Abuse in Lambeth, Operation Ore, and the Blair Minister(s) – Press Reports so far [Updated November 2014]

In amidst the reporting of the scandals involving Elm Guest House and the VIP ring alleged to have attended there, less has been widely known about a distinct series of events alleged to involve a senior Labour minister, or perhaps more than one. Here I present a wide range of articles dealing with two areas: organised child abuse in Lambeth, and Operation Ore, which identified numerous prominent people as involved in the purchase of images of child abuse – including a Blair cabinet minister. I first give the range of articles mostly from the 1980s and 1990s on Lambeth, leading to Operation Middleton, then those from the early 2000s on Operation Ore (including a significant piece from Counterpunch magazine) and one looking back on this, then finally a series of recent articles mostly from the Mirror from 2013 and this year by crime correspondent Tom Pettifor, which also suggest the involvement of a Blair cabinet minister in a ring operating in Lambeth homes. First of all it is important to note that all the ministers who have been identified by investigators may be entirely innocent, also that Operations Middleton and Ore might be dealing with entirely different alleged ministers (in which case there is the possibility of a whole three Blair cabinet ministers having been under suspicion for sexual offences involving children). But there may also be overlaps. I provide this material for reference purposes for others looking into these events.

Profound thanks are due to Charlotte Russell for her help in collating together articles for this post, and of course to Murun of the Spotlight blog , who first located and copied most of the scanned clippings used below.


From ‘How Margaret Hodge’s policies allowed paedophiles to infiltrate Islington children’s homes’, Spotlight, April 30th, 2013

[….] The gay liberation movement had been infiltrated by paedophiles as early as 1975. There were paedophiles posing as gay men and hiding behind the gay rights banner to avoid detection. The largest and most influential organisation in the gay rights movement was the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE). At their national conference in Sheffield in 1975 they voted to give paedophiles a bigger role in the gay rights movement. CHE were affilated to the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), who campaigned for the age of consent to be reduced to 4, which would effectively legalise paedophilia. Copies of PIE’s manifesto were sold at CHE conferences.

This association between the gay rights movement and paedophiles carried on for years, and was still going strong in 1983 when Margaret Hodge decided to proactively hire gays (and therefore paedophiles) to work with children at Islington Council. In September 1983, Capital Gay reported that CHE had “stepped up support for the Paedophile Information Exchange”.

It’s hard to believe that Margaret Hodge wasn’t aware that the gay rights movement had been infiltrated by paedophiles, and that many ostensibly ‘gay’ men were in fact paedophiles. Her late husband, Henry Hodge, was chairman of the National Council of Civil Liberties (NCCL) since 1974, and the NCCL were affiliated to the Paedophile Information Exchange. In 1978, the Protection of Children Bill was put before Parliament, and the NCCL’s official response stated that images of child abuse should only be considered ‘indecent’ if it could be proved that the child had suffered harm. The document was signed by the NCCL’s legal officer, Harriet Harman, who along with her husband Jack Dromey (also an NCCL official), were close friends of the Hodges.

The council’s policy also stated that any gay man (and therefore also a paedophile who claimed he was gay) would be protected from harassment. This meant that staff members who made allegations of child abuse against gay (or paedophile) members of staff would be accused of harassment, and any disciplinary action was dropped. This also meant that staff that should have been investigated had ‘clean’ ecords and were allowed to gon on and abuse children at other children’s homes after they left Islington.

From The White Report, 1995: “…it is apparent from this analysis that the London Borough of Islington did not in most cases undertake the standard investigative processes that should have been triggered when they occurred. It is possible, therefore that some staff now not in the employment of Islington could be working in the field of Social Services with a completely clean disciplinary record and yet have serious allegations still not investigated in their history.” The report went on to say that Islington Council was “paralysed by equal opportunity“, and “the policy of positive discrimination in Islington has had serious unintended consequences in allowing some staff to exploit children for their own purposes.”

Islington Council had adopted another policy the previous year which meant that any firms wanting a grant or loan from the council would have to “produce evidence of their commitment not to discriminate against gay staff”. This meant that companies associated with Islington’s children’s homes would also have difficulty reporting paedophiles without being accused of homophobia. This may explain how one of the staffing agencies used by Islington Council had also been infiltrated by paedophiles.

Islington was probably the first council to implement a policy that made it easier for paedophiles to work with children. In September 1983 it looked like Islington were influencing Lambeth Council to implement the same policy. Lambeth also went on to have a paedophile network operating in its children’s homes, over 200 children were believed to have been abused.

Daily Star, August 1st, 1983

Star 010883 - Mr Nasty

Capital Gay, September 30th, 1983

Capital Gay 030983 - Pressure mounts on Lambeth Council

News of the World, October 23rd, 1983

“In Lambeth, London, 124 youngsters have been separated from friends and moved to alternative homes as far away as North Wales“

Did Lambeth Council also send children to Bryn Alyn? Neighbouring council Southwark did – see Southwark Council and Bryn Alyn – and child sexual abuse was rife in both Lambeth and Southwark children’s homes at the time.

News of the World 231083 - Anguish of Care Kids

Social Work Today, November 11th, 1985

Social Work Today 111185 - New child care strategy

Daily Express, May 15th, 1986

Express 150586a - Guilty - Social worker in rent boy scandal

Express 150586b - Guilty - Social worker in rent boy scandal

Community Care, July 31st, 1986

Community Care 310786 - Inquiries into alleged sex assault on child in care

Daily Mail, September 1st, 1986

Daily Mail 010986 - Police quiz on child sex at council home

Evening Standard, September 1st, 1986

Evening Standard 010986 - Council home children 'abused'

Daily Mail, September 2nd, 1986

Daily Mail 020986 - Sex change shock at council home

The Guardian, September 2nd, 1986

Guardian 020986a - Children's home inquiry

South London Press, September 2nd, 1986

South London Press 020986 - Home probe

The Times, September 2nd, 1986

Scotland Yard is investigating claims of sexual abuse by staff on mentally handicapped children at a nursing home in south London.

The police said yesterday that an inquiry into the allegations had begun after a complaint by the mother of a boy aged 12 at the Monkton Street Nursing Home in Kennington.

Staff at the home, which is run by Lambeth council, are being interviewed by detectives.

Lambeth council, which is also carrying out its own investigations into the claims, said yesterday that the police were talking about attacks on at least six young people.

The boy at the centre of the allegations has a mental age of four.

But, according to his mother, he is able to speak coherently and could tell her how serious his injuries were and how they happened.

Officials from Lambeth council hope to present a report shortly to Mrs Phyllis Dunipace, head of Lambeth’s social service committee.

Social Work Today, September 8th, 1986

Social Work Today 080986 - Police check on sex abuse allegations

The Guardian, September 22nd, 1986

Guardian 220986 - Social work shake-up

South London Press, October 3rd, 1986

South London Press 031086a - Cops quiz man on sex assault

South London Press, November 25th, 1986

South London Press 251186 - No charges in kids' home sex row

News of the World, November 31st, 1986

News of the World 311186 - Boy rape beasts escape the law

Daily Mail, December 3rd, 1986

Daily Mail 031286 - Evil men in child sex case 'must not go free'

South London Press, December 5th, 1986

South London Press 051286b - Cops rapped in sex abuse row

(2)South London Press, December 5th, 1986

South London Press 051286c - Charter to abuse

South London Press, December 19th, 1986

South London Press 191286 - Council curb on help for police

Daily Mail, January 16th, 1987

Daily Mail 160187 - Murder probe block

South London Press, January 16th, 1987

South London Press 160187 - Council Rocked by Nursery Sex Row

Evening Standard, October 19th, 1992

South London Press 191092a - Search for 200 boys in Lambeth abuse probe

South London Press 191092b - Search for 200 boys in Lambeth abuse probe

South London Press, October 20th, 1992

South London Press 201092a - Scandal of vile child sex ring

South London Press 201092b - Scandal of vile child sex ring

South London Press, November 27th, 1992

South London Press 271192a - Third arrest in child sex probe

South London Press, December 4th, 1992

South London Press 041292a - Scandal of kids' home boss prompts outcry

South London Press 041292b - Scandal of kids' home boss prompts outcry

The Guardian, December 5th, 1992

Guardian 051292 - Convicted child abuser 'allowed to stay as children's home boss'

South London Press, December 8th, 1992

South London Press 081292a - Top level inquiry into kids' homes

South London Press 081292b - Top level inquiry into kids' homes

Community Care, December 10th, 1992

Community Care 101292 - Sex offence home head prompts Lambeth inquiry

South London Press, December 11th, 1992

South London Press 111292 - Guideline on kids' homes staff

Community Care, December 17th, 1992

Community Care 171292 - More Lambeth workers charged with alleged sex offences

South London Press, December 1992

South London Press 1292

[Bulic Forsythe, who worked as a manager at Clapham for Lambeth social services, and often wrote important policy documents relating to Health and Safety, was last seen alive on February 24th, 1993. His daughter was due in May. His body was found on February 26th, soaked with blood, his skull having been fractured with a heavy weapon, in a burning building. The dates given in the Mirror report from 21/5/14 (see at end of this post) do not coincide with those in the Crimewatch report, which I use here]

Crimewatch, June 1993
Report on the murder of Bulic Forsythe

The Guardian, August 4th, 1993

Guardian 040893 - Children's home manager with conviction kept in job by council

Community Care, January 13th, 1994

Community Care 130194 - Silence money

Care Weekly, February 10th, 1994

Care Weekly 100294 - Residential worker abused three boys in Lambeth home

South London Press, April 7th, 1995

South London Press 070495 - Porn terror gang is out to get me

South London Press, May 12th, 1995

South London Press 120595 - Child sex pervert's 6000 pay off

South London Press, May 26th, 1995

South London Press 260595a - Porn ring report sensation

South London Press 260595b - Porn ring report sensation

South London Press 260595c - Porn ring report sensation

South London Press, May 26th, 1995

South London Press 260596 - Violence threat to sleaze fighter

South London Press, May 26th, 1995

South London Press 260595 - Was manager beaten to death for probing fraud

South London Press, May 26th, 1995

South London Press 260595 - Stash of paedophile videos

South London Press 260595b - Stash of paedophile videos

South London Press, May 31st, 1995

South London Press 310595a - Under Fire

South London Press 310595b - Under Fire

South London Press 310595c - Under Fire

South London Press 310595d - Under Fire

South London Press 310595e - Under Fire

South London Press 310595f - Under Fire

South London Press, June 2nd, 1995

South London Press 020695 - Petrol attack to silence rape victim

South London Press 020695 - Godfather tried to block rape investigation

South London Press, June 9th, 1995

South London Press 090695a - A letter to member of staff

South London Press 090695b - A letter to member of staff

South London Press 090695c - A letter to member of staff

South London Press, June 13th, 1995

South London Press 130695a - Murder bid on porn witness

South London Press 130695b - Murder bid on porn witness

‘Paedophile on the run given job with children’
The Independent, August 2nd, 1996

A paedophile with convictions stretching back 41 years attacked two schoolboys after being employed by a local authority at an Astroturf football pitch, the Old Bailey heard yesterday.

John Roberts, 63, who was on the run from prison when he was taken on by a London council, was told by Judge Alan Hitching that he was facing a life term.

An Old Bailey jury convicted him of sexually abusing two boys aged seven and 13. Both have been left traumatised by their ordeal, it was revealed.

Roberts went on the run from jail while on home leave from an eight-year sentence and took an assumed name of William Lane.

He went to an employment agency and applied for the job of groundsman for Kennington Astroturf football pitch in south London. Lambeth council gave him the job at the pitch, which is used by hundreds of youngsters in the borough.

The court was not told whether the council had made any police checks.

Police revealed afterwards that he was in the process of starting up several boys’ football teams when he was arrested.

Roberts, of Peckham, south London, was found guilty of buggering and indecent assault on the seven-year-old and indecency with the 13-year- old. He was cleared of one charge of indecency with the younger boy. The offences occurred in October last year.

Roberts cursed the jury and continually interrupted the proceedings after the guilty verdicts. He was ordered to sit down and keep quiet or face being taken to the cells.

The judge told him: “This is the ninth offence of this nature and his passion in this direction is showing no signs of abating. I have to consider a very long jail term or a life sentence for the protection of the public and young children.”

He adjourned the case for pre-sentence and probation reports to be prepared. The judge also extended legal aid to Roberts’ defence team so a top QC could be employed to argue his case as he is facing such a long penalty.

Roberts worked for Lambeth for four months using his position of trust as a means of getting close to children, the court heard.

Edmond Brown, prosecuting, said: “He used his influence and his age to take advantage of two boys and invite them into his house.”

The court heard that he enticed the boys with money and by taking them to hamburger restaurants. The boys, who were not allowed to have any counselling until after the trial, gave their evidence via a video link.

A father of one of the boys saw Roberts follow his son into bushes at the ground and later warned him off.

But Roberts continued his activities. He gave the 13-year-old boy £15 and showed him and his seven-year-old friend pornographic pictures of children.

He carried out the attacks at his flat and when police raided it they found a Polaroid camera, gay magazines and condoms. He was caught after one of the boys told his father.

Community Care c.1999

Community Care c. 1996

South London Press, November 1997

In November 1997 the South London Press ran a story about a ‘sex chamber’ hidden in the basement of Lambeth Police Station with bedding, a red light, and a manacle. Was Lambeth Police Station being used by the paedophile ring to abuse children and produce child abuse images?

South London Press 1197b

South London Press 1197a

Sophie Goodchild, ‘Hunt for abused children’
Independent on Sunday, February 7th, 1999

MORE THAN 3,000 children are to be traced as part of an investigation into allegations of sexual and physical abuse at a string of care homes.

The Metropolitan Police and social workers are already conducting an inquiry into claims that a paedophile ring was operating in Lambeth children’s homes over a 20-year period.

Now a special team of social workers has been drafted in to search council archives for details of children who could also have been victims of abuse at the homes between 1974 and 1994.

Sources close to the investigation, called Operation Middleton, say that it could uncover a paedophile network spanning the country. The officer leading the inquiry, which is expected to take several years to complete, is Detective Superintendent Richard Gargini. He is understood to be reporting directly to Sir Paul Condon, the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

The investigation was originally triggered by claims that a young boy was raped at the Angell Road children’s home in Brixton by a residential worker who later died of an Aids-related illness.

The abuser has been named as Steve Forrest, a residential social worker who died in 1992 after contracting HIV. He had contact with many other children, whom the council fears he may have also abused. Another man, John Carroll, the former head of the Angell Road home, has since been charged by Merseyside police in connection with 69 indecent assaults on boys in Lambeth and in the Wirral.

The Angell Road home has been closed down along with others in the area as part of a drive to place children in private and voluntary care homes as well as with foster parents.

The Metropolitan Police refuse to confirm the cost of the inquiry but it is estimated that the bill will eventually cost as much as £3m and lead to compensation claims by former residents of the homes.

Lambeth council and the Metropolitan Police have been criticised in the past for failing to investigate thoroughly previous allegations of child abuse. However, the Met says it is working closely with Merseyside Police to ensure that all those who may have been affected are contacted and that evidence is gathered to secure prosecutions of any offenders.

Databases have been set up to provide information on all children and staff who lived and worked in Lambeth homes, and files and other sources of material have been placed in secure storage. A special building has been designated for the investigation team, consisting of 20 people, to ensure that detectives and social workers are able to liaise with each other.

The Met has also announced that it will be offering a counselling and support service both to the victims of the alleged crimes, and to their families.

The report into the allegations of abuse in the homes is expected to be made public once it has been completed.

Local Government Chronicle, May 21st, 1999

Pennie Pennie, assistant director of the children and families division of Lambeth LBC social services, has been suspended while an independent inquiry investigates allegations of child abuse at children’s homes in the borough in the 1980s, reports the South London Press (p7).The inquiry is running in conjunction with a Metropolitan Police and social services investigation called Operation Middleton, which is aiming to trace the 3,000 children who lived in council-run children’s homes in Lambeth in the 1980s.

Daily Mail, July 6th, 1999

Daily Mail 060799 - He was a convicted pervert

Kim Sengupta, ‘Care worker had paedophile record’
The Independent, July 6th, 1999

A SOCIAL worker who carried out dozens of sex attacks was allowed to keep his job as the head of a children’s home, despite the fact that local authority officials knew he had been convicted of a paedophile offence.

The decision by Lambeth Council in south London not to dismiss Michael Carroll after learning about his indecent assault on a 12-year-old boy emerged yesterday as he pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court to 35 charges of child sex abuse over 20 years.

The council found out about Carroll’s conviction in l986 when he was running a children’s home in the borough, and issued him with a written warning. He was dismissed five years later after an investigation into financial irregularities.

Heather Rabbatts, Lambeth’s chief executive, admitted last night that the decision not to sack Carroll was a “serious error” which would not happen under today’s regulations. “Knowing what we know today about the nature of these offences and the nature of those who commit them, it was a mistake not to have dismissed this man. However, different legislation applied at that time and Carroll was allowed to continue in his post,” she said.

Ms Rabbatts, who was not in charge while Carroll was employed, said restrictions imposed by police and social services inquiries into alleged child abuses meant no further details about his actions as a council employee could be disclosed.

Scotland Yard has amassed a database of 14,500 names of children in the borough’s care between l974 and l995. Lambeth closed all its homes for children in care in l995 in response to concern about abuse.

Yesterday, Carroll, 50, of Oswestry, Shropshire, pleaded guilty to 24 indecent assaults, five cases of buggery and five of attempted buggery, and one act of gross indecency against 12 boys. All the offences took place while he was working in residential care in Merseyside and London between l966-86.

Carroll was originally charged with 76 offences. The Recorder let the remaining indictments lie on file. Sentencing will take place on 30 July.

Carroll, who was born in Liverpool and grew up in care, studied child care and obtained qualifications at Liverpool and Salford universities and the Mabel Fletcher College, Liverpool. He got a job at St Edmund’s Orphanage in Bebington, Merseyside, in the mid-Sixties and in l978 became deputy officer at a children’s home in Lambeth, taking charge in l980.

He was convicted of indecent assault against a 12-year-old in l966 when he was at St Edmund’s Orphanage. He failed to declare this conviction when he took up the post in Lambeth, but it came to light in l986 through police checks when he applied to foster two children from another borough.

Following a written warning, Carroll continued in his post until his dismissal over allegations of financial malpractice in l991. He moved to Chirk, Clwyd, and bought a hotel business. In l997 he came under suspicion during a major investigation into child abuse launched by Merseyside Police. He was arrested shortly afterwards.

Local Government Chronicle, July 15th, 1999

A former Lambeth care home manager has admitted 35 counts of child abuse over 18 years.Michael John Carroll pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court to charges which included buggery of three boys, the youngest aged eight.Nine of the victims lived in a Wirral orphanage where Carroll worked and three lived at a children’s home in Lambeth where he was deputy officer in charge.Lambeth LBC and the Metropolitan Police have launched a joint investigation, called Operation Middleton, into paedophile activity in children’s homes in the borough between 1974 and 1998.Lambeth member and social services and health secretary Julie Brodie said: ‘We are now sadder and wiser about paedophile activities, and the resources and techniques now available to investigators make for a much higher detection rate.’

The Guardian, October 1st, 1999

Guardian 011099 - 'Shocking' lapses by council in abuse case

Local Government Chronicle, October 19th, 1999

Lambeth LBC has resolved not to go ahead with plans to outsource areas of social services involving children after Unison distributed a letter addressed to Heather Rabbatts, the chief executive, to Labour members.The South London Press (p10) reported that the Labour-run council had planned to externalise the fostering and adoption section of the social services department. But after a party group meeting, it was resolved not to go ahead with the plan.In the letter to Ms Rabbatts, Lambeth branch secretary Jon Rogers says: ‘Unison is concerned that the council may be on the brink of hasty and ill-advised action in relation to the current concerns about child protection work in Lambeth.’He continues: ‘We have expressed our concerns about the current circumstances in which our members are striving to protect children and young people directly to investigators from ‘Chile’ – the child team [part of Operation Middleton, the police and social services joint investigation probing possible paedophile activity in Lambeth’s children’s homes during the 1970s, 80s and 90s.]’Unison is unhappy at the way staff are being probed by Chile. Mr Rogers says: ‘We want, as a trade union, to be able to encourage our members to provide the fullest support in any investigation into the possibility of abuse of children and young people for whom the council has had a responsibility.’Our ability to do this and the confidence of our members in the investigation is hindered if there is any room for a perception that the investigators are being used to pursue selective investigation of particular issues in order to justify existing decisions to suspend particular employees.’We are obliged to tell you that there is, at present, considerable room for such a perception, snd that is quite widely held.’

Daily Mail, February 18th, 2000

Daily Mail 180200a - Even Worse

Daily Mail 180200b - Even Worse

Justin Davenport, ’40 hunted in Lambeth paedophile gang probe’
The Evening Standard, February 18th, 2000

DETECTIVES investigating a paedophile ring which operated in Lambeth children’s homes over a 20-year period are focusing on around 40 key suspects who have yet to be traced.

The inquiry into the Lambeth homes was launched more than a year ago after a former care worker in the borough was jailed for 10 years for abusing 12 boys.
The social worker, who cannot be named for legal reasons, carried out a string of child sex attacks over two decades while working in residential care in Merseyside and London between 1966-86.

Today police renewed appeals for former residents of the children’s homes to contact them in an effort to trace suspects at the centre of the abuse scandal.

Detectives fear many could still be working in the care system. The move comes as the Department of Health said that all 28 missing suspects from the North Wales child abuse scandal had been tracked down. One was found to be still working with children in Stoke-on-Trent and she had been suspended.

Officers involved in the Lambeth investigation, codenamed Operation Middleton, are liaising with colleagues in north Wales and Merseyside and believe the jailed social worker was a member of a network of paedophiles nationwide.

Around 11,000 children were cared for in Lambeth homes during the period of the investigation between 1974 and 1995 but police say the number of victims is expected to be far less than that.

Detective Superintendent Richard Gargini said: “The scale of the problem is not yet known. We are still trying to find out where these people are. We are trying to trace offenders because clearly there is a community safety aspect.”

The investigation was originally triggered by claims that a young boy was raped at the Angell Road children’s home in Brixton by residential worker Steve Forrest, who died in 1992 from an Aids-related illness. Angell Road and other homes in the area have since been closed as part of a campaign to place children in private and voluntary care homes as well as with foster parents.

Stewart Tendler, ‘Lambeth child abuse victims ‘may total 200”
The Times, February 19th, 2000

POLICE believe that 200 children may have been sexually and physically abused by staff working for a South London borough, senior officers disclosed yesterday.

As detectives continue the hunt for suspects, Scotland Yard said that children as young as nine were subjected to rape, buggery and physical attack in allegations dating back to the 1970s and possibly earlier.

The alleged abusers included foster parents and potential adoptive parents.

The investigation began after Merseyside Police arrested a former council worker last year. New publicity on the investigation this week, in the wake of the Waterhouse Report on child abuse in North Wales, has prompted five more victims to contact investigators. Codenamed Operation Middleton, the inquiry centres on Lambeth council’s social services department and has led to seven arrests and the suspension of ten staff employed by the borough.

The suspects were aged between 20 and 40 at the time of the allegations. Those arrested are two women and five men, one of whom is still on the council’s staff.

Yesterday Detective Superintendent Richard Gargini, heading the 14-month inquiry, said that police were still trying to trace suspects. Warnings have been circulated to councils, schools and charities across Britain and Mr Gargini said that none was now working with children.

Police denied reports that they are investigating an extensive network of 100 paedophiles, but Mr Gargini said some of the suspects worked at the same homes, knew each other from training courses, or may have provided references.

The allegations cover a period between 1974 and 1994 in more than 20 homes run by Lambeth. Police say that the council dealt with 7,003 children in care during that time.

During those 20 years, it employed 1,400 staff in childcare programmes. A team of 31 investigators and council officers have scrutinised their careers and the allegations.

Police say that some of the claims may be too old to be verified, and that allegations made by children who were then aged nine are more difficult to substantiate.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Hugh Orde yesterday put the number of likely victims at 200.

Lambeth closed its homes in the mid-1990s after concerns over the treatment of children began to emerge.

Yesterday Helen Kenwood, an independent childcare expert advising the council and the investigating team, said that some victims wanted to forget their experiences. If, however, they needed support, the council would provide it.

Jason Bennetto, ‘Paedophile network abused 200 children’
The Independent, February 19th, 2000

MORE THAN 200 children are believed to have been abused by a network of paedophiles in London care homes.

Seven people have been arrested and 11 council workers suspended in the on-going police inquiry covering 20 years of sexual and physical abuse.

Scotland Yard is still trying to trace suspected paedophiles who worked in up to 25 children’s homes in the south London borough of Lambeth.

The inquiry, codenamed Operation Middleton, was set up last year after a former care worker in Lambeth was jailed at Liverpool Crown Court for abusing 12 boys. He admitted 35 offences both on Merseyside and in Lambeth. The London-based inquiry focused initially on Lambeth children’s homes, but has since expanded to local authorities nationwide.

The investigation is examining alleged abuse in Lambeth homes from 1974 to 1994.

So far the team has traced about 200 children who have claimed they were abused, including allegations of rape, buggery, and physical assault. The youngest victims were only nine at the time of the alleged assaults, which are said to have taken place from the 60s to the late 80s. In the past 24 hours another five victims have contacted the police.

Scotland Yard disclosed yesterday that they were still seeking the whereabouts of dozens of former care workers.

About 1,400 people worked at the children’s homes in Lambeth – which were all closed down by 1995 – but police are concentrating on tracing the alleged abusers named by the victims. About 7,000 children stayed at Lambeth’s homes during the relevant period.

So far police have arrested five men and two women during the 14-month inquiry. Eleven employees of Lambeth council have been suspended and face disciplinary charges for a range of offences including mismanagement.

A small number of people accused of child abuse have been found working in local authorities outside Lambeth, and have now been suspended.

Links have also been discovered between several of the key suspects. They were found to have worked together in the same homes, given each other references and carried out training courses together.

Detective Superintendent Richard Gargini, who is leading Operation Middleton, said: “There appears to be some linkage between people who were operating in the care system between 1974 and 1994.”

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Hugh Orde, of the Metropolitan Police, said he estimated the number of likely victims to be about 200, although more were being identified all the time.

Because the alleged abuse took place so long ago it has been difficult to obtain enough evidence to bring charges. “It ends up with almost word against word,” he said.

All the victims have been offered counselling. Anyone with information about the case should contact the police on 0171 926 3050

Two key workers at a children’s home were sentenced yesterday to a total of 23 years in prison for a string of sexual assaults on boys in their care.

Former Deputy Principal Barrie Alden, 66, from Norwich, and ex-house master John Wright, 56, from Talgarth, Powys, were sentenced at Newport Crown Court. Alden and Wright committed the offences on a total of eight boys at the Ty Mawr residential home, near Abergavenny, South Wales, from the 1960s to the 1980s.

