Index of major original articles on abuse

I am in the process of preparing longer bibliographies of both published and online articles relating to issues of institutionalised abuse, specifically the areas on which I have concentrated – abuse in music schools and private schools, the Paedophile Information Exchange, and abuse involving politicians. Having recently reblogged a large number of articles from the Spotlight blog, I realise my site may not be so easy to navigate, so I am providing here a list with links of all my significant original articles.


General

New Cross-Party Group of MPs calling for Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (3/6/14)

Please contact your MP to ask for their support for a national inquiry into child abuse (5/6/14)

The stock government reply to queries about a national inquiry into organised child abuse (15/6/14, also regularly updated)

Peter McKelvie’s response to Sir Tony Baldry MP (9/7/14)

British Association of Social Workers contacts its 14K members calling for them to support organised abuse inquiry (20/6/14)

Published Articles on Geoffrey Dickens, Leon Brittan, and the Dossier (2/7/14)

Dickensgate – Guest Blog Post by Brian Merritt on Inconsistencies in Leon Brittan’s Accounts (6/7/14)

House of Commons debate 26/6/14 following publication of Savile reports (26/6/14)

On the Eve of Possible Major Revelations – and a Reply to Eric Joyce (1/7/14)


Abuse in Musical Education and the Music World

Reported Cases of Abuse in Musical Education, 1990-2012, and Issues for a Public Inquiry (30/12/13) (this post is in need of some updating to mention other cases during the period in question)

The Trial of Michael and Kay Brewer and the Death of Frances Andrade, and the Aftermath, 2013 (12/8/14)

New stories and convictions of abuse in musical education, and the film of the Institute of Ideas debate (11/1/14) (also in need of updating)

Petition for an inquiry into sexual and psychological abuse at Chetham’s School of Music and other specialist institutions (original version – each version has a different long list of comments) (16/2/13)

Petition for an Inquiry into Sexual and other Abuse at Specialist Music Schools – The List of Signatories (19/2/13)

Re-opened until May 31st, 2013 – Petition for an Inquiry into Abuse in Specialist Music Education (9/5/13) (the final version)

A further call to write to MPs to support an inquiry into abuse in musical education (26/11/13)

In the Aftermath of the Brewer Sentencing – A Few Short Thoughts and Pieces of Information (27/3/13)

Michael Brewer – a powerful Director of Music, not just a provincial choirmaster or music teacher (28/3/13)

Chris Ling’s Views on Sexing Up Classical Music (11/2/13)

Robert Waddington, Former Dean of Manchester Cathedral, and Chetham’s School of Music (12/5/13)

Contact details for Greater Manchester Police relating to Chetham’s (11/4/13)

Publication of Reports into Chetham’s by ISI and MCC – Senior Management and Governors should consider their position (3/4/13)

New Surrey Safeguarding Report on suicide of Frances Andrade draws attention to dangers of music education (10/4/14)

Marcel Gazelle and the Culture of the Early Yehudi Menuhin School (7/5/13)

Craig Edward Johnson, the Yehudi Menuhin School, Adrian Stark, and wider networks? (8/4/14)

Contact Details for Surrey Police, in relation to the Yehudi Menuhin School (11/5/13)

Philip Pickett arrested on 15 charges, and interview with Clare Moreland in The Times (14/2/14)

The case of Ian Lake, and reflections on the year (30/12/13)

Clifford Hindley: Pederasty and Scholarship (3/3/14)

Abuse minimisation as an example of the writing of history as kitsch (14/7/13)

New article in Times Educational Supplement on abuse in musical education – and public debate on October 19th, Barbican Centre (3/10/13)

A message from another victim of abuse at a UK music school, calling for others to come forward (25/11/13)

Call to speak out on bullying and psychological/emotional abuse in music (9/1/14)

Alan Doggett, first conductor of Joseph and Jesus Christ Superstar, and the Paedophile Information Exchange (28/3/14) (an updated version of original post from 7/3/14)

New revelations on Alan Doggett, and Colin Ward’s 1981 article on Doggett and Tom O’Carroll (25/3/14)

Further on Alan Doggett – child prostitution and blaming victims at Colet Court School (28/3/14)

Peter Righton’s Diaries: Benjamin Britten, Peter Pears and Michael Davidson (11/5/14)

Benjamin Britten and Peter Righton – A Response from the Britten-Pears Foundation (12/9/14)

Geoff Baker on El Sistema: sexual and other abuse in an authoritarian, hierarchical, archaic music culture (15/11/14)


The Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) and associated areas

NCCL and PIE – documentary evidence 1 (25/2/14)

NCCL Documentary Evidence 2 – Sexual Offences – Evidence to the Criminal Law Revision Committee 1976 (7/4/14)

PIE – documentary evidence 2 – from Magpie 1-8 (trigger warning – contains disturbing material) (26/2/14)

PIE – documentary evidence 3 – from Magpie 9-17 (trigger warning – contains disturbing material) (26/2/14)

PIE – documentary evidence 4 – UP, ‘Childhood Rights’, and Paedophilia – some questions and answers (27/2/14)

PIE – Documentary Evidence 5 – Contact Ads (9/3/14)

PIE – Documentary Evidence 6 – Chairperson’s Report 1975/76 (16/3/14)

PIE – Documentary Evidence 7 – Steven Adrian Smith’s History of the Movement (31/3/14)

PIE – Documentary Evidence 8 – Mary Manning in Community Care and Auberon Waugh in The Spectator, 1977 (16/7/14)

The PIE Manifesto (6/3/14) (link to Spotlight blog from 18/4/13)

PIE and the Home Office: Three+ members/supporters on inside, funded, magazine printed and phone line (15/3/14)

PIE and the Gay Left in Britain – The Account by Lucy Robinson – plus various articles newly online (29/6/14)

Antony Grey and the Sexual Law Reform Society 1 (26/8/14)

Antony Grey and the Sexual Law Reform Society 2 (29/9/14)

Tim Tate – Chapter on Paedophiles from book ‘Child Pornography: An Investigation’ (4/8/14)

Mary Whitehouse and Charles Oxley on PIE – and another letter to Leon Brittan (8/7/14)

Published Articles on Geoffrey Dickens, Leon Brittan, and the Dossier (2/7/14)

Dickensgate – Guest Blog Post by Brian Merritt on Inconsistencies in Leon Brittan’s Accounts (6/7/14)

Two Obituaries of Peter Hayman, Senior Diplomat, MI6 Officer and PIE Member (6/3/14)

Clifford Hindley: Pederasty and Scholarship (3/3/14)

Peter Righton – His Activities up until the early 1980s (21/8/14)

Letter to Guardian from 1963 from a Peter Righton on Books dealing with Sex for 14-year olds (20/8/14)

Peter Righton’s Articles for Social Work Today (5/6/14)

Peter Righton and Morris Fraser’s Chapters in ‘Perspectives on Paedophilia’ (5/6/14)

Peter Righton, Antony Grey and Kevin O’Dowd in conversation on therapy (26/8/14)

Peter Righton was questioned about child sex offences in May 1993 and November 1994 (21/8/14)

The Larchgrove Assessment Centre for Boys in Glasgow that even Peter Righton found to be cruel (20/8/14)

Brian Taylor and Ken Plummer’s Chapters, and Bibliography, from ‘Perspectives on Paedophilia’ (29/6/14)

Peter Righton’s Diaries: Benjamin Britten, Peter Pears and Michael Davidson (11/5/14)

Benjamin Britten and Peter Righton – A Response from the Britten-Pears Foundation (12/9/14)

Peter Righton – Further Material (12/6/14)

Peter Righton obituary in Ardingly College magazine (16/7/14)

Dr Morris Fraser, Belfast, Long Island New York, Islington (17/10/14) (This is a link to a post on Charlotte Russell’s blog, but so important I wanted to include it here)

The Love and Attraction Conference (1977) and Book (1979) (7/7/14)

Betrayal of Youth (1986) – including the contributions of Middleton, Owens, Faust, Tatchell (5/7/14)

Academia and Paedophilia 1: The Case of Jeffrey Weeks and Indifference to Boy-Rape (29/9/14)

The Uranians #1 – the nineteenth/early twentieth century PIE? (24/5/14)


Public Schools

Alan Doggett, first conductor of Joseph and Jesus Christ Superstar, and the Paedophile Information Exchange (28/3/14) (an updated version of original post from 7/3/14)

New revelations on Alan Doggett, and Colin Ward’s 1981 article on Doggett and Tom O’Carroll (25/3/14)

Further on Alan Doggett – child prostitution and blaming victims at Colet Court School (28/3/14)

Craig Edward Johnson, the Yehudi Menuhin School, Adrian Stark, and wider networks? (8/4/14)

Extraordinarily powerful article by Alex Renton on the abusive world of British boarding schools (4/5/14)

Colet Court School and St Paul’s: A Collection of Articles from The Times (8/5/14)

Benjamin Ross’s account of Colet Court School (8/5/14)

Criminal abuse in the classroom as portrayed by D.H. Lawrence (4/5/14)


Politicians, Government and Abuse

What leading UK politicians should pledge about organised child abuse (17/10/14)

The Meeting with the Abuse Inquiry Secretariat at Millbank Tower, Friday October 31st, 2014 (1/11/14)

Labour’s nominees for inquiry chair, and a left ‘establishment’ (6/11/14)

Published Articles on Geoffrey Dickens, Leon Brittan, and the Dossiers (2/7/14)

Dickensgate – Guest Blog Post by Brian Merritt on Inconsistencies in Leon Brittan’s Accounts (6/7/14)

Peter Morrison and the cover-up in the Tory Party – fully updated (6/10/14)

Elm Guest House: Vigil, September 15th, 2014, and Links to Newspaper Reports (16/9/14)

New Cross-Party Group of MPs calling for Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (3/6/14)

Please contact your MP to ask for their support for a national inquiry into organised child abuse (5/6/14, regularly updated).

The stock government reply to queries about a national inquiry into organised child abuse (15/6/14, also regularly updated)

British Association of Social Workers contacts its 14K members calling for them to support organised abuse inquiry (20/6/14)

Peter McKelvie’s response to Sir Tony Baldry MP (9/7/14)

House of Commons debate 26/6/14 following publication of Savile reports (26/6/14)

On the Eve of Possible Major Revelations – and a Reply to Eric Joyce (1/7/14)

Fiona Woolf, Leon Brittan and William Hague – conflicts of interest (11/9/14)

Fiona Woolf – the untruth in her letter to the Home Secretary (21/10/14)

Colin Tucker, steward to Fiona Woolf, Fettesgate and the Scottish ‘Magic Circle’ Affair, and Wider Networks – Part 1 (28/10/14)

Colin Tucker, steward to Fiona Woolf, Fettesgate and the Scottish ‘Magic Circle’ Affair, and Wider Networks – Part 2 (20/11/14)

Moira Gibb – her views on physical punishment, response to Kensington and Chelsea abuse, and child deaths in Camden under her watch (25/10/14)

A few good politicians – Becky Milligan at the office of Simon Danczuk, with Matt Baker, and the personal impact of abuse campaigning (18/7/14)

Douglas Hurd on Leon Brittan at the Home Office (5/7/14)

Yes, Labour politicians need to answer questions about PIE and NCCL, but so do the Tories about Morrison, and the Lib Dems about Smith (25/2/14)

Ed Miliband should be leading the calls for a wide-ranging abuse inquiry (3/5/14)

Article from Telegraph – Simon Danczuk on child sex allegations involving senior Westminster figures (15/5/14)

A new transcription of the audio tape of the interview with the customs officer – and some comments on the recording (29/7/14) (relates to allegations against a former cabinet minister)

PIE and the Home Office: Three+ members/supporters on inside, funded, magazine printed and phone line (15/3/14)

Who are the Mystery Liberal MPs Des Wilson refers to? (27/4/14)

Abuse in Lambeth, Operation Ore, and the Blair Minister(s) – Press Reports so far (16/7/14)

Judge in 1991 Leicestershire sex abuse case on ‘people in high places’ (24/5/14)

Full set of reports from the 1991 Frank Beck Trial #1 (24/5/14) (these reports say much about the allegations against former Labour MP Greville Janner which were made in court)

Full set of reports from the 1991 Frank Beck Trial #2 (24/5/14)

Full set of reports from the 1991 Frank Beck Trial #3 (10/7/14)

Full set of reports from the 1991 Frank Beck Trial #4 (10/7/14)

Full set of reports from the 1991 Frank Beck Trial #5 (10/7/14)

Decision not to arrest Greville Janner in 1991 – then Attorney General and DPP need to answer questions (8/8/14)

The documents in the Andrew Faulds archives on Greville Janner (4/10/14)

Sir Maurice Oldfield, Sir Michael Havers, and Kincora – guest blog post from Brian Merritt (10/7/14)

William Malcolm, the murdered paedophile who may have been about to expose a VIP ring (21/7/14)


Other

Child abuse and identity politics – the normalisation of abuse on such grounds (18/7/14)

Gore Vidal – paedophile, literary lover of child rape (11/8/14)

Germaine Greer’s Apologia for Child Abuse (27/6/14)

More pro-child sexual abuse propaganda from Germaine Greer (12/11/14).

Academia and Paedophilia 1: The Case of Jeffrey Weeks and Indifference to Boy-Rape (29/9/14)

The Uranians #1 – the nineteenth/early twentieth century PIE? (24/5/14)

Simon Callow on the paedophile exploits of André Gide, Oscar Wilde, Lord Alfred Douglas and others (31/7/14)

Liz Davies’ Open Letter to Margaret Hodge (3/8/14)

Paul Foot on Kincora Boys’ Home, and Recent Kincora Articles (1/8/14)

Paul Foot on Kincora – Appendix with Colin Wallace documents, and mention of Morris Fraser (9/8/14)

Claire Prentice in 1998 on Jimmy Savile, Cyril Smith, and Mummy’s Boys (30/6/14)

Mary Whitehouse’s Favourite TV Programme – Jim’ll Fix It (7/7/14)

Elm Guest House: Vigil, September 15th, 2014, and Links to Newspaper Reports (16/9/14)

Abuse in Lambeth, Operation Ore, and the Blair Minister(s) – Press Reports so far (16/7/14)

Full set of reports from the 1991 Frank Beck Trial #1 (24/5/14)

Full set of reports from the 1991 Frank Beck Trial #2 (24/5/14)

Full set of reports from the 1991 Frank Beck Trial #3 (10/7/14)

Full set of reports from the 1991 Frank Beck Trial #4 (10/7/14)

Full set of reports from the 1991 Frank Beck Trial #5 (10/7/14)

Decision not to arrest Greville Janner in 1991 – then Attorney General and DPP need to answer questions (8/8/14)

The documents in the Andrew Faulds archives on Greville Janner (4/10/14)

Be very sceptical about online communications laws which protect the powerful – social media and the right to offend (20/10/14)


Something to read on White Ribbon Day

I am a firm believer that violence, abuse and assault (sexual or non-sexual) are never made better or worse on account of the gender, sexuality, ethnicity or any other factor of the perpetrator or victim, and for this reason refuse to lend support to White Ribbon Day, only to gender-neutral campaigns against domestic or other violence. I am very concerned to think there are parents who think it is somehow less serious if someone gives black eyes to, knocks out teeth from or breaks a rib of a son than of a daughter – or for that matter indulges in violence which does not do serious physical harm, but is intended to control and demean them, with no easy way out. I do not believe there is a difference, nor with other forms of psychological or emotional abuse.

It is not surprising when sectarian women’s organisations try to dismiss the importance of domestic violence against men, massage figures to minimise it, and so on , and in general what they say on such matters should be ignored. When it comes to men who are indifferent to or contemptuous about violence against other men (whether committed by men or women), I wonder whether one is witnessing just another rendition of macho competitiveness, happy to beat up or see beat up others in the belief this will impress the ladies; naturally I am sceptical about the motives of many such men.

But today I wanted to copy, anonymously but with permission, something posted last week by a friend on a Facebook thread, which I found moving and also very humane (quite exceptionally so) in the refusal simply to indulge in hate against his abuser. Remember that it is people like this whose experiences are being sneered at with contempt and dismissed by so many.

I was a victim of violence when you taught me. My (then) wife was half my size and I am a certified martial arts instructor, so her violent attacks were of very minor physical threat, but I believe that I have experienced for many years the psychological devastation of being severely abused by someone. The intent and attempt to do something to someone is enough to cause severe depression, lower your ability to function and lead you very close to suicide. Near the end of the relationship, I would cry for no reason for 45 minutes. I realise that I did not feel the health impact that a woman would feel physically when she’s up against a man, but I think that psychologically the only difference was that it took more time for me to reach that low point that women would reach much faster because of the physical effects they suffer. I had to protect my child in many ways from her and of course stayed on for as long as I could for the sake of my child.

[…] [Gaps represent other people’s contributions in the thread]

Thanks for the support. I haven’t been faced with this [people saying ‘it’s not the same’ or ‘surely they can defend themselves’] however, as whenever I have spoken about this matter, I have always explained that the difference between a male victim and a female victim is time. The results are the same psychologically. Also, lets face it, I am not someone you can injure even if you try. However, attacking a man who is not fit, could result in injury even if the assailant is female and furthermore, a man’s psychology is even more fragile then, because of the matters of masculinity shame that can occur as well as the matter of the law being on the side of the woman if the man fights back. It is complicated, very, but I believe that there is much awareness around the subject. And I can confirm that it is soul destroying in other ways than the inverted experience. Lets make it clear… violence, oppression and abuse have no gender… What changes with gender is the time and the means by which it occurs.

[…]

I’ve always felt females at more adept at psychological abuse than men. Many would even admit that the bullying among their own gender can be more nasty than male equivalent. Maybe knowledge of their own physical limitations is part of it, but also I feel by nature they’re simply more astute socially, better communication skills that can serve bad and twisted motivations if they have them. In circumstances of bullying a male, this amounts to knowing very well where his balls are (metaphorically speaking). I can only speak for the circles I’ve moved in, but it seems there’s a good percentage who loathe to be remotely like that, fortunately.

[…]

Dear Ian, feel free to use anything I write publicly. For me the struggle was to realise that I was being abused. Men, as you point out in your “boys suppress it” post, put up with it and they “take it like a man”. After I realised what was going on, speaking about it was the only thing I could do to get some relief. I did try to plead with her to consider the consequences of her actions, but there was no changing her. I don’t feel any shame about it, I have moved on. I wish to only state one thing that I think is important: When a man abuses a woman its nearly always physical rather than mental. This is detrimental to body and mind, for the mind suffers as a result of the physical pain and violation as well as the feeling of worthlessness caused by the actions of the assailant. When a woman abuses a man its nearly always mental rather than physical. Persistence is key in this behaviour, a sense of extortion on issues of control, psychological extortion, making the other person feel totally useless and unworthy. The effects are detrimental to the mind and the body, because the mind starts to develop reflexes that destroy proper function in society and can lead to eating disorder, bad habits and simply a state of physical withering created by the lack of motivation. If it leads someone to severe depression, the edge of murder or suicide (you never know which will come first if not both), it is an extreme case. I think it happens more often than we think, but we “take it like a man”.

[…]

I feel that all this abuse that occurs from both genders is a result of many things lost in society today… our true sense of identity and the true source of our self worth. The assailant in reality is the one who is weaker and wishes to gain strength from the victim by imposing their shortcomings to those who do not share the trait. I feel strongly that it is the assailant who needs the truest of help, not so much the victim. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that the victim needs psychological relief and healing from the attack, but the victim can in most cases return to some sort of normality. The person bringing the real problems, in need of the real psychological turn around is the assailant who doesn’t feel enough self esteem to try and earn what they want via an acceptable route and therefore they look for someone to weaken to their level and “feed” off. But, society does not tolerate them. This puts them in a vicious circle of being the ones that need the real help, but not the ones to receive it. And that’s where the victim gets trapped in the vicious circle. The victim, surely after sharing some kind of positive experience with the assailant and therefore feeling love and compassion, sees that the assailant is in pain and in fact is crying out for help and therefore tries to help them “get through it”. I believe that this is why women who are severely hurt by male assailants return. Its because we all know that there is zero tolerance or assistance for a rapist wife beater. And I know that this is a reason I stayed on with my ex wife as long as I did. Because, I believed that she just needed help. But, there was no one but me willing to help her and I was not someone who knew how to help her. And turning her in was no help. It wasn’t an issue of witnesses, I had several witnesses who had seen how she behaved. It was an issue of her being treated like a leper once the stigma would fall on her. In the long run, it is more difficult being the the abuser than being the abused. The abused, at least in our society, has options. the abuser does not.

[…]

You give me too much credit. I don’t have as much sympathy for my ex abuser as comes through perhaps in my last comment. For she took her revenge when I stopped it all, I assure you. I am simply stating something which I think is an oversight by everyone. Having been the victim, I know the answer to the questions: Why did you stay on so long? Why did you go back twice after you left? The answer is simple: The “victim” is usually the healthier individual and it is healthy to wish to stand by someone you love or have common interests with (such as a child). Its always the bully who is in pain and wishes others to share it with, not the victim. If the bully is relieved, there is no victim. I believe that bullying, abuse, rape, etc is something that can be foreseen in an individual. I, for one, have a keen eye these days for such traits in people. So, I pose a question: What if rather than demonising the abuser, certain mechanisms could be put into place to relieve the abuser from what is haunting them and leading them to the abuse? I’m not talking about precrime like in “Minority Report”, I’m talking about a movement that will give abusers a way out. Scaring the shit out of them with propaganda that demonises them only makes them more abusive: “I’m scared out of my mind so I’ll scare you out of yours to bring you to my level, so you can keep me company.” In effect, that is what abusers are thinking. And on sexual predators: “You hurt me by not wanting me, so I’ll hurt you by forcing you.” In child abuse: “I was scared as a child, so you should be too… its the way of things.” I believe that any form of abuse is the result of years of development and decay and it could be stopped at any moment, if people stop demonising “the dark side”. We quite often become what others expect us to. Someone can easily become the abuser. My ex wife was a victim of much domestic abuse while she lived with her parents. She expected me to become like that, but I grew up in an environment where violence was unthinkable, so I couldn’t. How easy though, would I become the abuser if I had grown up in an even mildly violent environment, because she expected me to be. And when I didn’t, she took on the role of violent abuser. How many times in her life could that haunting have been alleviated? But, were there options? Truly? All you hear is: “Abusers, beware. We will find you.”

[….]

There just isn’t enough understanding of how all this works…not because the data doesn’t exist, but because the victim’s rights take priority over the abuser’s. And that makes it worse for the victim as well, for the abuser is demonised for a small percentage of who they are, which makes the victim feel guilt… its such a mess…


How PIE gets a cut of public money (22.03.81)

Originally posted on spotlight:

Sunday People, 22nd March 1981

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View original


Colin Tucker, steward to Fiona Woolf, Fettesgate and the Scottish ‘Magic Circle’ Affair, and Wider Networks – Part 2

[Continued from Part 1]

The Herald, February 21st, 1996
James Mckillop, ‘Journalist receives Fettesgate apology’

SCOTTISH journalist and broadcaster Duncan Campbell has broken new ground by winning an apology from the Broadcasting Complaints Commission over a Channel 4 documentary on the so-called Fettesgate scandal.

The Scotsman newspaper will be asked to carry the apology tomorrow over its role in publishing some of the attack on the award-winning reporter.

A break-in at Lothian Police headquarters was a legitimate ground for journalistic investigation.

In doing so Mr Campbell reported the activities of criminal Derek Donaldson and as a consequence was seriously beaten up. Donaldson went to jail for the attack.

Nevertheless, Donaldson appealed to the BCC that Mr Campbell had been unfair to him and had infringed his privacy. The BCC upheld that complaint.

Campaigning journalist Campbell wrote an article in Broadcast magazine defending his role. Incensed, the BCC’s secretary, Mr Robert Hargreaves, wrote an article in reply and some of his remarks were published in the Scotsman.

The comments made by Mr Hargreaves were at the heart of a libel action that has now been settled out of court.

In an agreed statement between the parties, it is made clear that Mr Campbell was entitled to attack criticisms of him by the BCC.

In addition, the BCC will admit that Mr Hargreaves’s article in reply wrongly suggested that Mr Campbell was connected to criminals interviewed in the programme.

The apology will go on to say: “The commission also accept that it was wrong for the article to have suggested that Mr Campbell attempted to eavesdrop on Mr Donaldson’s telephone conversations.

