Former Conservative Party treasurer, breaks silence over internet rumours linking him to the North Wales child sex abuse case, describing them as “wholly false and seriously defamatory”
Lord (Alistair) McAlpine’s name circulated widely online after Steve Messham, a former resident of the Bryn Estyn home in Wrexham, told Newsnight he had been abused by a high-ranking Thatcher-era Tory.
After the Guardian newspaper named Lord McAlpine but reported that he had been a victim of mistaken identity, the peer released a strongly-worded statement addressing the “slurs”.
He said he had visited Wrexham “only once” and that was in the company of an agent from Conservative Central Office.
“I have never been to the children’s home in Wrexham, nor have I ever visited any children’s home, reform school or any other institution of a similar nature,” he said.
“I have never stayed in a hotel in or near Wrexham, I did not own a Rolls Royce, have never had a ‘Gold card’ or ‘Harrods card’ and never wear aftershave, all of which have been alleged.
“I did not sexually abuse Mr Messham or any other residents of the children’s home in Wrexham.”
He added: “I wish to make it clear that I do not suggest that Mr Messham is malicious in making the allegations of sexual abuse about me. He is referring to a terrible period of his life in the 1970’s or 1980’s and what happened to him will have affected him ever since.
“If he does think I am the man who abused him all those years ago I can only suggest that he is mistaken and that he has identified the wrong person.”
A local councillor who was also a victim of abuse at Bryn Estyn told The Guardian that he believed a different member of the McAlpine family may have been mistaken for Lord McAlpine.
Several sources have suggested that Mr Messham may have been referring to Jimmie McAlpine, who chaired the building firm Alfred McAlpine Ltd, and who lived in Chester, near Wrexham.
The Waterhouse inquiry into the abuse allegations recorded that, according to Mr Messham’s statement to the police, “X (the letter used to hide the identity of the McAlpine family member) had several different motor cars and would wait for him at the bottom of Bryn Estyn Lane.”
Jimmie McAlpine, who is now dead, had one of the largest private collections of cars in Britain.
Reporters covering the inquiry at the time concluded that Lord McAlpine could not be the person referred to as the abuser because Mr Messham said his abuser was dead, whereas Lord McAlpine is alive. And when a Times reporter put Lord McAlpine’s name to Messham in 1996, he said his abuser was in fact called ‘Tom’…