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Trawling for suspects

Abuse witch-hunt traps innocent in a net of lies

Public alarm over paedophiles has led to a relentless 'trawl' for sex perverts. David Rose and Gary Horne report on one man whose life was ruined when he fell victim to the wave of panic.

In a spartan special-visits room at Wakefield prison, Roy Shuttleworth leans across the bolted-down table and displays his most treasured possessions: letters and cards from his wife, Irene. 'My darling, innocent Roy,' one begins, 'I am as much in love with you as the day we met nearly 40 years ago. My only wish is to spend what life we have left together. I only hope nothing happens to either one of us, because I know the other will die of a broken heart.'

As he speaks of his shattered family, he makes no attempt to hide his grief. His children, Roy junior and Suzanne, cross the Pennines from Cheshire to visit him twice a month. Now 67, the pale, broken man they find is a ghost of the jolly paterfamilias they see in family photos. This former champion swimmer, mining foreman and long-distance truck driver is serving a 10-year sentence for crimes deemed by some to be worse than murder - 11 counts of sexual assault and buggery against boys once in his care.

From his arrest in 1995, he has protested his innocence. Although it could shorten his sentence by two years, he refuses to take the prison sex offender treatment programme: 'How can I sit there in a so-called therapy group talking about my crimes if I haven't committed them? And listening to them who has done it - it's disgusting.'

Tonight, after five months of investigation, the BBC Panorama programme will reveal dramatic new evidence supporting Shuttleworth's claim of innocence, including evidence from former residents at the home where he worked - Greystone Heath in Warrington - who refute key elements of the prosecution case, contradicting key elements in the stories told by Shuttleworth's alleged victims. One man, confronted by huge discrepancies in his story, has now changed it beyond recognition from the version he gave in court.

All of the eight men who made allegations against Shuttleworth have criminal records for dishonesty; three were serving seven-year sentences when they testified. Three have since allegedly disclosed they fabricated their claims for money, hoping to be awarded compensation from the government criminal injuries scheme and from civil actions against Liverpool City Council, which owned and ran Greystone Heath. The rewards from this process may run to more than £100,000 for each claimant.

It would be deeply disturbing if Shuttleworth's story was an isolated case. But it is not. Since the time allegations of sexual abuse in care homes first surfaced in North Wales in 1991, more than 100 former care workers have been convicted and jailed for terms of up to 18 years. Some of them, perpetrators of foul and degrading crimes whose victims were long disbelieved, confessed to the police and pleaded guilty. Others, like Shuttleworth, continue to protest their innocence.

Police investigations into care-home abuse have become an unregulated phenomenon with 90 separate inquiries under way at present, and thousands of former and serving care workers and teachers under suspicion. Officers from a single inquiry in South Wales recently announced they had more than 500 suspects.

All are using 'the trawl' - the highly unusual method piloted in North Wales and by the Cheshire force that investigated Greystone Heath. It relies, not on victims coming forward, but on the police visiting hundreds or thousands of men once at a particular care home to discover if they were abused. Shuttleworth's solicitor, Chris Saltrese, calls it a 'begging bowl operation, a hunt for allegations'. Some of those identified this way are genuine abusers. But as Shuttleworth's case shows, it is a blunt weapon, likely to produce false allegations.

The trawl that led to Shuttleworth's conviction began with a single allegation from a resident of Greystone Heath, a prolific offender sent there by the courts. Early in 1994 'Paul' (the law says alleged victims of sexual offences must have their identities protected) found himself in the custody of the police. He told them that nine months earlier he had been driving his car in Widnes when he saw a former Greystone worker, Alan Langshaw, leaving the magistrates' court with a boy. This, he said, brought back the horror of the sexual abuse Langshaw inflicted on him at the home during the 1970s.

'Paul' made a statement, and in the days that followed, accused a further 17 former care workers, including Roy Shuttleworth. Without independent evidence his claims posed a serious problem for the police. However, two years earlier the media had fiercely criticised the failure of police in North Wales to bring the perpetrators of sexual abuse in local homes to justice. The Cheshire officers talking to 'Paul' did not want to expose themselves to similar attacks. The force decided to set up a major investigation - Operation Granite.

Using health, prison and benefit records, the police traced hundreds of former Greystone residents. At least 1,000 made statements, though only a small minority claimed they were victims. When the police arrested Langshaw, he confessed almost immediately and was finally jailed for eight years. Langshaw's Greystone Heath contemporary, Roy Shuttleworth, was a different matter.

There were striking differences. Langshaw, a gay single man, had a private flat at Greystone Heath where he could lock the door and do as he pleased with his victims, immune from scrutiny. Shuttleworth lived on the campus with his wife and children. He had come into care work in his forties, when his wife Irene, sick of his absences driving HGVs, persuaded him to apply for a joint post as houseparents. The couple did everything together. Why such a man would want to abuse young boys is a matter for psychologists. How he could have done so is a crucial question on which his proof of innocence turns.