“The article repeated critical comments about Mr Campbell’s alleged conduct towards him and his mother going beyond what could be supported by the commission’s findings in their adjudication.”

The BCC will say in its apology that the article was not intended to be an attack on Mr Campbell’s sincerity or his integrity as a campaigning journalist and that the commission regretted a contrary impression that might have been given.

Mr Campbell said last night: “The most astonishing thing is it got to this stage. It took a court case to get BCC to admit that criminal violence was wrong.”


Scotland on Sunday
, March 19th, 2000
Peter Laing, ‘Police uncover plot to smear senior officers’

TWO of Scotland’s most senior police officers – one now a chief constable – were placed under surveillance by their own men in a determined plot to destroy their careers.

A handful of rogue detectives in the Lothian and Borders force, embittered by lack of promotion and what they viewed as attacks on CID, kept their bosses under close observation in a failed bid to find evidence of wrongdoing.

Scotland on Sunday can reveal that those targeted in the conspiracy were Andrew Brown, at the time Assistant Chief Constable of Lothian and Borders and now head of Grampian police, and Tom Wood, the force’s deputy chief.

There is also evidence that former deputy chief Graham Power was on the list.

Last October a detective made serious allegations of corruption against Wood which have been under investigation for the past five months by John Hamilton, the head of Fife police. Tomorrow, Hamilton is expected to tell a meeting of Lothian and Borders Police Board that the allegations against Wood are groundless.

But the inquiry has revealed that as well as individual officers unhappy with the management of the force, some conspired together in the hope they could undermine its entire management. Wood’s flat in Edinburgh was recently broken into and searched. Force insiders say the crime, for which no one has been caught, could be related.

Last night, politicians expressed shock that serving CID officers had spied on their own chiefs and called for a full inquiry into the scandal.

The plot to topple the leadership of Scotland’s second-biggest force had its origins in the 1992 Fettesgate Affair, which enveloped Lothian and Borders in scandal for months.

The force’s headquarters at Fettes in Edinburgh were broken into and a secret report on the alleged influence of gays on the justice system was stolen. Heads rolled within CID when it emerged detectives had struck an immunity deal with the intruder for the return of the report.

Bitterness within CID over the Fettesgate fall-out was compounded with the introduction, from the mid-90s, of a policy called ‘tenure’, where officers were rotated out of jobs. Many long-serving detectives were furious at being moved out of the elite to other sections in the police.

Andrew Brown was appointed head of CID in the wake of Fettesgate and later, as assistant chief in charge of the department, was blamed for much of the impact of tenure.

Wood, at the time an assistant chief, made enemies by blocking promotions and championing liberal policies on cannabis possession and prostitution.

Those two turned out to be the main targets for the renegade officers. A force insider said: “A handful of disgruntled officers decided enough was enough and it was time to hit back.

Our information is that Brown and Wood were followed as they went about their own business.”

The insider added: “What is truly disturbing about this is, if these officers are warped enough to spend their time stalking senior police officers rather than chasing criminals, how can they be trusted to protect the public?”

Neither Brown nor Wood was aware of being under observation. The operation only came to light after the corruption allegations were made against Wood. Officers came forward to say the CID men involved in the surveillance had told them about it.

Two weeks after the break in at Wood’s flat, allegations were made that he had halted a drugs operation against boyhood friend Kenneth Erickson, who served 13 years of a life sentence for murder.

After Hamilton’s report is presented in private to the police board tomorrow, it will go to the procurator fiscal for consideration.

Michael Matheson, the SNP’s deputy justice spokesman, said: “If there is evidence members of CID put Brown and Wood under surveillance, that is a matter for urgent investigation.”

Lyndsay McIntosh, Tory deputy spokeswoman on law and order, said last night she was shocked that renegade officers had been spying on their own bosses. “They have behaved worse than jealous old women when they should be chasing criminals,” she said. Lothian and Borders police refused to comment.


Scotland on Sunday, March 19th, 2000
Jeremy Watson, ‘Field Day for Scandal and Conspiracy’

THE events that became branded as Fettesgate took place during the summer of 1992, but had their roots in rumours which swept Edinburgh legal circles three years earlier concerning a ‘magic circle’ of gay judges who were somehow showing leniency to homosexual criminals.

The rumours were given momentum by the unexpected resignation in 1989 of a leading Scottish High Court judge.

Nothing was ever proved.

A bizarre breaking and entering at the Fettes headquarters of Lothian and Borders Police in July 1992 revived the affair and put it back on to the front pages of every newspaper in the country.

An intruder crept through an open window at night and stole documents from the CID offices. Animal Liberation Front slogans daubed on the walls were a cover for the real purpose of the raid – to obtain an internal police report that examined the ‘magic circle’ within the highest echelons of the Scottish judiciary. The report had been written by a senior detective who concluded that there was evidence to support such claims – a conclusion destined to be over-ruled by more senior officers including the then Chief Constable Sir William Sutherland.

That the report had fallen into the hands of the criminal fraternity was a major source of embarrassment to the force. Frantic efforts were made to recover it – leading to the downfall of some of Lothian’s top detectives.

The prime suspect thought to be behind the raid was Derek Donaldson, 32, a convicted fraudster and occasional police informant. Two detectives eventually promised Donaldson immunity from prosecution as long as the documents were returned. But once Sir William learned of the deal, he acted swiftly to veto it. Detective Chief Superintendent William Hiddleston retired. Detective Sergeant Peter Brown was put back into uniform. Other CID officers with a connection to the case were also forced to move departments.

But the embarrassment did not end there. The internal report and its controversial initial conclusion was later leaked to the Press, causing a major public inquiry. The Crown Office appointed a highly regarded QC, William Nimmo Smith, and a regional procurator-fiscal, James Friel, to investigate.

Before the report was officially published Nimmo Smith was duped into revealing his findings to a bogus journalist. The ‘journalist’ was none other than Derek Donaldson who immediately sold his ‘scoop’ to The Sun, indicating that the report had found no evidence of a homosexual conspiracy.

In May, Donaldson was jailed for assaulting a real journalist who had continued to investigate the events. But the reverberations are still being felt within a Lothian CID old guard who saw colleagues’ careers destroyed while management remained largely unscathed.


Scotland on Sunday
, March 19th, 2000
Peter Laing, ‘Watching the Detectives’

IN OCTOBER last year, one of Scotland’s most senior policemen returned home to discover he had been the victim of something many of his officers spend much of their time investigating: a housebreaking.

The door to Tom Wood’s flat had been kicked wide open. Inside, it looked like a bomb had gone off. Locked drawers had been wrenched open and rifled, as had a box full of documents.

Those responsible had broken into the other three flats in the stair of the building in Edinburgh’s fashionable West End after bypassing an entryphone system, although the door was regularly left open.

Objects of minor value had been taken from the other flats, but Wood, the Deputy Chief Constable of Lothian and Borders Police, was relieved to discover nothing at all had been stolen from his.

Scenes of crime officers duly toiled out to Wood’s flat. Close examination yielded no fingerprints or forensic evidence but Wood’s home appeared to have been searched more thoroughly than the others.

Two weeks later, a trashed home was the least of Wood’s worries. A long -serving detective with Lothian and Borders Police went to his bosses and made several serious allegations of corruption against the Deputy Chief Constable.

The ‘whistle-blower’ claimed Wood had arranged for a drugs operation against Kenneth Erickson, an old childhood friend who was also a convicted murderer, to be dropped. He claimed the two had bought properties together, and Wood allowed drugs and stolen goods to be stored there.

The Chief Constable of Fife, John Hamilton, was drafted in to investigate the allegations. Tomorrow, after five months, he will hand his findings to Lothian and Borders Police Board and it seems certain Wood will be cleared of any wrongdoing. It remains to be seen whether Wood can continue his meteoric rise as one of the country’s most forward-thinking police officers, and realise his long-cherished ambition to become a Chief Constable.

But the investigation has found that as well as a number of individual officers with complaints about the force’s very senior men, there were also some who got together to actively plot their downfall.

Scotland on Sunday can reveal that a handful of old-school CID men within Lothian and Borders were desperate to undermine not only Wood, but former Assistant Chief Constable Andrew Brown, who has since become Chief Constable of Grampian Police. There is evidence that the force’s former Deputy Chief Constable, Graham Power was also a target.

This is a story of how determined – and possibly brutal – efforts to modernise policing methods set dyed-in-the-wool officers on a collision course with ambitious career policemen. And it raises disturbing questions about how a small clique of embittered police officers who are prepared to put their own bosses under surveillance – and maybe even arrange break-ins to collect ‘dirt’ – can be trusted to deal with the public.

THE story starts with another break-in. This time it was the summer of 1992 and the location was Lothian and Borders Police headquarters at Fettes in Edinburgh. Fettesgate, as it was to become known, led to the departure from the CID of several old-school officers: men who considered themselves part of an elite, and who had little time for the finer details of modern police procedure.

In the aftermath of Fettesgate little, if any, blame was attached to force chiefs.

Wood, at the time an Assistant Chief Constable, went on to win promotion to deputy. Andrew Brown took the job as head of the CID from Bill Hiddleston, who quit when it emerged an immunity deal had been struck between the Fettesgate intruder and police. Brown was later promoted to Assistant Chief Constable before getting the top job at Grampian.

Graham Power, at the time an ACC, moved up to deputy and is now number two at the Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland.

In such circumstances, bitterness was sure to follow. But for those in the CID who were upset by Fettesgate, much worse was to come.

It was called tenure, and while it seems an innocuous term, its impact on police officers from the mid-1990s onwards was nothing short of seismic. Tenure meant doing away with the old system in which it was normal for police officers to spend their entire careers in one area, such as the CID, traffic, or uniform patrols.

Instead, they were to be moved from department to department every few years.

No one in the force will speak openly about these matters – least of all Wood himself – until the official announcement of the outcome of the inquiry. But it has been, as police themselves might say, the talk of the steamie for months.

One officer said: “Tenure caused a huge amount of bitterness. You had guys with almost 30 years in CID who were told with just a week’s notice they were back in uniform. You have to understand that CID was an elite. Tenure was brought in partly to stop people working in one place too long and becoming corrupt. But tenure destroyed careers – some old CID hands couldn’t stand the shame.”

The source added: “It was a national policy but it was imposed particularly ruthlessly in this force. I believe our CID was destroyed. So much expertise was lost. It wasn’t just CID. At one stage traffic was so short on properly trained drivers they couldn’t send enough patrol cars out.

Graham Power was seen as the one really pushing it hard. Andrew Brown was in charge of CID and got a lot of flak too.”

As far back as 1994, Power publicly accused elements in his own force of trying to smear him. He suffered excruciating embarrassment that year when a newspaper revealed he had left a garage near Falkirk without paying for petrol worth GBP 13.50. Power explained that after putting petrol in his car he picked a GBP 3.99 bunch of flowers and paid for them with a GBP 20 note, but forgot to pay for the petrol.

He said at the time: “I believe that false information regarding this incident has been leaked to the press by a disloyal employee seeking to damage the reputation of myself and the force.”

Three years later, mischief-making turned sinister when disaffected CID men decided to place their own bosses under surveillance. They hoped that by watching both Wood and Brown they would uncover evidence of wrongdoing with which to bring them down.

The information only came to light following the allegations against Wood last year. Officers came forward to say they had been told about the surveillance operation directly by those involved.

It is believed the conspirators used police time and resources over several months to maintain the surveillance regime. A source said: “We believe Wood and Brown were regularly followed after leaving work to see where they ended up.

Those involved in the surveillance were looking for anything at all to use against them, however small. What is truly disturbing about this is if these officers are warped enough to spend their time stalking senior police officers rather than chasing criminals how can they be trusted to protect the public? It shows how obsessed they had become.”

Shortly afterwards, Brown became chief in Aberdeen and Power moved across Edinburgh to the inspectorate, leaving Wood as the sole target for CID men smarting over liberal cops, Fettesgate, tenure, and lack of promotion.

Wood, promoted to Deputy Chief Constable in August 1998, was far from conciliatory. In fact, he tightened the screw on the CID.

“Wood was not happy with CID. He thought their clear-up rate was crap,” said a source. “He demanded a lot more from them and got it. It made certain people even angrier. There was a clash of cultures too. Wood is well-known for taking a pragmatic line on things like cannabis and prostitution in saunas. Some of the old school hate him for that.”

In October last year direct allegations were made against Wood over alleged ‘links’ between Wood and Kenneth Erickson, a childhood friend who served 13 years for murder.

The officer who finally made the allegations is said to be embittered at his lack of progress within the service, and directly blames Wood for stopping a move to Special Branch. Supporters of Wood believe the individual only moved against the Deputy Chief after serving exactly 26 and a half years in the force; enough to give him 30 years’ pension rights if he was to retire on grounds of ill health.

SO WAS the break-in at Wood’s flat linked to a conspiracy? No one has been caught for the crime. A source said: “The break-in happened two weeks before the allegations were made.

Break-ins affect everyone, even Deputy Chief Constables, but was someone looking for proof of incriminating links to Erickson, or anything that could be used to hang Wood out to dry? Nothing was stolen and nothing incriminating found but the place was searched pretty thoroughly. Without more hard evidence the feeling is that it’s fifty-fifty.”

When Chief Constable Hamilton delivers his report tomorrow, it is expected he will say the allegations against Wood are groundless. The matter is unlikely to end there. Lothian and Borders Police faces the poisonous problem of a senior officer and a small number of renegade CID men being sworn enemies.

An investigation into the activities of the conspirators could follow with internal disciplinary – and even legal action – not ruled out. “Wood will have to be very careful,” said a source. “He’s smarting but can’t be seen to be out for revenge.”

Another officer said: “Let’s keep this in perspective. We’re talking about a handful of loose cannons causing harm. Some of us don’t like Wood but we respect him. This is a disciplined force not a social club and if the boss says ‘jump’ you ask ‘how high?'”


Evening Press (Edinburgh),
 March 20th, 2000
Chris Marks, ‘Police Plot Denied’

SENIOR police sources today dismissed claims of a plot against some of the highest ranking officers in the Lothian and Borders force.

And the detective who made a complaint against Deputy Chief Constable Tom Wood was described as a highly regarded and competent officer by a colleague.

The sources say Mr Wood will be cleared eventually following today’s hearing by Lothian and Borders Police Board following the complaint made in October by a serving detective sergeant -believed to be based at Gayfield Square, in the city centre.

He claimed Mr Wood had a drugs operation against a former schoolfriend dropped, had bought property with the suspect and allowed drugs and stolen goods to be stored there.

Claims have arisen over the last few days suggesting the complaint against Mr Wood was the result of a conspiracy by a group of rogue detectives to smear high-ranking police officers.

It has been alleged that a group of disgruntled officers, upset by recent reforms to the force, had set out deliberately to undermine Mr Wood and two of his former colleagues.

The “old-school” detectives allegedly placed the senior officers under surveillance hoping to uncover evidence of wrongdoing in their bosses’ private lives.

A senior source today dismissed the claims of a major conspiracy and said any discontent was limited to two or three officers who had become frustrated at a lack of promotion.

And another source said: “The DS who made the complaint against Mr Wood is held in very high regard by his colleagues and he is seen as being a very competent officer.

“I have got no reason to think these complaints were born out of malice.”

The source also dismissed suggestions that the officer had chosen to wait until he had served 26-and-a-half years in the force – enough to give him 30 years’ pension rights if he was retired on ill health – before making the allegations.

Mr Wood today refused to comment on the report or the conspiracy claims.

A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police said today: “The inquiry is a matter for the police board. However, we expect it to be wide ranging and to cover all facets of all allegations made.

“The matter is still under referral to the procurator fiscal.”

Scottish Justice Minister Jim Wallace today called for an investigation into the conspiracy claims.

“I will be asking the chief constable, Sir Roy Cameron, for a report on these allegations,” he said today.

A report by John Hamilton, the chief constable of Fife, was submitted to a meeting of the Lothian and Borders Board’s complaints sub-committee today. Following the meeting, which was held in private, board convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “The sub-committee were advised the report by the investigating officer had been placed in the hands of the procurator fiscal in Dundee.

“Until the outcome of the considerations by the fiscal is known no further comment can be made.

Submission of the report to the fiscal is part of the standard procedure in such cases.

“Mr Hamilton was present at this morning’s meeting and briefed members on his report. The sub-committee is confident Mr Hamilton has conducted a far -reaching and thorough investigation.”

The alleged conspiracy also drew in former Lothian and Borders assistant chief constable Andrew Brown, now chief constable of Grampian Police, and the force’s former deputy chief constable Graham Power, now number two at the Police Inspectorate.

Neither were available to comment today.

The plot was said to have had its roots in the “Fettesgate” affair during which a report was stolen during a break-in at the police’s headquarters at Fettes.

The report centred on rumours that a “magic circle” of gay Scottish judges were being lenient towards homosexual criminals.

The investigation followed claims that detectives had offered immunity to the suspect in exchange for the return of the stolen report.

The resulting probe into the handling of the case led to a detective superintendent being retired, another put back into uniform and several CID officers forced into other departments.

Officers were alleged to have become disgruntled with the handling of the affair and were further accused of setting out to discredit the officers seen as being behind it.


Aberdeen Press and Journal
, March 20th, 2000
Alan Young, ‘Police chief was victim of force ‘conspiracy'; CID stalked Brown to destroy career – claim’

GRAMPIAN Chief Constable Andrew Brown yesterday refused to comment on claims that he was put under surveillance by disgruntled officers while assistant chief at the Lothian and Borders force.

Mr Brown and Lothian’s deputy chief Tom Wood were the victims of a conspiracy by their own detectives, it was reported yesterday.

A handful of detectives had stalked the pair in order to uncover evidence of wrongdoing and destroy their careers, it was claimed.

The alleged plot against Mr Brown and Mr Wood was said to have its origins in the Fettesgate Affair in 1992 when the Lothian Police HQ was broken into and a secret report on the alleged influence of homosexuals on the justice system was stolen.

It led to the downfall of several officers after it was revealed detectives had agreed immunity from prosecution for the alleged intruder in exchange for the return of the document.

There was also bitterness in the ranks at a policy which saw officers rotated around jobs, with many long -serving CID officers told to go back to uniform, the report claimed.

Mr Brown became head of CID following Fettesgate.

The surveillance operation was said to have come to light after a detective made serious allegations of corruption against Mr Wood last October.

Fife Police chief John Hamilton, who has been investigating the corruption claims, is to report on his findings today.

Mr Brown would not comment yesterday on the story.

A Grampian Police spokes-man said: “It would be inappropriate for Mr Brown or the force to comment.”

Councillor Marianne Stewart, chairwoman of Grampian Joint Police Board said: “It’s not my policy to comment on things I know nothing about.”

But North-east SNP MSP Irene McGugan said: “It seems if there is any evidence that people in the CID have put Mr Brown and others under surveillance then that is something that needs to be looked into.”

Mr Brown, who is in his mid-50s, has been a policeman since 1964 and has worked in a variety of departments. The father-of -two was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in the 1997 New Year’s Honours.

He took over at Grampian in June, 1998, from Ian Oliver, who quit after a series of controversies, including the way the force handled the Scott Simpson murder inquiry.

 

Aberdeen Evening Express, March 20th, 2000
‘Cop Boss silent over conspiracy theory’

GRAMPIAN Police’s Chief Constable has refused to comment on reports he had been put under surveillance by officers at his former force.

Andrew Brown and Lothian and Borders Deputy Chief Constable Tom Wood were the victims of a conspiracy by colleagues, it was claimed yesterday.

A handful of officers had stalked the pair in an attempt to uncover evidence of wrongdoing and destroy their careers at Lothian and Borders, a report said.

The alleged plot is said to have stemmed from the Fettesgate affair in 1992 when the Lothian and Borders HQ was broken into and a secret report on the influence of homosexuals on the justice system stolen.

The affair led to the downfall of several officers after it was revealed detectives had agreed immunity from prosecution for the alleged intruder in exchange for the return of the document.

Mr Brown became the head of CID in the wake of the scandal at a time when a number of officers were told to go back into uniform.

The surveillance operation on Mr Brown and the other officer was said to have come to light after a detective made allegations of corruption against Mr Wood last October.

Fife Police chief John Hamilton, who has been investigating the claims, was due to report his findings today.

Mr Brown would not comment on the story.

 

The Scotsman, March 21st, 2000
Stephen Rafferty, ‘CID group plotted to smear boss, inquiry finds’

A POLICE chief’s four-month investigation into allegations of corruption levelled against one of Scotland’s most senior officers has found he was the victim of a vendetta by a small group of his own CID officers.

John Hamilton, the chief constable of Fife, told councillors yesterday that claims that the Lothian and Borders deputy chief constable, Tom Wood, was passing information to a convicted killer were groundless.

As revealed exclusively by The Scotsman last week, a number of disaffected detectives, frustrated by a lack of promotion and a dislike of Mr Wood’s liberal views, put him under surveillance in the hope of finding incriminating evidence to support their suspicions.

Mr Wood’s flat in Edinburgh was ransacked during a break-in just weeks before a detective sergeant made the corruption allegations and – four years earlier – another junior officer offered to supply information to a tabloid newspaper which he said would embarrass his boss.

The two detectives are believed to have been working together to discredit Mr Wood, and, at one stage, a dossier on the highly respected officer was offered to another detective, who was suspended and under investigation for another matter, with the advice that he might use the information to his advantage.

After a meeting of Lothian and Borders Police Board complaints sub-committee yesterday, the convener, Lesley Hinds, said she was satisfied there had been “a far-reaching and thorough investigation” into the claims.

Mr Hamilton’s report has been passed to the procurator-fiscal, but the board said it could not comment on the contents.

The justice minister, Jim Wallace, has called for a report from the chief constable, Sir Roy Cameron, on The Scotsman’s revelations, but force insiders say a separate investigation is unnecessary because Mr Hamilton’s report is expected to detail the background to the allegations.

A source also played down reports that a conspiracy against Mr Wood was rooted in the so-called “Fettesgate” affair of 1992, when a sensitive report into the alleged “magic circle” of gay judges was stolen from the headquarters of the Lothian and Borders force.

In the fall-out from the affair, many senior CID officers were demoted, moved or retired, while others escaped unscathed, but claims that Mr Wood was now paying the price for the debacle were said to be inaccurate.

A source said: “To link the Tom Wood situation with Fettesgate is like adding two and two and getting 500.

“It is more a case of a few loose cannons who have set out to make mischief, because they blame Wood for blocking promotions and because their old -fashioned views did not tally with his.”

The corruption allegations surrounded Mr Wood’s friendship with a convicted killer, Kenneth Erickson, who was jailed for life in 1971 for the murder of a 16-year-old youth.

It was claimed that Mr Wood was involved in buying property with Erickson and that he halted an undercover drug investigation against him.

Mr Wood, who was unavailable for comment yesterday, maintains that Erickson was a boyhood friend and the pair became re-acquainted after he was released from jail.

Lothian and Borders Police refused to comment yesterday, but Sir Roy Cameron is known to be furious that his force is again at the centre of unwanted attention.

 

Evening News (Edinburgh), March 21st, 2000
Chris Marks, ‘Wood Conspiracy Theory just a ‘Smokescreen”

THE investigation into complaints against Lothian and Borders Police deputy chief constable Tom Wood found no evidence of an alleged conspiracy to smear top-ranking officers, a senior source said today.

The officer leading the inquiry, Fife chief constable John Hamilton, was “specifically asked” about reports that there was a vendetta against Mr Wood, Lothian and Borders’ former assistant chief constable Andrew Brown and former deputy chief constable Graham Power.

But he told members of the Lothian and Borders Police board that nothing had been found to support the claims.

A source close to the police board today described the claims as “absolutely inaccurate” and said they were being used as a “smokescreen”.


Exaggerated

The source added: “John Hamilton was explicitly asked about these claims and he said there is absolutely no truth in them as far as his inquiry has found.

“There may have been one or two disgruntled officers but any talk of a conspiracy is wide of the mark. It’s just all been exaggerated.

“It’s been about diverting attention from the real issues – a smokescreen.

“These claims were looked at as part of the investigation and Mr Hamilton found there was no truth to them.”

Mr Hamilton’s report is believed to have cleared Mr Wood of complaints made against him in October by a serving Detective Sergeant.

The officer – who colleagues have described as competent and highly regarded – alleged Lothian and Borders’ second in command had halted a drugs operation against childhood friend Kenneth Erickson, who served 13 years of a life sentence for murder.

