Beechwood childrens home

All posts tagged Beechwood childrens home

UPDATE MELANIE SHAW

Published September 24, 2014 by JS2

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24/9/2014

Melanie was in No 5 Court Nottingham yesterday 23 Sept 2014 for a ‘mentions’ hearing. The case started at 1058. The case was only listed during afternoon of 22 Sept – normally public cases should be listed with 7 days notice. We understand the case was called for by VHS Fletchers solicitors with urgency, although the reason for this is unclear. Possibly the hearing was driven by the fact that Melanie had sacked VHS Fletchers some days earlier, both in written letters and verbally.

Melanie attended in court in the morning and again in the early afternoon after an adjournment. The reason for the adjournment and the protracted hearing is not known.

This ‘mentions’ hearing appeared to be an informal case management hearing, but the failure of the Court to give the normal 7 days notice precluded the public from attending, and therefore meant that Melanie was again effectively in a secret court. It is interesting that the Court case was Tweeted out by VHS Fletchers.

It is believed that Melanie sacked VHS Fletchers for allegedly altering her case file notes and allegedly using their legal clerks to represent Melanie when she believed them to be solicitors. She was also very unhappy with their lack of progress on her case, particularly in relation to her bail application.

We understand that aside from sacking VHS Fletchers and thus releasing their legal aid claim, the ‘mentions’ hearing discussed the progress of Melanie’s case. The next steps are believed to be a directions hearing 13 October 2014 and a full case hearing on 23 October 2014. We will be checking these dates. By 23 October alone, Melanie will have been held in a high security prison for 3 months.

Melanie has also said that the Judge has indicated that he will be prepared to hear a new bail application and steps are now in hand to submit this.

In summary Melanie Shaw, a vulnerable abuse victim and vital abuse whistleblower, remains in high security prison HMP Peterborough, with no substantive evidence against her, no proper NHS medication that she has taken daily over many years, no treatment for her leg ulcer, no access her psychiatrist, no visits from her family, interference with her mail, bullying from prison warders, a national mainstream media black out and a stunning silence from her MP Chris Leslie and other MPs.

Melanie Shaw, who is still innocent at law and maintains her innocence, has now been imprisoned for 61 days.

The Crown Prosecution Service under Alison Saunders has not only failed to produce evidence against Melanie, but has recently allowed child abuse witness evidence tapes to be stolen from unsecured private addresses of film contractor Swan Films.

The vicious treatment of Melanie Shaw by Nottinghamshire Police, the CPS, the Courts and the Westminster MP’s can only be explained as their sheer desperation to silence Melanie and her testimony of child abuse, rapes, torture and murder at Beechwood Children’s Home Nottinghamshire, and her evidenced discovery of Nottinghamshire police lying to hide their failure to investigate Beechwood abuses via Operation Daybreak.

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Protestor steps up call for abuse public inquiry

Published September 19, 2014 by JS2

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Mickey Summers

MICKEY Summers (pictured right) has taken his fight back to Nottingham City Council demanding a full public inquiry into child abuse in Nottinghamshire care homes.

He has called on the council’s leader, Councillor Jon Collins (pictured below), to resign over a refusal to make a public apology to him for the abuse he allegedly suffered when in care in the area.

Mr Summers met the councillor at Loxley House yesterday to discuss his ongoing case, but still felt his voice wasn’t being heard.

“I will go to every council event Jon Collins is attending and protest,” he told The Post.

“I want to expose the untold paedophilia in Nottinghamshire and bring those affected justice.”

Leader of the Conservatives at the city council, Councillor Georgina Culley, attended the meeting with Mr Summers.

“I’m supporting Mickey as he is someone who has been very badly hurt in care,” she said.

Nottinghamshire Police is currently carrying out its own investigation – named Operation Daybreak – which has seen 80 people come forward with allegations of child abuse at five homes in the county between the late 1960s and 2000.

City council leader Jon Collins said: “The council is fully supporting the police investigation into the allegations made by Mr Summers and others. The council will continue to work with him and listen to his concerns.