The Guardian, February 28th, 2000

Guardian 280200 - West country police launch massive child abuse inquiry

Local Government Chronicle, May 11th, 2000

Lambeth LBC’s £1.25m search for victims of abuse in its children’s homes is driving away the very people it wants to help, a former care worker claims.Staff members running Operation Middleton are insisting victims give their names and addresses, a move which is discouraging victims from coming forward.So far 200 former children in care have made contact out of the 14,500 who passed through Lambeth’s hands from 1974. Twelve victims have asked for counselling.Lambeth closed the last of its 35 children’s homes in 1994. So far the probe has resulted in seven arrests, one imprisonment and nine staff suspensions.Lambeth’s interim chief executive, Heather Duquesne, told community leaders last week: ‘The 1999 Barratt report on our social services department identified incompetence of the grossest kind. We know children in our homes suffered both sexual abuse and beatings.

We are willing to do anything which a responsible authority would wish to do.’Critics told her 200 was only a fraction of the children involved. A former care worker who did not want to be identified told Ms Duquesne: ‘I am in touch with 40 young people who have complained of their treatment while in Lambeth’s care. They were all very unhappy at being made to give their names. They know how cunning care workers who abuse children are. These children are afraid of reprisals.’

Saba Salman, ‘Lambeth failed to carry out child abuse checks’
The Evening Standard, July 14th, 2000

A LONDON council in the midst of a child-abuse scandal has failed to carry out obligatory police checks on up to 4,000 key staff directly involved in the welfare of children.

Of the 5,000 Category A employees who have frequent contact with youngsters from teachers and playground staff to youth workers and janitors – around 4,000 have not undergone the checks councils are supposed to ask police to conduct to root out those with prior convictions.

And as recently as April, only 149 of 275 social services staff, the majority of them social workers, had been checked although police have now vetted them all.

The checking failure is despite the fact that Labour-run Lambeth is at the centre of Operation Middleton – a nationwide investigation centering on a paedophile ring which operated in the area’s children’s homes over a 20-year period.

The operation was launched more than a year ago after a former Lambeth care worker was jailed for 10 years for abusing 12 boys. The social worker carried out a string of child sex attacks over two decades while working in residential care in Merseyside and London between 1966-86 and police believe the jailed social worker was a member of a national network of abusers.

The investigation was sparked after claims that a boy was abused at the Angell Road children’s home in Brixton by residential worker Steve Forrest, who died in 1992 from an Aids-related illness. Later it emerged that allegations about Angell Road came to light in 1996, but Lambeth officers did not tell the victim for more than two years that his attacker had died of Aids.

An internal audit by the council’s human resources department showed there was no record of police checks for a large proportion of child welfare staff including those directly employed by the borough as well as those working for various contractors.

A Lambeth spokesman said part of the problem was that previous administrations failed to carry out checks and that, in most cases, they had been done, but errors meant this had had not shown up on staff records.

Council leader Tom Franklin has officers a month to tell him how long it will take for all staff to be checked.

Saba Salman, ‘Council allowed criminals to care for foster children’
The Evening Standard, October 24th, 2000

HUNDREDS of children were placed in unsuitable foster homes in south London because officials failed for years to order police checks on convicted criminals.

The welfare of the children was at risk because Lambeth council did not carry out the checks, according to a damning inquiry by independent investigator John Barratt.

The disclosure is likely to lead to compensation demands from those who were fostered by the council.

Inefficiency, departmental disorder and general inaction meant children were placed in the homes of people convicted for offences such as domestic violence, assault and drug use, said Mr Barratt.

Mr Barratt describes the “terrible indictment” of children’s services and concludes: “The council has repeatedly failed to fulfil both its statutory duties and its own policies relating to the care and protection of children.”

He added that the “chain of command linking departmental action to the council has decayed and disintegrated”. Mr Barratt pointed to other mistakes over the last decade, including decision-making that was “clogged” by excessive paperwork; social services records which proved “impossible to find”; and a reluctance to whistle-blow for fear of seeming disloyal or – in the case of white staff reporting on the activities of black staff – racist.

Labour-run Lambeth is also at the centre of Operation Middleton – a nationwide investigation of a suspected paedophile ring which operated in children’s homes over a 20-year period.

The operation was launched more than a year ago after a former Lambeth care worker was jailed for 10 years for abusing 12 boys.

He carried out child sex attacks over two decades while working in residential care in Merseyside and London between 1966 and 1986.

Police believe he was a member of a national network of abuse.

Operation Middleton was sparked by claims that a boy was abused at the Angell Road care home in Brixton by worker Steve Forrest, who died in 1992 from an Aids-related illness.

It emerged later that the allegations about the abuse began in 1996, but Lambeth did not tell the victim for more than two years that his attacker had died of an Aids-related illness.

In a previous report last year on the Angell Road scandal which he was also asked by Lambeth to investigate, Mr Barratt described a “shocking catalogue of organisational incompetence”.

In his second report he is critical of former executive director of social services Celia Pyke-Lees, who has since left to become chief executive of the Citizens Advice Bureau, and former assistant director of children and families, Pennie Pennie, who is contesting her dismissal from the council.

After reassessment, the council’s foster carers have fallen from 244 in 1997 to 130 today. The report does not reveal how many of the 114 sacked foster carers had convictions. An independent consultant is reassessing the remaining carers.

Saba Salman, ‘Care services in Lambeth putting children at risk’
The Evening Standard, November 1st, 2000

CONFUSION among care experts and staff shortages have put the welfare of vulnerable children in south London at risk, a damning Government report has ruled.

According to the Social Services Inspectorate, children in the care of Lambeth social services are: left on the child protection register for long periods of time; not allocated social workers; and do not have their cases reviewed regularly.

The inspectorate finds the children and families department of the Labour-run council “struggling under considerable and relentless pressure”.

The report adds: “In many areas, basic work systems were functioning poorly or had collapsed. This led to inefficient, fragmented and inconsistent work practices.”

Government inspectors recommend: urgent action to recruit staff; all children on the child protection register having detailed, up-to-date assessments of their needs; and a review of children who have been on the register for a long time.

Lisa Christensen, who was appointed last year as Lambeth’s social services director and charged with the task of solving the department’s problems, says the council had expected the strong criticism.

Ms Christensen says: “Leadership has been lacking and managerial decision-making underdeveloped. Staff have been inadequately supervised, legal duties ignored and social work staff left to work in isolation.”

The borough’s social services department is being monitored closely by the Government, which last year put on “special measures” because of concerns over child care. The Evening Standard reported recently how hundreds of children were placed in unsuitable foster homes in south London because officials failed for years to order police checks on convicted criminals.

According to a damning inquiry by independent investigator John Barratt, the welfare of the children was at risk because Lambeth council did not carry out the checks.

Inefficiency, departmental disorder and general inaction meant children were placed in the homes of people convicted for offences such as domestic violence, assault and drug use, said Mr Barratt.

Labour-run Lambeth is also at the centre of Operation Middleton – a nationwide investigation of a suspected paedophile ring that operated in children’s homes over a 20-year period.

The operation was launched more than a year ago after a former Lambeth care worker was jailed for abusing 12 boys.

Philip Nettleton, ’23 years on, paedophile is jailed for attacks on care boys’
The Evening Standard, April 11th, 2001

A 63-YEAR-OLD paedophile was jailed for 10 years today for a series of sex attacks on boys at south London care homes.

Swimming instructor William Hook was convicted of abusing six boys during his reign of terror between 1972 and 1978.

Four of his victims were residents at Shirley Oaks children’s home and one was at Beecholme in Banstead, in the care of Westminster council.

Another victim was abused over an 18-month period in Norfolk.

Sentencing him at Kingston Crown Court, Judge Kenneth MacRae said: “This is a sordid tale of depravity, self-gratification and corruption.

You robbed children of their innocence, embarking on classic grooming techniques.

“Your victims have had to live with their memories of what you did to them for every one of those days that has passed. One can only hope they can begin to repair their shattered lives.”

Hook, of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, was charged after several victims named him more than 20 years after his attacks. He admitted 26 offences.

Operation Middleton, a joint police and council investigation, has uncovered 200 victims.

Scotland Yard fears there were hundreds of others, who are now adults, and wants to hear from them.

Hook also taught at West Wickham swimming pool in the mid-Sixties and visited the Hollies children’s home in Sidcup and a similar home in Hornchurch, Essex.

Daily Mail, April 12th, 2001

Daily Mail 120401 - Swim teacher jailed

Ian Cobain, ‘Paedophile jailed for ten years may have abused hundreds’
The Times, 12th April 2001

A swimming instructor jailed for ten years for abusing boys may have preyed on hundreds of children, police said.

William Hook, 63, was the first person to be prosecuted after a police and local authority investigation into care homes in London and the South East.

He was jailed at Kingston Crown Court yesterday after admitting 26 charges of serious sexual assault and indecency against six boys, four of whom have since attempted suicide. Detective Superintendent Andy Kay, who has been overseeing the investigation, said after the case that Hook came into contact with hundreds of young boys in care. “We are quite certain there are other victims out there.”

Judge Kenneth MacRae told Hook: “This is a sordid tale of depravity, self-gratification and corruption. You robbed children of their innocence, embarking upon classic grooming techniques. You bought their affection or made them reliant or submissive to you.”

Hook hung his head as the judge added: “One can only hope your victims can now begin to repair their shattered lives.”

Detectives are investigating the sexual abuse of up to 200 children at care homes in South London between 1974 and 1994. Officials from Lambeth Council in South London are helping.

Hook was arrested after the sister of one of his victims contacted police after reading about the inquiry, and detectives eventually found several boys who had been abused in the 1970s by a tattooed hunchback whom they knew as “Mr Mark”. This man was identified as Mark Peter Merchell, who had worked as a swimming instructor at Shirley Oaks Children’s Home, Shirley, Surrey, where Lambeth and neighbouring Southwark accommodated boys in council care.

Merchell’s real name was found to be Anthony Wenzel Petermichl. Police tracked him down through the Swimming Teachers Association, which had issued certificates to some of the boys, and by the time he was arrested in December 1999 he had moved to Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, and changed his name again, to William Alfred Hook.

Detectives found a cupboard in his home that had been converted into a “shrine” to children, with an altar and photographs of boys and girls.

Helen Kenward, consultant social worker with the investigation team, said: “All his victims were extremely intelligent. That was the profile he chose. They have been left with terrible after-effects. Some have turned to drugs, some have resorted to alcoholism and some have had difficulties in forming relationships.”
Miss Sally O’Neill, for the prosecution, told the court that Hook showered his victims with gifts, including bicycles, diving watches and cassette players, before abusing them.

The boys said that Hook insisted that the young swimmers he coached took their lessons without wearing swimming trunks. Miss O’Neill said that Hook selected favourites, offering them “special coaching” after other boys had left the pool, which was next to the children’s home.

Superintendent Kay said that Hook would have been in contact with children as young as two in the nurseries of the care homes. He said that the investigation into abuse of children in London care homes was continuing, and that there are inquiries into children’s homes in Southwark and in Tower Hamlets in East London.

In all 13 full-time detectives are working on the team, and 11 people – nine men and two women – have been arrested. Two men are on police bail, and further arrests are expected. The director of social services for Lambeth said yesterday that the same horrors could happen again.

Speaking after Mr Hook was jailed, Lisa Christenson said: “I cannot promise this will never happen again. But children in care must be a primary focus of any council. The council let down those children very badly but we are talking about events 23 years ago. My job is to make sure this never happens again.”

‘Paedophile gets 10 years for offences 23 years ago’
Western Mail, April 12th, 2001

A PAEDOPHILE was jailed for 10 years yesterday after a police investigation into the sexual abuse of 200 children at care homes.

Former soldier William Hook, 63, from Great Yarmouth, was said to have picked on vulnerable youngsters whom he lured with gifts while working as a swimming instructor in south London care homes between 1970 and 1978.

He was sentenced at Kingston Crown Court after earlier pleading guilty to 26 charges of sexual abuse on boys aged between 10 and 16.

The court was told that Hook, who worked as a swimming instructor at four south London homes, had spun a web of fantasy to attract his victims, telling one that he would be mutilated and sold as a white sex slave to the Arabs if he did not succumb to his sexual desires.

Four of his victims had since attempted suicide.

When Hook was arrested two years ago at an address in Great Yarmouth police found a cupboard which had been turned into a purpose-built shrine to boys.

He was arrested during Operation Middleton, a joint investigation by the Metropolitan Police Service and Lambeth Council into sexual and physical abuse in south London between 1974 and 1994.

Scotland Yard said that since the investigation started two and a half years ago 200 alleged victims had come forward.

Hook pleaded guilty to 26 charges of sexual abuse on six children between 1970 and 1978.

Sentencing Hook, Judge Kenneth MacCray said, “This is a sordid tale of depravity, self-gratification and corruption. It said that 23 years have passed and you have not reoffended in that period, but your victims have had to live with their memories of what you did to them most probably for every day that has passed. One can only hope that now they can begin to repair their shattered lives.”

‘Care home sex abuser jailed – Paedophile swimming instructor gets 10 year jail sentence’
UK Newsquest Regional Press – This is Local London, April 18th, 2001

April 18, 2001 8:45: A 63-year-old man was jailed for 10 years this week for sexually abusing young boys while employed by Lambeth Social Services.

William Alfred Hook from Great Yarmouth pleaded guilty to 26 charges including indecent assault and buggery at Kingston Crown Court on Wednesday last week.

The offences involved six children at several care homes, including four children sent by Lambeth Council to Shirley Oaks Childrens Home in Croydon. The offences took place between 1968 and 1975.

The court heard Hook worked as a swimming instructor at the homes where he befriended his victims who were all aged between 10 and 13.

Hook made the boys swim naked and insisted they kept the cubicle doors open while changing.

He then singled them out for what he described as special treatment.

The convictions were brought about as a result of Operation Middleton. This was a joint investigation by the Metropolitan Police and Lambeth Council into allegations of physical and sexual abuse in childrens homes in south London between 1974-1994.

Det Supt Andy Kay from Operation Middleton appealed to other victims of abuse to come forward. He said after the verdict: We are quite certain there are other victims out there and I would appeal to them to come forward.

Whatever the circumstances please make contact with the police so we can bring those who have abused the children placed in their care to justice.

Hook was eventually caught last year when the sister of one of his victims heard about Operation Middleton and urged her brother to come forward.

Police arrested Hook at his home in Great Yarmouth where they found a purpose-built cupboard described by prosecutor, Ms ONeill, as a secret shrine to his obsession with young boys.

Speaking in Hooks defence, Karim Khalil said his client was traumatised by his parents divorce as a child.

Though academically bright, winning a scholarship before joining the navy, he was bullied because of his homosexuality.

Mr Khalil said: His early experience led to him being isolated. He was different which was apparent to those around him and was pilloried for it.

He added Hooks cupboard was a hiding place to escape the temptation to abuse.
However Judge MacCrae said: This is a sordid tale of depravity. You have robbed these children of their innocence. You bought their affection or made them fearful, then abused them.

Over 20 years have passed but your victims have to live with what you did everyday.

Detectives from the Operation Middleton team are convinced Hook abused other victims, and are currently working with officials from Lambeth Council to investigate further.

Lisa Christiansen from Lambeth Council Social Services which was responsible for providing care for the victims also praised the result.

She said: We are pleased that justice has been carried out on behalf of the victims of Hook. We will continue to offer support to anyone who was a victim of abuse in Lambeths childrens homes in the past and we are committed to continuing our drive for improvements in the way we look after children in our care now. Above all we want our children to be safe.

Reports on Operation Middleton

Lambeth Independent Child Protection Inquiry 1999 Part 1
Lambeth Independent Child Protection Inquiry 1999 Part 2
Lambeth Independent Child Protection Inquiry 1999 Part 3

Operation Middleton 4th and final report (October 13th, 2003)

More information can be read at this blog

‘Were Islington and Lambeth paedophile rings connected?’, Spotlight, March 23rd, 2013

Throughout the 80s and early 90s, both Islington and Lambeth borough councils ran children’s homes that had been infiltrated by paedophiles.

Islington had paedophiles, pimps, or child pornographers in all 11 of its homes. Lambeth had a paedophile ring operating in up to 25 of its homes, and over 200 children were believed to have been victims of sexual abuse.

Both councils were Labour-controlled, Islington was led by Margaret Hodge, Lambeth by Ted Knight. The two London boroughs were also in close proximity, their borders being just a couple of miles apart.

London boroughs

Given the similarities between the two boroughs, it’s unbelievable that the police didn’t look for connections between the paedophile rings operating in Islington and Lambeth.

Islington council destroyed hundreds of files that could have provided links to child abuse in other children’s homes across the UK.

I was already aware of an Islington social worker called Abraham Jacob who was jailed in 1986 for his part in a paedophile ring centred at Piccadilly Circus. I’ve just found out that before working at Islington, Jacob was employed by Lambeth council in its Battersea children’s home.

Abraham Jacob

Abraham Jacob

Some may put this down to a coincidence. Another ‘coincidence’ is that one of the convicted abusers at Lambeth, Michael John Carroll, bought a hotel in Chirk on his release from prison. Chirk is just outside Wrexham, the location of one of the most notorious children’s home paedophile rings.

‘Update on the Lambeth Police Station ‘Sex Chamber’’, Spotlight, August 18th, 2013

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) have responded to a Freedom of Information request about the Lambeth Police Station ‘sex chamber’, first reported in a November 1997 article in the South London Press, and shared on Spotlight earlier this year. Original article

The FOI doesn’t provide much new information but confirms the accuracy of the South London Press story, i.e. there was a chamber (‘a small space’) underneath Lambeth Police Station , ‘certain items’ were found, and this prompted an investigation by Scotland Yard’s Criminal Investigations Bureau.

Logged on 11 Nov 1997:

“IF ASKED: Approx two weeks ago, a CIB investigation began after certain
items were found in a small space at an MPS building in Lambeth.

The building is mainly used by civil support staff.

There is no suggestion that police officers are involved in this matter,
or that anyone was taken there under duress.

There is no evidence that any sexual activity actually took place at the

IF ASKED: Can confirm there are no police officers involved.”

Logged on 14th Nov 1997:

“IF ASKED: There have been no suspensions icw this enquiry.

IF ASKED: There are no police officers based at Lambeth. The building is
entirely a base for civil staff departments.”

Please note that the abbreviation ‘icw’ means ‘in connection with’.

The searches at the DPS and Records Management Branch failed to locate
information relevant to your request. Please note that, owing to the time
that has elapsed since the investigation into this incident, any files
relevant to this case would have been destroyed in accordance with the MPS
disposal schedule. Disciplinary investigation files are destroyed 6 years
after the conclusion of the investigation.

The same person has now made another FOI request asking what items were found, and for details of the internal investigation.

Earlier this year the Mirror reported that the Metropolitan Police have reopened their investigation into a paedophile ring that operated in Lambeth Council children’s homes. DCI Clive Driscoll was removed from the original investigation and placed on a disciplinary after superiors learned that politicians, including an MP, were among the suspects. Full article

Five months on and there haven’t been any updates on the investigation.


Daily Star, January 17th, 2003

Daily Star 170103 - 7 big names face child sex charges

‘Paedophiles beware’
The Herald (United Kingdom), January 18th, 2003

Paedophiles beware: the digital detectives are watching you;Story of the week ;Scene-of-crime teams who once dusted for fingerprints have turned their attention to hard-drives and web servers. Rebecca McQuillan meets the police teams who patrol the internet.

ONCE, not very long ago, child abusers thought that in the internet they had found a secret island where normal laws did not apply. A paedophile just home from work could drop his briefcase and walk up the stairs to his computer, past the muffled sound of cartoons through the lounge door, secure in the knowledge that even someone passing within feet of his bedroom door would never know he was consuming child pornography.Not any more. Paedophilestreading the dingy alleyways of cyberspace have started looking over their shoulders. Officers involved with the Operation Ore internet child pornography inquiry, the biggest British investigation of its kind, are investigating more than 7200 British suspects who visited a pay-per-view website peddling child pornography. Among them are a deputy prison governor, a civil servant at the London Assembly, several police officers, and The Who guitarist Pete Townshend, who has strongly protested his innocence. Whatever the final outcome of these investigations, Operation Ore has put one thing beyond doubt: that the mean streets and cyber byways of the worldwide web are now part of a police officer’s regular beat. Those who thought they could be anonymous on the internet have found they were very, very wrong.

Today, police computer crime officers can mount an operation from a quiet corner of an internet chatroom as if from a car parked outside a suspect’s house. The technology may be different but the methods are familiar.

Scene-of-crime teams who once dusted furniture for fingerprints have turned their attention to hard drives and web servers, where even the most experienced criminal leaves electronic fingerprints. With the correct software and expertise, police examining a suspect’s hard drive can piece together that person’s online transactions, including the websites they have visited, even where that information has been deliberately deleted.

Drop the hard disc in a bath of acid and police may still be able to track a criminal by information from internet service providers. The

electronic prairieland where once surfers roamed in relative freedom, secure in the knowledge no-one was watching, is now no longer beyond the reach of the law. The wild web may not have been won yet but the fight is on.

One man whose job it is to stalk the net paedophile is Detective Sergeant Charlie Cairns, of Strathclyde Police’s computer crime unit. His team, which works in association with the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (Scotland), set up in April, has three officers and three civilian technicians, and dealt

last year with more than 200 internet crimes, 65 of them related to paedophilia.

While crime in this area is on the increase, it has one useful characteristic: the evidence. ”There is almost always a trail with internet crime; it’s easier than other crimes in that respect,” says DS Cairns.

”You leave footprints all over the place on the internet,” says Colin Rose, of the Glasgow-based cybersecurity company, Iomart. ”People say no-one knows you on the internet, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.

”When you view a page, it’s like saying, can you send me a brochure? The sender has got to know where to send the information and what they have sent.”

Paedophiles kerb-crawling on the information superhighway may believe they are being lost in the throng of traffic but, to those who know what to look for, they are often not hard to spot.

One group which patrols the internet for offensive content is the Internet Watch Foundation, an independent group set up in agreement between the government, the police, and UK internet service providers. Members of the public who have accidentally entered sites with offensive content or newsgroups harbouring suspected paedophiles can tip off the IWF. Where there is suspicion of criminal activity, the police are informed and the internet service provider will be asked to shut the site down.

Credit card details sank those individuals now being investigated under Operation Ore. The numbers were unscrambled by FBI officers who had subpoenaed financial details of people visiting a child-porn website. In addition, the

hi-tech crime unit can gather intelligence proactively. Members of the public may also tip off the police about particular individuals.

Flipping back into realspace, the next step is to obtain a warrant from a sheriff and confiscate the computer, which is then examined by digital evidence recovery officers, the forensics officers for the digital age. The computer hard drive, in cyber terms, is the scene of the crime and, as with any other crime site, it must be carefully preserved in order to extract incriminating evidence.

They may not wield the tweezers of traditional forensics experts, but the work of these data recovery officers is as just as delicate and just as devastating.

The data recovery expert with the right specialist software can track the past activities of a paedophile almost as if he had been wearing an electronic tag. Every website a person visits is automatically stored in their browser for a certain period of time. It may then be ”deleted” but, in fact, it is allocated to ”slack” space on the drive, perhaps being fragmented in the process. There it remains.

It may, as the computer continues to be used, get overwritten in much the same way as tapes are recorded over. Nevertheless, fragments will remain, perhaps for months or even years. Using specially designed applications, data recovery experts, either working for private companies or attached to police forces, can retrieve that information even where it has been deliberately overwritten.

”We’re aware of software that can pick up everything you’ve done for five rewrites,” says Frank Glen, the hotline manager of the Internet Watch Foundation. ”If you got on your hard drive and wiped information, the police would be able to get it back.”

Even where copies of individual web pages have degraded, the browsing history, stored separately, will often remain waiting to be plucked from the hard drive like a diary from a desk.

Of course, there is always a danger of entering a website by accident. This, says Frank Glen, is a legitimate concern. But the paedophile who attempts to argue he has accessed pornography by accident could find himself on shaky ground. ”The forensics look at the history of a person’s activity. It could be that two sites out of 100 were accidents, if all you did was look at the front page of a site, whereas if you’ve looked at 100 sites and 98 of them are child-porn sites and you opened five pages on each, then there’s reasonable grounds for suspicion.”

Unlike a traditional crime scene, police also have the advantage of keeping the hard drive in perpetuity. Data recovery experts never work directly on the hard drive but make a copy of it first for investigation.

Obtaining the hard drive is a police priority, according to a spokeswoman for the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit in London. What, though, if the hard drive is not available? Those criminals who feel eyes on the back of their necks while heading through the portal of an illicit site may try to destroy the evidence physically.

That does not mean, however, that the paedophile who hides his computer is safe. Every computer browser has a unique address, an internet protocol, which can identify the user, and a website logs that address every time a person visits. Internet service providers, who work closely with the police, store information for a certain period of time for business purposes. Information that links names to internet protocols can, under Scottish common law, be accessed by police as part of a criminal investigation. Technically, says one data recovery expert, even where information held by an internet service provider has been fragmented and overwritten, it could be retrieved in a similar way as it would be from a personal computer.

So it is difficult for even a clever and technically-minded paedophile to cover his electronic tracks. However, such investigations are costly and time consuming. ”The problem is, do the police actually have the technology? In other words, do they have the resources they ought to have to address this growing problem?” asks Jim Reynolds, an independent consultant in child safety who was head of the paedophile unit at Scotland Yard until 1998. ”I suspect the answer is, not always.”

Pornography on the internet has grown at an alarming rate. Two years ago, Buchanan International, the Scottish security software firm, attempted to map 40 categories of illegal and undesirable activity on the web, from pornography to cyber-terrorism and hacking. It found that 20,000 new hosts for pornography sites were being created daily.

That is a lot of ground for the police to cover, hence the importance of initiatives such as the Internet Watch Foundation, that involves the public in tracking illicit sites.

But track it they will continue to do. The old deception of internet child pornography, that it is a victimless crime, has been swept away. The darkened rooms that form the backdrop for digital images of child porn are often the same darkened rooms where offenders sit, their faces lit only by the light of the screen. Footprints left in cyberspace can lead to those very doors.

‘Child porn arrests ‘too slow’
The Herald and The Sunday Herald (Glasgow, Scotland), January 19th, 2003

OPERATION Ore, the police inquiry which plans to arrest a further 7000 men across the UK, in addition to Who guitarist Pete Townshend, for buying child pornography online is set to end in disaster with many suspects walking free.Detective Chief Inspector Bob McLachlan, former head of Scotland Yard’s paedophile unit, told the Sunday Herald that the lack of urgency in making arrests will lead to suspects destroying evidence of downloading child pornography before they are arrested.The Sunday Herald has also had confirmed by a very senior source in British intelligence that at least one high-profile former Labour Cabinet minister is among Operation Ore suspects. The Sunday Herald has been given the politician’s name but, for legal reasons, can not identify the person. There are still unconfirmed rumours that another senior Labour politician is among the suspects. The intelligence officer said that a ”rolling” Cabinet committee had been set up to work out how to deal with the potentially ruinous fall-out for both Tony Blair and the government if arrests occur. Since the September 2002 Operation Ore arrest of Detective Constable Brian Stevens, a key officer in the inquiry into the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, the public have been aware that wanted suspects had downloaded child pornography from a US website called Landslide.

McLachlan, who was one of the main officers on Operation Ore before his retirement last year, said: ”Sufficient warnings have been given that if people haven’t got rid of their computers then they are either stupid, don’t believe they’ll be arrested or are so obsessive about their collections that they can’t destroy it. As time goes on, the chances of successful prosecutions will diminish with speed as the information out there must impact on the offenders.”

