Peter Morrison – the child abuser protected by MI5, the Cabinet Secretary, and Margaret Thatcher – updated July 2015Posted: July 26, 2015
[With great thanks to @Snowfaked and @MySweetLandlord on Twitter for finding some extra pieces of information, especially relating to Morrison and Islay, and the picture of Thatcher, Morrison and Brittan]
In Edwina Currie’s diary entry for July 24th, 1990, she wrote the following:
One appointment in the recent reshuffle has attracted a lot of gossip and could be very dangerous: Peter Morrison has become the PM’s PPS. Now he’s what they call ‘a noted pederast’, with a liking for young boys; he admitted as much to Norman Tebbit when he became deputy chairman of the party, but added, ‘However, I’m very discreet’ – and he must be! She either knows and is taking a chance, or doesn’t; either way it is a really dumb move. Teresa Gorman told me this evening (in a taxi coming back from a drinks party at the BBC) that she inherited Morrison’s (woman) agent, who claimed to have been offered money to keep quiet about his activities. It scares me, as all the press know, and as we get closer to the election someone is going to make trouble, very close to her indeed. (Edwina Currie, Diaries 1987-1992 (London: Little, Brown, 2002), p. 195)
The agent in question was Frances Mowatt. A 192 search reveals that there is now a Frances Mowatt, aged 65+, living in Billericay in Essex, Teresa Gorman’s old constituency. She may be the same person who is a Local Authority Governor for St Peter’s Catholic Primary School in Billericay.
In 1982, a boy who would then have been around 14 (the same age as I was at the time) has given a vivid account of his experiences at the hands of Morrison (Bill Gardner, ‘Westminster paedophile ring: ‘I allowed my son to go with him. You trusted people more in those days”, Daily Telegraph, January 3rd, 2015). This boy encountered Morrison, dressed in a pin-striped suit in the village of Harting, West Sussex; Morrison told him his car had broken down, offered him money to help him start it, then invited the boy to his ‘nice big house in London for the weekend’. The boy said he couldn’t come, but gave Morrison his phone number when he asked, and then received repeated phone calls imploring him to come, eventually saying yes after refusing repeatedly. Morrison came down to Sussex with a driver, told the boy and his father he had homes in Chester and London, but not that he was an MP (he said he was a barrister). To the boy’s father’s great regret, he let him go; almost immediately on the journey, Morrison began to sexually assault the boy, who said:
He’d leave me alone for a little bit, and then he’d come at me again. . . . Before long, he had my trousers off. At one point we stopped for petrol, and I thought about running out of the car, but I realised the doors had some sort of child lock and I couldn’t get out. I was so frightened.
Matters got worse: Morrison gave beer and wine to the boy and then took him to a house, which the boy (now a man in his mid-40s) thinks was Elm Guest House. There were seven or eight men around the house, and Morrison took him upstairs, stripped him, and raped him for at least an hour; the man says ‘It was the most horrendous experience of my life.’ Morrison then told him they would be going to the sauna together, visiting a ‘party’, and he would be sleeping in Morrison’s bed later. The boy managed to sneak out of the house unseen, get back on a train to Harting, and tell his father what had happened. A local policeman was called, and the boy was taken to a police doctor, with medics telling the father afterwards that his son had ‘certainly been sexually abused’. Two detectives from Scotland Yard took a full statement from the boy, who soon afterwards received calls at home from various men in London asking where he was, which he attributed to Morrison panicking after he had disappeared. Nothing more happened until two Scotland Yard officers arrived on the family’s doorstep a year later, with the boy’s clothes in a bag, saying that the man in question had been convicted in a Chelsea court, had been imprisoned for two years, and nothing else was to worry about. Only years later did the victim recognise Morrison as a prominent MP in the Thatcher government. Operation Fairbank continue to investigate this story (Bill Gardner, ‘Thatcher confidant raped boy and police covered crime up’, Daily Telegraph, January 5th, 2015). The man now says that:
I believe that Morrison was a high-profile guy so he got away with it. Either the police were paid off or they hushed it up because he was an MP.
“I was never the same after what happened – he ruined my life really. I left school soon afterwards because I lost all my confidence. I couldn’t handle what had happened to me.
Scotland Yard, in January 2015, were unable to confirm whether Morrison had been investigated at the time (Rebecca Camber, ‘Tory MP who was Thatcher’s confidant ‘raped my 14-year-old son at paedophile guest house’, Daily Mail, January 4th, 2015). More ominously, it was revealed that the body of the murdered Vishal Mehortra was found in woodland in Rogate, less than two miles from Harting (‘Thatcher aide could be linked to body found in Rogate’, Midhurst and Petworth Observer, January 10th, 2015).
However, since then reports have alleged that Morrison was arrested twice for picking up men at the toilets at Piccadilly tube, taken to West End Central police station in Savile Row and let off with a caution each time (a second caution is very unusual); the Met are trying to track down officers who were involved with the arrests. There are also rumours of Morrison’s having been caught making similar approaches at toilets in Crew railway station in Cheshire. These have all led to a probe into police corruption and high-level cover-up (Nick Dorman, ‘Probe over claims Margaret Thatcher aide escaped prosecution because of Establishment links’, Sunday People, July 18th, 2015; Martin Beckford, ‘Met launch probe into Maggie aide and its own cover up’, Mail on Sunday, July 19th, 2015). A later report made clear that one of the offences for which Morrison was arrested involved a 15-year old boy (Matt Chorley, ‘Senior Westminster figures from 1970s and 1980s including former Home Secretary Leon Brittan named in government child abuse files’, Daily Mail, July 22nd, 2015).
The following are the recollections of Grahame Nicholls, who ran the Chester Trades Council (Morrison was the MP for Chester from 1974 to 1992), who wrote:
After the 1987 general election, around 1990, I attended a meeting of Chester Labour party where we were informed by the agent, Christine Russell, that Peter Morrison would not be standing in 1992. He had been caught in the toilets at Crewe station with a 15-year-old boy. A deal was struck between Labour, the local Tories, the local press and the police that if he stood down at the next election the matter would go no further. Chester finished up with Gyles Brandreth and Morrison walked away scot-free. I thought you might be interested. (cited in ‘Simon Hoggart’s week’, The Guardian, November 16th, 2012).
Former MP for Chester (1997-2010), Christine Russell
This week, it has emerged that previously undiscovered files exist on Morrison (and Leon Brittan, former Wokingham MP Sir William van Straubenzee, and others including a figure named only as ‘Vanessa the Undresser’) which are thought to relate to abuse, and were not seen by Peter Wanless and Richard Whittam QC when preparing their earlier report (a supplement has been published here) (Tom Parmenter, ‘Key Westminster Figures in Child Abuse Papers’, Sky News, July 23rd, 2015). A report in The Times has named Morrison as an MP about whom communications took place in November 1986 between the late Sir Antony Duff (1920-2000), then head of MI5, and Sir Robert Armstrong, then cabinet secretary. Two sources had approached senior officials with reports that Morrison had ‘a penchant for small boys’. He was questioned about these but the security services accepted his claims that the allegations were false (Daniel Martin, ‘Secret files ‘show MI5 let abuse claim MP off hook’: Security chief said the case would ’embarrass the Government”, Daily Mail, July 22nd, 2015). Duff concluded ‘The risks of political embarrassment to the Government is rather greater than the security danger’ (clearly the interests of the victims did not even filter into Duff and Armstrong’s calculations, as has been commented upon by many, including Wanless and a spokesperson for NSPCC) (Sean O’Neill and Gabriella Swerling, ‘Child abuse suspect was Thatcher aide’, The Times, July 24th, 2015 [see below]; Daniel Martin, ‘Secret files ‘show MI5 let abuse claim MP off the hook’: Security chief said the case would ’embarrass the Government’, Daily Mail, July 22nd, 2015; ‘Child abuse: PM Tells Police – No Limits’, Sky News, July 23rd, 2015; Joseph Watts, ”Child abuse’ files must give justice to victims, says NSPCC chief’, Evening Standard, July 23rd, 2015). Approached a few days ago by The Times, Armstrong had the following to say:
My official business was the protection of national security. I have to stress that there was nothing like evidence in this case. There was just a shadow of a rumour. It’s impossible to take investigative action on shadows of rumours. . . If there is some reason to think a crime has been committed, then people like the cabinet secretary are not to start poking their noses into it. It’s for the police to do that.
To the Mail, Armstrong (who would not name Morrison to them), said:
I thought MI5’s actions were correct at the time. I think they were right to report the rumour, they were right to make what inquiries they could and they were right to come to the conclusion they did. I think if there was evidence it would have been properly examined at the time. I don’t think this is a matter of important people being protected. You can’t pursue inquiries unless you have evidence on which you can base the enquiry. A shadow of a rumour is not enough.
He went on to say ‘I think he [Morrison] was interview but he denied it. It is not my position to name him’, and did not know if Thatcher was made aware of the MI5 decision, which drew a furious response from Rochdale MP and long-term campaigner against child abuse Simon Danczuk (Vanessa Allen, Claire Ellicott and Daniel Martin, ‘I won’t name child abuse MP; Fury as Mrs Thatcher’s Cabinet chief defends failure to act over senior Tory’, Daily Mail, July 24th, 2015). See also Armstrong’s non-committal response to questions sent to him by investigative journalist Tim Tate, and Tate’s own blog on this.
Armstrong, who once became notorious for using the phrase ‘economical with the truth’ when involved in trying to prevent the publication of Peter Wright’s Spycatcher (Sue Reid, ‘Mandarin who can’t help being economical with truth: Lord Armstrong at centre of accusations of child abuse cover-up’, Daily Mail, July 24th, 2015), also has past form in terms of his dismissive responses to the entreaties by pianist and whistleblower Martin Roscoe for the Royal Northern College of Music, of which Armstrong was the chair of the board of governors in 2002, not to employ violinist Malcolm Layfield as their Head of Strings, after his record of sexually exploiting girls at Chetham’s School (see Charlotte Higgins, ‘After Michael Brewer: the RNCM teacher’s story’, The Guardian, February 13th, 2013; ‘Correspondence over appointment of Malcolm Layfield at Royal Northern College of Music’, The Guardian, February 8th, 2013).
On top of everything else, the Labour MP John Mann published a series of important tweets: ‘In 1984 Geoffrey Dickens gave Leon Brittan as Home Secretary a further list of alleged paedophiles linked directly to Peter Morrison’; ‘What happened to the list of Peter Morrison linked paedophiles given to Home Secretary in 1984? And why was no action taken?’; ‘I have just met person who gave list of Peter Morrison linked paedophiles to Geoffrey Dickens. Astonishing developments and cover ups’; ‘The new list of Dickens names was entirely different to first. It was given to him precisely because of publicity about his initial action’ all of which suggests new dimensions to the files supplied by Dickens to then Home Secretary Leon Brittan.
Sir Peter Morrison (1944-1995) was known, according to an obituary by Patrick Cosgrove, as a right winger who disliked immigration, supported the return of capital punishment, and wished to introduce vouchers for education. He was from a privileged political family; his father, born John Morrison, became Lord Margadale, the squire of Fonthill, led the campaign to ensure Alec Douglas-Home became Prime Minister in 1963, and predicted Thatcher’s ultimate accession to the leadership (Sue Reid, ‘Did Maggie know her closest aide was preying on under-age boys?’, Daily Mail, July 12th, 2014, updated July 16th). The young Peter attended Eton College, then Keble College, Oxford. Entering the House of Commons in 1974 at the age of 29, during the first Thatcher government he occupied a series of non-cabinet ministerial positions, then became Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party in 1986, replacing Jeffrey Archer after his resignation, and working under Chairman Norman Tebbit. His sister, Dame Mary Morrison, became a lady-in-waiting to the Queen (Gyles Brandreth, ”I was abused by my choir master’: In a brave and haunting account, TV star and ex MP Gyles Brandreth reveals the years of abuse he endured at prep school’, Daily Mail, September 12th, 2014).
Morrison was close to Thatcher from when he entered Parliament (see Thatcher, The Downing Street Years (London: Harper Collins, 1993), p. 837), working for her 1975 leadership campaign and, after she became Prime Minister, putting her and Denis up for holiday in the 73 000 acre estate owned by his father in Islay, where games of charades were played (Jonathan Aitken, Margaret Thatcher: Power and Personality (London: Bloomsbury, 2013), pp. 158-160, 279-281); Thatcher stayed there after her 1979 election victory, together with Morrison and also Leon Brittan (see the image below of the three of them, from Tom Shields, ‘Mrs T weathers rainy day blues’; Glasgow Herald, August 17th, 1979; see also Michael White’s his obituary of Brittan on how he helped to ‘keep her entertained during her reluctantly taken holidays’; Michael White, ‘Leon Brittan: Thatcher’s protege turned scapegoat’, The Guardian, January 22nd, 2015) Lord Margadale had previously entertained Princess Alexandra, Harold Macmillan and Ted Heath there. Morrison himself said in 1979 that Thatcher likely knew the people of Islay better than any others, except for in her constituency of Finchley (Tom Shields, ‘Not even on Islay can Mrs Thatcher get away from it all’, Glasgow Herald, August 16th, 1979; Tom Shields, ‘Islay estate sacks half its workers’, Glasgow Herald, August 2nd, 1982).
After being appointed as Thatcher’s Parliamentary Private Secretary in 1990, Morrison ran what is generally believed to have been a complacent and lacklustre leadership campaign for her when she was challenged by Michael Heseltine; as is well-known, she did not gain enough votes to prevent a second ballot, and then resigned soon afterwards. Morrison was known to some others as ‘a toff’s toff’, who ‘made it very clear from the outset that he did not intend spending time talking to the plebs’ on the backbenches (Stephen Norris, Changing Trains: An Autobiography (London: Hutchinson, 1996), p. 149).
Jonathan Aitken, a close friend of Morrison’s, would later write the following about him:
I knew Peter Morrison as well as anyone in the House. We had been school friends. He was the best man at my wedding in St Margaret’s, Westminster. We shared many private and political confidences. So I knew the immense pressures he was facing at the time when he was suddenly overwhelmed with the greatest new burden imaginable – running the Prime Minister’s election campaign.
Sixteen years in the House of Commons had treated Peter badly. His health had deteriorated. He had an alcohol problem that made him ill, overweight and prone to take long afternoon naps. In the autumn of 1990 he became embroiled in a police investigation into aspects of his personal life. The allegations against him were never substantiated, and the inquiry was subsequently dropped. But at the time of the leadership election, Peter was worried, distracted and unable to concentrate. (Aitken, Margaret Thatcher, pp. 625-626).
An important article by Nick Davies published in The Guardian in April 1998, also made the following claim:
Fleet Street routinely nurtures a crop of untold stories about powerful abusers who have evaded justice. One such is Peter Morrison, formerly the MP for Chester and the deputy chairman of the Conservative Party. Ten years ago, Chris House, the veteran crime reporter for the Sunday Mirror, twice received tip-offs from police officers who said that Morrison had been caught cottaging in public toilets with underaged boys and had been released with a caution. A less powerful man, the officers complained, would have been charged with gross indecency or an offence against children.
At the time, Chris House confronted Morrison, who used libel laws to block publication of the story. Now, Morrison is dead and cannot sue. Police last week confirmed that he had been picked up twice and never brought to trial. They added that there appeared to be no trace of either incident in any of the official records. (Nick Davies, ‘The sheer scale of child sexual abuse in Britain’, The Guardian, April 1998).
Recently, the former editor of the Sunday Mirror, Paul Connew, has revealed how he was told in 1994 by House of the stories concerning Morrison. Connew has revealed that it was a police officer who was the source, dismayed by the lack of action after Morrison had been arrested for sexually molesting under-age boys; the officer revealed how Morrison had attempted to ‘pull rank’ by demanding to see the most senior officer, and announcing proudly who he was. All the paperwork relating to the arrest simply ‘disappeared’. Connew sent a reporter to confront Morrison at his Chester home, but Morrison dismissed the story and made legal threats, which the paper was not able to counter without naming their police source, which was impossible. The story ultimately died, though Connew was able to establish that in the senior echelons of Scotland Yard, Morrison’s arrest and proclivities were no secret; he had been arrested on multiple occasions in both Chester and London, always hushed up (Paul Connew, ‘Commentary: how paedophile Peter Morrison escaped exposure’, Exaro News, September 26th, 2014).
In an article in the Daily Mail published in October 2012, former Conservative MP and leader of the Welsh Tories Rod Richards claimed that Morrison (and another Tory grandee who has not been named) was connected to the terrible abuse scandals in Bryn Estyn and Bryn Alyn children’s homes, in the Wrexham area of North Wales, having seen documents which identified both politicians as frequent, unexplained visitors. Richards also claimed that William Hague, who was Secretary of State for Wales from 1995 to 1997, and who set up the North Wales Child Abuse inquiry, would have seen the files on Morrison, but sources close to Hague denied that he had seen any such material. A former resident of the Bryn Estyn care home testified to Channel 4 News, testified to seeing Morrison arrive there on five occasions, and may have driven off with a boy in his car (‘Exclusive: Eyewitness ‘saw Thatcher aide take boys to abuse”, Channel 4 News, November 6th, 2012; see also Reid, ‘Did Maggie know her closest aide was preying on under-age boys?’).
The owner of Bryn Alyn and other homes, John Allen, was sentenced to life in December 2014 for sexual abuse of 18 boys and one girl there (‘Children’s home boss John Allen jailed for life for campaign of sex abuse’, Daily Telegraph, December 1st, 2014), and was revealed to be a friend of Michael John Carroll, who was abusing children in homes in the London borough of Lambeth (Tom Pettifor and Elwyn Roberts, ‘Two notorious paedophiles at centre of nationwide network of abusers including Tory and Labour politicians, Daily Mirror, December 1st, 2014). The implications – that Morrison was connected not just to abuse in North Wales but also to a wider ring of abusers – are almost too horrifying to contemplate, but must be considered (see also my collection of reports on abuse in Lambeth, which I will update soon).
More stories and allegations have emerged about a Wrexham paedophile ring operative in the 1970s and 1980s, and trials are ongoing, so I will just link to a few articles about these (James Tozer, ‘Police probe into historic paedophile ring reveals 140 victims allege abuse by 84 people at 18 care homes across North Wales’, Daily Mail, April 29th, 2013; David Holmes, ‘Chester man alleges his child abuse claims were ignored for more than a decade’, The Chester Chronicle, December 3rd, 2014; Steven Morris, ‘Wrexham paedophile ring preyed on boys in north Wales, court told’, The Guardian, April 21st, 2015; ”Predatory’ paedophiles abused boys in Wrexham in the 1980s’, BBC News, April 21st, 2015; ‘Historic Predatory Paedophile Ring In Wrexham Convicted’, Wrexham.com, July 2nd, 2015; Steven Morris, ‘Five men found guilty of being members of ‘predatory paedophile ring”, The Guardian, July 3rd, 2015). As far as those who have been convicted is concerned, it is a matter of paramount importance to establish whether Morrison was acquainted with any of them. The 2000 Waterhouse Inquiry Report concluded that there was a paedophile ring operative in Chester and Wrexham (‘Waterhouse Inquiry: recommendations and conclusions’, The Telegraph, November 6th, 2012), thus linking North Wales abuse to Morrison’s own constituency.
Morrison’s successor as MP for Chester, Gyles Brandreth, told the press that he and his wife Michelle had been told on the doorstep repeatedly and emphatically that the MP was ‘a disgusting pervert’ (David Holmes, ‘Former Chester MP Peter Morrison implicated in child abuse inquiry’, Chester Chronicle, November 8th, 2012). This appeared in Brandreth’s book, Breaking the Code: Westminster Diaries (London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1999), p. 54, in the entry for September 12th, 1991 (taken from the entry ‘Brandreth on the child abuser Peter Morrison MP’, cathyfox blog, July 26th, 2015):
In a build-up to the launch of a new edition of Brandreth’s book (London: Biteback Publishing, 2014), which suggested major new revelations but delivered little, Brandreth merely added that when canvassing in 1991 ‘we were told that Morrison was a monster who interfered with children’, and added:
At the time, I don’t think I believed it. People do say terrible things without justification. Beyond the fact that his drinking made Morrison appear unprepossessing — central casting’s idea of what a toff paedophile might look like — no one was offering anything to substantiate their slurs.
At the time, I never heard anything untoward about Morrison from the police or from the local journalists — and I gossiped a good deal with them. Four years after stepping down, Peter Morrison was dead of a heart attack.
What did Mrs Thatcher know of his alleged dark side? When I talked to her about him, I felt she had the measure of the man. She knew he was homosexual, and she knew he was a drinker. She was fond of him, clearly, but told me that he had ruined himself through ‘self-indulgence’ — much as Reginald Maudling had done a generation earlier. (Brandreth, ”I was abused by my choir master’)
Brandreth did however crucially mention that William Hague had told him in 1996 that Morrison’s name might feature in connection with the inquiry into child abuse in North Wales, specifically in connection to Bryn Estyn, thus corroborating Rod Richard’s account, though Brandreth also pointed out that the Waterhouse report made no mention of Morrison (Brandreth, ”I was abused by my choir master’).
At present, William Hague (who retired from the Cabinet and Parliament quite suddenly, stepping down at the 2015 election, in circumstances which have never been fully explained) is expected to be heavily criticised in a forthcoming report on the North Wales abuse scandal, from the Macur inquiry, to which Rod Richards gave evidence (Glen Owen and Brendan Carlin, ‘Hague faces cover-up row over Thatcher ally’s link to care home abuse scandal: Former foreign secretary said to have been made aware of Sir Peter Morrison’s connections while working as Welsh secretary, Mail on Sunday, May 31st, 2015).
On top of all of this, Morrison’s name has surfaced in connection with another murder inquiry (as well as that of Vishal Mehortra), of Martin Allen, who disappeared on Bonfire Night 1979, and has never been found. Morrison was amongst those (together with Peter Hayman and Leon Brittan) who visited the cottage in Kensington of Allen’s father, who was chief chauffeur at the Australian High Commission (Don Hale, ‘Witness comes forward in Martin Allen case linked to Westminster paedophile ring’, Daily Star, April 12th, 2015).
The journalist Simon Heffer has also said that rumours about Morrison were circulating in Tory top ranks as early as 1988, whilst Tebbit has admitted hearing rumours ‘through unusual channels’, then confronting Morrison about them, which he denied (Reid, ‘Did Maggie know her closest aide was preying on under-age boys?’); Tebbit, who has suggested that a cover-up of high-level abuse by politicians is likely, now concedes that he had been ‘naive’ in believing Morrison, and rejected Currie’s account of Morrison having admitted his offences to him (James Lyons, ‘Norman Tebbit admits he heard rumours top Tory was paedophile a decade before truth revealed’, Daily Mirror, July 8th, 2014). In a recent interview, Tebbit has given a slightly different rendition of things, claiming that he had ‘heard stories that Peter had an unhealthy interest in young men but not that it was with underage children. I confronted him about this, he denied it flat’ (Marie Woolf, ‘Tebbit quizzed MP on sex claims’, The Sunday Times, July 26th, 2015). He also refused to say who had told him about Morrison, saying somewhat cryptically:
There was no official contact. I choose my words carefully. I will just say that I was made aware. I was not sent a file.
Furthermore, Tebbit claimed he had had ‘no reason to believe Downing Street was aware of the allegation’, and had not contacted Thatcher about it, nor pursued the matter with the police, as he assumed they had no evidence and would not press charges (which raises the question of whether it was the police who told him).
Other Tory politicians recall John Wakeham, Chief Whip from June 1983 to January 1987 (see Wakeham’s profile at parliament.uk) telling them, after coming to him with reports of Morrison’s cottaging skirmishes, ‘If someone brings me some evidence I can do something about it, if required’. Another Tory said ‘It never got out, but people said ‘they’ll never be able to do that for Peter again’ (Michael White, ‘Politicians regret complacency over alleged establishment child abuse’, The Guardian, March 17th, 2015).
The novelist Frederick Forsyth, on the other hand, described Morrison as someone ‘who should have been exposed many years ago’, as well as being a politically incompetent alcoholic; however, as far as his sexual offences were concerned, Forsyth claimed Thatcher ‘suspected nothing’ (Frederick Forsyth, ‘Debauched and dissolute fool’, The Express, July 18th, 2014). Later he called Morrison an ‘awful slut’ who was ‘now exposed at last as a ruthless boy-molester’ (Frederic Forsyth, ‘Mrs Thatcher should have chosen better’, Sunday Express, January 9th, 2015).
Recently, Thatcher’s bodyguard Barry Strevens has come forward to claim that he told Thatcher directly about allegations of Morrison holding sex parties at his house with underage boys (one aged 15), when told about this by a senior Cheshire Police Officer. (see Lynn Davidson, ‘Exclusive: Thatcher’s Bodyguard on Abuse Claims’, The Sun on Sunday, July 27th, 2014 (article reproduced in comments below); and Matt Chorley, ‘Barry Strevens says he told Iron Lady about rumours about Peter Morrison’, Mail on Sunday, July 27th, 2014; see also Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith, ‘Thatcher ‘was warned of Tory child sex party claims’’, The Independent, July 27th, 2014). Strevens claimed to have had a meeting with the PM and her PPS Archie Hamilton (now Baron Hamilton of Epsom), which he had requested immediately. Strevens had claimed this was right after the Jeffrey Archer scandal; Archer resigned in October 1986, whilst Hamilton was Thatcher’s PPS from 1987 to 1988. Strevens recalls Thatcher simply thanking him and that was the last he heard of it. He said:
I wouldn’t say she (Lady Thatcher) was naive but I would say she would not have thought people around her would be like that.
I am sure he would have given her assurances about the rumours as otherwise she wouldn’t have given him the job.
Strevens spoke again to the press in May 2015, to clarify further his account given in July 2014: he said that he had been told by a senior officer in Chester of rumours of under-aged boys attending sex parties at a home owned by Morrison. According to Strevens, Archie Hamilton ‘took notes and they thanked me’ (Hamilton recalls the officer being at Downing Street, but no mention of under-age boys), listened to him, and left it at that. Four years later, Thatcher recommended Morrison for a knighthood, which he received (Jonathan Corke, ‘Margaret Thatcher knew paedophile Tory’s sick secret but STILL secured him a knighthood; The former PM also recommended alleged abuser Leon Brittan and is claimed to have been aware of allegations about fellow knights Jimmy Savile and Cyril Smith’, Sunday People, May 9th, 2015)
Strevens with Thatcher
Danczuk, who says that he met someone who alleges that Morrison raped him, made clear that in his view ‘There is little doubt in my mind that Margaret Thatcher turned a blind eye to known paedophiles from Peter Morrison to Cyril Smith and the rest.’ (James Lyons and James Gillespie, ‘Thatcher ignored Smith Abuse’, The Sunday Times, March 8th, 2015).
The accounts by Nicholls and Strevens make clear that the allegations – concerning in one case a 15-year old boy – are more serious than said in a later rendition by Currie, which said merely that Morrison ‘had sex with 16-year-old boys when the age of consent was 21’ (cited in Andrew Sparrow, ‘Politics Live’, The Guardian, October 24th, 2012). A further allegation was made by Peter McKelvie, who led the investigation in 1992 into Peter Righton in an open letter to Peter Mandelson. A British Aerospace Trade Union Convenor had said one member had alleged that Morrison raped him, and he took this to the union’s National HQ, who put it to the Labour front bench. A Labour minister reported back to say that the Tory Front Bench had been approached. This was confirmed, according to McKelvie, by second and third sources, and also alleged that the conversations first took place at a 1993-94 Xmas Party hosted by the Welsh Parliamentary Labour Party. Mandelson has not yet replied.
In the 1997 election, Christine Russell herself displaced Brandreth and she served as Labour MP until 2010, when she was unseated by Conservative MP Stephen Mosely (see entry for ‘Christine Russell’ at politics.co.uk).
In 2013, following the publication of Hoggart’s article citing Nicholls, an online petition was put together calling for an inquiry, and submittted to then Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State Christopher Grayling. Russell denounced the ‘shoddy journalism’ of the Guardian piece, recalled rumours of Morrison’s preferences, but said there was no hint of illegal acts; she did not however rule out an agreement that Morrison should stand down (‘Campaigners ask for inquiry over ex-Chester MP’, Chester Chronicle, January 3rd, 2013).
Morrison is now widely believed to have been a central character in a network of high-level VIP abusers (see Keir Mudie, ‘VIP paedophile files: The sick web of high-powered and well-connected child abusers’, Sunday People, March 21st, 2015).
Further questions now need to be asked of Lord Tebbit, Teresa Gorman, Edwina Currie, William Hague and other senior Tories, and crucially of Frances Mowatt, not to mention Christine Russell and others in Chester Labour Party, of what was known and apparently covered-up about Morrison. Frances Maude (now Baron Maude of Horsham), the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, was PPS to Morrison from 1984-85 (see Maude’s biography at politics.co.uk), a crucial period, and also needs to be questioned on what he knew about his former boss’s activities. In March of this year, Maude, then Cabinet Minister, refused to make details of newly-found files public (Tom Parmenter, ‘Family Demands Names Of New Child Abuse Files’, Sky News, March 7th, 2015); it appears now that one of these files referred to his old boss Morrison. If money was involved in at least offers to Mowatt, as Currie alleges was told to her by Gorman, then the seriousness of the allegations is grave. In October 2014, Currie arrogantly and haughtily declared on Twitter:
@MaraudingWinger @DrTeckKhong @MailOnline I’ve been nicer than many deserve! But I take the consequences, & I do not hide behind anonymity.
@jackaranian @Sunnyclaribel @woodmouse1 I heard only tiny bits of gossip. The guy is dead, go pursue living perps. You’ll do more good
@woodmouse1 @jackaranian @Sunnyclaribel The present has its own demands. We learn from the past, we don’t get obsessive about it. Get real.
@ian_pace @woodmouse1 @jackaranian @Sunnyclaribel And there are abusers in action right now, while you chase famous dead men.
@ian_pace @woodmouse1 @jackaranian @Sunnyclaribel I’d rather police time be spent now on today’s criminals – detect, stop and jail them
@jackaranian @Sunnyclaribel @woodmouse1 Flattered that you think I know so much. Sorry but that’s not so. If you do, go to police
@ian_pace @woodmouse1 @jackaranian @Sunnyclaribel They want current crimes to be dealt with by police, too. And they may need other help.
@ian_pace @woodmouse1 @jackaranian @Sunnyclaribel Of course. But right now, youngsters are being hurt and abused. That matters.
Considering Currie also rubber-stamped the appointment of Jimmy Savile at Broadmoor (Rowena Mason, ‘Edwina Currie voices regrets over Jimmy Savile after inquiry criticism’, The Guardian, Thursday June 26th, 2014) and clearly knew information about Morrison, including claims of bribery of a political agent, known to at least one other MP (Gorman) as well as herself, it should not be surprising that she would want claims of abuse involving dead figures to be sidelined.
This story relates to political corruption at the highest level, with a senior politician near the top of his party involved in the abuse of children, and clear evidence that various others knew about this, but did nothing, and strong suggestions that politicians and police officers conspired to keep this covered up, even using hush money, in such a way which ensured that Morrison was free to keep abusing others until his death. This story must not be allowed to die this time round. The actions of Duff and Armstrong (and Thatcher) may have sealed the fate of further boys who Morrison went onto abuse. That is the highest dereliction of duty imaginable.
The Times, July 24th, 2015
Sean O’Neill and Gabriella Swerling, ‘Child abuse suspect was Thatcher aide’
A Whitehall investigation was carried out in the mid-1980s after two sources approached senior officials with reports that Morrison had “a penchant for small boys”.
MI5 officers questioned Morrison, the MP for Chester and deputy chairman of the party, and accepted his denials. It is understood that the allegations were not reported to police. Four years later, in July 1990, he was appointed Thatcher’s parliamentary private secretary (PPS).
Files recently uncovered at the Cabinet Office revealed a note about the incident sent in November 1986 by Sir Antony Duff, head of the Security Service, to Sir Robert Armstrong, the cabinet secretary. It said there was no threat to national security but the claims did carry “the risk of political embarrassment to the government”.
