April 18 2014 Latest news:
Friday, February 14, 2014
A 72-year-old former Ipswich hotel worker who was the head of a company which ran children’s homes in north Wales has denied nearly 40 child abuse charges.
John Allen – who worked at the Premier Inn in Bourne Hill, Wherstead, near Ipswich, until 2012 – appeared before Caernarfon Crown Court in Wales yesterday for a hearing before Judge Merfyn Hughes.
Among the allegations facing Allen are 29 indecent assaults.
Allen is the first person to be charged as a result of one of the largest child abuse investigations in the UK.
He pleaded not guilty to a total of 39 charges on the indictment.
The accusations are said to involve 20 children and are alleged to have taken place between 1968 and 1991.
Allen was released on bail at the end of the plea and case management hearing.
His next hearing is scheduled to be on March 11 when a date is due to be set for his trial later in the year.
Allen was arrested in April last year as part of Operation Pallial, which is being headed by the National Crime Agency.
In August he made his first appearance after being charged before Flintshire magistrates court in Mold, Wales, where the case was committed to crown court.
In 2012 Allen left his job as a night porter at the Premier Inn next to the Oyster Reach public house at Wherstead.
A total of 19 people have been arrested so far during Operation Pallial. Allen is the only person to have been charged to date.
The most recent arrest was that of a 71-year-old man in Ellesmere Port in Cheshire last month.
Last year investigators involved in Operation Pallial said they had spoken to nearly 200 people about alleged abuse at care homes in Wales.
Detectives said they were looking into alleged offences dating between 1963 and 1992 as part of the inquiry.
Allen was the founder and former head of The Bryn Alyn Community.
It was a limited company which operated a total of 11 residential children’s homes in north east Wales, Cheshire and Shropshire.