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Newport – The Case that Changed the Law

The meeting at the Civic Centre on 31st May was very well attended. Nearly 50 members had come to hear Monty Dart give a talk entitled ” The case that changed the law” It was the story of the O’Neill family from Newport with ten children. In 1939 the parents were in court for neglecting the family and the children were sent to Woolaston House Children’s Home on Stow Hill.  After Christmas, two of the brothers, Dennis and Terry were fostered out and sent to Bank Farm, Shropshire with a Mr and Mrs Gough. The boys were treated very badly, given little food and whipped every night! Young Dennis was made to eat out of a pigs trough and wash in an outside sink with no towel to dry himself.  One night after a severe beating, he died.

The Gough’s were charged with manslaughter in February 1945; the wife was found not guilty but sent to prison for 6 months on a lesser charge. Mr Gough was found to be guilty and received a 6 year sentence. Following on from this tragic case, the “Child’s Foster Care Act” became law in 1948.

Imagine the atmosphere when Monty then introduced us to a gentleman and his wife sitting in the front row, Terry O’Neill. Now 83 yrs old, he eventually returned to live and bring up a family in Newport. Young Dennis was brought back to Newport and buried in St Woolos Cemetery in a grave with one of his sisters. Terry O’Neill has written a book ” Some one to love us” about his life. This was a very special evening for us all!!!

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