Adoption – Part 3 ©️ 


Joan Albert’s Killer.
Photograph of Simon Hall taken whilst ’at large’ and ‘wanted’ by Suffolk police for a sexually motivated murder

Simon Hall, who was 24 years old at the time of his arrest, was the adopted youngest son of George and Rosemary Hall. George and Rosemary preferred to be called Philip, or Phil for short, and Lynne.

Phil and Lynne Hall started fostering Simon Walton, and his older biological brother Shaun, on the 2nd June 1980, when Simon was three months shy of his 3rd birthday. Although Lynne Hall had indicated to Suffolk police, Simon was around 7 months old when her and her husband had started fostering him.

Simon Walton was on the ’At Risk’ register before he was born on the 14th September 1977.

Simon had had several care givers up until the point he was finally fostered by Phil and Lynne Hall, including by family members of his biological father and short spells back and forth in the local children’s care home.

The story goes that after fostering another little boy for a few months Phil and Lynne Hall were allegedly told by social services the little boy had to be returned back. After returning the little boy to the care of the authorities, Phil and Lynne Hall apparently decided to stop off on their way home for a visit at the local children’s home.

It was here where Lynne and Phil Hall apparently ‘first laid eyes’ on Shaun and Simon Walton, who Lynne Hall said were ‘sharing a cot’ at the time.

On the day her youngest adoptive son Simon Hall was arrested for Joan Albert’s murder, Lynne Hall told police;

… we went on a prospective Foster Parents Course with a view to adoption. We subsequently went on their list and subsequently we became foster parents to a young boy called X, in total we had him for around five months, he had his second birthday while he was with us. X had to go back because their (sic) were problems with his natural mother and in fact the rest of the family. I don’t recall his surname but he was from Holbeach in Lincolnshire. On the day that we returned X we went to a childrens home in Skegness where we met Shaun and Simon for the first time. I think Shaun was just over two at that time and Simon is 13 months younger. The boys were very close to each other, Shaun who had been pushed from home to home was both aggressive and protective towards Simon. Simon being the youngest was much more cuddly. We got on so well with the boys in fact there was an immediate rapport and we became their foster parents within three weeks as oppose to the normal six weeks

We were informed regarding the boys family background. Their mother was Bernadette and their father was called John, the relationship was volatile and very on off

Excerpts from Lynne Hall’s 25th July 2002 police witness statement

Simon Hall’s biological fathers name was David not ’John’, as Lynne Hall had told police.

Phil Hall told Suffolk police about the adoption;

Lynne and I adopted the two boys when they were very young. The adoption procedure took an extended amount of time due to the fact we moved from Lincolnshire to Capel, as well as the boys on-going family situation and a poor performance from the respective Social Services

Excerpt from Phil Hall’s police witness statement dated 25th July 2002

The Walton/Hall family moved down from Lincolnshire to the village of Capel St Mary in Suffolk in ‘late February 1981’.

Simon Walton-Hall apparently did not become known as Simon Hall until around the age of eight years old, when Phil and Lynne Hall finally adopted him.

Further excerpts from Lynne Hall’s police witness statement read;

Prior to Simon’s birth Shaun was taken to hospital because of ill treatment. There were abortive attempts to get the family back together but the boys were left alone in the house, after that the children were taken into care and there was an order issued against the parents. I think the family name was Walton as initially they were called Shaun and Simon Walton-Hall

In the time between Shaun and Simon going to Primary School I spent a lot of time with them both and then when Shaun went to school by himself I spent a lot of time with Simon. Although I love both boys equally I think Shaun is the harder to get to know. The boys have been through a lot of stages with each other and in their relationship with Phil and I. When they were small I never kept the adoption secret from the boys, I was open and honest and kept a photographic collage and also kept a written record. When they were too small to ask I would raise the adoption and show them the photographs, as they got older they would ask about it and they were able to look at the photos whenever they wished, gradually they stopped asking and the collage sort of faded into the background

The adoption procedure actually took five years instead of the normal two – three years, the reason was that we moved and actually the two Social Services departments in either County did not deal with the procedure very well. In fact the matter was eventually resolved by a Social Worker who worked at Hadleigh, a man in his forties called Ted. In fact the boys got on very well with Ted and called him Teddy, recently I tried to contact him as I wanted to talk to him about Simon but he had left

While the boys were at schools we had no real problems with them. There was only one time I can remember the adoption being an issue. Shaun and Simon were about 11 and 12 and there was a programme about adoption, I think it was Home and Away.