With only 1200 men arrested so far, McLachlan says that claims by police chiefs and the government that they were prioritising paedophile crime were ”smoke and mirrors”. Paedophilia is still not a priority on the Home Office’s National Policing Plan for 2003-06. McLachlan claimed that before he left Scotland Yard his team were under-staffed, over-worked, under-funded and reduced to using free software from computer magazines.

There are around one million images of an estimated 20,000 individual children being abused online. Some police seizures involve hauls of more that 180,000 images. Last year, images of 13,000 new children were uncovered. Only 175 child victims have been identified worldwide.

Police have also revealed that images of Fred West abusing one of his children are among child pornography available for downloading from the internet. It is unclear whether the child was West’s murdered daughter Heather.

Peter Robbins, the chief executive of the Internet Watch Foundation, which works with the police, government and internet service providers, in tackling paedophilia online, says software is in development which could remove child pornography from the net forever. The software should be ready in two years.

Police say that the list of rich and famous Operation Ore suspects would fill newspaper front pages for an entire year.

‘Slipping through the net’
The Herald and The Sunday Herald (Glasgow, Scotland, January 19th, 2003

Madeleine was just over three when her mother and father split up. It was the mid-90s and the wealthy French couple decided that Madeleine would spend one weekend a fortnight with her dad.After a few months, the bright, bubbly child started to act strangely. She began wetting the bed, tantrums became routine, she was withdrawn and her mother noticed Madeleine’s development – her language and social skills – almost ground to a halt.Assuming this was the result of the separation, Madeleine’s mother began gently questioning the child – trying to discover if there was something she could do to help.Her questions eventually led to the most shocking of claims from Madeleine. She told her mother she didn’t want to see her dad again. That when she went to his house a man would appear with a camera and big lights would go on. Madeleine said she had to ”do things” with her father, and if they didn’t do them right then the man with the camera would make them do them over and over again until he was happy.
Madeleine’s father’s house was a child pornography studio, and Madeleine was being made to perform in the movies that he and his friends were shooting and selling.

A police investigation followed, but French police in the city where Madeleine and her family lived (the Sunday Herald has been asked not to reveal the exact location) said that they had no proof of abuse. The child was never allowed to see her father alone again, but her mother remained desperate to find out whether these claims were true.

It took until April 2001 for her mother to discover that Madeleine’s picture were among 750,000 distributed within a secret internet ring which was smashed in the now infamous Wonderland case, when police in more than 13 countries swooped on addresses from California to Australia and arrested some 107 men.

Two years later, nobody has been prosecuted for raping and filming Madeleine. French police say the fact that her picture is among the Wonderland files is not enough to secure a conviction against her father.

Madeleine is one of an estimated 20,000 children who are pictured on the internet being raped and abused. Today, Operation Ore has become the biggest police inquiry yet into what police now call ‘abusive images of children’ – the expression ‘child pornography’ has been ditched as officers feel it doesn’t do justice to the severity of the crimes.

Operation Ore has sent Britain spiralling into the grip of the most widespread public hysteria over paedophilia since the murder of Sarah Payne in the summer of 2000. More than 1200 men have been arrested so far for downloading child pornography from the internet, including The Who guitarist Pete Townshend, and 6000 others are still to be questioned. A total of 700 men in Scotland are part of the inquiry. One senior police officer said that if he released the names of the rich and famous on the arrest list on a daily basis, The Sun would be guaranteed a front page every day for the next year. Intelligence sources have also told the Sunday Herald that one very prominent former Labour Cabinet minister is on the arrest list and there is speculation that a second senior Labour politician is involved.

Operation Ore stems from the 1999 arrest of a Texas couple running a website called Landslide. It was a gateway to both adult and child pornography to which subscribers – including the estimated 7200 men in the UK – paid a monthly fee. American federal agents found a list of 35,000 subscribers, which they sent to police forces across the world. Thomas Reedy, who ran Landslide, was given 1335 years in prison and his wife Janice was jailed for 14 years. Images sold via Landslide – which federal agents took over and ran for a short time as a sting operation – included pictures of children from the northwest of England being abused. Most of the child porn producers were based in Russia and Indonesia.

But there are problems with Operation Ore. According to Detective Chief Inspector Bob McLachlan, who recently retired as head of Scotland Yard’s paedophile unit, the biggest concern is that many of the men wanted for questioning may escape prosecution.

McLachlan, who was central to the running of Operation Ore in the UK until his retirement, fears the handling of the case so far could hamstring inquiries. Since the Operation Ore arrest in September 2002 of Detective Constable Brian Stevens, one of the officers who took part in investigating the Soham murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, the public have known every facet of the case: most importantly that anyone who subscribed to Landslide is a suspect. The delay in arresting all the suspects has also given the guilty the chance to destroy any evidence.

As McLachlan says: ”Sufficient warnings have been given that if people haven’t got rid of their computers then they are either stupid, don’t believe they’ll be arrested, or are so obsessive about their collections that they can’t destroy it. As time goes on, the chances of successful prosecutions will diminish.”

McLachlan says he doubts claims by his former boss, the Met’s deputy assistant commissioner Carol Howlett, that the remaining 6000 arrests can be made in nine months – the operation has been running since April last year. He believes lack of resources and manpower means British police are constantly playing catch-up with predatory paedophiles.

”I was constantly looking for new staff,” he says. ”My team was down to 17 people in 1999 and then 15 in 2000 – of those only three were able to do day-to-day work. This demoralises officers and it doesn’t do much for the kids either.”

McLachlan describes claims by the government and police chiefs that they are prioritising paedophile crime as ”smoke and mirrors”, and he worries that Operation Ore will become a ”cock-up”.

”Operation Ore cases are being dished out to Child Protection Teams and they don’t have the training to deal with predatory paedophiles – they deal with children beaten by their parents or sexually abused by their father, which are a totally different thing. Officers are massively under stress and the volume of Operation Ore cases is enormous.”

He questions why Ireland was able to arrest all its Operation Ore suspects in one go, and why Germany was able to pull in more than 1000 men in a day. ”The problem is that nobody owns the operation in the UK,” he says. Once the American authorities passed the details of the alleged offenders to Interpol in Lyon the information was relayed in turn to the National Criminal Intelligence Service. NCIS then divided up the 7000 men into geographical areas and sent ‘intelligence packages’ on them to the police force in their area. By now, however, many may have moved address.

Only three cities – London, Birmingham and Manchester – have dedicated paedophile units. ”The rest of the forces haven’t done this work – they haven’t a clue,” McLachlan adds. He also blames the government for failing to make paedophile crime a priority. The Home Office’s 2003-06 National Policing Plan does not prioritise child protection – instead it focuses on drugs and juvenile crime. McLachlan believes the government thinks issues like these give the ”best press”. It wasn’t until 2000 that paedophilia was listed – at McLachlan’s insistence – as an organised crime in the NCIS annual threat assessment

”The government has set what the priorities are and that has meant internet paedophilia going to the back of the queue,” he says. ”In the future someone will look back at these cases and see that during this delay one of the suspects was abusing kids then paedophilia will eventually become a priority.”

McLachlan says that the solution to this bureaucratic mess is a paedophile unit in every police force in the land. The catalogue of disasters just goes on, however. McLachlan had just two people working in his computer forensic section – a key part of the unit which provides the evidence on whether or not a suspect has accessed child porn.

”The labs are saturated,” he says. ”When I retired in May I had to close down the unit to any more work as I wasn’t being given any more staff and we couldn’t do the work. When I retired we were using software off the front of computer magazines and some staff were buying software out of their own pocket.” Just (pounds) 300,000 had been set aside for forensic examinations of computers.

”The impression has been created that an efficient machine is operating, but it isn’t,” he adds. McLachlan feels Britain isn’t ”pro-active” enough in hunting paedophiles. While FBI agents frequently go on-line posing as paedophiles or set up ‘honey-trap’ websites containing child porn, British police don’t. ”I proposed a sting operation back in 1998 and there just wasn’t the capacity for it,” he says.

Greater Manchester detective inspector Terry Jones is an old friend of McLachlan. They are two of most experienced and respected officers in the field of anti-paedophile policing – last year Jones, who has championed the pro-active hunt for paedophiles on the net, was given the International Long Arm of the Law Award for his work.

Despite the phenomenal success of his Manchester unit, he knows he’s only scratching the surface of paedophile computer crime. With just six officers under his command, he has seen seizures of child pornography jump from 12 images in 1995 to 41,000 in 1999. Since then, however, child pornography has grown at a terrifying rate. In 2001, his officers arrested one man who had 50,000 still images and three gigabytes of movies. This year a suspect was found with around 180,000 images. Arrests have included a teacher, an Olympic athlete, a school caretaker and scout leaders.

One of the benchmarks of Jones’s success is that his team have identified a number of victims – a near impossible task given that the rapes depicted could have happened anywhere on the planet. During Operation Sedan in 1999, images showing the sexual abuse of a four-year-old were circulated on the net. Jones’s team traced the victim to the UK, and the offender was given 12 years for rape.

For two months in 1999, his staff spent 60 hours online monitoring paedophiles and identified 16 suspects – a number of whom are now serving long sentences for rape and indecent assault on children. Jones’s most disturbing case, however, was another pro-active hunt named Operation Appal, in March 2001.

His team found 48 suspects in just 16 hours of monitoring internet chatrooms. ”Disturbingly several of the suspects were found to be under 17 years of age, including a boy of 13,” he said. One adult suspect, a Scout leader, was jailed for nine years for the repeated rape of a nine-year-old child in his care.

Of the abusive images, 80% are recorded in the victim’s home – and some 30-40% of abuse cases are perpetrated by teenage boys under 17, says Jones.

Until the net boomed in the mid-90s most child pornography dated to the period 1969-74, when Denmark legalised all forms of pornography, including child porn. It was then that the Lolita series of magazines by a firm called Rodox was produced. This pornography was the main material in constant circulation until paedophiles began posting pictures and films of their own crimes of abuse as the net took off.

”These abusive images of children were like sunken wrecks filled with dirty oil lying at the bottom of the sea – they were out there but nobody knew they existed,” says Jones. ”Then the net came along and it allowed all this filthy stuff to bubble to surface.”

Since the birth of the net, the number of new images online has spread like a virus. Max Taylor is professor of applied psychology at University College Cork and the director of Combating Paedophile Information Networks in Europe. He works hand-in-glove with senior officers like Terry Jones across the continent in profiling offenders and identifying victims, and has compiled a database of more than 500,000 child pornography images which he uses to support police investigations. Sadly, the database is rapidly expanding.

Last week, intelligence that his Copine team gathered, helped Greater Manchester Police and their counterparts in Thailand arrest a Briton, Robert Errol Wood, on suspicion of abusing young boys and producing child pornography. It’s small but significant successes like these that make the job of the Copine team bearable – nobody could face the daily horror of looking at images of child rape unless the end result was justice in the shape of an arrest.

In August and September last year, Taylor’s team found 35,000 new images – of those 6000 showed children being raped. The images of between 40 and 50 new children who have been abused are being posted online each month – mainly on American and Eastern European sites. Although the Far East is thought to be the epicentre of child pornography, Taylor reserves much of his ire for the US – the world’s biggest child-porn market. ”It’s been said if you nuked America out of existence, you’d nuke abusive images of children out of existence,” he says.

Most of the dreadful images contained on his database aren’t the results of children being snatched off the streets; the terrible banality is that the vast majority are domestically produced – meaning the child is the victim of a relative. Clues contained in the pictures – perhaps a date on a magazine cover or a particular style of furniture – can help men such as Jones and Taylor to locate both the rapist and the child victim.

In 1999, Taylor’s team located the images of around 2500 new children being abused. In 2002, they found the pictures of nearly 13,000 new individual children. Of these, around 25 have been identified in the UK, 50 in Europe and 100 in the US and the rest of the world. Among those identified was one of the children of Fred West, the British serial-killer. Police say the child is shown being abused by West. It is not known whether the child in the image is his daughter Heather, murdered by West. Whatever is contained in those pictures, it is probably the closest to ‘snuff’ that the world has ever seen. But who knows what else is out there?

Bob Long, ‘Inside the paedophile’s web’
The Sunday Times, January 19th, 2003

Bob Long has been following Operation Ore, the international investigation into child porn. He is shocked by an evil in everyday clothing.

Today was a pretty average work day. My alarm went off at 3am. By 4.30 I was in a London police station waiting to be briefed on the pre-dawn raids soon to start in a suburban street. By 5.30 two officers with a battering ram had made light work of the smart front door and detectives had arrested the householder, still in his pyjamas and trying to find his glasses. One minute he had been peacefully asleep with his wife, the next his life was over.

For the past six months I have shadowed Metropolitan police officers on Operation Ore, Britain’s biggest investigation into internet paedophilia which made the headlines last week with the arrest and release on bail of the Who guitarist Pete Townshend.

Operation Ore began in America almost three years ago when a postal inspector from Minnesota unearthed a members-only website run by a Texan couple. It offered access to thousands of child pornography websites for a fee of up to $29.95. Thomas and Janice Reedy were arrested and their computer equipment was seized. Among their records were 300,000 credit card numbers, 7,000 of them from Britain, which were divided up among police forces.

The scale of Ore is daunting. The Met has more than 1,000 names and has spread the work across 40 child protection teams. Officers reckon they have arrested only 10% of the list so far.

Each raid can take five detectives and specialist search teams an entire day, but that is only the start. Carloads of computers, printers, photographic equipment, books, letters, videotapes and computer discs have to be examined. A paedophile is not going to have a tape titled Rape of Six-year-old Girl. The label might say EastEnders and the first 30 minutes will be perfectly innocent, then vile scenes will start to play. Police computer experts will spend hours searching for downloaded images.

It’s the sheer ordinariness of the men that gets you. In one raid on a man who worked at a school, his wife came and offered me a cup of tea. In another, a middle-aged, middle-class couple let us in. While the police searched every nook and cranny, she stared at her husband, wondering who she had been living with for all those years. Suddenly she clutched her chest and rushed out of the room. Then she reappeared looking slightly happier, wearing her pearls – as though clutching at the one bit of normality that remained.These are well-connected people with nice houses and good jobs. Pretty much every profession is represented, including doctors, high-ranking civil servants and police officers, ranging from teenagers to 80-year-olds.

As I learnt over the two years I spent filming The Hunt for Britain’s Paedophiles, child abusers are collectors by nature, which is often their downfall. It may have taken them years to “groom” children to the point where they can abuse them, and they’re not going to miss any opportunity to take pictures.

The documentary followed Operation Doorknock, a two-year investigation into a paedophile ring involving up to 20 men. One had secret cupboards behind skirting boards and a hidden room in his house; another, Julian Levene, had a storage unit stuffed with photographs, letters, tapes, even recorded telephone conversations with children. One letter read: “Dear Julian, thanks for taking me swimming and for fixing my stapler, love Victoria.” One can only imagine the horror that lies beneath those few words.We catch up with these men in two follow-up programmes to be shown later this month. The first series prompted 25,000 calls to the audience helpline. People often ask me how I cope with the images I see. You tune out, you go home, you get up the next morning and get back to work. I have counselling about once a month. I don’t have children, which probably makes it easier.

What I find more difficult to deal with are my feelings towards these men. They will be sacked from their jobs and their friends and families will shun them. Part of you feels sorry for them and you can’t help this. Paedophiles are charming people – they can’t succeed in paedophilia unless children like them. But Levene had abused more than 100 children – so what was I doing feeling sorry for him?

The high-profile names caught up in Operation Ore might be the ones in the headlines but the painstaking work goes on, day in, day out, behind closed doors.

Rebecca Smithers, ‘Staff at public school in child porn inquiry’
The Guardian, January 25th, 2003

Two teachers at Millfield, the Somerset public school, have been suspended after being questioned by the police as part of the nationwide Operation Ore investigation of child pornography.

The two, who have not been named, were interviewed by Somerset and Avon police at the end of last week. The school notified parents of their suspension by letter yesterday.

About two-thirds of pupils at the mixed school are boarders; it is understood that no pupil is involved in the allegations.

Headteacher Peter Johnson said: “Two Millfield school members of staff were interviewed by the police last Friday [January 17] in connection with the possible accessing of child pornography on the internet. They have been suspended pending the completion of the police inquiry. There is no suggestion that these inquiries, which are part of Operation Ore, have anything to do with Millfield school pupils.”

A spokesman for the school said that one of the teachers was relatively new to the school. “The head is understandably very concerned about this, which is why he took the decision to suspend the staff.”

Avon and Somerset police confirmed that a 32-year-old man from Street and a 43-year-old man from Wells had been arrested on suspicion of possessing and making indecent images of children, and been given police bail; computers had been seized and were being examined.

Ministers, MPs and judges are understood to be among others under investigation by Operation Ore. Earlier this month Jonathan Collard, head of geography at Great Walstead, a prep school in West Sussex, resigned after he was questioned.

Robert Winnett and Gareth Walsh, ‘Net closes on child porn suspects’
The Sunday Times, January 26th, 2003

ON page after page the names unfold with numbing regularity in one of the most disturbing social documents of our time: a list of those suspected of paying to see computer images of children engaged in sex.

They are mostly ordinary names at ordinary addresses. Mr X at 74 such-and-such Avenue, Mr Y at 46 so-and-so Drive (they are nearly all men). They live in average homes in suburban roads from Chichester to Aberdeen, from Tiverton to Newcastle upon Tyne.

Outwardly they probably lead respectable lives but behind their front doors, in the solitude of the rooms where they keep their computers, they pay to become voyeurs in a cyber-world of depravity.

This is the list, compiled by investigators at the US Postal Inspection Service, of British people who have paid to access websites displaying graphic images of child abuse and bestiality. There are more than 7,200 of them, but the document runs to 1,000 pages because the entries log details of different user names and the frequency of their visits.

Then, as you scan down the list, names begin to jump out: senior business executives, a television producer, a historian at a top university. A few names are clearly false – used merely for cover – but in most cases, including that of Pete Townshend, the guitarist with the Who who has admitted accessing a child pornography site for research purposes, the names, credit card details and addresses do match. Fictitious “user names” can be used, but paying requires a genuine credit card, which has led police to their true owners.

A famous newspaper columnist is named, along with a song writer for a legendary pop band and a member of another chart-topping 1980s cult pop group. A well known City PR man and a management guru appear, along with an official with the Church of England.

Personnel at military bases are also represented: people logged on to the paedophile sites from Mildenhall, Suffolk, Buchan, near Peterhead, Scotland, Strike Command in High Wycombe, Waddington in Lincolnshire and Leeming in North Yorkshire.

For weeks rumours have circulated that the names of two Labour ministers appear on the list; but, other than obviously false names, none does.

The suspects come from all areas and all sorts of professions – the law, publishing, the civil service and teaching, including two staff members at Millfield, the private school in Somerset, who were recently arrested (after which the school made it clear that the police inquiry had nothing to do with pupils). A large number of entries appear to be merchant bankers, City lawyers, high- flying accountants and company executives.

A geographical analysis of names with addresses suggests that two-thirds are based in London and the southeast. The stockbroker town of Guildford, with a population of 130,000, has 10 people thought to have accessed child porn websites. Reading has 30 suspects, Southampton 15, Milton Keynes 14 and Brighton and Hove 12. The area around Cambridge, with a population of just over 100,000, has 20 people appearing on the list, with several in the small town of St Neots.

All the suspects are said to have used their credit cards to pay a Pounds 21 monthly fee to Landslide Productions, the Texas firm that provided them with links to 300 pay-per-view child pornography websites.

With titles such as Cyber Lolita and Child Rape, the sites were so explicit that they shocked even the most seasoned detectives. An eight-year-old girl and her six-year-old brother, both from Manchester, are among the few youngsters so far identified. A Scotland Yard officer said they had been abused by their stepfather and photographed in sex acts.

The US inquiry began three years ago and investigators face a mountainous task in corroborating the details. Forces across Britain have spent seven months working through the names of those in their area. So far more than 1,200 have been arrested. Hundreds more will be questioned in the next few weeks, their homes and offices searched and their computers seized. Some users accessed the sites only once. But many on the list cannot argue that they did not know what they would be viewing: the records show that some accessed the internet service at least 50 times.

The investigation into the “master list” of 7,272 British suspects, drawn from an estimated 75,000 international subscribers, is known as Operation Ore. Detectives privately admit that in its early stages it was mismanaged and that a shortage of resources led to a huge logjam at police forensic science laboratories, where seized computers are examined.

“It was a shambles,” said one senior Scotland Yard detective. The National Criminal Intelligence Service initially focused on suspects who had most frequently accessed the site. Only later did senior officers realise that they needed to concentrate first on those who posed the greatest threat to children.

Officers then divided the suspects into three groups. The highest priority was given to anyone who had access to children, a previous conviction or who was on the sex offenders’ list. The second category covered those in a position of official authority. The third and largest group covers those who are not regarded as posing a direct risk to children.

Operation Ore has already ensnared the majority of those in categories one and two. They include teachers, barristers, solicitors, university lecturers, hospital consultants, a deputy prison governor, a senior Treasury civil servant and 50 policemen (including two involved in the investigation into the murder of two girls in Soham, Cambridgeshire, last year).

But police have hardly begun approaching those in category three, which contains some 6,000 apparently respectable members of society.

Adam Nathan and David Leppard, ‘City bosses named on child porn list’
The Sunday Times, January 26th, 2003

SOME of the City’s leading businessmen are named on a confidential list compiled in an international police inquiry into internet child pornography.
The list of 7,272 British names has been obtained by The Sunday Times. It includes at least 20 senior executives in pharmaceuticals, stockbroking, manufacturing and retailing, at least seven of whom are thought to be multimillionaires.

They are among those caught by the American authorities using their credit cards to pay for graphic pictures of children as young as six being abused. The 1,000-page list, which was passed to British police last summer, details the names, addresses and the number of subscriptions paid to child porn websites.
Disclosure of the names to The Sunday Times is likely to prompt a major leak inquiry within the British police and other organisations in the UK supplied with the list.

It is also likely to renew concerns over the policing of the internet and the slow pace of the inquiry which has seen fewer than a third of those listed arrested.

Names on the list include:The former chairman of one of the City’s biggest firms of stockbrokers.

A senior director of a well known drinks company. Contacted at home last week, he hung up when asked why his name was on the list.

A millionaire business colleague of one of Britain’s best-known entrepreneurs.

A director of one of the country’s biggest construction companies.

A prominent City PR man who acts as an intermediary between boardrooms, the media and the government. He said last week that police had not visited his home.

A former director of one of the world’s biggest pharmaceuticals companies.A senior partner at a multinational accountancy firm.
A top executive at a large manufacturing company.

The Sunday Times has decided not to identify the businessmen because the police have still not interviewed them or made arrests in most cases.

Others on the list include a senior teacher at an exclusive girls’ public school, services personnel from at least five military bases, GPs, university academics and civil servants. Many are married and respected members of their local communities.

The identities of suspects had been a closely guarded secret. Fewer than 50 of the 2,000 arrested have so far been named in the British inquiry – Operation Ore. The list was generated after an inquiry by the US Postal Inspection Service in 1999 into a pay-per-view child porn website in Texas.

Counterpunch, January 29th, 2003

Alleged Pedophiles Helm Blair’s War Room
Are Pedophiles Running Blair’s War Machine?


A child-sex scandal that threatened to destroy Tony Blair’s government last week has been mysteriously squashed and wiped off the front pages of British newspapers. Operation Ore, the United Kingdom’s most thorough and comprehensive police investigation of crimes against children, seems to have uncovered more than is politically acceptable at the highest reaches of the British elite. In the 19th of January edition of The Sunday Herald, Neil Mackay sensationally reported that senior members of Tony Blair’s government were being investigated for paedophilia and the “enjoyment” of child-sex pornography:

“The Sunday Herald has also had confirmed by a very senior source in British intelligence that at least one high-profile former Labour Cabinet minister is among Operation Ore suspects. The Sunday Herald has been given the politician’s name but, for legal reasons, can not identify the person.

There are still unconfirmed rumours that another senior Labour politician is among the suspects. The intelligence officer said that a ‘rolling’ Cabinet committee had been set up to work out how to deal with the potentially ruinous fall-out for both Tony Blair and the government if arrests occur.”

The allegations are the most serious yet levelled at an administration that prides itself on the inclusion in its ranks of a high quota of controversial and flamboyant homosexual men, and whose First Lady, Cherie Blair, has come under the spotlight for her indulgence in pagan rituals that resemble Freemasonic rites. Unconfirmed information also suggests that the term “former Labour Cabinet minister” is misleading and that the investigation has identified a surprisingly large number of alleged paedophiles at the highest level of British government, including one very senior cabinet minister

The Blair government has responded by imposing a comprehensive blackout on the story, effectively removing it from the domain of public discussion. Attempts on the part of this journalist to establish why the British media has not followed up on the revelations have met with a wall of silence. Editors and journalists of The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, The Sunday Times, The Observer, The Sunday Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Daily Express, The Mirror, The Sun, the BBC, Independent Television News and even The Sunday Herald have refused to discuss the matter.

Speaking from London, freelance journalist Bob Kearley told me:

“Whether or not a D-Notice has been issued is not clear. But based on some of the feedback I’ve been getting it’s apparent that editors and media owners have voluntarily agreed not to cover the story at this time. Operation Ore is still being reported, but not in regard to government ministers, and it’s taking up very few column inches on the third or fourth page. Don’t forget that the intelligence services are involved here, and Blair is anxious to ensure that the scandal does not rock the boat at a time when the country is about to go to war.”

“You can imagine the effect this would have on the morale of troops who are about to commit in Iraq. In fact morale is reportedly quite low anyway, with service personnel throwing their vaccines into the sea en route to the battlefront and knowing how unpopular the war is with the British people. And a lot of squaddies I’ve met think there’s something weird going on between Bush and Blair. If you’re then told that the executive responsible for the conduct of the war is staffed by child-molesters … well, then Saddam suddenly looks like the sort of bloke with whom you can share a few tins [beer].”

Dominic Herbert, ‘Student ‘surfed for porn using XXXX’s name’’
News of the World, 2nd February 2003

A WELSH student has been quizzed by cops for allegedly surfing child porn sites using the name of former Cabinet minister XXXXX XXXXXX.

He has been targeted as part of the Operation Ore probe into more than 7,000 British users of a sick internet portal in America.

And before moving in on him, cops had to carry out a top-level secret inquiry to make sure Mr XXXXX was not involved.

Police working their way through a suspects list supplied by the FBI were stunned to find the former Trade Secretary’s name.

Several high-profile figures, including rock legend Pete Townshend, had already become embroiled in the investigation.

But police found that Mr XXXXX’s name had only been given when a site called Real Lolita was entered. There was a different name on the credit card used to access pictures of sex abuse involving children as young as six.

They raided the student’s home in west Wales and took away his computer for examination. So far nothing has been found.

There is no suggestion that the real XXXXX XXXXXXX is involved.

A police source said: “There was an immediate top level and very discreet inquiry carried out when Mr XXXXX’s name came up.

“This is the difficulty of this operation when people use false names.”

A relative of the student said: “There’s no way he did this. What I think has happened is that someone has stolen our credit card details and used them to get on to this site.”

‘5000 may escape Operation Ore dragnet’
The Herald and The Sunday Herald (Glasgow, Scotland), May 8th, 2003

Homes and workplaces across the UK will continue to be raided in connection with Operation Ore.So far, there have been fewer than 2000 arrests out of a total of more than 7200 suspects, including Pete Townshend.