The vital principle which trawl inquiries must follow is to avoid 'leading' potential witnesses by planting ideas in their minds. Professor Mike McConville of Warwick University, an authority on miscarriages of justice, tells tonight's Panorama how easy it is to generate a false allegation in this way. The police, he points out, do not simply record what interviewees say: they write up their statements from lengthy question and answer sessions, and it is impossible to tell the spontaneous account from one which has been suggested.

By telling interviewees they were investigating sexual abuse and reminding them of the names of care staff, detectives could sow the seeds of a wrongful conviction. McConville believes that introducing mandatory taping of all detective-witness encounters in trawl investigations is urgently needed.

When talks with police generate untrue statements, says McConville, the witness will almost invariably 'adopt' the misleading account as his own. In the present climate, a wrongly accused care worker is the deadly foe.

Panorama's investigation revealed that this process was at work in Operation Granite. A former Greystone inmate who left the home seven years before Shuttleworth began to work there in 1974 made a graphic statement, describing how Shuttleworth had forced him to masturbate him in the shower. The man sticks to his account now, insisting that Shuttleworth abused him. But the man got Shuttleworth's name from the police who descended 'out of the blue' one day in 1995. The detectives, he says, showed him photographs of Shuttleworth and told him they were investigating claims he was a paedophile.

The case reveals a second, deadly way in which wrongful convictions can be generated by trawls - the lure of compensation. After the man had made his statement, the police suggested he see a solicitor. He went to Abney Garsden McDonald in Cheadle, which by early 1995 was co-ordinating actions for damages on behalf of alleged abuse victims throughout the North-West. (Today there are more than 700 claimants in these actions, all funded by legal aid, 350 of whom the Cheadle firm represents.)

The lawyers told him he had two ways of making a claim: the Government criminal injuries compensation scheme, and a civil action against Greystone's operators, Liverpool City Council. He began to pursue both courses. Only then did the police realise the discrepancy over dates, forcing him to withdraw from both the criminal and civil legal process.

The police have taken an unusually close interest in the compensation aspect of the case. Senior officers visited the government scheme's Glasgow headquarters and persuaded them to waive the normal three-year time limit for claimants. They also had meetings with Peter Garsden, Abney Garsden McDonald's lead partner in the abuse cases, and with other lawyers involved in the civil actions.

'It very quickly became apparent that it was important for us and the police to have a symbiotic relationship,' Garsden says. 'For example, the police would want us to refer any new complaints of abuse that they didn't know about to them, because it would help them in their process. We depended on them, because we wanted as much information about the pending criminal trials as possible.'

Garsden also appointed a 'press relations officer' who succeeded in getting articles placed in the local media which made it clear that victims might be able to claim thousands of pounds in damages. A former Greystone resident, Eric Oldham, went to the firm and lodged a claim after seeing this publicity. Only after he had made his statement for the lawyers did he agree to talk to the police.

In McConville's eyes, this relationship between criminal and civil justice was risky. 'You cannot have a cheque book investigation in a criminal case. Victims can be legitimately assisted in pursuing compensation, that's one thing, but you must not have the issue of compensation colouring their accounts.'

In some cases, the relation between lawyers and police has been closer still. 'The police have been very helpful,' says solicitor Keith Robinson, handling over 100 abuse claims. 'I have had several clients who have been referred to me by officers. They will often supply important documents, such as unused material from a trial and supporting evidence.'

A third and final factor made the position in which Shuttleworth found himself more perilous still.

In 1991, a House of Lords judgment in the case known as Director of Public Prosecutions versus P changed the law. Normally, an allegation of a criminal offence has to stand or fall on its own merits: if a witness accusing someone of sexual abuse was sufficiently credible, or could adduce supporting evidence, then an abuser would be convicted. Until 1991, multiple allegations against the same person could only be held to be mutually corroborating if there were 'striking similarities' between the alleged crimes, indicating a criminal's 'signature,' a distinct modus operandi. But the judgment removed this protection. In effect, the courts have accepted the idea of 'corroboration by volume'.

Peter Garsden insists that every allegation in the 700 cases he is co-ordinating is true, because nobody would be prepared to put up with the unpleasant business of giving evidence unless they were telling the truth. He further believes he is, literally, fighting the forces of Satan: 'I believe that we're messing with the Devil, because you know, child abuse is evil, and the people that get involved in it are powerful, manipulative people. And they will do their level best to stop us succeeding and stop us getting justice for the victims.'

Garsden, who is also executive officer of the national Association of Child Abuse Lawyers, says that even when discrepancies occur between allegations and known facts, this doesn't cast doubt on their story: their memory may have deceived them over some of the details, but the one thing they will always remember is how they were abused, and by whom.

Lesley Cohen from Nottingham, who has prepared reports for more than 100 victims disagreed. 'You cannot tell from using a psychometric assessment whether a person has experienced [the abuse] they're talking about.'