Sir Robert, 88 – now Lord Armstrong of Ilminster – said last night: “My official business was the protection of national security. I have to stress that there was nothing like evidence in this case. There was just a shadow of a rumour. It’s impossible to take investigative action on shadows of rumours.”
He added: “If there is some reason to think a crime has been committed, then people like the cabinet secretary are not to start poking their noses into it. It’s for the police to do that.”
Morrison, who died in 1995, had been a whip and a junior minister before he was made Thatcher’s PPS. His Times obituary said that he “had clearly reached his ministerial ceiling [in 1990] and it was an act of kindness on the prime minister’s part to appoint him as her new PPS”.
He held the job for four months until November 1990, when he mismanaged the party leadership contest that led to Thatcher’s resignation.
The documents referring to Morrison are in four miscellaneous files discovered by a Cabinet Office team this year.
Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, who led a review into lost Whitehall documents on abuse scandals, said that the Duff memo revealed that “child safety came a poor second to preserving reputations of individuals or government departments”.
Writing in The Times today, he says: “It is plainly obvious . . . those at the highest level who once strode the corridors of power were putting their fear of political embarrassment above the risks to children.”
The documents have been sent to the Goddard inquiry into child sexual abuse which formally opened this month.
Over on the Spotlight blog, a series of important articles have been posted on paedophilia in academia, focusing on the work of sociologist Ken Plummer at the University of Essex, Len Davis, formerly Lecturer in Social Work at Brunel University, and Donald J. West, Professor of Clinical Criminology at the University of Cambridge. There is much more to be written on the issue of the acceptance of and sometimes propaganda for paedophilia in academic contexts; I have earlier published on the pederastic scholarly writings of Clifford Hindley (formerly a senior civil servant at the Home Office alleged to have secured funding for the Paedophile Information Exchange), as well as the pro-paedophile views of leading feminist and Cambridge University Lecturer Germaine Greer. In several fields, including sociology, social work, classical studies, art history, music, literature and above all gender and sexuality studies, there is much to be read produced in a academic environment, and published by scholarly presses, which goes some way towards the legitimisation of paedophilia. In July, Andrew Gilligan published an article on this subject as continues to exist in some academic summer conferences (Andrew Gilligan, ‘Paedophilia is natural and normal for males’, Sunday Telegraph, July 6th, 2014), whilst Eileen Fairweather has written about how easily many in academia were taken in by the language and rhetoric of PIE, as they ‘adroitly hijacked the language of liberation’, presented themselves in opposition to ‘patriarchy’ and would brand critics homophobic (Eileen Fairweather, ‘We on the Left lacked the courage to be branded ‘homophobic’, so we just ignored it. I wish I hadn’t’, Telegraph, February 22nd, 2014). Back in 1998 Chris Brand, Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Edinburgh, was removed from his post after advocating that consensual paedophilia with an intelligent child was acceptable (see Alastair Dalton, ‘Brand loses job fight over views on child sex’ The Scotsman, March 25th, 1988, reproduced at the bottom of this), but such cases are rare.
I would never advocate censorship of this material or research of this type, but I believe it to be alarming how little critical attention this type of material appears to receive, perhaps still because it is taboo in certain circles to criticise anything which in particular attaches itself to the cause of gay rights (just as victims of female abusers, or researchers into the subject, find themselves under continual attack from some feminists who would prefer for such abuse to continue than for it to disturb their tidy ideologies – see my earlier post on child abuse and identity politics).
I have over a period of time been assembling information on what I would call a paedophile ‘canon’ of writings, many of them produced by academics, which use similar ideologies and rhetoric to attempt to normalise and legitimise paedophilia. Detail on this will have to wait until a later date; for now, I want to draw attention to some of the writings of Emeritus Professor of Sociology and University Director of Research at South Bank University Jeffrey Weeks, previously Executive Dean of Arts and Human Sciences and Dean of Humanities. Rarely has Weeks’ work been subject to critique of this type (one notable exception is Mary Macleod and Esther Saga, ‘A View from the Left: Child Sexual Abuse’, in Martin Loney, Robert Bocock, et al (eds), The State or the Market: Politics and Welfare in Contemporary Britain (London: Sage Books, 1991), pp. 103-110, though this is problematic in other respects).
Weeks was described in a hagiographic article from 2008 as ‘the most significant British intellectual working on sexuality to emerge from the radical sexual movements of the 1970s’ (Matthew Waites, ‘Jeffrey Weeks and the History of Sexuality’, History Workshop Journal, Vol. 69, No. 1 (2010), pp. 258-266), having been involved the early days of the Gay Liberation Front and their branch formed at the London School of Economics in 1970. He published first in Gay News, and was a founding member of the Gay Left collective; their ‘socialist journal’ included several pro-paedophile articles (all can be downloaded here – see in particular issues 7 and 8). Weeks’ first book, Socialism and the New Life: the Personal and Sexual Politics of Edward Carpenter and Havelock Ellis (London: Pluto Press, 1977) was co-authored with Sheila Rowbotham; Rowbotham wrote on Edward Carpenter, who was a key member of the ‘Uranian’ poets, who have been described as ‘the forerunners of PIE’; the volume completely ignored any of this.
In the preface to the paedophile volume The Betrayal of Youth: Radical Perspectives on Childhood Sexuality, Intergenerational Sex, and the Social Oppression of Children and Young People (London: CL Publications, 1986), editor Warren Middleton (aka John Parratt, former vice-chair of the Paedophile Information Exchange and editor of Understanding Paedophilia, who was later jailed for possession of indecent images), acknowledged Weeks gratefully alongside members of the PIE Executive Committee and others who had ‘read the typescripts, made useful suggestion, and, where necessary, grammatical corrections’.
Here I am reproducing passages from four of Weeks’ books, which should make his positions relatively clear. The first gives a highly sanitised view of the paedophile movements PAL and PIE, accepting completely at face value the idea that they were simply ‘a self-help focus for heterosexual as well as homosexual pedophiles, giving mutual support to one another, exchanging views and ideas and encouraging research’, whose ‘method was the classical liberal one of investigation and public debate’ (rather than a contact group for abusers and for sharing images of child abuse, as was well-known and documented by this stage), and more concerned about the tabloid reaction than about their victims. It is a lousy piece of scholarship as well, considering this is a revised edition from 1997 (the book was earlier published in 1977, 1980 and 1993); Weeks breaks one of the first principles of scholarship by shelving information which does not suit his a priori argument, thus saying nothing about the various members of PIE who had been convicted and imprisoned (or fled the country) for offences against children, including most of its leading members, claiming that the involvement of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality was due to its being ‘gratutiously dragged in’, ignoring the fact of their having made public statements of support at their 1974 conference (of which Weeks, at the centre of this movement, would have been well-aware). The second, on ‘intergenerational sex’ (an academic term used to make paedophilia sound more acceptable) is backed up by a range of references which is almost like a who’s who of paedophile advocates, many treated as if reliable scholarly sources rather than the child abuse propaganda they are. In common with many left-liberal writers on paedophilia, he does not endorse sex between adult men and young girls, but applies a very different set of standards when boys are concerned. The third passage is more subtle, appearing to distance Weeks from the view of J.Z. Eglinton and others, but again (drawing upon Brian Taylor’s contribution to the volume Perspectives on Paedophilia) ends up trying to make distinctions in such a way that some child abuse is made less serious. The fourth takes an angle familiar from Peter Righton and others; as abuse mostly takes place in the family, the risks from other types of paedophiles end up being little more than a moral panic.
Weeks’ minimisation of concern about sexual exploitation of boys, and concomitant greater sympathy with gay abusers than their victims, resonates with the view coming from the Labour Party at the moment, with the Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper determined to make child abuse purely an issue affecting girls. Furthermore, the Labour Deputy Leader Harriet Harman, as is now well-known, was involved at the centre of the National Council for Civil Liberties when they were closely linked to PIE (whose membership were overwhelmingly adult males looking to have sexual relations with boys). Under General Secretary Patricia Hewitt, NCCL submitted a document in 1976 to the Criminal Law Revision Committee, arguing amongst other things that ‘Childhood sexual experiences, willingly engaged in, with an adult result in no identifiable damage. The Criminal Law Revision Committee should be prepared to accept the evidence form follow-up research on child ‘victims’ which show that there is little subsequent effect after a child has been ‘molested’’, echoing PIE’s own submission on the subject. Harman was not involved with NCCL until two years later, but there is nothing to suggest policy changed during her time or she had any wish to change it, whilst during her tenure NCCL went on to advertise in PIE’s house journal Magpie, and had Nettie Pollard, PIE member No. 70, as their Gay and Lesbian Officer. This was the heyday of PIE, and the support of NCCL was a significant factor. Harman, quite incredibly, went on to make paedophile advocate Hewitt godmother to her sons. Cooper is of a different generation, but all her pronouncements suggest the same contemptuous attitude towards young boys, seeing them only as threats to girls and near-animals requiring of taming, rarely thinking about their needs nor treating them as the equally sensitive and vulnerable people they are; with this in mind, abuse of boys is an issue she almost never mentions. It is alarming to me that both Harman and Cooper have parented sons and yet appear to be entirely unwilling to accept that boys deserve equal love and respect, nor keen to confront the scale of organised institutional abuse of boys
Though considering the number of stories involving Labour figures alleged to have abused or colluded with the abuse of young boys (I think of the cases in Leicester, Lambeth, the relationship of senior Labour figures to PIE, not just Harman, her husband Dromey, and Hewitt, but also former leadership candidate Bryan Gould, who made clear his endorsement for the organisation (see also this BBC feature from earlier this year; the relationship of the late Jo Richardson to the organisation also warrants further investigation), not to mention the vast amount of organised abuse which was able to proceed unabated in Islington children’s homes when the council was led by Margaret Hodge, who incredibly was later appointed Children’s Minister, the allegations around former Speaker of the House of Commons George Thomas aka Lord Tonypandy, and some other members of the New Labour government who have been identified as linked to Operation Ore; and the support and protection afforded to Peter Righton by many on the liberal left), it is not surprising if the Labour frontbench want to make the sexual abuse of boys a secondary issue. This is unfortunately a common liberal-left view, and a reason to fear the consequences of some such people being in charge of children at all, whether as parents or in other roles. There are those who see young boys purely as a problem, little more than second-best girls, to be metaphorically beaten into shape, though always viewed as dangerous, substandard, and not to be trusted; this in itself is already a type of abuse, but such a view also makes it much easier to overlook the possibility their being sexually interfered with and anally raped (not to mention also being the victims of unprovoked violence) – the consequences are atrocious. Many young boys were sexually abused by members of the paedophile organisation that Harman, Hewitt, Dromey et al helped to legitimise (I am of a generation with many of the boys who appeared in sexualized pictures aged around 10 or under in the pages of Magpie; I was fortunate in avoiding some of their fate, others were not); it is right that they should never be allowed to forget this, and it thoroughly compromises their suitability for public office. The Labour Party and the liberal left in general, have a lot of work to do if they are not to be seen as primary advocates for and facilitators for boy rape. In no sense should this be seen as any type of attack on the fantastic work done by MPs such as Simon Danczuk, Tom Watson or John Mann, or many other non-politicians working in a similar manner; but the left needs rescuing from a middle-class liberal establishment who are so blinkered by ideology as to end up dehumanising and facilitating the sexual abuse of large numbers of people. Weeks, Plummer, West, Davies, Greer, Millett, Hindley, and others I will discuss on a later occasion such as Mary McIntosh, are all part of this tendency.
Jeffrey Weeks, Coming Out: Homosexual Politics in Britain from the Nineteenth Century to the Present, revised and updated edition (London & New York: Quartet Books, 1997)
‘Even more controversial and divisive was the question of pedophilia. Although the most emotive of issues, it was one which centrally and radically raised the issue of the meaning and implications of sexuality. But it also had the disadvantage for the gay movement that it threatened to confirm the persistent stereotype of the male homosexual as a ‘child molester’. As a result, the movement generally sought carefully to distance itself from the issue. Recognition of the centrality of childhood and the needs of children had been present in post-1968 radicalism, and had found its way into early GLF ideology. The GLF gave its usual generous support to the Schools Action Union, a militant organization of schoolchildren, backed the short-lived magazine Children’s Rights in 1972, campaigned against the prosecutions of Oz (for the schoolchildren’s issue) and the Little Red Schoolbook. But the latter, generally a harmless and useful manual for children, illustrated the difficulties of how to define sexual contact between adults and children in a non-emotive or moralistic way. In its section on this, the Little Red Schoolbook stressed, rightly, that rape or violence were rare in such contacts, but fell into the stereotyped reaction by talking of ‘child molesting’ and ‘dirty old men’: ‘they’re just men who have nobody to sleep with’; and ‘if you see or meet a man like this, don’t panic, go and tell your teacher or your parents about it’. 
But the issue of childhood sexuality and of pedophile relationships posed massive problems both of sexual theory and of social practice. If an encounter between child and adult was consensual and mutually pleasurable, in what way could or should it be deemed harmful? This led on to questions of what constituted harm, what was consent, at what age could a child consent, at what age should a child be regarded as free from parental control, by what criteria should an adult sexually attracted to children be judged responsible? These were real questions which had to be faced if any rational approach was to emerge, but too often they were swept aside in a tide of revulsion.
A number of organizations in and around the gay movement made some effort to confront these after 1972 on various levels. Parents Enquiry, established in South London in 1972 by Rose Robertson, attempted to cope with some of the problems of young homosexuals, particularly in their relationships with their parents. Her suburban middle-class respectability gave her a special cachet, and with a series of helpers she was able to help many young people to adjust to their situation by giving advice, holding informal gatherings, mediating with parents and the authorities.  More radical and controversial were two pedophile self-help organizations which appeared towards the end of 1974: PAL (originally standing for Pedophile Action for Liberation) and PIE (Pedophile Information Exchange). Their initial stimulus was the hostility they felt to be directed at their sexual predilections within the gay movement itself, but they both intended to act as a self-help focus for heterosexual as well as homosexual pedophiles, giving mutual support to one another, exchanging views and ideas and encouraging research. The sort of gut reaction such moves could provoke was illustrated by a Sunday People ‘exposé’ of PAL, significantly in the Spring Bank Holiday issue in 1975. It was headed ‘An Inquiry that will Shock every Mum and Dad’, and then, in its boldest type, ‘The Vilest Men in Britain’.  Despite the extreme hyperbole and efforts of the paper and of Members of Parliament, no criminal charges were brought, since no illegal deeds were proved. But it produced a scare reaction in parts of the gay movement, especially as CHE had been gratuitously dragged in by the newspaper.
Neither of the pedophile groups could say ‘do it’ as the gay liberation movement had done, because of the legal situation. Their most hopeful path lay in public education and in encouraging debate about the sexual issues involved. PIE led the way in this regard, engaging in polemics in various gay and non-gay journals, conducting questionnaires among its membership (about two hundred strong) and submitting evidence to the Criminal Law Revision Committee, which was investigating sexual offences.  PIE’s evidence, which advocated formal abolition of the age of consent while retaining non-criminal provisions to safeguard the interests of the child against violence, set the tone for its contribution. Although openly a grouping of men and women sexually attracted to children (and thus always under the threat of police investigation), the delicacy of its position dictated that its method was the classical liberal one of investigation and public debate. Significantly, the axes of the social taboo had shifted from homosexuality to conceptually disparate forms of sexual variation. For most homosexuals this was a massive relief, and little enthusiasm was demonstrated for new crusades on wider issues of sexuality. (pp. 225-227)
28. Sven Hansen and Jasper Jensen, The Little Red School-book, Stage 1, 1971, p. 103. See the ‘Appeal to Youth’ in Come Together, 8, published for the GLF Youth Rally, 28 August 1971.
29. See her speech to the CHE Morecambe Conference, quoted in Gay News, 21.
30. Sunday People, 25 May 1975. For the inevitable consequences of this type of unprincipled witchhunt, see South London Press, 30 May 1975: ‘Bricks hurled at “sex-ring” centre house’, describing an attack on one of the addresses named in the Sunday People article.
31. There is a brief note on PIE’s questionnaire in New Society, vol. 38, No. 736, 11 November 1976, p. 292 (‘Taboo Tabled’).
Jeffrey Weeks, Sexuality and its Discontents: Meanings, Myths & Modern Sexualities (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985).
Intergenerational sex and consent
If public sex constitutes one area of moral anxiety, another, greater, one, exists around intergenerational sex. Since at least the eighteenth century children’s sexuality has been conventionally defined as a taboo area, as childhood began to be more sharply demarcated as an age of innocence and purity to be guarded at all costs from adult corruption. Masturbation in particular became a major topic of moral anxiety, offering the curious spectacle of youthful sex being both denied and described, incited and suppressed. ‘Corruption of youth’ is an ancient charge, but it has developed a new resonance over the past couple of centuries. The real curiosity is that while the actuality is of largely adult male exploitation of young girls, often in and around the home, male homosexuals have frequently been seen as the chief corrupters, to the extent that in some rhetoric ‘homosexual’ and ‘child molesters’ are coequal terms. As late as the 1960s progressive texts on homosexuality were still preoccupied with demonstrating that homosexuals were not, by and large, interested in young people, and even in contemporary moral panics about assaults on children it still seems to be homosexual men who are investigated first. As Daniel Tsang has argued, ‘the age taboo is much more a proscription against gay behaviour than against heterosexual behaviour.’  Not surprisingly, given this typical association, homosexuality and intergenerational sex have been intimately linked in the current crisis over sexuality.
Alfred Kinsey was already noting the political pay-off in child-sex panics in the late 1940s. In Britain in the early 1960s Mrs Mary Whitehouse launched her campaigns to clean up TV, the prototype of later evangelical campaigns, on the grounds that children were at risk, and this achieved a strong resonance. Anita Bryant’s anti-gay campaign in Florida from 1976 was not accidentally called ‘Save Our Children, Inc.’. Since these pioneering efforts a series of moral panics have swept countries such as the USA, Canada, Britain and France, leading to police harassment of organisations, attacks on publications, arrests of prominent activists, show trials and imprisonments.  Each panic shows the typical profile, with the escalation through various stages of media and moral manipulation until the crisis is magically resolved by some symbolic action. The great ‘kiddie-porn’ panic in 1977 in the USA and Britain led to the enactment of legislation in some 35 American states and in Britain. The guardians of morality may have given up hope of changing adult behaviour, but they have made a sustained effort to protect our young, whether from promiscuous gays, lesbian parents or perverse pornographers. 
From the point of view of moral absolutism intergenerational sex poses no problem of interpretation. It is wrong because it breaches the innocence necessary for mature development. The English philosopher, Roger Scruton, suggested that we are disgusted by it ‘because we subscribe, in our hearts, to the value of innocence’. Prolonged innocence is the prerequisite to total surrender in adult love. Erotic love, he argues, arises from modesty, restraint and chastity. This means ‘we must not only foster those necessary virtues, but also silence those who teach the language which demeans them.’  So ‘intolerance’ is not only understandable but virtually necessary—there are no liberal concessions here.
Liberals and radicals on the other hand have found it more difficult to confront the subject. It does not easily fit into the rhetoric of rights—whose rights, and how are they to be expressed: the child’s, the adult’s? Nor can it be dealt with straightforwardly by the idea of consent. Kinsey argued that in a sense this was a non issue: there was no reason, except our exaggerated fear of sexuality, why a child should be disturbed at seeing the genitalia of others, or at being played with, and it was more likely to be adult reactions that upset the child than the sexual activity itself.  This has been echoed by the advocates of intergenerational sex themselves. David Thorstad of the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) argued that ‘if it feels good, and the boy wants it and enjoys it, then I fail to see why anyone besides the two persons involved should care.’ Tom O’Carroll, whose Paedophilia: The Radical Case is the most sustained advocacy of the subject, suggested that:
The usual mistake is to believe that sexual activity, especially for children, is so alarming and dangerous that participants need to have an absolute, total awareness of every conceivable ramification of taking part before they can be said to consent…there is no need whatever for a child to know ‘the consequences’ of engaging in harmless sex play, simply because it is exactly that: harmless. 
There are two powerful arguments against this. The first, put forward by many feminists, is that young people, especially young girls, do need protection from adult men in an exploitative and patriarchal society, whatever the utopian possibilities that might exist in a different society. The age of consent laws currently in operation may have degrees of absurdity about them (they vary from state to state, country to country, they differentially apply to girls and boys, and they are only selectively operated) but at least they provide a bottom line in the acceptance of appropriate behaviour. This suggests that the real debate should be about the appropriate minimum age for sex rather than doing away with the concept of consent altogether.  Secondly, there is the difficult and intricate problem of subjective meaning. The adult is fully aware of the sexual connotations of his actions because he (and it is usually he) lives in a world of heavily sexualised symbols and language. The young person does not. In a recent study of twenty-five boys engaged in homosexual paedophile relations the author, Theo Sandfort, found that ‘Potentially provocative acts which children make are not necessarily consciously intended to be sexual and are only interpreted by the older persons as having a sexual element.’  This indicates an inherent and inevitable structural imbalance in awareness of the situation. Against this, it might be argued that it is only the exalted cultural emphasis we place on sex that makes this an issue. That is undoubtedly true, but it does not remove the fact of that ascribed importance. We cannot unilaterally escape the grid of meaning that envelops us.
This is tactily accepted by paedophile activists themselves who have found it necessary to adopt one or other (and sometimes both) of two types of legitimation. The first, the ‘Greek love’, legitimation basically argues for the pedagogic value of adult-child relations, between males. It suggests—relying on a mythologised version of ancient Greek practices—that in the passage from childhood dependence to adult responsibilities the guidance, sexual and moral, of a caring man is invaluable. This position is obviously paternalistic and is also often antihomosexual; for it is not the gay nature of the relationship that is stressed, but the age divide and the usefulness of the experience for later heterosexual adjustment. The second legitimation relies on the facts of childhood sexuality. O’Carroll carefully assesses the evidence for the existence of childhood sex to argue for the oppressiveness of its denial.  But of course an ‘is’ does not necessarily make an ‘ought’, nor does the acceptance of childhood sex play inevitably mean the toleration of adult-child relations.
It is difficult to confront the issue rationally because of the series of myths that shroud the topic. But all the available evidence suggests that the stereotypes of intergenerational sex obscure a complex reality.  The adult is usually seen as ‘a dirty old man’, typically ‘a stranger’ to the assaulted child, as ‘sick’ or an ‘inhuman monster’. Little of this seems to be true, at least of those we might describe as the political paedophile. He is scarcely an ‘old man’ (the membership of the English Paedophile Information Exchange, PIE, varied in age from 20 to over 60, with most clustered between 35 and 40); he is more likely to be a professional person than the average member of the population (only 14 per cent of PIE members were blue collar workers); he is more often than not a friend or relation of the child; and to outward appearances is not a ‘special type of person’ but an apparently healthy and ordinary member of the community. His chief distinguishing characteristic is an intense, but often highly affectionate and even excessively sentimental, regard for young people. 
The sexual involvement itself is typically seen as being an assault on extremely young, usually pre-pubertal, people. The members of PIE, which generally is preoccupied with relations with pre-pubertal children, seem chiefly interested in boys between 12 and 14, though heterosexual paedophiles tended to be interested in girls between 8 and 10. This is less startling than the stereotype of babies barely out of the cradle being assaulted but poses nevertheless difficult questions about where protection and care ends and exploitation begins. Most members of NAMBLA, on the other hand, which has attracted obloquy in the USA as great as PIE has attracted in Britain, have a quite different profile. They appear to be chiefly interested in boys between 14 and 19. As Tom Reeves, a prominent spokesman for man/boy love, has put it:
My own sexuality is as little concerned with children, however, as it is with women. It is self-consciously homosexual, but it is directed at boys at that time in their lives when they cease to be children yet refuse to be men. 
Self-identified ‘boy-lovers’ like Reeves scarcely fit into any conceivable picture of a ‘child molester’. They carefully distinguish their own practices from sex between men and girls which ‘seems to be a reprehensible form of power tripping as it has been reported by women’; and stress the beneficial aspects for adult and young partners of the sexual relationship.
When the official age of consent in France is 15 for boys and girls in heterosexual and homosexual relations (compared to 16 for girls in Britain, and 21 for male homosexuals), and when in the 1890s Krafft-Ebing fixed on 14 for the dividing line between sexually mature and immature individuals,  the fear that NAMBLA is attempting a corruption of young people seems excessive.
The young people themselves are typically seen as innocent victims. Certainly, many children are cruelly assaulted by adults, but in relations involving self-identified paedophiles or ‘boy lovers’ there seems to be no evidence of either cruelty or violence. Sandfort found that in his sample the boys overwhelmingly experienced their sexual activities as positive. The most common evaluative terms used were ‘nice’, ‘happy’, ‘free’, ‘safe’, ‘satisfied’, and even ‘proud’ and ‘strong’; and only minimally were negative terms such as ‘angry’, ‘sad’, ‘lonely’ used. Even when these negative terms were used, it was largely because of the secrecy often necessary and the knowledge of hostile norms and reactions, not because of the sexual contact itself.  There is strong evidence that the trauma of public exposure and of parental and police involvement is often greater than the trauma of the sex itself. Moreover, many adult-child relations are initiated by the young person himself. A young member of NAMBLA was asked ‘You can be desperate for sex at 13?’ He replied, ‘Oh yes’.  Force seems to be very rare in such relations, and there is little evidence amongst self-declared paedophiles or ‘boy lovers’ of conscious exploitation of young people.
All this suggests that intergenerational sex is not a unitary category. Brian Taylor has distinguished eight possible categories which pinpoints the existence of ‘paedophilias’ rather than a single ‘paedophilia’. There are the conventional distinctions between ‘paedophiles’ (generally those interested in prepubertal sex partners), ‘pederasts’ (those interested in boys) and ‘ephobophiles’ (those interested in adolescents). But distinctions can also be made on gender of the older person or the younger person and along lines of homosexuality and heterosexuality. This variety suggests we need to be equally discrete in our responses.  There are three continuums of behaviour and attitude which interweave haphazardly. Firstly, there is a continuum of beliefs and attitudes, from the actual violent assaulter at one end to the political paedophile at the other. These can not readily be put in the same class for approval or disapproval. Most people brought before the courts for child abuse are heterosexual men who usually view their girl victims as substitutes for real women. Most activists who court publicity (and risk imprisonment themselves, as happened to Tom O’Carroll of PIE in 1981) have adopted a political identity, which sometimes does not coincide with their actual sexual desires (both NAMBLA and PIE had members interested in older teenagers) but is built around an exaggerated respect for children.  It is not obvious that all people involved in intergenerational sex should be treated in the same way by the law or public opinion if intentions or desires are very distinct.
A second continuum is of sexual practices. Some researchers have found coitus rare. It seems that the great majority of heterosexual paedophilia consists of ‘sex play’, such as looking, showing and fondling, and much homosexual involvement seems to be similar. Tom O’Carroll has suggested that these sexual distinctions should be codified, so that intercourse would be prohibited before a certain minimum age of twelve.  But bisecting these nuances, problematical in themselves, are two other crucial distinctions, between boy partners and girl, and between heterosexual and homosexual relations. There is a strong case for arguing that it is not the sex act in itself which needs to be evaluated, but its context. It is difficult to avoid the justice of the feminist argument that in our culture it is going to be very difficult for a relationship between a heterosexual man and a young girl to be anything but exploitative and threatening, whatever the sexual activity. It is the power asymmetry that has effect. There is still a power imbalance between an adult man and a young boy but it does not carry the socio-sexual implications that a heterosexual relation inevitably does. Should these different types of relation carry the same condemnation?
The third continuum covers the age of the young people involved. There is obviously a qualitative difference between a 3-year-old partner and a 14-year-old and it is difficult to see how any sexual order could ever ignore this (even the PIE proposals, which first sparked off the panic about paedophile cradle snatching in Britain, actually proposed a set of protections for very young children). ‘Sex before eight, or it’s too late’, the reputed slogan of the American René Guyon Society, founded in 1962 to promote intergenerational sex, is not likely to inspire widespread support, because it imposes sex as an imperative just as now our moral guardians would impose innocence. There is a strong case for finding non-legal means of protecting young children, as Tom O’Carroll has suggested, because it is clear that the law has a damaging and stigmatising impact.  But protection of the very young from unwanted attentions will always be necessary. The difficult question is when does protection become stifling paternalism and ‘adult oppression’. Puberty is one obvious landmark, but the difficulty of simply adopting this as a dividing point is that physiological change does not necessarily coincide with social or subjective changes. It is here that it is inescapably necessary to shift focus, to explore the meanings of the sex play for the young people involved.
Kate Millett has powerfully underlined the difficulties of intergenerational sex when adult/child relations are irreducibly exploitative, and pointed to the problems of a paedophile movement which is arguing for the rights of adults. What is our freedom fight about? she asks. ‘Is it about the liberation of children or just having sex with them?’  If a progressive sexual politics is fundamentally concerned with sexual self-determination then it becomes impossible to ignore the evolving self-awareness of the child. That means discouraging the unwelcome imposition of adult meanings and needs on the child, not simply because they are sexual but because they are external and adult. On the other hand, it does mean providing young people with full access to the means of sexual knowledge and protection as it becomes appropriate. There is no magic age for this ‘appropriateness’. Each young person will have their own rhythms, needs and time scale. But the starting point can only be the belief that sex in itself is not an evil or dirty experience. It is not sex that is dangerous but the social relations which shape it. In this context the idea of consent takes on a new meaning. There is a tension in consent theory between the political conservatism of most of its adherents, and the radical voluntarism implicit in it. 50 For the idea of consent ultimately challenges all authority in the name of free self-determination. Certain categories of people have always been deemed incapable of full consent or of refusing ‘consent’—women in marriage, certain children, especially girls, under a certain age, classes of women in rape cases. By extending the idea of consent beyond the narrow limits currently employed in minimum age or age of consent legislation, by making it a positive concept rather than simply a negatively protective or gender-dichotomised one, it may become possible to realize that radical potential again. That would transform the debate about intergenerational sex, shifting the focus away from sex in itself to the forms of power in which it is enmeshed, and the limits these inscribe for the free play of consent. (pp. 223-231)
29. See, for example, Daniel Tsang, ‘Struggling Against Racism’ in Tsang (ed.), The Age Taboo, pp. 161-2.
30. Ibid., p. 8. There are plentiful examples of the automatic association made between male homosexuality and child molesting. In the year I write this, 1983, there has been a rich crop of them in Britain, with the low point being reached in the Brighton rape case, August 1983, where a deplorable assault on a young boy led to a rapacious press attack on the local gay community and legal action against members of the Paedophile Information Exchange, who were in no way connected with the case. The moral panic had found its victims; calm was restored; but the three men who actually assaulted the child were never found.
31. Kinsey et al., Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, p. 117, note 16; Mary Whitehouse, Cleaning-up TV. From Protest to Participation, London, Blandford Press, 1967, and A Most Dangerous Woman?, Tring, Herts, Lion Publishing, 1982; Anita Bryant, The Anita Bryant Story. For general commentaries on events see the articles in Tsang, The Age Taboo; Altman, The Homosexualization of America, pp. 198ff; Mitzel, The Boston Sex Scandal, Boston, Glad Day Books, 1980; Tom O’Carroll, Paedophilia: The Radical Case, London, Peter Owen, 1980, ch. 12; Ken Plummer, ‘Images of Paedophilia’ in M. Cook and G.D. Wilson (eds), Love and Attraction: An International Conference, Oxford, Pergamon, 1979; Major events included the Revere ‘Sex Scandal’ in Boston, the raid on Body Politic following its publication of the article ‘Men Loving Boys Loving Men’ in Dec. 1977; the ‘kiddie porn’ panic of 1977; the trial of Tom O’Carroll and others in England for conspiracy to corrupt public morals in 1981.