The detective also claimed Mr Wood and Mr Erickson had bought property together and the policeman had allowed drugs and stolen property to be stored there.

A five month investigation followed during which both Mr Wood and the detective who had made the complaint continued to serve with the force.

Mr Hamilton’s report was finally passed to the complaints sub-committee police board on Monday but no formal response is expected until it has been dealt with by the procurator fiscal.

Reports in the national press claimed the complaint was the culmination of a conspiracy against Mr Wood and his colleagues by “old school” CID officers disgruntled at modernising influences within the force.

On Monday, senior police sources dismissed the claims of a conspiracy.

And another officer defended the record of the DS who made the complaint saying: “He is held in very high regard by colleagues and he is seen as being a very competent officer.

“I have no reason to think these complaints were born out of malice.”

Speaking after the private meeting of the sub-committee on Monday, Police Board Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “The Sub-Committee were advised the report by the investigating officer had been placed in the hands of the Procurator Fiscal in Dundee.

“Until the outcome of the considerations by the Fiscal is known, no further comment can be made. Submission of the report to the Fiscal is part of the standard procedure in such cases.

Allegations

“Mr Hamilton was present at this morning’s meeting and briefed members on his report. The Sub-Committee is confident Mr Hamilton has conducted a far -reaching and thorough investigation”.

Neither Mr Wood, Mr Power nor Mr Brown would comment on the conspiracy claims.

A spokesperson for Lothian and Borders Police said: “Mr Hamilton’s inquiry is a matter for the police board.

“However, we expect it to be wide ranging and to cover all facets of all allegations made. The matter is still under referral to the procurator fiscal.”

The alleged conspiracy was claimed to have had its roots in the “Fettesgate” affair in 1992, during which a report into rumours that a “magic circle” of gay Scottish judges were being lenient towards homosexual criminals was stolen during a break in at the police’s headquarters at Fettes.

An investigation followed after claims detectives had offered immunity to the suspect in exchange for the return of the report. The resulting investigation into the handling of the case led to a detective superintendent being retired, another put back into uniform and several CID officers forced into other departments.

Officers were alleged to have become disgruntled with the handling of the affair and had set out to discredit the officers seen as being behind it.

 

Scotland on Sunday, March 26th, 2000
Peter Laing, ‘Detectives in Plot against Top Officers likely to escape action’

THE detectives who plotted to undermine two of Scotland’s most senior police officers seem certain to escape punishment, according to senior police sources.

Scotland on Sunday revealed last week that rogue officers placed Andrew Brown, now the chief constable of Grampian, and Tom Wood, the deputy chief at Lothian and Borders, under surveillance in an attempt to pick up information that could destroy their careers.

It has now emerged that none of the plotters is likely to face criminal charges or internal action because they can claim they were simply doing their jobs.

That is because a police officer who suspects a crime has been committed but fails to act, risks being accused of neglecting their duty.

The revelation that disgruntled detectives tried to undermine senior officers sent shock waves through the police and Scottish Executive.

Jim Wallace, the justice minister, was so concerned by Scotland on Sunday’s report he ordered his officials to make urgent inquiries.

A senior Lothian and Borders source said it now appeared the conspirators were “bullet-proof” and added: “We know who they are and they are still doing their normal jobs . It seems extremely likely that they will not face any action at all.

All they have to say is they believed Wood and Brown were up to no good and they took steps to investigate.

“We know Wood and Brown are not in any way corrupt but that does not matter – the guys involved can claim they had the suspicion.”

Another source said tensions would continue to run high within the force for months, if not years. ” It’s like having poison in the system and having no way of getting it out,” said the source.

The saga centres on Wood, who was accused by a serving detective of halting an investigation into a known criminal because he was a boyhood friend.

The claims have been investigated by Fife chief constable John Hamilton and a report passed to the procurator fiscal at Dundee. It is understood Wood will be cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.

Scotland on Sunday revealed that the allegations against Wood were the culmination of a long-running feud between a small number of CID staff and their senior officers.

The simmering row began with the Fettesgate scandal in 1992, in which the force headquarters was broken into and a secret report on the influence of gays in the judiciary stolen.

Many CID heads rolled as a result of a deal struck with the intruder in return for handing back the report.

Hamilton’s report on the case was presented in private to Lothian and Borders Police board last Monday.

Lesley Hinds, the convenor of the board, said: “No one in the force knows what is in John Hamilton’s report, so speculating about the outcome helps no one.”

Wood was not available for comment.

 

The Sunday Times, December 17th, 2000
Marcello Mega, ‘Scottish QC faces child sexual abuse allegations’

ONE of Scotland’s leading QCs, Robert Henderson, is facing allegations of child sexual abuse dating back to the 1970s.

Henderson, 63, one of the most flamboyant and skilled practitioners at the Scottish bar, is the subject of a complaint to Lothian and Borders police. The complainant, now an adult woman, claims Henderson sexually abused her and a young boy when they were children.

The procurator fiscal’s office in Edinburgh has been notified, but the crown office will decide whether to prosecute. Crown counsel takes responsibility when allegations of criminal conduct relate to a “prominent” person.

Despite some controversies in his past, Henderson is revered by many of his fellow lawyers. Two years ago, a dinner to celebrate his 35th anniversary at the bar was attended by a number of senior judges. One of them, Lord Prosser, praised Henderson as one of the foremost advocates of his day.

Although a former Tory parliamentary candidate, Henderson is also close to Lord Hardie, the former Labour lord advocate who opted for a place on the bench just a few weeks before the start of the Lockerbie bombing trial. Hardie had been due to lead the prosecution case.

When Hardie stood as a candidate in the 1994 election for dean of the faculty of advocates, Henderson helped organise his campaign. When Hardie became lord advocate in 1997, Henderson made a speech at a dinner to mark his friend’s investiture to the House of Lords.

Last year, Henderson was involved in two embarrassing incidents. He was convicted for not paying a VAT bill levied by Customs and Excise, which moved to have him sequestrated for a sum of about Pounds 1,700. He admitted the offence and was fined Pounds 3,000 at Edinburgh sheriff court.

He was also asked for an explanation by the current dean, Nigel Emslie QC, over his failure to pay a cheque through faculty services, the support company that employs advocates’ clerks and runs the advocates’ library. Henderson had paid the cheque straight into his own account, bypassing the normal deduction, of about 15%, made by faculty services.

Henderson responded by resigning from faculty services, becoming only the second of Scotland’s 400-plus advocates to forego its support. He also informed friends he was moving towards semi-retirement.

Regarded as the country’s leading defence lawyer until the early nineties, he still makes occasional appearances in the criminal and appeal courts. However, his principal work in recent months has been in the Middle East where he is understood to have been representing the interests of a Scottish firm.

Henderson became an advocate in 1963 and took silk in 1982. As well as developing a successful practice, he dabbled in Edinburgh’s property market, buying and selling houses. He was involved with two property companies, both dissolved in the 1980s.

Despite buying property in many of Edinburgh’s foremost streets, including Heriot Row, Moray Place and Mansionhouse Road, his property dealings were not as sharp as his legal brain. In 1988, the National Westminster Bank was granted a decree against him for a debt in excess of Pounds 160,000. A number of properties he owned were repossessed by finance companies. In 1985, Henderson bought his home, the Old Schoolhouse at Gullane, for Pounds 65,777 from the former Lothian Regional Council. He still lives there, but property records show he sold it in 1990 for Pounds 140,000.

He is best known for his part in the “Magic Circle” affair, which shook the legal establishment almost a decade ago. A number of criminal cases in which prominent homosexuals were acquitted led to allegations that a “gay mafia” at the heart of judiciary had conspired to pervert the course of justice.

Henderson fuelled the rumours by alluding to a list he claimed was in his possession of senior gay lawyers. The list was alleged to have belonged to a client of Henderson’s.

A report into the affair, conducted by William Nimmo Smith QC, who is now a judge, condemned Henderson for the part he played, which included breaching his client’s confidentiality. Henderson was disciplined by the dean of the day, Allan Johnston QC, who is also on the bench, and fined the record sum of Pounds 10,000, later reduced to Pounds 5,000.

Henderson is renowned for his ability to enjoy himself. He plays golf at the elite Muirfield club, also patronised by a number of judges.

 

The Scotsman, December 18th, 2000
‘Lawyer faces sex claims’

POLICE confirmed yesterday that one of Scotland’s most prominent lawyers is at the centre of a child sex claim being investigated by detectives.

A woman has alleged she was abused as a child by Robert Henderson QC. She said a young boy had also been abused.

Mr Henderson, 63, who has been married twice and has four children, has a reputation as a skilled and flamboyant defence lawyer.

Last night, a police spokesman said: “We have received information and are currently looking at it.”

Mr Henderson, who lives in Gullane, East Lothian, , was unavailable for comment.

 

The Express, December 18th, 2000
‘Leading QC faces sex abuse allegation’

ONE of Scotland’s most colourful QCs is at the centre of sexual abuse claims stretching back almost 30 years.

A woman has told police that as a girl in the 1970s she was molested by Robert Henderson.

She also claims a boy suffered abuse.

Mr Henderson, 63, of Gullane, East Lothian, could not be contacted last night.

But a police spokesman said: “We have received information which we are looking at.”

A spokesman for the Crown Office and the Procurator Fiscal’s office in Edinburgh said: “It is a police matter at this stage.”

Mr Henderson is often chosen to defend colleagues who fall on the wrong side of the law. He represented lawyer James McIntyre, who admitted unlawful possession of guns in 1997, and flamboyant QC Raymond Fraser when he admitted stealing a hat and cravat from Jenners in Edinburgh.

But his own career has not been without its low points, culminating in a court appearance last year for non-payment of VAT. He was fined GBP 3,000 at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

He was also fined the maximum GBP 10,000 by a Faculty of Advocates disciplinary tribunal in 1993 over breach of confidentiality during the so-called Magic Circle affair, which investigated claims that a clique of gay lawyers was wielding undue influence over High Court judges. The fine was later halved because of the QC’s previously unblemished character.

Henderson’s personal life has been equally colourful, featuring two failed marriages. He now lives with his third wife, Carolyn Gell, whom he married in 1995.

 

Evening News (Edinburgh), December 18th, 2000
‘Leading QC investigated over child sex abuse claims’

ONE of Scotland’s best-known defence lawyers is being investigated over claims he sexually abused two children in the 1970s.

Robert Henderson QC is understood to have been accused by one of the alleged victims, who said she and a young boy were abused during their childhood.

The procurator fiscal’s office in Edinburgh has been notified of the complaint against the 63-year-old, who lives in Gullane, East Lothian. However the Crown Office will decide whether to prosecute.

A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police said today: “We have received information which we are looking at.”

Robert Henderson was regarded as Scotland’s leading defence lawyer until the early 90s, but has since reduced his workload. He has a high reputation among colleagues despite some previous controversies.

Last year he was fined pounds 3000 for failing to make a VAT payment.

Six years ago he was taken to court by a woman in a bid to force him to pay maintenance for his “love child”.

Known as “R.E.” to his friends, he is close to Lord Hardie, the former Labour Lord Advocate.

 

Daily Mail, December 18th, 2000
‘Child abuse claim against QC’

ONE of Scotland’s top lawyers is under investigation following allegations of child sex abuse.

Lothian and Borders Police have launched the probe following claims that Robert Henderson, QC, abused two children in the Seventies.

The claims have been made by one of the alleged victims. The woman, who has not been named, alleged that she and a young boy were abused by Mr Henderson during their childhood. A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said: ‘We have received information which we are looking at.’ He would not confirm the exact nature of the allegations against Mr Henderson.

The procurator fiscal’s office in Edinburgh has been notified of the complaint. Any decision to prosecute Mr Henderson, 63, will be taken by the Crown Office.

 

Daily Record, March 15th, 2005
‘Crime Capital: Paul Ferris fixed it for the gay burglar who raided Police HQ: Fettesgate’

THE cops were in big trouble.Their HQ at Fettes had been burgled.

Worse, the thief had taken highly sensitive files and documents. How were they going to face the public?

They decided to try to tough it out. Fat chance. The burglar, Derek Donaldson, was seeking advice from someone who was no friend to the cops.

Donaldson was a conman and gay – a bad combination since his crimes got him into jail where he was confronted with would-be gay-bashers.

In Shotts Prison, he was getting a hell of a time before fellow inmate Paul Ferris, former lieutenant of Glasgow Godfather Arthur Thompson, stepped in to stop the bullies.

Now, out of the blue in 1992, Donaldson contacted Ferris. He needed advice about some files.

He told Ferris: ‘I just brought some of the stuff, Paul. I think I’m in big trouble.’

Ferris scanned the material file by file. There were intimate details about a range of judges who sat in courts in and around Edinburgh.

It seemed some of these judges were gay and had been followed by cops when they went to gay parties.

Another file, named Operation Ulysses, targeted IRA supporters in Scotland and lawyers were named as having donated funds.

There were surveillance records of known UDA supporters and photographs of them visiting Belfast and being in the company of top UDA men.

Derek Donaldson was sitting on a goldmine or his death certificate – it depended on how he played it.

‘How the hell did you get this stuff?’ Ferris asked.Donaldson explained he’d had a long-term affair with a high- ranking married cop in Edinburgh.

The cop’s wife had found out and he’d broken off with Donaldson.

In a jealous rage, the forlorn lover had decided to break into the police HQ at Fettes to teach him a lesson. But he had stumbled on to high-risk material and now he was in big trouble.

‘Copy the lot,’ said Ferris. ‘Offer it out to the top people in Edinburgh. That’s point one.

‘Point two is lose the papers. Keep them secure as a bit of insurance but have sod all in your possession.

‘Point three is go to the media.

Mention the gay judges thing but f ** k all about the IRA and UDA supporters.

That’s too sensitive.

‘One way or another, the cops are going to find you.

‘You don’t want anything nasty going down. The best way is to speak out.’

Donaldson followed Ferris’s advice. All the major players in Edinburgh have photocopies of some or all of the files.

They paid well and it was worth every penny in getting certain cops off their backs.

Many have never been to jail since.

 

The Scotsman, February 24th, 2009
Alan McEwen, ‘Fettesgate: ‘Magic Circle’ spells panic in the police’

IT started out as whispers between lawyers over boozy lunches and mutterings of discontent in police canteens.

A group of gay judges and lawyers were conspiring to ensure soft treatment for homosexual criminals, or so went the rumour that spread through Edinburgh legal circles in the late 1980s.

The talk was of a “magic circle” reaching the highest levels of the Scottish legal system and the potential blackmail of judges by “rent boys”.

The gossip grew on the back of police frustration at the outcome of a series of fraud and other cases, where officers felt that defendants who happened to be gay had been unusually leniently treated.

It would all no doubt have died a quiet death if it were not for the bizarre events which took place one Sunday night at the police headquarters at Fettes.

At around midnight on July 19, 1992, an intruder slipped in through an open window – which was apparently left unlatched by detectives who used it as a shortcut to the car park – and made his way to the offices of the Serious Crime Squad.

Daubing Animal Liberation Front slogans on the walls as a smokescreen, he spent two hours searching the offices, including that of Deputy Commander Jimmy Smith, before making off with a haul of confidential files.

Among the two holdalls full of missing documents were ones listing details of police informants, Loyalist sympathisers and Animal Liberation Front activists, but there was one particular police report which would cause huge embarrassment to the force.

It examined the alleged existence of the so-called “magic circle” within the highest echelons of the Scottish judiciary.

Written by a respected senior detective, Detective Inspector Roger Orr, it concluded there was evidence to support claims that justice was being seriously subverted by “a well-established circle of homosexuals”, including judges, sheriffs and lawyers. Significantly, the report named names.

The police dossier listed five court cases where the outcome caused concern among officers and lawyers and concluded that “homosexuality may well have been used as a means to seriously interfere with the administration of justice”.

Now there was panic at police headquarters. The possibilities – including a potential goldmine for blackmailers and the undermining of public faith in the judicial system – did not bear thinking about.

Derek Donaldson, 32, a convicted fraudster and valued police informant, was quickly identified as the prime suspect.

Frantic efforts were made to recover the documents – attempts that would lead to the downfall of some of Lothian’s top detectives. One former senior detective, who was serving on the force at the time, recalls: “This was a perfect example of a storm in a teacup. You had a very dangerous and Machiavellian informant who had been allowed to gain a position of influence and power because he was good at what he did. But he was a double-dyed manipulator.

“Then we had some very ill-advised junior detectives who had allowed themselves to be convinced that there was some sort of conspiracy. But they failed to follow the evidence.

“Whether there was any conspiracy, I can’t answer. What I can answer is that there was no evidence of it.”

Two detectives, Det Chief Supt William Hiddleston and Det Sgt Peter Brown, eventually promised Donaldson immunity from prosecution as long as the documents were returned.

Within weeks, the files had been dumped at the council tip off Dalkeith Road and police informed, but detectives naturally suspected the most sensitive documents had been copied.

The deal did not prove popular with the high command, however, who were anxious to see an arrest to act as a deterrent. When he heard of it, Chief Constable Sir William Sutherland immediately vetoed the immunity arrangement.

The force was under immense scrutiny. The internal report and its controversial initial conclusion was leaked to the Evening News, sparking a national sensation.

The Crown Office appointed a highly-regarded QC, William Nimmo Smith, and a regional procurator fiscal, James Friel, to investigate.

But the affair, dubbed “Fettesgate”, was about to take another twist.

Before the report was officially published, Nimmo Smith was duped into revealing his findings to a bogus journalist. The “journalist” was none other than Derek Donaldson, who immediately sold his “scoop” to a tabloid newspaper, indicating that the report had found no evidence of a homosexual conspiracy.

Days later, Nimmo Smith was admitted to hospital with nervous exhaustion. Donaldson was later jailed for assaulting a real journalist who had continued to investigate the events.

When Nimmo Smith’s report was finally published in January 1993, it dismissed the idea of a “magic circle” of gay lawyers.

The 101-page report concluded there was no evidence to support the idea of a conspiracy to undermine justice, but strongly criticised a number of police officers.

Some had been “prepared to give as much credence to rumour as to actual evidence and to believe in conspiracy theories whether or not supported by evidence”, it said.

Other officers, it suggested, had been motivated by homophobia.

William Hiddleston announced his retirement just hours after the chief constable had admitted a small group of detectives “may have let the side down”. Several other officers connected were moved to uniformed duties.

MP’s enquiry that sparked dramatic chain of events

FORMER long-serving Linlithgow MP Tam Dalyell played a crucial role in bringing the “magic circle” controversy into the public domain.

The stolen police report which sparked the scandal was prepared in response to a letter the MP wrote to then Lothian and Borders Chief Constable Sir William Sutherland.

Mr Dalyell had raised what he believed to be genuine public concern about a series of Crown Office decisions on cases investigated by the force.

Sir William took these concerns very seriously and, after discussions with his deputy, Hector Clark, decided to have a secret report drawn up by a senior officer.

Today, Mr Dalyell looks back on the furore as something which had positive effects on the force.

Lothian and Borders Police established formal links with a series of gay community groups for the first time in its history in the wake of the controversy.

Mr Dalyell said: “In the years following the so-called ‘Fettesgate’ scandal, Lothian and Borders Police did make an effort to learn some of the lessons from the inquiry.

“It was a very awkward situation for some of the officers involved. I know that William Sutherland took it very seriously.

“But, from that, the police did try and make things better.”

In recent years, the force has won widespread praise for its work building relations with the city’s gay community. The rainbow flag of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community was flown above the Fettes HQ last year.


The Scotsman, December 12th, 2012
Martin Hannan, ‘Obituary: Robert Ewart Henderson, QC, advocate’

Born: 29 March, 1937, in Glasgow. Died: 9 December, 2012, in France, aged 75.

The death after a short illness of Robert Henderson QC, always known to his friends as Bob, has saddened the Scottish legal profession which has lost one of the most brilliant advocates of recent decades.

Charismatic and eloquent, Henderson was so renowned for the quality of his advocacy that other lawyers would often slip into his court to observe the master at work. Whether addressing a jury or debating a legal point, Henderson’s forensic mind and compelling fluency of speech made him a court performer of the very highest calibre.

An accomplished golfer and pianist, and a bon viveur of note, Henderson’s colourful personality and occasional transgressions meant that he never attained the very highest honours of his profession, but he himself always said that he was happiest in court and that he wanted to be remembered as a fearless advocate, which he undoubtedly was.

Born to William Ewart Henderson, an accountant of Orcadian extraction, and Agnes née Ker, Henderson was educated at Larchfield School in Helensburgh and Morrison’s Academy in Crieff. His national service was in the Royal Artillery, where he reached the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.

Attending Glasgow University, he was one of a golden generation of lawyers and politicians that included Menzies Campbell, Donald Dewar, Lord Derry Irvine and John Smith. That he became president of the University Law Society in 1961-62 says much about the esteem in which he was held, even among such notable contemporaries.

In 1963, Henderson was called to the Bar and at the very outset of his career, he was involved in a piece of Scottish history that he did not seek. In later years he would often tell of his first case in the High Court in which he was junior to advocate depute Bertie Grieve, later Lord Grieve, who died in 2005. It was perhaps from that gentleman that Henderson learned the importance of the excellent manners and immaculate attire which were his trademarks. The case was that of Henry John Burnett and was held in Aberdeen. It was indeed historic, as Harry Burnett became the last man in Scotland to be hanged for murder. The jury decided that Burnett was “bad, not mad”, as Henderson put it. Despite psychiatrists stating that Burnett had a personality disorder, the Secretary of State Michael Noble refused to commute the sentence, and 21-year-old Burnett was hanged on 15 August, 1963.

Henderson would figure in many more criminal trials, and his reputation as an advocate, particularly for the defence, grew apace, especially after he took Silk in 1982.

Prior to that he had briefly served as Sheriff Substitute in Stirling, Dumbarton and Clackmannan, and as a Temporary Sheriff in 1978.

He was also standing junior counsel to the Department of Trade for many years and a member of various tribunals, and in 1974, the year of two elections, he twice stood as the Conservative candidate in the Inverness-shire seat held by Russell Johnston.

Despite that foray into Tory politics, he enjoyed long friendships with people of different political beliefs. At the time of the miners’ strike in 1984, he defended a number of the strikers, which led to a clash with Lord Wheatley – the irony being that Wheatley was the son of the Red Clydeside Labour MP John, while Henderson was a committed Conservative who manfully battled against the state’s prosecution of workers.

His court cases varied from murder trials such as his defence of James Baigrie, who killed an Edinburgh barman in 1982, to his overturning of the conviction of William Crowe in 1989. In 1984, lawyer Len Murray assembled perhaps the most powerful team of advocates ever put together for a single case, namely the trial of four Rangers and Celtic players over incidents during an Old Firm match. Needless to say, Henderson was one of the star quartet.

He also acted over the years for newspapers and the BBC, while one of his greatest successes was the defence of gay solicitor Colin Tucker, acquitted of an embezzlement charge despite admitting that he had been involved in diverting funds.

The fallout from the Tucker case thrust Henderson into the limelight of public controversy in the early 1990s. The allegations of sexual misconduct among Edinburgh’s legal establishment became known as the Magic Circle scandal.

The supposed story of powerful people allegedly engaged in a homosexual ring which conspired to pervert the course of justice was explosive and hogged the headlines for months. With his known associations with journalists, Henderson undoubtedly helped to create those headlines, and he was fined £10,000, later reduced to £5,000, by the Faculty of Advocates for breach of confidentiality.

It is often forgotten that while Henderson was criticised in the official report by William Nimmo Smith QC and Glasgow’s procurator fiscal James Friel, he was entirely cleared of serious allegations of conspiracy and blackmail, and indeed was cleared of the original allegations of criminality in property dealings dating from the 1980s. It may be concluded that Henderson was himself the victim of gossip and innuendo.

It was perhaps not very wise of Henderson to involve himself in the buying and of selling properties in and around Edinburgh, a pursuit that probably emanated from his specialisation in land and planning law. He was also a noted expert on licensing issues. Henderson’s business acumen was not on a par with his skill in court, however, as evidenced by his conviction for non-payment of VAT in 1999.

A member of the New Club and of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, Henderson liked nothing better than a convivial round of golf at Muirfield not for from his home in Gullane.

His private life was also occasionally chaotic. He was married three times: to Olga Sunter from 1958 to 1978, by whom he had a son and two daughters; to Carol Black from 1982 to 1988, by whom he had a son; and to Carolyn Gell in 1995. He is survived by Carolyn and his children.