Excerpts from Lynne Hall’s police witness statement dated 25th July 2002

The real history of Simon Hall’s biological family history would not be fully known until Simon received his adoption records in 2010. Some excerpts from these records read;

Simon your family history begins before you were born. Your older sibling had suffered harm, and his, and subsequently your, names were placed on the ’At Risk’ register. As a result of this support was put into place in the form of home help, there would be ongoing support three time a day, six days a week to the family on yours and your mothers discharge from hospital after you were born

You and your birth mother were discharged from hospital on the 20th September 1977. At this time the whole family were living in a one bed roomed flat, the pressure of living in a small enclosed area soon over whelmed both Bernadette and David. David had huge feelings of anger in particular when he heard of another family being re-housed before his family. This situation made David suggest that you two children were placed in the care of the local authority as he felt there was a possibility of harm coming to either of you.

The local authority assisted Bernadette and David in securing alternative accommodations, many visits took place, seeing the family in the evenings and at weekends. The housing situation caused both parents great stress, on a separate occasion the police were called to sort out a dispute between Bernadette and the family that lived below you in the flat. The other family were saying that Bernadette could not put you out in the garden area as it was their area. The result of this was the social worker calling upon the landlord to settle the dispute.

The family were offered alternative accommodation but as a new flat had been promised in three weeks time they declined as they felt the two moves in close succession would be too much for the family.

In October 1977 Simon began to have problems with feeding, medication was prescribed, this problem seemed to continue for over a month.

Excerpt from Simon Hall’s adoption records (Obtained in 2010)

The four Walton family members moved house on the 2nd January 1978. Further excerpts from Simon Hall’s adoption records read;

Arrangements were put into place for the two children (Simon and his brother) to be cared for in the form of babysitting while the family move home. Within the new home both the children would have their own bedrooms, David decorated the house, and all was reported to be going well.

In February 1978 Simon began teething, which seemed to cause the usual distress to all babies

Child protection case conference was held on the 6th March 1978, reports felt the family were doing well, a recommendation that a twin pushchair is obtained for the family

Only a few days after the conference, a referral was made, with concerns to the older child in the family having a mark on his face. David and Bernadette believed that they knew who had made this; they believed it to be David’s mother. The family had fallen out over the weekend and the visit had ended in a threat of Mrs Walton senior saying she would report the family to social service.

David had visited his mother to see if she had reported them, she denied it, David had believed this but Bernadette had not. This had resulted in David returning to his mother (sic) house and a further argument ensued.

The social worker spoke with Mrs Walton senior, they had recently moved near to David and Bernadette. Whilst talking to her, she felt that Mrs Walton is very possessive over David, and David must be struggling with split loyalties between the two women. David and Bernadette also spoke with the social worker about how difficult it is for David now he is out of work. To fill his time he will often call around to his mothers house on these trips he will often take Shaun. When Shaun is not taken his mother quizzes him about why he has not visited with David. David and Bernadette feel under pressure having many professionals watching them, they are concerned that another referral will come in soon from a former foster carers of S. (sic)

The family went to visit Bernadette’s father over the Easter break. Bernadette reports a positive visit.

The family were feeling more positive as David was to return to work in May on the railway

During a home visit on the 2nd June 1978 Bernadette asked for both boys to be cared for whilst she went into hospital on the 7th June 1978 for some tests.

Simon and his brother were placed in Burgh Hall between 6th – 10th June 1978

Home visit made to family on the 21st June 1978, no reply.

On the 22nd June reports were received that Bernadette had left home the day previous and David had reported her missing to the police. Social workers visited the home no reply, they visited the railway, and David had not been into work. Then they spoke with Mrs Walton senior, she had not seen the family over the last day or so, but did report seeing Bernadette a few days ago, not looking well with a black eye. She said that she had felt uneasy about Bernadette’s presentation so sent one of her other children around to the home at 3.30pm. The child discovered the two children in the home alone, crying the house key was pinned to the door with a message to David’s brother and wife who had been on holiday in the area and visiting daily.