32. Pat Califia, ‘The Age of Consent; An Issue and its Effects on the Gay Movement’, The Advocate, 30 October 1980, p. 17. See also Florence Rush, ‘Child Pornography’ in Lederer (ed.), Take Back the Night, pp. 71-81; Illinois Legislative Investigating Commission, Sexual Exploitation of Children, Chicago, The Commission, 1980 (see further references in Tsang, op. cit., pp. 169-70); and on similar events in Britain Whitehouse, A Most Dangerous Woman?, ch. 13, ‘Kiddie Porn’, pp. 146ff.
33. Roger Scruton, The Times (London), 13 September 1983.
34. Kinsey et al., Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, p. 121.
35. Interview by Guy Hocquenghem with David Thorstad in Semiotext(e) Special: Large Type Series: Loving Boys, Summer 1980, p. 34; Tom O’Carroll, Paedophilia, p. 153.
36. See, for example, ‘“Lesbians Rising” Editors Speak Out’ in Tsang, op. cit., pp. 125-32; Stevi Jackson, Childhood and Sexuality, Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1982, ch. 9. See also, Elizabeth Wilson’s comments on the debate about proposals to lower the age of consent in England in What is to be Done about Violence against Women? p. 205.
37. Theo Sandfort, The Sexual Aspects of Paedophile Relations: The Experience of Twenty-Five Boys, Amsterdam, Pan/Spartacus, 1982, p. 81.
38. Kenneth Plummer, ‘The Paedophile’s Progress’ in Brian Taylor (ed.), Perspectives on Paedophilia. See J.Z. Eglinton, Greek Love, London, Neville Spearman, 1971 for a classic statement of the first legitimation, and O’Carroll, Paedophilia, especially chs 2 and 5 for the second.
39. For an overview of these stereotypes (and the facts which rebut them) to which I am very much indebted, see Plummer, ‘Images of Paedophilia’.
40. Glenn D. Wilson and David N. Cox, The Child-Lovers. A Study of Paedophiles in Society, London and Boston, Peter Owen, 1983; Peter Righton, ch. 2: ‘The Adult’ in Taylor, Perspectives in Paedophilia; Parker Rossman, Sexual Experiences between Men and Boys, London, Maurice Temple Smith, 1976.
41. Tom Reeves, ‘Loving Boys’ in Tsang, op. cit., p. 27; the age range given on p. 29. On PIE members’ interests see Cox and Wilson, op. cit., ch. II.
42. Krafft-Ebing, Psychopathia Sexualis, p. 552: ‘By violation of sexually immature individuals, the jurist understands all the possible immoral acts with persons under fourteen years of age that are not comprehended in the term “rape”.’
43. On paedophilia as abuse see Florence Rush, The Best Kept Secret: Sexual Abuse of Children, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall, 1980; Robert L. Geiser, Hidden Victims: The Sexual Abuse of Children, Boston, Beacon Press, 1979. For alternative opinions: Sandford, op. cit., pp. 49ff; cf. Morris Fraser, ch. 3, ‘The Child’ and Graham E. Powell and A.J. Chalkley, ch. 4, ‘The Effects of paedophile attention on the child’ in Taylor (ed.), Perspectives on Paedophilia.
44. See interview with the then 15-year-old Mark Moffat in Semiotext(e), loc. cit, p. 10; cf. Tom Reeves’s account of being cruised by two 14-year-olds in Tsang, op. cit., p. 30; and O’Carroll, ch. 4, ‘Paedophilia in Action’ in Paedophilia.
45. Taylor (ed.), Perspectives on Paedophilia, ‘Introduction’, p. xiii. In the rest of the discussion I shall, however use the term ‘paedophile’ to cover all categories as this is the phrase adopted most widely as a political description: ‘Boy lover’ is specific, but exclusive.
46. On offences see P.H. Gebhard, J.H. Gagnon, W.B. Pomeroy and C.V. Christenson, Sex Offenders, New York, Harper & Row, 1965; J. Gagnon, ‘Female child victims of sex offences’, Social Problems, no. 13, 1965, pp. 116-92. On identity questions see Plummer, ‘The paedophile’s progress’.
47. O’Carroll, Paedophilia, pp. 120, 118.
48. Ibid., ch. 6, ‘Towards more Sensible Laws’, which examines various proposals, from Israel to Holland, for minimising the harmful intervention of the law; compare Speijer Committee, The Speijer Report, advice to the Netherlands Council of Health concerning homosexual relations with minors, English Translation, London, Sexual Law Reform Society, n.d.
49. Interview with Kate Millett by Mark Blasius in Semiotext(e) Special, loc. cit, p. 38 (also printed in Tsang (ed.), op. cit.).
50. Carole Pateman, ‘Women and Consent’, Political Theory, vol. 8, no. 2, May 1980, pp. 149-68.
Jeffrey Weeks, Sexuality, third edition (London & New York: Routledge, 2010; first edition 1986)
4. The limits of consent: paedophilia
The power relations that sex can involve are most dramatically illustrated by the question of sex between the generations, or paedophilia. Few topics arouse such fear and anxiety in contemporary societies. The ‘paedophile’ has become a symbol of predatory evil, a synonym indeed not only for child abuser but also in many cases for child abductor and even murderer. The peculiar horror invoked by the abuse of innocence, by the imposition of adult desires on the vulnerable, powerless child, speaks for a culture that is profoundly anxious about the boundaries and differences between adults and children, and has become increasingly concerned with protecting the young as long as possible. Yet this has not always been the case.
In the late nineteenth century paedophilia was lauded by some for its pedagogic possibilities – the so-called Greek love justification: in the passage from childhood dependence to adult responsibility, guidance, sexual and moral, of a caring man can be invaluable, it was argued. It was further legitimated in the twentieth century by the supposed facts of childhood sexuality: sexology itself has revealed the wide extent of childhood sexual potentiality including the existence of infantile masturbation. If something is so natural, and omnipresent, should it be as rigidly controlled as childhood sexuality is today? And again, if it is natural, then surely it cannot be harmful even if it takes place with adults. As Tom O’Carroll, a militant supporter of inter-generational sex (who ended up in prison for his pains) wrote ‘. . . there is no need whatever for a child to know “the consequences” of engaging in harmless sex play, simply because it is exactly that: harmless’. 
For the vast majority of the population this is not harmless play, it is simply child sex abuse. It involves powerful adults using their experience and wiles to gain satisfaction from exploiting children. The growing sensitivity to abuse is the result of long campaigns, often led in Western countries by feminists, or by campaigners who experienced abuse themselves. This has become a global phenomenon, with international campaigns to end the traffic in children and the worst abuses of sex tourism. This without doubt marks an advance in society’s awareness of the reality of exploitation, and the power of adults over children. Yet there is something rather odd in the ways in which various late modern societies, from Australia to Europe to the USA, have focused on the figure of the anonymous paedophile rather than on the hard reality that most abuse of children is carried out by a close relative or family friend, or perhaps by a priest, as a wave of scandals from the UK and Ireland to Australia and the USA has recently underscored. 
Despite, or perhaps because of, the emotiveness of the issue, it is important to be as rational and dispassionate as possible in looking at what is involved. Age is an ambiguous marker. Is there an ideal age at which consent becomes free, rather than abusive, and a relationship becomes consensual, rather than coercive? Certainly the vast majority of us could agree that it should not be 3 or 8, but what about 12 or 14 or 15 which are the ages of consent in various European countries? Laws vary enormously, and sometimes affect boys and girls quite differently. Brian Taylor has pointed to the existence of eight possible subcategories of inter-generational sex, depending on the age of those involved, the distinction of gender, the nature of the sexual proclivity, and the interaction of all three (Taylor 1981). This suggests that there are paedophilias, not a single paedophilia, and the social response should be sensitive to these distinctions, even as it focuses rightly on protecting the young and vulnerable. (pp. 95-97)
6 O’Carroll (1980: 153). For the various legitimations offered, see the discussion in Plummer (1981).
7 There is an excellent debate on the implications of the early twenty-first century anxiety about paedophilia in Loseke et al. (2003). For feminist perspectives, see Reavey and Warner (2003).
Jeffrey Weeks, The World We Have Won: The Remaking of Erotic and Intimate Life (London & New York: Routledge, 2007)
‘Through stories – of desire and love, of hope and mundane reality, of excitement and disappointment – told to willing listeners in communities of meaning, people imagine and reimagine who and what they are, what they want to become (Plummer 1995 [Plummer, K. (1995) Telling Sexual Stories: Power, Change and Social Worlds, London: Routledge], 2003 [Plummer, K. (2003) Intimate Citizenship: Private Decisions and Public Dialogues, Seattle: University of Washington Press]). Of course, all this does not mean that anything goes. It is noticeable that as some barriers to speaking are removed or redefined new ones are erected. Paedophilia began to speak its name in the 1970s, but has been redefined as child abuse and trebly execrated in the 2000s.’ (p. 10)
‘The age of consent may be an ambiguous barrier for young people themselves but it is a fraught one for many adults, usually men. The age of consent itself is constructed in terms of protection of young girls, and it assumes male agency (Waites 2005a [Waites, M. (2005a) The Age of Consent: Young People, Sexuality and Citizenship, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan]). But the growing awareness of the extent of child sex abuse poses wider questions about the power relations between adults and children (see Reavey and Warner 2003 [Reavey, P. and Warner, S. (eds) (2003) New Feminist Stories of Child Sexual Abuse: Sexual Scripts and Dangerous Dialogues, London and New York, Routledge]; O’Connel Davidson 2005 [O’Connell Davidson, J. (2005) Children in the Global Sex Trade, Cambridge: Polity Press]). The government has responded to widespread anxieties about breach of trust on the part of adults by attempting to write into law notions of protection that should operate in certain types of adult child relationships, such as teaching (Bainham and Brooks-Gordon 2004 [‘Reforming the Law on Sexual offences’, in Brooks-Gordon, B., Gelsthorpe, L., Johnson, M. and Bainham, A. (eds) (2004) Sexuality Repositioned: Diversity and the Law, Oxford, and Portland, OR: Hart Publishing, pp. 291-296]; Epstein et al. 2004 [Epstein, D., Johnson, R. and Steinberg. D.L. (2004) ‘Thrice Told Tales: Modernising Sexualities in the Age of Consent’ in Steinberg, D.L. and Johnson, R. (eds) (2004) Blairism and the War of Persuasion: Labour’s Passive Revolution, London: Lawrence & Wishart, pp. 96-113). These have the habit of all attempts at redrawing boundaries of becoming fiery touchstone issues, as the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, Ruth Kelly, found out in early 2006. The discovery by the press that there were teachers in schools who had previously been accused of abusing children threatened to engulf her and end her career, though she could realistically have had very little knowledge of how her civil servants operated the register of offenders (Doward 2006a:8-9; [Doward, J. (2006a), ‘Sex Scandal that Engulfed Kelly’, Observer, 15 January, pp. 8-9] see also Aaronovitch 2006: 21) [Aaronovitch, D. (2006), ‘The Paedophile Panic: Why We Have Reached Half Way to Bonkers Island’, The Times, 12 January, 21] Behaviours which were once regarded as natural and even healthy (childhood nudity, for example) have become fraught with menace, as parents and carers have discovered when their holiday photographs of naked children playing on the beach have been processed, and police summoned.
Many of these anxieties had been brought to the surface following the murder of the 8-year-old Sarah Payne in summer 2000. The News of the World’s campaign, in response to this, of naming and shaming alleged paedophiles, in turn stimulated a local vigilante campaign led by mothers on the Paulsgrove housing estate in Hampshire (Bell 2003: 108-28 [Bell, V. (2003), ‘The Vigilantt(e) Parent and the Paedophile: The News of the World Campaign 2000 and the Contemporary Governmentality of Child Sex Abuse’’, in Reavey and Warner 2003, pp. 108-28]). This raised in turn a number of crucial issues: the role of the press in stirring up moral panic, the role of class in configuring the response to the working-class mothers’ action, the role of women in confronting an alleged lack of communication from the state, and the role of the state itself in responding to acute anxiety, ignorance and fear. But as important was the shift in the perception of sexual risk and the management of risk that was taking place. As Rose (1999: 206) [Rose, N. (1999), Governing the Soul: The Shaping of the Private Self (2nd edn), London and New York: Free Associations Books] points out, outrage at the neglect of abuse emerged most strongly from the very group in society that was once deemed most likely to abuse children – the working class itself. And in practice, of course, the vast majority of cases of abuse take place within families or are by someone known to the child. Yet the anger focused on the dangerous stranger, the paedophile, bearer of a particular psychopathology and history, completely detached from the family. A similar process has been at work in relation to so-called paedophile priests in the Roman Catholic Church. A scandal that the church had long hidden, it raised crucial questions about the religious calling, church discipline, priestly celibacy and simple trust. Yet in the church’s eyes it became less about abuse than about Catholic attitudes towards homosexuality, gay priests and the like. When in 2006 a new Pope sought to ban gays from taking up the priesthood, it was widely seen as a response to the paedophile scandal (Loseka 2003: 13 [‘”We hold these Truths to be Self-evident”: Problems in Pondering the Paedophile Priest problem’, Sexualities 6 (1), February, 6-14]). Anxiety has become individualized, thus expunging the most dangerous sites for the production of abuse, the home, the local community, and it appears the Catholic church, from the story. (pp. 153-154)
The Scotsman, March 25th, 1988
Alastair Dalton, ‘Brand loses job fight over views on child sex’
THE controversial academic Chris Brand, sacked by Edinburgh University for promoting his views on paedophilia, yesterday lost his appeal against his dismissal.
The independent QC asked by the university to hear the appeal agreed that the psychology lecturer’s behaviour had amounted to gross misconduct and ruled that his dismissal could not be said to have been improper or inappropriate.
Mr Brand, 54, last night described the university’s actions as “treacherous”, but refused to say whether he planned to take his case to an industrial tribunal or the courts.
He was dismissed for gross misconduct last August by the university principal, Professor Sir Stewart Sutherland, after he published on the Internet his view that consensual sex between adults and children was acceptable as long as the child was intelligent.
Mr Brand had previously caused a storm after his 1996 book, The g Factor, claimed there was genetic proof black people had lower IQs than white people. It prompted students to disrupt his lectures and the book was withdrawn by the publisher. The university found no grounds for disciplinary action against him then, although the principal described his views as “obnoxious”.
Gordon Coutts, QC, who conducted Mr Brand’s two-day appeal hearing last week, stated : “The appeal fails. I reject all the revised amended grounds of appeal. I find that the appeal does not raise any question of academic freedom.”
He added: “In pursuit of his objectives, he (Mr Brand) set out to promote controversy. In that he succeeded but cannot now complain if the effect of his behaviour has been to render his continued employment by the university impossible.
“The principal of the university did not dismiss him for views he held; he was dismissed because it was established that his behaviour made it impossible for him to work within a university department.”
Sir Stewart said yesterday he was “naturally content” that “an independent legal expert has endorsed in the clearest possible terms” the findings of the university’s disciplinary tribunal and his subsequent decision to sack Mr Brand.
He said: “I would repeat that it is for aspects of his conduct, not his opinions, that Mr Brand has been dismissed. Mr Brand has again, in recent months, been reported in the press as alleging this process was an attack on academic freedom, though this was not argued by his counsel at the appeal hearing. It has not and never has been such an attack, as independently confirmed by the appeal decision.
“Neither I nor my colleagues at this university have sought in any way to censor Mr Brand’s researched conclusions, on ethnic background and intelligence, for example.
“But it was made clear to him, well before he publicised views on paedophilia, that he also had responsibilities to act with care, whether in a departmental, teaching or wider situation – advice which he apparently chose to ignore.”
Mr Brand condemned the university. He said: “Their behaviour has been shameful.
They have been treacherous to their own academic staff and a disgrace to academia.”
Mr Brand, a former prison service psychologist, had stated on his web site: “Academic studies and my own experience as a choirboy suggest that non-violent paedophilia with a consenting partner over 12 does no harm so long as the paedophiles and their partners are of above-average intelligence and educational level.”
He was suspended in November 1996 and a three-member disciplinary tribunal was appointed the following April to consider the charges against him.
The tribunal ruled that Mr Brand had compromised his position, and his teaching had fallen below the standards expected of him. It further ruled that the university’s reputation had not been damaged by Mr Brand’s publications on the Internet, but a disciplinary offence had been committed.
Mr Brand, a London-born father of three, had been at Edinburgh University since 1970.
Last night Nicola Owen, convener of the Anti-Nazi League Society at Edinburgh University, said: “It’s wonderful news.
It vindicates all the students who fought to get Mr Brand removed from the university.”
Below are a series of articles following the murder of convicted paedophile William Malcolm, who was associated with Lesley Bailey and Sydney Cooke, in February 2000 (also a few pieces on subsequent vigilante killings). I draw people’s attention in particular to the piece from the Sunday Mirror, March 5th, 2000, where it is said that Malcolm ‘was about to expose a major child sex ring – including several influential figures – police believe’; a police source said “It looks like Malcolm was on the verge of exposing something big – it is thought some well-known people were involved,” and police were interviewing known paedophiles. Malcolm’s killers were never found, and I have not seen this aspect mentioned in any other articles. Also worth noting is the proclaimed intention by Martyn Jones, MP for Clwyd South from 1987 to 2010, to name suspects involved in the North Wales child abuse scandal, for which Jones claimed the Waterhouse report was a whitewash. This may or may not, however, be linked to Malcolm’s killing.
In light of the horrific acts and celebrations thereof given underneath, I wish to point out that I would never ever condone vigilante behaviour, no matter the circumstances, and believe all those cited below glorifying in Malcolm’s murder are no better than abusers themselves. I was also appalled by the gloating response by some to an article in various papers this weekend about a Florida father who beat to a pulp an 18-year old he found molesting his 12-year old son, and would not face charges for so doing. This is all too reminiscent of those calling into talk radio soon after 9/11 keen to tell how they would be the first to kill an Arab who had hijacked their plane. The solution to violence and abuse is not more violence and abuse.
A report in the Mirror from February 2013 claimed that the VIP ring, involving Jimmy Savile, Cyril Smith, a former Tory cabinet minister and some judges was linked to Cooke, who provided them with children to abuse (Justin Penrose, ‘The net closes: Ex-Tory chief faces child sex arrest over claims girl was raped and boys were abused’, Daily Mirror, February 16th, 2013), whilst an article from earlier this year from Exaro also looks at how Cooke’s activities have become linked to this investigation (Mark Conrad, ‘Met’s ‘VIP paedophiles’ probe turns into murder investigation: Police on Operations ‘Fernbridge’ and ‘Fairbank’ examine sadistic killing of young boy’, Exaro News, January 11th, 2014). A 1989 report in the Express on the investigation into Cooke, Bailey and others makes clear that detectives had heard allegations that a former Cabinet Minister and other MPs were involved in child sex activities (John Twomey, ‘Jason sex ring face quiz over child murders’, Daily Express, May 13th, 1989; reproduced at the bottom of this post – with many thanks to Murun at Spotlight for first finding this article).
If these investigations are not red herrings, then there is every chance that Malcolm, as an accomplice of Cooke and Bailey, would have known about a VIP paedophile ring involving MPs. It remains paramount that new efforts are made to bring those who murdered Malcolm to justice (it is not clear how seriously this investigation was taken earlier, and certainly at least some police seem to have sympathised with the killers’ actions) – his killers might be able to shine some new light on what he knew about others involved in this sordid business. And the possibility that this was not simply a revenge vigilante attack, but a killing designed to silence Malcolm, should not be ruled out.
A wide range of important posts and videos on Operation Orchid, the investigation into Cooke’s gang, can be found on Spotlight. See also this article on the Needle blog on Operation Orchid and the convictions of Bailey and Cooke.
I would like to thank Martin Walkerdine for bringing to my attention the Sunday Mirror article which spoke of Malcolm’s apparent intention to name members of a major ring.
New articles are appearing on a daily basis with further claims to do with MPs allegedly involved in the VIP paedophile ring, of which I will post a summary at some point soon. But I would like to draw people’s attention to a piece in the Yorkshire Post today, saying that convicted paedophile Michael McAuliffe claims to be able to provide further information relating to child abuse in Westminster in the 1970s which has been covered up (‘Bradford paedophile ‘has information on Westminster child abuse’’, Yorkshire Post, July 21st, 2014). If McAuliffe’s claims are true, this may constitute a major step forward.
The Times, February 19th, 2000
Oliver Wright, ‘Paedophile shot dead on doorstep’
A CONVICTED child molester who had links to one of Britain’s most notorious paedophile gangs has been shot dead by two men outside his flat, it emerged last night.
William Malcolm, 47, who had two convictions for indecently assaulting children, was killed by a single bullet in the head when he answered the door of his second-floor flat in Manor Park, East London. He was taken to the nearby Royal London Hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.
He had been the subject of repeated threats and last night police were investigating whether his death was the work of vigilantes. However, they had not ruled out other motives.
Malcolm, an associate of the notorious paedophiles Leslie “Catweazle” Bailey and Sydney Cooke, was jailed in 1981 for a series of attacks on his six-year-old stepdaughter and nine-year-old stepson. Despite knowledge of the attacks social services allowed the paedophile to rejoin the children when he was released from prison two years later. The attacks continued and he was jailed again in 1984 after being convicted of having unlawful intercourse with the same stepdaughter. The police attempted to prosecute him in 1994 on 13 child abuse charges but he was released when an Old Bailey judge ruled that his previous conviction meant he could not get a fair trial. This was despite a psychiatric report which described Malcolm as a sexual psychopath and said that he had paedophile tendencies of a “strongly sadistic nature” .
After his release police continued to monitor Malcolm’s movements and he was questioned by detectives investigating the killings of Jason Swift, Mark Tilsley and Barry Lewis.
Last night neighbours expressed little sympathy. One said: “Nobody will feel sorry, except maybe his relatives. I was shocked when I heard someone had been shot on their doorstep like that but when I heard it was him I was relieved.”
Police are seeking two white men in connection with the attack on Thursday night.
The Sun, February 19, 2000
Mike Sullivan and Andrea Busfield, ‘Gun Law’
DEAD: BEAST WHO SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN FREE
Neighbours cheer as vigilantes kill a child sex monster on doorstep
JUBILANT families last night praised a vigilante hit squad for gunning down an evil paedophile on his doorstep.
As cops launched a hunt for the three men who blasted pervert William Malcolm, one mum said: “Now my child will be able to walk the streets and play in safety. We’re all relieved he is dead.”
Malcolm, 47 – a former pal of child-sex monster Sidney Cooke and his gang – was killed with a bullet in the head when he answered the door of his second-floor council flat overlooking a park.
A child protection cop said: “The timing of the shooting in the same week the inquiry report into the North Wales children’s homes was published may have been more than coincidence. The revulsion over the North Wales scandal could well have triggered it off.”
Residents at the flats where Malcolm lived in Manor Park, East London, heard a shot and rushed out to find him spreadeagled on the floor.
One woman said: “His body was lying in the hallway. He had been shot in the head and there was blood pouring from him. He was still breathing but in a terrible state.”
An ambulance was called but the beast was dead on arrival at hospital.
Malcolm was jailed TWICE in the 1980s for a series of horrific attacks on a girl of six and one of her brothers. The fiend, who lived with the children’s mum, was first convicted of unlawful sex with the girl in 1981.
He got just two years. Amazingly social workers let him go back to live with the family when he was released. The terrible abuse resumed. In 1984 he was caged for four more years.
Later the girl revealed Malcolm – dubbed the Nightmare Man – had first begun molesting her at the age of THREE. He was hauled back into court six years ago on 13 counts of abusing the girl, her two older sisters and two brothers.
But an Old Bailey judge sparked outrage by ruling Malcolm could not get a fair trial because his previous convictions would have to be revealed to the jury. The monster walked free – despite experts branding him a “sadistic paedophile.”
Malcolm was a pal of notorious child-sex fiend Leslie “Catweazle” Bailey.
While he was living with the five children, Malcolm would invite Bailey and other perverts to join in the abuse – as the kids lay tied to beds.
One of the boys later said: “He used to say he was not doing anything wrong and that if we told anyone he would take our mum away from us.” Malcolm also intimidated his victims by boasting he had been present at the killing of runaway rent boy Jason Swift. His friendship with Bailey linked him to the paedophile ring led by monsters Sidney Cooke and Lenny Smith.
The gang tortured and murdered at least nine young boys, including Jason, 14, Mark Tildesley, seven, and Barry Lewis, six.
Detectives hauled security guard Malcolm in to grill him about the killings.
Residents in Manor Park were furious when he moved there – setting up home with new lover Donna Robinson and her three young children. She was away from the flat when he was murdered on Thursday. Neighbour Lorraine Webber, 27, said: “There will be no tears for him. It could not have happened to a nicer person.”
Cuddling her daughter Chanynn May, aged two, the mum said: “He should never have been allowed to live here in the first place amongst children.”
Another neighbour Frank Lee, 77, added: “Killing Malcolm was the only cure for him. This area is full of vulnerable kids who play in the park opposite and in the streets. They will feel safer now.” A drinker at the nearby Blakesley Arms raised his glass and said: “We will be dancing holes in our shoes tonight to celebrate this news.
“This is the best thing that could have happened to a bastard like that.”
Former Detective Chief Supt Roger Stoodley, who led the operation Orchid Investigation which nailed Cook and Smith’s gang, said Malcolm should have been left to rot in jail.
The ex-cop insisted: “This would never have happened if Malcolm had been kept locked up in prison where he deserved to be.”
The Scotsman, February 19th, 2000
Katrina Tweedie, ‘CHILD SEX ABUSER GUNNED DOWN BY VIGILANTES’
A PAEDOPHILE with links to the gang that tortured and killed the runaway rent boy Jason Swift was murdered on his doorstep in a contract killing, it emerged last night.
Two men shot dead William Malcolm, 47, at his home in Forest Gate, east London, on Thursday night in what may be the first vigilante attack in the wake of this week’s report into the North Wales child abuse scandal.
Malcolm, who had several convictions for child abuse and was a friend of the notorious paedophile Sidney Cooke, escaped a further jail sentence after charges were dropped on a legal technicality.
A neighbour of the paedophile said: “Killing Malcolm was the only cure for him.”
Meanwhile, another major investigation into child abuse is under way with police trying to trace members of a possible nationwide paedophile ring.
Scotland Yard detectives said they wanted to interview a number of key suspects over allegations that more than 200 children were abused in care homes in London over a 20-year period.
Code-named Operation Middleton, the inquiry into children’s homes run by Lambeth Council was launched last year, when a former care worker was jailed for ten years for abusing 12 boys.
Police involved in the 14-month inquiry have so far arrested five men and two women. Eleven council employees have also been suspended because of alleged abuse or other improper behaviour.
Detectives said there were a number of other suspects, against whom allegations of child abuse had been made, whose whereabouts were unknown and attempts were being made to trace them.
The Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Hugh Orde, said: “We know who the people are we want to interview.” But he admitted: “We do not know where they all are.”
Daily Mail, February 19th, 2000
David Williams and Nick Craven, ‘CHILD SEX PERVERT IS MURDERED BY GUNMEN ‘AVENGERS”
A DANGEROUS paedophile has been shot dead in what police believe may be a revenge attack.
William Malcolm, 47, was blasted in the head at point-blank range after he answered the door at his home.
Detectives, who think at least two men were involved, are combing the victim’s sordid background to draw up a list of people who may have had a motive to kill him.
They said the shooting bore all the hallmarks of a professional ‘hit’.
Neighbours of Malcolm’s third-floor flat in Northeast London which overlooked a common where children play said they were shocked by the killing, but not surprised.
One said: ‘I won’t be sending any flowers or shedding any tears. don’t think anyone will.’ Malcolm was jailed twice in the 1980s for sexually abusing a young boy and girl who lived with him.
In 1994 he faced trial at the Old Bailey for a horrifying catalogue of crimes against children as young as three, including rape, attempted rape, indecent assault and cruelty.
But he was allowed to walk free after the judge said he could not have had a fair trial because revealing his past convictions was a key element of the prosecution case.
There were furious cries of ‘kill the pervert’ from the public gallery as Judge Kenneth Richardson delivered his ruling. The judge said it was with ‘considerable regret’ that he was forced to set Malcolm free. He described the offences as ‘unspeakable’.
Malcolm’s victims had gone to police after learning that he was still in contact with young children.
After he was freed, experts warned that he was still highly dangerous and likely to strike again.
A medical report said he had ‘aggressive and sadistic tendencies’ and still harboured paedophile fantasies.
Malcolm was also linked to one of Britain’s most notorious paedophiles, Leslie ‘Catweazle’ Bailey.
Bailey’s sadistic gang abused, tortured and butchered at least three young boys in orgies of appalling depravity. Malcolm was questioned about the killings.
Bailey was himself murdered in 1993, in top-security Whitemoor Prison, Cambridgeshire.
Four years ago it was revealed that Malcolm, a onetime Army deserter, was among 600 convicted paedophiles whose movements were not being monitored because they had served their sentences before the introduction of a compulsory register for sex offenders.
Parents expressed their alarm after it was discovered that he was working in a job opposite a cathedral school, having lied about his background when he applied for the post. Malcolm and his common law wife moved into their council flat in Forest Gate five years ago.
Neighbours said they had known of his convictions and believed his death was a revenge attack.
‘There was a lot of trouble when he first moved here, then things died down,’ said one man, who asked not to be named.
‘You can’t do what he did without creating an awful lot of enemies.’ You can’t take law into your own hands.
But another neighbour said: ‘It’s too extreme. Two wrongs don’t make a right.’ Malcolm and his wife recently tried to move to nearby Canning Town but residents there blocked the move after learning of his crimes.
Police forensic experts spent yesterday combing the scene of the shooting.
Detectives from the Area Major Investigations Team, based in West London, are looking into Malcolm’s background.
A police source said: ‘It was a classic hit a knock on the door and he was shot. A lot of people will say he had it coming to him for what he has done to children in the past, but people cannot be allowed to take the law into their own hands.’ The killing comes at the end of a week in which Britain has been shocked by the sickening detail of the Welsh child care scandal.
Some 650 children were victims of paedophiles, many of whom worked in the very homes in which the vulnerable youngsters were meant to be protected.
The Daily Mail revealed yesterday that another police investigation is taking place into indications that a nationwide network of paedophiles operated for over 20 years, on a scale which dwarfed the North Wales inquiry.
At least 100 paedophiles are thought to have been involved, and as many as 11,000 youngsters may have been abused.
Birmingham Evening Mail, February 19th, 2000
‘CHILD SEX MAN GUNNED DOWN’
A CONVICTED paedophile has been gunned down on his doorstep in what is believed to be a revenge attack set up by vigilantes.
Scotland Yard was today treating the murder in east London as a possible contract killing, but declined to comment on claims that the victim was a known pervert.
Some reports said the dead man was William Malcolm, a known paedophile with previous convictions for child abuse.
He is also said to have had other serious charges against him dropped on a legal technicality.
A post-mortem examination carried out yesterday found that the victim, who was white and in his 40s, was killed by a single gunshot wound to the head.
A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said the attack happened on the doorstep of the man’s home in Forest View Road, Forest Gate, on Thursday night.
There are believed to be two white male suspects.
“A contract killing is one area of inquiry police will be looking into, but it is too early to speculate now,” she added.
Police say while the identity of the victim is believed to be known, no formal identification has yet taken place and next of kin have still to be contacted.
The killing comes days after shocking details of Britain’s worst child abuse scandal in north Wales were released.
Malcolm, 47, was accused of a string of horrific attacks.
He was linked to the paedophile ring which murdered nine children including Jason Swift.
Families in Forest Gate were furious when Malcolm moved in there.
On Thursday a shot rang out and residents rushed out to fund him lying on the floor.
Neighbour Frank Lee, aged 77, said: “Killing Malcolm was the only cure for him.”
Sunday Express, February 20th, 2000
Simon Young, ‘HOW I TRACKED DOWN CHILD SEX MONSTER SHOT DEAD BY VIGILANTES’
FOR the deprived children of east London there is precious little green space in which they can play. Choked by the monotony of tower blocks, traffic and grime, they yearn for the freedom that so many of us take for granted.