Henderson went into semi-retirement from 2001, before surprising his family and friends with a move to Dubai in 2004 where lucrative consultancy work gave him the wherewithal to establish a home in south-west France, where he delighted in entertaining old friends and colleagues from Scotland.

He was charming and witty to the end, and his passing leaves a huge hole in many lives, for he was a loyal and generous friend to many.

MARTIN HANNAN


The Herald
, December 13th, 2012
John McCluskey, ‘Robert Henderson QC’

Born: March 29, 1937; Died: December 9, 2012.

An appreciation

Bob Henderson QC was a unique spirit in the Scottish scene. I first encountered him 50 years ago in the two rooms known as The Juridical Library, an outpost of the Advocates Library on the corner of George Street and Charlotte Square, where the Faculty of Advocates provided a quiet haven where advocates could sit all night researching the law and preparing for the next forensic encounter.

But it wasn t all work. The couple who acted as caretakers used to bring us coffee and biscuits and we would break off for irreverent gossip. And I must confess that at half past nine some of us would sneak out to Scotts bar in Rose Street to seek fresh inspiration.

Bob frequently came to the Juridical Library when he was devilling to Ian Stewart, later Lord Allanbridge. He was immediately impressive as a powerful personality with a mind of his own and no undue sense of subservience towards the establishment. So he had no hesitation in joining in the chat and the mocking of our elders and betters.

Bob was already an accomplished golfer and pianist, and he was well read. He had the qualities that would enable him to succeed as an advocate in the highest courts. He was self confident, fluent with a commanding speaking voice and a capacity that marked his career at the Bar for going straight to the heart of the matter in language that was clear, unambiguous and positive.

From my later perspective as a judge, particularly when sitting with a jury, it was a joy when Bob walked into court and announced he was appearing as counsel for the defence: the lights seemed to shine a little brighter. You knew there were going to be very few dull moments. He had a gift for recognising that a good point could be made in one clear short question. So you quickly learned to listen: he was not going to repeat and elaborate till you were sick of hearing it. Juries appreciated this was a lawyer who was not going to waste their time, a lawyer who would not treat them like dummies who needed to be given repeated glimpses of the obvious. So they listened.

And judges did the same: they knew from experience that Bob s forensic motto might have been borrowed from television s Allo, Allo!: I shall say this only once. That, and his personal charm, gave him a popularity with his colleagues and with the Bench that stood him in good stead when, as happened occasionally, he blotted his copybook. Somehow Bob’s blots were made with rainbow-coloured ink and he emerged from various scrapes perhaps a little wiser but not in the least diminished in spirit. The strengths of his character more than compensated for the faults.

It was a sad day when Bob announced his fortune was to be sought elsewhere and he went off to Dubai to seek it. He found it. On his return, well timed to avoid the depression, he bought a lovely mansion house in south-eest France with delightful grounds. There he built a first-class tennis court, an excellent swimming pool and a cellar of well-chosen wines. He also turned the older buildings into first-class accommodation for visitors.

The first purpose was to welcome and entertain his and Carolyn s friends. Bob, though living away from Edinburgh for some years, kept in touch with all the news. He loved Edinburgh and he had many happy years in Gullane and playing golf at Muirfield: he missed it all but he kept his memories alive. I remember sitting with him until the wee sma hours, hearing his trenchant views about people, politics and events that he felt so strongly about. But, caustic or dismissive, he was free of malice.

His second purpose in developing his lovely French estate was to build a resort that could be easily managed and would provide some security for the years ahead. The tragedy is that those years were cut so suddenly and dramatically short.

Our thoughts go out to Carolyn. If the loss of Bob means so much to us, we can hardly imagine how empty these coming days must be for Carolyn; this is clear: we all, with Carolyn, continue to share and treasure the warmth and the excitement that Bob radiated so generously.


The Sun
, December 14th, 2012
‘Top QC dies at 75′

A LAWYER who was once one of the top QCs in Scotland has died, aged 75.

It is understood Robert Henderson passed away on Sunday in France, where he had lived for several years, following a short illness.

In 1993 Henderson was named in a report by William Nimmo Smith investigating claims of a gay conspiracy to block justice in Scotland.

He was accused of leaking information to cops. Friend Lord McCluskey, 83, led tributes to the dad-of-four. He said: “It was joy when Bob walked into court.”


The Scotsman
, December 14th, 2012
‘Obituary: Robert Henderson QC, 75′

ONE of the country’s leading advocates has died suddenly in France at the age of 75.

Robert Henderson QC, who built a towering reputation for his work in the Capital, died on Sunday after a short illness.

The Gullane-based advocate grew up in Kirkwall to parents William Ewart Henderson and Agnes née Ker, attending Larchfield School in Helensburgh and Morrison’s Academy in Crieff.

He was admitted to Glasgow University, studying alongside a golden generation of lawyers and politicians including Menzies Campbell, Donald Dewar and Lord Derry Irvine.

Despite the list of luminaries, Bob – as he was better known – was named president of the University Law Society in 1961.

He was inadvertently caught up in a slice of Scottish history in his first case at the High Court in 1963 as junior to advocate depute Bertie Grieve, when Henry John Burnett was sentenced to become the last man in Scotland to be hanged for murder.

Bob was an honorary sheriff substitute at Stirling, Dumbarton and Clackmannan in 1968 and served as counsel to the Department of Trade between 1974 and 1977.

That experience led him in 1974 to twice stand as the Conservative candidate in the Inverness-shire seat held by Russell Johnston.

The lawyer would build his reputation as a defence advocate in a series of high-profile criminal trials after becoming a QC in 1982.

Bob was also hand-picked amongst a star team of advocates assembled by lawyer Len Murray to represent four Rangers and Celtic players charged over incidents during an Old Firm match.

Some of his most notable work came when he defended a host of miners during the 1984 strike.

Bob also represented the BBC and a string of newspapers. His defence of gay solicitor Colin Tucker, who was acquitted of an embezzlement charge despite admitting to diverting funds, was one of his greatest professional successes.

A keen golfer, Bob was a member of the New Club and of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, often playing at Muirfield.

He entered semi-retirement in 2001 before moving to Dubai three years later. His consultancy work overseas allowed him to buy a home in south-west France.

Close friend and Judge Lord McCluskey said it was a tragedy that Bob’s life had been cut short. He added: “He loved Edinburgh and he had many happy years in Gullane and playing golf at Muirfield.

“I remember sitting until the wee small hours hearing his trenchant views about people, politics and events he felt so strongly about. But, caustic or dismissive, he was free of malice.”

Bob is survived by his third wife, Carolyn Gell – whom he married in 1995 – and four children.


The Herald
, May 17th, 2013
Brian Home, ‘Solicitor is jailed after trying to take drugs into prison’

A SOLICITOR whose 30-year legal career lay in tatters after he was caught trying to smuggle mobile phones and drugs into Edinburgh’s Saughton Prison was jailed for four years yesterday.

The final act of David Blair Wilson’s shame was played out at the High Court in Edinburgh when judge Lord Jones told him he had abused his position as a lawyer.

In an earlier trial CCTV footage showed plain clothes police blocking any attempt by Blair Wilson to drive away, then leading him away in handcuffs.

A search of his car uncovered the phones, diazepam tablets which may have been worth £2800 at inflated prison prices, cannabis resin with a prison value of £4000 and other contraband items.

Judge Lord Jones said: “The misuse of drugs in prison is a well-recognised problem to which you were intent on contributing.

“You knew that, as a solicitor visiting a client in prison, you were in a privileged position. You cynically abused the privilege you had been given and abused the trust placed in you.”

The smuggling attempt was a well-planned operation, the judge added. Blair Wilson, 55, of Dunfermline, insisted he did not know the suspect packages were there and blamed another man for any wrong-doing.

The lawyer enjoyed a brief notoriety more than 20 years ago when he helped clear a friend and fellow solicitor accused of embezzling more than £50,000 of clients’ money from his firm.

The trial of Colin Tucker sparked a break-in at the Fettes HQ of Lothian and Borders Police, a probe by a top QC.

Yesterday, defence advocate Susan Duff, asking for leniency, paid tribute to Blair Wilson as a solicitor.

She said: “He has had a long and successful career in the law, a career built on hard work and a deeply committed attitude of care for his clients. Blair Wilson was a man for whom nothing was too much trouble.”

Now, she said, he knew he would never work again in that profession.

On the day he was caught the solicitor had arranged to visit – in his professional capacity – Lee Brown, 35, who told the trial he was serving 18-and-a-half years.

CCTV footage showed Blair Wilson arriving at the Saughton jail carrying a bulging folder.

Prison officer Graham Robertson, 25, described how he checked Blair Wilson’s ID and his colleague told the solicitor his folder had to be scanned.

“He became quite anxious looking, began to sort of fidget. His body language changed slightly,” said the prison officer.Blair Wilson returned to his Vauxhall Signum then came back into the prison vestibule. This time his file was thinner.

In the witness box, Blair Wilson said the suspect packages were nothing to do with him.

He said Steven Douglas – a youth he had befriended who regarded him as a surrogate father – must have put them under the driver’s seat when he borrowed the car the day before. There were 19 fingerprints on the packages that matched those of Mr Douglas. Not one matched Blair Wilson’s prints.

Mr Douglas should have appeared as a witness – but, when asked where he was, Blair Wilson replied: “I wish I knew.”

A jury’s majority verdict convicted Blair Wilson of attempting to smuggle three mobile phones, three SIM cards along with two chargers and two earphones into the jail.

He was also found guilty, by majority, of being concerned in the supply of cannabis resin, diazepam and body-building drugs – in particular to Lee Brown.During the trial, charges of breaching the Prisons (Scotland) Act by introducing drugs into the jail were dropped.

Lord Jones said he was taking into account Blair Wilson was a first offender who also suffered from serious health problems.

“While I take these matters into consideration, it has to be recognised that you chose to commit these offences and did this with your eyes open, knowing what the risks were and the consequences if you were caught.”

Blair Wilson also faces automatic prosecution before the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal.

Philip Yelland, director of Regulation at the Law Society of Scotland, said: “Solicitors are expected to maintain the highest standards both in their professional and personal lives.

“They are bound by rules including rules about their conduct, and serious criminal convictions are a breach of these rules.”

The Scotsman, July 13th, 2014
‘Sir Nicholas Fairbairn in child abuse scandal link’

SIR Nicholas Fairbairn, the controversial former Solicitor General for Scotland, has been linked to the child abuse scandal which is threatening to engulf Westminster.

Evidence has emerged which suggests Fairbairn, who died in 1995 aged 61, may have visited a brothel now at the heart of police and parliamentary investigations.

A list of names seized by officers indicates the former legal adviser to Margaret Thatcher may have abused boys at a notorious London guesthouse, where youngsters from children’s homes were reportedly sexually assaulted by high-profile visitors.

The documents have been seen by child protection officers and are now being used by police as evidence as part of Operation Fernbridge.

The apparent link has prompted calls for the long-serving Conservative MP to be posthumously investigated.

Fairbairn – who boasted about his “insatiable” sexual appetite – had a career which took him to the top of both the political and legal establishments but gained notoriety as a womaniser and heavy drinker.

Lists of visitors to the Elm Guest House – which hosted parties in the 1980s where vulnerable boys were sexually assaulted after being plied with alcohol – are now in the hands of police officers.

The hand-written documents, which have been seen by Scotland on Sunday, state that a number of politicians including “N Fairburn” and “C Smith” – who asked to be called “Tubby” – visited the property on 7 June 1982.

They also state that “Fairburn” had “used boys in sauna” and that photographs had been taken of him – as well as Cyril Smith – at the guest house. Police have confirmed that Smith, the late Liberal MP for Rochdale, who has since been exposed as a serial abuser of boys, was a regular visitor to the brothel. Despite the spelling discrepancy over Fairburn/Fairbairn, there have now been calls for a full investigation which would establish whether or not Fairbairn was involved.

Pete Wishart, the SNP MP, who represents Fairbairn’s former constituency of Perth, called for the allegations to be fully examined. He said: “If there is any evidence that Sir Nicholas Fairbairn was involved in the abuse of children it should be looked at and properly investigated.”

Simon Danczuk, the Rochdale MP who exposed Smith as a child abuser, said the documents must be investigated.

A spokesman for the Labour politician said: “The Metropolitan Police have confirmed Cyril Smith was at Elm Guest House and it is now important to investigate and establish exactly who else was there.”

In 2000 the daughter of a prominent Scottish lawyer, who was never publicly named, alleged Fairbairn was part of a paedophile ring. At the time the claims were angrily rejected by his family. Last night Sir Nicholas’ eldest daughter Charlotte told Scotland on Sunday: “There’s nothing I can say. He’s been dead for 20 years.”


Daily Record and Sunday Mail
, July 14th, 2014
Dan Warburton, ‘THE ACCUSED; SEX ALLEGATIONS CALLS FOR CRIMINAL PROBES AS MORE ATTACK CLAIMS EMERGE SEX ALLEGATIONS CALLS FOR CRIMINAL PROBES AS MORE ATTACK CLAIMS EMERGE ; Thatcher’s top two Scots Tories in 80s at centre of Westminster child abuse claims Whistleblower claims Dr Smith arranged young boys for senior cabinet ministers Fairbairn linked to brothel where kids from homes were abused by high-profile visitors’

THE two top Scots Tories from Margaret Thatcher’s Government were last night linked to an alleged child abuse ring.

Former Kinross and Western Perthshire MP Sir Nicholas Fairbairn and former party Scottish chairman Dr Alistair Smith were named as suspects in the historic abuse of underage boys.

Last night, Labour justice spokesman Graeme Pearson said a public inquiry “cannot afford to leave any stone unturned and it must have the confidence of the victims”.

Senior officials in Thatcher’s Government were alleged to have attended private sex parties with underage boys and visited a notorious guesthouse.

A special police unit from 13 forces are thought to have drawn-up a “superlist” of celebrities and elected officials under investigation.

Pearson added: “The Scottish Goverment cannot stand back from this. We know victims have been calling for action here in Scotland and so far we are the only part of the UK not holding any investigations.

“With Scottish names now emerging as part of the UK investigation, we cannot “With Scottish names now emerging as part of the UK investigation, we cannot afford to be left behind.”

FAIRBAIRN – the former Solicitor General for Scotland who died in 1995, aged 61 – may have visited a brothel at the heart of police Evidence suggests Fairbairn – the former Solicitor General for Scotland who died in 1995, aged 61 – may have visited a brothel at the heart of police and parliamentary probes.

It’s understood Thatcher’s legal advisor visited the notorious Elms Guest House, where youngsters from children’s homes were allegedly abused by high-It’s understood Thatcher’s legal advisor visited the notorious Elms Guest House, where youngsters from children’s homes were allegedly abused by highprofile visitors in the 80s.

Documents seized by officers are now being used as evidence in Operation Fernbridge, a criminal probe into parties held at the site in Documents seized by officers are now being used as evidence in Operation Fernbridge, a criminal probe into parties held at the site in Rocks Lane, south-west London.

Rocks Lane, south-west London.

In 2000, Fairbairn’s family were forced to reject allegations that the flamboyant advocate was part of a paedophile ring of top Scots lawyers.

Yesterday, Fairbairn’s eldest daughter Charlotte is reported to have said: “There’s nothing I can say. He’s been dead for 20 years.”

Meanwhile, whistleblower Anthony Gilberthorpe – a former Conservative activist – claimed Dr Smith, who died in July 2012, had arranged for rent boys to have sex with Cabinet members.

Anthony, 52, said he was used to procure boys as young as 15, who indulged in alcohol and cocaine before having sex with politicians at party conferences in Black-Black pool and Brighton in the 80s.

He said: “Dr Smith, who I looked up to at the time and was the most important Tory in Scotland, told me to go and fetch some ‘entertainment’, which was ‘entertainment’, which was code for young boys.

“It was the norm and an open secret that these older members of the Tory Party, like Dr Alistair Smith, paid for young men to join them at sex parties.

“It was the first time I was asked to fetch them but it was hardly surprising as I was becoming one of their trusted people. I was expected to find the youngest and prettiest young boys. It was what those men wanted.

“In fact, it was all they wanted. So myself and another Tory candidate sat on some benches underneath an archway in the Pavilion area of Blackpool and waited.”

David Mellor, who was a Home Office minister between 1983 and 1987, dismissed Anthony’s allegations as “tittle-tattle”.

He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show: “I think this is now open season because of a pretty dodgy dossier presented to Leon Brittan by a Tory backbencher, which had very little substance in my view.”

Officers investigating historic child abuse from 13 constabularies held a meeting in Merseyside last month. It’s understood each brought a secret list of elected officials and celebrities currently under investigation for alleged child sex abuse. A “superlist” of 21 of the best-known suspects was drawn-up, with half of those listed yet to enter the public domain.

A Scottish Conservative spokesman said: “Police should investigate all allegations of this nature and the perpetrators should be brought to justice.”

When the Daily Record made attempts to contact Dr Smith’s family there was no response.

David Cameron faced further problems yesterday after he was accused by one of his own MPs of turning a blind eye to possible abuse by Government whips.

Mark Reckless, a member of the Commons home affairs select committee, said the PM should order all former chief whips to reveal what they knew about child sex offence allegations. In a letter to Cameron, he called for a full public enquiry.

GRAPHIC: TRUST Thatcher made Fairburn and Smith senior officials

THE two top Scots Tories from Margaret Thatcher’s ­Government were last night linked to an alleged child abuse ring.

Former Kinross and Western ­Perthshire MP Sir Nicholas Fairbairn and former party Scottish chairman Dr Alistair Smith were named as suspects in the historic abuse of underage boys.

Last night, Labour justice spokesman Graeme Pearson said a public inquiry “cannot afford to leave any stone unturned and it must have the confidence of the victims”.

Senior officials in Thatcher’s Government were alleged to have attended private sex parties with underage boys and visited a notorious guesthouse.

A special police unit from 13 forces are thought to have drawn-up a “superlist” of celebrities and elected officials under investigation.

Pearson added: “The Scottish Goverment cannot stand back from this. We know victims have been calling for action here in ­Scotland and so far we are the only part of the UK not holding any ­investigations.

“With Scottish names now emerging as part of the UK investigation, we cannot afford to be left behind.”

Evidence suggests ­Fairbairn – the former Solicitor General for Scotland who died in 1995, aged 61 – may have visited a brothel at the heart of police and parliamentary probes.

It’s understood Thatcher’s legal advisor visited the ­notorious Elms Guest House, where youngsters from ­children’s homes were ­allegedly abused by high-profile visitors in the 80s.

Documents seized by officers are now being used as evidence in Operation ­Fernbridge, a criminal probe into parties held at the site in Rocks Lane, south-west London.

In 2000, Fairbairn’s family were forced to reject allegations that the flamboyant advocate was part of a paedophile ring of top Scots lawyers.

Yesterday, Fairbairn’s eldest daughter Charlotte is reported to have said: “There’s nothing I can say. He’s been dead for 20 years.”

Meanwhile, whistleblower Anthony Gilberthorpe- a former Conservative activist – claimed Dr Smith, who died in July 2012, had arranged for rent boys to have sex with Cabinet members.

Anthony, 52, said he was used to procure boys as young as 15, who indulged in alcohol and cocaine before having sex with politicians at party ­conferences in Blackpool and Brighton in the 80s.

He said: “Dr Smith, who I looked up to at the time and was the most ­important Tory in Scotland, told me to go and fetch some ‘­entertainment’, which was code for young boys.

“It was the norm and an open secret that these older members of the Tory Party, like Dr Alistair Smith, paid for young men to join them at sex parties.

“It was the first time I was asked to fetch them but it was hardly surprising as I was becoming one of their trusted people. I was expected to find the youngest and prettiest young boys. It was what those men wanted.

“In fact, it was all they wanted. So myself and another Tory ­candidate sat on some benches underneath an archway in the Pavilion area of ­Blackpool and waited.”

David Mellor, who was a Home Office minister between 1983 and 1987, dismissed Anthony’s ­allegations as “tittle-tattle”.

He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show: “I think this is now open season because of a pretty dodgy dossier presented to Leon Brittan by a Tory backbencher, which had very little substance in my view.”

Officers investigating historic child abuse from 13 ­constabularies held a meeting in Merseyside last month. It’s understood each brought a secret list of elected officials and celebrities currently under investigation for alleged child sex abuse.

A “superlist” of 21 of the best-known suspects was drawn-up, with half of those listed yet to enter the public domain.

A Scottish Conservative spokesman said: “Police should investigate all allegations of this nature and the perpetrators should be brought to justice.”

When the Daily Record made attempts to contact Dr Smith’s family there was no response.

David Cameron faced further ­problems yesterday after he was accused by one of his own MPs of turning a blind eye to possible abuse by Government whips.

Mark Reckless, a member of the Commons home affairs select committee, said the PM should order all former chief whips to reveal what they knew about child sex offence allegations. In a letter to Cameron, he called for a full public enquiry.

He added: “Given the mass ­shredding of documents by the whips office from 1996, will you write to all Conservative Chief Whips who have held office since 1960 or their heirs where deceased and ask them to provide all documents which remain in their possession from their time in office to the Child Abuse Inquiry?”

Reckless also called on him to look into whether former Attorney General Michael Havers – whose sister Lady Bulter-Sloss is heading the inquiry into child sex abuse claims – was behind the decision to destroy papers.


Mail on Sunday
, July 20th, 2014
Marc Horne, ‘Esther Rantzen: My shock over my MP lover’s links to Elm House paedophile ring’

  • Esther Rantzen had affair with politician Sir Nicholas Fairbairn in the 1960s
  • Suggestions he may have visited guest house where children were allegedly assaulted by high-profile visitors
  • Ms Rantzen speaks of her revulsion over his links to child abuse scandal
  • She distances herself from the late Conservative MP who died at 61 in 1995

Esther Rantzen has spoken of her revulsion after learning that a former lover has been linked to the child abuse scandal threatening to engulf Westminster.

The broadcaster and Childline founder had an affair with politician Sir Nicholas Fairbairn after they met at a BBC studio in 1966.

But Ms Rantzen has now distanced herself from the late Conservative MP and Solicitor General for Scotland – who died in 1995, aged 61.

Evidence has come to light suggesting he may have visited a London guest house where children from care homes were allegedly assaulted by high-profile visitors.

Miss Rantzen, 74, played a leading role in uncovering child abuse during the 1980s.

She said: ‘I am horrified and disgusted by these allegations because Nicky was a friend of mine.

‘I had a very brief relationship with him. I always assumed that he was attracted to adult women rather than children.

‘I had absolutely no knowledge of that side of him. However, over the years I have learned that you really never know anyone.’

The former That’s Life presenter was 26 when she embarked on an affair with the married MP after he appeared as a guest on a BBC show where she was a researcher.

She said: ‘When I knew Nicky he was courteous, charming and very fond of women.

‘He was a high-profile lawyer, who lived in a castle and had a very flamboyant private life.’

‘He took me to lunch at the Ritz. He gave me a long-stemmed red rose and ordered Beluga caviar and Krug champagne.

‘If ever there was an aphrodisiac meal that was it. Nicky took to me to some Lord’s house where he was staying and the rest was inevitable.’

The presenter, who founded the world’s first child abuse hotline, Childline, in 1986, was appalled by the emergence of evidence which suggests that a powerful network of paedophiles may once have stalked the corridors of power.

She said: ‘It is really important that the people who have suffered now recognise that they do have a right to justice. It is not about the culture of the time.

‘Child abuse has always been a crime and, in my experience, there was never a time when it was tolerated. What happened with Cyril Smith was horrific. The whole thing was hushed up and police were taken off cases and prevented from going public with what they knew.

‘It was straightforward, old-fashioned conspiracy.’

Lists of VIP visitors to the Elm Guest House – which hosted parties in the 1980s where vulnerable boys were sexually assaulted after being plied with alcohol – are now being used by police as evidence in their Operation Fernbridge inquiry.

The documents, seen by the Mail on Sunday, state that politicians including ‘N Fairburn’ and ‘C Smith’ visited the property on June 7, 1982. They also state that ‘Fairburn’ had ‘used boys in sauna’ and that photos had been taken of him – as well as Cyril Smith – at the guest house.

Police have confirmed that Smith, the late Liberal MP for Rochdale, who has since been exposed as a serial abuser, was a regular visitor to the address.

Despite the spelling discrepancy there have now been calls for a full investigation which would establish whether Fairbairn was involved.

