Paedophile John Allen from Needham Market sentenced to life in jail for historic sex abuse crimes

John Allen. Photo: National Crime Agency/PA Wire

John Allen. Photo: National Crime Agency/PA Wire - Credit: PA

A paedophile from Suffolk who used his children’s home business as “a front” has been jailed for life.

John Allen, aged 73 and of Foxglove Avenue, Needham Market, was convicted by a jury at Mold Crown Court last week of committing historical sexual offences against 18 boys and one girl, aged between seven and 15, at his residential care properties in and around Wrexham, North Wales, between 1968 and 1991.

Allen, who had no child care qualifications when he set up his company named Bryn Alyn Community, must serve a minimum of 11 years in jail before he can be considered for release.

One of his victims said Allen ruled the homes with “an iron fist” as staff and residents were “scared stiff of him”.

Sentencing Allen, Mr Justice Openshaw said: “There have no doubt been more prolific offenders but seldom can there be so many grave offences committed on so many victims over a long period of time, causing so much anguish and misery.”

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He said that, “remarkable as it may seem”, there were no regulations requiring Allen to have formal training “in those far-off days”.

Allen passed himself off as a successful businessman, the judge said, but added: “It was, as we now know, a front.”

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At its height, 120 boys were sent into Allen’s care at Bryn Alyn by 14 different local authorities, with many coming from across the country, said the judge.

Later some girls were also given accommodation, the court heard.

Mr Justice Openshaw said most of the complainants came from “dysfunctional, chaotic” backgrounds and were in need of care and protection.

Instead they were subjected to a regime of violence and intimidation ran by a “powerful man” whom one victim described “as like a god”.

In what the Crown said was a “highly sexualised atmosphere”, Allen committed many of his offences in the presence of other boys but no-one spoke out because of their fear and isolation.

Most of the abuse took place at three homes - Bryn Alyn, Pentre Saeson and Bryn Terion.

Allen was given a discretionary life sentence for seven serious sexual assaults.

He received concurrent terms of 10 years for 23 indecent assaults and two years for an act of gross indecency with a child.

He was cleared of two other serious sexual assaults.

The jury could not reach verdicts on three counts of indecent assault and one count of indecency with a child. All those charges were allowed to lie on file.

Allen denied all the offences at his six-week trial.

John McDermott QC, for the defendant, said: “Mr Allen maintains his innocence of all charges.”

The comment drew gasps from some of the many complainants who were in court for sentencing.

Allen also maintains that there was a miscarriage of justice when he was convicted in 1996 of indecently assaulting six boys, aged between 12 and 16, at his care homes in the 1970s, and was jailed for six years.

Allen showed no emotion as he was led from the dock.

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