The seven men who gave evidence accusing Shuttleworth all made criminal injuries claims, most before his trial; all have also lodged civil actions. One already had been convicted and jailed in 1991 for conspiracy to defraud the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.

A psychiatric assessment dating from 1983 described this claimant as 'unable to separate fact from fantasy'. Nevertheless, as the trial opened at Chester Crown Court in May 1996, the police were convinced that he and the other men were telling the truth.

Shuttleworth's defence scored important points. For example, faced with the difficulty that Shuttleworth had no private space to take his supposed victims, the complainants claimed they'd been abused in public parts of the home. One, 'Dave', said he had a key to the swimming pool where he worked alone as a cleaner and Shuttleworth used to abuse him there.

Peter McCudden, the former head of PE, said this was untrue: there were only two keys to the swimming pool, guarded religiously by himself and the duty head, and anyone found alone there would be banned from the pool for life. The discrepancies were ignored by the jury. The judge described the men as 'coming forward', and asked the jury to consider how they could have made their claims independently unless they were true. But they had not 'come forward'.

Panorama tested 'Dave's' story further. He also claimed that Shuttleworth used to wake him in the dormitory and take him away to abuse him at night. We traced two of his former room-mates, both of whom insisted such a thing was impossible: they would have known. They denied Dave's claim that one of them had also been abused. One, abused by Langshaw, is now a successful entrepreneur who asked to remain anonymous. He said: 'No, no, not in this world, no, no, never - Shuttleworth never did anything to me.'

This was nothing to the unravelling of the claims of another witness - 'Jim'. He claimed he was assaulted one afternoon in the shower in a brutal attack which ended in buggery and lasted for 10 to 15 minutes. Finally, he said, he pushed Shuttleworth off him, banging his head against the shower door, and ran wrapped in a towel to the headmaster's office.

But 'Jim' would have had to run 400 yards in full view of the road and passers-by who used Greystone Heath as a short cut - on his account, crying, screaming and bleeding from his anus. Unfortunately, the trial never heard crucial details of the evening shower routine which cast further doubt: the shower was open, with no door against which Shuttleworth could bang his head. The boys showered together in a tightly supervised regimen, with two staff patrolling. 'There was never any stragglers,' says Lee Fielding, once 'Jim's' best friend.

Confronted by Panorama with these discrepancies, Jim changed his story: the attack, he said, lasted only 'a matter of seconds'; and he was no longer sure whether he had been penetrated. His one-time friend Lee then asked how he could have left the building, because the doors were always locked. 'Jim' claimed he jumped from a first-floor window - a detail he never mentioned before. Last week we went back to Greystone Heath and found - as Lee had told us - that the windows were restrained by metal brackets, and could not open more than three inches. 'Oh, aye,' 'Jim' said. 'I was skinny in them days.' Our inquiries found problems with the evidence of all the witnesses. The more we checked it, the more it fell apart.

Some of this fresh evidence was available when Shuttleworth applied for leave to appeal in 1999. The most dramatic example was the story of 'Tony,' who claimed Shuttleworth bent him over his bed and started to bugger him, and that he screamed and bit Shuttleworth's finger so hard he fell to the floor in agony. He claimed that another care worker, Phil Fiddler, was drawn by the commotion and was told by Shuttleworth (with trousers, presumably, at half-mast) that 'Tony' had attacked him.

In 1997, 'Tony' gave evidence in Fiddler's own trial. This time he claimed that Fiddler bent him over his bed and started to bugger him, and that he screamed and bit Fiddler's finger so hard he fell to the floor in agony. Drawn by the commotion, he said another care worker, Ted Tipton, entered the room and Fiddler told him (with trousers, presumably, at half-mast) that 'Tony' had attacked him. Fiddler's jury acquitted him of all charges. It was a carbon copy of the evidence against Shuttleworth. As Fiddler's barrister told the court, he had to be lying. In tonight's Panorama, another former Greystone resident who met 'Tony' in prison describes how he boasted that he was making false allegations for money, adding: 'You should try it yourself.'

At about the same time as Fiddler's trial, Shuttleworth's solicitor, Chris Saltrese, traced 'Paul', the man whose claims had first triggered Operation Granite. He admitted he had fabricated his allegations against Shuttleworth, and agreed to consider making a statement saying so. However, after consulting his lawyer, he declined. He is still claiming compensation - although by the time of Shuttleworth's trial, the police had decided not to call him as a witness. The reason, an internal police memo records, was that 'doubts must be cast on his competence as a credible prosecution witness'.

Shuttleworth was refused leave to appeal. Last year Irene suffered a heart attack and died. Shuttleworth was allowed to throw a handful of earth on her coffin handcuffed to a prison officer.

'My life is in fragments,' he says. 'I am in darkness. What those men's lies have taken away can never be put back. All there is left is to clear my name.'


In the name of the children

NB: THIS TRANSCRIPT WAS TYPED FROM A TRANSCRIPTION UNIT RECORDING AND NOT COPIED FROM AN ORIGINAL SCRIPT: BECAUSE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF MIS-HEARING AND THE DIFFICULTY, IN SOME CASES OF IDENTIFYING INDIVIDUAL SPEAKERS, THE BBC CANNOT VOUCH FOR ITS ACCURACY.

