People said to me: ‘Don’t you want to kill them?’ (4.4.2000)

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People said to me: ‘Don’t you want to kill them?’ – Interview

Times, The (London), 4th April, 2000
by Moira Petty

As a policeman Michael Hames hunted paedophiles. His work has redefined the way sex offenders are treated. Interview by Moira Petty

Day after day, Michael Hames had to harden his heart as he viewed the terrible evidence of sexual abuse against children. The former head of Scotland Yard’s Obscene Publications Branch (OPB )made it his remit to expose the “spider’s web” network of paedophilia which his work revealed as more sophisticated, covert and depraved than anyone had imagined.

“People always said to me, ‘Don’t you want to kill them?’ But you had to remain objective,” he says. Videos in which children were terrorised and tortured were seized by what was known colloquially as “the Dirty Squad”.

They were analysed frame by frame, each act of perversion noted down, as…

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