August 2000 against supposed paedophiles, but
even then they must have realised the risks to which they were subjecting
these innocent citizens.

1204. One of the main aspects of the Claimants’ case on malice was centred
upon the way the Review Team dealt with the ruling of Holland J, and the
concerns he expressed about the video evidence of Child 14. When Miss Page
came to cross-examine Professor Barker about these matters, it emerged that
he had not seen the videos since 1996. This was despite the very serious
allegations of misrepresentation and distortion pleaded in the Reply
(served in March 2001), and the fact that the video tapes had been
available for some five months. I found this surprising, but acceded to a
request that we should rise early on 13 February in order for him to
prepare to deal with any matters that might be put to him. I made it clear
that I would not welcome any further applications of that kind, since it
was reasonable in my view to expect the Review Team to have read and
understood the case against them before going into the witness box.

1205. I have set out a full summary of Holland J’s ruling and cited the
most important passage, in which he identified with stark clarity the
concerns he had about Child 14’s evidence. Professor Barker’s approach was
that the Review Team had more evidence before them than the Judge and were
therefore entitled to come to a different conclusion; in any event, they
were applying a different standard of proof, and were not constrained by a
“forensic” approach. I noted that on various occasions in cross-examination
Professor Barker used the term “forensic” as a term of disapprobation.

1206. The Professor’s attitude towards the learned trial Judge’s ruling can
perhaps best be gauged from the following extract from his evidence. He was
being asked, specifically, about the point which the Judge had made about
matters which “cried out” for enquiry if Child 14’s disclosures were safely
to be evaluated; in particular, he was concerned that no detail given by
the child of any alleged trip to a house or flat with the Claimants stood
up to any further investigation. Miss Page proceeded as follows:

“Question: Now that is readily comprehensible without legal advice as well,
is it not?

Answer: Given the way we were dealing with it, given the way we were
looking at matters on the basis of a balance of probability, given the
information that we had and without any disrespect to this ruling,
obviously we did have information – we did have information that Mr Justice
Holland, if that is the right way to describe him, did not have. We had
information from the nursery that he had never seen; we had information
from witnesses that he had never seen; we had medical information that he
had never seen and I am not – in saying that – I am not being disrespectful
or wishing to comment critically on his ruling because it is my
understanding, it is a perfectly proper and appropriate ruling in relation
to those videos and in a sense for me to say it was perfectly proper is in
a sense overstepping the mark because I am not legally qualified, which is
precisely why we needed the advice that we did – not to smuggle anything
out into the public domain under the cover of inappropriate cover but to
try and deal with it appropriately with the appropriate advice”.

1207. I find it difficult to grasp what further evidence the Review Team
could have had, such as would be effective to subvert the logic of the
learned Judge’s ruling. Certainly Professor Barker never enlightened me.
Also, I put specifically to him that if the child was, in two of the video
interviews, actually exculpating Miss Reed the standard of proof would be
irrelevant. He responded that he believed that a psychologist had told him
that the child was probably saying the opposite of what she meant.

1208. It is necessary to be wary of this Humpty Dumpty approach to words,
since it pervades the entire Report and the Review Team’s evidence. It
betokens a mindset which leads to the following examples of how to approach
evidence:

i) If a child says that she has been raped, or had a knife stuck up her
vagina, and yet she has an intact hymen and no signs of abnormality, one
just resorts to the proposition (in general terms, of course, unassailable)
that the absence of physical findings does not mean that abuse has not
taken place;

ii) If a child makes no allegations about anyone abusing him or her, then
it is probably explicable on the basis of terrorisation by the supposed
abuser;

iii) If a child exonerates a person voluntarily, despite pressure and
leading questions, then she is saying the opposite of what she means (i.e.
that the person exonerated actually did abuse her);

iv) If a child is peppered with leading questions over three hours of
interviews, then one can include in one’s report the cavalier and
unsupported conclusion that there was no evidence of leading questions;

v) If a child says that she was taken out and abused at Christopher
Lillie’s house accompanied by another member of staff, and that is not
borne out by that member of staff, then it probably means that the abuse
took place in the nursery in the absence of that member of staff.

