Graham Lancaster was a vehemently active advocate for having our children removed. To this day, I don’t really understand why. He seemed to manufacture a wide range of alarming concerns about the children’s and our behaviour as parents. He had had very little personal contact with us or the children, and seldom observed them in class or at play, nor has he ever been to our home, so it is a wonder how he was able to make such assertions so confidently. We suspect much of his ‘information’ came from discussions with my aunt Esther Barnett.
Here is an extract of a letter he appeared to submit spontaneously, without being requested, as evidence. Emphasis and notes in italics are mine.
Letter to Suzannah Hargreaves, solicitor for Barnet Local Authority, dated 13 March 2002.
Dear Ms Hargreaves,
My initial concerns with regard to the Orman family date back to 1997-98. [Erin did not start at Livingston until September 1998, James only started in September 2000.] … Erin’s arrival could be as late as midday [on one occasion]. …. [Mr Orman] did not appear to feel that the children’s late arrival was in any way a cause for concern and did not appear in the slightest moved to address the situation. [Not true. Graham & I arranged for a local member of staff to collect the children every morning for a small fee.]
In the late spring and summer of 2001, I and other members of my staff became increasingly concerned with the demeanour of Erin. She had changed from a lively, bubbly, chatty member of the class [which implies that, for the previous 3 years, there were no real concerns?], to somewhat of a recluse. She appeared nervous and troubled and engaged less and less with her peers. … Erin was increasingly removed and seemed oppressed by all circumstances around her. James, meanwhile, became attention seeking in the classroom. … James clung to [mother] first thing in the morning and was very distressed on being separated and going into class. Mrs Orman […] appeared very frail and confused […] An emergency strategy meeting was called […].
At the point when the children were first taken into care on a Police Protection Order, I was present when Mrs Orman was informed this had happened. Quite naturally, she was very distressed that this had taken place […]
Information from other sources
The children’s Aunt Esther has frequently telephoned the school and spoken to me and in particular to Mrs Barton, the school Welfare Officer. She has expressed her great concern over the well being of the children […]
Child Protection Review
[…]My greatest concern [is if the] children [are] returned into their care. I do not believe that [Mr Orman] has the best interests of his children at heart. I believe that he feels the need to counter authority and will use his children as necessary to win what he sees as small victories against outside agencies. […] He then removed them from school without allowing them to say goodbye to their friends, without allowing them to collect their work, to finish performances in forthcoming Christmas shows [completely untrue] and he provided little or no educational input for them while he was supposedly educating them at home [a groundless supposition]. I believe Mrs Orman to be genuinely concerned for the well being of her children, but incapable of providing them with the stability and nurture that they require. I would feel it necessary, therefore, should they be returned to their parents, that a child protection order be immediately reinstated […].
In many ways, I feel that all services have let these children down […]I feel that their well being has not been monitored, their education has been sporadic and their home circumstances have been well below the standard that one might reasonably expect.
G P Lancaster
[Apparently, he has had issues with a number of other parents of children in his school. I am still waiting for reports on how he deals with parents at Cranbourne Primary School.]
Please contact me if you have been a victim of Graham Lancaster in any way.