PANORAMA

"In The Name of The Children" RECORDED FROM TRANSMISSION: BBC-1 DATE: 26.11:2000 ............................................................

DAVID ROSE Child Sex abusers, today's social outcasts, seen as worse than murderers, but is the crusade against paedophilia putting innocent men behind bars?

ROY SHUTTLEWORTH'S DAUGHTER (Anonymous) Please let him out because he didn't do it and somebody's got to listen.

ROSE And could the promise of compensation be the cause?

CLAIRE CURTIS-THOMAS MP I do have a concern that money is playing an unhealthy role in the execution of justice.

ROSE Tonight Panorama investigates whether, as the police try to bring the guilty to justice, some innocent men are being falsely accused and imprisoned. Roy Shuttleworth is getting ready for a journey to visit his father, a journey he makes every fortnight. Seeing his dad is a painful experience. The 67 year old former miner and lorry driver, also called Roy, should be enjoying his retirement surrounded by his family. Instead he's in a high security prison in Wakefield convicted of abusing boys in his care over 20 years ago.

ROY SHUTTLEWORTH [Jnr] He couldn't understand why these lads had made the allegations that they had. He had trouble comprehending the whole idea of him being accused of something that he hadn't done. He believed that justice would prevail in the end and that it would all just be seen to be a big mistake.

ROSE Roy's sister accompanies him on the regular prison visits. Because of the current hostility towards child abusers and their families she's asked us to conceal her identity.

ROY SHUTTLEWORTH'S DAUGHTER I don't want to be identified because I'm frightened. I shouldn't have to be frightened of anything but I am. I don't want people hurling abuse at me or my family because I haven't done anything; my dad hasn't done anything. But because he's been convicted of this crime people will always say that mud sticks, there's no smoke without fire, because that's how they react.

ROSE Their father had been a bus and lorry driver and only took a job in care when his wife, Irene, suggested they work together at a children's home.

ROY [Jnr] My mum thought it would be a good idea, that they'd get to spend more time together and my mum always liked children and being around children and she persuaded my dad that it was a good future for them.

ROY SHUTTLEWORTH'S DAUGHTER My dad adored my mum, he worshiped the ground she walked on, they were never apart.

ROSE But the family's happiness was shattered when Roy Shuttleworth was convicted of indecent assault and buggery on a number of teenage boys in the home where they worked. He's always maintained his innocence.

ROY [Jnr] He refuses to go on any rehabilitation courses therefore the prison service will take that as him not showing any remorse or trying to rehabilitate for the crimes that he is supposed to have done and will refuse him parole.

ROSE He's one of a growing number of care workers around the country who insist that they've been convicted by false allegations and the allegations keep increasing as police enquiries mushroom producing concern among some MPs.

CLAIRE CURTIS-THOMAS MP I had assumed that the scale of these events were a few people had been accused of sex crimes and a number of complaints had been returned. The number of complaints turned out to be in excess of 700 and the number of accused turned out to be in excess of 300.

DAVID ROSE Police investigations into sexual abuse in care homes have now spread across Britain with 90 separate enquiries and more than 2000 care workers under suspicion. Because the accusers were children in care, often with criminal records, in the past their claims were ignored. But has the pendulum now swung too far the other way, are allegations being believed too readily with the result that innocent men are being sent to jail?

[Television News] Two former senior social workers have gone on trial accused of sexually abusing teenage boys in their care. Chester Crown Court...

ROSE Back in 1993, when our story begins, a series of disclosures about care homes in North Wales revealed to a shocked public the horrors of child abuse and how it had been covered up. It was at this time that a former resident of Greystone Heath alleged he'd been sexually abused by care workers. This children's home in Warrington looked after mainly young offenders sent there by the courts. One of the men accused was Roy Shuttleworth who worked and lived there with this family from 1974 to 1986. These new allegations triggered a major child abuse investigation, 'Operation Granite'. But the police faced big problems, investigating claims that went back years and where there was no independent evidence.

CHRIS SALTRESE ROY SHUTTLEWORTH'S SOLICITOR There's no, for example, no dead body, no broken window, no blown safe. The investigations start off with an unsubstantiated allegation from a complainant that abuse has occurred between ten and thirty years ago and the police start from that point and then interview as many possible former residents of the particular home as they can and in effect it's a begging bowl operation with the police, in effect, searching for allegations.

ROSE The police relied on gathering evidence by trawling for allegations. Instead of waiting for complainants to come to them, they set out to trace hundreds of former Greystone residents to discover if they'd been abused. We spoke to one of those contacted in the trawl who was at Greystone Heath in the 70's. He told the police he wasn't abused but he became concerned at the line of police questioning.

LEE FIELDING They seemed very pushy, you know, they were trying to put words into my mouth if you understand what I mean. They were very eager, you know... what used to happen then and... you know, they seemed very eager.

