This File is Titled: MS161290.ASC Text Is Taken From The Mail On Sunday For 16 Dec 1990, p
This File is Titled: MS161290.ASC
Text Is Taken From The Mail On Sunday For 16 Dec 1990, p10,11,12
The Author Is Unidentified for legal reasons.
I am the father of three young girls taken away by Rochdale social
workers in the so-called Satanic Abuse case. You will never know my
That's not my choice. On the contrary, I want to shout it from the
rooftops. I want to sign this article, I want to go on television and
radio and speak out publicly.
I want to clear my name, and that of my family, from all the suspicion
and dreadful accusations which have made the past six months such a
I want to show exactly why I, my former wife, and our three girls have
done nothing to be ashamed of, and why we hold our heads high today.
I could do it. I have hundreds of pages of court documents and tape
recordings, videos, and affidavits which show not that Rochdale had a
weak case for doing what they did to us - snatching the girls from
their bedroom at 7.00am, keeping the middle one, Jenny, from us for
four months, and accusing us of being wicked parents. But that they
had no case at all.
But I can't. The law will not let me. The law, which is supposed to
administer justice and fairness, has failed me and my family these
long and awful months.
Last Monday was supposed to be the end of it all. We had been given
hints that after fighting so hard (our lawyer told us that he had
never known a case prosecuted with such zeal) Rochdale was finally
going to admit defeat.
We were told that they would not offer any evidence, and would agree
that there was no reason whatsoever that the girls sould still be
wards of court, or that their social workers should play any further
part in how we live our lives. But until it happened, we dare not get
our hopes up.
I met my former wife on the steps of the High Court. I could not have
gone through this without knowing we stood together for the girls.
We sat together in the wood-panelled courtroom. The doors were
guarded. No outsiders were allowed in. The case had been scheduled to
last six weeks, but they dealt with our children first.
I can't tell you what happened in the 40 minutes after Rochdale's
decision not to go on with our case.
Nothing had changed in the months Jenny had been in that home. No new
evidence had emerged. But only now after this painful and unnecessary
delay was our daughter being returned to us. I hoped that the judge
shared our concerns.
I sat there in a cold sweat thinking how close we had been to loosing
our Jenny forever. From the time she was taken from us to her eventual
returning home was more than four months. For much of that time, she
did not even know if we were alive or dead.
We were not allowed to write or phone, or even know where she was.
I've been told in Lancashire that once a child has been in care in
such circumstances for six months, then it becomes irrevocable, and
that there is no realistic alternative to adoption.
In 40 minutes we were outside the court again, free at last. Our first
feeling, of course, was one of overwhelming relief that it was all
But sweeping over all that was my bitterness and anger. form my family
the injustice continues.
Let me go back to the beginning and explain why.
I'm an electrician. It was on June 14 when I was called off a job to
the office to take a phone call. I could hardly take in what they were
saying. Apparently my three children had been taken forcibly from my
ex-wife's home that morning by a team of social workers and police
Crying for Mum
I dropped everything and raced to my old home. There was no-one there.
I went to the Rochdale Council offices, and finally I was taken to a
room where a senior social worker confirmed that indeed the children
had been taken into care under a place of Safety Order.
I asked him: "Why? What has happened to them. Have they been injured?
Are we supposed to have ill-treated them?"
To every question he answered the same: "I'm sorry, for legal reasons,
I cannot comment."
I then went round to the police station. They were a bit more
forthcoming, but not much.
One of them asked me: "What do you know about black magic and
Satanism?" I was at first puzzled, and then angry. Were they crazy?
Later that day my wife told me what had happened. She woke to find the
police standing in her bedroom. The social workers were next door
telling the girls to get dressed. They didn't even know about the
youngest one, and they didn't have a magistrates' order for her. They
took her anyway.
The girls were crying, and shouting for their mum. Then the CID
started going through the house.
She asked what they were looking for, and the policewoman said:
"anything to do with black magic."
My wife burst out laughing. The policewoman said: "Well if you can
laugh about it, you have nothing to worry about."
The papers later said the police had found "video nasties." Not in our
house, they didn't. We would never allow them. They took two videos
away: Sleeping Beauty and Ice Dancing At The Olympics.
That night we got a phone call from the Social Services. They said
they would be bringing Carole, the 15-year-old, and Mary who was only
six, back home. But they were holding on to Jenny.
"Why?" we asked.
They wouldn't say.
Carole was in a terrible state. She told us a social worker had taken
her into a room and questioned her over and over again in front of a
video camera. She had gone on and on in the most horrible detail about
her boyfriend. How far did he go with her?
Carole was crying. She told us: "Please Mum and Dad, promise me
something. You will never look at that video. I'm ashamed of it."
Mary just wanted to go to sleep.
Wall of Silence
Two days later, the injunction arrived. The local newspapers had
picked up the scandal story of black magic and Satanic rites on our
estate, and we were warned we could not talk to anyone about what had
happened. We couldn't go to the local councillor, the papers, or even
to a priest. We would go to jail if we disobeyed the order.