Those living in the district of Manor Park are among the lucky ones. Here is an oasis of parkland on the southern reaches of Wanstead Flats where they can kick a ball, play hide-and-seek in the bushes and suck fresh air into their lungs.
But until last week there was a hidden menace. From his top-floor flat overlooking the vast expanse of green, bespectacled William Malcolm took an unusual interest in the youngsters’ frolics. They reminded him of the children he had defiled, whose innocence he had so cruelly and violently taken away.
Today Malcolm lies on a mortuary slab. His legacy for being one of Britain’s most detested paedophiles is a hole in his skull, caused by an executioner’s bullet.
At 9.30pm last Thursday, an assassin knocked on his door and shot him from close range, leaving him bleeding to death in the hallway. Police suspect a professional hit, perhaps arranged by one of his many victims.
For local mothers the fact that the 46-year-old is dead is welcome news. “Now my child will be able to walk the streets and play in safety,” said one. “We’re all relieved he is dead.”
I hunted Malcolm down in 1996 at a time when the Sunday Express was campaigning for a national register of child sex abusers – a campaign we subsequently won. He had an awful history but was a classic example of an offender able to hide within an unwary community.
Malcolm, a friend of the notorious paedophiles Sidney Cooke and Leslie “Catweazle” Bailey, had been jailed twice in the Eighties for a series of horrific attacks on a girl aged six and one of her brothers – both children of the women with whom he lived. He was first convicted of unlawful sex with the girl in 1981 and was jailed for two years, yet was allowed to return to the family upon his release. The abuse resumed and in 1984 he was imprisoned for four more years.
Then, six years ago, he was brought back to court on 13 counts of abusing the girl, her two older sisters and two brothers. Amazingly, he walked free because the judge ruled he could not receive a fair trial.
Malcolm was free again to mix with unsuspecting young families and to get a job. He was working as a security guard at an office next to the Westminster Cathedral Choir School for boys when I tracked him down. He had lied to his employers about his past, but after the Sunday Express exposed him he was dismissed instantly. During the course of my inquiries I persuaded Malcolm to allow me into his flat. Approached by three flights of cold, concrete stairs – those used by his killers to escape – his home was a mess. With one bedroom and separate, dimly-lit kitchen and bathroom, it had very little in the way of home comforts. Its only redeeming feature was the view over the parkland from which Malcolm took his own selfish delight.
He was cold and emotionless. He dressed scruffily – tatty patterned shirt, tracksuit bottoms and worn trainers – and had several days’ stubble. His eyes, behind wide-framed glasses, were small and weasle-like. Yet he spoke calmly and intelligently.
To my surprise he had a new partner, Donna, who was to become his common-law wife. She, too, had children but they did not live with them.
Had he remorse for his crimes? Yes. Had his sickening urges been repressed? No. “I am not a reformed character,” he told me. “But I have done my best and kept myself clean.”
He was, however, in favour of the introduction of the paedophile register.
Like many other sex offenders, Malcolm tried to find excuses for his behaviour. It was an affliction, something he had no control over at the time, he said. With trim, blonde hair, blue eyes and a bubbly personality, Donna could not have been more different to the detestable Malcolm. Yet she was so supportive. “Why won’t people leave him alone?” she asked me. “He has paid his debt and is not a threat to anyone now.”
But the memories of those living in the East End are long. The community would not leave him alone and as far as they were concerned he could never repay his debt. Until, that is, last Thursday night.
And the locals were happy with the result. “We will be dancing holes in our shoes tonight to celebrate this news,” one said. Builder Roy Mahadoo added it was for the best that Malcolm was now gone. “I have got a little girl of three myself,” he said.
“There are children running riot in the flats around here. There is the park right opposite where he lived where children play. I am quite happy that people like him are out of this community. I can understand quite clearly why someone would want to have him out of the way.”
Sam Okai, who owns a telephone shop yards away from the road on which Malcolm lived, said he had once come in to ask for a job. “I did not know he was a child abuser,” he said. “We used to greet each other quite regularly. I do not think it is right for anyone to take anyone’s life, but he was a child abuser and he should have been kept away from children.”
He added he understood that those who “felt they were haunted by him” would feel relieved that he was no longer a neighbour.
Police, who are treating the death as a contract killing, were yesterday hunting two white male suspects.Malcolm’s demise came within days of the report into the north Wales child abuse scandal. Perhaps it was that which reawakened memories of one of his victims to such a murderous extent.
The Independent, February 20th, 2000
Cole Moreton, ‘PAEDOPHILE SCANDAL: DEADLY RESULT OF NAMING AND SHAMING; COLE MORETON WONDERS IF THE SHOOTING OF CHILD RAPIST WILLIAM MALCOLM ON HIS OWN DOORSTEP HERALDS A WAVE OF VIGILANTISM’
TIME IS running out for paedophiles. Not just because of the large- scale police inquiries into child abuse at care homes in Lambeth and Birmingham, or the search for the missing 28 suspects named in the Waterhouse report. No, the really frightening thing for sex offenders lying low this weekend must be the prospect that vigilantes will find them first.
William Malcolm answered a knock on the door at his flat in Manor Park, east London, on Thursday night, and ended up with a single bullet through the brain. “It was a classic hit,” said a policeman, using language more suited to The Godfather than a briefing by the Met.
The policemen’s words were, in fact, apt. Last year two paedophiles were gunned down in Mafia-style executions in Naples, after being released from prison pending appeals. Both were shot in the head, and the local priest said: “Everyone knew these men would be eliminated eventually. The settling of accounts is not over. People are rejoicing.”
Our cosy assumption that they do things differently in the land of the Cosa Nostra has now been challenged. Yesterday the Sun claimed that neighbours cheered when they heard that the “child-sex beast” in their midst had been shot. A drinker in the local pub had allegedly raised a glass in celebration and said: “This is the best thing that could have happened to a bastard like that.”
The Mirror was even more explicit in its endorsement of the murder. On Friday it had boasted about tracking down Albert Dyson, one of the 28 missing suspects named by Waterhouse. He had spent nearly 20 years in hiding after receiving an 18-month jail sentence for sexually abusing a teenage boy at the Bryn Estyn home in Flintshire.
“CAUGHT” was the headline over a piece describing Dyson as a “pervert” and a “menace”. Yesterday the Mirror ran an almost identical front page, under another single word “AVENGED”. This time a detailed story on the death of Bill Malcolm included a quote from a local mother, whose words also appeared elsewhere: “Whoever did this deserves a medal.”
The 46-year-old dead man had first been jailed in 1981, for abuse of and unlawful intercourse with an underage girl. Six years ago he appeared at the Old Bailey on charges of rape, indecent assault, and cruelty. A psychiatric report said he was a sexual psychopath, but a legal technicality meant the judge was obliged to let him go free.
After that Malcolm was threatened repeatedly. His death was the latest and most dramatic in a series of actions taken against paedophiles by vigilantes, councils and even Church leaders.
In 1998 an angry mob of 200 parents besieged a police station in east London as Sydney Cooke was about to be released into the community. Cooke had served time for his part in the murder of a 14-year-old boy called Jason Swift during a paedophilic orgy at a flat in Hackney.
Crowds continued to gather outside police stations and hostels as Cooke, 72, was moved around the west of England for his own protection. Police had to evacuate residents and staff from one hostel when it was surrounded by 400 protesters, even though his presence there was only a false rumour.
He lived in a suite of three cells at Yeovil police station, until admitting more sex offences dating back over two decades. He is now back in prison.
His accomplice Robert Oliver is at a secure unit in Buckinghamshire, and the cost of protecting him from revenge attacks over the years has been estimated at about pounds 120,000.
In 1997 Rhondda Cynon Taff Council in Wales banned convicted paedophiles from living in any of its flats or houses. In May 1998 officials at Sheffield Cathedral told a man with convictions for indecent assault against choirboys that he was not welcome to worship there or at any church in the diocese.
A year later, a mob of villagers near Kirkudbright in Dumfries and Galloway stoned the home of George Belmonte, who had served six prison sentences for sex offences against children. Protesters had already driven him out of two other places in Scotland. Belmonte, who was banned from talking to children or going into play parks, schools or swimming pools, said he was worried what might happen if people like him were persecuted.
“The police have the power to warn selected people about my presence in their area, and that spells trouble. The information soon gets out and in time vigilante groups are formed. They are allowed to take the law into their own hands and carry out vendettas against people like me.
“A frightened man is a desperate man and this could lead to trouble. I don’t want to be alarmist but I can foresee another Dunblane.”
There was little sympathy for the plight of such men from the Home Office yesterday. Asked where paedophiles could go in safety to rebuild their lives, a spokesman said: “Wherever they want. A spent conviction is time served, a debt paid. These people are free citizens.”
For some, freedom means having your windows smashed, being driven out of your home, having to hide in a police cell, or choosing to live in fear of the night when the doorbell rings and an avenger, as the tabloids would characterise him, is standing there with a gun.
There may be no hope of rehabilitation for serial offenders, but others, including some of those whose crimes in care homes are only just coming to light, will need a safe place to rebuild their lives once their punishment has been served.
Asked where they could go, now that the William Malcolm case seemed to announce the start of open season for paedophile-hunters, the man from the Home Office stressed that police had yet officially to confirm that the death was anything to do with his previous offences. “We would not want to prejudice that investigation, so there is nothing more we could say at the moment.”
The Sun, February 21st, 2000
Mike Sullivan, ‘I’d like to buy child-sex fiend’s killers a big drink; Exclusive’
Says woman he raped when she was just 5
A WOMAN raped at the age of five by murdered paedophile William Malcolm said yesterday: “I just wish it was me who had shot him.”
The jubilant 27-year-old added: “I’d love to meet the people who did it to say thank you – and buy them the biggest drink in the world.”
She, her two older sisters and two brothers all suffered horrific abuse at the hands of the brute they dubbed The Animal.
Malcolm, 47, was killed by a bullet in the head as he answered the door to two stocky white hitmen on Thursday.
His woman victim, who is still undergoing psychiatric counselling, said: “I’ve been jumping up and down with joy.
“Hearing The Animal was dead is the happiest I’ve ever felt.”
Malcolm – twice jailed for abusing her – walked free on a legal technicality six years ago when she tried to get him locked up for a third time.
The woman, referred to in court as Susie, went to cops with her brothers and sisters to reveal further abuse after learning he had moved in with a mum and her three children. Security guard Malcolm was charged with 13 new attacks. But an Old Bailey judge let him walk free amid uproar. Malcolm was linked to the paedophile ring led by vile child-sex monster Sidney Cooke.
The gang tortured and murdered at least nine young boys including Jason Swift, 14, Mark Tildesley, seven, and Barry Lewis, six.
Susie still cannot bear to mention Malcolm’s name. She shuddered yesterday as she said: “He wrecked my life. My daughter aged four is in care because I was unable to look after her properly. I’m trying to overcome a drink problem. I blame it on him.”
Susie knows she is a suspect over the beast’s murder – as are her brothers and sisters. Detectives probing the shooting in Manor View, East London, have already contacted them to warn they will be interviewed.
But Susie insisted: “It was none of us. I wish it HAD been me who killed him.”
Her sister, now a mum of four aged 40, said: “Malcolm raped me when I was 14 and did unspeakable things to me.
“When he walked away from the Old Bailey on a technicality I shouted out, ‘I hope you drop dead you bastard.’
“I am worried my family are going to get blamed for his murder.”
Yesterday the man leading the murder hunt admitted: “I don’t know what the motive is.” Detective Chief Inspector David Shiperlee added: “We still need to delve into his background. His past history could be relevant. But it might be something completely different.”
The Scotsman, February 21st, 2000
John Woodcock, ‘MP SAYS HE MAY NAME ABUSE SUSPECTS’
A LABOUR MP threatened yesterday to use parliamentary privilege to reveal the names of at least six more suspects linked with the north Wales child abuse scandal.
Martyn Jones, the MP for Clwyd South, has claimed that last week’s Waterhouse report was a whitewash and that there are still people identified by victims who have not been properly investigated.
He has vowed to seek a full investigation of all remaining people alleged to have committed sex crimes in the Welsh care homes and is threatening to name names in the Commons if he does not secure a fresh inquiry or action from the police.
The MP’s threat came as police continued the hunt for the “contract” killers who shot dead a convicted paedophile, William Malcolm, at his east London home last Thursday.
And there was little sympathy from Roger Stoodley, the former detective chief superintendent who uncovered Britain’s biggest paedophile ring in the 1980s. He said that Malcolm “deserved” to die because he was a convicted sex offender.
A number of suspects on Mr Jones’s list are believed still to be working in positions where they might come into contact with children. Mr Jones, chairman of the Commons Welsh Select Committee, made a similar threat to “out” alleged abusers in order to pressure the John Major administration to launch the Waterhouse inquiry into the abuse scandal.
He said: “I believe that there are other people who should have been named in the report, because Waterhouse took the view that he was not going to name people who were not convicted, whereas there are people who I know were named by victims who may potentially be abusers. Until these people are investigated, we don’t know whether they are abusers or have been maliciously identified.
“I know of at least six names of people who have not been investigated, and I believe there are more.”
Several of the names known to Mr Jones are mentioned in the Jillings report into the scandal, commissioned in the early 1990s by Clwyd County Council but suppressed on advice from their insurers.
But Mr Jones said he intended to meet victims, as well as Malcolm King, the former social services chairman at Clwyd, to seek further names. He said: “At the end of the day, I will name these people if necessary, but at the moment I am trying to work out whether they have been investigated or not. Once I have a definite list, I will seek to have them investigated.
“If that doesn’t work, it is a real possibility that I will read out a list of names or parts of the Jillings report in the House, possibly within weeks, but I am not going to jump the gun.”
The Waterhouse report mentioned 200 people as having been convicted of abuse, being alleged abusers or failing to protect children.
Scotland Yard confirmed that Malcolm died after being shot once in the head at his flat in Forest View Road, Manor Park, east London. It said that the suspects are thought to be in their 30s, of stocky build and wearing dark clothing. Officers are also investigating whether Malcolm had received any death threats.
The killing, which came two days after the Waterhouse report was published, left Malcolm’s neighbours “relieved” that a paedophile living in their midst was now “out of the way”.
Malcolm walked free from the Old Bailey six years ago when a judge decided “with considerable regret” that 13 charges, including rape, indecent assault and cruelty, could not be heard because of a legal technicality.
The judge said it would be impossible for him to receive a fair trial as the defence would be unable to question witnesses without their revealing his imprisonment. He was first jailed in 1981 for unlawful intercourse with an eight-year-old girl and a serious sexual offence against a boy, aged nine. He was jailed again in 1984 for four years for raping the same girl.
Leicester Mercury, February 21, 2000
Victim thanks rapist’s killers
A VICTIM of a convicted child rapist gunned down on his doorstep in a suspected contract killing today said she would like to thank the gunmen.
The 27-year-old woman, who says William Malcolm abused her, her two brothers and two sisters, said: ”I wish it was me who had shot him.
”I’d love to meet the people who did it to say thank you n and buy them the biggest drink in the world. Hearing The Animal was dead is the happiest I’ve ever felt.”
Malcolm, 44, who was twice jailed for abusing the unnamed woman, died after being shot once in the head on Thursday night at his flat in Forest View Road, Manor Park, east London.
He walked free from the Old Bailey six years ago when a judge decided ”with considerable regret” that 13 charges, including rape, indecent assault and cruelty, could not be heard because of a legal technicality.
The judge said it would be impossible for him to receive a fair trial as the defence would be unable to question witnesses without their revealing his history of imprisonment.
He was first jailed in 1981 for unlawful intercourse with an eight-year-old girl and a serious sexual offence against a boy, aged nine.
He was sent to prison again in 1984 for four years for raping the same girl.
The Express, February 21st, 2000
Alex Hendry, ‘I’LL NAME CHILD ABUSERS’
AN MP is to “name and shame” child abusers who he claims were involved in the North Wales care homes scandal but never prosecuted.
Martyn Jones, Labour MP for Clwyd South, said yesterday that he will use parliamentary privilege to name the alleged offenders.
It is understood there could be at least another 50 suspected abusers and some could still be working with children.
Mr Jones said the identities of some abusers had been known since the early 1990s when Clwyd council ordered an investigation into reports of a scandal involving homes in its area.
He says the findings were kept secret by the council at the insistence of its insurers to avoid the prospect of huge compensation claims from the abuse victims.
The MP said that some of those accused of child abuse in the Clwyd findings are not mentioned in the long-awaited Waterhouse Report published last week, although victims gave evidence to the inquiry.
He said: “It appears that some of those named have not been investigated when they should have been. I know of at least six names of people who have not been investigated, and I believe there are more. The names I have, I have known since 1989.
“They are not simply malicious allegations on the back of the recent publicity.”
Mr Jones, chairman of the Commons Welsh Select Committee, made a similar threat to “out” alleged abusers in order to pressure John Major’s government into launching the Waterhouse inquiry.
The 420,000-word document on the physical and sexual abuse suffered by hundreds of youngsters in care in North Wales over a 20-year period caused shockwaves last week.
It listed 200 individuals, including those convicted of abuse, those alleged to have abused children and those it said had failed to protect the youngsters in care.
The report sparked an immediate hunt for 28 people who it said were unsuitable to work with children but whose whereabouts were not known. Mr Jones said he now intends to meet victims of abuse and will also see Malcolm King, the former social services chairman at Clwyd.
He will then draw up a list of all those care workers accused of abuse but not so far identified publicly.
Mr King, who was also instrumental in calling for the Waterhouse Report when at Clwyd, said: “It is obscene there are many more people who have not been investigated.”
Now chairman of the Police Authorities of Wales, Mr King added: “Whether it is incompetence or something more sinister the fact is child abusers are remaining unchecked and they will continue to run more children’s homes.” In a separate investigation, the police are conducting a major inquiry into allegations of child abuse at homes run by the authority in Lambeth, South London.
Birmingham and Liverpool police have also been involved in similar inquiries involving children’s care homes.
In a sinister development last week a convicted paedophile was blasted in the head by hitmen in an apparent revenge killing for his sex attacks. William Malcolm, 44, was shot dead on the doorstep of his flat in Manor Park, East London. Two men who were seen running from the scene are being hunted by police.
The Bristol Post, February 21st, 2000
‘Thank-you to hitman’
A VICTIM of a convicted child rapist shot on his doorstep in a suspected contract killing today said she would like to buy the gunmen a drink.
The 27-year-old woman, who says William Malcolm abused her, her two brothers and two sisters, said: “I just wish it was me who had shot him. I’d love to meet the people who did it to say ‘thank you’ – and buy them the biggest drink in the world.”
Malcolm, 44, who was jailed for abusing the woman, died after being shot on Thursday in Manor Park, east London.
The Bristol Post, February 21st, 2000
‘Handley brother speaks’
A CONVICTED child rapist shot dead on his doorstep was a neighbour of the teenage brother of Bristol paedophile victim Daniel Handley, it emerged today.
Edmoses Theophile, aged 18, lived for two years next to abuser William Malcolm, who was killed in a suspected contract hit, but was unaware of his criminal past.
Mr Theophile’s younger brother, Daniel, was kidnapped and murdered in 1994 by two paedophiles who buried his body in woods on the edge of Bradley Stoke.
Daniel, nine, was snatched from a street near his London home and strangled as the men drove along the M4.
Malcolm, 44, was shot in the head last Thursday by two men at his home in Manor Park, London.
Mr Theophile said: “I hope it’s the beginning of a long line of executions.
“I am a very good person in my heart and don’t normally say evil things like this, but these people don’t deserve any remorse or sympathy.”
Daniel’s killers, Brett Tyler and Timothy Morss, were jailed for life after the Old Bailey heard how they were acting out their sexual fantasies in murdering him.
Birmingham Evening Mail, February 21st, 2000
‘VICTIM’S JOY AS PERVERT SHOT DEAD ‘I’D LIKE TO BUY KILLERS A DRINK’; WILLIAM MALCOLM’
A VICTIM of a convicted child rapist gunned down on his doorstep in a suspected contract killing today said she would like to buy the gunmen “the biggest drink in the world”.
The 27-year-old woman, who says William Malcolm abused her, her two brothers and two sisters, said: “I just wish it was me who had shot him.
“I’d love to meet the people who did it to say thank you – and buy them the biggest drink in the world. Hearing ‘The Animal’ was dead is the happiest I’ve ever felt.”
Malcolm, 44, who was twice jailed for abusing the unnamed woman, died after being shot once in the head on Thursday night at his flat in Manor Park, Forest Gate, east London.
He walked free from the Old Bailey six years ago when a judge decided “with considerable regret” that 13 charges, including rape, indecent assault and cruelty, could not be heard because of a legal technicality.
The judge said it would be impossible for him to receive a fair trial as the defence would be unable to question witnesses without their revealing his history of imprisonment.
He was first jailed in 1981 for unlawful intercourse with an eight-year-old girl and a serious sexual offence against a boy, aged nine. He was sent to prison again in 1984 for four years for raping the same girl.
The woman said: “He wrecked my life. My daughter, aged four, is in care because I was unable to look after her properly.
“I’m trying to overcome a drink problem. I blame it on him.”
Police are treating Malcolm’s shooting as a possible contract killing and are hunting for two white men who were seen running from the scene.
Officers are also trying to find a motive for the killing and are investigating Malcolm’s background to see whether he had received any death threats recently.
A police spokesman said the suspects are thought to be in their 30s and stocky.
Western Daily Press, February 22nd, 2000
‘Brother glad at killing of pervert’
THE brother of a boy murdered and buried in Bristol by two paedophiles was unknowingly a neighbour of the convicted child rapist shot dead last week.
For two years, Edmoses Theophile lived next to abuser William Malcolm, who was killed in a suspected contract hit.
Theatre student Theophile, aged 18, whose younger brother Daniel Handley was kidnapped and murdered by two paedophiles, said: “I hope it’s the beginning of a long line of executions.
“I am a very good person in my heart and don’t normally say evil things like this but these people don’t deserve any remorse or sympathy.”
Daniel Handley, from a deprived family in east London, was snatched by child abusers Brett Tyler and Timothy Morss in 1994. They strangled him and buried him on wasteland in Bradley Stoke, near Bristol.
Malcolm, 44, who had nothing to do with that case, was shot dead at the door of his home in Manor Park, east London.
The Sun, February 22nd, 2000
John Kay (London) and Mike Sullivan (Central France), ‘Shooting was best thing for my evil brother; Exclusive; Interview; Andy Malcolm’
‘Pervert was lower than rats in my barn’
THE brother of child-sex monster William Malcolm told The Sun last night: “I want to shake hands with his killers.”
Dad-of-four Andy Malcolm said: “He was vermin. I am glad he is dead.”
Retired roadsweeper Andy, 43, added in central France, where he now lives: “Through The Sun, our entire family want to say how glad we are that Bill is no longer on this earth.
“As far as I am concerned my brother was lower than the rats in my barn.”
Andy told how he wanted to break open champagne when one of his daughters phoned from England to say his paedophile brother had been shot dead on his doorstep.
He was also contacted by detectives hunting the two-man hit squad who struck on Thursday in Manor View, East London. Andy said:
At the end of the call the officer said: “Do you want to know anything if there are any developments?” I said: “Yes, when you catch the killers I want to come over there and shake their hands and say thank you very much.” That is the reaction of the whole family.
My mum loved him when she was alive and he was her son by some freak of nature. But as for the rest of us, it is good riddance. We are glad he is no longer on this earth.
If I’d had a bottle of champagne when my middle daughter phoned me with the news I would have opened it and celebrated. She said: “Have you heard – Bill got shot dead last night.” I said: “Great, brilliant. We really need good news – we don’t get much of it out here.”
His evil brother, 47, was linked with Britain’s most notorious paedophiles – including those who tortured and killed Jason Swift, 14, and eight other boys. He twice served jail terms for child-abuse – but walked free from court six years ago on a technicality.
Yesterday one of his victims – raped at the age of five – told how she wanted to buy the gunmen a drink.
Cops have vowed to work flat out to catch the killers.
The Sun, February 22nd, 2000
Richard Littlejohn, ‘Oh, what a circus; Opinion’
THE child molester shot dead in East London deserved to die, according to the policeman who uncovered Britain’s biggest paedophile ring.
Former Det Chief Supt Roger Stoodley said: “I have no sympathy for him. How many times do we have to convict these people before something drastic happens?”
Needless to say, the bleeding heart brigade have been quick to condemn Mr Stoodley as endorsing vigilante action.
But they are the real reason William Malcolm took a bullet in the head on Friday.
He had twice been jailed for child abuse and twice released early to offend again. The hand-wringers care more about the rights of paedophiles than they do about the rights of children.
Malcolm was clearly a sick, evil man. He should have been locked up for life, not just for society’s protection but also for his own.
If he had been in a secure prison where he belonged he could not have been shot. Vigilantes only operate when the system fails to properly punish or deter criminals.
But increasingly the law resembles a conspiracy against the respectable, hard-working, law-abiding majority.
No wonder decent coppers like Roger Stoodley get frustrated and angry.
It wasn’t just the man who pulled the trigger who killed William Malcolm, it was the whole rotten bunch of lawyers and social workers who sent him back into society.
They are as sick and perverted as he was.
Birmingham Post, February 22nd, 2000
Paul Peachey, ‘KILLING IS A BLATANT WARNING FOR PAEDOPHILES’
The brother of a boy murdered by two paedophiles was a neighbour of the convicted child rapist gunned down on his doorstep last week.
For two years, the 18-year-old lived next to abuser William Malcolm, who was killed in a suspected contract hit, but was unaware of his criminal past.
But Edmoses Theophile, whose younger brother Daniel Handley was kidnapped and murdered by two paedophiles acting out their sexual fantasies, said: “I hope it’s the beginning of a long line of executions.” Mr Malcolm, aged 44, was shot once in the head at close range as he opened the door to two men at his home in Manor Park, East London, on Thursday night.
Mr Theophile said: “There’s one less and I’m content with that fact. But there are still more out there.
“Some people can’t sit back and wait for judgment day. Some people are going to make it themselves.”
He said he wanted the shooting to be seen as a “blatant warning” for every paedophile.
Daniel Handley, from a deprived family in East London, was snatched by child abusers Brett Tyler and Timothy Morss while he was riding his bicycle in 1994. They took him to a South London flat and videotaped each other abusing the nine-year-old boy.
They then strangled him as they drove along the M4 towards Bristol before dumping his body.
The two men were told by the trial judge that “life means life” but Mr Theophile said: “If I could, I would certainly kill them.”
One of Malcolm’s victims said yesterday she would like to buy the gunmen “the biggest drink in the world”.
The 27-year-old woman, who says Malcolm abused her, her two brothers and two sisters, said: “I just wish it was me who had shot him.”
Malcolm was twice jailed for abusing the unnamed woman but walked free from the Old Bailey six years ago when a judge decided that 13 charges, including rape, indecent assault and cruelty, could not be heard because of a legal technicality.
He was first jailed in 1981 for unlawful intercourse with an eight-year- old girl and a serious sexual offence against a boy, aged nine. He was sent to prison again in 1984 for four years for raping the same girl.
Scotland Yard confirmed yesterday that Mr Theophile had been spoken to as part of routine house-to-house inquiries.
The Sun, February 23rd, 2000
‘We hated pervert but killers solved nothing; The big issue; Dear Sun; Letter’
EVIL paedophile William Malcolm was gunned down on his doorstep and police are hunting his killers. Here are your views.
NO one can justify the cold blooded murder of a human being – even an evil paedophile like William Malcolm.
But he had been allowed to escape justice through a legal technicality and the people living near him had every reason to fear for the safety of their children.
Our justice system keeps letting us down and until this changes I fear more people will feel the need to do what the courts don’t do.
NICK BARRETT, Bottisham, Cambridge
WHATEVER crimes William Malcolm may have committed, another wrong doesn’t make a right.
His murder solves nothing. Vigilantes are not welcome in today’s society. This kind of behaviour belongs in the Dark Ages.
M N BRETT, Dudley, West Midlands
I HOPE police inquiries into the death of William Malcolm will be conducted with the same ruthlessness as the investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence.
JOHN ROZIER, Worcester
THERE are a lot of complaints about the police not doing enough to solve crimes but I don’t think there will be any if they fail to find the killers of William Malcolm.
His murder will probably mean that more children will now be safe.
Mrs P MASON, Skipton, North Yorkshire
THE people who shot William Malcolm have done what the laws of this country failed to do, make our children’s lives safer. I am sick of the way these paedophiles keep getting away with it.
They say they cannot help themselves, so why don’t the judges and the Government listen to them and us, the public, and lock these evil monsters away for the rest of their lives. Until judges are elected, like in the U.S., they will never do what the public wish.
T F BROWN, Hornchurch, Essex
IT would be typical of our legal system if Malcolm’s killer got a tougher sentence than the victim.
William Malcolm may have been shot, but aren’t we really better off without him walking our streets?
LES ALLPORT, Stourbridge, West Midlands
WHILE I certainly didn’t shed any tears for evil William Malcolm, I hope this killing won’t spark off similar vigilante attacks. We may have become increasingly frustrated with our inadequate justice system but taking the law into our hands is the first step to anarchy. It is up to Jack Straw to sort out our system so these perverts serve life, rather than a few years.
GEOFF SUMMERFIELD, Leeds
THERE can be no punishment too severe for a paedophile and I don’t doubt Malcolm’s neighbours feel their children are safer now. But that does not justify his execution by vigilantes on his doorstep or the reported jubilation of his neighbours. This is no better than mob rule or a return to the Dark Ages. We must overhaul our judicial system so the absurd circumstances of this man’s court cases and the apparently ridiculous court rulings are never repeated.
SPENCER ARNOTT, Holmer Green, Bucks
I THINK the killing of convicted child rapist William Malcolm was a great pity.
It was a pity that it wasn’t done sooner, which may have saved one of his victims suffering mental scarring which will last a lifetime.
It was a pity someone had to do something the state should have done.
G McGOURAN, Bewdley, Worcs
THE vigilante killing of William Malcolm may be wrong, but it shows how much contempt law-abiding citizens have for our legal system, which seems to favour the criminal and not the public.
Legal technicalities are always being found to prevent criminals receiving the full sentence they deserve. In this sort of case there should be a procedure to over-rule technicalities like these.
Ironically, these technicalities led to Malcolm’s death. If he had gone to prison he would be alive.
Mr R VELL, Newquay, Cornwall
IF this type of killing were to continue there could be some who will use it as a licence to take revenge on others who have only been accused but are innocent. We tread a dangerous path with mob rule.
S LOCKE, Leicester
Sunday Mirror, March 5th, 2000
Tim Luckett, ‘SEX RING LINK TO PERVERT’S KILLING’
A PAEDOPHILE was shot dead because he was about to expose a major child sex ring – including several influential figures – police believe.
Detectives hunting William Malcolm’s killers are now interviewing known paedophiles to confirm the motive.
“It looks like Malcolm was on the verge of exposing something big – it is thought some well-known people were involved,” a police source said.
Malcolm, 47, linked to notorious paedophiles Leslie “Catweazle” Bailey and Sidney Cooke, was killed two weeks ago with a bullet in the head at his flat in East London.
Originally, it was believed the killing was carried out by hitmen in a revenge attack. Two male suspects seen fleeing from the flat in Forest Row have yet to be traced.
After Malcolm’s death, a girl who had been abused by him at the age of five said: “I wish it was me who had shot him.”
New Statesman, March 13th, 2000
Richard Webster, The New Statesman Special Report – ‘Can a whistle-blower be wrong?; Richard Webster on the reasons for scepticism about the North Wales tribunal’s conclusion that hundreds of young people were abused’
When, one evening in the middle of last month, William Malcolm opened the front door of his flat to two visitors, he was shot dead with a single bullet through his brain. According to newspaper reports, his neighbours cheered when they heard the news, and a local mother said ‘whoever did this deserves a medal’. In 1981, Malcolm had been convicted for unlawful intercourse with an under-age girl. Six years ago, he had appeared at the Old Bailey on charges of rape, indecent assault and cruelty, but the trial had been halted for legal reasons.