ROSE The police are supposed to ask neutral questions to ensure they don't put words into the mouths of witnesses and produce false allegations.

What kinds of words do you think they wanted you to say?

FIELDING I think they wanted me to say 'yes, it was going on' but how can I say something that wasn't going on, do you understand what I mean? No, it's all wrong, it's all wrong.

ROSE The police also obtained a photograph album from Roy Shuttleworth which they showed to potential witnesses.

ROY SHUTTLEWORTH'S DAUGHTER They said to dad, "Do you have any photographs or anything like that of the boys?" so dad said "Yes, of course I do, you know, I've got photographs of sports days, things like that". So he handed some photograph albums over to the police and to be honest we didn't think anything of it at all.

ROSE We tracked down one man who was shown photographs of Roy Shuttleworth and went on to make false allegations against him. We secretly filmed him because we wanted to know if the police method of using the photo album had influenced his claims.

MAN They showed me some photo's and that, this, that t'other.... But they were pointing people out to me, you know what I mean?

ROSE What were they saying?

MAN They were saying 'He was one, wasn't he, and he was one?' .. and this, that and t'other.

ROSE And what about Shuttleworth?

MAN Shuttleworth.. Well they pointed Shuttleworth out to me. He was on these photos. They said he was one as well, you know what I mean? So...

ROSE But he couldn't have been abused by Roy Shuttleworth because he left Greystone Heath in 1967 and Shuttleworth didn't start working there until 1974, seven years later. So how could he have made such a damaging claim?

We looked at the records, you just can't have known Roy Shuttleworth. Now what I'm getting at is how did you make your statement about Roy Shuttleworth? I mean you described how you'd masturbated him in the shower and all the rest of it, where did that come from?

MAN It come off the photo.

ROSE But this can't have happened can it?

MAN Yeah, yeah, it did happen.

ROSE But you can't have met Roy Shuttleworth.

MAN He was there. He was there, Shuttleworth.

Prof MIKE McCONVILLE University of Warwick What you mustn't do is to say 'We're investigating child abuse in a home and we're trying to discover whether any boys were victims' or to show them photographs or records or in other way create the impression that there was a crime, that the crime was committed by the suspect and that they, in some way, might have been either victims or witnesses who can assist the police in their enquiries.

ROSE In this case the police realised the man's complaints against Roy Shuttleworth was false and excluded him from their enquiry but it wasn't always so easy to spot who was making false allegations. In the end the police believed that the claims of seven men who alleged Shuttleworth abused them were strong enough to take to court. There was no other evidence apart from their accusations but a change in the law in the early 90's means that similar allegations against the same person are held by the courts to reinforce each other, even without other independent evidence. It's known as corroboration by volume.

McCONVILLE In the past it used to be that we would look for each offence to have what we would call the hallmark of the defendant, clearly the work and signature of one person. That is no longer the test. It's a much more wide ranging set of allegations can come in to a particular trial.

ROSE Roy Shuttleworth was arrested in July 1995 and charged with abusing a number of his former Greystone Heath pupils. For his family it was a traumatic time.

ROY SHUTTLEWORTH'S DAUGHTER I went back with mum to see dad in the cells. I was in shock and my mum was in shock. She couldn't accept that he'd be there for any length of time because it was all a misunderstanding and mum just... well she sort of collapsed on the pavement more or less. She phoned me up in the middle of the night, she was panicking because the police had raided the house before dad's arrest and she thought they were going to come back and... It was horrible.

ROSE What the family didn't know was that Roy Shuttleworth's accusers were preparing compensation claims. Lawyers acting for men alleging they'd been abused in care homes were meeting with the police. Coordinating these claims was local solicitor Peter Garsden.

PETER GARSDEN SOLICITOR It very quickly became apparent that it was important for us and the police to have a symbiotic relationship with each other. They depended on us and we depended on them in certain ways. For example, the police would want us to refer any new complaints of abuse that they didn't know about to them because it would help them in their process.

ROSE Panorama has obtained documents which disclose that more than a year before Roy Shuttleworth's trial, when they were still trawling for witnesses, the police held meetings with Peter Garsden and other compensation solicitors and shared information. Professor Mike McConville argues this was unwise.

McCONVILLE The danger is absolutely clear for all to see. You cannot have check book investigation in a criminal case. Victims can be legitimately assisted in pursuing compensation, that's one thing. But you must not have the issue of compensation colouring any way or risking colouring their accounts because it is obvious to anyone that there is going to be more compensation available to witness who is a victim and who has been victimised in the most serious way and, therefore, the real risk is that the witness will produce an account with compensation in mind rather than to produce an account which is faithful to the events which did or did not occur.

ROSE The police trawl had produced allegations against a number of other care workers from Greystone Heath. Two of them were charged with serious sex offences against children and admitted their guilt.