The burden in coping with such numbers is such that up to 5000 may escape prosecution – because they have destroyed evidence, or been subject only to formal warnings, or they have logged on to pornographic websites but not downloaded the pictures.

Examining just one computer can take months, and cost up to (pounds) 2000 a machine, and in reality police are dealing with cases already four years old.

In Scotland, police remain silent on the number of raids and arrests since the names and credit card details of 7272 UK-based subscribers were passed to British police forces last summer. There are more than 700 on the Scottish list, following a US-based ”sting” after the arrest of owners of a pay-per-view child pornography website based in Texas.

Strathclyde is doubling the size of its computer crime unit, albeit from three to seven IT specialists, in the wake of the growing workload.

Two British men were arrested as part of an international crackdown on an internet paedophile network in a series of raids carried out yesterday.

Premises in five countries, including the UK, were searched and 21 people arrested, with some being interviewed in connection with making and distributing indecent images of children.

The men arrested in Britain – a 36-year-old retail manager from Worcestershire and a 51-year-old from Northamptonshire – were being questioned at an undisclosed location.

‘Policing in the round’
Daily Telegraph, 26th August 2003

Two former heads of Scotland Yard’s dedicated anti-paedophile unit have attacked proposals to limit to three years, on health grounds, the amount of time officers serve in the squad.

Bob McLachlan has said this would “put policing of predatory paedophiles back 10 years”. Mike Hames said that to deprive the unit of its most experienced officers would cause it to “wither on the vine”.

If, as Mr Hames seems to believe, the unit will be instantly reduced from 12 officers to three, that certainly is a matter for the gravest concern. But it seems inconceivable – and the Met denies – that this would be the course taken.

Rather, officers chosen to be transferred out would be replaced by experienced officers, extensively trained.

Two things are at issue: the welfare of the officers, and the effectiveness of the police. There is, Mr Hames says, no evidence that routine exposure to images of child sexual abuse psychologically damages officers in the unit. But nor is it likely that decisive evidence will be produced in what is, effectively, a tiny statistical sample.

The presumption that images of torture will at best depress and at worst deprave the average person is, however, reasonable – and it is one of the presumptions underlying the pursuit not only of those who make, but of those who consume, paedophile pornography.

When it comes to the effectiveness of the paedophile squad, we would be unwise to ignore the warnings of two of its former heads. But we should add the caveat that in any large organisation specialists tend to form priesthoods and to resent central control.

Decisions taken about individual units need to be taken against a background of the shifting picture of crime in the country, on the basis of limited resources.

Child abuse in this country is not, despite what the News of the World would have us believe, an epidemic. The internet has, undoubtedly, facilitated a growth in the availability of child pornography. Its chat rooms have provided a new way for paedophiles to seek contact with children (and, in turn, for undercover police officers to intercept them in the process).

But the sexual abuse, torture and murder of children remain, though uniquely horrible, comparatively rare crimes.

However difficult it is to do so in this country and at this time, the problem should be viewed in the round – something which those higher up the chain of command at the Met may be in a better position to do than even such distinguished officers as Messrs McLachlan and Hames.

Community Care, c. 2004

Community Care 2004

Operation Ore, 2004 documentary

Paedophile net: Did Operation Ore change British society?
By Jon Kelly & Tom de Castella
BBC News Magazine, 17th December 2012

It was the UK’s biggest ever computer crime investigation. Thousands of people were accused of downloading images of child abuse – some were found to be innocent. The legacy is controversial. Ten years after the raids began, has Operation Ore really changed the UK?

On a cold, cloudy December day in 2002, Jonathan was about to take his class of children to chapel. His life as he knew it was about to end.

His headmaster appeared at the door and asked him to go with him. “There are two policemen who want to talk to you,” he said.

The school where Jonathan taught geography was an unlikely place for police officers to turn up. A private prep school set in extensive grounds, it offered education to boys and girls from nursery age to 13.

Jonathan had a secret life. Living alone, he didn’t think he would be unmasked. “I’d been trying to be as private and quiet as possible. I had two separate lives.”

His dark side was about to be exposed. The waiting police told him they had found online payment records linking him to child abuse websites.

“I admitted it straight away,” he recalls. “Once the game was up there was no point trying to hide it.”

He was stunned at being exposed. He had heard about paedophiles being arrested but thought he was different. “I thought everything was very personal, all kept in my own mind and computer. It was a devastating shock to see I had been found out.”

That afternoon he watched as a team of officers searched his home, a prefabricated building in a secluded spot in the school grounds. They took away his computer and VHS cassettes to a police van. “I was blank. I remember feeling cold. The front door was open and they were moving stuff in and out.”

He was taken to his local police station, where he was arrested and put in a cell. The news was beginning to sink in. “I thought, ‘My life is at an end, what is the point?'”

Jonathan, 57, recalls being released on bail late that night and taken home by the headmaster: “He was tight-lipped. For him it must’ve been awful.” Over the next few days, he wished he would die.

The teacher’s capture was repeated in different ways thousands of times across the UK during the first decade of the 21st Century. This was Operation Ore.

Details of 7,272 Britons whose credit cards had apparently been used to purchase child abuse images were passed to officers by their counterparts in the US.

The seriousness of the allegations, the fear that children were at risk, and the sheer number of leads put huge pressure on the authorities to act quickly.

What followed was the largest investigation of its kind.

It put under scrutiny the intimate online browsing habits of individuals from all walks of life. The suspects included police officers, doctors, teachers and celebrities.

Household names like rock star Pete Townshend and actor Chris Langham were among those implicated.

Local newspapers, too, began to fill up with reports about normal-looking men who, in the privacy of their own home, were allegedly browsing obscene images of children. In the worst cases, children were shown being raped.

By the time the Ore prosecutions concluded, 1,837 convictions had been secured and 710 cautions handed out, according to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop).

The sheer scale of the operation had tested the police. “In the early days there was a feeling of being overwhelmed,” admits Jim Gamble, former chief executive of Ceop.

The countless headlines these raids generated, experts believe, transformed popular perceptions of what a sex offender looked like and did.

As the reports of court cases proliferated, the public increasingly became familiar with hitherto obscure terms from the world of child protection. The Sentencing Advisory Panel scale, used to categorise indecent images for seriousness according to grades one to five, is now a regular part of newspaper court reports.

The raids coincided with mounting public concern about the amount of sexual material accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

For those behind it, the investigation was a success. It raised awareness of exploitation and led to 154 children being protected from abuse, according to Ceop.

“People thought they could go online and wouldn’t be held to account,” says Gamble. “They believed the internet was a labyrinth that was too difficult for the police.”

Critics, however, raised questions about the police’s handling of the inquiry. Some said potential credit card fraud had not been properly investigated and the reputations of innocent men had been destroyed as a result. Others feared the inquiry had contributed to an atmosphere of moral panic in which paedophiles, or potential paedophiles, lurked in every corner.

What is clear is that Ore helped define Britain’s relationship with the internet at a time when its use in people’s homes was exploding. As recently as March 2003 just 15.3% of people had broadband, according to the Office for National Statistics. By this year, Ofcom put the figure at 76%.

The raw material of Operation Ore came from the US.

In August 1999, dozens of US law enforcement agents raided an office and a house in Fort Worth, Texas. They belonged to Thomas and Janice Reedy.

Thomas Reedy, a nurse turned self-taught computer programmer, had set up an online pornography operation called Landslide Productions. His wife was his book-keeper.

The company provided a portal to about 3,000 sites as well as online payment services. Among those using its systems were a number of third-party sites, typically hosted outside the US, offering images of child abuse.

One site connected with Landslide was called Child Rape. A series of pictures linked to from the site showed fathers having sex with their own children.

A jury found Thomas Reedy guilty of trafficking indecent images of children in January 2000. He was sentenced to 1,335 years in prison – later reduced to 180 on appeal – and Janice Reedy to 14.

In the wake of the raids, US authorities set up an investigation called Operation Avalanche to examine the 35,000 names on Landslide’s database. The Federal Bureau of Investigation then shared the details of subscribers from overseas with law enforcement agencies in the relevant countries.

There was Operation Snowball in Canada, Operation Pecunia in Germany, Operation Amethyst in Ireland and Operation Genesis in Switzerland.

When more than 7,000 names of British suspects were passed to UK authorities, it quickly became apparent that investigating them would be a huge undertaking.

With home internet use expanding, there had been warnings in the media that the internet could be a dangerous place.

There had been a few high-profile convictions for downloading indecent footage and pictures of children – such as that of Gary Glitter, jailed in 1999 after thousands of images were discovered on his laptop.

In the media and the popular imagination paedophiles were portrayed as outsiders, one of society’s most frightening manifestations of the dangerous other.

Never before had there been a suggestion that so many ordinary individuals from across the country were regularly viewing this kind of material. Ordinary people like Jonathan.

Today he is filled with remorse. “Hardly a day goes by without me looking back and regretting what I did.”

In the early stages of his teaching career he had rented adult pornographic videos. But with the internet his habit became more and more warped. “It got more and more addictive and developed into child pornography. It was mainly pre-teen girls. The longer it went on the worse it got,” he says.

Looking back he says that he was extremely lonely. “My sexual feelings were completely bottled up and internalised. I never felt I could develop proper relationships among [people] my own age. My thoughts then became, ‘What if they were sexually immature?’ It was that kind of disastrous attitude that led to my downfall.”

At his trial he admitted downloading more than 5,000 images and pleaded guilty to making and possessing indecent photographs. The judge described his activities as “evil and sordid”.

He was sentenced to two years in jail and ordered to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years.

In August 2003 he was in prison, in a wing for sex offenders and drug addicts. He could hear the threats and insults from prisoners in other parts of the jail. “Any chance the other prisoners got to shout at us they would. I was crying most nights.”

In November that year he was transferred to HMP Whatton, a prison dedicated to treating sex offenders. He found the atmosphere less threatening and attempted to change his life. “I joined the choir and got involved in the Bible study group. I was trying to identify what I felt before and how the victims would have felt.”

Previously, the largest UK investigation of online child abuse material had been Operation Cathedral, an inquiry into a paedophile ring called the Wonderland Club which resulted in the convictions of seven British-based men.

Dealing with cases such as Jonathan’s and the sheer volume of Operation Ore was a task of an altogether different magnitude.

“It’s an irony that this was called Landslide because it provided the police with an avalanche of data,” says David Wall, professor of criminology at the University of Durham.

“Very suddenly the British police were given a whole lot of data which looked like quite conclusive evidence of wrongdoing. They had to respond, but I’m not sure they had the full response capability.”

Realising quickly they would have to prioritise suspects, the National Crime Squad began by dividing them into three categories. The top priority group – of about 1,200 names – included convicted paedophiles and those with access to children.

The second category was made up of those in positions of authority, such as police officers, and the third was those neither in authority nor involved with children.

Once identified, details of the “phase ones” were sent out first to local constabularies who took on responsibility for conducting the investigations. The Fraud Squad assumed the task in some forces where it was judged to have the greatest online expertise.

After months of preparation, the raids began in May 2002. Some 36 people were arrested in the initial swoop. At first it attracted little attention.

Operation Ore began to generate national headlines the following September when it led to the arrest of Det Con Brian Stevens, who had been a family liaison officer to the parents of Jessica Chapman, a 10-year-old murdered along with friend Holly Wells by Soham killer Ian Huntley.

Stevens was acquitted of possessing and distributing indecent images, although he was later jailed for providing a false alibi.

Subsequent raids attracted huge publicity. The arrests of professionals such as teachers, police officers and doctors were splashed across the national press. Newspapers began to speculate about how high up in society the inquiry would reach.

And then in January 2003 came the arrest of Pete Townshend. The Who guitarist said he had given his credit card details to a paedophile website because he was researching a book and insisted he had not downloaded any images. He accepted a police caution, and Ore claimed its first celebrity.

Others followed. In 2007, actor Chris Langham was jailed after the Ore investigation led officers to search his computer, where they found images of child abuse. Actor Adam Barker, son of comedian Ronnie Barker, was jailed for 12 months in October 2012. He had spent eight years on the run after his initial arrest.

Chris Langham

Chris Langham

Bafta-winning comedy star of People Like Us, The Thick of It and Not The Nine O’Clock News

Found guilty in 2007 on 15 charges of downloading child pornography, and sentenced to 10 months in jail, reduced to six on appeal

Langham has struggled to find work since his release: “Everyone wants to see me working again, but nobody wants to hire me,” he told the Guardian last year.

Pete Townshend

Pete Townshend

Rock guitarist with The Who, writer of hits such as Pinball Wizard, Substitute and Won’t Get Fooled Again.

Accepted a police caution in 2003 and was put on sex offenders
register for limited period, after admitting using his credit card to access a child pornography website.

Townshend has never denied looking at the site but in his recent memoirs, he says he was researching child abuse online: “What I did was wrong and stupid… but my innocence is absolute”.

By and large these men did not fit the profile of sex offenders hitherto portrayed in the media. Those who attracted the most attention tended to be successful and socially secure. A majority lived with a partner or were in a relationship.

“You can’t look at someone and say they are a paedophile,” says computer forensics expert Peter Sommer, visiting professor at De Montfort University’s Cyber Security Centre and a witness in numerous Operation Ore trials. “They really do come from every section of society.

“But one of the effects of the internet is that it’s far easier for paedophiles to meet in hidden places. Whereas before the paedophile might have been socially isolated, they are able to meet people like them so they think it’s more normal.”

Despite the high profile the investigation was attracting, there was evidence that the huge weight of cases was a problem for the authorities.

In May 2004, a report by the IPPR think tank found that just 1,000 of the UK’s 140,000 police officers were trained to handle digital evidence at the basic level. Later the same year, Scotland’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary warned the sheer scale of Ore was causing “significant” difficulties for forces.

“Police have accepted they were premature in publicising the existence of the Landslide database,” Sommer says. “They were finding people were deleting stuff. In subsequent cases they have been much more careful.”

Ministers provided extra funding. In April 2006, Ceop was launched and given responsibility for co-ordinating the inquiry. Under the leadership of Gamble, Ceop agreed a system whereby forces could share the burden of investigating cases with each other.

But for those working on it, the toll taken by the investigation was not purely about workload.

For many, the disturbing nature of the material they were investigating left deep scars.

Every time a child cried out in the street, one detective would be reminded of the screams of victims in footage seized from offenders’ computers. Civilian experts were also affected.

“There were times when I had to stop and go for a walk and clear my head because the material was fairly distressing,” says Sommer.

“I became inured to the fact that there are people who look at this stuff. If I had got emotionally involved I would have ended up in a loony bin.”

For some of those arrested, the shame of being labelled a paedophile, a sex offender – society’s most reviled groups – was too much to bear.

In 2009, it was reported that the number of men who took their own lives was as high as 39.

There was much coverage of Commodore David White, who was stripped of his command of British forces in Gibraltar in January 2005 after he came under investigation. The following day he was found drowned in a swimming pool at his home. A coroner recorded an open verdict.

Many would have little sympathy for those accused of viewing images of children being abused. But it became clear that not all those caught up in the initial sweep were guilty.

On 25 February 2003, Robert Del Naja of the band Massive Attack was arrested. His home in Bristol was searched and his computer seized. The story was covered extensively in the British press. Exactly one month later, the charges against him were dropped.

Del Naja’s details were on the Landslide database, but the musician was innocent. He had been the victim of credit card fraud. The issue of identity theft became the biggest controversy to dog Operation Ore.

It was 06:40 on 30 October 2003 when Jeremy Clifford was woken by a knock on the door.

On his front step in Watford were three police officers. They had a warrant to search the house. They wanted to know where his computers were kept.

Shaken, he led them inside. The search team quickly began to open every drawer, cupboard and box. They rifled through all his photographs. The house was turned upside down.

The detectives did not say why he was being raided. But his wife spotted a sheet of paper carried by one of the officers. It said they were looking for indecent images of children.

She recalls her shock at seeing the phrase. “I just wanted to score right through it,” she says.

There were no computers in the house. But at Clifford’s wedding photography and camera equipment firm, computers, photographs and videotapes were seized.

The falsely accused

Jeremy Clifford and Faith

  • Jeremy Clifford – pictured with his wife Faith – successfully sued the police for wrongful arrest
  • He says he was a victim of identity theft
  • A fraudulent credit card issued in his name had been used to pay Landslide

Eventually he was taken to the police station and told he was accused of purchasing child abuse images. At first he felt indignant. But then the enormity of the charges facing him began to sink in.

“The shock hit me after they’d finished with me,” Clifford, now 52, says. “I was in a very bad state by the time I got home. But it got worse and worse over the next few months.”

His credit card had been used five times to pay Landslide. But Clifford claimed he was a victim of identity theft.

The case against him would be dropped before it came to trial, but not for another 18 months.

Detectives had found 10 thumbnail images of children – classed as category one, the lowest level on the scale – in the temporary internet files folder of a computer he had sold to a former business associate. A forensic expert later concluded these images had probably appeared as pop-up adverts without Clifford requesting them or even being aware they were stored on the machine.

n the time it took for the prosecution to come to a halt, however, Clifford spiralled into depression. He would lie in bed all day with the curtains closed. Eventually, his business failed.

Throughout, his greatest terror was that the allegations against him would be reported in the media. After each pre-trial court appearance, he and his wife – who never doubted his innocence – would scour the local papers to make sure nothing had been written about the case.

“That would have been the final straw,” he says. “It’s the worst thing a man can be accused of. It’s worse than murder.”

Eventually, in 2010, Clifford won £30,000 in damages and costs in excess of £750,000 at the High Court from Hertfordshire Constabulary for malicious prosecution.

“With regards to the matter of the constabulary being sued by Mr Clifford for malicious prosecution, we took legal advice to defend the action and went to court,” a spokeswoman for Hertfordshire Constabulary says. “We were successful at the first trial – however the Court of Appeal ordered a retrial which we lost.”

Since then Clifford has built up a new business and left his ordeal behind. His wife has written a book about the couple’s brush with Operation Ore.

The issue of credit card fraud was the subject of a series of articles by the investigative journalist Duncan Campbell.

Campbell found evidence that the hosts of third-party webpages linked to from Landslide had used the portal to process payments to themselves from stolen cards.

When someone signed up to one of these sites via Landslide, the owners were passed 65% of the fee. But crucially, in the event of fraudulent credit card use being detected, Thomas Reedy was liable for any penalties.

In other words, if a credit card company tried to recoup funds from a fraudulent transaction, Reedy would have to pay rather than the fraudsters operating the third-party sites. Landslide became a magnet for fraud.

Indeed, Reedy’s company had gone out of business in the weeks prior to the initial US raid because of the extent of suspicious payments.

Critics of Operation Ore argued that police had been too gung-ho in raiding so many properties without checking first whether images of abuse had actually been purchased. In contrast to Ore, the US Operation Avalanche resulted in around 100 arrests following 144 searches from a database of 35,000 transactions.

It is a charge vigorously contested by Ceop. Gamble calls the operation a “huge success” and blames a “nonsense conspiracy” theory for tarnishing its reputation. “I’m proud of Operation Ore today. And I’ll be proud of it on the day I die.”

Colleagues in the US point to the UK arrest figures with admiration, he argues. “They are puzzled why we were not applauded for what we did.”

In a 2007 statement to the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee, Gamble said that of more than 2,450 people “successfully held to account”, 93% had admitted their guilt.

Where an individual’s credit card details were found on the Landslide database but no child abuse pictures could be found on a suspect’s computer, they were prosecuted on the lesser charge of inciting the Reedys to distribute indecent images.

There have been only 161 such cases, Gamble notes, and in 68% of these guilt had been admitted. He said that to the best of his knowledge, in all incitement cases “additional evidence beyond simple single credit card details have supported the prosecution”.

Additionally, according to Sommer, the legal barriers to an unfair conviction were high.

“There could have been miscarriages,” he says. “But essentially every case had to be put together by a police officer, it had to be agreed by the CPS.”

Those critical of the inquiry questioned how many innocent men may have accepted cautions to avoid the trauma and publicity of a trial. It’s a proposition that’s impossible to quantify.

It could be said that Operation Ore’s most significant achievement was drawing unprecedented attention to the variety of people who downloaded abuse images.

Certainly, claims about a wave of abuse perpetrated by Jimmy Savile have brought back memories of an earlier era – the 1960s and the 1970s – in which child abuse could flourish because it was so little discussed.

By the time Operation Ore was launched, paedophiles were arguably the UK’s most feared and reviled group. In 2000, the News of the World’s decision to name and shame convicted child sex abusers had been a landmark.

“Before Ore, we knew about child abuse,” says Julia Davidson, professor of criminology at Kingston University and co-director of the Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies.

“But we had these ideas about what perpetrators were like. The media had tended to focus on cases like Sarah Payne or Brady and Hindley.”

As the Ore arrests mounted, the country began to confront the idea that vast numbers of paedophiles were not fringe outsiders like Roy Whiting and Sidney Cooke – child killers who conformed to the pre-Ore media template of the paedophile as a shabbily dressed oddball.

Instead, many of the Ore cases which attracted the most publicity involved outwardly respectable, ordinary-looking men with families, jobs and friends.

If anything, the notion that those with an unhealthy interest in children could not be pigeonholed and identified by sight was a more terrifying notion.

In the early 2000s, the very phrase “child pornography” was increasingly shunned by experts in the fields of social work and child protection.

Instead, professionals preferred blunter terms – “child abuse images” or “images of child abuse” – to deny it the legitimacy of association with adult material which, like it or not, was being consumed by millions every day.

“There’s been a shift in language,” Davidson adds. “Previously, there was the attitude that it’s just a photograph.

“Now there’s a recognition that these pictures involve a child being brutalised, raped, exploited – and I think Ore was a catalyst for that.”

Within the space of a few years, thousands of case studies have emerged of individuals who were inclined to look at indecent images of children.

“You have several categories of offender,” Sommer says. “There are those also involved in physical offending, who might have thousands of these images on their computer.

“Then you have those people who are curious about it. These are the people who might also look for pictures of Princess Diana in Paris after the accident. But at the end of the day, every image is a child being abused and creates a market for further abuse.”

Nonetheless, it is not only the authorities who have learned lessons.

Those with an interest in viewing the kind of material targeted by Ore began to adapt their behaviour too.

The investigation made paedophiles more circumspect about their behaviour, Davidson says.

“Instead of pay-per-view sites as with Ore, what you are seeing is a lot more informal networks,” she adds.

“They are producing home-made images, sometimes of their own children. They’re conscious that if they use credit cards it’s far more traceable.”

Then there are the paedophiles like Jonathan who got caught in Operation Ore. “It cost me my life, really. Everything I held dear was utterly devastated.”

When he got out of prison he was not allowed to work with children, a role that he enjoyed and valued. Today he teaches English as a foreign language to adults. He says his colleagues know about his past and have given him a second chance.

The condition of his licence means he is still not allowed to download anything from a computer that is not directly connected with his job.

He is glad he got caught. He had tried to stop looking at images of children many times and always gone back to the sites. They were addictive, he says.

“In that sense I was quite grateful the arrest happened. I would have stayed like that. I wouldn’t have been able to break free.”

He says he hasn’t been seriously tempted to look at images of children since his release. “I’ve been in the clear for 10 years.”

The odd temptation comes up when watching a film, but he says he prays and can control it.

He sometimes wonders what his life would have been like if he’d been able to continue in his old job. But the rupture in his life has led to healing. He says he will always feel regret and remorse for what he did. But the shame has mostly gone.

“I know I’m in a better place. I’m not earning nearly as much money but I don’t have all that guilt.”

He is thankful for the support people have given him. His parents have stuck by him.

Jonathan puts his ability to turn things around down to his religious faith. “Without Christ in my life I would’ve probably ended up like many men in my situation and taken my life.”

Operation Ore was a unique event. The chain of circumstances that caused the Landslide data to fall into the hands of the British police will almost certainly never be repeated.

It was a product of an earlier internet age, one whose frontier spirit was liberating for its early adopters and yet in which child abusers and their enablers assumed they were untouchable.

While it made British parents more aware of the web’s dangers, it also fuelled a widespread cultural paranoia about the supposed dark side of the new digital age.

Operation Ore may be over. But its legacy persists. It was the event above all others that robbed British society of its innocence about the internet.

Operation Ore timeline

  • 2002: Operation Ore launched after US authorities hand over to British police details of 7,272 alleged subscribers to child pornography site
  • 2003: 1,300 arrested in first year of Ore, 95% with no previous criminal record
  • 2007: High-profile conviction of actor Chris Langham
  • 2010: Potential landmark challenge to safety of Ore convictions turned down by Court of Appeal

Operation Avalanche timeline

Thomas Reedy

  • 1997: Thomas and Janice Reedy (pictured) set up Landslide.com, providing payment services to adult websites
  • 1999: Investigation into child pornography on Landslide site leads to raid by US law officials on Reedys’ home, arrests and seizure of hard drives
  • 2000: Thomas Reedy convicted of trafficking indecent images of children
  • 2001: US attorney general reveals that Landslide’s database contains details of 35,000 US subscribers – 100 arrests made, many following sting operations

Policing online abuse

A difficult job

  • 2009 study by University of New Hampshire looked at effect on US law enforcement officers of viewing child pornography
  • Many reported experiencing personal, marital and work-related problems
  • Issues included insomnia, stress, depression and weight gain
  • 40% of respondents thought they needed more mental health support

Law Enforcement Work Exposure to child pornography (pdf file)

How should we treat offenders?

Convicted internet child abuse offenders tend to be referred to i-SOTP (internet sex offenders treatment programme), which involves six to nine months of group sessions. The stated purpose is to “increase the offenders’ understanding of the impact of their offending”.

Psychologist Dr Alison White told the Independent in 2010 that i-SOTP concentrated on the symptoms rather than the cause of internet child abuse: “People with personality dysfunction are notoriously difficult to treat and you are often looking at years of therapy.”

In 2008, Libby Brooks in the Guardian commented on the lack of help for would-be offenders. “You can find whatever you want on the internet, apart from the help you need,” she was told by one offender.

The websites Croga and Stop it now! offer help to people who are worried by their use of the internet, and for concerned friends and relatives.

What the law says

  • Protection of Children Act 1978 makes it an offence to take, or permit to be taken, any indecent image of a child, or to distribute or show such an image
  • And Section 160 of Criminal Justice Act 1988 states it is an offence to have any indecent photo of a child in one’s possession
  • Similar provisions are made in Section 52 of Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982
  • And Protection of Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1978


Tom Pettifor, ‘Paedo MP cover-up claim: Top cop removed from sex abuse probe after naming politicians as suspects’

Mar 26th, 2013 00:00

The officer suddenly found himself booted off the case and put on a disciplinary after revealing ­politicians were among the suspects

Clive Driscoll 2

Axed: DCI Clive Driscoll

Tasked with flushing out ­paedophiles preying on vulnerable youngsters at children’s homes, Detective Chief Inspector Clive Driscoll relished the challenge.

But the officer suddenly found himself booted off the case and put on a ­disciplinary after revealing ­politicians were named among the suspects.

At least one of the figures is understood to have been an MP.

And former Labour councillor Anna Tapsell claims she was visited by a police chief to “warn her off” after she raised concerns that detectives would not ­properly investigate allegations of ­paedophile activity in care homes.

Mr Driscoll launched his probe into child sex abuse claims in the South London borough of Lambeth in 1998.