Some newspapers endorsed and even applauded Malcolm’s extra-judicial murder. The implication is that child sexual abuse is so repugnant a crime that we may be justified in abandoning the normal processes of law. This sets a disturbing and dangerous precedent and the examples go beyond the Malcolm case. Several MPs have said that they will use parliamentary privilege to name 50 alleged child abusers in north Wales. But the Tribunal of Inquiry into Child Abuse in North Wales Children’s Homes chaired by Sir Ronald Waterhouse, which reported last month, refrained from identifying these people precisely because there was insufficient evidence against them.
As Cleveland and the Orkneys should have taught us, it is possible for people to be wrongly accused of child sexual abuse. In the current climate, however, a mere allegation of abuse is widely treated as though it were proof of wrongdoing. And when MPs themselves trample on the very principles of justice, it places immense pressure on both judges and juries to convict even when the evidence points to a defendant’s innocence.
The North Wales tribunal, insofar as it has been criticised at all, has been accused of not apportioning enough blame, not naming enough names. Almost nobody, apart from BBC2’s Newsnight, has questioned its broad conclusions, which largely endorsed the horrifying allegations of sexual and physical abuse it was set up in July 1996 to investigate. According to the Daily Mail, the tribunal had uncovered ‘Britain’s worst-ever paedophile scandal’. The newspaper added that ’40 of the monsters are still at large’. Almost all newspapers featured the role of the whistle-blower Alison Taylor. ‘I nailed child sex perverts: Brave Alison exposed abuse scandal’ was the Sun headline. The Daily Telegraph carried a picture of Taylor under the headline ‘I had the proof but they wouldn’t listen’.
Confronted with alleged child abuse, the press abandons its critical faculties, rather as it did with the convictions of supposed IRA bombers in the 1970s. The comparison is a telling one. Just as those who campaigned then against miscarriages of justice were accused of sympathy for the IRA, those who now raise even the possibility of miscarriages of justice in child-abuse cases are suspected of condoning abuse, or denying its existence.
But no matter how heinous the alleged crime, suspects deserve the proper processes of law. And, in the case of north Wales, there must be reasonable doubt not only about the guilt of many of those accused but also about whether many of the alleged crimes took place at all.
The Sun, March 18th, 2000
Mike Sullivan, ‘Cops quiz victim of fiend on shooting’
A WOMAN raped by paedophile William Malcolm when she was five has been arrested in connection with his murder.
Cops quizzed the 27-year-old, known only as Susie, after she told The Sun she wanted to buy Malcolm’s killers “the biggest drink in the world.”
Security guard Malcolm, 47, was shot last month by two hitmen at his home in Manor Park, East London.
Susie, her two sisters and two brothers all suffered horrific abuse at the hands of the brute they dubbed The Animal. And he was twice jailed.
Last night Susie, of Hackney, said: “When the police arrested me they asked whether I had got anyone to shoot Malcolm.
“I told them I wish it had been me who killed him, but it wasn’t. I am totally innocent.”
Now free on bail, she will learn if she will be charged on Wednesday.
The Independent, April 6th, 2000
Ian Burrell, ‘JAILED SEX ATTACKERS FEAR FREEDOM AFTER VIGILANTE DEATH OF PAEDOPHILE’
A SUCCESSION of vigilante attacks against paedophiles has sent a “wave of fear” through prisons, causing terror among sex offenders awaiting release.
Prison managers say the alarm sweeping through sex offender units has resulted in some paedophiles saying they would rather remain incarcerated than risk going home.
The panic follows the killing six weeks ago of William Malcolm, a child sex attacker shot in the head on his doorstep in north-east London. Other sex offenders have been hounded from homes and hostels by groups of vigilantes.
Despite government claims that dangerous paedophiles must remain in prison, child sex offenders are being released regularly and many reoffend. There are fears that vigilantism could drive them into hiding, making police surveillance even more difficult and increasing the chances that they will strike again.
Chief probation officers said yesterday that the Government would need more secure and highly supervised units for released paedophiles – such as the one inside Nottingham prison used to house the predatory offenders Robert Oliver and Lennie Smith.
In Grendon prison near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, paedophiles being prepared for release have said they are fearful for their future. Andrew, 37, who served nearly five years for sex attacks on children, has asked to go to a hostel near London rather than return to his native Wales. “People say you are bound to be looking forward to it but time is flying by for the wrong reasons because I am shit scared of being allowed out,” he said. “I’m supposed to be looking forward to it but I’m not.”
Andrew said he was concerned at being cut off from the specialist treatment he receives at Grendon, where he is housed on a wing exclusively for sex offenders.
“In here people know what we have done and they accept it,” he said. “When I was at Dartmoor I was fearful of having jugs of hot water thrown at me. Those are the same fears I have now about getting out. What if someone is waiting for me when I get off the train or go to buy some fags in the morning?”
“Banter” among the jailed offenders focused on losing weight by running from gangs of vigilantes and spending money on paint thinners to clean abusive slogans from windows, he said.
Jenny Stead, a probation officer responsible for housing the released sex offenders, said they had become “the modern-day folk devils”.
Alan, a former schoolteacher serving 10 years for sex offences against boys and due to leave jail next year, said a recent dream that he was back home was a nightmare. “When I woke up I was relieved to find I was still in prison,” he said.
At Grendon, sex offenders undergo intensive group-based psychotherapy to uncover the deepest roots of their behaviour. Many have themselves been abused as children.
They are taught to recognise the early warning signals that they are about to carry out a new attack. Dr John Gordon, the wing therapist, admitted that, though the work at Grendon is known nationally for cutting recidivism, it is “only partially successful”.
Most paedophiles are released to hostels that should be well away from their past victims. They are staffed round-the-clock but are not secure.
Graham, 61, another former teacher, became aware of his full propensity for evil when he was told that another sex offender with whom he had shared a cell had kidnapped and murdered a boy aged 10. “The same seeds of that kind were there within me,” he said. “I don’t say they would germinate. I am not a violent man. But it was a shock within the system.”
Graham claims his cries for help were ignored after he served a 21-month sentence for abusing pupils.
He is now subject to a five-year sentence for an attack on a girl aged 13 and for molesting the girl’s mother 30 years earlier. He says his wife will stand by him when he leaves prison in two years.
The paedophiles, keen to be seen to be addressing their behaviour, say they “understand’ society’s backlash against the wickedness of their crimes. But they claim that if they are not given a chance to make a fresh start on release, their ostracism will increase their chances of carrying out more attacks.
“Unless society wants to drop all rapists and paedophiles on an island like some kind of leper colony it has got to realise that we have got to live,” Andrew said. “People have got to accept me for who I am, not who I was.”
The Express, April 6th, 2000
Paedophile death quiz TWO men have been arrested by police investigating the murder of a paedophile shot dead at his door. Child molester William Malcolm was killed in February, the day after the exposure of the North Wales child abuse scandal.
Police believed it was a vigilante-style attack. Malcolm’s neighbours in Forest Gate, East London, refused to help the murder hunt. Even his brother, Andrew, said: “I’m glad he’s dead.” The arrested men, 28 and 31, were bailed to return to a London police station on May 17.
The Independent, May 29th, 2000, Monday
Steve Boggan, ‘NO ONE MOURNS AND NO ONE TALKS. A COMMUNITY CLOSES RANKS AFTER A PAEDOPHILE IS SHOT DEAD’
INSIDE WILLIAM Malcolm’s scruffy flat, you can still see bloodstains on the floor where he was gunned down. His murderers shot him once in the head, but it took him several minutes to die.
He was a 47-year-old working man in a relationship with a woman, but in the street where he lived, no one cried for him. If anything, there were mild celebrations and a touch of satisfaction that he lived a while after being shot. Perhaps he even suffered a little.
Malcolm was murdered in February by two men who knocked on his door in Manor Park, east London. Yet, after three months of investigations, police are no nearer catching the killers. His is a murder no one wants solved, because he was a paedophile.
Since Malcolm’s death, not one person has called police to volunteer useful information, according to Detective Chief Inspector David Shipperlee, head of the central London serious crimes group.
“We haven’t had any calls with significant information,” said Det Ch Insp Shipperlee. “The inquiry is not becalmed. We are very active, but we have very little to go on.”
In Manor Park, Malcolm was a pariah. He moved into the area in 1995 after a trial against him on 13 charges of rape and indecent assault on children collapsed on a technicality. Those who saw his picture in the paper would point or call their children away from him.
He had been jailed in 1981 for sexually abusing the six-year-old daughter of a woman with whom he was living. After being released within a year, he returned to the home and began abusing the girl and her two brothers and sisters. In 1984, he was jailed again.
“He sexually abused us and he hit us – he had been in the Army and he would beat us with his Army belt,” said his six- year-old victim, now 27. “I couldn’t go to anyone because he threatened to kill my brothers and sisters if I did.
“Then one day my sister walked in and caught him with me and the police were called. But he was only in prison for a year. He came out when I was about nine and he was doing it until I was about 11, with me and my brothers and sisters.
“Eventually, when we couldn’t take it any more, we told and he was arrested again. That time, he was inside for about two and a half years. When he came out, our social worker told my mother that if she had him back in the house, I would have to go into care. She chose him, and I was in care from 11 to 18.
“Every day, he would hang around the care home, threatening me, and he would follow me to school. Eventually, the social workers had to take me to school. He was an animal and he ruined my life. I was receiving psychiatric help for years; I became an alcoholic and it was only recently that I stopped blaming myself. To me, being put into care at 11 was like going to prison. It was as if I had done something wrong.
“When I heard he had been killed, I went out and got drunk. It was the best news I’d had in years.”
The 1995 trial collapsed because Judge Kenneth Richardson ruled that Malcolm had no chance of a fair hearing, as those allegedly abused included previous victims. That meant his earlier conviction would inevitably be revealed to jurors.
At the time he made his decision, it is understood that Judge Richardson did not have access to a report written by Dr Jeremy Coid, a psychologist at Hackney Hospital. The report said: “(Malcolm) has marked paedophile tendencies of a strongly sadistic nature. For the foreseeable future, Mr Malcolm must be considered a real and immediate danger to any children to whom he might have access.”
For the past five years, Malcolm has lived in a one-bedroom, third-floor flat overlooking fields on the edge of Waltham Forest. It is understood that two children of his partner, Donna Robinson, were taken away by her family as a precaution against Malcolm. She declined to comment.
In his street, Forest View Road, news of his death was regarded as good news for people with children.
“It’s a relief,” said Robert Innes, 54. “I moved in after Malcolm, so I missed all the publicity when he arrived and I didn’t know about him. But I have three grandchildren, aged 11, nine and three, and they used to play on the fields outside his flat.
“I dread to think what could have happened. If I’d known about him, I’d have kicked his door down and warned him off,” he said.
In the local pub, the Blakesley Arms, the landlord Eddie O’Donnell said no one would help the police catch the killers, believed to have been two white men who were seen running from the scene.
“Everyone in here wants to buy them a big drink,” he said. “They’ve done a public service. This is the East End of London, where you don’t grass on someone who sorts out a child molester. It isn’t that people are being obstructive – they really don’t know anything – but if you want to call it a wall of silence, then yes. That’s what the police will find.”
Police know a lot about Malcolm until 1995, after whichthey have no reports of him offending. They know he regarded the murderer and paedophile Leslie Bailey as a friend. Bailey was jailed for abusing and murdering Jason Swift, 14, Mark Tildesley, seven, and Barry Lewis, six. He was murdered in prison in 1993.
Malcolm’s brother-in-law was married to Bailey’s sister and they had both worked at an east London taxi firm and a nearby toy factory. Malcolm admitted having Bailey round to his home as a guest. He is also thought to have associated with the notorious paedophile Sydney Cooke.
Since 1995, however, the police have drawn a blank. “We haven’t been able to track down a single person he may have associated with,” said Det Ch Insp Shipperlee. “But he had a job (as a security guard in the City of London), so someone must have at least gone for a drink with him from time to time. We need to find those people. They might not have known about his past, but they may be able to tell us something about his associates in the present.”
Early media claims of a professional killing are not taken seriously by police. It is not particularly professional to fire once, leaving your victim alive.
And, although they have interviewed all Malcolm’s victims, they have no evidence to suggest an “avenger” is at work. However, without help, evidence of any sort is in short supply.
In the final analysis, there are two points of view. One is best expressed by Malcolm’s brother, Andy, now living in France. “If you have a piece of dirt contaminating the street, you remove it. I loathed my brother and he got what he deserved. He was a nonce, he was contaminating the street and he was removed. Even if I knew who killed him, I wouldn’t tell the police. The killers are welcome in my home any time.”
And the other is voiced by Det Ch Insp Shipperlee: “I know it is difficult for people to sympathise with this man, but he was murdered. And in all conscience, whoever it is, you can’t let people get away with murder.”
The Guardian, July 24, 2000
Vikram Dodd, ‘Paedophile row: Innocents suffer when law of the lynch mob takes hold’
Fears that the News of the World’s naming of paedophiles will lead to vigilante attacks are based on a string of violent incidents across Britain.
Action by mobs has killed and maimed the innocent and, in cases where those targeted were child-sex offenders, led to lynch mob rule.
Scotland Yard is still hunting the killers of William Malcolm, 47. In February he answered a knock at the door of his east London home and was shot in the head.
Malcolm had been convicted twice for attacks on a six-year-old girl and her brother. He served two years in jail for assaulting the girl, and on release, his abuse resumed.
Neighbours reportedly celebrated the murder of Malcolm, who was linked to a paedophile ring including the notorious child-killer Sidney Cooke.
In March a 24-year-old man was abducted by vigilantes in the Midlands. They beat and tortured him for a week.
The fury unleashed by the thought of paedophiles living in communities has repeatedly led to cases of innocent people suffering.
Francis Duffy, 67, was beaten and severely injured by vigilantes after being mistaken for a paedophile, Brynley Dummett, who had been named by the Manchester Evening News, the Guardian’s sister newspaper.
In the West Midlands, a 14-year-old girl was killed when her home was firebombed in an arson attack intended for a paedophile.
Some, such as Paul Webster, could not take the pressure of false accusation. An inquest heard that the 38-year-old unemployed musician from Ply mouth drank himself to death after neighbours accused him of being a child abuser.
Webster, who had been giving children guitar lessons, was threatened with a knife and harassed constantly for three weeks. “Beware nonce lives here” was sprayed on the door of his flat.
In some cases, offenders have been repeatedly driven out of the areas in which they try to settle. In one instance the home of a sex offender was burned down, leaving the children in the family – who had been his victims – homeless as well.
Frank Revill, 55, was one person targeted by vigilantes who falsely believed he was a paedophile.
Three years ago, word spread that a child abuser was due to move into his neighbourhood in Folkestone, Kent. Mr Revill was spotted moving things into a house belonging to his daughter. “The vigilantes saw me, put two and two together and got five,” he said.
Mr Revill was verbally abused, had windows smashed and received threatening phone calls.
Yesterday Mr Revill said: “The thought of paedophiles abhors me, but at the other extreme, vigilantes should be stopped from taking the law into their own hands.”
It seems that no action by the authorities is sufficient to prevent outbreaks of mob violence. In April 1998 protesters surrounded a police station in Bristol, believing it housed Sidney Cooke. A barrage of petrol bombs and bricks were thrown, leaving 46 police officers injured as they tried to contain the crowd.
Police said a peaceful protest had been hijacked, with the rioters including children as young as eight.
The Independent, July 31st, 2000
Steve Boggan, ‘HOW REOFFENDING BY CHILD SEX ABUSERS HAS BEEN CUT BY A QUARTER’
WHAT REDUCED Jo Clarke to tears was not an encounter with a paedophile or an interview with a victim. It was a police statement in which a little boy described his ordeal at the hands of a sex attacker. “It was the vocabulary, the child using childish words to explain things he didn’t understand,” Ms Clarke said. “And that just got to me.”
She is the head of a Prison Service team that recruits psychologists to deal with paedophiles and sex offenders: she has hired 200 in the past 18 months alone. It is a job few would envy – coming into contact with society’s pariahs, the men who steal innocence, who abuse children and, in some cases, kill them.
Yesterday, as criticism mounted over the News of the World’s decision to continue “naming and shaming” paedophiles, Ms Clarke described the work of dealing with such men and why there is no shortage of professionals willing to try, often at the expense of their own health.
Recalling the day, early in her career, when she read intimate details of the boy’s ordeal, she said: “He used children’s words to describe what a man had done to him. His mother made the statement. She said she was sitting on the stairs at home with him when he started talking about it.
“It seemed so horrible to have that child’s vocabulary sullied by applying it to such a terrible purpose. He was very young. He had never heard the word ‘penis’. It just made me want to cry.”
Minutes later, however, she had to meet the paedophile.
“It was a shock,” she said. “He was an intelligent, articulate man in his forties; he recognised he had caused damage and that he had a problem, but he thought it was not solvable. That was in the early 1990s. We treated him and, to our knowledge, he hasn’t reoffended.” And that, said Ms Clarke, was why the small army of prison professionals, counsellors and psychologists dedicated themselves to treating sex offenders and paedophiles. Since the introduction of a sex offenders’ treatment programme a decade ago, reoffending had been reduced by 25 per cent, leading to 96 per cent of prison service staff who dealt with such men saying it was the most satisfying work they have ever undertaken.
“It means that for every 100 men you treat who would have reoffended, 25 now won’t because of the help we have given,” Ms Clarke said. “If you assume, conservatively, that paedophiles would have gone on to sexually abuse at least two more children, then that’s 50 children you have spared.
“That’s why we do this work, for those children.”
There are currently about 12,000 men on the Home Office’s register of convicted sex offenders. Since 1997, all sex offenders are recorded on the register. They must also lodge their name and address with local police within 14 days of being released from prison.
Each year, between 1,000 and 2,000 offenders voluntarily go on the treatment programme while in prison. Themost serious sex offenders – including child killers – usually end up at Brixton prison in south London, but regimes are in place at 25 other sites, including Albany on the Isle of Wight, Usk in Gwent, Whatton in Nottinghamshire and Channings Wood in Devon.
Offenders are assessed and given counselling by Prison Service staff, usually two or three counsellors dealing with groups of eight offenders. The group sessions typically last about two hours, during which offenders are persuaded to discuss their problems, fantasies and possible causes of their behaviour.
In extreme cases, one-on-one therapy is given and techniques such as aversive conditioning are administered, where an unpleasant experience – such as a noxious smell – is applied to an offender to make a fantasy or inappropriate arousal undesirable.
“We can’t ‘cure’ sex offenders; we don’t think in terms of cure, we think in terms of control,” Ms Clarke said. “Once you are a drinker or a smoker, you always will be even after you have given up. You have to find ways to keep you off them. That is what we try to achieve.”
Yet while the psychological problems of many offenders improves, the stress on the professionals who come into contact with them can take its toll. Problems include alcohol and drug abuse, inability to sleep and sexual problems because of “invasive” images – unwanted memories of things paedophiles have told them.
Penny Buller, spokeswoman on sex offenders for the Association of Chief Probation Officers, said: “You could say it is like feeling contaminated if you have sat for two hours with serious sex offenders, making them state what they have done without minimising it or using glib phrases. You come out feeling sullied, and switching that off is not easy. You have to find ways of making yourself feel whole again afterwards.”
For probation workers dealing with paedophiles, the pressure does not cease at the end of the working day. Because sex offenders are released on licence, with strict conditions attached, probation officers have the power to report suspicious or dubious behaviour to the Parole Board, which can have the suspect reimprisoned at any time.
Ms Buller said: “We do have more control than the public might think, but it means that probation officers working with these people can never relax. You can do your work thoroughly, look out for all the signs, but at midnight, when you’re in bed, you never know whether they could be reoffending. And if they do, the pressure increases – the officer has terrible feelings of guilt, of feeling responsible. And, of course, there is then an internal inquiry focusing on the offender and the probation officer.”
So is there a better way of controlling paedophiles? In the Sixties and Seventies in the former West Germany, hundreds of sex offenders were physically castrated; they had their testicles removed to dampen sexual desire.
But today an offender could be physically castrated one day and buy replacement hormone therapy on the black market the next, according to Dr Russell Reid, a consultant psychiatrist at the Hillingdon Hospital in west London.
Dr Reid is thought to be the only psychiatrist in the UK currently practising chemical castration, the administration of drugs to dampen libido. For the past 10 years, two of his patients have voluntarily accepted monthly injections of goserelin, trade-named Zoladex, an anti-testosterone agent normally used in the treatment of prostate cancer As a side-effect, goserelin also switches off sexual desire. One of his patients had been given the choice of taking the drug or going to prison for an extremely long term after barricading himself into a room and attempting to rape three boys.
“I am not evangelical about the treatment – there are other respected psychiatrists who are opposed to it – but it has worked for these men,” he said. “If you consider that sex offenders are mostly compulsorily driven because they are hypersexual – they may think constantly about sex and require some kind of sexual gratification 10 or more times a day – then they are driven by their penis to find a victim.
“This drug switches off that process completely. However, my patients requested it; full informed consent must be given. There must be offenders out there who would be happy to undergo this treatment, in conjunction with counselling, so they can live a normal life. But there will be others who do not want it, and you can’t force them.
“Psychotherapy simply doesn’t work for paedophiles. They have terrific powers of self justification and denial. They live in some bizarre fantasy world. Most paedophiles I have come across seem to have the same mental age as the children they abuse.”
Whichever argument wins the day, public loathing of paedophiles will continue. In February this year, William Malcolm, a notorious child abuser, was shot dead on his doorstep in Manor Park, east London. In the first four months of the inquiry, the police did not receive a single call from any member of the public offering information to help catch the killers, two men seen running away. If anything there were celebrations.
When The Independent told Malcolm’s brother, Andy, who lives in France, that no one was co-operating with the police, he was delighted. “The killers are welcome in my house any time,” he said.
UK Newsquest Regional Press – This is Local London, November 28th, 2002
‘CCTV film may hold clue to murder’
TUBE travellers from Wanstead or Woodford may hold vital clues to the murder of a Manor Park man more than two years ago.
Police are appealing for witnesses whose memories might be jogged by CCTV footage of William Malcolm walking through Manor Park tube station just hours before his death.
Mr Malcolm, 44, died on February 17, 2000, after he was shot in the head. Police were called to Forest View Road where he was found on the doorstep of his top floor flat at just before 10pm. He was taken to the Royal London Hospital where he died half an hour later.
Police want a man seen walking behind Mr Malcolm to get in touch as he may hold vital information about the events leading to his murder.
Detective Inspector Ron Scott of the Serious Crime Group East said: “More than two and a half years have passed since Mr Malcolm was murdered and it may be that someone feels they can come forward in the strictest confidence now that time has passed.
“The man and anyone else who was in the area at the time may have seen something suspicious. Perhaps they saw someone following Mr Malcolm out of the station towards his home or a person acting oddly.
“We are anxious to trace anyone who might be able to help us solve this murder, including Wanstead or Woodford residents who may have been using the tube.”
Two white men were seen running from Forest View Road and are described as being in their 30s, of stocky build and wearing dark clothing.
Three people, two men and a woman, were arrested in connection with the inquiry shortly after the murder but no further action was taken against them.
Witnesses should call the Barking incident room on 8345 1594 or if you wish to remain anonymous contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
UPI, October 11th, 2008
‘Pedophile strangled in Britain’
Investigators say a 73-year-old pedophile found strangled in a rural area in eastern England may have been killed by a vigilante.
Gordon Boon was sentenced in 2001 to six years in prison for molesting three young girls. Detectives would not say when he was released from prison, The Daily Mail reported.
His body was discovered Monday near a turkey farm in Great Witchingham, Norfolk. Police were unsure if the killing took place there.
Boon was last seen in a Norwich pub Friday. His son reported him missing Saturday.
In 2001, Boon pleaded guilty to assaults between 1975 and 1982. In one case, he gave a young girl liquor and got her to play strip poker.
Detectives were reportedly questioning some of his victims.
In 2000, William Malcolm, 47, a convicted pedophile who had charges dropped the last time he went to trial, was shot in his London apartment. No one was charged with the killing, which set off a string of vigilante attacks on pedophiles.
Daily Mail, October 11, 2008, 1st Edition
David Williams and Ryan Kisiel, ‘Did a gang of vigilantes murder this paedophile in an act of vengeance?’
AN elderly paedophile found strangled in woodland may have been the victim of a vigilante revenge attack, police believe.
Gordon Boon, a registered sex offender, was killed while on licence from prison.
Detectives were last night investigating whether the 73- year-old was murdered because of his past crimes against a girl of eight and two aged 13.
One possibility under investigation is that Boon had again been seen with children and was confronted by a child’s relative.
The body of the former cider factory worker was found on Monday by a member of the public walking in a wooded area used by fly-tippers in Great Witchingham, Norfolk.
It had been partially covered by old fencing panels. A postmortem examination showed Boon had been strangled.
There was blood around his nose and one of his shoes was missing. It was unclear if he died at the spot, yards from the headquarters of the Bernard Matthews turkey farms, or whether he had been killed elsewhere and the body dumped.
Police are said to have spoken to some of his victims after fears that he had been killed because of his past life of paedophilia.
Detectives would not say yesterday exactly when Boon was released from jail after serving a six-year sentence imposed at Norwich Crown Court in December 2001 for indecent assaults on the three girls.
The offences were historical, some dating back to a period between 1975 and 1982, according to court documents.
The court heard how Boon, a father of four, plied one of the older girls with alcohol and then played strip poker with her. He also took photos of her and interfered with her.
In court, he admitted two offences of indecent assault and two serious sex offences against the girl, two assaults on the second girl and one on the third.
As well as being jailed, he was placed on the sex offenders register for life and ordered to serve an extended licence of five years on his release.
Boon’s killing raises fears that a vigilante seeking to avenge specific attacks may be on the loose.
It also has echoes of the killing eight years ago of notorious paedophile William Malcolm, 47, who was shot at his flat in North London. The killers were never caught in what was always suspected of being a revenge attack.
Six years earlier he had faced trial at the Old Bailey for a horrifying catalogue of crimes against children as young as three. But he was allowed to walk free after the judge said he could not have had a fair trial because revealing his past convictions was a key element of the prosecution case.
The Malcolm murder provoked a series of vigilante attacks on paedophiles. In Norfolk, police say that Boon was last seen alive in the Tombland area of Norwich, near the Maids Head Hotel, last Friday, October 3.
It is believed that his worried son alerted police last Saturday after he failed to meet him for a drink.
Boon is believed to have split from his wife Andrea shortly before his arrest. The couple, who had lived in Attleborough, Norfolk, for 25 years, have two sons and two daughters.
Mrs Boon, 69, is understood to be living with a daughter in a Norfolk village. A former neighbour of the couple in Attleborough said it had been a ‘real shock’ to learn the quiet man who lived next door was a paedophile.
‘He seemed to spend most of the time in his house,’ the neighbour said. ‘His wife was more friendly and always had time for a chat.’ Detective Chief Inspector Steve Strong, of Norfolk Police, said: ‘The investigation into the death continues and officers are following up a number of lines of inquiry.’ email@example.com
The Independent, December 13th, 2008, First Edition
Cahal Milmo, ‘Police investigate ‘vigilante attack’ claim after murder of sex offender; Lorry driver had been convicted of unlawful sex with 15-year-old girl’
By his own admission, Andrew Cunningham led an unconventional life on the margins of society. For the past three years, his home had been a caravan parked on a grim south London industrial estate outside the repair shop where he worked as a haulier.
The 52-year-old father-of-five told friends he had taken the decision to drop out because of a “misunderstanding” which led to him being convicted eight years ago of having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old girl.
Yesterday, detectives were investigating if Mr Cunningham’s past had caught up with him. On Wednesday morning, he was found dead in his dilapidated caravan on the Windmill Industrial Estate in Earlsfield, south-west London, with multiple stab wounds, including an apparent attempt to mutilate his genitals.
For some acquaintances of the dead man working and living in the streets around Mr Cunningham’s two-berth caravan, there was little doubt about the reason for the frenzied killing. One man drinking in the Corner Pin, a pub less than 50 metres from the murder scene, said: “Nonce. He was a nonce. Everybody around here knew it. I suppose there was some who felt he had it coming.” Police face the task of deciding whether Mr Cunningham’s conviction – and subsequent claims of paedophilia levelled against him – were the reason for his murder.
Officers distanced themselves from claims that the lorry driver, who was estranged from his family, had been set upon by a mob on Tuesday night intent on carrying out a vigilante attack. CCTV footage is understood to have shown no sign of a large group in the area around his caravan.
Mr Cunningham was placed on the sex offenders register for seven years following his release from a four-month prison sentence in 2001. His name was removed in March this year.
Detective Chief Inspector Nick Scola, the officer leading the investigation, said: “I think it is unlikely this is a vigilante attack that has been in the planning for eight years. This was a brutal attack. We are keeping an open mind. It is possible the wound to his groin area was inflicted to cause confusion about the motive for the attack.” It is understood that a dispute over a debt is also being investigated.
The haulier was found naked in a pool of blood on Wednesday morning after he failed to turn up for work. There was no sign of forced entry.
The haulier had been dogged for years by taunts. Lucy, the 15-year-old daughter of a friend of Mr Cunningham, said: “He moved out of his house after his relationship with the mother of his children broke up. He was very open about why he went to prison. He said it was a misunderstanding. He said he wanted to be left alone to get on with his life in his caravan.”
Mr Cunningham had been the subject of claims that he was being investigated for an alleged indecent assault on a two-year-old girl. Mr Scola said no such inquiry was being carried out and the lorry driver had not been investigated for any sexual offence since 2000.
Victims of mob law
* In February 2000, a convicted paedophile, William Malcolm, 44, was shot dead at his flat in east London.
* In July 2000, Iain Armstrong, an innocent man, was targeted by a mob in Manchester. It followed the News of the World “shaming” of 49 suspected sex offenders. Mr Armstrong had been wearing a neck brace, because of a spinal disorder, similar to one worn by a pictured paedophile.
* In August 2000, a paediatrician named Yvette Cloete was labelled a “paedo”. “I’m really a victim of ignorance,” said Dr Cloete, who moved house.
* In the same month, a mob targeted a man in his forties in an attack on a Portsmouth estate. He left under police protection.
* In October this year, a convicted paedophile, Gordon Boon, 73, was murdered in Norfolk.
Daily Mail, December 13th, 2008, 1st Edition
Sam Greenhill, Colin Fernandez and Tamara Cohen, ‘Was this paedophile victim of a revenge murder?’
A PAEDOPHILE was hacked to death in a frenzied assault by a suspected mob of vigilantes.
Andrew Cunningham, 52, was found naked and soaked in blood at his caravan home after suffering multiple stab wounds to his head, neck and chest.
He served four months in jail for a sex attack on a 15-year-old girl in 2000 and was on the Sex Offenders’ Register until March this year.
But Cunningham may also have been targeted over accusations he molested a young girl.
Police are investigating if the attack in Wandsworth, South London, was an act of vengeance after his body was found on Wednesday.
A neighbour claimed: ‘I saw a group of about three or four kids hanging around that night. They were about 16 or 17 and they were shouting, “Come here, come here”.
They were being very aggressive.’ Detectives said Cunningham may have known his killer or killers as there was no damage to his door, which he usually kept locked.
Cunningham, a father-of-five separated from his partner, worked as a truck driver for the Riverside Haulage company and also kept his caravan on the site.
Recently, drinkers at a pub claimed he had assaulted another girl. This allegation was never reported to police but mobs reportedly drove past his caravan chanting: ‘Die, paedo, die.’ Cunningham moved there because vigilantes had set fire to a bag of rubbish outside his former house in Wandsworth in 2003.
It came after he was arrested and released without charge over allegations he was grooming children.
A police source said detectives were focusing on recent incidents rather than his earlier conviction.
He added: ‘Damage was caused to his genitals. He was loathed by a large number of people so we have a lot of potential suspects.’ Yesterday Wazir Zadran, 23, a worker at a nearby fish factory, said: ‘I heard it was a planned attack. Everyone knew he lived there and was a paedophile.’ Joe Hart, 46, a former neighbour, claimed: ‘He used to befriend young lads and invite them round.