The family had put some arrangements together for the children to say (sic) with different family members, which had happened. The social workers felt that it would be better for the boys to both be placed at Burgh Hall so the whereabouts of the children could be confirmed.

David was visited at his mothers address, he was very worried about the whereabouts of Bernadette, and he reported her to be well on the Tuesday. Bernadette had rung him on the Wednesday at 11am, he then understands that she left the house in a taxi at 11.45am (neighbour had reported). David explained the black eye as, Bernadette catching her face on an iron plant pot fixed in the front porch. David said that he had thought about giving up his job to look after the boys, but he didn’t think this was the best arrangement and was in agreement of both boys to be received into care at Burgh Hall. Simon had been living with is uncle and wife at RAF Conningsby.

Simon and his brother admitted to Burgh Hall on 23rd June 1978.

Home visit was made to David on the 23rd June, as he should have visited the office first thing. David had not been out of bed long. He said he had found Bernadette in Leeds, and after a long talk she had returned to Skegness with him. They arrived back to Skegness at 2am.

Bernadette was spoken to alone, she admitted feeling depressed and her stay in hospital had ’tipped the balance’. Bernadette said that on Wednesday she felt she ’just had to get away’; she packed her case and went, hitch hiking it to Leeds.

Bernadette said that she had left the boys in the belief that Dennis and Elaine (Uncle and aunt to children) would visited, (sic) as they had every day so far, so she expected them that day. She said that the boys were safe in bed when she left. She said that she could not take them with her as she could not hitchhike with two small children. Bernadette did not see the two boys as the cause of her problems; she described them as ’good to look after’. Bernadette confirmed the black as (sic) her hitting her head on the iron plant pot; she also had a graze mark across her nose.

David and Bernadette agree that the best plan for the two boys was for them to be received into care at Burgh Hall.

Bernadette went to the GP and was prescribed tablets for her low mood. She also shared with the worker that accompanied her that her main concerns were around her relationship with David. She felt that he had an expectation of her to be like his mother, who is very house-proud and his strong feeling about what the women’s role is in a family. Bernadette stated that David is keen to provide a materially good home and save money to fall back on, but she feels it is at the expense of the present. It appears from the file that communication between David and Bernadette was very poor; she had not shared with David the reason for her stay in hospital.

Simon remains in care, contact happens see separate sheet

13th July 1978 case conference-decisions were that boys to be returned home on the condition that parent (sic) accept support from all agencies involved. Arrangements made for daily support for the family of home help from Monday 17th July 1978.

At the end of August David went into the social care office to report that he would be finishing work on the 6th September and would not need the home help support anymore as he would be at home to support Bernadette.

On the 4th September 1978 the social worker received a telephone call from Mrs Walton Senior. She reported that Bernadette had left the children again in bed on Sunday night and David had travelled down late that evening with his father to Dover in the hope of finding her at her fathers. David had taken the children with him. Bernadette had not been found so David was planning on hiring a car and travelling to Leeds with the children. Mrs Walton was concerned as David had only just returned from Dover.

A visit was made to David, Simon and his brothers (sic) were outside the house in their pushchair. David said that he was about to set off to Leeds to see if Bernadette was with her mother or brother. David confirmed that on Sunday night he had visited his mother home (sic) at about 8pm. He had only intended to stay a short time, while he was away, the boys were in bed, Bernadette left the house. He said that he set off on his moped (unsure where boys were) in search for her, he wanted to find her before she got too far. David and his father then set off in the early hours to Dover with both boys in the car. David said that he had rowed with Bernadette’s father and this had not helped the situation. David was advised that it would not be safe to transport the two boys on his own all the way to Leeds, also that the boys would need feeding/changing and needed to rest as they had had a much disrupted night. David agreed, Simon and his brother were placed with local authority foster carers, as Burgh Hall were on summer holidays, this was seen as a temporary placement

David telephoned social worker on the 5th September to say he had not found Bernadette in Leeds.

Reports state that David was admitted to hospital following an attempted suicide attempt, he had taken an overdose, and put his head in the gas oven.

Mrs Walton senior asked the social worker to call around as she wanted to share her concerns with regards to her son David, and that he would have to accept responsibility for his treatment and attitude towards Bernadette and the children and that was why Bernadette would have left. Mrs Walton said that she had received various reports about David’s treatment of both children; he had been seen strapping the children in the pushchair or highchairs without being allowed to play around

Mrs Walton also reported that months ago her brother had met up with David in town, David was threatening to hit Bernadette, and Mrs Walton believes that Bernadette was pregnant at the time. Mrs Walton said that on reflecting on the situation she felt that Bernadette had acted in the children’s best interest by leaving them because she knew they would have been taken into care away from David.

13th September 1978, David discharged himself from the care of the hospital, he returned home. Mrs Walton senior concerned that David may go looking for Bernadette again, and that she may be in danger.

18th September 1978, letters sent to Bernadette’s fathers, mothers and brothers addresses looking for Bernadette.

David goes into office to talk to social worker; he is not willing to take ant responsibility for Bernadette leaving. He informs the social worker he and his mother are going to visit Leeds in the hope of finding Bernadette.

19th September 1978, David telephoned to say that the police had contacted him advising him not to go to Leeds looking for Bernadette, David agrees to this advice. Mrs Walton was contacted, she confirmed the police visit, but said that the police officer had let it slip that Bernadette was in Dover.

The local authority contacted Dover local authority asking for support in contacting Bernadette at her father’s home Dover.

22nd September 1978, Bernadette had made contact with the probation department in Dover, she said that she was living with her father and working at the bingo hall. Arrangements made for social worker to visit Bernadette before the forthcoming case conference, agreed meeting 26th September

Social worker sets off to Dover to be informed at Boston station that Bernadette had returned to Kent*. (sic) Further investigation finds that David had travelled to Dover the evening before; there had been a lot of talking between David and Bernadette. Bernadette then agreed to return with David and they left Dover about 4 o’clock.

On Bernadette’s return there is a huge amount of falling out between David/Bernadette and his family, this continues with threats etc.

27th September 1978, Bernadette and David visit Simon and his brother, this is the first time they see their mother since 4th September

28th September 1978, case conference – recommendation, David and Bernadette to have as much contact as possible and a decision would be made in a month’s time around the boy’s future

28th Sept – 24th October 1978 – Bernadette and David have ongoing contact, although this is not always consistent with plans in place.

Review of plans – decision for Simon and his brother to return to the care of Bernadette and David’s care on the 11th December, it is felt that the home situation is satisfactory for their return.

Some ongoing concerns of Bernadette’s and David’s attitude towards care workers at Burgh Hall with regards of the children’s care.

1st December 1978 – Simon is now walking

8th December 1978 – visit to David and Bernadette to plan the boys return on the 11th December 1978. David and Bernadette are informed that this will be their last opportunity to care for the boys long-term as the boys could not be received into care every time they met a crisis.

11th December 1978 – Bernadette goes with the social worker to pick up Simon and his brother. Comments made by the lack of emotional warmth from parents towards the children on their return, David said that he would have to take them to ’visit their gran’.

22nd December 1978 – home visit made by social worker, all appears to be going well, the family are looking forward to Christmas

2nd January 1978 – home visit made by social worker, David was clearing snow in the garden. Bernadette was observed as being distant, shutting everyone out, she spent most of the time watching the television. Simon seemed well and happily playing with his toys from Christmas

The family started to disengage with professionals again, concerns re; S not attending playgroup when this had been agreed as part of the plan.

7th March 1979 – Bernadette again left Simon and his brother alone in the house; this took place in the daytime when David was expected home for lunch. Her whereabouts were unknown until 17th April when she was traced to Dover. David was in permanent employment, along with being distressed, not being able to care for the boys, they returned to the care of Burgh hall together.

29th June 1979 – Full care order of Simon and his brother gained through the court at Skegness juvenile court

October 1979 – David and Bernadette informed that contact with Simon will stop as the boys need to settle into a family situation and have the security of a stable environment

26th March 1980 – X born at home – full sibling

2nd June 1980 – Foster placement starts with Mr and Mrs Hall

Foster family along with Simon and his brother move to Capel St Mary late February 1981

July 1984 – X born – full sibling

Excerpts from Simon Hall’s adoption records

*Kent is what the social worker, who put the adoption records together for Simon Hall in 2010 used, but it looks like a mistake and should read Skegness

Lynne Hall often exaggerated about the timings of when her and her husband had initially first fostered Simon Hall and his older brother, and about when the four of them first moved to Capel St Mary. For example, within the first two sentences of her first police witness statement, Lynne Hall had stated she had lived at 8, Snowcroft for 2 years longer than she actually had.

We moved to our current address around 22 years ago. When we first moved in I had two young children. We actually moved down from Spalding in Lincolnshire as my husband moved with his job

Excerpt from Lynne Hall’s police witness statement dated 18th December 2001

Simon Hall appeared to be under the impression he was around one years old when he was first fostered by Lynne and Phil Hall. Extracts from his police interview read; (Pages 9 and 10 Record of interview)

  • Dc 1023 Thank you. What we need to speak to you about now Simon is, as I mentioned earlier, that basically an antecedence made, that means a history of your life if you like to your recollection
  • SJH OK
  • Dc 1023 Now, you were born, I understand you were born in Skegness, if I can give you a starter for that
  • SJH Yes
  • Dc 1023 And I’ll leave it to you to go ahead as best you can
  • SJH What from birth?
  • Dc 1023 If you can recall that far, that’s fine. If you can’t that’s not a problem. To your best recollection
  • SJH OK. I was born in Skegness, like you said, two parents, my real parents not the parents that I’m with now
  • Dc 1023 Sure, right
  • SJH I got taken away from them. Then I was with my now parents from about one year old or whatever
  • Dc 1023 Right
  • SJH We lived in Lincolnshire for a little while. Moved to Capel St Mary twenty-three, two, twenty-two, twenty-three years ago

On the 1st March 2003, the day after Simon Hall was found guilty of Joan Albert’s murder, the Evening Star newspaper reported the following, under the header, ‘Village relieved Capel killer is jailed

A leading Capel St Mary figure and former neighbour of Simon Hall’s family says people feel safer now Joan Albert’s killer is behind bars. Gerald White, parish council chairman, used to live next door to Hall’s mother, Lynn, in Snowcroft, Capel, and remembers the time when she adopted Simon.

Summing up the mood of the village after the verdict was reached at Norwich Crown Court on Friday, he said:

“I think people are relieved that someone has been convicted but they are obviously quite shocked at the involvement of someone who knew the family

“It is a sad day, but in a way I think people are relieved that someone has been caught for the murder

“If he was found not guilty it would still leave it wide open that someone is still around who committed the crime

But Mr White was anxious that there would be no bad feeling towards Hall’s adopted family.

“Lynn (Simon’s mother) is so well known for the charity work etc she must be absolutely shattered

“I think people in the village are feeling for the family

“We can remember when they first adopted the boys, they were only about two. They (Simon’s parents) were both thrilled to bits when the adoption came through

“It is difficult for all of us

“Not just as it was someone in the village, but someone so closely connected with the family

“I hope there will be no recrimination. People do know Lynn, she is a lovely woman and at one time was the sole collector for the RSPCA in the village. I don’t think there will be any

“Lynn obviously must be very distressed. People are feeling for Joan Albert’s family but at the same time there is also this connection with the two families. It is so sad

“There are no winners,” he added.

Evening Star article dated 1st March 2003

Gerald White, the ‘leading figure’ from Capel St Mary who once lived next door to the Hall’s, must have misremembered, similarly to Lynne Hall, about the ages of Simon Hall and his brother when they were ’first adopted’, because Simon was almost 3 and a half years old when he first moved to Capel and wasn’t adopted until a few years later.

Adopted children in the UK can face enduring mental health and behavioural problems. New research found no improvement in children’s mental health four years after they were adopted. The children’s emotional and behavioural problems increased with the number of adverse childhood experiences they had. These adverse childhood experiences include abuse, neglect and unstable living arrangements.

Researchers looked at children’s experiences before they were adopted, such as maltreatment, the number of times they moved home and how long they spent in care. They then looked at data on the children’s psychological health after adoption.

They found that adoption in itself was not linked to an improvement in mental health. The researchers recommend that adoptive parents and social workers should have as much biographical information as possible about a child’s life before and during care. 

National Institute for Health and Care Research

Link to ’Quite A Hall Tale’ ©️ Part 4 here

Advertisement

3 thoughts on “Adoption – Part 3 ©️ 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s