But he claims Scotland Yard began meddling as soon as the politicians were named.

The officer, now spearheading the fresh investigation into teenager Stephen Lawrence’s murder, said: “I was unhappy with the interference of some senior officers who did not appear to have a logical connection to my investigation into child sex abuse in Lambeth.

“There were allegations made by several people that named politicians had been involved but I never had a chance to investigate them because I was moved before I could do so.”

Council campaigner: Anna Tapsell was warned off by police

Asked if there was a cover-up of child sexual abuse in Lambeth by Scotland Yard, he said: “You would need an ­investigation to establish that.”

And asked if it was true that a file of evidence naming politicians as suspects and others was lost, he replied: “I handed the file to an officer and I have no ­knowledge where it went after that.”

Mr Driscoll was yesterday supported by Ms Tapsell, a chairwoman of Lambeth’s social services committee who has ­highlighted sexual abuse of children in the borough’s care for more than two decades.

She said: “When I learned that Clive was being removed, not only from the case but also from Lambeth, I realised that the Met were caving in to political pressure that was far more powerful than Lambeth Council.

“I was aware of allegations about an MP and the Met’s failure to act on those allegations and its apparent desire to silence those who called for them to be investigated fully was deeply shocking to me.

“Council employees who tried to expose staff they suspected of sexual abuse were sidelined and ignored.

“At the same time alleged perpetrators were moved or allowed to leave for financial misconduct or other ­misdemeanours, instead of for the abuse.

“This meant many children never received the justice they deserved.”

Former childrens home

Former kids’ home: Now a private residence

After Mr Driscoll’s removal, Ms Tapsell told how she raised fears about the depth of the investigation into sex abuse claims at Brixton’s Angell Road children’s home and South Vale youth assessment centre in West Norwood during a meeting of the Community Police Consultative Group.

She alleges a high-ranking officer later arrived at her home.

Ms Tapsell added: “I doubt whether I was the only person to be visited by a senior police officer in an attempt to warn me off.

“I had cast doubt on the Met’s ­inclination to get to the bottom of the paedophile activity within Lambeth’s care system.

“It had outraged a high ranking officer who had spoken at that meeting. That resulted in an unpleasant visit to my home by another senior officer.

“I have found the minutes of that meeting in the archives of Lambeth’s CPCG but no mention is made of the high-ranking officer’s contribution and the tape recording is also missing.”

Labour MP John Mann, a former Lambeth councillor, said last night: “It is essential that an outside force conducts a full investigation into these claims.”

Mr Driscoll, who has had a ­distinguished career in the Met for three decades, told how disciplinary proceedings – known as a regulation 15 notice or a 163 form – were started against him after he named the ­politicians in a ­confidential meeting with council ­officials in the late 90s.

John Mann MP

Probe: Labour MP John Mann wants an inquiry

He said the action followed a complaint by an executive on the council. The officer was also moved from Lambeth.

The detective was investigated and questioned under caution by other officers.

Mr Driscoll added: “I was handed a 163 form. It was revoked after they moved me and all disciplinary action was dropped.”

The Met set up a five year investigation into sexual abuse linked to Lambeth social care called Operation Middleton.

It was a joint probe with the council and was based in the town hall, leading to criticism that the Met were working too closely with the organisation that had employed abusers.

Officers traced 200 victims between 1998 to 2003 and the probe secured three convictions.

A total of 19 suspects were never identified, fuelling fears a ­paedophile ring had operated involving men from outside the care system.

Michael John Carroll, the former boss of the Angell Road home, was arrested in 1998 by Merseyside police for abuse spanning decades.

By that time Ms Tapsell had spent more than 10 years highlighting his case after she discovered Lambeth bosses let him run children’s homes until 1991 despite ­executives learning in 1986 he was a convicted ­paedophile.

In 1994, she wrote to Elizabeth Appleby QC, who had been ­commissioned to head a probe into sex abuse and misconduct in the borough.

Michael Carroll

Convicted paedophile: Michael Carroll ran kids’ home
Ms Tapsell told the judge that Carroll, who had not at that point been arrested, was “protected” by Lambeth social ­services bosses along with paedophile Les Paul who worked in South Vale.

Paul was jailed for two and a half years in 1994 for abusing three boys including one from the children’s home.

Ms Tapsell wrote: “Les Paul took little boys home and on holiday, just as Carroll did with the full knowledge of area staff. The examples are numerous.

“Almost all the internal abuse issues have involved collusion across divisions.

“I have no doubt Angell Road may have been used for organised child abuse which involved adults other than staff.

“This view is reinforced by the strong investment that officers and politicians have in blocking any effective investigation.”

Ms Appleby declined to comment.

Clare Whelan, a Lambeth Tory councillor since 1990, claims she was repeatedly ignored by police when she tried to highlight the Carroll case.

She added: “I was never confident that it was all properly investigated.

“It took far too long for police to investigate and I had to see three sets of officers before they did anything. Even then they did not do anything really.”

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “We are unable to comment on detailed allegations at this time without the opportunity to research these allegations.

“However, if any new evidence should come to light it will be investigated.”

* If you are an adult who suffered child abuse and want professional help call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, email help@nspcc.org.uk text 88858.

Distinguished detective who snared Stephen Lawrence killers
Clive Driscoll has enjoyed a distinguished 34-year career as a police officer.

The widely-respected detective helped restore the Metropolitan Police’s damaged name with his successful probe into two of Stephen Lawrence’s killers.

Dad Neville Lawrence backed the officer in 2012 after Gary Dobson and David Norris were convicted of Stephen’s 1993 murder.

Mr Lawrence said: “He seemed committed and confident. That’s all I need to know, that you believe in what you’re doing.”

Mr Driscoll started his career as a PC at Sutton in South London before being promoted to detective sergeant in Brixton in 1987.

He was later transferred to Scotland Yard and put in charge of policy for sexual offences, domestic violence, child protection and the paedophile unit.

He returned to South London to work in child protection before being promoted to detective chief inspector on the racial and violent crime taskforce in Fulham in 2003.

He was then appointed senior investigating officer in Operation Fishpool, the re-investigation into Stephen’s murder.

After a jury finally convicted Gary Dobson and David Norris, Mr Driscoll said: “It has been a joy and a privilege to work with the Lawrences.

“They are happy. I always said I wanted to get it to a jury. We’ve done our very best.”

Tom Pettifor, ‘Top-level police probe into Mirror revelations about paedophile ring “cover-up” linked to MP’

Mar 27th, 2013 02:00

It comes after a two-month investigation in which we spoke to politicians, alleged victims, police officers and former children’s home staff

Clive Driscoll 2

Brave; DCI Clive Driscoll spoke out
A top-level investigation was launched last night in response to the Daily Mirror’s revelation about a police “cover-up” of a suspected paedophile ring linked to MPs.

The dramatic move by Scotland Yard follows our story yesterday that a top detective was booted off a case investigating sexual abuse in children’s homes in London after he named politicians as suspects.

The “breakthrough” could lead to one of the biggest child sex abuse case reviews in the Met’s history as top investigators probe claims dating back as far as the 70s.

Detective Chief Inspector Clive Driscoll, who was looking into accusations of abuse in Lambeth, South London, said Yard bosses interfered with the probe in 1998.

One of the figures is thought to have been an MP.

Last night, a Met police spokeswoman said: “Following concerns raised by DCI Clive Driscoll, the Serious Case Team of the Met’s Child Abuse Investigation Command, under Detective Superintendent David Gray, will review all material and papers in the original case.”

It comes after a two-month investigation by the Daily Mirror in which we spoke to politicians, alleged victims, police officers and former children’s home staff.

DS Gray and his team will examine claims a file of evidence containing details of allegations against politicians went missing after DCI Driscoll handed it to a senior officer.

It will also look into whether or not the claims were investigated by officers from Operation Middleton, which probed child sex abuse in Lambeth’s care homes before 1994.

The operation ran between 1998 and 2003 and resulted in three convictions. Former care home boss Michael John Carroll was jailed for ten years for child sex abuse in 1999 following a Merseyside police probe called Operation Care.

Child protection groups and politicians last night praised DCI Driscoll and the Met insisted he would not face disciplinary actions for speaking out.

Michael Carroll 2

Convicted: Michael Carroll

Labour MP and former Lambeth councillor John Mann said: “It is a great breakthrough that the Met are looking into this and it is all thanks to the Daily Mirror.

“The review will have important consequences for victims who will feel more encouraged to come forward.

“I applaud DCI Driscoll’s integrity and his courage in speaking out. I received a similar allegation in 1988 when I was investigating corruption, sexual exploitation and blackmail in Lambeth council.

“Two police officers who worked on those allegations at the time complained to me about high-level interference from Scotland Yard in their investigations.”

Fellow Labour MP Gerry Sutcliffe said: “It’s imperative this is fully reviewed because the claim that an officer was taken off an investigation because politicians were involved is of serious public concern.

“We must get to the truth of what happened.”

DCI Driscoll revealed: “I was unhappy with the interference of senior officers who did not appear to have any logical connection to my investigation into child sex abuse in Lambeth.”

Victim of abuse at children’s homes linked to supected MP paedophile ring speaks out

Highland Road children's home

Scene: Highland Road children’s home

A victim of abuse at children’s homes linked to suspected paedophile politicians last night accused police of failing to properly investigate his own claims.

The man, now a 44-year-old delivery driver, told detectives in 1998 that he was assaulted at the age of eight by a female worker while in the care of Lambeth council in South London.

He was later moved to the borough’s Highland Road children’s home, where he suffered two years of abuse from paedophile Michael John Carroll.

Shockingly, Carroll had already been convicted of child abuse.

The man said that in 1998 he gave Merseyside police a ­statement about both Carroll and the female carer but his ­allegations about the woman weren’t followed up.

He said: “It was dismissed just like an everyday occurrence.”

Carroll, however, was subsequently convicted of abusing him and another 11 children.

Last night the victim praised the Mirror’s investigation, saying: “You have to ask yourself why would anyone want to interfere in an investigation into the abuse of children?

“I think it is vital that these allegations are investigated and we find out what was going on. We have to find out because it stinks to high heaven.”

Tom Pettifor, ‘Police probe sex abuse allegations at kids’ home at centre of Mirror investigation’

Mar 28th, 2013 00:00

Officers are also believed to have been examining the allegations which relate to at least one former member of care home staff

Clive Driscoll 2

DCI Clive Driscoll

Police have been probing sex abuse allegations at a children’s home linked to a paedophile MP “cover-up” exposed by the Mirror.

A man has claimed he was assaulted there in the 80s, says a source.

Officers of the Metropolitan Police Child Abuse Investigation Command are believed to have been examining the allegations which relate to at least one former member of care home staff.

The news comes as detectives from the same unit this week begin examining claims police failed to properly investigate abuse allegations linked to at least one MP.

Det Chief Insp Clive Driscoll said the Yard interfered with his 1998 probe into the home in Lambeth, South London, after he named politicians as suspects.

Meanwhile, the Mirror can reveal a paedophile at the centre of the scandal is currently in business with a school governor.

Michael John Carroll, 64, set up a firm with the woman after being released from jail in 2004 where he served time for sexually abusing 12 children in his care.

Companies House records show Carroll, now an antiques dealer, has used three different names to run businesses in the last 30 years.

He lives in a £430,000 cottage near Wrexham while many of his victims got nothing or only small compensation payouts.

One told how he got £1,500 from Lambeth council for two years of abuse at Carroll’s hands.

He said: “When you are in care you expect to be cared for. It was atrocious.”

Carroll is believed to have shielded himself from abuse allegations in Lambeth by fostering close links with the police and Catholic church.

Tom Pettifor, ‘Minister in Tony Blair’s government among group of men suspected of abusing children at home run by paedophile’
Apr 27th, 2014 22:59

A probe was halted soon after an ex-social services boss told police of his alleged evening visits in the early 1980s


Picture shows the site of the former children’s home in Brixton (left) Tony Blair and a photo posed by a model (top right)

One of Tony Blair’s ministers was among a group of men suspected of sexually abusing children at a home run by a convicted paedophile.

But the probe was halted soon after an ex-social services boss told police of his alleged evening visits in the early 1980s.

Official documents seen by the Daily Mirror during a 16-month investigation reveal former residents told detectives that a group of paedophiles attacked children in a private flat in the home.

But two former Lambeth social services employees involved in the case suspect a cover-up because experienced detective Clive Driscoll was removed from the investigation and given other duties.

One, a former manager who alerted police in 1998, said: “One wonders why Scotland Yard would be so desperate to stop it being investigated.

“I believe it was stopped because somebody in power was trying to prevent any further investigation into the politician.”

And Dr Nigel Goldie, a council boss in charge of child protection in 1998, said: “There were some allegations that ­children were being abused by one or two prominent persons.

“There were a lot of very senior people trying to put a lid on it. There was ­something very unfortunate about the way the whole thing was dealt with.”

Angell Road, Brixton

Angell Road in Brixton

The Mirror has seen a Lambeth council memo that shows there was an intention to brief then Health Secretary, Frank Dobson, about the police investigation.

But Mr Dobson said he did not remember being briefed and was never told a minister in Tony Blair’s government was suspected of child abuse.

Both Dr Goldie and the former manager have called for an independent probe into their suspicions the minister was protected by the Establishment.

After being tracked down by the Mirror, the ex-manager said in the early 1980s she saw the man visiting Michael John Carroll at the Angell Road children’s home he ran in Brixton, South London.

She said she told top Lambeth­ officials at the time she suspected Carroll was at the centre of a paedophile ring at the home.

Bosses learned in 1986 that he was convicted of sexually assaulting a boy of 12 in the Wirral in 1966.

But the pervert was allowed to continue running the home until 1991.

Carroll was finally arrested in the summer of 1998 and convicted of a string of child sex attacks dating back three decades including assaults on youngsters in Angell Road.

He was freed from his 10-year sentence in 2004. Dr Goldie, who was assistant director of social services at Lambeth, then helped Met Detective Inspector Mr Driscoll investigate claims of sexual abuse in children’s homes.

At the time, Mr Driscoll was an ­experienced child protection ­detective. He went on to nail two racist thugs who murdered Stephen Lawrence.

But in 1998 he was taken off the Lambeth case and faced disciplinary proceedings for ­allegedly naming the politician among the suspects.


Detective Chief Inspector Clive Driscoll

Describing how he learned the minister was being investigated, Dr Goldie said in a signed statement: “Clive started talking about the politician… He articulated that his approach was to shake the tree and be quite open about what he was doing and see what happened.”

Dr Goldie, now a non-executive director of mental health charity the Richmond Fellowship, added: “The allegation was that the politician had been seen going in and out of Angell Road.

“There were allegations he sexually abused children.”

Dr Goldie said he received a call from a senior police officer a short time later.

He recalled: “It was all very cloak and dagger stuff. He said, ‘Can you come downstairs and meet us outside?’”

Dr Goldie met the officer, who was accompanied by a junior colleague, in a cafe in Clapham, South London. He said: “They had an air of authority like they were used to taking decisions. They asked if there had been other allegations about the individual [the minister].”

Dr Goldie, described a second meeting with the same senior officer at the same cafe a few days later. He said: “They said essentially that they saw it as fantasy. They were rubbishing Clive’s evidence. It was a closure job on what Clive was saying.

“They put a lot of pressure on me. I had to treat it all confidentially.

“By that point Clive had been called in and given his disciplinary notice. They said that Clive hadn’t been able to provide them with evidence for the claims.”

Dr Goldie said their manner was “threatening” and added: “I was told not to tell anyone or repeat it. It was heavy.”

Mr Driscoll was questioned under caution by Met officers and removed from the Lambeth district. The disciplinary proceedings were later dropped.

Dr Goldie, who left Lambeth council of his own accord four months later, added: “What is needed is a proper independent ­investigation with a ­judicial element to get to the bottom of who was involved in the decision to shut Clive’s investigation down and to re-open the investigation into the original allegations.”

An internal memo written by Dr Goldie, dated September 1, 1998, said Mr Dobson was to be updated about the investigation by the Social Services Inspectorate – the body responsible for overseeing children’s homes.

Whitehall officials are now conducting a review, at Mr Dobson’s request, of all documents and briefings he received from the SSI when he was Health Secretary.

Mr Driscoll’s investigation was scrapped soon after Ron Davies quit as Welsh ­Secretary when he was mugged by a male prostitute at a gay meeting spot on Clapham Common, South London, in October 1998.

A week later, Agriculture Minister Nick Brown was forced into revealing he was gay by the News of the World. Neither men are the minister suspected of child abuse.

Alastair ­Campbell’s entry for November 4, 1998, in his published diary, The Blair Years, states: “As TB said later, with a touch of black humour, we could get away with Ron as a one-off aberration, but if the public start to think the whole Cabinet is indulging in gay sex, we might have a bit of a political problem.”

Mr Driscoll’s probe was shut down that month before Sir Denis O’Connor, then an assistant commissioner, set up new investigation Operation Middleton. It was contacted by more than 200 alleged victims and secured three convictions. In 19 cases suspects could not be identified.

Detective Superintendent Richard Gargini, who led Middleton, said last night: “Every allegation was taken ­seriously, including unsubstantiated rumour.

“Where victims and suspects were ­identified the inquiry was conducted ethically and with complete professionalism. We found no evidence of an organised network where people in authority attended the children’s’ homes for ­inappropriate purposes.”

Mr Driscoll was taken off the Stephen Lawrence case in January after he criticised Yard bosses for removing him from the 1998 probe.

He has been forced to retire next month. Several ex-Lambeth children’s home residents have recently come forward to police to allege abuse. One ex-residential social worker faces trial next year.

The Mirror sent Scotland Yard a detailed list of questions on March 21 which they have failed to answer.

A spokesman said last week: “Various inquiries relating to Operation Middleton remain ongoing.”

Mr Blair’s spokesman refused to comment last night. All children’s homes in Lambeth were shut down by 1995.

• If you are an adult who suffered child abuse and want professional help, call NAPAC on 0800 085 3330.

• If you have any information that you think 
might help our investigation, please telephone 
the Mirror on 0800 282 591 or email mirrornews@mirror.co.uk

Tom Pettifor, ‘Politician suspected of child abuse ‘would spend evenings with convicted paedophile”

Apr 27th, 2014 23:47

The witness said the man would arrive alone and then join Michael Carroll in an annex where the beast is known to have attacked a string of youngsters


The retired social services boss told detectives how the politician suspected of child abuse would spend evenings with the convicted paedophile who ran the home. Michael Carroll is pictured bottom right
The retired social services boss told detectives how the politician suspected of child abuse would spend evenings with the convicted paedophile who ran the home.

The witness said the man would arrive alone and then join Michael Carroll in an annex where the beast is known to have attacked a string of youngsters.

She said Carroll and the public figure would take young boys to the top-floor flat in Angell Road children’s home in Brixton, South London.

She said: “John would sometimes come down and select one of the boys to go up to the flat. He would say, ‘Uncle John wants to talk to you’ and the child would go up holding his hand.”

Official documents reveal one of Carroll’s alleged victims told detectives 16 years ago that a group of paedophiles attacked children in the flat.

Carroll was the only person convicted of abuse linked to the home, despite a number of children claiming they were attacked by other men there.

The witness accused Scotland Yard of covering up the alleged abuse after she originally gave evidence to then-detective inspector Clive Driscoll in 1998.

She said the Metropolitan Police failed to follow up on her evidence after they removed Mr Driscoll from the investigation.

Detectives from the Met’s Child Abuse Investigation Command have now taken statements from her, after she was tracked down during a 16-month Mirror investigation.

Angell Road, Brixton

Angell Road in Brixton

She said she saw the politician at the children’s home about four times in a three-month period while she was a trainee there in the early 1980s.

She said: “It was always in the evenings, between about half six and eight. He would see John and then disappear upstairs with John to his private flat. He would always arrive by himself.”

She said none of the staff would speak up when Carroll returned to select a boy.

She said: “The first time I saw it I asked a staff member what was going on and she told me John was doing ‘direct work’.”
This meant working one-to-one with children addressing issues including sexual abuse. Convicted paedophile Carroll claimed to be an expert on 
counselling abused children.

The witness said: “There were a group of John’s favourite boys who would go up to the flat. All were aged between about six and 10 and very vulnerable. They all had the same look – like they craved love and affection.”

Describing one incident, she said: “My shift was coming to an end when John and the politician came into the dining room together.

“Angell Road had a dining room and the doors opened on to the playground area. John was with the politician. The politician went outside where there was a boy aged about seven in the garden.

“He called the child by his name. I remember thinking, ‘how does he know this child’s name?’ As I looked at the boy, I saw what I can only describe as a mixture of fear and excitement on his face.”

She said the politician then went over to the boy and put him on his knee while rubbing his back.

“I thought this was odd and creepy,” she said.

She said on another occasion she met the politician in the home on his way to see Carroll.

She said: “I don’t know how he got in. Either he had a key or John let him in, but where was John when I bumped into him?”

She said the politician was one of several men who visited the home including a police officer and social workers from other parts of Lambeth. The Mirror knows the identity of three of the others. All their names have been passed to the police.

An alleged female victim of Carroll told 
detectives in 1998 that a paedophile ring abused boys in the Angell Road annex, known to staff and children as “John’s room”.

The girl told detectives she was violently sexually assaulted by Carroll, referred to as MJC in an official document seen by the Mirror.

It states: 
“She alleged it was common knowledge, although it didn’t happen to her, that MJC had men back to 
his flat and then cajoled children from the home to have sex with them.”

Another adds: “There is information that John Carroll used to take a group of adults to a room referred to as “John’s room” where they may have been involved in abuse of residents. These groups may have contained staff members.”

The witness said she saw the minister on two further occasions, once with a social worker and the police officer. She told managers she suspected abuse. She said: “I was told John was a law unto himself and was protected by someone higher up.”

Unbeknown to her at the time, Carroll already had a conviction for sexually assaulting a child in 1966.

Lambeth social services became aware he was a convicted paedophile in 1986, but Carroll was allowed to remain in charge for another five years.

The witness said in the late 1980s, while still working for Lambeth, she saw the politician’s name in the visitors’ book at the home as well as in a log book, which included details of which children were taken out.

She then confronted Carroll. “I said, ‘you have friends in high places’. He said something like, ‘I don’t know why you lot keep going on about him coming here, it’s not the only children’s home he goes to’.”

She said records showed the politician took boys out aged 12 to 15, but would sometimes be accompanied by Carroll with children under 10.

She believes it was her information that got Mr Driscoll taken off the case.

“I finally thought I had found somebody who was going to take me seriously,” she said. “I trusted 
him. Someone at Scotland Yard claimed I was an unreliable witness. Why would they be bothered about me?

“I believe the investigation was stopped because somebody in power was trying to prevent any further investigation into the politician and possible unlawful activity.”

• If you have any information that you think 
might help our investigation, please telephone 
the Mirror on 0800 282 591 or email mirrornews@mirror.co.uk

Jason Beattie, James Lyons, Tom Pettifor, ‘MPs call for public inquiry into Mirror’s former minister child abuse cover-up revelations’

Apr 28th, 2014 10:30

The demands followed our story that the politician was named as a suspect in the 1998 police probe shortly before it was closed down

Anon politician

Powerful: Politician was suspected of child abuse (picture posed by model)

MPs have called for a public inquiry into the Mirror’s revelations that a child sex abuse probe was axed after allegations were made against a minister in Tony Blair’s government.

The demands followed our story that the politician was named as a suspect in the 1998 police probe shortly before it was closed down.

An ex-social services boss told police the man made evening visits in the 80s to a children’s home run by a convicted ­paedophile in Lambeth, South London.

Simon Danczuk, who exposed the truth about the prolific paedophile Liberal MP Cyril Smith, said there were parallels between the two cases.

The Labour MP, who represents Smith’s former seat in Rochdale, called for an inquiry to examine whether the Blair minister and the late Liberal MP had been protected by the Establishment.

Mr Danczuk said: “The more I think about this, the more I really believe there needs to be some wider-ranging public inquiry that looks at abuses across the piece, not just in Rochdale but also in London and Lambeth.

“There is a Royal Commission in Australia looking at historic situations of child abuses. You do wonder if we are getting to a similar ­situation here.”


Truth: Simon Danczuk MP

The call for an inquiry was echoed by fellow Labour MP John Mann, who was a Lambeth councillor from 1986 to 1990.

He said: “The victims deserve justice. I am calling for a full public inquiry.”

Jon Bird, operations manager for the National Association of People Abused in Childhood, said: “Hats off to the Mirror for a very good investigation.

“We believe there should be an ­overarching inquiry as there seems to be a pattern that’s much bigger than what allegedly occurred in Lambeth.

“A thorough investigation needs to get to the bottom of what of what happened in these cases and the people who went through it need to be supported.”

Charity the NSPCC agreed and said: “No matter what the situation, any complaints about child abuse should be investigated and people in positions of power should not be immune from this.”


Sidelined: Experienced officer DCI Clive Driscoll was moved off the case

Official documents seen by the Mirror during a 16-month ­investigation reveal former ­residents told detectives that a group of paedophiles attacked ­children in a private flat in the Angell Road children’s home in Brixton, South London, during the 1980s.

A former Lambeth council social services manager said she saw the ­politician making evening visits to convicted paedophile Michael John Carroll in a flat in the home where boys were abused.

Carroll was finally arrested in the summer of 1998 and convicted of a string of child sex attacks dating back three decades including assaults on youngsters in Angell Road.

Experienced detective Clive­ ­Driscoll was removed from the ­investigation into abuse in Lambeth children’s homes and given other duties in 1998 after he named the Blair minister as a suspect.

A new investigation, Operation Middleton, was then set up by Scotland Yard, Lambeth council and the Social Services Inspectorate – the body ­responsible for overseeing children’s homes for the department of health. Officers on Middleton were contacted by more than 200 alleged victims and secured three convictions.

Dr Nigel Goldie, a council boss in charge of child protection in 1998, said of the alleged cover up: “It needs to be investigated and investigated by people who have been independent to what’s happened previously so that there can be a proper process undertaken.

“I don’t think it’s right that ­somebody just because of their political position should be ignored.” A spokesman for Tony Blair yesterday continued to refuse to comment on the Mirror’s investigation.

Michael Carroll

Connections: Convicted paedophile Michael John Carroll

Today we are demanding that Mr Blair and the other relevant authorities answer 14 unanswered questions.

  • Was ex-Labour leader Tony Blair aware one of his ministers was being investigated over allegations of historic child sex abuse?
  • Has he ever become aware of claims that the former minister preyed on boys for sex?
  • Did Mr Blair or any members of his government play any part in closing down Mr Driscoll’s investigation?
  • What role did the Department of Health and the Social Services Inspectorate play in closing Mr Driscoll’s investigation?
  • What communication was there between senior Metropolitan Police officers and the Blair government over the force’s investigation into the serving minister?
  • Which senior police officers, government ministers and civil servants discussed the investigation and when?
  • Why were disciplinary proceedings launched against Mr Driscoll for naming politicians among the suspects he was investigating?
  • Which police officer referred Mr Driscoll for disciplinary proceedings and for what reason?
  • Did an executive on Lambeth council raise a complaint against Mr Driscoll leading to disciplinary proceedings being commenced against Mr Driscoll?
  • Why didn’t Operation Middleton investigate claims a former Lambeth social worker made to Mr Driscoll about a group of men she had seen visiting Michael John Carroll’s private flat?
  • Was Dr Goldie told by a senior police officer that there was no reason for the politician to be investigated and that he should not repeat the allegations?
  • Did Lambeth council officials and/or Labour Party officials know a former Labour minister was a friend of convicted paedophile Michael John Carroll?
  • Where are the log books and visitors books for the Lambeth children’s homes that contained the politician’s name?
  • A year ago Scotland Yard stated that there would be a review of Mr Driscoll’s concerns that his investigation was interfered with by senior police officers. What are the findings of the review?