He’d ask the boys to bring over girls and make passes at them.’ Cunningham’s body was found by his employer, known as Rodney, who said: ‘There was blood everywhere.
The bed was soaked and his head was lying in it.’ He added: ‘He was a lovely man, he couldn’t do enough for me.’ But yesterday there was little sympathy from motorists passing the scene, with one van driver shouting: ‘He deserved it.’ However, a bunch of flowers was laid by a 15-year-old called Lucy.
She said: ‘I used to go round his caravan instead of going to school.
He never laid a finger on me. He told me to go back to school.’ The teenager, who was accompanied by her father, later made a statement to police. A tag on her flowers read: ‘To Andy, the best man alive no matter what people say. Me and the family will miss you. May you rest in peace.’ Detective Chief Inspector Nick Scola, leading the investigation, said: ‘This was a vicious and brutal attack.’ He added that people in the area ‘knew about his history’.
Sara Payne, whose daughter Sarah was murdered by a paedophile in 2000, said the attack would set back her campaign for the names and addresses of sex offenders to be made public.
Two months ago, Gordon Boon, 73, was found dead in woodland in Norfolk after serving time for sexually abusing three girls.
Eight years ago, paedophile William Malcolm, 47, of North London, was shot dead in a suspected attack by vigilantes.
Sunday Mercury, August 9th, 2009, First Edition
Jeanette Oldham, ‘SEX OFFENDER WAS’KILLED BY VIGILANTES’; Man died after being kicked and punched in his home: EXCLUSIVE’
A SEX offender who died after being beaten at his home may have been the target of vigilantes who had learned of his previous convictions.
Dennis Golding, 49, who had a string of offences for indecent exposure, was found covered in blood at his Birmingham flat in January.
He had suffered serious injuries to his body and head, consistent with having been repeatedly kicked and punched in a prolonged attack which police believe may have lasted up to two hours.
Serial flasher Golding, from Small Heath, died three weeks later.
Now it has emerged that he may have been targeted by vigilantes after rumours circulated locally that he had been spotted in the sex offenders’ wing of a Midland prison.
Police sources said it was “no secret” Golding was well-known in the community as a convicted sex offender. It is believed there had been a number of earlier incidents when his property may have been damaged.
Golding, who was unemployed, had a total of nine sex offence-related convictions stretching back five years and was on the Sex Offenders’ Register.
His first conviction was in 2004, when he was sentenced to a 24-month rehabilitation order after pleading guilty to indecent exposure. He was put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for five years.
In September 2005, Golding received a one-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after admitting four new charges of flashing.
His name was also added to the register for a further seven years.
A month later he was convicted of a further four counts of indecent exposure and of breaching the terms of the register after failing to report a change of address to West Midlands Police. He received 12 weeks in prison.
In March 2006 Golding was sentenced to 18 months for an attempted robbery.
Then in July 2007 he was locked up for four months after again being convicted of breaching the register’s conditions by not telling police he had moved address.
Community sources revealed that middle-aged Golding was set upon in his flat in Mansel Road, Small Heath, on the evening of January 25 this year. He was found with serious head injuries and was bleeding profusely.
Golding was rushed to hospital at about 11.30pm but remained in a critical condition.
It is believed he never regained consciousness.
Two men, aged 22 and 29, and a 19-year-old woman have pleaded not guilty to murder and are due to stand trial in November.
There have been a succession of vigilante attacks against paedophiles in recent years.
William Malcolm, a child sex attacker, was shot in the head on his doorstep in north-east London in 2000. Others have been hounded from homes and hostels by groups of vigilantes.
Despite public campaigns that dangerous paedophiles must remain in prison, child sex offenders are released regularly and many reoffend.
Each attack reignites the debate over whether vigilantism could drive offenders into hiding, making police surveillance even more difficult and increasing the chances that they will strike again.
Daily Express, May 13th, 1989
At the time of writing this (evening on Monday June 30th, 2014), it is the day before an important event in the House of Commons. Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk, co-author (with Matt Baker) of Smile for the Camera: The Double Life of Cyril Smith (London: Biteback, 2014), is due (at 4:15 pm on Tuesday July 1st) to give evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee. Whilst the ostensible subject of this meeting is to do specifically with historical child abuse in Rochdale (Cyril Smith’s old constituency, now Danczuk’s), Danczuk has also written of how Smith was connected to the sinister figure of Peter Righton and a wider paedophile ring including prominent politicians (see this article by Watson in praise of Danczuk). In particular, this ring is thought to have frequented the notorious Elm Guest House in Barnes, South-West London, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and one name in particular of a very senior former cabinet minister from the Thatcher era (a name which I do not intend to share here) has been widely circulated around social media and the internet. This ex-minister has also been linked to a separate story concerning the rape of a woman known just as ‘Jane’ in 1967, but the police apparently have dropped any plans to prosecute (or even arrest or interview) the minister.
Back in April, Danczuk indicated to the Daily Mail that he might use Parliamentary Privilege to name the MP in question; in an interview given to The Independent a little over a week ago, he affirmed his intention to do so if asked, and may also name a further Labour politician involved in a separate abuse scandal (this is likely to be the former Blair-era cabinet minister alleged to have abused boys in a children’s home in Lambeth, run by paedophile Michael John Carroll, in which case experienced detective Clive Driscoll was taken off the case as he allegedly came to investigate the minister.
The Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) has eleven members; five Conservatives (Nicola Blackwood, James Clappison, Michael Ellis, Lorraine Fullbrook and Mark Reckless), one Liberal Democrat (Julian Huppert) and five Labour (Chair Keith Vaz, Ian Austin, Paul Flynn, Yasmin Qureshi and David Winnick). Vaz has a particular connection as he was Solicitor for Richmond Council, and a parliamentary candidate for Richmond & Barnes around the time when the alleged events at Elm Guest House occurred (see the account of his career with primary sources, ‘Keith Vaz and the Mystery of Barnes Common’ at Spotlight). Three members of the HASC – Huppert, Flynn and Qureshi – have declared their support for a national inquiry into organised abuse; one member of the HASC has confirmed that Danczuk will be asked about visitors to Elm Guest House (Leftly, ‘MP will name politician ‘involved in child abuse”). This will be an important occasion at the HASC which may change the whole climate of opinion concerning abuse and the urgent need for an inquiry.
Yet at the eleventh hour, the Exaro news website, who have attempted to claim control and credit for all matters relating to the call for an inquiry (with the help of a few people never described more specifically than ‘Exaro’s twitter followers’), are calling upon Danczuk not to name the minister(s) in question, as well as claiming on Twitter that they have now got some special information which changes things (which of course they are not prepared to share). I will return to this in a moment.
First I want to respond to a blog post by Eric Joyce, MP for Falkirk . In response to a lobbying campaign of MPs to support a national inquiry into organised abuse, started by seven MPs (Conservative Zac Goldsmith and Tim Loughton, Liberal Democrat John Hemming and Tessa Munt, Labour Tom Watson and Danczuk, and Green Caroline Lucas), which was indeed reported by David Hencke for Exaro (David Hencke, MPs call on Teresa May to set up inquiry into child sex abuse’), a relatively organic campaign was started around the same time (beginning with a draft letter from earlier by another campaigner on another forum) which came to be initially about encouraging all those who agree to write to their own MPs and ask them to join the original seven. Some took the decision instead to send Tweets to all MPs on Twitter, which has certainly led to positive responses from some. In most cases, it is likely that a combination of the reminders on Twitter, together with letters sent to all MPs from Tim Loughton, information about the campaign e-mailed by various of us to MPs requesting it, and private discussions between MPs (not least between Tory MPs and Loughton, and Labour MPs and Watson) has led many to support the campaign, which some have announced on Twitter; at the time of writing the number stands at 123, though there has been only minimal coverage in the mainstream media, even in the wake of the latest Savile reports (such as this article by Robert Mendick and Eileen Fairweather in the Telegraph). Mark Watts, Editor-in-Chief at Exaro, who tweets as @exaronews as well as under his personal handle, has certainly been urging people to simply keep asking MPs Yes or No. Sometimes the Twitter campaign has got rather hysterical, with tweets which appear to scream at both politicians and journalists, sometimes accusing them of being supporters of child rape if they don’t reply, or don’t support this precise campaign. This mode of argument allows for no discussion, no reasonable and intelligent debate about the exact nature, remit and purpose of an inquiry, nothing more than screaming emotional blackmail, and serves no good purpose other than to try and bully politicians into agreeing. It is certainly not something with which I want to be associated, and shows Twitter at its worst. But this is what appears to have provoked Eric Joyce’s blog post.
Joyce’s primary objections to the demands of the original seven campaigners can be summarised as follows:
(a) they would undermine the Crown Prosecution Service’s consideration of an important police report presently before it (he does not make clear exactly which report this refers to).
(b) the campaign does not mention Savile of the issues implied by this case, and would thus miss these.
(c) it is focused entirely on historical rumours about ‘senior politicians’.
(d) it would exclude adult victims of Savile.
Then he also lays out wider objections to the actions of other campaigners (i.e. beyond the original seven MPs):
(i) they routinely use abusive bullying tactics, which are hardly persuasive.
(ii) it all has a ‘really sickening “get the pedos/cops/politicians” feel about it’ and ‘looks like a campaign designed to catch public attention for its own sake rather than a genuine effort to get at important truths’.
(iii) names of politicians have routinely been published online, which could wreck the lives of innocent people and destroy the case put by the police to the CPS.
(iv) the whole campaign is really a self-aggrandising exercise by Exaro, who have recently found that they cannot pay their one way, and have become a ‘schlock merchant’ who only really have one story, cynically waiting until the names of alleged ‘politician paedophiles’ were all over the internet before asking campaigners not to post or tweet them.
(v) there is some confusion between calls for other types of wide inquiry and this specific one, differences between which are papered over by Exaro.
I cannot deny that (i) is true of some campaigners, though this is definitely not a style I want anything to do with – nor with campaigners associated with the BNP, those who are homophobes, man-haters, paranoid conspiracy theorists, unconcerned about the difference between truth and fiction, and so on. One reason for becoming involved in abuse campaigning (over and above knowing a good deal of survivors sometimes very close to me, and becoming convinced that this was an issue bigger than simply individual perpetrators, in classical music and elsewhere), was the hope that it might be possible to avoid and go beyond tabloid-style hysteria over this inevitably highly emotive subject. As far as I am concerned, though, those who support vigilante action, capital punishment or other forms of cruel and unusual punishment, are no better than abusers themselves. However, the medium of Twitter, allowing only for 140 characters per tweet, can hardly do justice to this nuanced and complex subject, nor do I imagine (whatever some might think) that many MPs’ minds were changed purely by receiving a tweet from someone using a pseudonym; rather used this prompt to announce something they had already decided. I disdain (ii) for the same reasons, but realise that only by identifying prominent names is it likely that the whole campaign will gain wider attention with a public otherwise seeing celebrity names such as Jimmy Savile, Rolf Harris, Max Clifford and others. As things stand the campaign can resemble a cult, with various people frequenting small sub-sections of social media and Exaro, but unfortunately sometimes not realising how invisible this is to much of the wider public. Social media are certainly not the place to name names (coming to (iii)), but in light of the fact of many claims of failure of police to interview prominent figures, intelligence services sitting in on interviews, witnesses being threatened, important evidence going missing (including dossiers going to the Home Office), I do believe some more decisive action is needed now (more to follow on this in a moment).
I will come back to (iv) but will address (a)-(d) first. Objection (a) is unclearly specified and so cannot be responded to properly. There is no reason why the inquiry could not also look at Savile, certainly (there is plenty of reason to think there may be connections between his activities and those in other abuse scandals, not least his connections to senior politicians). And just because of the areas specified as requested to be included in the original letter from the seven MPs to Teresa May (which I have also posted below Joyce’s blog), such an inquiry could certainly be extended further. Re (c), The demands go well beyond historical cases involving politicians, dealing with a range of children’s homes, businessmen trafficking between countries, churches, public schools, and much more, so this criticism is wholly unfounded. The issue of adult victims is a serious one (also a big issue in the classical music world, abuse of all types in which is a particular area on which I have campaigned extensively), but I cannot believe an inquiry could not be adapted around this as well. I doubt many supporters have an absolutely clear idea of exactly the form the inquiry would take; rather it is the principle that this type of inquiry should happen which is being supported.
Returning to (iv); I do not really want to write too much about Exaro, as I certainly think some of their journalists – most notably David Hencke – do excellent work (see also Hencke’s blog), and do not share anything like as negative a view as does Joyce. I do have problems with the way in which Mark Watts, however, has attempted in a territorial fashion to claim complete control of the campaign as purely an Exaro initiative sustained through ‘Exaro’s twitter followers’, showing zero interest in a wider campaign involving e-mailing and constituents contacting their MPs (less ‘rapid-fire’ than anonymous tweets), whilst jealously guarding information for himself and trying to shore up a fledgling organisation, and tweeting with a rather boorish swagger which has unfortunate associations. Most posts or tweets by Watts try to steer the serious issues of organised abuse and urgent need for investigation into being self-promotion for Exaro, in a territorial manner which has perhaps dissuaded other media from taking an interest (most other journalists and broadcasters I have contacted have felt the story is not yet big enough to cover). When I first started being involved in abuse campaigning last year I was warned (not least by some senior journalists who I consulted) about two things in particular: (a) how some journalists will try and get you to do their work for them for free; and (b) how many people greatly exaggerate the importance of social media. Of both of these I am definitely convinced, but have known excellent journalists (including Hencke) with whom to work on stories and share information under fair conditions of confidence.
Sadly, with these lessons in mind, I do have reason for scepticism about Exaro on several fronts, which I would not bring up were it not for their eleventh-hour intervention. The Twitter campaign seems a typical example of their getting others to do their work for them (posing as campaigners rather than journalists) for free. Through the course of the last 18 months Exaro have promised major new developments, arrests, and built up to each new report in an extremely dramatic way. There have certainly been some important reports, for sure, not least those on ‘Jane’ (though this story does have its doubters) and also Mark Conrad’s earlier reports on links between Operations Fairbank and Fernbridge and the killings of Sydney Cooke, though much less coverage (or links to coverage by others) of issues involving Peter Righton and numerous networks involved in children’s homes, not to mention churches, schools and elsewhere, stories which are generally less spectacular. The sort of investigative journalism which grapples with the complexities of these other fields is done more successfully by a variety of other journalists at The Times (Andrew Norfolk’s work on Caldicott, Colet Court, St Paul’s and many other public schools, and Sean O’Neill on Robert Waddington and Manchester Cathedral), The Independent (Paul Gallagher on abuse in music schools and colleges), The Guardian (Helen Pidd’s important set of articles on Chetham’s and the RNCM), and sometimes at the Mail (Martin Beckford on PIE and their Labour links, and many earlier articles published here and in the Standard and Telegraph by Eileen Fairweather), Express (the latest work by Tim Tate and Ted Jeory on PIE and the Home Office), Mirror (Tom Pettifor on abuse in Lambeth and the Labour connection) and People (Keir Mudie and Nick Dorman on Operation Fernbridge and associated investigations, sometimes working together with Exaro). Exaro have certainly provided an important service, as one of various news organisations.
But now I fear that territorial attitudes could play a part in sabotaging an important opportunity. Watts has published a piece today aimed at dissuading Danczuk from naming, in which in a rather grandiose fashion he reports how ‘We have strongly advised him against naming the ex-minister tomorrow, and we are grateful that he has listened to us closely and is considering our points carefully’ and the same time as (almost comically) disparaging ‘Journalists on national newspapers, desperate for a splash story’, who allegedly have been arguing otherwise. Watts argues that ‘David Cameron is under intense pressure to agree to an overarching inquiry into child sex abuse in the UK’ which he doesn’t want. How big this pressure is is debatable; Cameron could brush off a question from Duncan Hames at Prime Minister’s Questions quite easily (see the bottom of here for the exchange), and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt did not seem particularly flustered at the debate in the Commons last week. The majority of MPs supporting an inquiry have been Labour – 73 at the current count, compared to 23 Conservatives. Many Conservatives have been copying and pasting stock replies which say nothing. Furthermore, most of the Labour MPs have been backbenchers without so many high profile figures; despite the support of Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham (who did not necessarily commit his party to support in the Commons, though, as I argued last week – this is a response to point (v) which I identify in Joyce’s blog), there has been only occasional support from other front bench figures. A proper inquiry would need to look at such matters as abuse which went on at children’s homes controlled by Islington Council when senior Labour figure Margaret Hodge was leader, of the role of the Paedophile Information Exchange, about whom I have written amply elsewhere, which embroils current Deputy Leader Harriet Harman and frontbench spokesman Jack Dromey; as argued earlier, Ed Miliband needs to take a lead on this, but it should not be so surprising that he has not yet done so. There are rumblings about Labour figures also visiting Elm Guest House, and of course the deeply serious issue of a senior Labour figure as a suspect for abuse in Lambeth, not to mention continuing investigations into Lord Janner, whose office at the House of Lords was raided earlier this year. Certainly any such inquiry would not be likely to be easy for Labour, nor for the Liberal Democrats, with the debacle of Cyril Smith still haunting them, and further rumbling about some other senior figures.
But at present mainstream media attention is very sporadic, and certainly in my experience (amongst generally educated people well-informed on news) very little of this has yet registered with a wider public. Cameron has in the last week had to deal with the conviction (and possible further retrial) of his former press secretary Andy Coulson, the charging of his former advisor on online pornography Patrick Rock for manufacturing images of child abuse, and now his failure to avoid Jean-Claude Juncker from being voted to be the next EU Commissioner. It is hard to see how a demand primarily from a group of Labour backbenchers would be obsessing him at such a time (though the campaign should definitely continue and hopefully grow). Watts claims that Danczuk’s naming of the ex-minister (he doesn’t mention the Labour minister) would serve as a ‘diversion from the inquiry call’, as front pages would be dominated by the ex-minister’s name. I think this is nonsense; such dissemination of the allegation that an extremely senior minister could themselves have been part of a ring-fenced VIP ring would cause outrage and anger, and the pressure for a proper inquiry would be irresistible. This very evening, Watts has also been tweeting that some new information has come to light which changes everything, but characteristically they will not even hint at what this is. Major developments have been promised before by the organisation, but these have rarely materialised. It is now looking more like a petty playground fight over who has the biggest amount of secret information.
Ultimately, as mentioned before, simple lists of MPs’ names are not that newsworthy, as various major journalists have had to point out to me. Only a major catalyst such as the revelation of a major name would be likely to get more attention. What this would also change is that the story would be taken up by all the major media, to such an extent that Exaro’s contributions would cease to be so central; I do wonder if this is what Watts is trying so hard to avoid. In the end, though, wider exposure for the many stories of abuse (which would follow upon the outrage caused by revelations that this extends to the very highest levels, and other figures were protected for this reason) is more important than the prestige of one website.
If Danczuk is certain that the ex-minister (and the ex Labour minister) are guilty, and the only reasons why they have not been brought to justice is through cover-ups, destruction of evidence, intimidation of witnesses, or simply stalling for convenience’s sake, then I hope very much he will name names tomorrow. If there is doubt about this, then it would only be wise not to do so – using Parliamentary Privilege in a way which would smear an innocent person would be reprehensible. I have faith in Danczuk to do the right thing, and hope the momentum which has been achieved will not be sacrificed for the short-term interests of any media organisation. If all of this is being covered in details in newspapers and on broadcast news programmes being read/watched by many of the country’s population (in some cases with stories written for these papers by Hencke, Conrad and others), it would be all for the better, even if many of the earlier campaigners (including myself) are quickly forgotten.
Today twenty-eight reports were released following NHS and Department of Health investigations into the activities of Jimmy Savile at a range of hospitals and other institutions. These make for grim reading, detailing victims of both sexes aged from 5 to 75, abuse reported but with no action taken, encounters taking place in a whole host of locations on and off premises, and even an unhealthy interest in the mortuary of Leeds General Infirmary by Savile, where he is claimed by some witnesses to have made rings out of glass eyes taken from bodies (see Caroline Davies, ‘Jimmy Savile’s victims were aged five to 75 at Leeds hospital, inquiry finds’, The Guardian, June 26th, 2014, for a summary, also ‘Jimmy Savile hospital reports: At a glance’, BBC News UK, June 26th, 2014).
In the House of Commons today, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP gave a long statement in response to the publication of the reports, followed by a short series of parliamentary questions; the full text, taken from Hansard, is given below. Hunt summarised the findings and apologised on behalf of the government and NHS, whilst arguing that today’s safeguarding processes make it harder for such a thing to happen again. Otherwise, he simply mentioned that the Department of Education is overseeing investigations of Savile’s activity in care settings, that there are other investigations into child sexual abuse, and that the Department will work with the NSPCC and NAPAC to ensure information is passed on.
One might recall, however, that in 2011 the very same Jeremy Hunt, then Culture Secretary, had the following to say upon the news of the death of Savile:
“Sir Jimmy Savile was one of broadcasting’s most unique and colourful characters,” said Mr Hunt.
“From Top of the Pops to making children’s dreams come true on Jim’ll Fix It, a generation of people will remember his catchphrases and sense of fun.
“But his lasting legacy will be the millions he raised for charity, tirelessly giving up his time and energy to help those causes he was passionate about.”
Some knowledge or at least strong rumours of Savile’s activities have been well-known for a long time; was Hunt really never aware of any of them in 2011?
There are lots of important points raised in this debate; here I will concentrate on those relating to wider issues to do with widespread abuse and the need for an inquiry. Five of the original seven MPs to write to the Home Secretary calling for a national inquiry into organised abuse – Conservative Tim Loughton, Liberal Democrats John Hemming and Tessa Munt, and Labour Simon Danczuk and Tom Watson – all made statements calling for an inquiry
The Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, who made clear yesterday in a letter to Tim Loughton his willingness to be added to the list of MPs supporting a national inquiry into organised abuse, stopped short of advocating this in his own statement on behalf of the Labour Party as a whole, saying instead:
That paints a picture of chaos in the Department and a complete absence of due process for a serious appointment of this kind. This is an extraordinary revelation. While there is no suggestion that any Minister knew of any sexual misconduct, it does point to the need for a further process of independent inquiry so that we all, as Ministers and former Ministers, can learn the lessons of what happened, but also so that we can draw together the threads of the multiple inquiries that are ongoing. It simply cannot be left for Savile’s victims to try to pull together the details of these investigations.
As the shadow Home Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper), has said, there is now a clear case for a proper, overarching, independent review led by child protection experts into why there was such large-scale institutional failure to stop these abhorrent crimes. I would be grateful if the Secretary of State gave this proposal careful consideration.
It is not clear (perhaps intentionally) whether this refers just to all cases involving Savile or the much wider issues of all types of organised child abuse – certainly this falls short of the call in the original letter from seven MPs.
Furthermore, Hunt said the following key passage:
On the specific point about the behaviour of one Minister and what it suggested about the motivation for Savile’s approval for his job at Broadmoor, my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke), who was Secretary of State at the time, has said that that behaviour would be indefensible now and that it would have been indefensible at the time. I agree with him. Everyone must be held accountable for the actions they took.
The minister in question was Edwina Currie, who was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health from September 1986 to December 1988 (when she was forced to resign over an ill-judged statement about salmonella in eggs). Currie appointed Savile to run a taskforce in charge of Broadmoor Hospital, which included temporary powers to oversee the running of the hospital after a series of industrial disputes, despite a lack of any professional qualifications (a classic piece of union-busting), and then a friend of Savile’s was given the most senior job at Broadmoor (see Robert Mendick and Laura Donnelly,’Jimmy Savile: Questions for Edwina Currie and the BBC’, Daily Telegraph , October 20th, 2012) (see also Stephen Cook, ‘Savile’s travails’, The Guardian, November 1st, 1989). The Health Secretary under which Currie worked was then Kenneth Clark. The new report details ten cases of sexual assault directly related to Broadmoor, and one allegation of indecent exposure to a minor, also of Savile being able to watch female patients stripping completely (see Bill Kirkup and Paul Marshall, ‘Jimmy Savile Investigation: Broadmoor Hospital’, Department of Health, June 2nd, 2014). It also says:
Savile met Mrs Currie, at his request, when she visited another hospital. He reported having discovered widespread false overtime claims, occupation of staff residences by people not entitled to them, and financial irregularities concerning the capital building project. He said he intended to use his knowledge of these to control the POA’s activities by threatening to expose them to the press if the union would not cooperate with him. Mrs Currie did not discourage him in this, although it would have meant tolerating alleged fraud in return for union co-operation. (p. 5)
Gisela Stuart asked if Kenneth Clarke would apologise for his stewardship of the department then and also whether Hunt would look into the behaviour of Currie, but Hunt did not give any clear assent to either thing, on the grounds that the reports say that there was no evidence that Ministers or others were aware of sexual abuse. As I have blogged about elsewhere, Edwina Currie also recounted in her Diaries knowledge that former Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party and PPS to Margaret Thatcher Peter Morrison was a ‘noted pederast’ with a liking for young boys, that this was known by other senior figures in the party, and even that a constituency agent was offered money to keep quiet about it. A statement on this and on Savile is now needed urgently from Currie.
Furthermore, John Hemming referred to the case of Leah McGrath Goodman, an American journalist who was investigating abuse at Haut de la Garenne, Jersey (see the range of articles at Spotlight and in particular Josh Halliday, Katharine Viner and Lisa O’Carroll, ‘Jimmy Savile linked with Haut de la Garenne children’s home scandal’, The Guardian, October 9th, 2012), who was banned from entering the UK, and arrested back on June 5th when coming to give evidence to an inquiry. Hunt simply said that he was unaware of this and would look into it. More on McGrath Goodman’s work can be read on her website, in particular her story commissioned by The Guardian after being banned from entry. See also Hemmings’ Early Day Motion (EDM) from September 11th, 2012 objecting to the banning of McGrath Goodman and a further EDM from July 2nd, 2013, after McGrath Goodman was re-allowed entry.
Tessa Munt drew most direct attention to the call for an inquiry (mentioning the 104 further MPs who had joined the original 7 – now 105 thanks to the addition of Chi Onwurah, who also mentioned the need for an inquiry and has since indicated her willingness to be added to the list), and in particular loss of vital evidence, and cases being stalled or abandoned. Hunt’s response just referred to a Home Office committee chaired by Norman Baker (who lent just 10 minutes of his time to seasoned abuse researchers and campaigners Peter McKelvie and Liz Davies recently). Other supporters of an inquiry who spoke in the debate included Conservative Bob Blackman, Labour’s Diana Johnson, Barbara Keeley and Grahame Morris and Democratic Unionist Ian Paisley Jr.
Simon Danczuk first raised the question of Savile’s wider political connections, not least with Cyril Smith, and pointed out that Savile appeared in a Liberal Party Political Broadcast. Smith himself, in his autobiography, refers to meeting Savile at a medieval banquet at Worsley, Lancashire, after which he was invited by Savile to sing ‘She’s a Lassie from Lancashire’ on his programme Clunk-Click, and also a comedy routine with Les Dawson; Smith admired the model of Savile as a ‘personality’, but wrote that Savile ‘admits openly that his work as a disc jockey is a joke, but his record of public service and charity must be unequalled’ (Big Cyril: The Autobiography of Cyril Smith (London: W.H. Allen, 1977), pp. 225-226; see also Danczuk and Matthew Baker, Smile for the Camera: The Double Life of Cyril Smith (London: Biteback Publishing, 2014), pp. 100-104, on Smith’s cultivation of Savile and other comedians and TV personalities). Danczuk said that an ‘overarching inquiry’ would enable one to ‘understand the political networks to which Savile belonged’. Hunt’s answer essentially side-steps this question.
Tom Watson followed up on this issue asking if Hunt had any suspicion that ‘victims of Savile were frightened to come forward because he enjoyed powerful political protection?’ Hunt side-stepped this again, saying there was no evidence of that in the reports, and suggesting that victims of Savile were simply afraid to come forward because of his ‘celebrity status’ and consequent ‘connections in high place’ (not quite the same thing as Danczuk or Watson are asking).
In an interview from last weekend, Danczuk made clear that when he appears before the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) on Tuesday July 1st, he will if asked be prepared to use Parliamentary Privilege to name a further living parliamentarian who visited Elm Guest House at Barnes, where boys are claimed to have been abused by a paedophile ring (Mark Leftly, ‘MP will name politician ‘involved in child abuse”, The Independent, June 22nd, 2014), and may also name a further politician involved in a separate abuse scandal (this is likely to be the former Blair-era cabinet minister alleged to have abused boys in a children’s home in Lambeth, run by paedophile Michael John Carroll, in which case experienced detective Clive Driscoll was taken off the case as he allegedly came to investigate the minister, as investigated in Tom Pettifor, ‘Pressure mounts on Tony Blair to answer questions over minister child sex abuse cover-up claims’, Daily Mirror, April 29th, 2014). Three members of the HASC – Liberal Democrat Julian Huppert, and Labour MPs Paul Flynn and Yasmin Qureshi – are supporters of a national inquiry; one member of the HASC has confirmed that Danczuk will be asked about visitors to Elm Guest House (Leftly, ‘MP will name politician ‘involved in child abuse”). This will be an important occasion at the HASC which may change the whole climate of opinion concerning abuse and the urgent need for an inquiry.
NHS Investigations (Jimmy Savile)
The Secretary of State for Health (Mr Jeremy Hunt):
With your permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement on the Jimmy Savile investigations.
This morning, 28 investigations into Savile were published, including two larger reports on Leeds infirmary and Broadmoor hospital and 26 smaller reports on other institutions. I know that this House and, indeed, the whole country will share a deep sense of revulsion at what they reveal: a litany of disturbing accounts of rape and sexual abuse committed by Savile on vulnerable children and adults over a period of decades.
At the time, the victims who spoke up were not believed, and it is important today that we all publicly recognise the truth of what they have said, but it is a profoundly uncomfortable truth. As a nation at that time, we held Savile in our affection as a somewhat eccentric national treasure with a strong commitment to charitable causes. Today’s reports show that, in reality, he was a sickening and prolific sexual abuser who repeatedly exploited the trust of a nation for his own vile purposes.
The report published by Leeds infirmary today reveals that Savile was a predatory porter who abused and raped patients without scruple. Sixty people reported abuse to the investigation. One of his teenage victims believed that she was pregnant as a result of his abuse. Two witnesses told the investigation Savile claimed to have had jewellery made from glass eyes taken from bodies in the mortuary. Other reported behaviour is too horrific to recount in detail to this House, but is set out in full in the reports published today.
Savile was also an opportunistic sexual predator at Broadmoor. The investigation concludes that at least five individuals, and possibly more, were sexually abused by Savile. Inexplicably, Savile was allowed to watch female patients as they stripped naked for bathing.
There were fewer incidents reported in the other 26 investigations, but there are strong indications that they were consistent with a wider pattern of offending. I have placed the reports of all the investigations in the House of Commons Library. Five investigations are ongoing and will report later this year.
Today’s reports will shake this House and our country to the core. Savile was a callous, opportunistic, wicked predator who abused and raped individuals, many of them patients and young people, who expected and had a right to expect to be safe. His actions span five decades, from the 1960s to 2010. The family favourite loved by millions courted popularity and used it to perpetrate and cover up his own evil acts.
I and, I am sure, the whole House will want to pay tribute to all the victims who came forward to talk about their experiences. It took great courage for them to relive their often extremely distressing and disturbing experiences.
The reports paint a terrible picture, as time and again victims were ignored or, if they were not, little or no action was taken. The systems in place to protect people were either too weak or were ignored. People and institutions turned a blind eye.
Today, I want to apologise on behalf of the Government and the NHS to all the victims who were abused by Savile in NHS-run institutions. We let them down badly and however long ago it may have been, many of them are still reliving the pain they went through. If we cannot undo the past, I hope that honesty and transparency about what happened can at least alleviate some of the suffering. It is the least we owe them.