[BBC North West Tonight] Alan Langshaw, who worked at Greystone Heath, he was jailed in 1994 for ten years for 30 offences, and Dennis Grain, who also worked at Greystone, he was jailed for seven years in 1995.

ROSE But Roy Shuttleworth continued to protest his innocence, and when his trial began in May 1996 he pleaded not guilty. His family were horrified that the men who had accused their father were ever taken seriously.

ROY SHUTTLEWORTH'S DAUGHTER Your gut reaction is oh it's poor little children. Well these weren't poor little children who accused my father, they were grown men in their 30s. Why did they not accuse him 20 years ago? Why wait till now?

ROSE So how strong was the police case against Roy Shuttleworth? The prosecution depended on each of the accusers allegations reinforcing the others. We've examined the evidence given by all the accusers and tested it against other facts we can establish. We found grave cause for concern. For legal reasons we can't identify the accusers so we've change their names. We've called the first one Jim, he has convictions for theft and burglary. A psychiatric report prepared before the trial said Jim was suffering from psychosis, a condition where the patient loses contact with reality, but his doctors said he was well enough to give evidence. Jim said he remembered a Sunday afternoon when he was left on his own with Roy Shuttleworth in the shower. He said he was buggered but his screams were masked by the running water, and that Roy Shuttleworth's head banged on the shower door when Jim pushed him off. We've traced people who cast doubt on his account. His best friend at the time, who was never called to give evidence, was Lee Fielding.

FIELDING It was one in, all in. One out, all out. You know.. there was never any stranglers if you understand what I mean. You know.. it's.. when we'd finished we'd all leave, and we'd all get into our pyjamas and all, whatever, you know.

ROSE The shower was in the toilets and washroom area, constantly open to all the boys and staff, with no door for Roy Shuttleworth to bang his head on. The jury heard the Greystone regime was strict and regimented with staff working in pairs. Head of P.E. at the home was Peter McCudden.

PETER McCUDDEN Everything was done in a group. Everybody sat down to tea at the same time; everybody got up at the same time; everybody went upstairs at the same time; everybody came downstairs at the same time. There was no laxness in that sort of situation at all. When jobs were being done, there were usually two members of staff on duty, so the member of staff who was patrolling up and down would be talking to the member of staff who was overseeing the shower and vice versa.

ROSE But there were other problems with Jim's account. He claimed that after the attack he ran from the building to the head teachers office wrapped only in a towel where he was promptly given six strokes of the cane. But the Head said the boy never complained to him, and despite Jim having run 400 yards through the grounds semi naked, none of the other boys could remember this incident. We tracked down Jim recently and he still maintains the assault took place. But among other changes to his story, he claimed for the first time that he got out of the secure building by climbing out of first floor window and jumping to the ground.

JIM The door was locked. We got the window open from the bedroom. I got out of there and I went down to the headmaster's office.

MAN But them windows only used to open so far down.

JIM That's right, yeah. But I was skinny weren't I.

ROSE Indeed, Jim must have been skinny for his account to be true as metal restraints meant the windows only opened five inches.

FIELDING How would he have got out of the unit, you know, because the doors were locked to get out, and the windows only opened so far. Impossible.

McCONVILLE Clearly where a witnesses' account changes substantially in detail, the credibility of the earlier account is very much put into question. Why would a witness now give an account which is completely different than was given at trial if that earlier account was true?

ROSE For the family, sitting through the trial, the details of the sexual abuse were hard to take.

ROY SHUTTLEWORTH'S DAUGHTER It was when I was in court that I realised what actually the allegations were, and to be honest I vomited, I felt so ill and sick. That's why mum said she didn't want us to hear what they were.

ROSE We found serious doubts about the evidence of the second accuser - Dave. He had more than thirty-five convictions including assault and arson and we sentenced to more than ten years in prison. He claimed Roy Shuttleworth took him out of the dormitories at night to bugger him. We've traced one of his former room mates who denies his account.

Do you remember anybody ever being woken up by Shuttleworth and taken out of the dormitory?

ROOMMATE Never, never, never. Never once.

ROSE Dave also claimed he saw the same room mate being taken out of the dormitory by Roy Shuttleworth to be abused.

ROOMATE Not in this world. No. No he never. No he didn't. Not once. Never. The only time I used to be taken out of the dormitory - and on many occasions I had been - is when I used to chuck pillows and act stupid at night and I was waking everybody else up and the punishment you would be taken out and you would be told to stand in a corner till everybody's gone to sleep and you'd be put back into bed.

ROSE Dave then claimed he was abused in the swimming pool. He said he'd been working there alone as a cleaner during school hours and Roy Shuttleworth would abuse him. Both of them had their own keys he said. But the head of P.E. said this couldn't have happened because neither had a key.

McCUDDEN There were two keys for the swimming pool. I had one because I was head of the P.E. department, and the duty head, whoever that was, had the other. Now it was timetabled, the use of the pool was timetabled. You couldn't just go in at any time. Set units had set times to go in. And there would be a ceremony virtually of handing over the keys.