“In 1974, responsibility for children’s homes in the city passed to Nottinghamshire County Council. All records were under the management of the county council between 1974 and 1998 and it has been explained to Mr Summers that his records were destroyed during this period. The county council has apologised to Mr Summers for this.

“I think it needs to be made clear that none of the people currently working with Mr Summers responding to his concerns were working in Nottingham in children’s services – or in my case even living in the city – at the time he was in care in the 1960s and 1970s. Therefore there is absolutely no reason why I or anyone else involved have anything to hide.”

by Nottinghampost

Jailed Whistleblower Melanie Shaw Fires Legal Team Due To Incompetence

Published September 15, 2014 by JS2

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Friday September 12th was day that vulnerable victim and Beechwood Children’s Home whistleblower, Melanie Shaw, had been preparing for all week; the day she would stand up in Nottingham Crown Court and declare proof of her innocence against charges of arson in a composed and professional manner in front of the Judge.

 

Melanie, a 43 year-old mother of two and survivor of childhood sexual abuse, has spent the last two months on remand in HMP Peterborough, enduring exceptionally harsh treatment, including bullying, solitary confinement and food deprivation for twenty-four hours, without evidence of her involvement in the offence being presented.

 

Unhappy with her defence team, she decided to represent herself in court. But strangely, there was no sign of Melanie at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday morning, and disappointed friends and supporters – some of whom had travelled from as far away as Plymouth, learned that the Judge was on holiday.

 

The news prompted speculation of a secret court hearing or a contrived attempt to confuse and demoralise Melanie, who claims to have powerful evidence of a paedophile ring operating at Beechwood.

 

“She wasn’t there. The whole thing stinks!” said Mickey Summers, himself a survivor of horrific physical and sexual abuse at the former Nottingham children’s home.

 

Yesterday, Melanie revealed that the clerk dealing with her case had arrived at the prison the day before the scheduled hearing to announce it had been cancelled for over a week. Then, the following day, Melanie was informed she would appear in court by video link. Nothing happened.

 

“I’ve sacked them. I’ve had no paperwork in eight months,” said Melanie, close to tears. “There are people controlling the show. I’m at the mercy of others. I forgive people. I have no hatred in my body. I love everybody, especially people who’ve had a hard life because I’ve got empathy. All I know is I trust God, and I trust myself. I shouldn’t be in prison.”

 

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Mickey Summers outside Nottinghamshire Crown Court

Public support keeps her going: 

 

Letters from the public have been pouring in from all over the world, and this is what keeps her going, she says. She’s received over 1000 and now has repetitive strain injury from writing replies to them all.

 

“I still manage to reply to 99% of people who write,” she says, “even if it’s just an acknowledgement.” It’s strange how she’s received letters from all over the country, including one from UKIP, but none from Nottingham.

 

“Prison is an alien environment,” she adds. “It’s triggering everything that happened at Beechwood. A woman threw herself off the top of the building, which affected me badly. If it wasn’t for the public’s love, I wouldn’t be able to get through.”

 

She’s not getting any therapy or support in prison, but has someone on the outside that she speaks to on the phone.

 

Mystery donor offered bail money:

 

The handling of Melanie Shaw’s case, beset with irregularities and errors from the start, has drawn intense criticism. Observers present at the hearing in Nottingham Crown Court on Friday 25th July 2014 reported that police seemed confused over the date of the alleged offence, publicly quoting both 1 February and 4 April 2014, according to news network, UK Column.

 

A source close to Melanie said: “A lady in Holland – who doesn’t want to be named, was prepared to put up the [bail] money. She put in a condition that she wanted to see the evidence on Melanie, which is perfectly normal. It’s then up to the Judge to decide whether to accept the offer, not the solicitors. I believe they never put the offer through to the Judge.”

 

No one was available to comment at VHS Fletchers Solicitors, the firm handling Melanie’s case.

 

A lay legal adviser has offered her services. “We would like Melanie to represent herself but have this lay legal person with her,” added the source. “She’s very capable.”

 

Lost and missing records:

 

The number of allegations relating to abuse in former Nottinghamshire children’s homes has risen to 80, Notts police have confirmed, and 10 arrests have been made, reports the Nottingham Post (12/9/14). Seven of those arrested were released without further action and one died while on police bail. Two still remain on police bail. The investigation has been hampered by the disappearance of the records of two key witnesses: Melanie Shaw and Mickey Summers, and the closure of records at the National Archives for 75 years.