Sir Nicholas, who carried a brace of pistols on his hip and designed his own flamboyant tartan attire, was forced to resign as Solicitor General in 1982 over a decision not to prosecute in a rape case.

RESIGNATION HURTS, SAYS BARONESS BUTLER-SLOSS

By Martin Delgado

Baroness Butler-Sloss, chosen to chair the inquiry into historic child abuse, has spoken of her ‘hurt’ at having to resign before she could even take up the role.

The resignation last week came after claims the retired judge’s late brother, Sir Michael Havers, who was Attorney-General and later Lord Chancellor, was involved in a cover-up.

‘I didn’t want to resign but I had to.

‘The victims didn’t have faith in me,’ she said. ‘Now all  I feel is hurt and sadness.

‘I discussed it with loved ones before making my decision, but nobody influenced or pushed me. It’s a pity.

‘Yes, it hurt me.’

The peer was speaking at London’s Piccadilly Theatre at the Jack Petchey Foundation’s Speak Out Challenge.

Peter Saunders, of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, said: ‘She seems to be drawing attention to her own self-pity. Many victims of abuse will find her remarks insensitive.’

The previous year a House of Commons secretary had tried to hang herself from a lamp-post outside his London flat after they had an affair.

In Who’s Who Sir Nicholas described his pastimes as: ‘Making love, ends meet and people laugh.’

In 2000 the daughter of a prominent Scottish lawyer, who was never  publicly named, alleged Sir Nicholas had been part of a paedophile ring. At the time the claims were angrily rejected by his family.

Sir Nicholas’ eldest daughter Charlotte declined to comment on the latest allegations, stating: ‘There’s nothing I can say. He’s been dead for 20 years.’


The Express
, July 21st, 2014
Greg Christison, ‘Esther’s horror at Fairbairn child sex allegations’

ESTHER Rantzen has said she is “horrified and disgusted” after her former lover Sir Nicholas Fairbairn was linked to the child abuse scandal at Westminster.

The allegations have been denied by Nicholas Fairbairn’s family[NC]

The broadcaster, who founded the Childline telephone service for children suffering abuse, had an affair with the late Conservative MP and Solicitor General for Scotland after they met at a BBC studio in 1966.

It has been claimed that Sir Nicholas, who died in 1995 aged 61, visited a London guest house where children from care homes were allegedly assaulted by high-profile visitors.

Ms Rantzen said: “I am horrified and disgusted by these allegations, because Nicky was a friend of mine.

“I had a very brief relationship with him. I always assumed that he was attracted to adult women rather than children.

“I had absolutely no knowledge of that side of him. However, over the years I have learned that you really never know anyone.”

The 74-year-old, who has played a leading role in uncovering child abuse, was 26 when she embarked on an affair with the married politician.

They met after he appeared as a guest on a BBC show where she was working as a researcher.

“When I knew Nicky he was courteous, charming and very fond of women,” she continued.

“He was a high-profile lawyer, who lived in a castle and had a very flamboyant private life.

“He took me to lunch at the Ritz. He gave me a long-stemmed red rose and ordered Beluga caviar and Krug champagne.

“If ever there was an aphrodisiac meal, that was it. Nicky took me to some Lord’s house where he was staying and the rest was inevitable.”

Esther Rantzen has been shocked upon of the alleged child abuse [REX]

It is understood evidence suggests Sir Nicholas was one of several politicians who visited Elm Guest House, which hosted parties in the 1980s where vulnerable boys were sexually assaulted after being plied with alcohol.

A VIP list of visitors suggests Sir Nicholas “used boys in the sauna” and that photos existed of him at the guest house.

Police are investigating the list, which also contains the name of the late Liberal MP Cyril Smith, as part of their Operation Fernbridge inquiry.

Sir Nicholas was forced to resign as Solicitor General in 1982 over a decision not to prosecute in a rape case. A year beforehand, a House of Commons secretary tried to hang herself from a lamppost outside his London flat after they had an affair.

In 2000, the daughter of a prominent Scottish lawyer, who was never publicly named, alleged Sir Nicholas had been part of a paedophile ring.

The claims were denied by his family.

Sir Nicholas’ eldest daughter, Charlotte, declined to comment on the latest allegations, stating: “There’s nothing I can say. He’s been dead for 20 years.”


Daily Mail
, August 14th, 2014
Emma Cowing and Graham Grant, ‘I was raped aged 4 by top aide to Thatcher: Woman claims she was abused by senior Conservative MP who visited notorious guest house with paedophile Cyril Smith’

  • Susie Henderson, 48, says she was raped by Sir Nicholas Fairbairn
  • Tory politician was solicitor general for Scotland, and Perth and Ross MP
  • MP died in 1995, aged 61, and was a favourite of Margaret Thatcher
  • Miss Henderson says she was abused by late father, a prominent QC
  • New evidence suggests Fairbairn visited Elm Guest House
  • Property is the focus of investigation into alleged paedophile ring in 1980s

A woman last night claimed she was raped at the age of four by a senior Tory MP who was one of Margaret Thatcher’s closest allies.

Susie Henderson waived her right to anonymity to describe the appalling abuse she alleges was inflicted on her by Sir Nicholas Fairbairn.

The late Conservative politician, who was appointed solicitor general for Scotland by Mrs Thatcher when she became prime minister, has been linked to the child abuse scandal threatening to engulf Westminster.

Last month evidence came to light which suggests Sir Nicholas may have visited the Elm Guest House which serial abuser Cyril Smith attended. The property in Barnes, south-west London, is the focus of a Scotland Yard investigation into an alleged Establishment paedophile ring in the 1980s.

The evidence emerged weeks after Home Secretary Theresa May announced a Hillsborough-style inquiry into claims of paedophile activities in Parliament and other public institutions.

Now, Miss Henderson, 48, has told the Mail that she was raped as a young child by Sir Nicholas – and that she also suffered years of sexual assaults by her late father, prominent Scottish QC Robert Henderson, who was a friend of the MP.

She said of Sir Nicholas: ‘I hated that man,’ adding: ‘More than I hated my father. He just really wasn’t a nice man.

‘I want it acknowledged that my father and Fairbairn did something very evil. Not just to me. There are other children out there.’ Miss Henderson first made her allegations against Sir Nicholas – famous for his outspoken views, frock-coat suits and tartan trousers – and her father under the alias of ‘Julie X’ in 2000 but an initial police investigation did not lead to any charges.

Sir Nicholas, flamboyant MP for Perth and Kinross, died in 1995, aged 61. Twice-married, he once described his pastimes as: ‘Making love, ends meet and  people laugh.’

The MP from 1974 to 1995 was a favourite of Mrs Thatcher because of his right-wing views and his noisily expressed adoration of her. He once claimed to enjoy a ‘special chemistry’ with the former Prime Minister and wrote in The Spectator magazine about her: ‘Sexually attractive, no, but certainly bonny.’ Miss Henderson, whose father died in 2012 aged 75, claims Sir Nicholas first abused her at one of her father’s parties at his Edinburgh home. She said: ‘We were in the kitchen. I was maybe four years old, I could have been younger.

‘I had a skirt on and Nicholas and my dad had been drinking, and my dad told me to sit on Nicholas’s knee. I sat on his knee and he put his hand up my skirt and abused me. My dad just stood there laughing.’

Recalling another incident, Miss Henderson, who lives near Inverness, claimed Sir Nicholas raped her when she was in bed with him and ‘another guy’ in a guest room on the top floor of her five-storey family home.

She says she was just four or five years old at the time, and remembers the pungent smell of his feet. Sobbing, she said she was not sure how many times Sir Nicholas abused her but says it was ‘a lot,’ adding: ‘Even once is too much.’ Last night Sir Nicholas’s daughter Charlotte, 50, told the Mail that while she ‘did not know’ whether her father had carried out the alleged abuse, she very much doubted it. She said: ‘I don’t really want to know anything about it, I would be very surprised by that [the claims made against her father], but he is dead. He’s not here to defend himself.

‘It would sound hollow if I said, “He’s innocent.” I don’t know, though I completely and utterly doubt it [that he was an abuser.] It’s all such a long time ago. I hope it’s not true.’

Lists of VIP visitors to the Elm Guest House – which hosted parties in the 1980s where it is alleged vulnerable boys were sexually assaulted – are now being used by police as evidence in their inquiry, Operation Fernbridge. One document states politicians including ‘N Fairburn’ and C Smith’ visited the property in June 1982.

They also state ‘Fairburn’ had ‘used boys in sauna’ and photos had been taken of him – as well as former Liberal MP Smith – at the guest house. Police have  confirmed that Smith was a  regular visitor to the address.

Last month broadcaster Esther Rantzen spoke of her revulsion after learning Sir Nicholas, with whom she had an affair after they met in a BBC studio in 1966, had been implicated in the scandal.

Miss Henderson, speaking  publicly after Sir Nicholas was linked to the guest house, said: ‘I knew this would come out.

‘I’m only surprised it has taken so long. I told the police about him in 2000, I told them what Fairbairn was. But they just wanted me to go away.

My father was feted by legal establishment, but was really a monster who let his powerful friends rape me

Every night before five-year-old Susie Henderson went to sleep, she would arrange her dolls around her bed. She wasn’t playing, she was hiding. Four decades on, it is a memory that still haunts her.

‘I put them there thinking that, when my father came for me in the night, he wouldn’t know it was me and he would take one of my dolls instead,’ she says. ‘But he never did.’

Now 48, Miss Henderson has spent a lifetime in hiding. For the past 14 years she has been known only as ‘Julie X’, the anonymous woman who in 2000 made allegations of child sexual abuse against her father – a senior member of the legal profession – and MP Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, the former Solicitor General for Scotland and a member of Margaret Thatcher’s inner circle.

Today, Miss Henderson has waived her anonymity to detail the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father, the late Robert Henderson QC, one of Scotland’s top advocates and a close friend and former colleague of Fairbairn. Henderson died in December 2012, Fairbairn in 1995.

In the wake of the paedophile scandal threatening to engulf Westminster in which Fairbairn was recently implicated, Miss Henderson has chosen to come forward to tell her story.

She is calling for the police investigation into Henderson and Fairbairn, which was halted in 2000 after details were leaked to the Press and evidence was mislaid, to be re-opened.

She has also given the Scottish Daily Mail the names of six other senior members of the Scottish legal profession who she alleges either abused her or were aware of the abuse, which took place in the 1970s. Two of these individuals are still alive.

Today Miss Henderson lives a quiet life near Inverness with her partner, who fully supports her decision to tell her story, saying: ‘Over the years, Susie has lived in fear – but once other stories about Fairbairn started to come out, we realised that she could finally do this without fear. She can get closure.’

Miss Henderson works in social care, has a grown-up son and at weekends walks her dog along the windswept beaches near her home. She is well-spoken and articulate, with a ready smile and a mischievous sense of humour.

Yet her life is still overshadowed by the monstrous actions of her father and his friends – a set of high-powered legal figures who, she says, ritually abused her as part of an organised paedophile ring in the early 1970s when she was between four and eight years old.

‘It’s really only in my 40s that I’ve started living my life,’ she says. ‘I have good days and I have bad days. It will never go away and I get horrendous nightmares at times but, because my father is dead now, I’m not as scared as I used to be.’

Miss Henderson was born in 1966 into a life of Edinburgh privilege. Her father and his first wife, her mother, lived in a five-storey Georgian townhouse in the New Town. Parties were common and Henderson, a rising star in the Scottish legal profession, was a flamboyant and charming man-about-town.

‘I have horrendous nightmares, it will never go away’

But behind closed doors he was a monster. He often beat his wife and young Susie was regularly belted: ‘He threw my Mum and me out in the snow one night when he brought a woman home.

‘He used to jump out of wardrobes to frighten people. He drank very heavily. There were always people round at the house and my Mum was just the slave.’

Henderson could be sadistically cruel towards his family. His daughter recalls: ‘One time he came home unexpectedly and I had my pet hamster out. I wasn’t allowed to have it out when he was there and I was terrified he’d go crazy. But he didn’t do anything, he just said: “Put that away.”‘

‘The next morning when I went downstairs, it was stuffed into a milk bottle. He’d killed it. That was my punishment for letting it out.’

Yet Henderson could also be urbane and charismatic. Well thought-of among the political establishment, he twice stood as a Tory candidate for Parliament during the 1970s in Inverness-shire.

‘He could be very charming, usually when drunk,’ says Miss Henderson. ‘I can’t remember him being a loving man but he could be quite nice. He wasn’t always horrendous.’

She believes her father started abusing her around the age of three and sexually abused her repeatedly until she was eight years old: ‘He would say to my Mum when he came back from the pub, “I’ll take Susie for a nap.” And that was when he’d do it. He always put a pillow over my head. Another time in the bath he abused me and put my head under the water.’

The house was often full of people, her father’s friends, who she says also abused her, or were fully aware of what was going on: ‘I was told that whatever anybody wanted I was to do it, no matter what it was.

‘My father had parties where I had to dance for people. He’d then put me in a bedroom. People came in. They had drugs there, lots of drink. My Dad used to give me drink.’

She clearly remembers the first time Fairbairn abused her at one of her father’s parties: ‘We were in the kitchen. I was maybe four years old. I had a skirt on and Nicholas and my Dad had been drinking, and my Dad told me to sit on Nicholas’s knee. I sat on his knee and he put his hand up my skirt and abused me. My Dad just stood there laughing.’

She remembers another incident involving Fairbairn: ‘The house was five floors and the top floor was where the guests used to stay. I was in bed in the guest room with  Fairbairn and another guy.’

She alleges that on this occasion Fairbairn raped her. She was just four or five years old. Today, she sobs quietly as she recalls the  incident and details such as the pungent smell of Fairbairn’s feet: ‘I hated that man – more than I hated my father. He just really wasn’t a nice man.’ She is not sure how many times Fairbairn abused her but says it was ‘a lot’, adding: ‘Even once is too much.’

Last month, Fairbairn was named as one of those believed to have  visited the notorious Elm Guest House in London. A handwritten list of visitors to the guest house – which hosted parties in the 1980s where vulnerable boys were sexually assaulted after being plied with alcohol – states that a number of politicians including ‘N Fairburn’ and ‘C Smith’ – visited the property on June 7, 1982.

‘C Smith’ is believed to be Cyril Smith, the Liberal MP who has been exposed as a serial paedophile and who police have confirmed was a regular visitor to the brothel.

The documents also state that ‘Fairburn’ had ‘used boys in sauna’ and that photographs had been taken of him at the guest house. Despite the spelling discrepancy over Fairbairn/Fairburn, there have now been calls for a full investigation to establish whether or not Fairbairn was involved. Miss Henderson says she is not surprised: ‘I knew this would come out. I’m only surprised it has taken so long. I told the police about him in 2000, I told them what Fairbairn was. But they just wanted me to go away.’

The regular abuse stopped when she was eight years old and her mother left Henderson, taking Miss Henderson with her. It continued sporadically until she was around 12, whenever Henderson had custody of her.

‘Occasionally I would go and stay at my father’s,’ she says. ‘We never went to the pictures or did anything normal as father and daughter.

‘There were parties and drink and drugs and people half-naked. I remember him taking me to a sauna one time. Another time, he took me to a judge’s house and left me there.’

Miss Henderson knows that parts of her story may sound unbelievable: ‘Who would believe that the solicitor general and other top lawyers would be abusing children? Especially back in the 1970s and early 1980s. Those kind of things weren’t talked about.’

She kept in touch with her father during her teenage years – a decision which might seem incomprehensible.

‘I always wanted his approval,’ she says quietly. ‘I always wanted him to love me. I had this vision of what I wanted him to be. All my friends had nice Dads.

‘And, as I said, he could be really, really charming. But when he was angry or drunk he was something totally different.’

Those questioning why Henderson was not brought to justice while he was alive may remember the Fettesgate scandal of the 1990s, when it was alleged that a magic circle of legal figures was conspiring to fix sentences. The case was eventually thrown out of court.

Miss Henderson says: ‘With the Fettesgate scandal, my father had a list of all the prominent people involved and he used to just laugh. He would say, “If I go down, they’ll all go down with me.”

‘He told me he could put me six feet under’

‘He had all this evidence. He showed me. He just thought it was all hysterical. He knew he would take the whole lot of them with him. That’s why it was all hush-hushed.’

And so it was that in 2000, having agreed to speak anonymously about her experiences to Sandra Brown, author of a book about child abuse called Where There is Evil, she found her story greeted with scepticism.

Senior Tories rallied to Fairbairn’s defence, describing her allegations as ‘absolute rubbish’.

Fairbairn’s daughter Charlotte dismissed the claims. Henderson, by then retired but still a prominent member of the legal establishment, phoned his daughter and warned her not to continue making allegations.

‘He told me he could put me six feet under,’ says Miss Henderson, whose claims were investigated by the police. They interviewed both her and her mother, who supported her daughter’s claims.

But following a mysterious leak to the Press and the loss of evidence, Miss Henderson halted the investigation. She explains now that the police had ‘told me nobody would know until the investigation was over, but I was only half-way through my statement when it was leaked.

‘To have that happen to you, when it had taken me years to get to the point where I felt it was time for justice, was devastating. I was just a whimpering mess. I couldn’t go on.’

At the time, she handed a number of key pieces of evidence to police. She asked for their return several times over the years but was always told they were in a ‘safe’ place. Recently she was told that they had been ‘mislaid’.

‘I want answers for that,’ she says. ‘I want my stuff back. And I want it acknowledged that my father and Fairbairn did something very  evil. Not just to me. There are other children out there.

‘And these were people in power. We put them there and they are supposed to be trusted. It’s not right.’

Miss Henderson has lived with the scars, physical and mental, of the abuse all her life. As a teenager she developed an eating disorder. Following the birth of her son in her twenties, she suffered debilitating post-natal depression that caused many memories of those terrible times to come flooding back.

Eventually, she spent time in a psychiatric unit. Today, however, she feels that finally people will understand that she is telling the truth about Fairbairn: ‘I know – I hope – I will be believed.

‘He used to pay me money for it,’ she adds. ‘A pound here, a pound there. It was as if it was his way of thinking it was OK, because he’d paid for it.’

And like many abuse victims, for a long time she believed it was her own fault.

‘I used to feel guilty,’ she says. ‘I don’t feel guilty any more. Now I’m able to stand up and have a voice.’


Daily Mail
, August 14th, 2014
Jonathan Brocklebank, ‘A magic circle of judges, a sex abuse probe and the sinister truth about theFettesgate scandal’

  • Alleged in the 1990s that ‘magic circle’ of judges conspired to fix sentences
  • But Crown investigators found in 1992 the was no evidence of conspiracy
  • Detective’s report into claims was stolen from Fettes police HQ in 1992
  • Defence lawyer Robert Henderson let it be believed there was a magic circle
  • His record of legal figures compromised by their homosexuality did not exist
  • Henderson’s daughter Susie has accused late father of abusing her

It was the scandal that shook the Scottish legal establishment to its foundations, leaving no senior figure in the judiciary untouched by the whispering campaign it triggered. And, it appeared, there was not a shred of truth in it.

Exhaustive inquiries by Crown investigators in 1992 found no evidence whatever that a so-called ‘magic circle’ of judges, sheriffs and advocates was conspiring to ensure that homosexual criminals were given soft-touch treatment by the courts. Talk of senior judges in the magic circle being blackmailed by ‘rent boys’ was dismissed by the investigators as fanciful – and claims of corruption and collusion in the judiciary rejected as the ravings of conspiracy theorists. Yet there was just one element in the ‘Fettesgate’ scandal that did not seem to gel. Why was one of Scotland’s most admired and respected defence lawyers so keen to put it about that there was indeed a magic circle?

That man was Robert Henderson, a lawyer so lauded in his profession that fellow advocates used to make a point of slipping into court just to watch him in action. During the 1980s, after a particularly stirring closing speech to the jury in a murder trial, the presiding judge remarked that Henderson’s oratory had been ‘nothing short of masterful’.

He was charismatic, cultured and clubbable. And yet he seemed to want the world to know that the information he was sitting on would ‘blow the lid off’ the legal establishment.

Today’s revelations, detailing the sickening abuse of his daughter and his procurement of the child for high-powered friends to rape and molest, provide the strongest clue to Robert Henderson’s motivation. He was issuing a veiled threat to any and all who would attempt to bring him to justice.

As his daughter Susie Henderson reveals, he used to say: ‘If I go down, they’ll all go down with me.’

The defence lawyer certainly had no shortage of dirt on friends such as former Solicitor General Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, the MP he had allowed to rape his daughter.

But Henderson’s record of senior legal figures supposedly compromised by their homosexuality never truly existed. It was a classic poker player’s bluff – an attempt to convince potential opponents he held a stronger hand than he really did. And it worked. Henderson died at 75 in 2012 with his reputation largely intact.

Retired judge Lord McCluskey was among those to write a glowing tribute to him in the national Press. Henderson the smooth, impeccably attired defence counsel never did move from the well of the court to the part of the room where he truly belonged – the dock, to stand trial.

It was in 1989 that he stumbled upon the ‘insurance policy’ that might protect him against prosecution for the abuse to which he had subjected his daughter a  decade and a half earlier. It came in the form of Colin Tucker, a gay solicitor accused – and later cleared – of embezzling funds from the clients of the firm Burnett Walker, where he was a junior partner.

When Henderson was instructed to act as his defence counsel, he asked the solicitor to write him a potted history of his time at the firm to help with his case. The resulting document extended to 32 sides of foolscap.

The second half of it was certainly salacious, dealing with the promiscuity of both Mr Tucker and the senior partner at the firm, Ian Walker, a closet homosexual who committed suicide in 1988. But Mr Tucker’s statement contained damaging revelations about only one other member of the legal fraternity – Court of Session judge Lord Dervaird, who abruptly resigned in 1989. No one else had reason to be nervous. Yet Henderson made them so.

A three-month investigation led by prominent QC and future judge William Nimmo Smith into the alleged ‘magic circle’ conspiracy found: ‘There is no allegation in the statement, directly or by implication, of homosexual behaviour by any prominent member of the Scottish legal establishment.’

The report added: ‘In short, there is nothing in the statement which, if published, would “blow the lid off” the Scottish legal establishment, as we have heard it put.’

But Henderson tried to convince his colleagues otherwise. His first act on receiving the document from Mr Tucker was to breach his client’s confidentiality by passing news of it to legal peers, not  forgetting to mention Lord  Dervaird in the process.

In the Chinese whispers which followed, the document morphed into a ‘list’ of names – and rumour abounded about the people who might be included on it. It was all sparked by Henderson’s betrayal of his client’s confidence – a schoolboy error it was hard to believe a lawyer as experienced as Henderson could commit innocently. The 101-page Crown report into alleged conspiracy hinted as much.

It said: ‘We cannot avoid the conclusion that Robert Henderson has been one of the main instigators and perpetuators of the belief that there was a document, whether or not in the form of a “list”, containing information relating to persons other than Lord Dervaird, and, in particular, other judges.

‘Even after our inquiry began, he made statements to journalists which did nothing to dispel such a belief.’

Henderson allegedly told one journalist that if the list ever  did come out it would ruin  many careers in the legal establishment.

He claimed to other journalists that he kept a file in a safe at a secret location which would ‘rock the establishment’ and have reporters ‘salivating all the way to the telephone’.

The report concludes Henderson had chosen to let it be believed that he had information he did not have. One theory the investigators considered is he did so to head off possible criminal charges relating to irregularities in his business affairs.

But they dismissed the possibility that the case had quietly been dropped over fears that Henderson had the legal establishment in a stranglehold.

Could it be that the defence lawyer had much more to lose than his reputation over a few shady business deals? That his persistence in talking up the magic circle ‘list’ had much more to do with providing him an amnesty for his monstrous activities in the family home?

Whatever his motivations, the magic circle conspiracy would probably have amounted to  little more than unsubstantiated gossip, had Henderson not handed over a copy of Mr Tucker’s statement to the police.

It was an act that his client viewed as the ultimate treachery. Henderson’s explanation was that he did so in ‘wider interests’, but perhaps they were really rather narrow interests – his own.

The Tucker statement fed into a probe which Lothian and Borders police were already carrying out following allegations of senior public figures involved with rent boys in Edinburgh.

Ultimately it was passed to Detective Inspector Roger Orr, who had received orders to get to the bottom of claims that a well-established circle of homosexuals in the legal fraternity were seriously subverting justice.