ROSE Both witnesses, Jim and Dave, were good friends of Lee Fielding. Lee couldn't believe his friend's allegations that Shuttleworth had abused them.

FIELDING I cried, I must admit, and when I read the depositions the solicitor sent me the depositions and I cried I must admit, because I knew there was an innocent man in prison.

ROSE Further doubts about Dave's credibility emerged after the trial when Roy Shuttleworth's solicitor took a statement from a man called John Higginson who met Dave in Walton Prison. Higginson said Dave admitted he made up the allegations against Roy Shuttleworth to get compensation money. Once again compensation seems to have played an important role.

CHRIS SALTRESE ROY SHUTTLEWORTH'S SOLICITOR I think many of the complainants who are now making complaints against former care staff are very aware that if they do make complaints that they'll be entitled to financial compensation.

ROSE Police who worked on similar investigations knew that prisoners were aware of the sums of money that could be made from claiming abuse in care.

JOE TULIP I mean I'm not saying they're all at it but there is a large group of people who were in there who meet each other on a daily basis in different prisons, they're on remand, they live in the same area and they chat about it. So at the end of the day "What are you up to?" "Oh I'm getting 30 grand" "I'm getting 20 grand". It's got to be said and commonsense tells everybody that that is what is going on.

ROSE There are further flaws in the evidence of another accuser - Tony. He had 46 convictions, mainly for theft and drug offences. Tony said Shuttleworth entered the dormitory at night when the other boys were asleep and groped his penis under the sheets. We tracked down one of his roommates who didn't give evidence at the trial.

ROOMMATE It's impossible to do something while other people in the room as far as I'm concerned.

ROSE Tell me why.

ROOMMATE Because if you want to do something to someone and someone's in a room you'd be able to hear it. You can hear a door opening because it's dead quiet, you'd hear any little noise going on in there.

ROSE We found two other men who also shared the room. They agreed Tony's story was highly unlikely. Tony's most serious allegation was that Roy Shuttleworth bent him over his bed and began to bugger him. It was so painful he screamed and bit Roy Shuttleworth's finger which alerted two other care workers, Ted Tipton and Phil Fiddler.

PHIL FIDDLER He said that I entered the room where this alleged incident was taking place in the company of Mr Tipton. This just didn't happen.

ROSE Tony met up with his old Greystone Heath roommates in prison shortly after making his statement against Roy Shuttleworth. According to this man, Tony said he was making false allegations for money.

ROOMMATE He was waiting to go into the same place as me, where I was, and I pulled him up and asked him, I said 'how come you're saying these allegations against this person?' And he said: "I'm doing it for the money. Why don't you do it yourself?' I just looked at him and said that's sick, you know.. someone is going to get blamed for messing with kids.

ROSE So yet again compensation money is an issue. In fact Tony had claimed compensation from the Criminal Injury Scheme before the trial.

ROY SHUTTLEWORTH'S DAUGHTER I'm not saying everybody who's been to prison or goes to prison is a liar, but they were fetching these people from prison. They hadn't just been in prison, they'd been in prison since. They'd been in their mid teens in and out of trouble. None of them had made a decent life for themselves.

ROSE The fourth accuser was Peter. He'd claimed compensation before in very dubious circumstances. His criminal record includes a conviction for conspiracy to defraud the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. With a friend he set up a fake attack.

SALTRESE The complainant slashed his accomplices back and that, I think, is an example of the lengths which some of these complainants will go to, to claim undeserved compensation.

ROSE And a psychiatric report on Peter from 1983 said he couldn't separate fact from fantasy. If the law didn't allow corroboration by volume it's unlikely these claims would ever have gone to court. So in total there are four complainants where we've shown serious flaws in their evidence. Our investigation has also revealed similar problems with the remaining three complainants, the prosecution rests on the idea that each allegation reinforces the others.

PROF MIKE MCCONVILLE UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK These witnesses' accounts only have strength because they support each other. It's like a big wigwam, supported by six or seven props, if you knock one or two of them down the rest are going to be at risk of falling down. They support each other, and if we have two which are already worthless we start to loose the whole strength of the prosecution and I'm very sorry to say that in these cases of such public importance that this kind of process is simply not acceptable.

ROSE At the end of his trial Roy Shuttleworth was convicted and jailed for ten years. His wife, Irene, was devastated.

ROY [Jnr] They never actually spent a night apart in 30 odd years of marriage so for my dad to be sentenced and then to be away in prison and for my mum to accept the stigma of what he'd been charged with and sentenced, coupled with him actually not being there in a physical sense was very difficult for her to deal with.

ROSE In a further twist, seven months after Roy Shuttleworth's trial Phil Fiddler was also facing child abuse charges in court. Roy Shuttleworth's accuser Tony had made an allegation against Phil Fiddler.

FIDDLER He repeated the same claim only this time he transferred his attention from Mr Shuttleworth to myself.