 

One of the most vocal campaigners for Melanie Shaw’s release is Mickey Summers, whose personal campaign for justice was picked up by the BBC last week after he led a protest resulting in the closure of Nottingham City’s Full Council Meeting. Watch the video below.

 

Mickey’s case has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). Some councillors are taking an interest now, he says, and a UKIP MP has offered to meet him.

 

Melanie’s difficulties in obtaining bail contrast sharply with that of a 15-year-old boy who was recently arrested and bailed, suspected of arson, after a fire ripped through an animal shelter in Manchester killing more than 60 animals and leaving 150 homeless.

 

Facebook campaign

 

Members of the public, concerned about Melanie’s case and her treatment at the Sodexo-run prison, have launched an online campaign on Facebook called Justice for Melanie Shaw.

 

Write to Melanie Shaw at:

 

Melanie Shaw A4126DE, HMP Peterborough, Saville Road, Westwood, Peterborough PE3 7PD. If you wish to send money, you must provide your full name and address. Stamps would be greatly appreciated.

By: Anna Bragga

 

WOW, Nott’m City Council Meeting Shut Down by Mickey Summers – MUST SEE!

 

INSTITUTIONAL CHILD ABUSE BEECHWOOD CHILDREN’S HOME

Published September 14, 2014 by JS2

Institutional child abuse. How horrible a concept is that eh? You’re taken from an abusive situation as a child to a place that is supposed to be safe, a place where people, part of the state machinery, are supposed to look after you. Except they do exactly the opposite…

The news has been full of stories of such abuse recently, largely because many of the abusers are/were famous and, in some cases dead.

So it’s with some trepidation that I’m now going to look at an emerging story of institutional abuse in our manor. Everything I have got hold of is in the public domain. It’s all second hand obviously and finding what you might call ‘facts’ is a bit like nailing jelly to the wall. But here goes.

First thing is to set out a basic historical context. Until 1998 children’s homes, along with all other children’s social services in the city were the responsibility of Nottinghamshire County Council. In 1998, the City Council was given unitary status and took over all services within the city boundaries which had previously been the County’s remit. This included all social services, education, trading standards, all sorts. I think it’s probably fair to say that, as far as I can tell, the majority of the abuse allegations concerned incidents happening prior to the 1998 handover.

The first allegations appeared in 2011 concerning the former Beechwood Children’s Home on Woodborough Road, which closed in 2006. Claims of abuse at other homes locally surfaced in 2013 and hit the nationals. Note the bravery of the individual who gave up his right to anonymity for that story, this led another brave individual to do the same. The latter individual wrote a much longer personal account which you can read here. I think it’s fair to say he has been unimpressed with officialdom’s attempts to ‘help’ him. The police have called their investigation ‘Operation Daybreak’.

Not entirely surprisingly, it appears that some records have been ‘lost’. Knowing local authorities as I do I should say that may not be entirely due to evil intent (as opposed to some dumbass chucking them in a skip) but it hardly lightens the atmosphere or encourages a feeling of mutual trust.

More recently it has emerged that a total of £250k compensation has been paid to some of those alleging abuse. Again, most cases were from the time of the County’s administration but there are more to be considered. The information apparently originated from a journo’s FoI request but unfortunately, the City’s Freedom of Information ‘Disclosure Log’ gives us the question asked but is one of the many entries that neglects to include the response files (general point NCC, please sort this issue out, it happens a lot).

Anyway, that’s the mainstream stuff. This blog doesn’t deal with County Council issues, that’s for others to worry about with my limited mental energy. According to the media links above, it seems that the City is leading on all legal claims against both councils so that keeps that aspect within our remit. The police? Fuck knows who really makes the decisions there.

Anyway, a bit of simple Google search has thrown up huge amounts of stuff, only a tiny proportion of which I can link to here. But here’s one thing that seriously caught my eye, I think it’s a bit sinister.

