Seaford care worker '˜watched and laughed as husband beat children'

A care worker at a children's home took off his glasses and rained down blows on vulnerable boys as his wife laughed and 'egged' him on, a court has heard.
Aideen JonesAideen Jones
Aideen Jones

Denis Jones, 66, would “take his glasses off and lay into you, really lay into you” during the alleged historic abuse at one of the privately-owned Bryn Alyn Community care homes in North Wales.

A jury sitting at Chester Crown Court heard that Jones took one boy into the office and “went wild”, picking up and throwing chairs at him while being encouraged by his wife Aideen, now 63.

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The couple from Seaford, deny five counts of child cruelty towards two boys between 1975 and 1980.

The first victim, then aged around 12, was allegedly kneed in the spine by Jones while a resident at the Pentre Saeson Hall near Wrexham.

The defendant’s wife, who also worked as a support care worker and has an OBE, was said to have “laughed her head off” during the assaults in which she was always present.

Prosecutor William Hughes QC said that the victim, now 51, had come forward following a police investigation into the principal of Bryn Alyn Community, John Allen.

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Mr Hughes said: “They’d (Joneses) take you into the office and lay into you. Aideen would sit there and laugh her head off. Denis would take his glasses off and lay into you, really lay into you.”

He added that Jones “flicked his hair” before punching and kicking the complainant as his wife encouraged, “go on Denis, this will teach them”.

“Denis Jones was the kind of person who enjoyed laying into kids. You would hear him shut the door and batter other kids,” Mr Hughes continued.

“She did nothing to inhibit her husband from assaulting a young and vulnerable (victim). She positively egged him on. Her role was mainly encouraging and laughing at the violence. In his (victim) view they were both horrible.”

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Jurors were told that there had been a number of investigations and inquiries into community care homes in North Wales by police in what was known as Operation Pallial.

The couple both stand charged with cruelty to a person under 16 between May 1975 and April 1977, and a further charge of cruelty to a second person under the age of 16 between May 1975 and March 1980.

Mr Jones is further charged with two acts of cruelty and his wife with one. They both deny the charges.

Mr Hughes said that Denis Jones, “could be quite brutal in punishment” with boys who had not been particularly badly behaved, and would get them to fight each other if there was an altercation in the house.

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He said that Jones encouraged the boy to do a Judo move on his friend before being told to repeatedly punch him, which left the boy with a split lip.

“Denis Jones was goading both boys to attack each other, at the end he (victim) said he felt traumatised about what he had done. He said, ‘that’s it, fight over, on your way’.”

The court heard that a further punishment was scrubbing the floor - sometimes with a toothbrush for two to three hours without shoes which the victim said made him feel “degraded”.

A second alleged victim supported the account calling the defendants a “nasty couple” who encouraged him to fight with his friend.

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The court was told that the victim believed Denis Jones took pleasure in watching the boys fighting.

Mr Hughes told jurors that the victim, aged 14, upon being late home was told he was “in for it” by Jones, before being grabbed by the scruff of the neck by Aideen Jones who hit him with a slipper.

Video evidence from one of the alleged victims was played to the court.

The man told the interviewing officer that he still had an injury from one attack, adding, “we were hardly naughty”.

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He said: “He pushed me and his knee went right into my spine, I felt a shock right up my spine. I knew he had done something really bad. When he got me into the office he laid into me really bad and she was in the office laughing. She’d be going, ‘come on Denis, go on’. She would encourage him, she really would.”

He said that he had been left “traumatised”.

“He was the sort of person who enjoyed laying into kids, he actually enjoyed it. It was always in the office, shut the door and that was it.

“I didn’t want to fight but he made us fight, I remember feeling traumatised.”

The trial continues.

Copy courtesy of Press Association.

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