Serial sex monster (A story from the UK)
On Tuesday 10th June 1997, the Express Newspaper carried a story on page 4, under the heading of ‘Face of the child molester free to prowl the streets’. Next to the heading was a photograph with the sub-heading ‘First picture of paedophile’. As I turned to that page, I was stunned and shocked as I studied the familiar face in the picture. I had a sudden rush of panic and my heartbeat increased. I had not seen those eyes for 29 years but I immediately knew that they belonged to Graham Stridgeon, who was one of my sexual abusers from childhood. When I say ‘abuser’ I should explain that he was a 14-year-old teenager and I was just 11 years of age. We were both residents at Bryn Alyn Community in North Wales and abused by the founder of the home, John Ernest Allen, now a convicted paedophile. As I read the story, I felt an overwhelming sadness for the boy I once knew and feared. I hated him and pitied him at the same time. The newspaper story was a sad testimony to the generational abuse that had obviously spilled into the lives of innocent children after he had left the community. I recalled the plight of the young teenager, who had been awkward and with learning difficulties, who suffered regular bullying from the other young residents, including me. We used to hit him as we ran past him and we called him ‘a bummer’ at every opportunity. Now he was a 43-year-old man and described a monster and a beast.
The article reported him as being recently released from prison after serving a nine-year sentence for the attempted rape of a female schoolchild and subsequently rearrested for the breach of the peace when he was found with colouring books and toys in Huyton, Merseyside. Graham had allegedly admitted to the police that he was likely to strike again and he was detained under the Mental Health act for just 28 days.
He was clearly and most definitely a danger to children
As I read the article, I found myself thinking that this man had been a boy victim of abuse and had also been abandoned and lost in care. I felt that he had become a ‘manufactured monster’ as a direct result of the institutional rape and abuse that he must have suffered by the hands of an adult predatory paedophile, an adult who was also my abuser. Now, I am not seeking your pity for this man, or forgiveness for what he has done since leaving the Bryn Alyn Community. He was clearly and most definitely a danger to children and I would not let someone like him anywhere near my own children, that is for sure. As a parent myself, and a victim of abuse, I have no sympathy for any child abuser. However, it made my blood boil when I remembered what Stridgeon had done to me and who had told him to do it. I realised, as I read the article over again, that I was also one of his victims while uniquely also a witness to the abuse he suffered himself. I believe he was coerced into the acts of sexual abuse and forced to abuse me and other boys in the home. I remembered that he had masturbated me under the bed covers, in 1968, while John Allen had watched from the doorway as I lay silent, too frightened to say anything, pretending to be asleep. I know John Allen joined Graham at the side of my bed, continuing the abuse in the darkness of the dormitory while the other boys slept. The feelings of fear, shame, and anger churned in my mind as I put the article down. I was relieving the vulnerability of my childhood nightmare and I had to contain my wave of tears.
On alert after threatening to attack a child
The following day, on June 11, The Mirror also featured a story about Graham, who they called a ‘Sex Beast’. The article was entitled ‘He stole my childhood – he cannot be set free’. This second story was an exclusive interview with the 9-year-old female victim, who was now 16, she was reported as begging the police with cries of ‘‘Don’t let him out’’. Graham Stridgeon, who later adopted the surname ‘Seddon’, was again on the brink of being freed after being kept in a mental health unit for just 28 days.
The following month, on Tuesday 29 July, I was featured in an article published by the London Evening Standard. The headline (referring to Graham Seddon) read ‘How a shy and troubled boy was turned into a sex fiend’. It reported the details of what I had witnessed and I was quoted as saying ‘Everyone else saw a picture of a monster: I saw someone who was the victim of abuse’ The article also explained how I had witnessed John Allen use Graham to ‘break in’ the other boys – just to satisfy his own perverted lust. Graham was described as a convicted paedophile that, the previous month, had every police force in the country on alert after threatening to attack a child.
Significant role in twisting an already confused young mind
All those years ago, in 1997, The London Evening Standard reported that Graham Stridgeon had been previously convicted for other sexual crimes and that he had a low IQ of 75. He had served 9 years imprisonment for the attempted rape of a 9-year-old girl. In contrast, John Allen, who appeared to have an exceptionally high IQ, was given a 6-year sentence for the sexual assault of six young boys who had been in his care. Can you see the injustice in this? Stridgeon got 9 years for what he attempted to do to a 9-year-old girl, while Allen got 6 years for what he actually did to six of the boys in his care. How does that work? I recognise the horror of what that young girl suffered. However, where is the justice for the young boys abused in care?
I notice that Stridgeon was abusing boys under the direction of Allen when he was 14 years old, but he was later convicted for abusing girls.
I cannot say if Stridgeon would have abused others if Allen had not have used him in the way I witnessed, however, it does appear that Allen played a significant role in twisting an already confused young mind. John Allen has never been held to account for his influence in creating the serial sex monster that emanated from his own paedophilic addictions.
I do not believe in the sold called ‘Vampire Syndrome’, which assumes abused children always abuse others, as the evidence shows this is not true. However, I do feel, in this case, that Allen was ‘the master abuser’ and the young Stridgeon was his ‘apprentice’.
This is a short extract from my autobiography entitled: ‘Nigel A damaged Boy’. The boy ‘Colin’ is Graham Stridgeon and ‘Mr Shush’ is John Allen.Within weeks of arriving at The Home from Hell, Mr Shush started regularly masturbating me with an older boy named Colin. Mr Shush would creep into the room and start touching me under the blankets. He would bring Colin who would also touch me. Mr Shush often hit Colin if a boy complained that he had tried to touch him. Colin is now a convicted paedophile who has been dubbed by the national press as ‘Britain’s most notorious serial child abuser’. He was convicted of rape, later in life, and was sentenced to nine years imprisonment. On his release from a mental hospital, he was found wandering the streets with a colouring book and pencils, and he admitted he was trying to entice children for sex. Colin, who had learning difficulties, was regularly beaten up by the boys in the home. I believe that Mr Shush is directly responsible for turning Colin into the adult sex monster he later became.