Two men who were sexually abused by care home boss John Allen have revealed how they were abandoned in a care system that destroyed their lives.
The men met for the first time in 43 years on the day they received news that the sadistic Allen was guilty of most of the charges he faced in court.
Four decades after their ordeals they are still fearful of the man who dominated their childhoods with institutional sexual and physical abuse.
A short time after hearing the verdicts from Mold Crown Court, “Keith” and “Steven” agreed to speak exclusively to Sky News. They were both placed in care in 1968.
Keith said: “We were together when we got that news and you can see we are not young boys but we just both broke down because it is relief it is almost unbelievable because you never expected it to happen and it evokes a lot of emotion, a lot of hurt and a lot of anger. It hasn’t sunk in.”
Steven added: “It’s surreal, it is just absolutely surreal and I haven’t even acknowledged it to be honest with you.
“I don’t even think it will probably sink in for the next two weeks, this is something that is the missing jigsaw piece in my life at the moment.”
Both men were moved around various homes within the Bryn Alyn community around Wrexham, north Wales, and recall a brutal regime that was “cold and heartless”.
Keith said: “I know John Allen has been on trial for abuse but Bryn Alyn should have been on trial – the institution should be on trial.
“It is no way to treat vulnerable children or young people and that is what we were, everyone had a different story, we weren’t all naughty boys and even if we were that was not the way to deal with us.
“It became an empire yes but I have always said it was like a sweet factory and he had a sweet tooth.
“He created a world where he could have access, at his whim, to vulnerable young boys.
“We were de-personalised, institutionalised, and controlled because that way we were solely dependent on everything they had to offer.”
Steven was just six years old when he was placed in the care of John Allen. He is convinced he was taken on trips out of the homes to meet other potential abusers.
He said: “The abuse made me totally paranoid, paranoid. I literally thought even though when he abused me it was just me and him I always thought people knew about the abuse, I would walk in a room and I would think people were whispering about me saying oh look at this dirty bastard, he has had sex with a…”
His voice trails off as the memories of what happened come back once again. The impact of the abuse has shaped their entire adult lives.
Keith said: “I am not going to let it shape my children’s lives anymore, or my wife or my business. I am moving on this is part of the process to be vindicated in the sense that they are listening now and I know there is more to come.
“I want to walk away from here today and never to think about it again, ever, that is not going to happen but part of me just wants to run away.
“It is still fearful, there is still a little voice in your head going ‘what is John Allen going to do now?’ I know that is not rational – he can’t harm me now.”
John Allen, 73, from Ipswich, Suffolk has been found guilty of 21 counts of indecent assault, one charge of indecency with a child and four serious sex assaults.
Both men spoke to Sky News in conjunction with the Lantern Project based in Wallasey, Merseyside, where they have both received support.
The project is one of various groups that can offer further information and help.