Today, changes to the way that we guard against abuse would make it much harder for someone such as Savile to perpetrate these crimes for so long. The safeguarding system, as the Leeds report makes clear, has been much improved over the past 30 years. The landmark Children Act 1989 enshrined a child’s right to protection from abuse. The first child sex offenders register was established in 1997, and 1999 saw legislation to prevent sex offenders from working with children. Criminal Records Bureau checks and the Disclosure and Barring Service have provided further protection. The Children Act 2004 requires NHS bodies to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, and to sit on the local safeguarding children board. NHS England published its safeguarding framework in 2013.
Savile was, however, never convicted of any offence, so this safeguarding system depends on much better awareness by professionals and the public and a much heightened vigilance against such abuse than there was in the past. Although that is reassuring to an extent, we cannot be complacent. Today, I am writing to all the system leaders in the NHS—NHS England, the NHS Trust Development Authority, Monitor and the Care Quality Commission—to ask them to ensure that they and all trusts review safeguarding arrangements in the light of the reports, and to ensure that they are confident about patient safety. For its part, the Department of Health has accepted all the specific recommendations assigned to it in the Broadmoor report.
There are some painfully obvious lessons for the system as a whole. First, we must never give people the kind of access that Savile enjoyed to wards and patients without proper checks, whoever that person may be. Secondly, if people are abusive, staff should feel supported to challenge them, whoever that person may be, and take swift action. Thirdly, where patients report abuse, they need to be listened to, whatever their age, whatever their condition, and there needs to be proper investigation of what they report. It is deeply shocking that so few people felt that they could speak up and even more shocking that no one listened to those who did speak up. That is now changing in the NHS, but we have a long way to go.
In ensuring appropriate measures, we must not hinder the extraordinary contribution of thousands of volunteers and fundraisers working in the NHS every day. They are the opposite of Savile and we need to ensure that their remarkable contribution is sustained.
In parallel with this NHS work, the Department for Education is overseeing investigations into Savile’s activity in care settings, based on the same tranche of information that led to the smaller NHS investigations. There are other ongoing investigations by the police into allegations of historic child sexual exploitation. I hope this reassures the House of the seriousness of this issue and our response to it. The Department will also work with the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the National Association for People Abused in Childhood to ensure that information is swiftly passed on.
I conclude by paying tribute to Kate Lampard and her team. When patient safety is the issue, speed is vital. These investigations have swiftly and effectively brought to light vital issues that must be addressed. She will be publishing her conclusions and recommendations on this scandal later this year, as will the national group on sexual violence against children and vulnerable people. This report will bring together the Government’s wider work to eradicate violence against children and vulnerable people.
But today, above all, we should remember the victims of Savile. They were brave. They have been vindicated. He was a coward. He has been disgraced. The system failed to prevent him from abusing. It failed to act when people spoke up. We must not allow history to repeat itself. I commend this statement to the House.
Andy Burnham (Leigh) (Lab):
I thank the Secretary of State for notice and sight of his statement. I commend him for the way he introduced it to the House and welcome everything he said. The reports published today are truly disturbing, and as sickening as any ever presented to the House. How a celebrity DJ and predatory sex offender came to have unfettered access to vulnerable patients across the NHS, and gold-plated keys to its highest security hospital, surely ranks as one of the worst failures of patient and public protection our country has ever seen. It raises questions of the most profound kind about how victims of abuse are treated, how systems for protecting vulnerable children and adults work and the nature of celebrity and society’s relationship with it.
The Secretary of State was right to begin with an apology—I support him in making it—to the hundreds of people who were appallingly failed and whose lives have been haunted ever since. Our first thought must be with them today. They had a right to look to the NHS as a place of safety and sanctuary, but they were cruelly let down by the very institutions that were meant to offer protection. As one of Savile’s victims put it:
“It was like another insult. I’m in a top security hospital and someone has got to me again. When does it stop?”
Today’s statement will have evoked memories of the most painful kind for them, so will the Secretary of State ensure that all Savile’s victims have full and direct access to all the counselling and other support they will need?
One of the main purposes of this process of inquiry should have been to give all the victims the opportunity to be heard, but the Secretary of State might know that there are reports today in the Yorkshire Post that one person who tried to come forward was at first ignored in October 2012. Will he assure us that all reasonable steps have been taken by those preparing these reports to help victims come forward and tell their story, including those who might have been ignored when they first tried?
Many of Savile’s victims have suffered severe financial loss as a result of the challenges they have faced. I understand that claims for compensation will in the first instance draw on Jimmy Savile’s estate. Has there been an assessment of whether the estate’s funds will be sufficient to meet all claims? Given what has been revealed today and the abject failures of public bodies, should not the Government now consider allocating public funds to ensure that all the people damaged by Savile are properly compensated and supported?
Reading the report, it is not at all clear to me that a proper process has yet been put in place to hold people who failed in their public duties to account. If evidence is revealed in any of these reports that shows that any person still working in the NHS or the Department of Health knowingly facilitated these crimes, will the Secretary of State assure us that they will now face the full weight of the law and that those who were negligent in respect of their public duties will also be held fully to account?
It is incomprehensible how this could have been allowed to happen over 55 years. Although it relates to a different era, there are serious lessons that we can learn, given that abuse continues in our health and care system today. Let me turn to those. The first area of concern relates to how victims of abuse are treated, particularly young people or people in the mental health care system. Sadly, there are still far too many instances of abuse in our care system and in mental health settings, and the real figure is likely to be higher because of under-reporting. Will the Secretary of State consider what more needs to be done to give people the confidence to come forward and the reassurance that they will be listened to? Is there a case for more training for staff in dealing with allegations of abuse?
The second area of concern relates to how public bodies carry out vetting and barring arrangements, make public appointments and manage their relationship with celebrity. Hospitals across the country have increasingly sophisticated fundraising operations and links with celebrity endorsers. Will the Secretary of State accept the Broadmoor report’s recommendation that no celebrity should be appointed to an executive position or given privileged access to a hospital or its patients and that they should be fully vetted if appointed to a non-executive position? More broadly, is there now a case for a code of conduct setting out the appropriate relationship that the NHS should have with celebrity or business backers?
On vetting and barring, figures obtained by my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull North (Diana Johnson) show that the number of people barred from working with children as a result of committing a sexual offence against a child has dropped by 10,000, or 75%, in the past three years. These extremely worrying figures have come about as a result of changes to the vetting and barring arrangements. This raises the concern that there are people working in our health and care system now who may pose a risk to children. Will the Secretary of State look again at this issue, consult the Home Secretary, and urgently report back to the House on why these figures have dropped by so much in such a short space of time, and on whether they believe that the current child protection regime is strong enough?
The question arises of whether this process of inquiry is a sufficient response to the scale of these atrocious crimes. It is hard to draw a clear picture and consistent recommendations from 28 separate reports and all the other inquiries that are still ongoing in schools, care homes, the BBC and the police. I, too, pay tribute to the work of Kate Lampard in assuring the quality of the reports published today, and we wait for her second phase of work, but questions remain about their independence given that each hospital has, in effect, investigated itself. There is also a question of whether this needs to be more independent of Government.
The Broadmoor report raises serious questions about the conduct of civil servants and Ministers in the Department of Health in how Savile came to be appointed to the Broadmoor taskforce. In evidence to the inquiry, the then Minister describes the main objective of Savile’s appointment as follows:
“The principal question was can Government break this hold that the Prison Officers Association has on the hospital.”
She went on to say:
“This task force was dreamed up and seemed like a very good idea and step forward Jimmy Savile who knew the place backwards and was more than happy to volunteer his time to do this. And we were happy to do it.”
That paints a picture of chaos in the Department and a complete absence of due process for a serious appointment of this kind. This is an extraordinary revelation. While there is no suggestion that any Minister knew of any sexual misconduct, it does point to the need for a further process of independent inquiry so that we all, as Ministers and former Ministers, can learn the lessons of what happened, but also so that we can draw together the threads of the multiple inquiries that are ongoing. It simply cannot be left for Savile’s victims to try to pull together the details of these investigations.
As the shadow Home Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper), has said, there is now a clear case for a proper, overarching, independent review led by child protection experts into why there was such large-scale institutional failure to stop these abhorrent crimes. I would be grateful if the Secretary of State gave this proposal careful consideration. I finish by assuring him of our full support in helping him to establish the full truth of why abuse on this scale was allowed to happen for so long.
I thank the shadow Health Secretary for the constructive tone of his comments. Many of the suggestions he has made are very sensible. We will take them away and look at them, but I will go through a number of them now. First, we will indeed make sure that all Savile’s victims get the counselling they need. I think that it has been made available to them, but it is absolutely right to double-check that they are getting every bit of help they need and that we are taking all reasonable steps.
I hope that what has happened today will be, in its own way, another landmark for all victims of sexual abuse in giving them the confidence that we are changing, not just as an NHS but as a society, into being much better at listening when people come forward with these very serious allegations. It hits you time and again when you read these reports how many people did not speak up at the time because they thought that no one would believe them. We are not going to change that culture overnight, but we have to be a society that listens to the small person—the person who might get forgotten and does not feel they are important in the system.
On the claims for compensation, the right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to say that the first draw for those claims will come from the Savile estate. I hope I can reassure him, however, that, as we have said, the Government will underwrite this so that if there are any claims that are not able to be met by the estate we finance them from the public purse. We think it is important that we should do that, although his estate is the first place to start, for obvious reasons.
The right hon. Gentleman is right to say that if there is evidence that people have criminally neglected claims that were made at the time or behaved inappropriately—even if it is not a matter for the law and they behaved in a way that could make them subject to disciplinary procedures in NHS organisations—that should be addressed. We will urge all NHS organisations to look carefully at anyone who is mentioned in the reports. Of course, the police will, naturally, look at the evidence against any individuals, who of course have the right to due process, which everyone in the House would accept.
On the specific point about the behaviour of one Minister and what it suggested about the motivation for Savile’s approval for his job at Broadmoor, my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke), who was Secretary of State at the time, has said that that behaviour would be indefensible now and that it would have been indefensible at the time. I agree with him. Everyone must be held accountable for the actions they took.
We are doing a great deal to make sure that all NHS staff are trained to feel more confident about speaking out. The Mid Staffs whistleblower Helene Donnelly is now working with Health Education England to see what needs to change in the training of NHS staff in order to change that culture.
On the new disclosure and barring scheme, we are already doing work to examine the reason for the drop in the number of people who are being barred from working with children. The Minister of State, Department of Health, my hon. Friend the Member for North Norfolk (Norman Lamb) is looking into that. I have given this a lot of thought and it is important to say that in the current environment, were we to have another Savile, it is likely that the disclosure and barring scheme would bar him from working with children and in trusts, but that is not certain because he was never convicted of a crime. The Criminal Records Bureau checks would not have stopped that, but it is possible for the disclosure and barring scheme to prevent people from working with children and vulnerable adults even if they have not committed a crime. For example, their employment track record may show that they were dismissed for doing things that raised suspicions. It is also important to make the point—I think everyone in the House will understand this—that it is not possible to legislate to stop all criminal vile activity. What we depend on for the disclosure and barring scheme to work is a culture in which the public and patients feel able to speak out and staff listen when they do so, in order that these things surface much more quickly.
Finally, the question of whether any further inquiries are necessary will, of course, be considered. The first step is to let Kate Lampard do her full report. At this stage, she has not drawn together all the different inquiries and tried to draw lessons from the system as a whole. I asked her to do two things. The first was to verify independently that the reports of NHS organisations were of the necessary quality, and I think she has done that superbly. The second stage of her work is to see what lessons can be drawn from the system as a whole. We need to hear what she has to say about that and, indeed, what the Department for Education and the BBC learn from their reports, and then we will come to a conclusion about whether any further investigations are needed.
Dr Sarah Wollaston (Totnes) (Con):
May I join the Secretary of State in paying tribute to the victims? They were not silent. What today’s reports show is that very many people witnessed—even directly condoned—some deeply inappropriate behaviour. How could it ever be acceptable for a celebrity to be able to watch female patients showering? Will the Secretary of State join me in sending a message to NHS staff that they should always raise concerns if they witness such behaviour and that they will be protected if they do so?
I am absolutely happy to do that. I wholeheartedly agree with my hon. Friend’s comments. The NHS needs to move to a system where it is the norm rather than the exception to report, and where NHS staff feel comfortable that reporting any concerns is an absolutely normal part of their job. She is right to say that one of the most disturbing things in the reports is the clear evidence that some people helped Savile in what he did—for example, that people were escorted to his private room in Broadmoor—which is very shocking. That is why it is very important that everyone is vigilant. I totally agree with what she said.
Ms Gisela Stuart (Birmingham, Edgbaston) (Lab):
The only people who emerge with any credit are the victims, and we need to support them. However, I was slightly stung by the Secretary of State’s comment about the right hon. and learned Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke). If the right hon. and learned Gentleman thought that the actions of the Minister—it was Edwina Currie, if I remember rightly—were inappropriate then, as they would be now, will he apologise for his stewardship of the Department at the time, or will the Secretary of State look at the Minister’s conduct and come back to the House to explain how it was possible?
I hope that I have gone some way to meet the hon. Lady’s concerns because, on behalf of the Government and the NHS, I have offered a full apology to all the victims for what happened, and I have accepted that there were failures at many levels. It is very important to say that the reports show that there was no evidence that Ministers or officials were aware of any sexual abuse by Savile. I pointed to the comments by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe because I wanted to make it clear that this Government are not defending actions which, as he has said, were indefensible then and would be indefensible now.
Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham) (Con):
I commend my right hon. Friend for his measured statement. Indeed, I welcome the shadow Secretary of State’s comments about joining our call for an overarching inquiry, because this is the tip of the iceberg. There are still ongoing inquiries to do with Savile in the NHS, 11 local authorities, care homes and others.
Specifically on the subject of victims, there is something that the Secretary of State can do to help immediately. So many victims have very bravely come forward after suffering trauma over many decades and many are still calling the ChildLine and NAPAC—the National Association for People Abused in Childhood—helplines. However, for too many, the therapeutic support that they need to help them through such a particularly difficult time is absolutely not there. Police and health professionals have come to me to say that they know such people, but cannot do anything for them. With the resources in the NHS, the Secretary of State can help now.
I commend my hon. Friend for his campaigning for vulnerable children over many years. The letter I sent to NHS England this morning asks it to make sure that all the lessons are learned from the reports, and it includes the very clear suggestion—I want the NHS to interpret my letter in this way—that it should ensure that it commissions the support needed for children in these circumstances so that they get the very support that is necessary. This is not just about encouraging people to speak out; it is about making sure that when they do, they feel listened to and supported.
Grahame M. Morris (Easington) (Lab):
I thank the Secretary of State for his statement and my right hon. Friend the shadow Secretary of State for his considered response. In relation to the scale of the abuse—with ages ranging from five to 75, and involving 28 hospitals—lessons need to be learned about the systematic failure not just within the NHS, but within other institutions. Will the Health Secretary have discussions with the Cabinet Office and others to make sure that appropriate lessons are learned?
Absolutely. I want to reassure the hon. Gentleman that we are taking a cross-Government approach—across a range of Departments, but particularly the Department for Education and the Home Office—and that the Government as a whole will draw the lessons from this whole horrific series of episodes to make sure that we have a joined-up approach.
John Hemming (Birmingham, Yardley) (LD):
I agree with the Secretary of State that our first thought has to be for the victims, and that in future we must listen to the powerless and not block inquiries. If we go back to 2011—before Savile died—an American journalist, Leah McGrath Goodman, was banned from coming to the UK to investigate child abuse, including by Jimmy Savile. Even more recently, she was arrested at the airport on 5 June, while coming to an inquiry. Will the Secretary of State speak to his colleague the Minister for Security and Immigration to ask why somebody in the UK Border Agency seems to be aiming to inhibit one of the inquiries?
I am afraid that I do not know the details of that particular case, but I will look into it and write to the hon. Gentleman.
Ann Coffey (Stockport) (Lab):
Is not one of the wider problems our perceptions of how a sexual predator looks and acts? When men like Savile are arrested, the usual reaction is shock that such a nice man could abuse children, but sex predators are not men in dirty raincoats; they come from all walks of life and all professions. That perception means that children are not being heard. Will the Secretary of State make preventing as well as detecting child sexual abuse a public health priority? It is only through a better informed public, more aware of how predators such as Savile behave, that we will be able to protect children from abuse.
I completely agree, and that is one of the big lessons. The shadow Home Secretary was absolutely right to say that this issue raises serious questions about the nature of celebrity in our society. One of the reasons that totally inexcusable things happened—such as being given the keys to Broadmoor—was that somehow on the basis of Savile’s image people made wrong assumptions about him. The hon. Lady is absolutely right. One of the things that will change as a result of this investigation is that people will be more willing to challenge those who previously were not challenged. But there is a long way to go.
Mr Simon Burns (Chelmsford) (Con):
I totally agree with the Secretary of State’s belief that there should be more openness, and an increased sense of need to report concerns, but is he satisfied that, particularly with regard to NHS staff who may report concerns or whistleblowers, there is enough protection within the system to encourage more people to be more open?
No, I am not. That is why earlier this week we asked Sir Robert Francis to do a follow-up review to his public inquiry to determine what else needs to be done to create a culture of openness and transparency in the NHS. We have come a very long way as a society in terms of our understanding, but there is more work to be done. It is also very important, as I said in my statement—I know everyone would agree with this—that we do not undermine the brilliant work done by volunteers in hospitals and that we do not create a kind of bureaucratic morass that makes it impossible for that really important work to be done. However, I know we can do better than we are at the moment and important lessons need to be learned.
Valerie Vaz (Walsall South) (Lab):
The Secretary of State has been very gracious in his apology given that he was not Secretary of State at the time. Might I make one further practical suggestion? Will he speak to the Prime Minister about perhaps appointing a Minister to co-ordinate all these reports across the public institutions?
I reassure the hon. Lady that that responsibility lies with the Home Secretary, and the Home Office has a cross-governmental committee that will bring together all the lessons from all the reports. My first priority is to ensure that we are doing everything we can to make NHS patients safe, but there are much broader lessons to be learned. That is being led by the Home Office.
David Morris (Morecambe and Lunesdale) (Con):
Does my right hon. Friend agree that what has happened is absolutely abhorrent and that it sends out a strong message to everyone in society that even a celebrity is not above the law of the land? May I also praise the work of Kate Lampard and her team in bringing this forward?
That is absolutely right. Celebrities have never been above the law of the land, but what is clear from the report is that even though that is the case legally, in practical terms they were above the law because they were able to get away with things for a very long time that ordinary people would not have been able to get away with. That is why this is such a big moment of reflection for us. I know that everyone in the House will want to think hard about what we need to do to change that culture.
Simon Danczuk (Rochdale) (Lab):
We know that Savile was well regarded by many politicians; by way of example, he was friends with Cyril Smith and appeared in a Liberal party political broadcast in the 1970s, and had friends in high places. Surely an overarching inquiry into child sex abuse would help us to understand the political networks to which Savile belonged.
I know that the hon. Gentleman has campaigned a lot on these issues. We have not ruled out anything, but we want first to draw together the lessons for the NHS and across Government as quickly as possible. One of the important benefits of the way in which we have proceeded so far is that, because it is an investigation and not a public inquiry, we can get to the truth relatively quickly. However, we will certainly look at the cross-governmental lessons.
Dr Phillip Lee (Bracknell) (Con):
As a former member of the medical staff at Stoke Mandeville hospital and now as the Member representing Broadmoor hospital, I have many questions, but let me concentrate on one. In appendix 2A part V, there is a letter about Broadmoor from Jimmy Savile to the Department of Health. It is headed “National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville”, and it is signed “Dr Jimmy Savile”. Indeed, the content of the letter is deeply unprofessional and remarkable, and it was copied on to a series of people, including the then Secretary of State. Will my right hon. Friend assure me that each of these individuals has been investigated in respect of their response to this correspondence, as I cannot believe that people could have received it without being deeply concerned about this vile man’s involvement in a high-security hospital?
My hon. Friend raises a very important point. We received the reports only this week, but I will certainly take this away with me and look into exactly the point he makes.
Mr Frank Field (Birkenhead) (Lab):
I thank the Secretary of State for allowing me early advance notice of the report relating to St Catherine’s hospital in Birkenhead. Much more importantly, may I associate myself with the apology that the right hon. Gentleman gave to my constituent and others. He will know that that hospital has been bulldozed and that we now have a fine community hospital. To bulldoze these practices within the NHS, will the Secretary of State consider and come back to me later on these two issues? First, it took my constituent 48 years before she was believed and 50 years before she received an apology. What steps are we going to take to ensure that justice is provided much more quickly? Secondly, Jimmy Savile was escorted around St Cath’s Birkenhead by officials, who witnessed him jumping into bed with a young patient and thought it funny. All the rules in the world provide some defence, but how do we get people to exercise judgment—whatever the rules say, whatever the circumstances and whoever does it—and say that this behaviour is not acceptable?
I would like to associate myself with the right hon. Gentleman’s comments; I share his disbelief and shock that it has taken so long. In some ways justice will never be done, because Savile died before it could be served on him, which is one of the biggest tragedies of all. I agree: there was a major lack of judgment, some of it because of the different attitudes prevailing at those times. One of the big differences today is that we make links between what is disgusting but not illegal behaviour and potential abuse in a way that did not happen in those days. I want to share with the right hon. Gentleman what most shocked me personally in the reports, and it was the way in which Savile interfered and abused people who had just come out of operations and were recovering from them. The fact that Savile was able to do that, without being supervised, is shocking and when those people spoke up about what had happened, they were not believed. That is one of so many lessons that need to be learned; I know that everyone wants to learn them.
Penny Mordaunt (Portsmouth North) (Con):
It is clear from the Portsmouth report that there were incidents with no corroborative evidence of the abuse. In one local case, the complainant was unconscious at the time of the alleged incident and learned of it from a hospital cleaner who witnessed it. Does my right hon. Friend agree that “no proof” is not the same as “it did not happen”, that his welcome words of apology should apply to all those who think they may have been abused and that we need a clear process for how such unprovable complaints can be dealt with?
Absolutely right. The case that my hon. Friend mentions was a real tragedy because that person suffered very real psychological harm in subsequent years as a result of what they were told by the cleaner. There are two points. First, we cannot necessarily corroborate, but we can see a pattern. What is impressive about these investigations is the fact that the investigators say time after time that although it is not possible to prove that these things happened, they believe that they did because the evidence was credible. On one or two occasions, they say that they are not sure, but in the vast majority of cases, they thought that the evidence was credible. Secondly, there will continue to be times when offences are alleged, but it is not possible to prove them in a court of law. The big lesson to be learnt is that that does not mean no action should be taken. We must do what it takes to protect patients.
Ian Paisley (North Antrim) (DUP):
I appreciated the right hon. Gentleman’s statement. Does he agree that the fear of litigation by NHS practitioners appears to be one of the reasons why the system does not lend itself to the provision of a good listening ear, and, indeed, one of the reasons why a compassionate response to that listening is not always forthcoming? What practical steps can be taken to ensure that, at an early stage, practitioners actually listen to complaints?
I agree with the hon. Gentleman. I think that we need to change the balance in the NHS, so that the safest thing for people to do if they want to avoid litigation is to report concerns rather than sitting on them. That is an interesting lesson that has been learnt in other industries, such as the airline industry, and I hope that the follow-up review by Sir Robert Francis will help us to understand it better.
Sir Paul Beresford (Mole Valley) (Con):
I thank the Secretary of State for what he has said about the reports. In his statement, he referred to the importance of the changes that have come about over the past few years, both under this Government—and there are more to come—and under the last Government. Many of those changes have derived from advice given by specialist police forces or by teams within police forces.
The Association of Chief Police Officers runs courses, and collects expertise for the purpose of those courses. Its aim is to catch the individuals concerned, to help those who have been attacked by them and to monitor those individuals after they have been put on the sex offenders list. Does the Secretary of State think that it would be useful to ask ACPO whether it could provide any more advice for the Government to consider? I know that the Metropolitan police’s Jigsaw team is currently considering changes that would help it to monitor and control sex offenders once they have been detected and put on the list.
My hon. Friend has made an important point. Of course we need to co-operate very closely with the police service, and the Home Secretary is doing a huge amount of work to establish what needs to be done to increase conviction rates for sexual offences. The point for the NHS to consider, however, is that the disclosure and barring scheme will only work properly if NHS organisers comply with it—as they are obliged to do—and report incidents, because that enables other NHS organisations to find out about them. I am not satisfied that the levels of compliance are as high as they should be.
Barbara Keeley (Worsley and Eccles South) (Lab):
I feel that our concern for victims must lead us to ask whether the actions of Ministers, or managers in the NHS, caused the pain that they suffered. That is one of the things that we can still do. Beyond compensation, there is accountability, and there must be accountability.
I must tell the Secretary of State that I do not think it was enough for him to say that behaviour was indefensible. Colleagues of his were Ministers at the time of that behaviour, and they must be brought to book for their actions. I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Leigh (Andy Burnham): we should focus on the fact that that appointment of a disc jockey to a hospital position was not appropriate. In some respects, that individual would have carried more credibility because of his appointment, and that is why I think that accountability is important.
I also think that, in future, children and vulnerable patients must be protected from certain people who have access to wards. It is not good enough to talk about bureaucracy. Volunteers, celebrity fundraisers and business backers must be subject to checks before being given access to hospitals and to wards, and they must expect to be subject to those checks. The present arrangements must change.
We do need more robust checks. However, I can tell the hon. Lady that I have apologised to all the victims and have said that if some of the reasons given in the reports for Jimmy Savile’s appointment to one position were as the reports claim, that was indefensible. Moreover, the Secretary of State who was in office at the time has said that it was indefensible. I think that that is accountability.
Mr Philip Hollobone (Kettering) (Con):
The Secretary of State has been good enough to apologise on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government and the NHS. Given that Jimmy Savile’s celebrity status was largely due to his employment by the BBC, are we not owed a big apology by the BBC, now that the report has been published?
My hon. Friend makes an important point. Today’s report is about the NHS and that the BBC report is ongoing, as is the report being done by the Department for Education and the work being done by other Departments. We have to wait for the BBC to make its own statement on the matter, but my priority now is for NHS patients, and the reason that I wanted to go at speed on this was to make sure that any changes we need to make now, we do so.
Steve McCabe (Birmingham, Selly Oak) (Lab):
The Secretary of State says, quite understandably, that we cannot undo the past, but there are several people culpable in this affair who are still drawing substantial NHS pensions. Why does he not consider docking their pensions, as a consequence for their behaviour and as a clear warning to others?
I do not rule that out at all. If someone has behaved in a way that is in breach of either the law or the regulations that were in place at the hospital in which they worked, and there is a way to have legal redress such that things like pensions can be docked, I think that they should face the full consequences of that.
Tessa Munt (Wells) (LD):
Child sexual abuse is always abhorrent. The victims are always innocent and nobody should be above the law. At the beginning of this month, six Members and I wrote to the Home Secretary—now we are supported by a further 104 MPs—requesting an investigation by an independent panel into at least eight cases of child sexual abuse going back over 30 years, where the evidence has been lost or destroyed by the police, by Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise and by other agencies, and where the cases have therefore been stalled or abandoned altogether. To date, we have had no reply, so can I ask the Secretary of State to encourage the Home Secretary and the Education Secretary, and anyone who else who might be moved to take the matter on, to do so, and accept that such an independent investigation is essential to search out the truth and to make sure that action is taken after that?
I would like to reassure the hon. Lady that we have a Home Office committee, chaired by the Home Office Minister from her own party—the Minister for Crime Prevention, the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker)—that is drawing together all the lessons from Savile across all Departments. It is then going to take that view as to what needs to happen next to prevent child sexual abuse, and I would like to reassure her that the Home Office and the Government as a whole have no higher priority than that.
Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central) (Lab):
Jimmy Savile visited the Royal Victoria infirmary in Newcastle on a number of occasions—generally, it appears, around the time of the great north run. The Newcastle hospital trust’s investigation concludes that nothing untoward happened and there was constant supervision, but it refers to an NSPCC investigation that had access to other witnesses, which suggests that unsupervised access did occur. That is obviously a matter of huge concern for everyone who put their trust in the RVI, whether as a patient or as a child. Is not my right hon. Friend the Member for Leigh (Andy Burnham) right? It is not up to them to try to draw what could be horrendous conclusions from these somewhat conflicting reports. Do we not need an overarching independent inquiry?
We are having an overarching independent inquiry—that is what Kate Lampard is doing—but on whether we need to have further inquiries, we need to wait until we get the response, which we are hoping for this autumn, because at the moment, we have published individual reports, but we have not drawn any wider lessons for the NHS system-wide. One of the things that I hope will be a consequence of today is that if there are any victims who were abused at the RVI, they will use today as some encouragement to come forward. I have given instructions and I am absolutely clear as Health Secretary that I want every single one of the concerns of anyone who comes forward to be investigated thoroughly—as thoroughly as all the ones that are tragically coming to light today.
Bob Blackman (Harrow East) (Con):
It is astonishing that this catalogue of abuse was allowed to happen and that no action was taken at the time. I commend my right hon. Friend for his statement, both for the way he has delivered it and for the content, but can he elucidate for the House what specific changes he foresees in legislation, although legislation has moved forward, and any specific changes to procedures that now need to be taken as a result of the publication today?
I hope my hon. Friend will forgive me if I do not try and predict what Kate Lampard’s recommendations are before she makes them, but I think the obvious question to ask is whether we have the procedures in place that ensure that someone like Savile would not be given the keys to an institution in the way that he was? I do not believe that would happen today. My understanding of the way that NHS organisations work is that it would be impossible for someone to be given the freedom of a trust in the way that he was at Broadmoor, but I do not want to take that as a fact. I want Kate Lampard to look at that, so that we can be absolutely sure that it would not happen. I think the other obvious area for her to consider is the functioning of the disclosure and barring scheme, and to make sure that it really is set up in a way that would make it more likely for us to catch someone like Savile. Again, I think it is likely that he would be caught by the DBS, but I would like Kate Lampard to look at that and give me her views.
Diana Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North) (Lab):
I am not sure that I share the Secretary of State’s view about Jimmy Savile being caught by the procedures now in place through the DBS, but I want to ask him this: under changes introduced by this coalition, a regular volunteer at a children’s hospital—acting, for example, as a reading volunteer on the ward—will not require a Criminal Records Bureau check, and given the harm done by the revelations about Jimmy Savile, I am sure that will cause concern to millions of parents around this country. Does the Secretary of State share that concern, especially in the light of the NSPCC’s comments this week that the pendulum has swung too far towards the abuser by the changes that his Government have introduced?
I do not agree with that. The CRB checks that were introduced by the last Labour Government were a very important step forward when they started in 2002 but what is also important, as I am sure Labour recognises, is that they have limitations, because they identify whether someone has a criminal record. Jimmy Savile was never convicted of a criminal offence, so CRB checks alone would not have stopped this abuse. That is why we need a broader system, which is what the disclosure and barring scheme is intended to be. It is deliberately set up as something that is risk-profiled, so the higher the risk, the higher the standard of investigation, but that is one of the things that Kate Lampard will look at and we need to listen to what she says when she gives us her final report.
John Glen (Salisbury) (Con):
I was grateful for the opportunity early this morning to look at the thorough report of Jimmy Savile’s visits to Odstock hospital. At Odstock, although it seemed that Mr Savile visited, the report concluded that there was no evidence of any wrongdoing. However, one recommendation was that the Department of Health issue national guidance on VIP policy and VIP visits. Can the Secretary of State confirm that he will look at that, so that all hospitals, including the successor to Odstock, Salisbury district hospital, can have a reliable policy in place?
I think that is a very sensible suggestion. I want to wait until Kate Lampard gives her final report in September, so I do not want to pre-empt what she says, but certainly, one of the blindingly obvious things that jumps out at us from these reports is that too generous treatment was given to someone on the basis of that celebrity status, and we definitely need to learn lessons. As I am sure my hon. Friend would appreciate from his own constituents’ point of view, the fact that there is no evidence of abuse sadly does not mean that there was no abuse, and that is why it is really important for us to remember that there may well be many people who are not mentioned today who have been quietly suffering for many years. I hope today will give them encouragement to come forward.