Back in 2003, Community Care magazine ran an article about the death of a resident at, you’ve guessed it, Beechwood Children’s Home. It concerns a 15 year old girl who was found hanged. The article states as fact that she was a victim of bullying at the home. That’s a grim story in anybody’s language but, sadly, not completely unheard of in the looked-after children sphere. Was it ‘just’ bullying?

It gets significantly dodgier looking when you read the allegation that the National Care Standards Commission (now defunct/replaced) had previously advised the City Council to close the home on the basis that the home had become “steadily more unstable and difficult to manage”. The Social Services Director at the time said “I don’t recall this recommendation ever being made.”

Hmm. “I don’t recall…” There are lots of things I don’t ‘recall’ but that doesn’t mean they didn’t happen.

I’m presuming that the lawyers representing the survivors have all this because I would’ve thought it would significantly undermine any claim by the City that they had no idea there were any problems at the home. That’s not the same as saying they knew about all the abuse but you know, a kid hanged herself, you’d hope they’d have looked into it.

The final bit for now is the rather disturbing claims concerning a woman called Melanie Shaw.

Most of the allegations appear to come from the blog UKColumn. There are countless other entries on the web but most seem to be a copy and paste from the original.

What is claimed is that Ms Shaw is a witness and a victim of abuse at Beechwood. However UKColumn reported that Ms Shaw has recently been arrested and was being held on remand in Peterborough Prison. This is backed up by a Nottm Post court report. I’m not sure of the political stance of UKColumn but the detail demands that we take the reports seriously, at least until they are credibly disproved. There is talk about a ‘secret hearing’ at the Crown Court and that Ms Shaw is accused of arson. There is a later report of a further hearing where her remand at Peterborough was extended. I can’t verify anything in it but it doesn’t make pretty reading, especially about her treatment in prison. What also seems a bit odd is that local media don’t seem to be willing to touch Ms Shaw’s story with a bargepole.

Whatever the actual detail of the allegations that got Ms Shaw in front of the Crown Court, you have to wonder why an abuse survivor is on remand in a Cat B prison when she just happens to be making allegations against the people who used to look after her. Longtime readers of this blog would not be surprised at a suggestion that Notts Police might be willing to help the City Council out in a time of need. Frankly, I doubt that anybody sensible in the UK would be surprised at the suggestion that the police would be there for the establishment if the shit hit the fan.

Hopefully much more of this will come out. Hopefully, at least some of the police are actually doing their job. We’ll see.

Abuse Witness Melanie Shaw Remanded: No Evidence Presented

Published September 14, 2014 by JS2

Following an extraordinary Crown Court hearing in which Nottingham Police and the CPS failed to present evidence, child abuse victim and key Beechwood abuse witness Melanie Shaw has been remanded in HMP Peterborough until October.

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Members of the public present at the hearing in Nottingham Crown Court on Friday 25th July 2014, described a muddled hearing in which the prosecution simply failed to present evidence, despite the Judge prompting them with references to a finger or palm print. In what was described as a fumbling statement to the Judge, the prosecution excused the lack of evidence and promised it would be available ‘shortly.’ Despite the absence of evidence against her, her status as a vulnerable abuse victim and her importance as a key witness to widespread child abuse, the Judge was happy to place Melanie on remand, at a prison in which she has already suffered bullying, strip searches, denial of her NHS medication and disorientation through repeated relocation between cells.

Melanie appeared hampered by her own defence team, who failed to communicate with her and failed to challenge the lack of evidence. At no point was Melanie asked to speak in her own defence and as a result she commented directly to the Judge on several occasions. Her remarks included that she had been denied her prescription of Valium, she had been denied a doctor and that she was being persecuted because she had exposed a paedophile ring. Melanie also made reference to Operation Daybreak, the Nottingham police investigation into child abuse at Beechwood and other children’s homes in the Nottingham area. Many consider it significant that Melanie had previously stated, just prior to her arrest, that Nottingham police had failed to properly investigate both the widespread child abuse, and the deaths of numerous children within the ‘care’ of Nottingham City and County Council at Beechwood and other homes.