ROSE Tony claimed Phil Fiddler bent him over his bed and began to bugger him and he said he screamed and bit Phil Fiddler's finger. The account was the same as the one he gave against Roy Shuttleworth.

FIDDLER Fortunately for me Mr Shuttleworth had been tried some seven or eight months before my trial of January 97 so we were able to disprove what he was saying because basically it was a carbon copy of what he'd said earlier.

ROSE So for a sexual assault that was similar in all the main details Phil Fiddler was found not guilty branding the witness Tony, a liar. Roy Shuttleworth, remember, had already been found guilty on Tony's evidence. Irene campaigned relentlessly for her husband's release but she was in poor health. In 1999, a few months after Roy was refused leave to appeal Irene died of a heart attack.

ROY [Jnr] My dad was brought separately by the prison officers and remained handcuffed all the way through the actual service. He was just allowed to pick up a piece of earth, throw it on the casket, shed a couple of tears and was took away again. He is convinced that she wouldn't have died if he'd been outside of prison.

ROY SHUTTLEWORTH'S DAUGHTER I'm not angry any more, I'm sad that people could ruin so many other people's lives for nothing. I say for nothing, they did get something and I hope that they enjoy it because they've managed to ruin a good man and kill my mother in the process.

ROSE The family believe the accusers, who are all now claiming compensation, only made their allegations for money. But the solicitor, coordinating the claims of 700 men who alleged they were abused, denies anyone would make any false allegations.

PETER GARSDEN SOLICITOR Nobody in this world is going to put themselves through what these people have to put themselves through if they're telling a pack of lies. It's absolute nonsense.

ROSE He says there are safeguards to ensure that people tell the truth.

GARSDEN Because we're claiming compensation we have to provide medical evidence in support and that evidence comes from psychologists. As part of the process which they go through they conduct what's called psychometric tests.

ROSE So in simple terms the psychologists and the tests they use can establish whether a complainant is telling the truth about whether they were abused or not?

GARSDEN Yes, simply.

ROSE The psychologist Peter Garsden recommended we interview disagrees.

LESLEY COHEN PSYCHOLOGIST You cannot tell from using a psychometric assessment whether a person has or has not experienced a particular experience of abuse that they're actually talking about.

ROSE To put it in simple terms you're not a lie detector.

COHEN No I'm not.

ROSE Peter Garsden maintains on the strength of the assessments and the psychometric tests that all his clients' stories are true.

But you don't know of a case where a psychologist said "We've actually got doubts here about whether this person..."

GARSDEN I've not come across one, no, in none of the 700 cases. That's basically because they're not telling lies.

ROSE Leslie Cohen's experience has been different.

COHEN There have been times when people have actually reported experiences which they've said have happened in particular places that I know couldn't have because of the nature of the homes and in those cases I can say that I know that they haven't been abused in those particular homes. What I can't say is that they're not recalling genuine experiences from somewhere else.

CLAIRE CURTIS-THOMAS MP Compensation is important but it's something that should be considered afterwards and not before, not as a precursor to discussions, not as an initiator of a discussion. It has a rightful place but not at that time because people believe that it is leading some people to make false allegations. I don't know if that's true or not but I do have a concern that money is playing an unhealthy role in the execution of justice.

ROSE Genuine victims of child abuse deserve compensation and to see those who abuse them punished. But our investigation suggests that the lure of compensation, the police trawling for witnesses and corroboration by volume are causing injustice. There seems to be a danger that people's natural horror at this type of crime has led to miscarriages of justice.

McCONVILLE We have to pursue ruthlessly serious allegations of abuse and hunt down perpetrators of abuse, public interest demands nothing less. But in doing so we have to undertake our investigations with absolute thoroughness and professionalism because if we don't do that what we risk is that we risk convicting innocent people by dragging them into a mass trawl which will mean that they get convicted by association, they get convicted by prejudice and they get convicted on the back of zealous investigation which is producing the evidence which convicts them rather than discovering the evidence and there is a clear distinction which has to be drawn.

ROSE Even for those who have proved their innocence the consequences have been disastrous.

FIDDLER I was falsely accused but even though I was cleared on three counts of sexual abuse under the full Crown Court unanimously by a Crown Court jury I still find myself in limbo. I'm unemployable at the moment and I now find myself on a government black list that deems that I'm unsuitable to work with children or young people.

ROSE In a final irony the Shuttleworths discovered that the man who triggered the police investigation at Greystone Heath was dropped as a complainant because the police believed "Doubts must be cast on his competence as a credible prosecution witness". The Shuttleworth family remain determined to prove their father's innocence.

ROY SHUTTLEWORTH'S DAUGHTER He wants to be released with his name cleared because he's 67 years old and all he's got left now is to clear his name in his mind. He wants to clear his name for his son and the rest of his family but most of all he wants to clear it for my mum. I know she's not here but we firmly believe that she looks down on us and she's looking after us and if she were here now she would plead with anybody... just anybody to please let him out because he didn't do it and somebody's got to listen. And that's what I'm saying as well.