The detective’s final report was supposed to be for chief constable Sir William Sutherland’s eyes only. But what happened next made his findings very public indeed.

The reason the scandal is known as Fettesgate is because it was at the Police HQ at Fettes that Mr Orr’s confidential report was to be found. And an intruder slipped in to the building through an open window and stole it.

The thief went to some lengths to disguise his intent in the break-in, daubing Animal Liberation Front slogans on the walls.

But the files taken were so sensitive, so potentially embarrassing, that the true purpose of the raid was soon clear enough. Panic swept the force as the scope for blackmailers dawned on its officers. In the Orr report lay the potential for a collapse of public faith in the judicial  system – for the detective did believe that some court cases were influenced by a magic circle.

The thief, it turned out, was a homosexual criminal and police informant called Derek Donaldson, who fed stories from his haul of police files to national newspaper journalists.

Finally Donaldson was assured immunity from prosecution in return for handing back the files, but the controversial findings of the Orr Report still made it into the public domain, causing a national sensation.

So grave was the charge now faced by the Scottish legal establishment that Prime Minister John Major ordered the Lord Advocate to hold an inquiry.

William Nimmo Smith and regional procurator fiscal James Friel were the men now tasked with uncovering the truth about the magic circle ‘conspiracy’.

They found no proof of any such magic circle – but clear evidence that Henderson wanted people to think there was one. Time and again, they concluded, it was ‘loose talk’ by Henderson which promoted the belief in a magic circle.

There was a final, extraordinary twist before the report’s official publication. A man posing as a reporter from a high-brow newspaper managed to con his way into Nimmo Smith’s home with a tape recorder and quiz him on the report’s findings.

The bogus journalist was none other than Derek Donaldson, the Fettes HQ thief.

Donaldson immediately sold his scoop to a tabloid, which ran a story under the headline ‘Nimmo the Dimmo’. Days later, the senior lawyer was admitted to hospital with nervous exhaustion.

It is perhaps significant that Sir Nicholas Fairbairn was among the most vocal critics of the blunder, saying: ‘This  absolutely impurifies the whole process. I don’t see that the Lord Advocate can do anything but reappoint a new commission to do the whole thing again.’

Just over two years later, Fairbairn was dead – never in his lifetime exposed as a paedophile. His friend Henderson lived much longer – long enough to learn that his daughter had no intention of letting him get away with his appalling treatment of her as a child.

Calling herself Julie X, she told newspapers in 2000 that her father, a leading Edinburgh lawyer, had abused her from the age of four. The law prevented her from naming him publicly, but he knew who he was – he knew she was coming after him.

And so the final years of a once-universally esteemed lawyer were lived with the tension of his disgrace hanging over him like a filthy raincloud.

He died before it burst. His sudden demise at his retirement home in South-west France spared him from ever facing the consequences of his deeds. And the tributes which followed his death were all generous.

‘It was a joy when Bob walked into court and announced he was appearing as counsel for the defence,’ remembered Lord McCluskey.

‘The lights seemed to shine a little brighter.’

Henderson was, it seems, a much darker character than the senior judge ever realised.


Evening News (Edinburgh),
August 14th, 2014
Diane King, ‘Top Tory raped me when I was four, now I want justice’

THE daughter of a prominent Edinburgh lawyer at the centre of the Fettesgate scandal of the 1990s has claimed she was raped by her father and a senior Tory MP.

Susie Henderson, the daughter of QC and temporary sheriff Robert Henderson, waived her right to anonymity to talk about the abuse she allegedly suffered at the hands of her father and the late Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, a former MP for Kinross and Western Perthshire, when she was four.

Miss Henderson, 48, said she was the victim of an organised paedophile ring consisting of high-powered legal figures who subjected her to years of abuse at locations including the five-storey Georgian townhouse in the New Town where her family lived.

Her father, Robert Henderson, was a pivotal figure in a major legal scandal of the late 1980s and early 1990s when he claimed a “magic circle” of judges, sheriffs and advocates were conspiring to ensure homosexual criminals were given light sentences by the courts. The claims were dismissed in an official inquiry, but much of the evidence in the report was stolen from Fettes by conman Derek Donaldson in 1992 and sold to the press.

Miss Henderson today called for a police investigation into her father and Fairbairn, halted in 2000 after evidence was mislaid and crucial details leaked to the press, to be re-opened.

“I want it acknowledged that my father and Fairbairn did something very evil. Not just to me. There are other children out there. And these were people in power. We put them there and they are supposed to be trusted.”

Miss Henderson first made allegations against Fairbairn and her father under the alias of Julie X in 2000, but no charges were brought.

She has chosen to come forward and be named after Fairbairn was implicated in the scandal over the Elm Guest House in London which saw youngsters abused by high-profile figures in the 1980s. Fairbairn died in 1995 at the age of 61, while Henderson died in 2012 aged 75.

Fairbairn’s daughter, Charlotte, 50, reportedly said she “did not know” whether the allegations against her father were true, but said she doubted it. “I would be very surprised by that, but he is dead,” she said. “He is not here to defend himself.”

Documents targeted by thief

THE Fettesgate scandal of 1992 involved the theft of sensitive materials from Lothian and Borders Police HQ at Fettes in July, 1992 – including a report by Detective Inspector Roger Orr into claims of an established “magic circle” of homosexuals in the legal fraternity who were subverting the course of justice. The theft was disguised as an attack by the Animal Liberation Front, but it later emerged the documents had been targeted by thief and conman Derek Conway, who sold the information from the files to national newspapers. Donaldson was later given an assured immunity from prosecution in return for handing back the files – but not before the Orr report made it into the public domain.


Daily Telegraph
, August 15th, 2014
Auslan Cramb, ‘I was victim of paedophile ring says woman ‘abused’ by Tory MP’

A WOMAN has claimed she was raped by a Tory MP who was a close ally of Margaret Thatcher and sexually abused by her father, a senior figure in the Scottish legal establishment.

Susie Henderson said she was sexually abused as a small child by her father, Robert Henderson QC, and by his friend Sir Nicholas Fairbairn.

She has waived her right to anonymity to claim she was the victim of an organised paedophile ring that also involved other legal figures.

Miss Henderson, 48, a mother of one who works in social care, first made allegations against Fairbairn, who was made solicitor general of Scotland by Mrs Thatcher, in 2000, when she was known only as Julie X. The police launched an inquiry at the time but no charges were brought after she halted the investigation when part of her statement was leaked to the press.

She said she had now decided to disclose her identity after the late Tory MP, who died in 1995, was linked to the scandal over the Elm Guest House in London, where youngsters from children’s homes were allegedly abused in the 1980s.

Last month, Fairbairn was named as one of those believed to have visited the house, which was also said to have been visited by Cyril Smith, the late Liberal MP who has been exposed as a paedophile.

Miss Henderson, who lives with her partner near Inverness, said she wanted a new police inquiry. She told the Daily Mail: “I want it acknowledged that my father and Fairbairn did something very evil. Not just to me.”

She added that she believes her father, who died in 2012, began abusing her at the age of three and repeatedly abused her until she was eight.

Miss Henderson also claimed her father, who was highly regarded as a defence lawyer and temporary sheriff, could be sadistically cruel, drank heavily and treated her mother like a “slave”.

She claimed that the family home in Edinburgh was often full of her father’s friends, who also abused her.

She told the newspaper that when she made the claims in 2000, senior Tories described her allegations as “rubbish” and her father phoned her and warned her not to continue making the allegations.

Miss Henderson also disclosed that she developed an eating disorder as a teenager, and that following the birth of her son in her twenties she suffered postnatal depression that caused many memories of the abuse to return and later spent time in a psychiatric unit.

She said she now hoped that she would be believed, adding: “He [Fairbairn] used to pay me money for it. A pound here, a pound there. It was as if it was his way of thinking it okay.”

Graeme Pearson, Scottish Labour’s justice spokesman, said ministers could not “stand back” from the call for an inquiry.

Fairbairn’s daughter Charlotte told the newspaper that she “utterly doubted” that her father was a child abuser, adding that he was “not here to defend himself”.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Robert Henderson claimed a so-called “magic circle” of judges, sheriffs and advocates were conspiring to ensure that homosexual criminals were given softtouch treatment by the courts. The claims were dismissed in an official inquiry.

GRAPHIC: Susie Henderson waived her anonymity to accuse her late father Robert Henderson QC and the Tory MP Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, right, of abusing her when she was a child


The Herald
, August 15th, 2014
Victoria Weldon, ‘Former judge’s shock over QC paedophile ring allegations’

A FORMER senior judge has claimed he is “utterly flabbergasted” at allegations a prominent lawyer and close friend of his headed up a high profile paedophile ring.

Lord McCluskey said he was also shocked to hear that Robert Henderson QC had been accused of repeatedly sexually abusing his daughter from the age of three.

Susie Henderson has waived her right to anonymity to tell of her alleged ordeal at the hands of her father and several other prominent figures, including senior Tory MP Sir Nicholas Fairbairn.

The 48-year-old claims she was repeatedly subjected to sickening sex attacks by her father, who was well known and respected in Scotland’s legal fraternity.

She also alleges that she was passed among a number of his colleagues who also attacked and raped her at the family’s Edinburgh home.

Lord McCluskey, a former Solicitor General for Scotland, said he found the claims hard to believe.

The former judge, who wrote a glowing obituary for Mr Henderson following his death in 2012, said: “I’m utterly flabbergasted by these allegations. Never in my life have I heard any suggestion of anything of this kind involving Bob Henderson.

“I’m just amazed to hear it and I would be astonished if it turns out to be true.

“I’ve no reason to believe it’s true – I have no evidence and I never heard even a bit of gossip suggesting this.

“I would await the outcome of any inquiry before adding anything further.”

Miss Henderson’s case was looked at by police in 2000, but was halted after details were leaked to the press. She said officers had told her that nobody would know until the investigation was over, but panicked and refused to continue when details appeared publicly.

At that time she handed a number of key pieces of evidence over to the police but claims she was recently told that they had been “misplaced”.

A number of articles appeared following the initial investigation, but Miss Henderson was referred to only as Julie X and her father’s identity was never revealed.

She now wants the case to be reopened by detectives.

“I want it acknowledged that my father and Fairbairn did something very evil,” she said. “Not just to me. There are other children out there. And these were people in power. We put them there and they are supposed to be trusted. It’s not right.”

Miss Henderson also claims to have the names of six other members of the Scottish legal profession who were involved, two of whom are still alive.

Detective Chief Superintendent Lesley Boal said Police Scotland were committed to investigating all reports of historic abuse.

She said: “There are many reasons why a victim may not report such abuse until years – even decades – after the event.

“These can include fear of not being believed, especially if the individual is a prominent public figure, and of reliving the incidents. Similarly, some victims may contact the police to report abuse but then find it too difficult. We will listen, we will ask our partners in support services to assist and we can pick up where we left off when they feel more able to provide the necessary information.”

She added: “Any report of historic child abuse will be treated seriously.”

Miss Henderson claims that, while her father was seen as a flamboyant star of the legal profession, behind closed doors her had a much more sinister side.

She believes he began abusing her when she was just three and would tell her mother he was taking her for a nap before carrying out the attacks. The advocate also hosted regular parties and Miss Henderson said she was told to do “whatever anybody wanted”.

Miss Henderson claims to remember an incident where Mr Fairbairn, a former Solicitor General, raped her when she was just four or five years old.

Mr Fairbairn, who died in 1995, has been linked to the notorious Elm Guest House in London, where young boys are believed to have been plied with alcohol and sexually assaulted. Calls have been made for the Scottish Government to instruct an inquiry into historic sex abuse cases.


GRAPHIC: Nicholas Fairbairn: Susie Henderson claims he raped her. Robert Henderson: Daughter claims he sexually abused her. claims: Susie Henderson says she was subjected to sickening sex attacks by her father. Picture: Derek Ironside


Evening News (Edinburgh)
, August 15th, 2014
Kaye Nicolson, ‘Victims of rape need justice’

Calls have been made for a Scottish investigation into historic rape claims after the daughter of a prominent Edinburgh solicitor claimed she was the victim of a paedophile ring.

Susie Henderson, whose father Robert Henderson was the QC and temporary sheriff at the heart of the Fettesgate scandal, waived her right to anonymity to talk about the abuse she allegedly suffered as a child at the hands of her father and the late Tory MP Sir NicholasFairbairn.

The 48-year-old claimed she was targeted by high-powered legal figures who subjected her to years of abuse at addresses in the Capital – including her New Town family home.

Miss Henderson’s shocking claims – which included an allegation that Sir Nicholas raped her at the age of four – have fuelled calls for a thorough inquiry into historic child abuse cases in Scotland.

The UK government has launched plans for an overarching child abuse inquiry, but its exact remit has not been confirmed.

Lothians Labour MSP Sarah Boyack today added her voice to growing pressure for a home-based investigation after her party colleague and former police officer Graeme Pearson demanded a public inquiry last month.

She said: “I support his call because victims need access to justice. Survivors of abuse deserve the chance be heard and possibly gain closure from their horrific experiences. It is also important that lessons are learned for the future.”

She added: “With more people speaking out, the case for a public inquiry becomes ever stronger.”

Meanwhile, Police Scotland said it was “committed” to investigating all reports of historic child abuse.

Detective Chief Superintendent Lesley Boal said: “There are many reasons why a victim may not report such abuse until years – even decades – after the event.

“These can include fear of not being believed, especially if the individual is a prominent public figure, and of reliving the incidents. Similarly, some victims may contact the police to report abuse but then find it too difficult. We will listen.”

Robert Henderson QC, who died in 2012, prompted a major legal scandal in the late 1980s and early 1990s when he claimed a “magic circle” of judges, sheriffs and advocates were conspiring to ensure homosexual criminals were given light sentences by the courts. The claims were dismissed in an official inquiry, but much of the evidence in the report was stolen from Fettes police HQ by conman Derek Donaldson and sold to the press, in an incident dubbed “Fettesgate”.

The UK government’s child abuse inquiry was announced earlier this year after it was alleged that senior politicians were passed files in the 1980s containing paedophile allegations about prominent figures.


The Sun
, August 15th, 2014
Stuart Patterson, ‘I was raped aged four by MP Sir Nicky; Top Tory ‘in paedo gang”

A MUM claims she was raped by former Tory stalwart Sir Nicholas Fairbairn when she was four years old.

Susie Henderson suffered years of abuse at the hands of Scotland’s ex-Solicitor General, she says.

She told how she was offered for sex to the MP by her father Robert Henderson, also a lawyer, who also raped her.

Susie, 48, claimed the pair were part of a secret paedophile ring of Scottish establishment figures, who preyed on underage youngsters at drink and drug-fuelled parties.

She said: “I want it acknowledged that my father and Fairbairn did something very evil. Not just to me.

“There are other children out there. These were people in power. We put them there and they are supposed to be trusted. It’s not right.”

Susie claims her father laughed as she was abused for the first time by Fairbairn at the family home in Edinburgh.

She said the flamboyant Kinross and Western Perthshire MP – who died aged 61 in 1995 – later gave her money after some sex attacks.

And she named six other members of the legal profession who she claims also abused her, including two still alive. Her father was never charged before he died in 2012 at 75.

Susie’s allegations come as an official probe has been launched amid claims of a Westminster paedophile ring.

Fairbairn, known as Nicky, was named as a possible suspect. His daughter Charlotte, 50, said she would be “very surprised” if the claims were true.

She added: “I doubt it. It’s all such a long time ago. I hope it’s not true.


Daily Mail
, August 23rd, 2014
Guy Adams and Andrew Malone, ‘Revealed: Full Horrifying Truth about the other Paedophile at Maggie’s side’

Despite his reputation as a womaniser and fondness for malt whisky, a daily habit that brought about his premature death aged just 61, the funeral of Sir Nicholas Fairbairn in 1995 was marked by an outpouring of respect and admiration.

As more than 1,000 luminaries crammed into St John’s Kirk in Perth, the former Tory MP’s significance as a political figure was underlined by the presence of Lady Thatcher, who had promoted the brilliant solicitor to her first Cabinet in 1979.

While a lone Scottish piper played a lament, Britain’s first woman Prime Minister strode solemnly to the pulpit to read an excerpt from The Prophet, a book by the Lebanese poet and philosopher Kahlil Gibran, who had been one of Fairbairn’s favourite authors.

Her tribute was witnessed by a host of leading politicians, judges, and Scottish aristocrats of the day.

They had come to pay respects to a uniquely colourful individual who, in a political career spanning two decades, has achieved a mixture of fame and notoriety as one the most recognisable but also controversial members of the Commons.

A self-styled eccentric, who lived in the 13th-century Fordell Castle near Dunfermline, Sir Nicholas was blessed with extraordinary intelligence and political talent. He had been Scotland’s youngest ever QC before being elected MP for Perth and Kinross in 1974, at the age of 40.

In Westminster, where his initial rise was stratospheric, he cut a dandyish figure, and was often seen in blue baronial tartan adorned with two miniature (working) silver revolvers, which Sir Nicholas would load with blanks and fire when drunk.

When speaking in the Commons, Sir Nicolas sometimes wore an enormous Highland smock (I know I look like an ironmonger, but I don’t want my suits to glitter like other MPs’ ‘), or a kilt teamed with double-breasted scarlet jacket, gold watch chain and lurid pink shirt.

Other favourite outfits were buckled shoes, tartan knickerbockers, and a thick brown jumper over which he placed a huge leather belt with a metal buckle. When the Queen knighted him in 1988, he turned up in full Scottish regalia, complete with a skhian dubh a small dagger and sword.

Clothes weren’t the only thing about Sir Nicholas that generated column inches, though.

A notorious adulterer, who clocked up two wives and scores of mistresses, he was forced to resign as Lady Thatcher’s Solicitor General for Scotland in 1982, after a scandal stemming from his decision not to press charges against a group of men accused of attacking a Glasgow prostitute with razor blades during a gang rape.

Thereafter, he descended into chronic alcoholism, consuming at least a bottle of Scotch each day though he stressed that he was happy to make do’ with vodka.

As his fondness for drink worsened, his tongue loosened. Throughout the Eighties and early Nineties, he became notorious for giving colourful interviews in which he expressed deeply offensive, and often highly misogynistic, sentiments.

On Desert Island Discs, for example, he declared that female MPs lack fragrance they all look as if they’re from the 5th Kiev Stalinist machine gun parade’.

In newspaper interviews, he called Labour MP and feminist Clare Short the big, fat one,’ described rape victims as tauntresses’ and asked what is a skirt, but an open gateway?’

In late-night Commons debate about the gay age of consent in 1994, Sir Nicholas was meanwhile called to order by the Speaker for delivering a drunken diatribe against homosexuality which included an obscene description of the mechanics of sodomy’.

In later years he took great pleasure in making unsolicited and often deeply demeaning advances on women unfortunate enough to catch his eye.

The Guardian reporter Judy Rumbold interviewed him in 1991. Towards the end of proceedings, she wrote: He lunges across the table and tries to engage me in a whiskery snog.’ Shockingly, Fairbairn’s second wife, Suzanne (known as Sam) was in the next room at the time.

Not even Lady Thatcher could avoid his unwanted attention. In the mid-Eighties, Sir Nicholas drunkenly propositioned the then Prime Minister during a dinner at Hollyrood Palace, whispering into her ear that he’d always fancied’ her.

The Iron Lady is said to have responded: Quite right, Nicholas, you have very good taste.’ But noting the extent of Fairbairn’s intoxication, she then added: However, I don’t think that you would make it at the moment.’

Doubtless Lady Thatcher, like many in those less enlightened times, regarded her former Cabinet ally as an amusing buffoon.

Perhaps she, and other friends, forgave his wandering hands as a sort of harmless horseplay. Indeed, following his death from cirrhosis of the liver, obituaries portrayed him as a bombastic eccentric who’d added greatly to the gaiety of Westminster.

But that was then. Today, things have changed. And in light of a series of appalling recent allegations, that light-hearted view of SirNicholas Fairbairn seems nothing less than grotesque.

For in addition to being a drunk and a womaniser, this famous Scottish Conservative also stands accused of being a predatory paedophile one of two abusers now identified in Lady Thatcher’s inner circle.

Talking to the Daily Mail last week, 48-year-old Susie Henderson gave a disturbing account of her childhood encounters with the MP.

Waiving her anonymity, she claimed that Fairbairn had sexually assaulted and raped her on several occasions, beginning when she was four years old.

Sir Nicholas was a close friend of Susie’s late father, Robert Henderson, a fellow leading light of the Scottish legal establishment, who regularly held decadent private parties at his family’s large and smartly decorated townhouse in Edinburgh.

It was during one of these sordid events in about 1970 that Susie says her father came into the kitchen with Fairbairn.

I was maybe four years old,’ she told the Mail. I had a skirt on and Nicholas and my dad had been drinking, and my dad told me to sit on Nicholas’s knee. I sat on his knee and he put his hand up my skirt and abused me. My dad just stood there laughing.’

During another party, Susie says she was raped by Sir Nicholas and another man in a guest room at the top of her parents’ five-storey home.

I hated that man,’ said Ms Henderson, who says she still recalls the pungent smell of Fairbairn’s feet. She’s not sure exactly how often Sir Nicholas abused her over the years, but says it happened many times.

Ms Henderson does not seem to have been his only victim, either.

Last month, Sir Nicholas was named as one of three MPs on a list of clients of the notorious Elm Guest House, a gay brothel in Barnes, West London, where under-age boys from a nearby care home were allegedly plied with drink and drugs and sexually abused.

The other MPs were Sir Peter Morrison another Scottish minister close to Lady Thatcher, who was a prolific child abuser and Cyril Smith, the Liberal MP for Rochdale exposed as a paedophile in 2012.

The trio feature in documents apparently penned by the owner of the guesthouse, which state that N Fairburn’ (sic) and C Smith’ (who asked to be called Tubby by staff and boys), visited on June 7, 1982. The documents add that Fairburn’ had used boys in sauna’. Given the very public opposition to homosexuality that Fairbairn expressed in Parliament, allegations that he abused boys at a gay sauna have shocked his former colleagues.

Take an extended look at hiss life, however, and some astonishing secrets emerge. For in his younger days, this obsessive womaniser turns out to have been something rather different: a highly promiscuous gay liberation activist with murky links to the now-notorious Paedophile Information Exchange.

And indeed, those who knew him before he entered politics say that Fairbairn grew up aggressively bisexual, but suppressed his true desires in order to advance in the Tory party of the mid-Seventies.

They believe this left him hopelessly conflicted, leading to his chronic drink problem and the predatory and often hugely offensive nature of his advances to women.

The story begins in a deeply dysfunctional childhood. Fairbairn was born in 1933. His father was a prominent psychoanalyst, his mother an aristocrat. By the time I was born,’ he recalled, they were totally estranged.’

After graduating from the exclusive Loretto School and Edinburgh University, he trained as a solicitor, and soon became known in legal circles as a gifted advocate with strong libertarian principles and, outside the office, a keen interest in the arts.

An amateur poet and painter, he soon became chairman of Edinburgh’s Left-wing Traverse theatre in the Sixties. And it was here that he became active in the radical gay community.

Under Fairbairn’s stewardship, the Traverse began specialising in gay and lesbian drama,’ recalls a contemporary. I remember going to one play called something like Gay Sweatshop,’ and another called Mass in F,’ which was full of nudity and got picketed by the Mary Whitehouse lobby. The funny thing, given Fairbairn’s views later in life, was that he was also notorious for propositioning male actors and theatre staff. I remember a boy in his 20s telling me about an advance Fairbairn had made on him at a Traverse party.’

Fairbairn was in fact married from 1962-79, to Elizabeth Mackay, the daughter of the 13th Baron Reay and mother of his three surviving daughters. But in the circles in which he moved, this was not uncommon.

It was a time of free love. You must remember that homosexuality was illegal in Scotland until 1980, and many gay and bisexual men were supposedly happily married,’ adds the contemporary.

We have established that, in 1970, Sir Nicholas became honorary vice president of the Scottish Minorities Group (SMG), a new, radical gay liberation organisation founded by a man called Ian Dunn.

The SMG campaigned, among other things, for homosexuality to be legalised in Scotland, and for the age of consent to be identical for gay and straight sex.

But it also had a more contentious place in history. For in 1974, Dunn and another SMG activist, Michael Hanson, co-founded the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE). The vile organisation, which lobbied for child sex to be legalised, was for the first year of its existence a sub- committee of the SMG.