Members of the public present also stated their deep concern that after the formal hearing appeared closed, the prosecution approached the bench to hand the Judge a substantial collection of A4 papers described as ‘some additional evidence.’

Melanie’s case has been beset by mistakes and irregularities. Nottingham police initially refused to say she had been arrested, and only admitted she was held in custody after numerous calls from the public who were concerned at her disappearance. Notts police later seemed confused over the date of the arson offence, publicly quoting both 1 February and 4 April 2014. The police also published her charges as ‘arson with intent to endanger life’ when the correct charge is understood to be ‘arson reckless.’ Melanie denies all charges against her.

There is no doubt that Melanie Shaw has suffered horrific rapes, sexual abuse, sadistic physical assaults and psychological bullying whilst at Beechwood Children’s Home. Her bravery in coming forward as an abuse victim to alert authorities to widespread abuse and child deaths is remarkable. It also appears a remarkable coincidence that following her outspoken remarks that Nottinghamshire police were failing in their investigations under Operation Daybreak, that they had colluded with the Crown Prosecution Service in presenting falsified evidence and that they had failed to conduct proper forensic examination of the Beechwood site, Melanie was abruptly accused of arson and remanded in a prison with a brutal record, without evidence against her.

Nottinghamshire City Council and County Council deny any liability for abuses against Melanie and some 100 other child victims at Beechwood alone. They prefer to buy off victims with public money – some £250,000 to date, although it is understood that the Judge presiding over compensation awards for victims has now withdrawn until the police investigation is complete. Neither Council will answer simple questions concerning the implementation of a Serious Case Review following the Beechwood abuses, nor will they name those now holding responsibility for such reviews. Nor will they say what action they have taken to protect child abuse victims, particularly those made even more vulnerable by whistleblowing. Their silence is deafening.

Meanwhile Melanie Shaw sits in a hostile prison environment at HMP Peterborough, fearful for her personal safety and the Nottingham Councils have rushed to sell off Beechwood to a private buyer with whom they are working ‘in Association.’ Perhaps not surprisingly, the public watching the Melanie Shaw case unfold, smell the stench of yet another public sector cover-up of organised paedophile rings. Remembering the suffering of the children, it is up to us, the concerned public, to ensure that this disgraceful abuse of power by Nottingham police, Nottingham Local Authorities and Nottingham Courts is not allowed to continue.

Melanie Shaw can be contacted by letter at:

Melanie Shaw A4126DE, HMP Peterborough, Saville Road, Westwood, Peterborough PE3 7PD. Please do not send money unless you provide your full name and address. Melanie does need stamps and will greatly appreciate any sent to her.

by UK Column

Melanie Shaw, Beechwood Child Abuse Witness, Held in Peterborough Prison

Published September 14, 2014 by JS2

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The Beechwood Children’s Home abuse witness is being held in Peterborough prison after unknown police action on Thursday, 10th July, and a secret court hearing on Friday, 11th July 2014. For the personal safety of the individual and in the wider public interest we are naming the witness as Melanie Shaw.

On Friday, 11th July, the UK Column reported that a “key whistleblowing witness and victim of child abuse at Nottingham Beechwood Children’s Home is effectively missing after sending a text to the UKColumn starting ‘pls ring urgent, something has happened n I don’t trust the police and I may be locked up tomorrow.’ Sent at 21:22 on Wednesday, 9th July 2014 the UK Column has been trying to locate the witness ever since.”

Despite telephone calls by UK Column and members of the public to Nottinghamshire police over the weekend, we were unable to establish the precise whereabouts of Melanie. We remained concerned for her safety in light of civilian police staff claims that she was safe, without any supporting facts as to what had happened, or where she was being held. Late on Friday afternoon Melanie Shaw’s solicitor was also unaware of the police action or his clients location.

At 1127 on Monday, 14th July we received a call from a friend of Melanie who informed us that she was being held in Peterborough prison after being picked up by Nottinghamshire police on Friday and held in cells overnight. After a Court hearing the following day, for which it is still not known if Melanie had proper legal representation or the benefit of public and press attendance, she was remanded to Peterborough prison. This category B prison run by Sodexo had a reputation in 2011 for drugs, bullying and violence. As the country’s only male and female prison, it has a maximum capacity of 840 and boasts a Mother and Baby Unit for 12 mums.