‘Rumours have ‘circulated in party for years”
Daily Mirror, April 28th, 2014

SUSPICIONS about the politician abusing boys have been discussed in sections of the Labour Party for decades, an ex-councillor has claimed.

Anna Tapsell has spent more than 25 years highlighting the Carroll case after she discovered that Lambeth council bosses learned in 1986 that he was a convicted paedophile – but allowed him to run children’s homes until 1991.

Ms Tapsell, a former Labour councillor in the South London borough, told Met officer Clive Driscoll in 1998 that party members suspected that the former minister was a paedophile.

She said: “It was much talked about in sections of the London Labour Party that this person preyed on boys for sex.

“My understanding was that Clive had raised that with Lambeth Council and the Met.

“Whether this is what led to Clive’s sudden removal from Lambeth I cannot be certain. It would clearly have caused embarrassment to the Government.
“His removal was very sudden. I believe it was almost immediately after a meeting with the council at which everyone was meant to share or pool their information in a safe setting. My understanding was that Clive did just that, and within hours he was removed from the investigation.

“My belief is the Government was alerted about the possibility of a scandal should Clive have been allowed to continue his investigation, and the close connections between the front bench and Lambeth council were used to bring that investigation to an abrupt close.

“Shortly after that, the council and the Met announced a new investigation [Operation Middleton] that was sufficiently restricted as to satisfy media attention and give the public the impression that the authority had finally dealt with its responsibilities to children who had been in its care.”

Ms Tapsell said that – after Mr Driscoll’s removal – she attended a meeting and raised fears about the depth of the investigation into sex abuse claims at Brixton’s Angell Road children’s home and a youth assessment centre. She alleges a highranking police officer then turned up at her home in a bid to keep her quiet.

Ms Tapsell said: “I had cast doubt on the Met’s inclination to uncover the paedophile activity in Lambeth’s care system. I doubt whether I was the only person to be visited by a senior police officer in an attempt to warn me off.”

Tom Pettifor, ‘There were claims children were being abused by someone prominent.. and a lot of very senior people were trying to put a lid on it;
Daily Record & Sunday Mail, April 28th, 2014

POWERFUL people tried to cover up a suspected children’s home abuse ring said to involve a Labour minister and a convicted paedophile, it was claimed yesterday.

A 16-month investigation has revealed that former residents at the London home told detectives a group of paedophiles attacked children there.

But soon after a former social services manager told police about the politician’s alleged evening visits in the early 1980s, the Met’s inquiry was suddenly halted.

And experienced detective Clive Driscoll, who had been heading it, was moved to other duties.

Yesterday, two former social services employees involved in the case claimed there appeared to have been a cover-up when Driscoll was removed.

One – the former manager who alerted police in 1998 – said: “One wonders why Scotland Yard would be so desperate to stop it being investigated.

“I believe it was stopped because somebody in power was trying to prevent any further investigation into the politician and his possible involvement in unlawful activity.”

And Dr Nigel Goldie, a council boss in charge of child protection in Lambeth in 1998, said: “There were some allegations that children were being abused by one or two prominent persons.

“There were a lot of very senior people trying to put a lid on it. There could well have been good reason for it (Driscoll’s investigation) being ended but the manner in which it was done suggests some form of cover-up.”

An internal Lambeth Council memo shows there was an intention to brief then health secretary Frank Dobson about the police investigation into the Angell Road home in Brixton, south London.

But Dobson says that he does not remember being briefed and was never told a minister in Tony Blair’s government was suspected of child abuse.

Both Goldie and the former manager have called for an independent inquiry into their suspicions that the minister was protected by the establishment.

The former manager said that in the early 80s, she saw the politician visiting Michael John Carroll, who ran the home.

She claims council officials failed to take action over her suspicions that Carroll was at the centre of a paedophile ring.

Carroll was finally arrested in 1998 over child sex attacks – including some at Angell Road – dating back three decades. He was jailed for 10 years.

He was allowed to run the home until 1991 despite the council learning in 1986 that he was convicted of abusing a 12-yearold boy at a Merseyside home in 1966. Goldie, who was assistant director of social services at Lambeth, began helping Driscoll, an experienced detective inspector, to investigate allegations of abuse in 1998.

But Driscoll was suddenly taken off the case and the inquiry was taken over by a team selected by Department of Health officials, Scotland Yard chiefs and Lambeth Council.

Goldie said: “Clive started talking about the politician. He said there were other things he believed had not been investigated and needed close scrutiny.

“He articulated that his approach was to shake the tree and be quite open about what he was doing and see what happened. It is interesting that Clive’s method of shaking the tree brought about the response that it did.”

Goldie added: “The allegation was that the politician had been seen going in and out of Angell Road. There were allegations he sexually abused children.”

A short time later, Goldie said, he received a “very cloak and dagger” call from a senior police officer and met him and a junior colleague twice.

He recalled: “They said essentially that they saw it as fantasy. They were rubbishing Clive’s evidence.

“They said Clive hadn’t been able to provide evidence for the claims and that he was being subjected to a disciplinary process and that was the end of the allegation and I was told not to tell anyone or repeat it. It was heavy.”

Driscoll was questioned under caution by Met officers for allegedly naming politicians among those he was investigating. The proceedings were later dropped as was the disciplinary notice.

Goldie added: “What is needed is a proper independent investigation with a judicial element.”

Driscoll’s investigation was scrapped shortly after Ron Davies resigned as Welsh Secretary following his mugging by a male prostitute he had met in a well-known gay pick-up zone.

A week later, Agriculture Minister Nick Brown was forced into revealing he was gay by the News of the World.

Neither man is the minister who was suspected of child abuse.

Blair’s spin doctor Alastair Campbell recalled in his diary for November 1998: “As TB said later, with a touch of black humour, we could get away with Ron as a one-off aberration, but if the public start to think the whole Cabinet is indulging in gay sex, we might have a bit of a political problem.”

Driscoll’s investigation was shut down that month.

Sir Denis O’Connor, then an assistant commissioner, set up a new probe in November 1998 codenamed Operation Middleton.

The multi-million-pound five-year investigation was contacted by more than 200 alleged victims and secured three convictions.

In 19 cases, the suspects could not be identified, fuelling fears a network was operating involving men from outside the care system who were not known to children’s homes residents.

A number of former Lambeth children’s home residents have recently come forward to police to allege abuse.

One former residential social worker faces trial next year for alleged child sex offences. A 63-year-old man and a 78-year-old woman have been arrested and remain on police bail.

In 1999, Carroll pled guilty at Liverpool Crown Court to 35 sex offences against 12 boys, some as young as eight.

Scotland Yard have failed to respond to a detailed list of questions on the affair but said last week: “Various inquiries relating to Operation Middleton remain ongoing.”

Police said they saw it as fantasy. That was the end of it and I was not to repeat it. It was heavy

Staff member told senior detective of child sex suspicions Officer removed after he named the senior politician

Tom Pettifor, ‘Pressure mounts on Tony Blair to answer questions over minister child sex abuse cover-up claims’

Apr 29th, 2014 21:03

The former Prime Minister is under increasing pressure to say what exactly he knew about allegations of abuse at a London children’s home

Blair - Pressure Mounting

Pressure mounting: Former Prime Minister Tony Blair

Pressure mounted on Tony Blair tonight to answer questions over the Mirror’s revelations that a child sex abuse probe was axed after a minister in his government was named as a suspect.

MPs joined forces with a victim of abuse to call on the former Prime Minister to reveal if he knew about the alleged cover up or of any allegations against the politician.

The demands followed our story that an ex-social services boss told police in 1998 the Blair minister made evening visits to a children’s home in Lambeth, south London, run by paedophile Michael John Carroll in the 1980s.

A spokesman for Mr Blair said yesterday that he would not comment.

The Metropolitan Police continued to remain silent about their review into the cover up claims which they launched over a year ago.

A former care home boy who was sexually assaulted by Carroll in the flat allegedly visited by the politician, said yesterday: “Mr Blair owes it to the children who have suffered to come out and say something about this.”

The 45-year-old delivery driver added: “He must tell us what he knew and the longer he doesn’t, the worse it will get for him.”

Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke, a former Lambeth councillor, said: “Scotland Yard should come clean about why they ended the investigation and Tony Blair should explain what actions, if any, he took.

“People need to know there hasn’t been a cover up and Tony Blair cannot stay silent on this any longer. Lambeth has a sorry history when it comes to child protection and too often it has failed.”

Michael Carroll

Connections: Paedophile Michael John Carroll

Labour MP and fellow former Lambeth councillor John Mann, said: “It would be helpful if the former Prime Minister Tony Blair was to confirm whether or not he was informed of any allegations .”

Tory MP Bob Neill, the Conservative vice chairman responsible for London, said: “These are clearly very seriously allegations and it’s important they are subject to a full and independent investigation.”

The probe would examine whether government ministers, senior police officers, Whitehall civil servants and Lambeth council executives closed ranks to protect the politician.

The Home Office yesterday refused to examine the Mirror’s revelations, saying Scotland Yard must investigate itself or hand the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

The Mirror revealed this week that a former Lambeth council social services manager said she saw the politician making evening visits to convicted paedophile Carroll in a flat in the home where boys were abused.

Carroll was finally arrested in the summer of 1998 and convicted of a string of child sex attacks dating back three decades including assaults on youngsters in Angell Road.

Experienced detective Clive­ ­Driscoll was removed from the ­investigation into abuse in Lambeth children’s homes and given other duties in 1998 after he named the Blair minister as a suspect.

A new investigation, Operation Middleton, was then set up by Scotland Yard, Lambeth council and the Social Services Inspectorate – the body ­responsible for overseeing children’s homes for the department of health. Officers on Middleton were contacted by more than 200 alleged victims and secured three convictions.

The Mirror is demanding that Mr Blair and the other relevant authorities answer 14 unanswered questions:

  • Was ex-Labour leader Tony Blair aware one of his ministers was being investigated over allegations of historic child sex abuse?
  • Has he ever become aware of claims that the former minister preyed on boys for sex?
  • Did Mr Blair or any members of his government play any part in closing down Mr Driscoll’s investigation?
  • What role did the Department of Health and the Social Services Inspectorate play in closing Mr Driscoll’s investigation?
  • What communication was there between senior Metropolitan Police officers and the Blair government over the force’s investigation into the serving minister?
  • Which senior police officers, government ministers and civil servants discussed the investigation and when?
  • Why were disciplinary proceedings launched against Mr Driscoll for naming politicians among the suspects he was investigating?
  • Which police officer referred Mr Driscoll for disciplinary proceedings and for what reason?
  • Did an executive on Lambeth council raise a complaint against Mr Driscoll leading to disciplinary proceedings being commenced against Mr Driscoll?
  • Why didn’t Operation Middleton investigate claims a former Lambeth social worker made to Mr Driscoll about a group of men she had seen visiting Michael John Carroll’s private flat?
  • Was Dr Goldie told by a senior police officer that there was no reason for the politician to be investigated and that he should not repeat the allegations?
  • Did Lambeth council officials and/or Labour Party officials know a former Labour minister was a friend of convicted paedophile Michael John Carroll?
  • Where are the log books and visitors books for the Lambeth children’s homes that contained the politician’s name?
  • A year ago Scotland Yard stated that there would be a review of Mr Driscoll’s concerns that his investigation was interfered with by senior police officers. What are the findings of the review?

Tom Pettifor, ‘Former Labour councillor claims police tried to smear her when she suspected a minister of child sex abuse’

Apr 30th, 2014 22:30

Anna Tapsell told Scotland Yard about the rumours and claims the Met looked at her finances in a bit to destroy her credibility

New Scotland Yard

Accusation: Tapsell says her claims were not taken seriously

A whistleblower has claimed Scotland Yard tried to discredit her after she told an officer that one of Tony Blair’s ministers was suspected of child sex abuse.

Anna Tapsell said the alleged Met plot to smear her – in a bid to destroy her credibility as a witness – included snooping into her finances.

Ms Tapsell told detective Clive Driscoll in 1998 about rumours that the minister abused boys at a childrens’ home in Lambeth, South London, in the 1980s. Mr Driscoll was removed from the probe into abuse at the Brixton home and was subjected to disciplinary proceedings after naming the politician.

Ms Tapsell, a former Labour councillor in Lambeth, said: “It’s incredibly sad for the children who suffered during that time that the police were spending their energy on seeking to smear me and trying to destroy the career of an officer who was only doing his duty.” Social services staff who were involved in the case suspect there was a cover-up to prevent the minister from being further investigated.

In 1999, Michael John Carroll, now 65, was jailed for 10 years for child sex attacks while he ran the home.

Police yesterday handed evidence to the CPS after interviewing a man allegedly abused as a teenager in the 1970s by Labour peer Lord Janner, now 85.

Tom Pettifor, ‘Was Bulic Forsythe killed to protect paedophile ring ‘linked to future minister in Tony Blair’s government?”

May 21st, 2014 06:00

The council official told a new witness, tracked down in a Mirror investigation, that he suspected vulnerable youngsters were being assaulted by an organised gang

Bulic Forsythe and Kiddist

Questions: Bulic and his daughter Kiddist

Cold case detectives are probing the murder of a council official who vowed to expose a paedophile ring allegedly linked to a future minister in Tony Blair’s government.

The daughter of Bulic Forsythe believes her father may have been killed because he uncovered a children’s home vice ring involving powerful figures.

Bulic told a new witness, tracked down in a Mirror investigation, that he suspected vulnerable youngsters were being assaulted by an organised gang at one home said to have been visited by the Labour politician.

But days later Bulic, 42, was beaten to death in his flat and the case has remained unsolved for 21 years.

Documents reveal detective Clive Driscoll advised the investigation should be reopened when he found potential links to his 1998 children’s homes probe in Lambeth, South London.

But Mr Driscoll was removed from the case for naming the Blair minister as a suspect and Bulic’s murder file has not been touched for 14 years.

Scotland Yard’s Serious Crime Review Group are finally looking at it afresh after the Daily Mirror tracked down the daughter he never met.

Kiddist Forsythe – born three months after Bulic’s murder and 21 next week – said: “Police must examine whether my dad was killed because of what he knew about child sex abuse in Lambeth and if it was linked to people in power.

“We know that he told more than one person he was going to expose wrongdoing in the borough shortly before he was murdered and that his killer or killers remain free.”

Firefighters burst into Bulic’s blazing flat early on Friday, February 6, 1993, and found his blood-soaked body.

The social services manager’s skull had been fractured by a heavy weapon.

Dawn Forsythe and Kiddist

Justice: Bulic Forsythe’s wife Dawn and daughter Kiddist

In the months before his murder, Bulic had told colleagues at Lambeth Council he was on the verge of exposing child sex abuse and corruption.

A new witness told detectives for the first time last year that a terrified Bulic confided in her shortly before his death.

Speaking after she was tracked down by the Mirror, the former Lambeth worker said: “Bulic said, ‘With what I’m about to tell you I’m taking a big risk.

“What if I was to say that council buildings are being used for child sexual abuse on a regular basis’.”

The witness added: “Bulic came to me a second time because South Vale [youth assessment centre in West Norwood] had closed and he asked me who had the keys.

“He said, ‘People are saying they are using it to make films’. He was very frightened about something and then he was murdered.”

Bulic died at the time of an internal Lambeth council probe into alleged sexual abuse in the housing department where he had worked.

The resulting report, obtained by the Mirror, details allegations of rape, sexual assault and the swapping of child abuse videos and violent porn within the council. It implicated senior Lambeth officers as well as police and local politicians.

The report, signed by chair of the panel Eithne Harris, states: “The murder of Bulic Forsythe was seen by some witnesses as a possible outcome for anyone who strayed too far in their investigation or who asked too many questions.”

Published internally in December 1993, it adds: “The panel heard evidence about BF [Bulic Forsythe] while he was working in Social Services, speaking to a colleague and telling her he was going to ‘spill the beans’.

“Three days later he was killed.”

This is not the witness traced by the Mirror.

Mirror - Police and the Paedo MP Cover-Up

Investigation: A Daily Mirror front page

It states: “BF had allegedly expressed his fear of [boss initials] to another witness who visited him.

“He appeared very frightened to the witness. The witness at this point appeared fearful”

The report describes the atmosphere in the department as “one of intense fear”.

Though the panel found no “direct link” between his death and work it said its evidence should be handed to police.

Bulic was last seen alive at 8.45pm on Wednesday, February 4, 1993.

A BBC Crimewatch broadcast five months later revealed that at 10am on the Thursday three official looking men were seen by a neighbour carrying files away from his flat in Clapham, South London.

Two more men were seen in a car behind the property at 2pm. His bedroom was torched at 1am on Friday and the oven turned on.

Kiddist’s mum and Bulic’s widow, Dawn, 60, said: “I think someone wanted to shut him up.”

Paedophiles abused children in Lambeth’s homes for decades.

A former social services manager told Mr Driscoll in 1998 that she saw the future Blair minister making evening visits to the Angell Road children’s home in Brixton in the early 80s.

She claimed she learnt he had visited South Vale.

Tom Pettifor, ‘Tony Blair’s minister accused of helping convicted paedophile to foster young boys’

Jul 7th, 2014 06:00

The latest allegations over the politician – later a minister in Tony Blair’s Government – have been declared ‘shocking’ by campaigning MP Tom Watson

When the phone rang in the Southwark social services department in South London the caller is believed to have come straight to the point.

He is claimed to have enquired about a Michael John Carroll’s failed application to foster two brothers who had been taken into care from a troubled family.

Carefully choosing his words the rising star in the Labour Party is alleged not to have put direct pressure on the officer but still made clear he was unhappy about the refusal.

Southwark had turned down the request because Carroll was a convicted paedophile, a new witness has claimed.

The Labour politician’s call was just one part of what appears to have been a concerted and involved effort by several influential people to secure permission for Carroll to be a foster carer.

He was employed by Lambeth council in South London as a children’s home manager despite him having a conviction for sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy twenty years earlier.

The offence had come to light in 1986 when the Carrolls made their original application to Croydon council, where they lived, to become foster parents. It was refused and Lambeth were made aware of the offence leading to a disciplinary hearing headed by their then assistant director of social services David Pope in May that year.

Carroll received just a written warning after insisting his conviction was a “boyish prank” and was allowed to remain in charge of the children’s home. Mr Pope did not respond when asked about the case last month.

Carroll and his wife wanted to foster the 12 and 14-year-old boys who had been on holidays with them to North Wales.

Lambeth had been considering the application but in summer 1986 they allegedly referred it to neighbouring Southwark council for an independent decision.

A new witness has told Labour MP Tom Watson that a Southwark social worker was given the case and advised it should be halted because of Carroll’s conviction. This was allegedly agreed by a senior official.

Southwark then made clear in writing to Lambeth that they were concerned that he was still in charge of a children’s home, the witness has said.

It is claimed that this decision led to intense pressure being applied on Southwark officials by Lambeth and a person close to the Labour politician allegedly contacted officers twice about the case before paying them a visit to demand they reverse the decision.

When they refused to budge, the Labour figure made the phone call.

Mr Watson said: “It appears that the understandable concern amongst Southwark officials was that Lambeth was employing a convicted paedophile to run a children’s home and while allegedly pushing for him to be allowed to foster two boys. The witness has told me that the Southwark vetting process was ended with a refusal which clearly went down badly with some.”

Despite being blocked by Southwark, Lambeth’s executives continued to back the couple’s application and took the case to another neighbouring borough, this time Wandsworth. A source who was close to the Wandsworth team has confirmed that they were never told about Southwark’s previous involvement.

An officer from Lambeth social services allegedly phoned a Wandsworth official and asked him to falsify documents relating to Carroll’s criminal conviction before they were put before the fostering committee.

But the boys’ social worker at Lambeth threatened to resign unless Carroll’s access to them was stopped.

Instead, four senior Lambeth officers recommended allowing Carroll and his wife June, also a residential social worker, to become the boys’ official “aunt and uncle”.

Though the fostering application was rejected by Wandsworth, in December 1990 Lambeth began paying the Carrolls £67.85 a week to look after one of the brothers at their home.

Carroll was finally dismissed in 1991 for squandering his home’s budget on alcohol and cigarettes while the children were often eating out-of-date food.

The scandal around Lambeth’s employment of Carroll and attempts to help him foster the boys resulted in an independent inquiry in 1993.

Michael Carroll

Convicted paedophile Michael Carroll

A report produced by Richard Clough, then general secretary of the Social Care Association, accused Lambeth officers of gross unprofessionalism.

But sources close to Mr Clough have said he was never told about Southwark’s involvement in the case and last night Mr Watson called for an investigation into the apparent cover up by Lambeth.

Mr Watson, who has passed the new witnesses information to Scotland Yard, said: ““The allegation that Lambeth failed to disclose their contact with Southwark to Mr Clough’s public inquiry is shocking.

“A fully independent investigation must now be set up to find out what exactly happened and who was responsible.

“It also appears that a politician put pressure on social services professionals to allow a convicted paedophile to foster two vulnerable boys.

“Lambeth were effectively shopping around for a council that would allow Carroll unrestricted access to these boys. As this was going on he was able to informally foster them and take them away on holiday.

“This dark chapter in the history of Lambeth must be fully investigated to get justice for the people whose lives have been destroyed by Carroll and all those who facilitated his offending.

“Carroll was able to sexually abuse children because Lambeth, who were responsible for their care, allowed him to do it. The question is who was protecting him and why?”

Anna Tapsell, whose campaigning sparked the Clough report when she was the the Labour chairwoman of Lambeth’s social services committee, said: “I thought I’d seen everything but these allegations are shocking. However, I am encouraged that the truth is now going to emerge despite the authorities efforts to keep things under wraps. It appears a lot of people are beginning to realise that the sexual abuse of children goes well beyond a few TV stars and deep into the political arena.”

Mr Clough questioned in his report why Lambeth went to “extraordinary lengths” to enable the Carrolls to officially, and unofficially, foster the children.

Lambeth Town Hall

Lambeth Town Hall

Carroll – whose wife died of breast cancer in 1993 – bought £500,000 hotel in Chirk, near Wrexham, after leaving Lambeth. He currently lives in another half a million pound house close to Wrexham.

Mr Watson was contacted by the new witness after he read our story in April that police were told in 1998 that the Labour politician made evening visits to Carroll’s flat in Angell Road children’s home in the 1980s.

Lambeth officials suspected a cover-up when detective Clive Driscoll was removed from the case and given other duties in November 1998.

Carroll was jailed in 1999 for 10 years over a string of child sex attacks dating back three decades.

The latest shock developments follow Labour MP Simon Danczuk’s claims Westminster politics is the “last refuge of child sex deniers”.

Mr Danczuk has called for a Hillsborough-style inquiry into historical abuse including the Daily Mirror’s revelations that an establishment cover-up blocked a police investigation into child sex claims against the Labour politician.

The Met police are currently examining new criminal allegations linked to Lambeth care homes but are refusing to investigate the cover up revelations. They have also failed to refer it to the police watchdog and the Home Office have also refused to investigate.

Lambeth council said in a statement last night: “ Documents in our archive from this time have not been digitised so they have to be scrutinised manually.

“When we are satisfied that a thorough search has been completed we will be able to answer these specific questions.

“Meanwhile, we would urge anyone with new information to contact Lambeth council or the police.”

Tom Pettifor, ‘Alleged Labour politician paedophile ring ‘investigated by only two police detectives’
Daily Mirror, July 8th, 2014

MP John Mann has asked Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan Howe to reassure the public that allegations uncovered by the Mirror are properly examined


Minister: Member of Tony Blair’s cabinet was named as a suspect

An MP has written to Britain’s most senior policeman to raise concerns that only two detectives are investigating an alleged paedophile ring linked to a Labour politician.

John Mann has asked Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan Howe to reassure the public that allegations uncovered by the Mirror are properly examined.

Labour MP Mr Mann wrote: “I understand that only two officers are investigating the historic abuse of children in care in Lambeth.

“In light of the scale of the abuse being investigated, I am writing to ask that you drastically increase the number of officers and resources available.”

John Mann 2

Concerns: John Mann

MP Tom Watson has previously claimed that Scotland Yard’s paedophile squad, which is running the Lambeth probe, is “chronically under-resourced”.

Police were told in 1998 that the Labour politician implicated visited paedophile Michael John Carroll’s flat at a home in Brixton in the 1980s.

Council officials suspected a cover-up when detective Clive Driscoll was removed from the case in November 1998 when he named a minister in Tony Blair’s government as a suspect.

If you have any information that might help our investigation, please call the Mirror on 0800 282 591.

Tom Pettifor, ‘Award winning author: I was abused at council care home linked to ex-Labour minister’
Daily Mirror, July 13th, 2014

Alex Wheatle MBE writes of how he was sexually assaulted by a doctor at Shirley Oaks in Surrey, run by Lambeth council

Alex Wheatle - Young

An award-winning author today reveals that he was abused at a children’s home thought to be linked to a paedophile ring involving an MP in Tony Blair’s government.

In a moving account, Alex Wheatle, 51, writes of how he was sexually assaulted by a doctor at Shirley Oaks in Surrey, run by Lambeth council, South London.

The father-of-three, awarded an MBE in 2008, broke his silence after an investigation by the Daily Mirror claimed systematic abuse in the borough was covered up after the Labour MP was named as a suspect.

It is thought Alex was targeted by a network of abusers who operated in the same care homes that the rising Labour star is suspected of visiting in the early 80s.

We revealed how a Lambeth social services boss told police in 1998 that the Blair minister would make lone evening visits to a children’s home run by a convicted paedophile, Michael John Carroll.

The witness said Carroll later admitted that the politician was a friend and that he also took boys out of South Vale children’s home in West Norwood during the 80s.

This is a unit which is believed to have been infiltrated by paedophiles from outside the care system.

In his powerful account, Alex speaks of the sickening abuse suffered by youngsters at Shirley Oaks children’s home village.

Alex, who arrived at Shirley Oaks aged three, reveals how “strange nameless men” had access to the home and believes abusers were allowed access with the full knowledge of staff and council chiefs.

He writes: “I’m convinced there was a paedophile ring operating in both South Vale and Shirley Oaks and that the authorities knew about it at the time but did nothing.”

Alex, born in South London, goes on to call for justice for the victims who have been ignored for decades.

He also implores Home Secretary Theresa May that child abuse inquiries recently announced are “thorough”.

Alex Wheatle 2

Read Alex’s chilling first-hand account of his abuse HERE

Sitting on the well-heeled Kent- Surrey border, Shirley Oaks children’s home village – administered by Lambeth council – was surrounded by lush, swerving hills, rushing streams and towering oaks.

At first glance it was the perfect place to raise children, but in 1995, it was shut down.

Fixed into the encircling wall which still stands near the front gate and lodge building is a plaque that reminds passers-by of the thousands of children who once resided there.