Mike Kane (Wythenshawe and Sale East) (Lab):
I thank the Secretary of State for advance sight of the report from Wythenshawe hospital this morning. For me, the shocking revelation that I noted was that it was an open secret among patients, as early as 1962, that this man was doing what he was doing—and I quote:
“a dirty old man up to no good”.
If there is one good thing that can come from this for the nation, it is that we implore all institutions, both governmental and in civil society, to keep their child protection, safeguarding and recruitment selection procedures up to date and under review.
The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right and touches on a matter that we have not touched on so far this morning. Recruitment is a very important area that we must get right in this process, and I wholeheartedly agree with what he said.
Kate Green (Stretford and Urmston) (Lab):
Today will be an emotional day for victims and their families as the report is published. Will the Secretary of State tell the House how victims have been supported and informed about the publication, particularly today and in the run-up to today, and how they will be kept informed as subsequent actions are carried forward? In particular, what efforts have been made to inform and support those who are most vulnerable, such as those with learning difficulties or who are severely mentally unwell, perhaps as a result of the abuse they suffered many years ago?
The hon. Lady is right to raise that issue, and the guidance that I have issued to NHS organisations today makes it clear that I want to give maximum protection not just to the victims identified in these reports, but to people going forward. That is the least we owe them.
Mr Tom Watson (West Bromwich East) (Lab):
Has the Secretary of State received intelligence, or does he have a suspicion, that victims of Savile were frightened to come forward because he enjoyed powerful political protection?
I do not believe there is any evidence of that in the reports, but there is a lot of evidence that people felt that they would not be believed because of Savile’s celebrity status. Part of that celebrity status was his connections in high places, and that is part of the myth that we need to puncture as a result of today’s report.
Today (Thursday June 19th) the Conservative MP and former Children’s Commissioner Tim Loughton asked the Leader of the House of Commons, Andrew Lansley, about the growing movement amongst MPs calling for a national inquiry into organised child abuse. The exchange was as follows (taken from Hansard):
Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham) (Con):
The Leader of the House may be aware that together with our hon. Friend the Member for Richmond Park (Zac Goldsmith) and five other colleagues across the Chamber, I have written to the Home Secretary to ask for an independent inquiry into historic child abuse. That call has already been taken up by more than 70 hon. Members from across the House. Given that new stories emerge almost daily of grotesque abuse of children going back to the ’60s, does the Leader of the House agree that it is time that such an inquiry was held, and will he give time for a debate in the House to set the scene for it?
Mr Andrew Lansley (Leader of the House of Commons):
My hon. Friend has done important work on tackling those issues. He will be aware of the range of inquiries that have taken place, some of which, I hope, are approaching a conclusion. As the Prime Minister has said and recently reiterated to the House, we have not been persuaded of the case for an overarching inquiry; indeed, we feel that there is a significant risk that such an inquiry might impede and delay the resolution of some of the issues in the separate inquiries that are taking place. As the Prime Minister rightly said, however, he will continue actively to keep the question under review.
The following exchange also took place at the House of Commons on June 11th, 2014:
Mr Duncan Hames (Liberal Democrat, Chippenham)
Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister will have heard calls from Honourable Members on all sides of this House for an independent inquiry on the Hillsborough model into organised child sexual abuse in this country. Can he truly be satisfied that current police investigations are sufficient for the public to have confidence that we are both willing and able to get to the truth?
The Right Hon David Cameron (Prime Minister)
I think my Honourable Friend makes a very important point and I have looked at this carefully with Ministerial colleagues, because of course we have a series of inquiries taking place into what happened in various hospitals and care homes and indeed media organisations, and I think it’s very important that Government keeps a clear view about how these are being co-ordinated and how the lessons are being learned. If there is a need for any more over-arching process to be put in place, I’m very happy to look at that, but at the moment, I think led by the Home Secretary and her colleagues, we do have a proper view of what’s happening at all these organisations.
In amongst these mealy-mouthed evasive answers, I would remind people of the original letter sent to Home Secretary Teresa May by the original seven MPs (Zac Goldsmith, Loughton, John Hemming, Tessa Munt, Tom Watson, Simon Danczuk and Caroline Lucas):
Dear Home Secretary,
We are writing to ask you to set up a full, properly resourced investigation into the failure of the Police to follow the evidence in a number of historical cases of child sexual abuse.
We would ask you to set up an independent panel, similar to the Inquiry you established into the Hillsborough tragedy, with powers to demand the release of all and any material from every agency involved.
We would like such a panel to work with the many victims of child sexual abuse from local authority care, the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches and schools, including public schools, to uncover the facts in cases including the following:
a. Operation Fernbridge – Richmond: Elm Guest House and Grafton Close Children’s Home, Norbiton, Weybridge & Petersham
b. Operation Orchid – Hackney and Islington
c. The Geoffrey Dickens’ dossiers – and Monkton Street home for Mentally Handicapped Children, Lambeth
d. Sir Cyril Smith – Rochdale, including Knowl View Special School
e. HM Customs & Excise – Russell Tricker videos
f. Trafficking involving British businessmen in Amsterdam
g. Warwick Spinks – Amsterdam & Prague
h. “Jane” alleged rape by a man who went on to become a Cabinet minister
We would ask that the panel examines:
i. why detailed dossiers – such as the documents submitted to the Home Office by the late Geoffrey Dickens – have disappeared
ii. why Police surveillance videos – said to be of prominent people who have been involved in paedophile rings – have gone missing
iii. why child pornography videos seized by HM Customs & Excise have been lost or destroyed
iv. why investigations appear repeatedly to have been stalled or abandoned over the last thirty years
We look forward to an early response
Amongst the most important issues they raise is to do with the unsatisfactory nature of existing police investigations.
The Prime Minister and the Government must not, and should not be allowed to, sweep this under the carpet – there are extremely serious questions to be answered.
[Since first publishing this article online a number of further MPs have indicated their support for a national inquiry in line with the express wishes of the original seven. For details of this, and how to write to your MP to ask them to support, please see this post]
The pioneering news organisation Exaro have published two important articles today by David Hencke relating to a cross-party group of seven MPs who have written jointly to Home Secretary Theresa May called for a proper inquiry into child abuse, citing the Hillsborough inquiry as a model (see Hencke, ‘Police keep failing ‘to follow evidence’ in abuse cases, say MPs: Call for wide inquiry into ‘schools, churches, children’s homes, politicians and celebrities’, 3/6/14, and ‘MPs call on Theresa May to set inquiry into child sex abuse: Tim Loughton and Zac Goldsmith in cross-party group that highlights failures by police’, 3/6/14; see also Jason Beattie, ‘MPs demand inquiry into historic claims of child sex abuse by Cabinet Ministers’, Daily Mirror, 4/6/14).
The seven MPs in question (who Hencke has elsewhere called the ‘Magnificent Seven’) are:
Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park, whose constituency contains Elm Guest House, Grafton Close Children’s Home, and Colet Court and St Paul’s Schools (Twitter @ZacGoldsmith ).
Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham and former Children’s Commissioner, who spoke powerfully in the House of Commons in September 2013 about many ongoing revelations of abuse (Website here; Twitter @timloughton ).
John Hemming, MP for Birmingham Yardley, who made representations on behalf of financial journalist Leah McGrath Goodman on the grounds of her being banned from the UK following investigation into child abuse at Haut de la Garenne, Jersey, but has also been critical of UK family courts when dealing with allegations of abuse against parents. (Website here; Twitter @johnhemmingmp )
Tessa Munt, MP for Wells, who as a member of the Education Select Committee has taken a special interest in child safeguarding, and whose constituency contains Wells Cathedral School, one of the five specialist music schools, all of which have been connected to abuse (Website here; Twitter @tessamunt )
Tom Watson, MP for West Bromwich East, who has been indefatigable in his commitment to this issue ever since raising in Westminster in October 2012 the issues of a high-level paedophile ring (see Watson’s blog and articles here and many other places online; Twitter @tom_watson ).
Simon Danczuk, MP for Rochdale, co-author with Matthew Baker of Smile for the Camera: The Double Life of Cyril Smith (London: Biteback, 2014), who has written of how Smith was connected to Peter Righton and also a wider paedophile ring including prominent politicians (see this article by Watson in praise of Danczuk) (Website here, Twitter @simondanczuk )
These seven MPs are concerned about how important files, surveillance videos and other material have gone missing, lack of charges brought as a result of Operation Fernbridge, and in general an apparent reluctance on the part of the police and others to pursue cases of serious abuse. Watson has written to the Director of Public Prosecutions naming a former cabinet minister alleged to have raped a woman going by the name of ‘Jane’ (see also the detailed five-part account linked to at the bottom of this article and the video interview with ‘Jane’); this is the same senior cabinet minister who has been linked to the VIP paedophile ring related to Elm Guest House (as confirmed by Mark Watts on Twitter on 18/5/14). The Metropolitan Police have chosen not to pursue Jane’s allegations further, nor even interview the alleged perpetrator, raising serious questions about whether proper procedure has been followed; Exaro have also claimed that there was a shocking concerted police smear campaign aimed at discrediting ‘Jane’. Furthermore, there are serious questions about the whereabouts of a series of documents submitted to the Home Office by the late Geoffrey Dickens MP (see here, here and here), one of the few MPs who continued to pursue this issue in the 1980s. Loughton has spoken of his alarm at consistent ‘reluctance, or more worryingly, the seeming complicity of police and other agencies to investigate the allegations seriously, and pursue the perpetrators rigorously’, and how ‘Documents go missing and investigations are curtailed with a chilling frequency, and that now threatens a serious undermining of the public’s confidence in our current child-protection system despite all the progress that has undoubtedly been made in recent years’.
The range of areas of public life in which there have been major allegations of abuse is frighteningly large: these include children’s homes in Islington (see also here and this article by whistleblower Liz Davies), Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark, Haute de la Garenne in Jersey, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Suffolk, Staffordshire (the ‘Pindown’ scandal) Birmingham, Leicestershire, North Wales, South Wales, Cheshire, Leeds, Sunderland, Northumberland, Lothian, Renfrewshire, Isle of Lewis, the Kincora Boy’s Home in Belfast, Stockgrove Park School, Buckinghamshire, Stanbridge Earls School near Romsey, Hampshire, New Barns School, Gloucestershire, Castle Hill School, Shropshire, St George’s School, Suffolk, Knowl View School in Rochdale, in Cleveland, many of the leading public schools (see also the range of articles here), the Catholic Church, not least in Scottish abbeys, the Church of England, the entertainment industry (not least involving Jimmy Savile), grooming gangs in the North West and Oxford, music education, a ring around Piccadilly Circus, major networks trading images of child abuse, and more. Some of these cases have been investigated, with some prosecutions, but there is good reason to believe some of these investigations have been half-hearted, whilst other cases have simply been ignored. There are many individuals linked to multiple networks (not least the sinister figure of Peter Righton), continuing talk of the VIP paedophile ring connected to Elm Guest House and elsewhere, major information concerning late MPs Cyril Smith and Peter Morrison and serious allegations about others who are living (not least the severe claim that a Blair era cabinet minister was being investigated for abusing children in a home in Lambeth, leading to a detective being taken off the case, and even that a council official looking to expose a ring involving the minister was murdered). The activities of members of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), about whom I have blogged in detail, remain shady, and there are many suggestions that this organisation might be linked to a great number of cases of abuse. Furthermore, it is now clear that PIE had deep links to the Home Office, receiving large amounts of money from the organisation, with at least three members working on its premises (with a phone line there), its magazine printed there, and some civil servants receiving images of child abuse delivered to the building!
It is heartening to see such a diverse cross-party group of MPs coming together on this issue. Yet it is more than a little disappointing that there are not more, and that the most senior politicians in all the major parties do not appear to be taking seriously what can only be called an epidemic (if even less than half of the allegations were true). I would urge everyone reading this to write to their own MP and implore them to support the seven courageous figures above (any of whom I would gladly vote for). I have earlier blogged on the need for Ed Miliband, the leader of the party to which I belong (Labour), to put all of his weight behind calls for a proper inquiry, but also how there is near-silence from the upper echelons of Labour, perhaps related to the fact that senior Labour politicians are under investigation and also that the current Deputy Leader, Harriet Harman, has been linked to PIE during her time as Legal Officer at the NCCL, during which period NCCL took out an advert in PIE’s journal Magpie and also their policy on images of children reflects aspects of PIE thinking. But this should not be stopping Miliband, nor should worries about the former Thatcher era cabinet minister, and Peter Morrison and others, be stopping David Cameron (and in light of revelations about Cyril Smith, Nick Clegg should be firmly behind this).
Leading experts, researchers and campaigners on child abuse Peter McKelvie and Liz Davies met recently with Home Office minister Norman Baker. They were granted a mere ten minutes of time, despite having built up huge bodies of evidence about child abuse, but it was made clear that there was no intention to undertake either a national police investigation (absolutely necessary because so many complex cases are interlinked) nor a public inquiry. I would urge people to read the account above. Nonetheless, I have been informed that both individuals spoke very highly of Zac Goldsmith’s commitment to the issues in particular.
The media have reported much about the relatively small number of cases coming to court as a result of Operation Yewtree. But these are just a tiny fraction of the wider allegations of serious and sustained abuse (and non-sexual abuse should not be treated any less seriously). All credit to these seven MPs, but as for the others – if our MPs do not care about protecting children in the most vulnerable situations, what do they care about?
Many different stories involving alleged organised or institutionalised abuse of children have been prominent in the press during since February: about the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), and their links to the National Council of Civil Liberties, about abuse in a range of top private schools (especially Colet Court and St Paul’s), about the hideous range of abuse carried out by late Liberal MP Cyril Smith and then further in special schools in Rochdale, trials (with both convictions and acquittals) of celebrities as a result of Operation Yewtree, further information concerning the shocking abuse cases in children’s homes run by Islington Council, and new stories relating to abuse in Lambeth, with suggestions that a detective was taken off the case after a cabinet minister from the Blair era became a suspect (see also here, here, here and here, whilst the inquiry into historical institutional abuse in Northern Ireland (the largest inquiry of its type in the UK) opened at the beginning of the year. Other investigations continue, most notably Operations Fairbank, Fernbridge and Cayacos, resulting from the questions put to the House of Commons by Tom Watson MP in October 2012, and dealing in particular with suggestions of a VIP paedophile ring, involving senior politicians from various parties, and centered upon the terrible abuse scandal at the Elm Guest House in Barnes (see also the various links here), and the possibility that children may have even been trafficked to this place from a children’s home in Grafton Close in nearby Richmond to service VIP guests. Cyril Smith and the late Sir Anthony Blunt, former Master of the Queen’s Pictures and Soviet spy, have been named as visitors to Elm Guest House.
The courage of a few good politicians
The Labour MP for Rochdale, Simon Danczuk, co-author with Matthew Baker of the excellent Smile for the Camera: The Double Life of Cyril Smith (London: Biteback Publishing, 2014) has reiterated the claims that Smith was not working alone, and was part of a wider VIP ring; indeed Danczuk has gone so far as to argue that if charges had been brought against Smith, he would have named others and the resulting scandal could have toppled a government. Certainly the same possibility would have applied for the Blair government if a serving minister there had been charged with the abuse of children.
Danczuk has indicated that he is considering using Parliamentary Privilege to name one especially prominent former cabinet minister who was part of a ring with Smith and involved at Elm Guest House. This is almost certainly a figure from the Thatcher era whose identity is well-known on the internet, but has not been otherwise made public in the mainstream media in this context, though he was named when such allegations were dismissed thirty years ago. Various reports from Exaro News and The People newspaper (see links above) have indicated that a former cabinet minister was involved, with stories of videos and the possibility of some survivors being able to identify this figure . I hope that if Danczuk is secure in his conviction here that he will indeed name this figure, as unfortunately there is reason (on the basis of precedent) to have doubts as to the possibility of full investigations being able to proceed without external interference. This name, if made public, may cause shockwaves both in the UK and wider afield, and in such a context it would be very hard to resist the call for a proper public inquiry (and, perhaps more importantly, it would be harder for darker forces to try and prevent the police investigating this figure properly).
Danczuk and Watson are heroic politicians for our time, both risking huge amounts of approbrium and antipathy from colleagues and others (as Watson has detailed in his tribute to Danczuk). As a campaigner and independent researcher into abuse in musical education and also into PIE (about which numerous earlier blog posts give primary source information) I have had the pleasure to meet with Watson. No words can praise highly enough his complete dedication to these issues, as demostrated earlier with the allegations about the media and phone hacking. A few other MPs have shown courage and determination with these issues: Lucy Powell, Labour MP for Manchester Central, has continued to pursue the issue of abuse in music education and safeguarding (with Chetham’s and the Royal Northern College of Music both lying within her constituency), whilst Conservative MP Tim Loughton, former Children’s Minister, also speaking out about the scale of organised abuse as can be read in a speech he made to Parliament last September detailed here in Hansard.
But these politicians (and a few others) are relatively few and far between. Others have tried to fudge or ignore the issues, perhaps knowing of the fact that a full inquiry could uncover information deeply unsettling for all the three major British political parties (and maybe several others as well). As the late Conservative MP Geoffrey Dickens found, pursuing the issue of organised child abuse involving prominent individuals is a lonely cause. When Dickens claimed that children were being abused on a council estate in Islington, the Labour MP for Islington North (my own MP), Jeremy Corbyn, claimed that Dickens was ‘getting cheap publicity at the expense of innocent children’ (see here for more on this story). When Dickens tried in 1984 to introduce a bill proscribing organisations like PIE, Labour MP Clare Short claimed the reason for the bill was ‘publicity for the hon. Member for Littleborough and Saddleworth (Mr. Dickens)’ and spoke of ‘cheap publicity stunts’.
The left, paedophile organisations, and organised abuse
During this period, as has been amply chronicled recently, there were sections of the left, even the far left. Investigation of pro-paedophile literature (which I have done extensively, finding an alarming amount of this in mainstream publications, including scholarly literature, which I will document at a later date) shows no shortage of individuals (even including several prominent feminists) who sought to link the issue of paedophilia to supposedly progressive attitudes towards gender and sexuality. NCCL were affiliated to PIE for an extended period, and took out advertisements in PIE publications Understanding Paedophilia and Magpie, whilst their 1976 evidence to the Criminal Law Revision Committee (some of which reads almost exactly in the manner of a good deal of pro-paedophile literature) included the astonishing claim that ‘Childhood sexual experiences, willingly engaged in, with an adult result in no identifiable damage’. It is clear that for a period NCCL (and also various gay rights organisations) were influenced, possibly even infiltrated, by paedophile campaigners, a process Christian Wolmar has traced (drawing in part upon first-hand experience of encountering paedophile groups) over a range of leftist organisations in the 1970s (this is also documented in Lucy Robinson’s book Gay Men and the Left in Post-War Britain: How the Personal got Political (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011)).
Current Labour Deputy Leader Harriet Harman MP was Legal Officer for the NCCL from 1978 to 1982; she joined the organisation two years after the Criminal Law Revision Committee submission, but no evidence has yet been provided of her – or her husband, Jack Dromey (who was on the committee of NCCL from 1970 to 1979, and has claimed to have opposed PIE but given no evidence for this) opposing the influence of PIE at the organisation.
How has Harman responded to the latest flurry of press attention? After the story was re-hashed in the Daily Mail in mid-February (having appeared sporadically for several years previously); it had become clearer how deeply PIE were involved with a wide range of abuse scandals, an involvement which has become even clearer in the subsequent months. In particular, the sinister figure of the late Peter Righton (files relating to whom provided the impetus for the police investigations which opened in 2012 – see also this 1994 documentary), who weaned his way to influential positions in the social work profession, was a high-up member of PIE, and has been linked to a network of abusers in public schools and to a range of cases of abuse in children’s homes; one victim has linked Righton to Cyril Smith (Smith may have met Righton when he was Liberal spokesperson on social services from 1976 to 1977). The journalist Eileen Fairweather, who broke the story of widespread abuse in Islington children’s homes for the Evening Standard, wrote of how one woman recalled being told openly by Righton at a social function in the 1970s how he enjoyed having sex with boys in children’s homes; Righton apparently assumed that as a lesbian she ‘wouldn’t break ranks’, and the woman went along with what she called ‘a typical gay man’s excuse – that he didn’t use force’ (she later gave a statement to the investigators) (cited in Christian Wolmar, Forgotten Children: The Secret Abuse Scandal in Children’s Homes (London: Vision Paperbacks, 2000)). Righton also wrote an endorsement which was used on the cover of Tom O’Carroll’s book Paedophilia: The Radical Case (ibid). Elsewhere, Fairweather has written of the deep links between Islington Council and PIE.
Harman’s first response was completely defensive: in a statement which was printed in the Mail on February 24th, she referred to the allegations as a ‘smear campaign’, and denied any connection with NCCL policy on lowering the age of consent to ten, or opposing the law on incest, as in the 1976 submission, pointing out that she did not work for NCCL until two years later, and denying that her involvement with NCCL implied any further support for PIE. However, as the paper pointed out, the 1976 submissions remained policy in 1978, when Harman joined, and she does not appear to have raised any objections then; furthermore, the affiliation continued throughout her time as Legal Officer. In a statement published together with Harman’s, Dromey argued that he was ‘at the forefront of repeated public condemnations of PIE and their despicable views’
As the media response grew louder, Harman appears to have realised that this would not be enough, and gave an interview with Laura Kuenssberg for Newsnight, again denying this amounted to anything more than a smear. She pointed out that PIE were one of a thousand organisations affiliated to NCCL, and that any organisation could affiliate. Ed Miliband (in what appears to have been his only statement on the whole controversy) backed Harman absolutely on the same day, reiterating her claim that the story amounted purely to a smear (Sam Coates, ‘Miliband backs Harman over ‘paedophile smears’, The Times, February 25th, 2014). It was later revealed that Harman and Dromey may not have been so confident about what journalists might find, and they trawled the NCCL archives in Hull themselves (their names can be found in the ledgers) on February 24th, five days after the story broke, and on the same day as the Newsnight interview. The Mail responded by pointing out that in the year when Harman joined the organisation, PIE was listed in the book The NCCL Guide to Your Rights as one of eighteen organisations which ‘may be helpful’ to readers, alongside the likes of the Family Planning Association and Rape Crisis Centre, and also that by 1982, the constitution of an affiliated institution had to be ‘approved by the Committee’ (PIE continued to be affiliated for a further year). The Telegraph also viewed other internal documents that cast serious doubts upon Harman’s claims that PIE had been ‘pushed to the margins’ back in 1976, before she went to NCCL, revealing that NCCL gay-rights spokesperson Nettie Pollard (probably the key link between NCCL and PIE, who has elsewhere herself been named as a member (#70) of PIE) had sat on a fourteen-strong NCCL gay rights committee with PIE chairman Tom O’Carroll (O’Carroll later thanked Pollard for her help in the foreword to his 1980 book Paedophilia: The Radical Case), and printed a letter from Harman forwarding a query from Pollard as to how to table amendments to the Protection of Children Bill in the Lords in 1978; this story was also pursued briefly in The Guardian. At this stage a spokesman for Harman had to concede that Pollard had promoted paedophilia and exploited the gay rights committee. Most damningly, the Mail printed a copy of the NCCL advert taken out in PIE journal Magpie in 1979 (which I had earlier revealed, though omitted at this stage to mention the earlier 1977 advert in Understanding Paedophilia).
Various of these articles drew attention in particular to how Harman herself urged changes to the 1978 Protection of Children Bill by saying that ‘images of children should only be considered pornographic if it could be proven the subject suffered’; this is perhaps the most crucial piece of information, and which comes dangerously close to PIE-style thinking, by positing that something only becomes pornographic if the child considers it as such (rather than in a statutory fashion). Though Harman protested that this was to stop parents being criminalised for taking beach or bathing pictures of their children (which would in itself be fair), these proposed amendments went further than that, as a lawyer would surely know.
As the furore continued, Patricia Hewitt made a reasonably decent and measured statement (after a period when she was uncontactable), claiming that NCCL was ‘naive and wrong to accept PIE’s claim to be a ‘campaigning and counselling organisation’ that ‘does not promote unlawful acts’, accepting responsibility and apologising, saying she ‘should have urged the executive committee to take stronger measures to protect NCCL’s integrity from the activities of PIE members and sympathisers’, though disclaiming any part in the ‘proposal to reduce the age of consent’, and saying nothing about the 1976 Criminal Law Revision Committee submission. Hewitt’s retirement from her position as a non-executive director of BT was also announced a few weeks later, though it is not clear whether this was related.
But there was no such humility from Harman, whose public school haughtiness deserves consideration just as does that of David Cameron or George Osborne; in an interview for The Times in early March, she adopted a contemptuous tone, continuing to refuse to apologise, talked about intending to be Deputy Prime Minister, and even talking about how she was ‘spending a lot of money on my hair, which is the same colour as when I was 33 [….] I’m not quite sufficiently politically correct to be able to stop it’, giving the impression that this mattered more than the ongoing stories about abuse (Sam Coates, ‘I want to be deputy PM, says Harman as she stands firm over paedophiles’, The Times, March 8th, 2014).
Former Head of the Obscene Publications Squad Michael Hames (author of The Dirty Squad (The Inside Story of the Obscene Publications Squad)) argued that ‘the NCCL legitimised the Paedophile Information Exchange’, and that Harman, Dromey and Hewitt ‘made a huge mistake. At the very least they should acknowledge, publicly, that they got it wrong’. But this would not be forthcoming from either Harman or Dromey. The current director of Liberty (the renamed NCCL), said that past paedophile infiltration of the organisation was a matter of ‘continuing disgust and horror’, statement endorsed by Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg.
A civil liberties organisation should defend the civil liberties of all people, including those whose views they might otherwise despise and reject. The American Civil Liberties Union has defended the right to free speech of the Klu Klux Klan; in my view, they are absolutely right to do so, for using fascistic techniques of censorship is no way to combat fascist ideology and organisations. Paedophiles have rights and civil liberties as well (and I have no interest in debating with those people who would deny that they do); were the NCCL simply to be defending these, or indeed fighting against the rather archaic law of ‘Conspiracy to Corrupt Public Morals’, then their actions should be applauded. Furthermore, it would be rash to censor even a debate on the precise age of consent, which varies slightly between different Western countries.
But NCCL’s support for PIE went further than this. I do not believe Harman, Dromey or Hewitt to have been active supporters of the abuse of children themselves; however, at a time when PIE was at its height, they were all intimately involved with an organisation which not only allowed PIE to affiliate (would Harman have been so happy with a group which advocated that a man can beat his wife if she is disobedient, or a fundamentalist Christian anti-gay organisation?), but also advertised in its own deeply unpleasant publications (see the ample amount of material I have published on this blog here, here and here) and appear to have been influenced by aspects of PIE thinking in their policy, as well as having PIE members on their own committees. No clear evidence has been provided for any of these three figures having opposed this, unlike with Peter Hain, say. PIE’s strategy was to infiltrate and influence mainstream gay rights and civil liberties organisations towards their own ends; Harman, Dromey and Hewitt stand as appearing culpable in allowing this to happen, and in the process adding a degree of respectability to that very paedophile movement which looks to have been involved in the worst cases of organised abuse.
As further investigations into the latter continue, it would be a miracle if the involvement of leading PIE members is not evoked on many future occasions, and many more questions asked about just how this organisation and the ideologies it espoused came to win a degree of acceptance especially on the liberal left (two very thoughtful articles on this question have recently been published by Eileen Fairweather and Christian Wolmar). However, all figures associated with the Labour leadership appear to have treated this as an issue primarily of the reputations of Harman and Dromey (Hewitt is less active in politics today and no longer in Parliament). Harman’s own self-centered attitudes and absolute refusal to concede that this might be about more than her, has precluded the leadership from really commenting at all on the many other stories which have been further illuminated, an intolerable state of affairs. I would personally have difficulty campaigning for Labour if this situation continues.
The need for a decisive lead from Labour and Ed Miliband
The potential situation for Labour is grave: senior figures such as Harman, Dromey or Margaret Hodge (in charge of Islington Council during the period when paedophiles manage to infiltrate their children’s homes, and who tried to dismiss newspaper reports claiming this – but amazingly went on to become Children’s Minister under Tony Blair) stand likely to be found to have been at least complacent if not complicit in a situation which enabled PIE, and as a result widespread abuse, to flourish. If coupled with revelations about a Blairite cabinet minister, this could cast an unremovable shadow over the whole Blair era. Danczuk has written of how ‘it seemed that a fair few on the Left, including some who have subsequently become key figures in the Labour Party were fooled into giving this hideous group [PIE] shelter’, part of the situation which enabled Cyril Smith to act with relative impunity – he does not name the figures in question, but there is little question that he is referring to Hewitt, Harman and Dromey. The dismissive statements of Corbyn and Short, at a time when Dickens was fighting practically a one-man campaign against PIE, look like a form of petty tribalism which in this context could be dangerous; more ominously, some other Labour names have been mooted in terms of visitors to the Elm Guest House. Eileen Fairweather has described the type of Stalinist thinking to be encountered on the left when there are abuse allegations involving gay men, whilst some researchers into abuse committed by women, such as Michelle Elliott or Jackie Turton, have encountered similar resistance to any investigation of the subject. It would seem as if for some on the left, child abuse only matters when it can be exploited to serve a particular type of gender/sexuality politics; when the perpetrators are women or gay men, some might prefer that the abuse go unchecked*.
All of this remains at the level of allegations, for sure, but it seems unlikely that an investigation would not do damage to the Labour Party. But this is equally true for the Liberal Democrats because of Cyril Smith, and very much so for the Conservative Party, with a serious of prominent figures also having been mooted as Elm Guest House visitors (one of them still in the House of Commons today), not to mention the as yet far-from-clarified situation involving the late Peter Morrison, about whom I have blogged at length, involving allegations (based upon accounts by Conservative politicians) of cover-up and even bribery, and that Morrison was linked to the North Wales abuse scandals.
I am a member of the Labour Party; I was unable to stay supporting them following the Iraq War, but rejoined after Tony Blair left the leadership and have had high hopes of Ed Miliband, who I voted for as leader. I look to the Labour Party to protect the interests of ordinary citizens against powerful forms of exploitation, and can hardly imagine an issue Labour should be opposing and attacking more strongly than the existence of networks of VIPs using their position to exploit and abuse children sexually, protected through friends in high places. Miliband showed great resolve over the issue of Murdoch and hacking; now he needs to do the same of the issue of organised and institutional abuse. His silence (and that of most other senior Labour politicians) to date on the issue, save to defend Harman as mentioned earlier, is no response befitting of a Prime-Minister- and government-in-waiting; as with other party leaders, the impression given is of one more concerned about protecting the reputation of a few of his colleagues than in investigating extremely serious allegations of abuse (just as has been seen in numerous other institutions facing abuse or cover-up allegations relating to some of their members).
This should not be a partisan issue, and attempts by all sides to exploit it for party political advantage are crass in the extreme. Ed Miliband has the opportunity to change this and call for an all-purpose public inquiry with which he and his party will fully co-operate, which would put real pressure on the other parties to do the same, as he should also demand. This would require a similar level of commitment from his senior colleagues; if some are not prepared to give this commitment, then Miliband must make clear that he is no longer in a position to lend them support.
[*As for example in the case of the American feminist Kate Millett, who when asked in an interview (originally published in Loving Boys (New York: Semiotext(e), 1980), pp. 80-83) ‘Do you think that a tender loving erotic relationship can exist between a boy and a man?’ she replied ‘Of course, or between a female child and an older woman’ and also said that ‘ part of a free society would be that you could choose whomever you fancied, and children should be able to freely choose as well’. Millett’s book Sexual Politics (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1969) remains a standard feminist text, but I believe on the basis of this interview anything she says about sexual politics should be considered suspect. ]