Over the ensuing years, PIE retained affiliate status with the SMG, and forged links with other mainstream groups, including the National Council for Civil Liberties, which at the time was being run by future Labour heavyweights Patricia Hewitt, Harriet Harman and Jack Dromey.

Ms Hewitt apologised for her links to PIE earlier this year when they were highlighted by the Mail, though Harman and Dromey have so far refused to say sorry.

But we digress. After being selected as Conservative MP, Fairbairn performed a remarkable ethical volte face, quietly resigning his vice presidency of SMG in 1974, and morphing overnight into a vociferous opponent of gay rights. His links to PIE were never discovered by the Press. And details of his progressive youth never filtered through to Westminster where, though re-married to Suzanne, he ensured that he became famed as a womaniser by embarking on several high-profile affairs.

There were dozens of female lovers. One, a Commons secretary, attempted suicide outside his London home in 1981. Another, broadcaster Esther Rantzen, says he plied her with Krug and beluga caviar a few years later. The rest was inevitable,’ she wrote in her memoirs.

Ian Pace, a lecturer at City University in London, and a campaigner and researcher on organised abuse, believes Fairbairn’s behaviour during this era was part of a concerted effort to cover the tracks’ of his bisexual past.

If so, then it wasn’t entirely successful. In the early Nineties, a Scottish newspaper discovered Fairbairn’s name in an old piece of SMG literature. He responded by claiming that he’d had no idea of the nature of the perverted’ minority the SMG lobbied for when he’d agreed to be their figurehead.

That explanation always seemed unlikely, however. A former SMG activist who emailed the Mail this week described it as clearly a lie’.

I have never had access to early SMG membership records (they probably no longer exist), but I am told that Fairbairn was a fully paid up individual member before he was appointed as Honorary VP,’ said the activist.

Even if he hadn’t been, SMG was very high profile. And of course Fairbairn received all the Group’s mailings, for four years, so he must have known what the organisation did.

He moved in a lot of artistic circles in his youth and I know several (straight) people who can recall being propositioned by him. I wonder to what extent the denial of his sexuality led to the drinking which so clearly wrecked his life.’

Little wonder, perhaps, that even in his final years, Fairbairn still manoeuvred to keep his past under wraps.

A few years before his death, he called for Leveson-style curbs on Press freedom amid newspaper claims (dismissed by an inquiry) that a so-called magic circle’ of Scottish judges, sheriffs and advocates in his former professional set were conspiring to ensure that homosexual criminals were given soft-touch treatment by the courts.

After Sir Nicholas was buried at Fordell Castle, the obituaries talked of him as one of Parliament’s great womanisers. All of them, that is, except one in the little-read underground magazine ScotsGay.

Obtained by the Mail this week, it lamented that Fairbairn had died firmly in the closet’.

One straight man who remembers being propositioned by Fairbairn in the Sixties told ScotsGay: It was really a shame if he’d just accepted and been open about his bisexuality it would have taken a lot of pressure off him and he might not have taken to the drink.’

Given what we now know, of course, Fairbairn had plenty of other reasons to conceal the real nature of his sexuality. Did he, perhaps, drink himself to death because he was haunted by his paedophile past?

That seems unlikely. Shortly before his death, he expressed no regrets. I’ve had a hell of good time on Earth,’ he told Martin Robb, a fellow Tory. It has been Heaven.’

* Additional reporting:

Graham Grant

Secret perversion: Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, and, below, with Margaret Thatcher. Inset, Susie Henderson, who says he raped her when she was four years old.

Sunday Herald, August 24th, 2014
‘Notorious paedophile headed Scottish care home inquiry’

CHILD protection experts and abuse survivors are demanding an inquiry into why one of Britain’s most notorious paedophiles was put in charge of an investigation into a crimes against children at a Glasgow boys’ home.

The Sunday Herald has learned that Peter Righton – one of Britain’s leading care workers, and a man who lived a double life as a paedophile – headed an investigation into allegations of cruelty at the Larchgrove assessment centre for boys in Glasgow in the 1970s.

The inquiry resulted in no criminal proceedings being taken, despite 13 out of 30 allegations of violence and neglect being proved. The home, in Springboig, was under the control of Glasgow City Council, then Glasgow Corporation.

Glasgow City Council is now trying to trace all documentation in connection with the case. The council and the Scottish Government have both called on anyone who may have suffered abuse at Larchgrove to contact the police.

Although the inquiry in the 1970s focused solely on physical and emotional abuse, an investigation by the Sunday Herald in 2007 revealed that sexual abuse of children was also taking place in Larchgrove at the same time. A former director of social work said he had been aware of abuse at the home in the mid-1970s. There were claims that female as well as male members of staff were involved in the abuse of boys.

Righton, who co-led the Larchgrove inquiry in 1973, worked as a child protection expert and social care worker. However, he was also a founding member of the infamous Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) which campaigned for adults to be allowed to legally have sex with children.

In 1992, Righton was convicted of importing child abuse images when customs intercepted material en route from Holland. A police raid on his home turned up more paedophile material as well as numerous letters relating details of abuse.

He died in 2007, but last year the Metropolitan Police set up Operation Cayacos to investigate claims that Righton was part of an establishment paedophile network.

Claims have been made that Righton was connected to Cyril Smith, the late Liberal MP now exposed as a paedophile. Smith is known to have visited the Elm Guest House in London. Following claims that politicians and others abused boys in care at the Elm Guest House, the Met launched Operation Fernbridge. The late Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, a Conservative MP and solicitor-general for Scotland, has also been linked to the Elm Guest House.

Righton worked in a children’s home and was a lecturer in child protection and residential care. He was director of education at the National Institute for Social Work, and a consultant to the National Children’s Bureau. However, he is also now seen as one of the most determined and well-connected paedophile offenders in British criminal history.

The inquiry into Larchgrove ended in March 1973, when Righton was in his mid-40s. It came just a few years after Righton advised the Home Office on changes to the ­residential childcare system. As part of his research, Righton is alleged to have travelled extensively to carehomes across the UK.

There are claims he also visited Bryn Estyn approved school in Wrexham in Wales. Bryn Estyn was later at the centre of an abuse scandal which saw 140 former residents claim they were abused from 1974-84. An official report described “appalling” abuse, and former housemaster Peter Howarth was jailed for 10 years for sexually abusing boys as young as 12.

Peter McKelvie, a former head of child protection in England who helped convict Righton, told the Sunday Herald: “It is for me a no-brainer that Righton’s 1973 Larchgrove inquiry has to be declared null and void for many reasons and a new inquiry needs to be requested which should take an in-depth look at who recommended Righton and appointed him.

“A new investigation must be sought and former residents of Larchgrove pre-1973 be encouraged to come forward.”

Frank Doherty, founder of the Scottish charity Incas – In Care Abuse Survivors – yesterday also called for a new inquiry. Doherty was a resident at Larchgrove in the late 1960s and was subjected to regular physical abuse and violence.

He said Righton’s role leading the Larchgrove inquiry was “disgraceful”, adding that as well as a fresh inquiry into the care home, the Scottish Government should also institute a wide-ranging public inquiry into abuse, equivalent to Northern Ireland’s Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse.

“There has been too much cover-up and protection of those in high places,” Doherty said.

“We [Incas] have been calling for a public inquiry, similar to the one now going on in Northern Ireland, for the last 15 years. The Scottish Government is doing nothing to help us.”

The Larchgrove inquiry was conducted by Ronald Bennett QC, Sheriff of Berwickshire, and Righton. They were appointed by Glasgow council to investigate allegations made by a former supervisor, Francis Corrigan, at the carehome. Their report stated: “We do not find that the staff at Larchgrove pursued a course of systematic violence or harshness towards the boys in their charge.”

Some of the complaints of ill-treatment brought by the staff whistleblower were described as trivial, exaggerated and showing undue sensitivity. The report went on to praise staff for devotion to duty under “stress-producing conditions”.

Larchgrove was formerly known as a remand home for boys aged 11 and up who had appeared before a Children’s Panel or Sheriff Court.

The decision not to go for criminal proceedings in the Larchgrove case was taken in a statement issued on March 21, 1973 by Stanley Bowen, Crown Agent for Scotland, with the authority of Norman Wylie QC, the Lord Advocate – who was also a Conservative MP in Edinburgh. The statement said that the required standard of evidence was not available to justify criminal proceedings.

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said yesterday: “It’s understandable that people might have concerns. We are attempting to recover the report of the investigation and any surviving paperwork. While we will look afresh at any evidence of how the investigation was carried out, anyone who wishes to make an allegation of criminality should contact Police Scotland in the first instance.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “In terms of in-care historic abuse, independent inquiries in 2007 and 2009 explored how such abuses happened and addressed the particular challenges faced by the care system in Scotland.

“This systemic review and legislation on the management, cataloguing and retention of records delivered major improvements in the protection of young people in care. The Scottish Government will consider what further action is required in advance of our response to the Interaction Action Plan Recommendations in the autumn.

“We have also set up the National Confidential Forum which allows those who were placed in institutional care as children to recount their experiences of being in care in a confidential, non-judgmental and supportive setting.”


GRAPHIC: Peter Righton, below, one of Britain’s leading care workers while living a double life as a paedophile, led an investigation into allegations of cruelty at Larchgrove in Glasgow, left, in the 1970s 

Scotland on Sunday, November 9th, 2014
Tom Peterkin, ‘Behind the scenes bid to mount child abuse inquiry for Scotland’

A PLAN to hold public inquiry into historical child abuse in Scotland is being prepared by the Scottish Government, Scotland on Sunday has learned.

Ministers are looking at establishing a high-profile investigation into allegations of abuse carried out in care homes, educational institutions, by religious orders and by high-profile members of the Scottish establishment.

Discussions are taking place about the remit and timing of an inquiry, which would look at the allegations and how they were handled by the authorities at the time.

This week the education secretary, Michael Russell, will address Holyrood on child protection and will mention the issue of historical abuse in Scotland. His statement on Tuesday is not expected to include an official announcement of a public inquiry – an omission that will dismay abuse survivors who have been campaigning for years for such an investigation.

However, Scotland on Sunday understands that ministers and officials are working behind the scenes to set up a historical abuse inquiry in the coming months.

More work needs to be done to establish the precise nature of the inquiry and ministers are deliberating in order to avoid the problems that have plagued a similar investigation south of the Border.

Last week, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, apologised over the failure of a UK Government inquiry into child abuse to find a suitable chairperson.

Her apology came after May’s second nominated chairperson, Fiona Woolf, stood down because of her links to Lord Brittan, the Tory politician who was home secretary when some of the alleged abuse took place.

Woolf’s departure followed the resignation of Baroness Butler-Sloss, who resigned because of a conflict of interests arising from her brother Sir Michael Havers’s position as attorney general during the 1980s.

In Scotland, allegations of historical abuse have been made by former pupils at the Roman Catholic Fort Augustus School on the banks of Loch Ness. Hundreds of children are said to have been abused at Nazareth House in Aberdeen. Allegations of cruelty have also been made by those who were at Larchgrove boys home in Glasgow.

The inquiry is also expected to examine allegations involving the late Conservative MP Nicholas Fairbairn and a prominent member of the legal establishment, Robert Henderson QC.

This summer Henderson’s daughter Susie waived her anonymity to allege she had been assaulted by her father and Fairbairn, both of whom are now dead, from the age of four.

She said they were members of an organised paedophile ring which abused her in her family’s Georgian house in Edinburgh’s New Town and other locations. Fairbairn, a QC and former solicitor-general, has already been linked to the Elm Guest House in London – a gay brothel alleged to have hosted parties where vulnerable young boys had sex with influential people, which is now the subject of a police investigation named Operation Fernbridge.

Henderson was at the heart of the so-called Magic Circle scandal which emerged in 1989 and centred around rumours that a network of homosexual lawyers and judges in Scotland were conspiring to “go easy” on gay criminals. The rumours led to Fettesgate – where a 1992 police report into the claims was stolen from Edinburgh’s police headquarters – and ultimately led to an inquiry by William Nimmo Smith QC the following year, which dismissed claims of a conspiracy.

The Nimmo Smith report also took in concerns over Operation Planet, an investigation into a 16-year-old boy on leave from a children’s home who was drugged and raped by a group of men at an address in Edinburgh.

It is expected to be a matter of months before the Scottish Government makes the final decision on what form any inquiry will take.

Last night campaigners for an inquiry gave a cautious welcome to the prospect of an investigation, but remained impatient that it was taking so long. Frank Doherty, the founder of of INCAS (In Care Abuse Survivors) said: “We have been begging for a public inquiry for 15 years, but all the government has been doing is stalling, stalling.

“It was the government which put us in these places and when you have been fighting for this as long as I have, you can get a bit cynical. Don’t get me wrong. I would love to see a public inquiry, but we are still waiting.”

Doherty, who was abused in Larchgrove in the 1950s, added: “Everything has been covered up by the establishment – these paedophile rings came from the top of the tree.”

Graeme Pearson, the Labour justice spokesman who has been campaigning for an inquiry, said: “I think the pressure has become so significant and events elsewhere in the UK means that this needs to be done to clear the air. I just don’t know why the government has been dallying so long.”

Russell’s statement on Tuesday will focus on child sexual exploitation. The statement follows a warning from Annette Bruton, chief executive of the Care Inspectorate, that it would be a “serious mistake” to assume that Scotland is immune from the exploitation seen in Rotherham.

The Telegraph, November 11th, 2014
David Barrett, ‘How the child sex abuse review searched for key names; Pages buried at the back of the Home Office inquiry into handling of child sex abuse allegations reveal how it looked for references to a series of political figures’

Home Office staff were instructed to search their databases for information about paedophile allegations as part of the review by Peter Wanless.

Civil servants were handed a list of search terms including “homosexual”, “under age” and “indecent”.

But they were also given a list of key names who were either major political figures of the day or who have since been linked with sex crime allegations.

Top of the list was Cyril Smith, the Rochdale Liberal MP since exposed as a paedophile.

His name was followed by Leon Brittan, the home secretary of the day, now Lord Brittan of Spennithorne.

Also on the list of names to be searched for was Greville Janner, now Lord Janner, whose home was searched by police last year in connection with an investigation into historic child sex abuse allegations.

It also included Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, the late solicitor general for Scotland who a woman claimed earlier this year raped her when she was four years old.

David Atkinson, the late Tory MP, was also on the list of terms.

His son Anthony said earlier this year that he believed his father was a “prolific sexual predator” whose name may have featured in the dossier compiled by Geoffrey Dickens MP, whose work helped to trigger the current investigations even though he died in 1995.

The review by Peter Wanless, head of the NSPCC, and Richard Whittam QC also requested searches for names of a number of members of the highly controversial Paedophile Information Exchange group, including its former chairman Steven Adrian Smith .

The Herald, November 15th, 2014
Ellen Thomas, ‘Historic abuse probe: Police investigate possible murder’

Detectives examining allegations of historic sex abuse with links to government have launched a new investigation into “possible homicide”.

Scotland Yard said Operation Midland was started after officers working on Operation Fairbank, which is looking into claims of “serious non-recent sexual abuse”, were given information about alleged murders.

A spokesman said: “Our inquiries into this, over subsequent weeks, have revealed further information regarding possible ­homicide. Based on our current knowledge, this is the first time that this specific information has been passed to the Met.”

The BBC quoted a man who, it claimed, has told police investigating the alleged abuse that “former senior military and political figures”, as well as “law enforcement”, were involved.

According to the broadcaster, the witness, now in his 40s, claimed the group had access to 15 to 20 youngsters.

The man, speaking anonymously, said: “It started with my father. It started with quite severe physical abuse, quickly turning into sexual as well.

“Within a very short space of time he had handed me over, or whatever you want to call it, to the group. They controlled my life for the next nine years.

“They created fear that penetrated every part of me. That was part of my life, day in and day out. You didn’t question what they wanted, you didn’t hesitate to do what they asked you to do.

“You did what you were told without question or the punishments were very severe. They had no hesitation in doing what they wanted to do.

“Some of them were quite open about who they were. They had no fear at all of being caught, it didn’t even cross their mind. They could do anything they wanted without question and we were told that.

“I’ve never experienced pain like it and I hope I never do again.”

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said that because the inquiry was at an early stage it would not appropriate to issue appeals or reveal more information.

Detectives from the Metropolitan Police child abuse investigation command are working closely with colleagues in homicide and major crime units under the name of Operation Midland.

Operation Fairbank was launched in response to information passed on by MP Tom Watson, who used Prime Minister’s Questions in 2012 to air claims that there was a paedophile ring with links to No 10.

Mr Watson used parliamentary privilege to allege that a file of evidence used to convict Peter Righton of importing child pornography in 1992 contained “clear intelligence” of a sex-abuse gang.

He wrote to Scotland Yard, which has since spawned two more inquiries from Fairbank – Fernbridge, which is looking at claims linked to the Elm Guest House in Barnes, south west London, in the 1980s, and Cayacos.

Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, the controversial former Solicitor General for Scotland, has been linked to the scandal after claims emerged that the former Tory MP, who died in 1995 aged 61, may have visited the guest house.

In August, Scotland Yard said it had tripled the number of officers investigating the allegations of sex abuse in the wake of the claims of a Westminster cover-up.

The anonymous witness quoted by the BBC urged people to come forward with information.

He said: “Anyone who knew anything, it’s important they come forward too. They need to find the strength that we as survivors have done.

“If they have any suspicions, if they have any concerns, if they know they were part of it, they need to come forward and share what they know.”


GRAPHIC: Tom Watson: Parliamentary privilege allowed him to air claims.

 

Scotsman, November 17th, 2014
Claire Mckim, ’13 cases of child sex abuse every day in Scotland’

Child protection officers in Scotland are being presented with up to 13 new child sex abuse cases every day, it has emerged.

New figures reveal that between 2011 and September this year, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre passed on 10,434 cases of child sexual exploitation to police officers in Scotland to investigate.

At its peak during 2013, evidence of sex crime, including online abuse, was being handed to police in Scotland at a rate of 13 cases a day.

The statistics have been labelled “grave” and “extremely worrying” by experts.

The revelations come just days after education minister Mike Russell MSP announced taxi drivers, hotel staff and other night workers are to be issued with guidance on how to spot child sex abuse.

The Scottish Government is preparing to launch a public inquiry following the publication of a report by the charity Children in Scotland, which warned the country lacks a “confident and competent workforce for protecting children”.

Figures uncovered through a Westminster parliamentary question revealed that, during 2011, more than 1,100 leads were passed to UK police forces, which increased to 1,927 in 2012.

In 2013, that soared to 4,875. There have been 2,519 cases in the first nine months of 2014.

Lucy Morton, manager of the NSPCC’s Glasgow service centre, said: “The large number of children at risk of sexual exploitation is a matter of grave concern.

“Children who are abused or sexually exploited need to be listened to, believed and supported.”

Last month, Police Scotland announced the setting up of a National Child Abuse Investigation Unit to improve specialist intelligence-gathering and co-ordinate investigations.

Brian Docherty, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, warned that the volume of work faced by the unit may have a negative impact on frontline policing.

He said: “Resources have to come from somewhere and if that’s going to have to come from 24/7 response police, it is a concern for all of us.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Lesley Boal, head of public protection for Police Scotland’s Specialist Crime Division, said: “The National Child Abuse Investigation Unit will deliver an enhanced specialist response that will support our 14 local policing divisions.”

In Scotland, allegations of historical abuse have been made by former care home residents from Nazareth House in Aberdeen, Roman Catholic Fort Augustus School on the banks of Loch Ness and Larchgrove boys home in Glasgow.

A 2007 report, by Tom Shaw, a former chief inspector of education and training in Northern Ireland, estimated around 1,000 children were abused in Scots care homes from 1950 to 1995.

The inquiry is also expected to examine allegations involving the late Conservative MP, Nicholas Fairbairn.

 

Scottish Express, November 17th, 2014
Siobhan McFadyen, ‘Police flooded by child sex abuse allegations’

AS MANY as 400 child sex abuse cases are reported to Police Scotland each month, it was revealed yesterday.

Now campaigners are warning the number of children at risk is of “grave concern”, as shock new figures reveal the true extent of sexual exploitation and internet sex crime involving minors.

Between 2011 and September 2014, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre con-firmed it reported 10,434 cases of suspected child sex abuse to authorities.

Investigation In 2012, the number of individual leads passed on to police was 1,927.

That had increased to 4,875 in the following year.

In the first nine months of 2014, 2519 cases were notified to each of Scotland’s 14 local policing divisions.

Lucy Morton, manager of the NSPCC’s Glasgow service centre, is worried about the rise in the amount of reported cases, insisting more has to be done to take children’s complaints seriously.

She said: “The large number of children at risk of sexual exploitation is a matter of grave concern.

“Children who are abused or sexually exploited need to be listened to, believed and supported.” The Scottish Government is getting ready to launch a far-reaching inquiry into sexual exploitation following a report published by the charity Children in Scotland.

It concluded that the country lacks a “confident and competent workforce for protecting children”.

The investigation, which is yet to find a chairman, is expected to look into allegations of historical abuse at the former Roman Catholic Fort Augustus School on the banks of Loch Ness, Nazareth House in Aberdeen, and Larchgrove boys’ home in Glasgow. The inquiry will also turn its attention to allegations involving the Conservative MP, and one time solicitor-general for Scotland, Nicholas Fairbairn, who died in 1995.

But there are fears not enough resources will be available to help police stem the problem.

Last month, Police Scotland announced it is setting up a National Child Abuse Investigation Unit to gather expert intelligence.

But Brian Docherty, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, warned the sheer numbers facing the special task force could have a serious impact on frontline services.

He said: “Resources have to come from somewhere and if that’s going to have to come from 24/7 response police, it is a concern for all of us.”

However, Detective Chief Superintendent Lesley Boal, public protection lead for Police Scotland’s Specialist Crime Division, insisted the new unit will protect vulnerable youngsters.

Priority “The National Child Abuse Investigation Unit (NCAIU) will deliver an enhanced specialist response that will support our 14 local policing divisions and interagency child protection structures by providing dedicated specialist investigative resources who will lead and/or provide assistance during child abuse investigations.

“Protecting children is a priority and the NCAIU will play a critical role in helping us achieve that,” she said.

Scottish Daily Mail, November 20th, 2014
Graham Grant, ‘POLICE PROBE ‘MAGIC CIRCLE’ CHILD SEX RING; Second victim comes forward as 10 officers investigate paedophile abuse allegations involving Scottish MP and leading legal figures Police to quiz three more in Fairbairn abuse claims’

POLICE are investigating claims of a paedophile ring that included a former senior ally of Margaret Thatcher, after a second victim came forward with fresh allegations.

As the Scottish Daily Mail revealed earlier this year, Susie Henderson claims she was raped by the late Tory MP Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, an ex-Solicitor General, when she was just four.

Miss Henderson is the daughter of Fairbairn’s friend Robert Henderson, QC, who she says also systematically abused her when she was a child.

As a result of our disclosures, a major Police Scotland investigation comprising a team of ten detectives has been set up, and the Mail has learned a second victim has come forward following Miss Henderson’s revelations.

It is also understood that detectives are considering serious allegations made against three living prominent lawyers as part of the inquiry.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Henderson was a pivotal figure in a major legal scandal when he claimed a so-called ‘magic One circle’ of judges, sheriffs and advocates were conspiring to ensure that homosexual criminals were given soft-touch treatment by the courts.

The latest disclosures come as the UK Government prepares to launch a public inquiry into historic child sexual abuse, heaping pressure on the Scottish Government to follow suit.

A source close to the probe said yesterday: ‘We’re talking about events mainly spanning a period from 44 to about 35 years ago.

‘There is not going to be any forensic evidence, and any other evidence that supports the allegations is going to be difficult to attribute to any individual.

‘That doesn’t mean that what is discovered might not form an important part of an inquiry and influence legislation in the future. The information will not be gathered only to be discarded.’ It is understood that Miss Henderson has identified at least three prominent Establishment figures who are still alive as being among her abusers. Detectives are gathering as much information as possible so the allegations can be put to them.

Following our revelations in August, Miss Henderson spoke to detectives and made a detailed statement about her childhood abuse.

The Mail has learned that a second victim made contact with the team a few weeks ago and has made a statement, understood to relate principally to Henderson. These allegations are also now under close scrutiny.

Last night Miss Henderson, who waived her anonymity to speak exclusively to the Mail, said that she would not be commenting upon any developments at this stage.