Just two minutes’ walk from this symbolic memorial, one of my good friends took her own life – she had left Shirley Oaks but she could never leave behind the tormenting memories and trauma.

Another close friend of mine hanged himself from a toilet chain in one of the cottages. I know he suffered, but I don’t know how.

I arrived in Shirley Oaks in 1966. My first memories were filling in coal buckets and getting beaten up with wooden hair brushes, belts and hard-soled shoes. Suffering violence was as part of my day as eating toast.

As I grew a little older I heard tales of appalling abuses from friends who had been processed at the South Vale assessment centre in West Norwood before arriving at Shirley Oaks for so-called long-term care.

Phrases like “bummed” filled their vocabulary.

Sometimes we would see strange nameless men within the Shirley Oaks grounds. One of them manipulated himself into our cottage, sleeping overnight in the sofa bed within the office. We were told to call him Mark and he said he was a swimming instructor.

He targeted the boys in our cottage but also facilitated swimming lessons for other lads in the pool within the grounds as well as private clients. At these sessions he was the only adult present. There were no CRB checks in those days.

It was only decades later that he was jailed for his disgusting crimes following the Operation Middleton investigation. I’m still unsure if all of his victims came forward.

While all this happened, I did my best to survive. Before I left the primary school that was situated within the complex, I was labelled “maladjusted”. I didn’t even know what the word meant.

I was referred to a doctor. The first thing he told me to do was to strip naked. I stood there traumatised, unable to utter a sound as he sexually assaulted me. I wanted to ask my friends if they had suffered something similar but couldn’t bring myself to do it.

As I began my secondary education there were still odd, nameless men walking the grounds at night. Sometimes you would see them during the day. One drove through the village in an orange mini with blacked-out windows. He claimed he was a football coach but the only skill he possessed was managing to fit inside his tight shorts.

Alex Wheatle getting MBE

Honour: Alex Wheatle is made an MBE by The Queen

He would arrive at a game and take younger boys away to a secluded part of Shirley Oaks where it was assumed he was giving them extra training. Nobody that I knew wanted to discuss these issues with any social worker for fear of being moved away to somewhere even worse.

Indeed, one of my house-mates was taken away for objecting to what was taking place within our household. She came back months later traumatised. She wouldn’t talk of it. Also, we all heard that a member of Shirley Oaks staff had raped a defenceless girl. Fear was a constant companion. At least in Shirley Oaks we had our friends – if that was taken away, we would have nothing.

If you were fortunate enough to have a family member come and see you, social workers or officers­ in­ charge would sometimes apply for a Section 2, which would deny even close relatives from visiting you. It meant the children’s home gained complete control over your life and who you saw. Many of my friends were completely isolated and vulnerable.

Years later, Operation Middleton secured three convicted jail terms. Lambeth council and the police declared the investigation a success. I and many others deem it as a failure. Nineteen paedophiles were never charged or even identified. If any of them are alive they are still walking, smiling and wearing their medals amongst us.

Who were they? How did they gain such willful access to South Vale and Shirley Oaks? At any time during Shirley Oaks’ existence there were hundreds of children in residence and social workers visited their charges every day.

They must have been aware of at least the “swimming instructor” and the “football coach” because they were so visible. They and others somehow gained unchallenged access inside cottages and ultimately to defenceless children.

Alex Wheatle - Brixton Rock

Acclaimed: Brixton Rock by Alex Wheatle

In my case, this Mark character even sat in on my case meetings. I’m convinced there was a paedophile ring operating in both South Vale and Shirley Oaks and that the authorities knew about it at the time but did nothing.

I urge Theresa May that the inquiries she has initiated include the thorough investigation of social services practices, safeguards for children and protection policies and how such men were allowed to get so close to vulnerable children.

Also, I ask her that these investigations should examine all aspects of child abuse including violent, neglect and emotional abuse. Victims have their lives ruined by sexual assault. Some even take their own lives because of it.

Following the closure of Shirley Oaks, someone set fire to the old primary school. I wonder if it was a victim, exacting some form of his or her justice, who for years went ignored and unheard. I really hope my testimony here will prompt others who have suffered to come forward and bear witness to the horrific crimes inflicted against them.

Those nameless men must be unveiled and brought to justice, alive or dead.

If you are an adult who suffered child abuse and want professional help, call NAPAC on 0808 801 0331. If you have any information that you think might help our investigation, please telephone the Mirror on 0800 282 591 or you can email mirrornews@mirror.co.uk.

Alex Wheatle MBE is acclaimed author of novels including Brixton Rock, Brenton Brown, Island Songs & East Of Acre

Tom Pettifor, ‘Ten more sex abuse victims at children’s home linked to ex Labour minister break silence’
Daily Mirror, July 15th, 2014

Now aged in their 30s, 40s and 50s, they came forward after author Alex Wheatle revealed in the Mirror that he was abused at Shirley Oaks home in Surrey

Alex Wheatle

Wants justice: Author Alex Wheatle

At least 10 men and women say they were assaulted at a children’s home linked to suspected abuse by an MP in Tony Blair’s government.

Now aged in their 30s, 40s and 50s, they came forward after author Alex Wheatle revealed in the Mirror that he was abused at Lambeth Council’s Shirley Oaks home in Surrey.

They spoke out as a half-brother of a Tory MP was charged with inciting an 11-year-old boy into an act of gross indecency.

Author Wheatle, a dad of three awarded an MBE in 2008, broke his silence after the Mirror uncovered claims that systematic and horrific abuse was hushed up.

Many of the former residents of Shirley Oaks plan to go to police and want the South London council to launch an independent inquiry.

A 47-year-old man sexually assaulted by swimming instructor William Hook at the care home said today: “It is good the Mirror’s given us a voice after so many years.

“We want justice for the survivors and those who are no longer with us because of the abuse they suffered.

“Lambeth needs to launch a fully independent investigation.”

Alex Wheatle 2

Award winner: Alex Wheatle MBE

Hook was jailed for 10 years in 2001 for attacks on six boys in the 70s.

He had been allowed to continue despite victims complaining. A staff member even failed to tell police when he found Hook sexually assaulting a child.

Another ex-resident said her sister was raped by a staff member as his wife watched.

It is thought Alex and others were targeted by abusers who operated in care homes the rising Labour star is suspected of visiting in the 80s.

Today Charles Napier, 67, the half-brother of Tory MP John Whittingdale, a former private Secretary of Margaret Thatcher, was charged with inciting a child to commit an act of gross indecency.

A second man, Richard Alston, 69, from Suffolk, was charged with assaulting the child in the 70s.

Both are due before Westminster magistrates on July 29.

Laura Kuenssberg, ‘Metropolitan Police official was moved ‘from child abuse inquiry’
BBC Newsnight, July 15th, 2014

[See link for associated videos]

A former senior Metropolitan Police officer says he was moved from his post when he revealed plans to investigate politicians over child abuse claims.

Clive Driscoll says his inquiry into 1980s London children’s homes was “all too uncomfortable to a lot of people”.

He also believes there were “disruption tactics” within the Met during his inquiry that led to the conviction of two of Stephen Lawrence’s killers.

The Met defended its murder inquiry and said Lambeth investigations continued.

List of suspects

Mr Driscoll told BBC Newsnight that while conducting a 1998 inquiry into allegations of abuse in children’s homes in Lambeth, south London, in the 1980s, he was passed a list of suspects’ names, including politicians, that he wanted to investigate.

Speaking for the first time since retirement, he said: “Some of the names were people that were locally working, some people that were, if you like, working nationally.

“There was quite a mix really because it appeared that it was connected to other boroughs and other movement around the country.”

He said after he had shared his suspicions at a meeting, he was taken off the investigation.

‘Fear of reprisals’

“I certainly, in a case conference, disclosed suspects’ names… but I was informed that was inappropriate and I would be removed from my post.”

Mr Driscoll added: “Whenever people spoke to you… about what they had seen, it was almost on the proviso that they wouldn’t make a statement and that they would be scared if you released who those people were that were talking, for fear of reprisals to both their selves and their families.”

He said he felt there had been mistrust on both sides.

“It appeared that certainly people didn’t trust the Metropolitan Police Service, and I think the Metropolitan Police Service possibly didn’t trust some of the people that it was working with.”

Several convictions
Did he fear he was stopped from investigating the Lambeth claims because he suspected more than one politician was involved in child abuse?

He replied: “At the time I just felt that it was all too uncomfortable to a lot of people.”

After Mr Driscoll said he was moved, police continued to look at more than 20 children’s homes.

Investigations are still ongoing and there have been several convictions.

The Met said it was looking into his claims concerning his removal from the investigation and have called him to a meeting in Scotland Yard on Wednesday.

His claims come as two inquiries into historical child sex abuse allegations have dominated recent national headlines.

One is a sweeping, independent inquiry looking at how public bodies dealt with these types of allegations, while the other will look at how the Home Office handled abuse claims dating from the 1980s.

‘Be honest’

Meanwhile, Mr Driscoll also told Newsnight that senior officers in the Met had discussions about holding back certain documents from the Ellison Review, the independent inquiry that looked into allegations of police corruption in the Stephen Lawrence case.

He warned: “One bad decision around disclosure undoes the remarkable work that police officers do up and down the country.

“For me, just be open and honest, warts and all.”

Stephen Lawrence was 18 when he was stabbed to death near a bus stop in Eltham, south-east London, in April 1993, in a racist attack by a gang of white youths.

‘Not enthusiastic’
After years of legal attempts had failed, Mr Driscoll eventually led an investigation that brought the case to court successfully.

David Norris and Gary Dobson were convicted of murder, in January 2012.

But Mr Driscoll said there had been officers inside the Met who did not want a “successful prosecution”.

“There were certainly people I think in senior levels in the Met that weren’t enthusiastic about the investigation. I certainly felt that.”

He felt so concerned about what he described as “disruption tactics” that he said he emailed senior officers with his fears.

Now he has left the force, he said relationships between the Lawrence family and the Met were as bad as they had been just after Stephen’s murder.

‘Right the wrongs’
Mr Driscoll supports Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan Howe, but believes the Met must now be as transparent as possible to rebuild the trust of the public.

He said: “I believe we are in a position today where we have an opportunity to learn and we have an opportunity to put right some of the wrongs.”

The Met told Newsnight no relevant Stephen Lawrence material had been intentionally withheld and its policy was to be open and transparent.

It added it was still committed to continuing the Lawrence investigation.

Press Association, ‘Yard man ‘moved amid abuse probe”
Daily Mail, July 15th, 2014

A former Scotland Yard detective has claimed he was moved from his post after trying to investigate politicians over child abuse.

Retired Detective Chief Inspector Clive Driscoll told the BBC’s Newsnight he was conducting an inquiry in 1998 into activity alleged to have taken place in Lambeth children’s homes in the 1980s.

Mr Driscoll said he had a list of suspects he wanted to look at, including local and national politicians. “Some of the names were people that were locally working. Some people that were if you like, working nationally, there was quite a mix really because it appeared that it was connected to other boroughs and other movement around the country,” he said.

Mr Driscoll said he was removed from his post after sharing his suspicions at a meeting with other officers. “I certainly in a case conference disclosed suspects’ names, 100%, but I was informed that was inappropriate and I would be removed from my post,” he said.

“Whenever people spoke to you and shared their fears and their story about what they had seen, it was almost on the proviso that they wouldn’t make a statement and that they would be scared if you released who those people were that were talking for fear of reprisals to both their selves and their families.”

Investigations are believed to have continued into more than 20 children’s homes after Mr Driscoll was moved. The Metropolitan Police has now reportedly asked to meet him about his claims.

Mr Driscoll, who went on to be involved in the probe that eventually resulted in convictions for the killing of teenager Stephen Lawrence, also claimed there were discussions within the force about holding back certain documents from an independent inquiry into the original murder investigation.

He told the programme he believed there were “disruption tactics” during his successful investigation. Some of Mr Driscoll’s claims could be considered by the Government’s independent inquiry into whether institutions covered up allegations of child abuse.

Ben Quinn, ‘Scotland Yard detective ‘removed over plan to investigate child abuse claims”
The Guardian, July 16th, 2014

Detective chief inspector claims he made people ‘uncomfortable’ by looking into alleged abuse at Lambeth children’s homes

A former Scotland Yard detective who won plaudits for his work on cases including the murder of Stephen Lawrence has claimed that he was moved from his post earlier when he revealed plans to investigate politicians over child abuse claims.

Speaking about his inquiries in 1998 into activity alleged to have taken place in Lambeth children’s homes in the 1980s, retired detective chief inspector Clive Driscoll said that his work was “all too uncomfortable to a lot of people”.

The Metropolitan police has now reportedly asked to discuss the claims with Driscoll, who told BBC Newsnight that he had a list of suspects he wanted to look at, including local and national politicians, adding: “Some of the names were people that were working locally. Some people that were if you like, working nationally, there was quite a mix really because it appeared that it was connected to other boroughs and other movement around the country.”

He claimed that he was removed from his post after sharing his suspicions at a meeting with other officers.

“I certainly in a case conference disclosed suspects’ names, 100%, but I was informed that was inappropriate and I would be removed from my post,” he said.

“Whenever people spoke to you and shared their fears and their story about what they had seen, it was almost on the proviso that they wouldn’t make a statement and that they would be scared if you released who those people were that were talking for fear of reprisals to both their selves and their families.”

Investigations are believed to have continued into more than 20 children’s homes after Driscoll was moved.

Driscoll, who served for more than 30 years with the police, retired this summer against his will after leading the reinvestigation that saw two men convicted of murder of Stephen Lawrence in 2012, 19 years after the killing.

He claimed on Newsnight that there had been discussions within the force about holding back certain documents from an independent inquiry into the original murder investigation.

Driscoll also said that he believed there were “disruption tactics” during his successful investigation.

Asked by Newsnight if he would now trust the Metropolitan police if he was the Lawrence family, Driscoll replied: “No, I probably would not.”

Duwayne Brooks, the surviving victim of the attack that killed Lawrence, has warned that the best chance to catch more of the gang who were involved in the racist attack may be lost because of Driscoll’s departure.

Brooks has described Driscoll’s departure as a “terrible blow” and said that many breakthroughs in the case were down to the detective’s personal style. He claimed that he and many other witnesses would talk only to Driscoll because he had spent years winning their confidence.

Keith Perry, ‘Scotland Yard detective ‘removed from paedophile probe after naming politicians’; The former top officer claimed he suddenly found himself taken off the case and put on a disciplinary after revealing politicians were among the suspects’
The Telegraph, July 16th, 2014

A former Scotland Yard detective has claimed he was moved from his post after trying to investigate politicians over child abuse.

Retired Detective Chief Inspector Clive Driscoll told the BBC’s Newsnight he was conducting an inquiry in 1998 into activity alleged to have taken place inLambeth children’s homes in the 1980s.

Mr Driscoll said he had a list of suspects he wanted to look at, including local and national politicians. “Some of the names were people that were locally working. Some people that were if you like, working nationally, there was quite a mix really because it appeared that it was connected to other boroughs and other movement around the country,” he said.

Mr Driscoll said he was removed from his post after sharing his suspicions at a meeting with other officers. “I certainly in a case conference disclosed suspects’ names, 100%, but I was informed that was inappropriate and I would be removed from my post,” he said.

“Whenever people spoke to you and shared their fears and their story about what they had seen, it was almost on the proviso that they wouldn’t make a statement and that they would be scared if you released who those people were that were talking for fear of reprisals to both their selves and their families.”

Investigations are believed to have continued into more than 20 children’s homes after Mr Driscoll was moved. The Metropolitan Police has now reportedly asked to meet him about his claims.

Mr Driscoll, who went on to be involved in the probe that eventually resulted in convictions for the killing of teenager Stephen Lawrence, also claimed there were discussions within the force about holding back certain documents from an independent inquiry into the original murder investigation.

He told the programme he believed there were “disruption tactics” during his successful investigation. Some of Mr Driscoll’s claims could be considered by the Government’s independent inquiry into whether institutions covered up allegations of child abuse.

Robin de Peyer, ‘Met officer claims Scotland Yard moved him from child abuse probe over suspect names’
Evening Standard, July 16th, 2014

A respected former Met Police detective has said he was taken off a probe into child abuse claims after revealing he planned to investigate senior politicians.

Detective Chief Inspector Clive Driscoll said his investigation in 1998 into allegations of abuse in children’s homes in Lambeth, south London, was “all too uncomfortable to a lot of people”.

He told the BBC that he was passed a list of names – which included those of politicians – he wished to investigate in connection.

But Mr Driscoll alleged that he was taken off the investigation after revealing the identities of some of those connected to the abuse.

“I certainly, in a case conference, disclosed suspects’ names… but I was informed that was inappropriate and I would be removed from my post,” he said.

“Whenever people spoke to you… about what they had seen, it was almost on the proviso that they wouldn’t make a statement and that they would be scared if you released who those people were that were talking, for fear of reprisals to both their selves and their families.”

Mr Driscoll added: “At the time I just felt that it was all too uncomfortable to a lot of people.”

Related stories

The claims come as allegations of an Establishment cover-up have triggered new inquiries, including two announced by Home Secretary Theresa May last week.

The retired officer won plaudits for his role in helping bring two of Stephen Lawrence’s killers to justice after the teenager’s racist murder in Eltham in 1993. David Norris and Gary Dobson were convicted of murder in January 2012.

Mr Driscoll alleged last night that some people within the Met did not want a prosecution: “There were certainly people I think in senior levels in the Met that weren’t enthusiastic about the investigation. I certainly felt that.”

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “The MPS will fully co-operate with the review led by Peter Wanless and the panel chaired by Baroness Butler-Sloss and provide detail of relevant information. Whilst these and live police investigations are ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment on this further.”We are aware of some claims being made by a retired officer which the MPS Directorate of Professional Standards is looking into and for that reason we are not prepared to discuss the matter further at this stage.

“Any allegations of this nature will be taken seriously and investigated accordingly.”

Tom Pettifor, ‘Corruption probe into ‘sacking’ of cop after he named minister as child abuse suspect;
In 1998 Clive Driscoll was subjected to disciplinary proceedings and moved from his child protection post in Lambeth, South London. Now anti-corruption cops are investigating whether his dismissal was linked to him naming an MP as a child abuse suspect’
Daily Mirror, July 16th, 2014

Anti-corruption police have launched an investigation into claims a top detective was removed from a child sex probe when he named a minister in Tony Blair’s government as a suspect.

In 1998 Clive Driscoll was subjected to disciplinary proceedings and moved from his child protection post in Lambeth, South London.

Mr Driscoll, who was forced to retire in May despite nailing two of Stephen Lawrence’s killers, was yesterday quizzed about his claims for more than three hours by detectives from the Met’s Department of Professional Standards. His meeting follows the Daily Mirror’s probe into the alleged cover-up of abusethat went on for many decades in children’s homes in Lambeth, South London.

The Mirror can now reveal that the decision to launch disciplinary proceedings against him was taken by Sir Denis O’Connor, who later became the Chief Inspector of Constabulary. He has told the Mirror he has no recollection of politicians being mentioned as possible suspects.

Sir Denis, then an assistant commissioner, set up a new children’s home probe codenamed Operation Middleton. Led by Det Supt Richard Gargini who reported to deputy assistant commissioner Sir Hugh Orde, it traced 200 victims and secured three convictions. A total of 19 suspects were never identified, fuelling fears a ­paedophile ring had operated involving men from outside the care system.

Child protection expert Helen Kenward jointly led the operation on the social services side. The Government monitored Mr Driscoll’s investigation and Operation Middleton through Paul Clark of the Social Services Inspectorate. Sir Hugh, Mr Gargini, Mr Clark and Ms Kenward met last December to discuss the Mirror investigation.

Sir Hugh said: “Paul Clark told us that he’d met you so it made sense to sit down and have a conversation about it. It was nothing sinister.”

Mr Driscoll was removed after he spoke to a witness who told him the Blair minister made lone evening visits to a children’s home run by convicted paedophile Michael John Carroll.

The witness, a former Lambeth social services boss, told the Mirror the politician would go to a flat in the Angell Road home in Brixton, South London, in the early 1980s along with young boys. Speaking at home in Chirk, Shropshire, Carroll, 65, last week said: “I have never met him (the politician).”

But the witness told detectives last year that Carroll told her the politician was his friend and that he visited the home, along with South Vale assessment centre, in West Norwood and took children out. Carroll was jailed for 10 years in 1999 for child sex offences.

Dr Nigel Goldie, in charge of child protection in Lambeth in 1998, said of Mr Driscoll’s removal: “There was something very unfortunate about how the whole thing was dealt with. There could have been good reason for it [Mr Driscoll’s investigation] being ended but the manner it was done suggests some form of cover-up.”

A memo from 1998 says the then health minister Frank Dobson was to be updated about the investigation. Mr Dobson denies being told a minister had been investigated about child sex abuse. Mr Clark also denies being aware of it. If you have any information that you think might help our investigation, please telephone the Mirror on 0800 282 591 or email mirrornews@mirror.co.uk

Martin Bentham, ‘Ex-Met officer calls for immunity to let police speak out on child abuse’
Evening Standard, July 16th, 2014

AN AMNESTY should be given to former police officers to allow them to speak out about paedophile networks operating in Westminster three decades ago, an ex-Special Branch officer has said.

Chris Hobbs, who spent 32 years with the Metropolitan Police, said that “quite a few” officers would have knowledge about child abuse allegations that they could give the inquiry set up by Home Secretary Theresa May.

But he warned that fear of potential prosecution might deter some from coming forward unless some form of immunity was given that would allow the officers to pass on the information with confidence.

His amnesty call came as another former Scotland Yard detective claimed that he was moved from his post after trying to investigate politicians over childabuse.

Retired Detective Chief Inspector Clive Driscoll told the BBC’s Newsnight he had drawn up a list of suspects, including national and local politicians, after conducting an inquiry in 1998 into activity alleged to have taken place in Lambeth children’s homes in the Eighties. But he claimed that he was moved from his post after being told that it had been “inappropriate” for him to raise the names during a meeting with colleagues.

The new disclosures will heighten concern about whether the Government’s forthcoming inquiry into child abuse can establish the facts about the alleged historic paedophile networks operating at Westminster and elsewhere.

In his comments in an interview with Sky News, Mr Hobbs said it was clear that “quite a few” officers, from the rank of commissioner and chief constable down to detectives, would have known about allegations of child abuse among politicians three decades ago.

But he said an amnesty would now be the only way to encourage them to come forward and speak out.

Mr Hobbs said: “I think it would help, it would help set officers’ minds at rest if there was some form of protection there for them, that they weren’t suddenly going to subject to the criminal investigations for possibly just doing what they were told. I suspect there will be a substantial number of police officers that will know something and will be thinking to themselves, ‘Shall I come forward, dare I risk it, or if I keep my head down will the storm pass me by?’.”

Mr Hobbs added that “every police officer in London” at the time had heard rumours about Cyril Smith, the late Rochdale MP, who has been named as one of the abusers of young boys.

Meanwhile, Mr Driscoll said he had found widespread reluctance to speak out during his child abuse investigation, but had drawn up a list of suspects.

He added: “Some of the names were people that were locally working. Some people that were, if you like, working nationally. There was quite a mix really because it appeared that it was connected to other boroughs and other movement around the country.”

The Government’s inquiry will examine allegations about paedophile activity at Westminster and at organisations such as the BBC.

Corruption probe into ‘sacking’ of cop after he named minister as child abuse suspect
Legal Monitor Worldwide, July 17th, 2014

Anti-corruption police have launched an investigation into claims a top detective was removed from a child sex probe when he named a minister in Tony Blair’s government as a suspect.

In 1998 Clive Driscoll was subjected to disciplinary proceedings and moved from his child protection post in Lambeth, South London.

Mr Driscoll, who was forced to retire in May despite nailing two of Stephen Lawrence’s killers, was yesterday quizzed about his claims for more than three hours by detectives from the Met’s Department of Professional Standards. His meeting follows the Daily Mirror’s probe into the alleged cover-up of abuse that went on for many decades in children’s homes in Lambeth, South London.

The Mirror can now reveal that the decision to launch disciplinary proceedings against him was taken by Sir Denis O’Connor, who later became the Chief Inspector of Constabulary. He has told the Mirror he has no recollection of politicians being mentioned as possible suspects.

Sir Denis, then an assistant commissioner, set up a new children’s home probe codenamed Operation Middleton. Led by Det Supt Richard Gargini who reported to deputy assistant commissioner Sir Hugh Orde, it traced 200 victims and secured three convictions. A total of 19 suspects were never identified, fuelling fears a ­paedophile ring had operated involving men from outside the care system.

Child protection expert Helen Kenward jointly led the operation on the social services side. The Government monitored Mr Driscoll’s investigation and Operation Middleton through Paul Clark of the Social Services Inspectorate. Sir Hugh, Mr Gargini, Mr Clark and Ms Kenward met last December to discuss the Mirror investigation. Sir Hugh said: “Paul Clark told us that he’d met you so it made sense to sit down and have a conversation about it. It was nothing sinister.”

Mr Driscoll was removed after he spoke to a witness who told him the Blair minister made lone evening visits to a children’s home run by convicted paedophile Michael John Carroll.

The witness, a former Lambeth social services boss, told the Mirror the politician would go to a flat in the Angell Road home in Brixton, South London, in the early 1980s along with young boys. Speaking at home in Chirk, Shropshire, Carroll, 65, last week said: “I have never met him (the politician).”

But the witness told detectives last year that Carroll told her the politician was his friend and that he visited the home, along with South Vale assessment centre, in West Norwood and took children out. Carroll was jailed for 10 years in 1999 for child sex offences. Dr Nigel Goldie, in charge of child protection inLambeth in 1998, said of Mr Driscoll’s removal: “There was something very unfortunate about how the whole thing was dealt with. There could have been good reason for it [Mr Driscoll’s investigation] being ended but the manner it was done suggests some form of cover-up.”

A memo from 1998 says the then health minister Frank Dobson was to be updated about the investigation. Mr Dobson denies being told a minister had been investigated about child sex abuse. Mr Clark also denies being aware of it.

‘Inquiry ‘A Failure”
Croydon Advertiser Series, July 17th, 2014

ALEX Wheatle described the police investigation into abuse at children’s homes including Shirley Oaks as a “failure” because more needed to be done to explore why perpetrators had access.

His account follows the announcement of an independent inquiry to investigate the way public bodies handled sex abuse claims and a separate review by the Home Office into how it dealt with written allegations about powerful paedophiles in the 1980s.

Mr Wheatle called on Home Secretary Theresa May to ensure “all aspects of child abuse including violent, neglect and emotional abuse” are taken into account.

“Victims have their lives ruined by sexual assault,” he said. “Some even take their own lives because of it. I really hope my testimony will prompt others who have suffered to come forward and bear witness to the horrific crimes inflicted against them.”

Lambeth Council said it would co-operate fully with the reviews announced by the Home Office.

Gareth Davies, ‘Author’s claims of Shirley Oaks abuse rebuffed’
Croydon Advertiser Series, July 17th, 2014

AN HISTORIAN and former resident of a children’s home in Shirley has questioned claims it was exploited by a paedophile ring.

Author Alex Wheatle, 51, alleged this week that he was sexually abused while living at Shirley Oaks Children’s Home in Wickham Road, where he lived between 1966 until 1978.

The father of three, appointed MBE in 1998, said he was “convinced” a network of paedophiles were operating in the home and that “the authorities knew about it at the time but did nothing”.