Melanie’s incarceration appears to be based on allegations that she set fire to a neighbours shed – a charge which Melanie denies. Melanie has reported to the UK Column that individuals linked to her bail conditions had been harassing her in recent weeks.

This latest punitive action on a child abuse victim by Nottingham Police and the Courts, follows the removal of her child by Social Services and disruptive action by the Local Council in respect of her home. Melanie claims she had been warned she could have her child taken when she first blew the whistle on Beechwood in 2011.

Melanie originally approached the UK Column because she wanted to expose the truth of the vicious rapes, sexual and physical abuse, and psychological intimidation that she and some 100 other young children suffered at Nottingham Beechwood childrens home.  Clearly frightened of the police after irregularities in their investigations, Melanie strongly suspected that the police, Local Authorities and Members of Parliament, were already attempting to cover-up the Beechwood abuse.

Following Elm House child abuse London, BBC’s Jimmy Savile, and particularly in light of the ongoing exposure of the cover-up of paedophile rings within Westminster and the wider establishment, the UK Column believes that many of Melanie’s concerns are fully justified. Our opinion is reinforced by the fact that five other women known to the UK Column, who, having reported paedophile activity, have been harassed by the police and Local Authorities and later sectioned in psychiatric units. In two other UK Column cases where Social Services have been attempting to steal children, parents have also been falsely accused of arson attempts.

three-stooges

Three Nottingham MPs, Vernon Coaker, Lilian Greenwood and Chris Leslie have so far failed to respond to UK Column enquires as to their action to help Beechwood victims and protect other children from abuse. Their silence says much.

by UK COLUMN

Former children’s home investigated over 50 allegations of physical and sexual abuse stretching back 30 years

Published July 15, 2013 by JS2

  • Nottingham police investigating 50 allegations at Beechwood Home
  • Four other homes also being investigated by officers
  • Some alleged to have been involved in ‘historic abuse’ have now died

A former council-run children’s home is being investigated over more than 50 allegations of physical or sexual abuse – some dating back 30 years. 

Nottinghamshire Police said they are investigating claims that people were abused at the Beechwood Children’s Home in Mapperley, Nottinghamshire. 

Four other homes are also being investigated by officers.

It is not the first time the establishment, which closed in 2006, has hit the headlines. In 2011 six alleged victims came forward saying they had suffered abuse at Beechwood.


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Beechwood Children’s Home in Mapperley, Nottingham. Police are investigating claims that people were abused at the council-run establishment

A spokesman for Nottinghamshire Police said allegations relating to three other homes in the county were also being investigated.

They are Bracken House in Bulwell, Ranskill Gardens in Bestwood, and Wood Nook in Beechdale.
Officers are also looking at claims relating to Risley Hall in Derbyshire.

James Cleverley, 52, said he was passed around four of the five homes implicated in the probe – and assaulted at each one.

He has waived his right to anonymity to encourage others to come forward. 

He said: ‘In my first week there I was raped. I was made to do sex acts with a male member of staff.

‘I was entertainment for the people who abused me. I think what my life would have been like if I hadn’t been through that.

‘I want people to know that’s what happened in these sorts of places. I want these people to be caught and sent away.

‘I can’t get my life back – they ruined it.’

Solicitors pursuing claims on behalf of former residents said the 56 current complainants were just the ‘tip of the iceberg’.

Chris Ratcliffe, of Uppal Taylor Solicitors, Nottingham, said the firm had been inundated with allegations since the abuse inquiry was made public two years ago.

He said: ‘We literally had people ringing us up saying ‘I’d forgotten about this place’.
‘They had not thought about it for 40 years and all the memories had come flooding back.’

Detective Inspector Yvonne Dales said: ‘This is a thorough but complicated and sensitive investigation and the allegations are historic which in some cases relate to events which are said to have taken place nearly 30 years ago.

‘We have experienced officers on the investigation team who are working hard on this case which presents many challenges, such as the difficulties around obtaining forensic and corroborative evidence, along with the fact that some of the alleged perpetrators have since died.’

 

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