That was the worst of the bad times. My wife could not sleep. Neither
could I. I went through the day with such a knot in my stomach I
thought I was going to be sick. I went to the doctor for sleeping
pills. They did not help.
We had no idea where Jenny was. Was she in a home? Had she been
fostered? What were they telling her? What did she think of us?
Her little sister spent the whole time in tears. She would not go to
their bedroom alone. She slept on the sittee, pale and exhausted,
until her mum went to bed so she could cuddle up with her.
We'll both be eternally grateful to what the Mail on Sunday did next.
You went to court and fought for us, and demanded the right to print
at least some information and gradually that wall of silence began to
I found out how it had all begun. There was a girl Jenny vaguely knew.
She lived a few doors away. She had told a social worker stories.
Stories about ghosts, and fiery crosses, and babies being eaten alive,
and digging up Rochdale cemetery at night.
But they believed her. She told them she had been locked in a cage.
She was a princess dressed in pink. She was given a white drink. She
had to do things for the ghost. Her puppy had been chained up outside
the cage, in case she said no. They asked who else had been in the
cage. She named our Jen.
That's what they came with that morning at 7am. Only that. The story
of a little girl, who was pressed and cajoled and encouraged by a
social worker we will never forgive.
The social worker, like so many in that department, had heard all
these stories from America about Satanic Abuse and believed she had
found it in Rochdale. From that moment until last Monday, they sought
every bit of evidence they could to justify what they did to us.
They found nothing because there was nothing. They tried. God how they
tried! If I was free, I would show you the transcript of how one of
them, from the NSPCC, tried to get Jenny to tell her stories.
She later told us it had lasted for 40 minutes. She said by the end
she was so upset and crying for it to stop, that she elbowed the
social worker in the ribs.
I would like to show you the video too, which Rochdale should have
produced in evidence. Except they lost it. Or at least they said they
did. I believe it was so embarrassing for them, they had on choice.
Point the finger
Then they started backing off. The council's social director, Gordon
Littlemore, issued a Press statement saying the council had never
mentioned Satanic Abuse. That's untrue. I have evidence that those
very words were used by a member of Rochdale's social services
department. If he sues me for libel, I will produce the evidence.
Finally they have given us Jenny back. With not a word of apology for
how they have wrecked out lives.
They justify their actions by saying that such things must be private
and confidential. They have thrown their injunctions around, in the
name of protecting our girls, but of course everyone on our estate
knows the girls and what we have been accused of.
I know many people have been saying there is no smoke without fire.
Surely Rochdale would not have gone on and on, unless there was some
justification for keeping our little girl from us? But I don't just
know it isn't so - I can prove it.
But who is going to help me now? The Mail on Sunday can't. I was
prepared to give this newspaper all Rochdale's case, then people could
see how appallingly we have been treated. But it won't happen. The
Editor says that under the Administration of Justice Act 1960 it is
contempt of court to print anything relating to wardship
My lawyers have further warned me about a case with a fancy name
called In Re W., which means I cannot tell you about the expert
witnesses like the child psychiatrist who was so against Rochdale, or
why my own QC told me the social worker's interview with Carole was
"the worst thing he had ever seen'.
What is going on here? Elton John gets 1 million damages from the SUN
because of the lies they told about him. But what about me? I care
about what my mates at work, my neighbours, the pub, the corner shop
have been saying.
Yes, some of them have been pointing the finger behind my back. Now
that we have been cleared, what do we get? Because of the Press
restrictions, a couple of lines of the Manchester Evening News saying
three children in the Rochdale Satanic Abuse case have been returned
to their parents.
I haven't even been given my day in court when I can tell my side of
the story. No, it appears I must now continue my life with people
whispering "The Satan Dad", when every word of it is a lie.
This isn't a fairy story. This is real life. Much as the judge would
like to pretend otherwise, we can't now live happily ever after, with
everything forgiven and forgotten.
Unhappy at School
Jenny has her problems. How can it be otherwise? She was 11 years old
when she was dragged out of bed. She was put into a home. She has been
in four schools in five months. She was given dolls and asked to
describe what had happened to her. She hates that social worker now
with a hatred which will last always.
But she met kind and loving people too. She had other children in the
home she now misses. And there was at least one social worker who will
always be our friend. She called round yesterday and asked if she
could take the girls for a Christmas McDonald's. Of course she can.
If only they had listened to her and not their fancy experts and their
own prejudices it would never have gone on for as long as it did.
Jenny doesn't like going to her new school. She has no friends there.
She pleads headaches and stomach pains. I think she needs help. I went
to the school to talk about it. Her teacher was off sick, but the
deputy head says only a few people in the school know, and they could
Young for her age
But the other day at dinner, one of the kids looked at her and said;
"You are the girl from a home, aren't you?"
Before all this happened, my Jenny was, if anything young for her age.
She has come back an old eleven-year-old.
I am not stupid. I know girls of this age change for all sorts of
I only wish her own mum and dad had been around when it happened...and
not the strangers and meddlers and "experts" whom we will never
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank