Boy rescued from a ‘living hell’

Anthony Cleary

Anthony Cleary

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The story of the roller coaster of emotions faced by a judge and his family battling to free a boy from a decrepid Romanian orphanage has been told.

More than 20 years ago Judge Anthony Cleary and his wife Carmel were touched by the sight on TV of the poor wretches left to rot in Romanian state orphanages.

The Communist dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausecu led to people living in poverty, forcing many parents to put their babies into orphanages.

And it was only after he was overthrown in 1989 that the full horror of life in the orphanages was revealed.

Mr Cleary, aged 68, who lives near Kenilworth, reveals in his book, Nobody Comes, how he came upon his adopted son George Dominic, how he coped with the corruption of life there, the indifference of Romanian and British officials to the problem, and his battle with red tape.

He first saw his son at Orphanage No. 1, a ghastly place reeking of human waste and with the most basic facilities.

Mr Cleary said: “Dom was placed on my arm by an orderly who said ‘This is him.’ I was told he was the only one available and asked if ‘He would do.’

“From the age of 10 days to two-and-a-half, he’d been left to rot. The conditions were awful. The children were left in cots and what little bedding was there was soaked in urine and faeces. It was a vision of hell.”

And as described in the book, the boy had “painful-looking” red spots, was a deathly pallor, and seemed not to respond to visual and aural stimulation.

George Dominic was dressed in smelly, tattered clothing, was shoeless and like the others had no potty training. The book says: “The only outward sign of life, other than that his eyes remained open, was a warm trickle down my forearm as he urinated, soaking my arm and my T-shirt before I realised what was happening.”

Mr Cleary then thought back to a conversation with his GP David Rapley in Kenilworth, who advised him that it would be best if he adopted one no older than 18 months.

Without the aid of medical advice and the potential of health problems, he had to quickly think, and after being falsely told he was aged under two, and again asked “Will he do?”, and Mr Cleary said “Of course”.

Now a circuit judge at Coventry Crown Court dealing with family matters, he had to take on Romanian and British officials in the battle to adopt George Dominic with his mother’s agreement.

He said: “Without exception, all the officials I came across in Romania and the British Embassy were unhelpful to the point of obstructive.”

Despite the obstacles, and with the help of friend and trans-lator Bogdan Simionescu, the child was brought to Britain.

Then began the process of giving a child starved of human kindness the love needed for him to develop emotionally, psychologically and physically.

George Dominic was not able to speak until aged five. Now aged 26 he has seven GCSEs to his name and his studies have included music technology in Coventry and London.

He has worked in the Anchor pub-restaurant in Leek Wootton and now he’s a chauffeur in
Kenilworth and a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists.

Mr Cleary said: “He has brought us great joy. We are incredibly proud of him and he humbles us with his attitude to life.”

Money from book sales will go to a foundation for George Dominic. The paperback costs £8.99 and the ebook £6.99.