Police Scotland has not to date invited other victims to come forward, nor set up a dedicated contact point for anyone with relevant information. Anyone wishing to contact detectives is advised to call Police Scotland’s non-emergency 101 number.

The experience of police forces in England which dealt with the paedophilia allegations made against Jimmy Savile has influenced Police Scotland’s procedure.

A well-placed source confirmed that the Savile experience had highlighted the fact that even when a suspect was dead, it had been shown to be important to be receptive to the stories of other victims, should they emerge, and to investigate thoroughly any living accomplices.

It remains to be seen if any prosecutions will be launched in Scotland in relation to the Fairbairn and Henderson claims, but investigators are realistic about the difficulties they face.

Miss Henderson, 49, told the Mail she had been four when she was first raped by her father and by Fairbairn, and that her father had allowed Fairbairn to abuse his daughter and had been present at times when he sexually assaulted her.

She also recalled that her father, a former Tory parliamentary candidate as well as Scotland’s most flamboyant QC in the 1980s, had taken her to the homes of other friends and Establishment figures and had allowed them to sexually abuse her.

Fairbairn died in 1995 at the age of 61, while Henderson, who was never charged, died aged 75 in 2012.

Miss Henderson first made her allegations against Fairbairn and her father under the alias of Julie X in 2000 but after an abortive police investigation no charges were brought. The initial probe was halted after evidence was mislaid.

Fairbairn was Solicitor General for Scotland and MP for Kinross and Western Perthshire. He was praised by Mrs Thatcher for his ‘loyal support’ and became a close ally.

The allegations come after an official inquiry was ordered into claims of historic child sex abuse by a Westminster paedophile ring.

Miss Henderson’s allegations are likely to fuel calls for a similar inquiry by the Scottish Government, which has not been ruled out by ministers.

Last night Police Scotland confirmed that a ‘live investigation is ongoing’ but said ‘it would be inappropriate to comment further.’ A spokesman said: ‘Anyone with information on child sexual abuse is asked to contact Police Scotland through 101.’

WAS MY SON A PAEDOPHILE VICTIM?

A SCHOOLBOY murdered 33 years ago may have been abducted by a VIP paedophile ring which was covered up by police, his father claimed yesterday.

Retired magistrate Vishambar Mehrotra accused Scotland Yard of failing to investigate after a male prostitute told him his son Vishal, 8, had been taken to the notorious Elm Guest House which has been linked to child abuse.

Vishal vanished on his way home to Putney, South-West London, after a trip to watch the royal wedding celebrations in 1981. It was almost a year before his remains were found in a West Sussex woodland. Four months later, police raided Elm Guest House in Barnes. Mr Mehrotra, 69, told the Daily Telegraph how soon afterwards he was contacted by a young male prostitute.

Mr Mehrotra said: ‘He told me he believed Vishal may have been taken by paedophiles in the Elm Guest House. He talked about judges and politicians who were abusing little boys.

‘I recorded the whole 15-minute conversation and took it to police. But they just pooh-poohed it.’


‘A number of top public figures’ were protected from prosecution for child abuse images

Originally posted on spotlight:

Sunday People, 22nd March 1981

People220381aPeople220381bThe same issue of the Sunday People carried this editorial:

People220381The ‘Old Harrovian’ who ran the paedophile mailing list which included many prominent people is almost certainly John Risely-Prichard, who was exposed in 1994 by Roger Insall, one of the three journalists who wrote the 1981 article.

John Risely-Prichard

John Risely-Prichard

The full 1994 article on John Risely-Prichard can be found here

On 22nd March 1981, the same day as the Sunday People reported that public figures had escaped prosecution, the News of the World revealed that the Scotland Yard investigation into the Paedophile Information Exchange did not even ask the Royal Mail for permission to examine the post office boxes of PIE members.

NOTW22381

Paedophiles hadn’t always been protected from investigation and prosecution. A 1978 investigation which centred on a magazine called Mailbox Boys resulted in dozens of successful prosecutions. This was a mainly London-based network which…

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Geoff Baker on El Sistema: sexual and other abuse in an authoritarian, hierarchical, archaic music culture

I was privileged to chair an important paper by Dr Geoff Baker, Reader in Musicology and Ethnomusicology at Royal Holloway College, University of London, on Wednesday October 29th at my own institution, City University London. This was a penetrating and hard-hitting talk on the institution of El Sistema (Fundación del Estado para el Sistema Nacional de las Orquestas Juveniles e Infantiles de Venezuela, now renamed Fundacíon Musical Simón Bolívar), founded in 1975 in Venezuela by José Antonio Abreu, purportedly to provide access to musical education for impoverished children, and now a global organisation operative in 60 countries, with major branches in the US, UK and Portugal. Baker’s research, based upon fieldwork in Venezuela (consisting of observations, interviews and archival work), is some of the first to take a critical view of the institution (most other writing has simply reiterated the institution’s own propaganda in relatively unmediated form, a peril for musicology about which I wrote last year); he looked first at the dominant narratives presented by the acolytes, and set this against information about the political activities and machinations of Abreu, the founder, the relationship of the institution to banks and other financial institutions, its total adherence to some of the most authoritarian and cruel ‘disciplinary’ approaches to musical education rooted in nineteenth century Europe, the issues involved in holding a middle class European musical model up as the root to salvation (little Venezuelan or other South American music is played by El Sistema), and the ultra hierarchical structures the organisation embodies and perpetuates. Furthermore, he questioned the basis upon which the organisation’s claims to be helping poor children, drawing attention instead to the predominantly middle-class make-up of the institution and its showcase ensemble, the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, not to mention the rise of the leading conductor Gustavo Dudamel (b. 1981) at the behest of a socialist government, so that he could become the face of a Rolex watch advertising campaign.  Baker’s book El Sistema: Orchestrating Venezuela’s Youth (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014) has just been released in the US and will be released in the UK in January; he has also maintained an extensive blog on El Sistema for a while.

Earlier this week, Baker published a short article in The Guardian arguing cogently some of the above points (Geoff Baker, ‘El Sistema: A Model of Tyranny?’, The Guardian, November 11th, 2014) which brought of his research and conclusions to a wider audience for the first time. This immediately brought a great many reactions, many of them – by those emotionally or otherwise wedded to El Sistema – quite negative, which have been collected in various places (see Hannah Ellis-Petersen, ‘Venezuela’s El Sistema music scheme is ‘model of tyranny’, UK academic says’, The Guardian, November 11th, 2014; Norman Lebrecht, ‘Exposing the Underside of El Sistema’s Musical Revolution’, Slipped Disc, November 12th, 2014; ‘”El Sistema”: un modèle de tyrannie?’ France Musique, November 13th, 2014; ‘Gustavo Dudamel: “Estoy en evolucíon permanente”‘, El Universal, November 13th, 2014 ; ‘El Sistema se defiende ante acusaciones’, Ultimas Noticias, November 13th, 2014 ‘Sistema de Orquestas prepara una generacion avasallante. El director Dietrich Paredes revela que viene un lote de orquestas’, El Universal, November 14th, 2014Phil Miller, ‘Academic makes a noise over tuition row’, Herald Scotland, November 15th, 2014 ). Baker has himself posted some other responses on the blog.

I am expecting to receive my own copy of Orchestrating Venezuela’s Youth on Monday, so have not yet been able to read it in full. I write as one deeply sceptical about some branches of ethnomusicology, especially some of them involved with the study of institutions. Much research depending heavily upon results gathered through fieldwork, where sources remain anonymous, requires a good deal of faith on the part of the reader that the researcher is giving a fair representation, when it is difficult to test this against data. Having heard Baker’s paper and read his articles and blog, as well as having had quite extensive correspondence and exchanges with him over these subjects over an extended period, it is clear to me that this important research is poles apart from some of the hack work in this field of which I would be most critical (as with the lack of context, knowledge of or interest in the area of activity, or musical engagement of Georgina Born’s study of IRCAM or Hettie Malcolmson’s study of the BMIC New Voices scheme, amongst the poorest examples of the genre, or the pedestrian work of Kay Kaufman Shelamay on the Boston Early Music Movement, spending a good deal of time only to discover very elementary results). Baker’s work appears not to be about proving a polemical point with respect to a singular methodology to the exclusion of all others, nor a self-aggrandising assertion of the domination and superiority of the author over their subject in the manner of Born, but a piece of work far from easy to have undertaken, resulting from a process of research which led the author to seriously rethink his earlier benevolent or at least benign assumptions. This is not to say that I am unlikely to have some criticisms of the final work – in the below, for example, the conclusions (which may be quite tautological, as some of the authors, wishing to deny the validity of any sexual dimension to power, would define a sexual encounter involving a power imbalance – true of the vast majority of all possible encounters – as exploitative) cited of Catherine Donovan, Liz Kelly and others could do with more critical treatment rather than simply the ‘We know, because of…..’ approach to argument.

Nonetheless, this work is naturally of great interest to me as one involved in research into the nineteenth-century symphony orchestra and all its associated structures and ideologies, the history of musical education, and above all the potential for abuse in the latter. Baker is acute on locating specifically sexual abuse within the wider culture of the institution, about which I will write more on a later date. With this in mind, I am able for the first time to give a preview of some of the material (not mentioned in the City presentation but alluded to in the Guardian article) by Baker on sexual abuse within El Sistema. This is disturbing material which requires extensive investigation immediately, and in which I hope some journalists will take a wider interest.

SEX AND EL SISTEMA

Many stories that circulated privately concerned sex. This is hardly surprising given El Sistema’s age profile and orchestras’ reputation. Seminarios, which see large numbers of teenagers and young adults sent off on long residential courses, are notorious, and the reports that emerge sit uneasily with Abreu’s austere, moralistic discourse.

Less predictable and more problematic than the frequent tales of promiscuity and infidelity was the relative normality of sexual relationships between teachers and pupils. On my first day in the Veracruz núcleo I had lunch with a teacher and his rather young-looking pupil/girlfriend; the next time I saw her she was wearing her school uniform. Rodolfo, a longtime Sistema musician, described a culture of permissiveness at all levels of the organization. He reported three cases of teachers being caught having sex with pupils in teaching rooms at a Sistema institution. He described this scenario as an institutional rather than individual problem, the result of a culture of turning a blind eye.

Eva, another Sistema musician, felt that there was a widespread problem around sex. She named five prominent Sistema teachers who were alleged to have a particular inclination toward their female pupils. One Veracruz teacher was renowned for working his way through female students during seminarios. Two núcleo directors had dated school-age members of their orchestras.

Relationships between teachers and pupils (some under eighteen) are conducted openly; they are not even viewed askance, much less the object of sanctions. This may be a consequence of blurring the line between youth and adult orchestras. Yet Eva was concerned that such relationships were clouded by institutionalized imbalances of power: students’ career prospects are often in the hands of their teachers and directors, putting pressure on students to accept invitations or advances. Eva spoke from experience, having dated a teacher herself while a student.

The age of consent in Venezuela is sixteen, making most such relationships legal, but they would be illegal in some of the countries where El Sistema has been lauded and copied, and would be banned, taboo, or at least contentious in most countries because of the institutional connection and power imbalance between the parties. Sexual relations between teachers and students aged under eighteen have been illegal in the United Kingdom since 2001. Some music education institutions prohibit sexual relationships between faculty and students of whatever age, and the composer Michael Berkeley proposed a blanket ban on such relationships within U.K. music institutions (Higgins 2013).

Eva also reported an incident of group sex at a seminario, involving both teachers and students. Those responsible were caught and thrown out of the seminario, but they went back to their núcleos and carried on playing in their local orchestra and giving lessons to children. There are no criminal record checks on teachers, she claimed, and most sexual misdemeanors are brushed under the carpet.

Most disturbingly, a number of allegations of sexual abuse surfaced in my interviews. Two former Sistema students claimed to have been victims themselves, while a number of prominent individuals—including three founders, a senior journalist, and an institutional head—stated that they knew victims or had strong suspicions of abuse. Two teachers and two former students made similar claims. Several older musicians had heard rumors of abuse involving figures of authority, though most claimed to be unsure about their accuracy. One prominent Venezuelan musician said about allegations of sexual abuse: “I know some very serious individuals who claim this with certainty.” He went on, however: “It is something so horrendous that I prefer to forget about it.”

One ex-Sistema musician described the program as “like a chain of secrets and favors—like a secret society.” She claimed that stories of sexual abuse were widespread and that other young musicians regarded the trading of sexual favors as an unremarkable, even humorous, subculture within the orchestra. She mentioned so-called niños bonitos (pretty boys) appearing with brand-new, expensive instruments: “you think, there’s something more going on there than just talent.”

One established musician with whom I discussed these issues emailed me a few days later: “Now that we are on this strange aspect of our subject matter, I am getting commentaries from almost everyone I talk to, with exactly the same script. Molesting attempts, then departed from Sistema, kept the secret for years.” Four current or former Sistema musicians made allegations about the covering up of cases of sexual abuse. “These kinds of issues have always been managed with impressive stealth,” confided a founder. “It’s really difficult to prove the things that have happened because the network of complicity is very extensive.” He named several of his contemporaries, now senior figures in El Sistema: “Among ourselves, when we were adolescents, I heard comments from them that suggest that some things happened that were at the very least incorrect.”

There is no concrete evidence that these allegations or suspicions are true, for all that many come from seemingly reliable sources. It was impossible for me, a foreign musicologist, to assess their veracity, particularly since many related to events that had allegedly taken place years or decades earlier; but the regularity with which they surfaced in interviews, conversations, and Internet forums was striking. Whatever the reality, stories of sexual abuse circulate in and around El Sistema and form part of its belief system.

Nevertheless, my informants were unaware of any significant action being taken as a result. Allsup and Shieh (2012, 48) write: “At the heart of teaching others is the moral imperative to care. It is the imperative to perceive and act, and not look away.” The starting point for social justice is noticing and responding to injustice, they argue. Such attitudes seem to have been somewhat thin on the ground in El Sistema. Yet they would appear to be vital to a project that claims to connect disadvantaged young people and classical music, since it could be argued that the kinds of practices and relationships commonly found in classical music education create the perfect conditions for sexual abuse—a point raised repeatedly during a scandal that erupted recently around U.K. music schools and colleges.

SEXUAL ABUSE AND CLASSICAL MUSIC SCHOOLS

In 2013 thirty-nine current and former teachers at Chetham’s School of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) were investigated for alleged sexual abuse of pupils, with several other specialist music institutions also implicated (Pidd 2013). As former students began to speak out, it became increasingly clear that the problem had been endemic, especially in the 1970s and 1980s, though allegations spanned four decades. Former Chetham’s pupil Ian Pace (2013) was among those calling for a full public inquiry given the number of stories circulating in the music profession yet the reluctance of victims to come forward “in a close-knit world of classical music in which careers are dependent upon the whims of a few powerful individuals.”1

William Osborne, in a comment posted to Slipped Disc on February 17, 2013, pointed to the obstacles to uncovering this issue, helping to explain why decades may pass before such problems are properly investigated: “victims often do not find the understanding, confidence, and support to speak out until they are adults.” One obstacle is a lack of support structures; another is denial. In the words of Michal Kaznowski (2013), cellist of the Maggini Quartet and former pupil at the Yehudi Menuhin School: “if you had confronted me aged 15 and asked me about the school I would have told you it was a wonderful place with huge opportunity. [. . .] Almost nothing would have made me talk about the lessons and my humiliation and pain.” If many victims simply could not articulate their experiences, those few who did found their complaints were generally swept under the rug. Even when problems were common knowledge and reported, allegations were extremely hard to prove. It was thus very rare that anyone spelt out the problem in public or took significant action to confront it.

There is increasing recognition today not just that sexual abuse has been a widespread and longstanding problem within classical music educational insti- tutions, but also that there is a particular relationship between the abuse and the institutions. In other words, there is a systemic problem within classical music education, not simply a few rogue individuals or schools but a more generalized culture of abuse, manifested internationally. Tindall (2005) suggested that faculty-student sexual relations were part of the landscape of North American music schools in the 1970s and 1980s. Osborne provided a catalogue of more recent cases of sexual harassment and abuse from North American and European institutions and orchestras.2 Robert Fitzpatrick (2013), former dean of the Curtis Institute of Music, went much further, describing physical, psychological, and sexual abuse as endemic in European and North American conservatoires since the nineteenth century, yet, “[l]ike the Catholic Church, music schools tended to sweep their dirty little secrets under the rug. Students were never willing to discuss the improper actions of their instructors because of fear of reprisal that could sink their career as a performer.” Fitzpatrick’s own institution had been nicknamed the “Coitus Institute” in the 1930s. Among the soul searching, there were suggestions that abuse of one kind or another was an inherent feature of learning classical music.3

Several prominent musicians spoke out about the risks of intense, power- laden, one-to-one teacher-student relationships in hothouse musical environments. Vicci Wardman, a former teacher at the RNCM, described this relationship (Pidd, Ibbotson, and Carroll 2013): “Its very nature is intimate, detailed and precise, and most often conducted behind closed doors. [. . .] Tragically, that very structure can also be an invitation to the sort of predators who up to now have operated freely within musical institutions.” Martin Roscoe, another former RNCM teacher, identified classical music schools as high-risk places, pointing to the combination of one-on-one lessons, the idolization of top players, teenagers “with hormones going berserk,” and the music itself: “you are inevitably touching on the most passionate places of the soul with adolescents” (Higgins 2013b).

Researchers are beginning to respond to this issue and underline the need for serious examination. Gould (2009, 66) describes sexual harassment as “music education’s unspoken ‘dirty little secret,’” one that demands urgent attention. Bull (2012) confronts the “sexual economy” [that] shapes both the well-known phenomenon of sexual relationships between music teachers and students; and the now-emerging issue of child sexual exploitation and abuse that this relationship arguably facili- tates, with its privacy, intimacy and entrenched power imbalances. It is well established (e.g., by Catherine Donovan, Liz Kelly, and many others) that power imbalances (for example, age differences) between adults are a predictor for abusive or sexually exploitative relationships. I would argue that the combination in classical music pedagogy of intense musical experiences, intimate one-to-one lessons, and the authority of the teacher or conductor, is a perfect recipe in which sexual exploitation or abuse can occur, and so examining structures of power and authority in classical music institutions and practices is an urgent point of investigation.

Given the systemic nature of this problem, it is important to know what child protection measures El Sistema has in place. I could not make an official inquiry without jeopardizing my research, but Sistema musicians in Veracruz were unaware of any specific institutional measures. Many Sistema teachers receive little training of any kind, let alone child protection training targeted at preventing abuse. Nevertheless, there is a growing consensus that clear institutional strategies are essential to combating this problem, so establishing a rigorous and widely known child protection policy would surely be a wise move. Fitzpatrick (2013) gives a detailed list of suggestions for avoiding and dealing with cases of abuse, and in comments on his post, Osborne provides examples of programs and training that have been implemented in some European and North American institutions, such as clear sexual harassment policies, specifically assigned staff, and online reporting of complaints. Such developments reflect a shift in attitudes since the 1970s and 1980s—a shift that still seems to be waiting to happen in El Sistema.

The reports that I heard in Venezuela raised a number of fundamental issues. El Sistema’s disciplinary focus, production of power differences, male dominance, and opaque, autonomous institutional culture are ideologically problematic in themselves, but they also create the perfect conditions for abuse. The urgency of critiquing these dynamics is thus redoubled. As discussed in Chapter 3, progressive scholars of music education have been wary for some time about hallowed institutions such as specialist music schools, and their views have been borne out by recent events in the United Kingdom. Their argument that schools need to be put under the spotlight is irrefutable, and El Sistema is no exception, since reports of abuse (psychological as well as sexual) from Venezuela suggest that endemic, problematic features of classical music education are being reproduced rather than revolutionized in El Sistema.

The knottiest question of all, however, is whether intensive classical music education is the most suitable focus for a program centered on vulnerable children and youths. Power imbalances are at the core of sexual abuse, and they are as evident in El Sistema as in classical music institutions in other countries. Given the emerging evidence of an endemic culture of abuse in such institutions, putting vulnerable children in this situation looks like a high-risk strategy. Indeed, one ex-Sistema musician reported that his núcleo director tried to abuse him precisely when he, at that time a troubled adolescent with family and drug problems, went looking for help. Classical music education appears to be a problematic sphere, and adding at-risk youths may be creating a potentially volatile combination.

At present, the allegations and suspicions that circulate around El Sistema are no more than that. However, events in the United Kingdom illustrated that even world-renowned institutions had skeletons in their closets; that grave problems could take decades to become public knowledge; and that while these problems were discussed within musical circles, many students were nevertheless unaware of them. The fact that this problem has not emerged publicly in Venezuela does not therefore mean that it is insignificant there. Even stern, open critics of El Sistema told me that they would not touch the issue of sexual abuse, despite having heard about it, for the simple reason that conclusive evidence was too hard to come by. Also, the fear factor that Pace describes in the United Kingdom is even more pronounced in Venezuela: El Sistema’s dominance of the national classical music scene means that any public allegation would be tantamount to professional suicide. It may take careful research, then, to determine whether the silence hides personal troubles that ought to be turned into a public issue.


A Fortnight in the Life of the Overarching Child Sexual Abuse Inquiry. Where now?

Ian Pace:

An extremely comprehensive account of the last two weeks – essential reading.

Originally posted on cathyfox:

[If this message is here, I am still tinkering with a few links and corrections]

Much has happened in the last fortnight :

1. 2014 31 Oct Fri am First Meeting of survivors with the Home Office Secretariat

2. 2014 Oct 31 Fri pm The official resignation of the Chair,  Fiona Woolf

3. 2014 Nov 3 Mon. Statement by Fiona May in the House of Commons, reply by opposition and then questions.

4. Ian Mcfayens group, who are bringing the Judicial Review, including Andi Lavery and David Berrows Solicitor, and some others meet with Keith Vaz and Home Office Select Committee @CommonsHomeAffairs

5. 2014 Nov 7 Second meeting of survivors and representatives with Home Office Secretariat and panel members.

6. 2014 Nov 11 Home Affairs Select Committee with Peter Saunders, Alison Millar and Hilary Willmer

There is a need to review all that went on – with the appointment of…

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Students taking A and AS-Level Music – declining numbers

I would like to express immense thanks to my City University colleague Diana Salazar for compiling some of the figures below and drawing my attention to their sources.

The following tables provide figures for students taking A- and AS-Levels in Music, Music Technology, and proportions gaining particular grades, in the UK from 2009 to 2014. These are derived from several sources: this set of tables collated from the figures provided by the Joint Council for Qualifications, which however combine A and AS-Levels in Music and Music Technology into a single figure. Separation of numbers is enabled by subtraction of figures for Music Technology found at Edexcel, the only board to provide this subject.

There has thus been a 16.8% drop in A-Level Music applicants over this five-year period, a 25.6% drop in A-Level Music Technology applicants, and a net drop of 19.7%. The corresponding figures for AS-Level applicants are 8.0%, 13.1% and 9.7%; slightly less drastic but still very significant. There is a clear decline in the numbers of students taking these subjects, which has major implications in terms of future applicants to music degree courses. Unless this pattern changes, those degree courses requiring an A-Level in one or other of these subjects are certain to see a reductions in numbers.

The Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, earlier this week made a speech in which she urged young people to concentrate at school on taking STEM subjects rather than the arts and humanities , because of alleged lack of resulting employability (she does not appear to have read articles such as this which stress how employable music graduates are). This decline in those studying in music should, alas, warm Morgan’s heart.


Year
A2 Music
A*-U totals
A2 Music
A*-B
A2 Music, % of total A2 entries
A2 Music Technology
A*-U totals
A2 Music Technology
A*-B
A2 Music Tech, % of total A2 entries


2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
5849
5992
6451
6762
6687
7030
2680
2634
2785
2999
2974
3165
0.70
0.70
0.75
0.78
0.78
0.83
2526
2847
3044
3302
3282
3395
724
814
864
1012
976
964
0.30
0.33
0.35
0.38
0.37
0.40

 



Year

AS Music
A*-U totals

AS Music
A-B

AS Music, % of total A2 entries

AS Music Technology
A*-U totals

AS Music Technology
A-B

AS Music Tech, % of total AS entries


2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
8456
8600
8878
9654
8383
9194
3774
3896
3904
4212
3835
4042
0.60
0.64
0.66
0.68
0.70
0.78
3980
4455
4862
5598
5141
4579
1026
1241
1385
1523
1426
1068
0.28
0.33
0.36
0.40
0.43
0.41

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