1209. As an approach to weighing evidence, this is unscientific and
irrational. (I put it that way in order to avoid comparison with anything
that Professor Barker might perceive as “forensic”.)

1210. When a person is responsibly investigating facts in order to see
whether they support a particular hypothesis, it is necessary to have some
notion of what would be capable of refuting the hypothesis before one
starts the inquiry. In this case, I find it impossible to grasp what the
Review Team would have regarded as refuting the basic proposition that Mr
Lillie and/or Miss Reed were child abusers.

1211. Miss Page put to Professor Barker that they had deliberately
suppressed the concerns voiced by Holland J. I have no doubt that the
process was intellectually dishonest; the question I have to address is
whether it was done in bad faith. Having properly read them, one could only
ignore the comments made by Holland J about Child 14’s evidence if one was
very stupid, blinded by prejudice or utterly mischievous. Not every one of
those three hypotheses is necessarily to be equated with the legal concept
of “express malice”. Thus, it was important to focus on what was, or could
have been, the explanation here. This was the purpose of Miss Page’s
painstaking cross-examination. But Professor Barker did not seem to
understand this. He chided her more than once for being partial and
selective, and adopting a “forensic” approach, although he generously
recognised that she was only doing her job. He was not prepared to leave it
to Mr Bishop or to the court to ensure that he was not unfairly treated. He
was, of course, wide of the mark. Miss Page put her case with clarity and
economy, but Professor Barker either could not or would not deal with it.
He seemed to find her questions a minor irritant that could be brushed
aside, rather like the ruling of Holland J. The telling criticisms made by
Mr Cosgrove and Mr Marron were clearly ignored by the Review Team.

1212. Miss Page asked Professor Barker about suppressing the Judge’s
comments:

“Question: You substituted your own view of the video evidence of this
child and you completely suppressed any reference to what the Judge had
said about it, did you not?

Answer: That was certainly not the intention.

Question: That is what you did, was it not?

Answer: That was certainly not the intention.”

I am not sure what this means. If the omission was unintentional, that
presumably implies that the Review Team intended to include reference to
the Judge’s concerns but forgot. I have no doubt whatever that they were
omitted deliberately because it would require careful analysis, on the
basis of evidence, for those concerns to be satisfactorily answered. They
knew that was impossible.

1213. Miss Page then invited Professor Barker to talk us through the
factors he had in mind that enabled him to conclude, without reference to
Holland J, that Child 14’s evidence was extremely “powerful” and
“persuasive”. He replied:

“I mean that seems to me to be something that it would be very difficult to
do in this context.”

1214. The exchange continued:

“Question: You managed to do it; you managed to sum it up and convey it to
the public. Are you not prepared now to account for how you arrived at that
statement?

Answer: Well, the sum total, right. What the child said seemed – she seems
to be a child that was able to distinguish truth from lies, she seemed to
be a child with good verbal ability; she seemed to be a child who was able,
over the course of those videos, to recount matters that a child of that
age would not have known about; she seemed to be a child who could describe
things that had happened to her. It was obviously the case that there was
confusion in some of the things that she said and she did contradict
herself at times and that had to be considered carefully. But if you looked
overall at the three videos and related that to the medical information in
relation to this child and you related that to the fact that abuse appeared
to have occurred in the nursery and outside and probably other things I
cannot call to mind now, but if you put all those things together it did
appear that what the …. That what the child was saying was an account of
her being abused by Christopher Lillie and to a lesser extent Dawn Reed”.

1215. Unfortunately, towards the end of that passage, various alarm bells
rang in the building and Professor Barker felt distracted. I therefore
invited Miss Page to put the question again. When she did so, Professor
Barker said that he was satisfied that he had answered it. Professor Barker
went on to say that the Review Team were looking at the matter more widely
than Holland J; that is to say, that they were concerned with broader
issues than the admissibility of video evidence in a criminal trial. In
response to me, he gave a further explanation:

“Yes, I think the way we were coming at it was in a sense that i