Abuse claims: Report suggests politician wrongly suspected

Bryn Estyn care home in North Wales in 1992
Image caption The abuse claims under investigation centre around the Bryn Estyn children's home in north Wales

New claims have emerged about the identity of a man alleged to have abused children from care homes in north Wales.

Last Friday on the BBC's Newsnight, former resident Steve Messham claimed he was abused by a senior politician of the Thatcher era, who was not named.

Now the Guardian says the alleged abuse was not carried out by the politician.

It may have been committed by a relative with the same surname, who has since died, it says.

In 2000 the Waterhouse report, set up to investigate the north Wales abuse claims, ruled that the evidence about the identity of the attacker was inconclusive.

The government has set up a fresh investigation into claims of abuse at the care homes, led by Keith Bristow of the National Crime Agency.

Commenting on the Newsnight item in which Steve Messham made the abuse allegations, the BBC has said: "This investigation set out to explore alleged failures in a child abuse inquiry - specifically whether its narrow focus meant opportunities were missed to uncover others involved.

"We broadcast as much information as possible based on the evidence available to us at the time of transmission."

Correction 10 November 2012: The BBC has apologised unreservedly for broadcasting a report on Newsnight on 2 November over allegations of child abuse which transpired to have involved a case of mistaken identity. As a result the video of the original report has been removed from the website. More details can be found here.

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