His account of life in Shirley Oaks, which was run by Lambeth Council and closed in 1983, has made headlines in several national newspapers and been covered by the BBC.

But, according to a man who lived at the home during the same period, his claims have deeply distressed some former residents and staff.

Gerry Coll, 53, who co-authored a history of Shirley Oaks, told the Advertiser: “Some of the things he has said are disrespectful to the people who passed through [the home], the vast majority of whom had good experiences there.

“I agree with some of Alex’s account, but what I cannot accept is that Shirley Oaks was rampant with sexual abuse. In no way was it. I lived there from 18 months to 13 years old and the staff were very good. I’ve had phone calls from people who are shocked and taken aback. They think what Alex has said is quite scandalous.”

Mr Wheatle arrived at Shirley Oaks aged three in 1966. His account includes how he was sexually assaulted by a doctor within the grounds of the children’s home. He wrote in the Mirror: “The first thing he told me to do was to strip naked. I stood there traumatised, unable to utter a sound as he sexually assaulted me. I wanted to ask my friends if they had suffered something similar but couldn’t bring myself to do it.”

Mr Wheatle, who later wrote Brixton Rock, said “unnamed men” would regularly visit Shirley Oaks. One, a swimming instructor, “manipulated himself” into the cottage where boys lived, “sleeping overnight in the sofa bed within the office”.

“He targeted boys in our cottage but also facilitated swimming lessons for other lads within the grounds as well as private clients. At these sessions he was the only adult present. There were no CRB checks in those days.

“It was only decades later that he was jailed for his disgusting crimes. I’m still unsure whether all of his victims came forward.”

After Shirley Oaks closed, the police and Lambeth Council launched a joint investigation into abuse at homes run by the authority.

Three people were jailed as a result of Operation Middleton, which found 16 alleged abusers had died and 19 others “could not be identified”.

Shirley Oaks is one of three Lambeth-run children’s homes the Mirror has linked to an alleged paedophile ring thought to involve an unnamed MP in Tony Blair’s government.

Those allegations include claims that the politician took boys out of South Vale children’s home in West Norwood in the 1980s.

Mr Wheatle told the paper: “I’m convinced there was a paedophile ring operating in both South Vale and Shirley Oaks and that the authorities knew about it at the time but did nothing.”

Mr Coll, who lived at Shirley Oaks during the same period, said: “I don’t believe there was a conspiracy. Hundreds, if not thousands, of children lived at Shirley Oaks and the vast majority were not abused.

“Where bad things happened they did so because people weren’t properly vetted. There was a police investigation 20 years ago and those responsible were caught. I don’t understand why it’s been dragged up again. We feel dirtied by it.”

Victims of abuse tell of cruelty at home
Croydon Advertiser Series, July 24th, 2014

VICTIMS of abuse at Shirley Oaks have come forward to support claims of systemic cruelty at the former children’s home.

Those who have spoken out, some for the first time, described being subjected to physical, emotional and sexual mistreatment, in some cases on an almost daily basis.

Most felt compelled to do so after author Alex Wheatle, 51, said he was sexually assaulted while living in the Lambeth-run children’s home between 1966 and 1978.

They were also angered by claims, made by a Shirley Oaks historian and former resident, that abuse was not endemic.

The Advertiser has spoken to seven victims since last week’s report into cruelty at the children’s home in Wickham Road, Shirley.

Three members of the same family have waived their right to anonymity to describe the harrowing experiences they faced while growing up in the care system.

All six children from the Gocan family were placed in Shirley Oaks after their father left and their mother had a breakdown in 1967. For more than a decade, Pauline Gocan, 50, has been fighting for answers as to why she was sexually abused by visitors to the children’s home.

The victims who agreed to speak to the Advertiser feel strongly that Operation Middleton, the joint police and council investigation into abuse at children’s homes in south London between 1974 and 1994, did not go far enough.

Three people were jailed as a result of the operation, which found 16 alleged abusers had died and 19 others “could not be identified”.

‘Punishments that crushed the spirit’
Croydon Advertiser Series, July 24th, 2014

THE abuse experienced by some of children placed in Shirley Oaks took many forms.

While those who were convicted of wrong-doing were predominantly sex offenders, former residents who spoke to the Advertiser this week described being the victims of physical and emotional cruelty on a day-to-day basis.

David Annon, 47, who was sent to Shirley Oaks in 1969, was regularly subjected to punishments he says were designed to crush his spirit.

“If we spoke at night time a guy would come in, get us out of bed, march us down to the kitchen and make us stand and face the wall with bare feet for two hours,” he explained.

“After a while they would come back down and make us take all of the pots and pans out of the cupboards and put them back again. This went on every other day. Imagine how that must have felt as a young child. We hadn’t done anything more than giggle.”

Mr Annon, who now lives in Peckham, was regularly “slapped” but he also saw staff punch children, sometimes in the face. On one occasion a care worker pinned him to a wall by his neck.

“They also used to force me down to the ground to comb my hair,” he said. “They used to rake it out. Even now I flinch when someone touches my hair.

“The abuse was constant and they got away with it. As a child you are frightened to talk. Kids used to be seen but not heard. We were so frightened that even when the punching was going on, we didn’t say anything, even to each other.”

Last year Mr Annon tried to pursue legal action against Lambeth Council, but was told he was unlikely to be successful.

“I was told I couldn’t go to court because it would just be my word to go on,” he said.

“They said if more people came forward than they would have a case. Now it’s starting to come out, my solicitor believes I should try again.”

‘Abuse victims all still bear emotional scars’
Croydon Advertiser Series, July 24th, 2014

VICTIMS of abuse at Shirley Oaks have come forward to support claims of systemic cruelty at the former children’s home.

Those who have spoken out, some for the first time, described being subjected to physical, emotional and sexual mistreatment, in some cases on an almost daily basis.

Most felt compelled to speak after author Alex Wheatle, 51, said he was sexually assaulted while living in the Lambeth-run children’s home between 1966 and 1978.

They were also angered by claims, made by a Shirley Oaks historian and former resident, that the abuse was not endemic.

The Advertiser has spoken to seven victims since last week’s report into cruelty at the children’s home, which closed in 1983.

Each described the harrowing experiences they faced while growing up in the care system, both in Shirley Oaks and, in some cases, elsewhere.

They feel strongly that Operation Middleton, the joint police and council investigation into abuse at children’s homes in south London between 1974 and 1994, did not go far enough.

Three people were jailed as a result of the operation, which found 16 alleged abusers had died and 19 others “could not be identified”.

All six children from the Gocan family were placed there after their father left the country and their mother had a breakdown in 1967. For more than a decade Pauline Gocan, 50, has been fighting for answers as to why she was sexually abused by visitors to the children’s home. She was inspired to speak out this week by Mr Wheatle’s account of being abused by a doctor.

Shirley Oaks is one of three Lambeth-run children’s homes the Daily Mirror has linked to an alleged paedophile ring thought to involve an unnamed MP in Tony Blair’s government.

Those allegations include claims the unnamed politician took boys out of South Vale children’s home in West Norwood in the 1980s.

Some of the people who agreed to speak to the Advertiser this week detailed how they were sexually abused by mysterious figures who were regular visitors to the home.

Others described being subject to frequent beatings, verbal abuse and punishments seemingly designed to humiliate and grind down the human spirit. Most felt unable to speak out at the time and have faced an almost impossible task of holding the authorities to account decades later.

What is also clear is the long-lasting impact of even the mistreatment which might be thought of as less serious.

Some of those who went on the record, now in their late 40s to early 50s, have problems with alcohol or drugs. Few are in work and most find it very difficult to form relationships.

Many still have nightmares and others have sought therapy. At one stage or another several have been in trouble with the law. Leigh Gocan has twice been convicted of armed robbery.

Perhaps most troubling is the example of his sister Yvonne Burdon, who has had all three of her children taken away from her and put into care. “History is repeating itself,” she said.

All of those who experienced ill-treatment at Shirley Oaks still bear the emotional and, in some cases, physical scars.

They reacted strongly when Gerry Coll, who went to the care home at the same time as Mr Wheatle and later co-authored a book on the history of the institution, said it was “in no way rampant with sexual abuse“.

Despite coming under fire this week, Mr Coll has written an open letter to the Advertiser reiterating his opinions.

Kevin Donnelly, who was in care at the same time as Mr Coll, is among those convinced that abuse was widespread at Shirley Oaks.

“The systematic physical, mental and sexual abuse that many children, including myself, suffered at the hands of people in charge of our so called care was horrific,” he said in a letter to the Advertiser.

Mr Donnelly, who now lives in Eastbourne, is one of the victims who was eventually able to see his abuser jailed as a result of Operation Middleton.

He said: “Because of the court case I had to eventually face my demons, tell my wife and family what had happened to me as a child after all those years, and I suffered a breakdown soon after.

“I have tried hard to settle down and move on with my life, but it will always be in the back of my mind as it will for all those who suffered the same fate.”

Middleton officers investigated 78 allegations of sexual abuse and 46 reports of cruelty or assault, leading to 16 arrests, four charges, three convictions and a death during a trial.

As a result of media coverage of historical sexual abuse, police received two further allegations in November 2012. A 63-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of a sexual offence against a minor and a 78-year-old woman was detained on suspicion of perverting the course of justice and child cruelty.

Both have been bailed pending further investigation.

Anyone who wishes to report an allegation of historic sexual abuse is urged to contact the police on 020 7161 0500. If you can help with the Advertiser’s investigation email gareth.davies@croydonadvertiser.co.uk

Turn to page 34 for Mr Coll and Mr Donnelly’s full letters.

GRAPHIC: HUGE SITE: At one time, Shirley Oaks had around 400 children on its books
LAST WEEK: Our story about Alex Wheatle’s allegations

‘They did things to me when they turned off the lights. And now I am petrified of the dark’
Croydon Advertiser Series, July 24th, 2014

“MY son once asked me why I leave the light on at night and I told him I do it because of my childhood,” said 50-year-old Pauline Gocan.

“I didn’t tell him it was because of Shirley Oaks. They did things to me when they turned the light off. Now I am petrified of the dark.”

Pauline and her five brothers and sisters were placed at Shirley Oaks Children’s Home in Wickham Road, Croydon, when their mother was diagnosed as schizophrenic in 1967.

She suffered physical, emotional or sexual abuse at the hands of staff and visitors to the home, which rarely fell below 400 children on roll before it was closed in 1983.

This week Pauline, her brother Leigh, 53, and sister Yvonne, 48, have waived their legal right to anonymity to talk, for the first time, about their experiences. They are among half a dozen victims who agreed to speak to the Advertiser this week after reading author Alex Wheatle’s account of being sexually assaulted by a doctor at the home run by Lambeth Council.

Their stories provide compelling evidence to support his claim, made in a national newspaper, of systemic abuse at Shirley Oaks, and their call for a new investigation.

Pauline met our reporter at her home in Brixton. Before describing her experiences at Shirley Oaks she asked Leigh to leave the room, as there are details she still feels unable to share with him. “I don’t know where to start,” she said. “I don’t know how to put it into words. I don’t have memories, I have nightmares.”

When Pauline and her siblings first arrived at Shirley Oaks they were separated and placed among the 38 cottages where the children lived.

Only six years old at the time, she recalls being sexually abused by “big people” who would regularly visit the dormitory at night.

“They would come and do things,” she said. “They would make us do things. They were sexually abusing me. When we were allowed out into the gardens, I would refuse to go back inside. Their response was to drag me back into the house and beat me. They used to hit me all the time. Sometimes it was the back of the hand, others a slipper. Beatings were all I knew. The house mother was a wicked woman.”

Like other victims who have chosen to speak out, Pauline felt unable to tell anyone about what was happening – even the other children.

“I don’t know why I didn’t talk about it. Maybe it’s because they were always threatening to lock me up. So I stayed silent and carried the shame with me until 2011.”

It was only then, 35 years later, that her doctor advised her to seek counselling. The therapist was the first person she told about being sexually assaulted. “It helped me to say what I wanted to say without fear of being locked up,” she explained.

A decade earlier, Pauline and several of her brothers and sisters spoke about some of their experiences to police officers assigned to Operation Middleton, an investigation into child abuse at several south London children’s homes, including Shirley Oaks. “The police listened to me but I didn’t get justice. Some did, but not me.”

Pauline has since pursued every conceivable avenue to find answers and closure, including small claims court action against Lambeth Council and an appeal to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. She was offered £3,600. “I didn’t take it, I thought it was an insult,” she said.

She wrote to David Cameron, with no success, before a solicitor agreed to review her case, only to tell her she had exhausted all her options. A few months later, in a moment of despair, she shredded the paperwork she had collected over a 22-year period.

“I had done all that work but nothing had come of it,” she said. “I saw the system as what it is. It’s fraudulent and fake. I wanted to get rid of every piece of evidence that I had been a part of it. I destroyed it and tried to get on with my life.”

Then, last week, she received a message from another victim. “Shirley Oaks is on the front page of the Mirror,” it read. “Spread the word.”

The spotlight was back on the children’s home thanks to writer Alex Wheatle. The father of three said he was “convinced” a network of paedophiles were operating in the home and that “the authorities knew about it at the time but did nothing”.

He described how “strange, nameless men” would visit the cottages, including a swimming instructor later convicted of abusing children at Shirley Oaks, including Pauline’s sister.

“When I read the story I knew it was my opportunity to come forward,” said Pauline, who rang the number at the end of the article and was advised by a reporter to contact the police.

Last Saturday, an officer visited her home to speak about her allegations. “It went very well. He said he couldn’t promise anything, but that’s the story of my life – there have never been any promises. I thought I had gone down all the legal avenues but the article has opened the way for me to come forward and say: ‘I want justice’.”

Whether or not Pauline and other victims will get the answers they are looking for is unclear. The recent public inquiry, set up to examine how public bodies dealt with sex abuse claims, has provided another glimmer of hope. For now they live with the long-term effects, not just of deliberate cruelty, but of a childhood in care.

“I was groomed to be a nasty person and my fight is not to be that way,” said Pauline. “All the things that happened to me when they came into my bed during the night, and all the beatings I took, groomed me to be bad.

“I was a child brought up in the system and then left to fend for myself. I’ve made a lot of errors but I can admit my mistakes.

“Now it’s time for those involved to do the same. It will only take one person to do what is right and maybe things can start to change.”

GRAPHIC: BRAVERY: Siblings Pauline and Leigh Gocan have waived their legal right to anonymity and spoken about the abuse they suffered at Shirley Oaks Children’s Home Photo by Gareth Davies

Andrew Jameson, ‘Witness tells of baby being beaten at children’s home’
Croydon Advertiser Series, July 31st, 2014

A WOMAN who was at Shirley Oaks Children’s Home in the early 1970s claims she witnessed a six-month-old baby being beaten by a member of staff.

More allegations of abuse at the Lambeth Council-run home emerged this week as a result of the Advertiser’s ongoing investigation.

Joanne Davies, 51, from Sutton, was placed at the home in the early 1970s and spent a few years there.

She said although she never witnessed or heard of sexual abuse during her time, she recalled seeing an horrific incident during her stay.

“I was the eldest in my house,” she said.

“We had a family of children staying because their mother had killed one of their siblings. But I remember seeing this six-month-old baby being beaten repeatedly by the man in charge of our house.

“I went and told someone and all that was done was the man was moved to another house which we used to walk past every day.

“I have no idea what must have gone on in there.”

Abuse at Shirley Oaks was investigated between 1998 and 2003 as part of Operation Middleton which looked at sexual and physical abuse allegations atLambeth care homes between 1975 and 1994.

Ms Davies supports the call of the other victims the Advertiser has spoken to reopen the investigation properly and said she was disappointed with Operation Middleton.

She also said the abuse was clearly widespread and felt the operation was too focused on specific allegation.

Ms Davies said: “I was mad. When Operation Middleton was going on I got in touch and said they shouldn’t just be focused on what went on in the swimming pool – there were 34 different houses in the place, there was a lot more to look at.

“The woman took my contact details but never got back in touch. When I read the Advertiser last week, I was so shocked.”

When she attempted to gain access to her file in 2000, Ms Davies was denied access until the Freedom of Information Act was passed in 2001 – although the file was said to contain limited information.

Alex Wheatle, whose account of the sexual abuse he suffered when at Shirley Oaks made national headlines, told the Advertiser this week he did not want to go “tit-for-tat” with Gerry Coll, 53, who co-authored a book on the history of Shirley Oaks and who disputes Mr Wheatle’s claim that sexual abuse was rife within the home.

“For the last eight years, nothing has really happened. There are still a lot of questions which need answering,” Mr Wheatle said.

“I have said what I have to say about this, I don’t really want to talk about it much more.”

The police investigation into the abuse at Lambeth’s children’s homes is still ongoing as Operation Trinity. Two men and a woman were arrested as part of the operation last year and are the most recent arrests.

One man has been charged but the offences do not relate to Shirley Oaks.

Anyone who wishes to report an allegation of past sexual abuse is urged to contact specially trained police officers on 020 7161 0500.

GRAPHIC: investigation: Shirley Oaks Children’s Home was one of many Lambeth homes to be investigated
Answers needed: Alex Wheatle has spoken out about the sexual abuse he suffered at Shirley Oaks Children’s Home

Croydon Advertiser Series, August 14th, 2014

I WAS given a copy of the Croydon Advertiser from the July 25 2014.

I was shocked and appalled to read about abuse that took place in Shirley Oaks.

I was a young boy in the children’s home when it was known as Shirley Residential School later to become Shirley Oaks.

I went into the home from another residential home at Ashford, Middlesex in January 1952. At that time, the school was run by London County Council I was there for nine years and in all that time, there was never any scandals about child abuse. Yes, we did get smacked for bad behaviour but it definitely was NOTabuse.

I can honestly say that we were treated very well and very well fed.

I do not think the children could have had a better upbringing. We had a lot of things that families did not always get.

We had our own swimming pool, lots of field sports, a very good education both at the internal primary school and at secondary modern schools outside the home.

We had films every two weeks and as much play time outside of school hours.

As for adults coming into the school to take children away for the weekends, it just did not happen unless it was the parents of the child, or an aunt, but before the child went, the parents or auntie had to get permission from the headmaster. I do know that on rare occasions, this was refused.

All the abuses in your article appear to have happened when the London Borough of Lambeth took over the school from the LCC. Lambeth only had the school for a short time before it was closed but in that time, the school became so rundown, with a very large turnover of staff. I often returned to the cottage to see the housemother after I left Shirley Oaks in 1961 and once Lambeth took over, I was told I would not be welcome to visit.

Lambeth has a lot to answer for concerning Shirley Oaks, especially what happened to the money that they got for the grounds – which was 98 acres.

These are my own feelings concerning Shirley Oaks. A really wonderful childhood I do not think I would have changed.

Richard Dutton

Tom Pettifor, ‘Police investigating claims minister in Tony Blair government abused vulnerable children in the 80s; The Metropolitan Police has launched Operation ­Overview in response to Mirror reports about the politician, who was a rising Labour star at the time’
Daily Mirror, September 28th, 2014

Detectives are investigating claims that a minister in Tony Blair’s government sexually abused children in the 1980s, Scotland Yard have revealed.

Officers from Operation Overview have interviewed a number of witnesses in connection with an alleged cover up of child sex abuse by the politician inLambeth, south London.

The Daily Mirror can reveal they are examining claims that photographs of the Labour star with a convicted paedophile disappeared after they were handed to police.

The images allegedly included the politician pictured on caravan holidays with the pervert, who was first convicted of child abuse in 1966, and vulnerable youngsters in the 1980s.

The latest allegation comes from a youth worker who says he gave the police 100 photos along with a 30-page signed statement in the late 1990s.

The witness claims he was told by a detective a year later that his evidence had disappeared.

He said: “We were not talking about some historical documents, this was a statement I had given them just 12 months earlier.

“As soon as I discovered it had disappeared I refused to say anything else to the police. I was very alarmed. It blew me off the planet to think it had gone.”

The police team was set up following a series of articles in the Daily Mirror revealing how retired detective Clive Driscoll was removed from investigating a paedophile ring in November 1998 in Lambeth, south London, after naming politicians among the suspects.

The inquiry has been operating in secret at the headquarters of Scotland Yard’s child abuse command at Empress State Building in Earl’s Court, London.

The Met stressed the operation was a “scoping exercise” aimed at a preliminary assessment of the evidence rather than a formal inquiry.

The team have been told by the former youth worker that he took photographs of holidays between 1986 and 1994 after starting his first job as a youth worker with the Association of Combined Youth Clubs, partly run by convicted paedophile Michael John Carroll.

The former youth worker said two senior detectives spent a day quizzing him at Walworth Road police station in south east London after Carroll was arrested in June 1998.

He said: “They told me he was part of a paedophile ring and had turned supergrass and was giving evidence against (others). They wanted to know who I knew in the organisation who was involved in the children’s holidays and which guys were coming down.

“I have worked in criminal justice for many years and am clear it was a standard MG11, a statement, signed and dated and tape recorded.

“I told them everything I knew. I took in a stack of pictures and the police removed about 100 that showed the adults who had visited.

“I gave them detailed information and photographs of all the men who had stayed in the caravans. I named names and gave information about where the men worked and sometimes where they lived.”

Labour MP Tom Watson interviews new witness over alleged child sex abuse cover up

Labour MP Tom Watson said: “This is another compelling witness uncovered by the Daily Mirror who gives a first hand account detailing a cover up of possible child sexual abuse.

“I will be writing to both the Commissioner of the Metropolitan police and the chief constable of Merseyside police to demand an urgent inquiry into what happened to these photographs and the witness statement.

“If evidence has been deliberately destroyed or hidden then those who were involved in this must be held to account.

“Senior politicians and police officers must be questioned about what they knew and criminal charges should be brought if evidence is found of a cover up.”

Referring to missing Home Office files, Mr Watson added: “This appears to be yet another example where potential evidence relating to child abuse, apparently given to the police, has gone missing.”

Carroll was said to be on a committee that hand picked around 60 deprived boys and girls, aged five to 14, to go to the Havens caravan park in Christchurch, near Bournemouth, for two weeks every summer.

Many came from Catholic children’s homes and had already suffered sexual abuse.

A group of men, including the rising Labour star, would allegedly travel down on the Friday evening and sleep in the caravans with the children over the weekends.

The new witness said he cut his ties with the ACYC in the mid 1990s when he learned some colleagues were convicted paedophiles. It changed it’s name shortly afterwards before shutting down.

He claimed: “It became quite clear that the organisation had been infiltrated by a group of paedophiles.

“This was a paedophile ring protected by the police and people connected to Lambeth council who were taking away very vulnerable children every year for a decade. It was like a conveyor belt feeding children to abusers.

“Sometimes kids would wet the bed and then they would sleep with in the adult’s room. At the time I didn’t have a problem with it. It was totally plausible.

“Carroll would always say he was untouchable. He was a kingpin in Lambeth.”

Carroll was jailed for a string of child sex offences at Liverpool Crown Court in 1999 following an investigation by Merseyside police.

He had eight counts of indecency and rape against three girls dropped in 2000 at Liverpool Crown Court after the the Crown Prosecution Service abandoned the case. The court heard the case was dropped because of “evidential difficulties” and that the three women stood by their stories.

The paedophile denies ever meeting the Labour politician or being connected to a paedophile ring in Lambeth.

The new witness is speaking to the Metropolitan police after he was tracked down by the Mirror. They are understood to have so far been unable to find the photographs or the statement.

The force’s Department for Professional Standards are investigating if anyone should face criminal proceedings over the alleged cover-up.

The witness is prepared to give evidence at any possible future trial as well as to the public inquiry into claims of an establishment cover up of child sex abuse.

Home Secretary Teresa May announced the inquiry after it emerged a dossier handed to Leon Brittan by Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens detailing allegations of a 1980s Westminster vice ring is one of 114 potentially relevant Home Office files that have disappeared.

The Association of Combined Youth Clubs was founded in 1977 and funded by the Inner London Education Authority, local councils and the Met police. Princess Anne became the patron and BBC presenter David Dimbleby was a director. There is no suggestion they knew anything about the abuse.

The ACYC had strong links with the Catholic church, senior politicians and police officers.

Records seen by the Daily Mirror show Carroll was a board member in the early 1980s.

The former youth worker said four or five other members of the organisation were later convicted of child sex offences or found to already have convictions. The Mirror has so far been unable to find details of the offences.

A spokesman for Merseyside police said they had conducted a thorough search and could find no record of the new witness having given a statement or photographs to them. A spokeswoman for the Met refused to comment about the statement and pictures.

It said in a statement: “Officers from the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command are conducting a scoping exercise, Operation Overview, in response to the Mirror’s reports of historic sexual offending in Lambeth.

“This has not yet reached the threshold for a criminal investigation and we have no victim allegations at this time.

Any victim of abuse is urged to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.

‘Cops probing Labour minister’ abuse claim
Daily Record & Sunday Mail, September 29th, 2014

DETECTIVES are looking into claims a minister in Tony Blair’s government sexually abused children in the 1980s.

Officers from Operation Overview have interviewed a number of people in connection with an alleged cover-up of child sex abuse by the politician in Lambeth,London.

Police are examining claims that photographs of the Labour star with a convicted paedophile disappeared after they were handed to police.

They allegedly showed him on holidays with the pervert and vulnerable youngsters in the 1980s.

The Met said Operation Overview was a “scoping exercise” and they had no allegations from victims yet.

Tom Pettifor, ‘Probe into Tony Blair ‘Child Sex’ Minister’
Daily Mirror, September 29th, 2014

POLICE are investigating claims a minister in Tony Blair’s government abused vulnerable children in the 80s, Scotland Yard has revealed.

The Met has launched Operation Overview in response to Mirror reports about the politician, who was a rising Labour star at the time.

Officers have interviewed a number of witnesses in connection with an alleged cover up of child sex abuse by him.

Detectives are examining claims that photographs of the man with a convicted paedophile and vulnerable youngsters – taken during caravan holidays – vanished after they were handed to police.

The allegation comes from a former youth worker who says he gave officers the snaps along with a 30-page signed statement in the late 90s only to be told a year later they had disappeared.

He said: “We were not talking about some historical documents, this was a statement I had given them just 12 months earlier.

“As soon as I discovered it had disappeared I refused to say anything else to the police. I was very alarmed.”

The witness said he took photos between 1986 and 1994 while with the Association of Combined Youth Clubs, a group partly run by paedophile Michael John Carroll. He was the pervert the politician allegedly visited at a children’s home. in Lambeth, South London. Carroll was said to be on a committee that picked boys and girls aged five to 14 to go to a holiday park in Christchurch, Dorset, each summer.

Men, including the politician, would allegedly sleep in the caravans. It is not suggested they were on the committee.

The witness said police quizzed him after Carroll’s arrest in 1998.

He said: “They told me he was part of a paedophile ring turned supergrass. I gave them photographs of all the men who had stayed in the caravans. I named names.”

Detectives are understood to have so far been unable to find the snaps or the statement. Labour MP Tom Watson said: “This is another compelling witness uncovered by the Mirror. Senior politicians and police must be questioned about what they knew and charges should be brought if there was a cover up.”

Carroll, who denies meeting the politician, was jailed in 1999 for child sex. The Met refused to comment on the claims.

Overview was set up after we revealed that detective Clive Drisdeprived coll was removed from the probe in 1998 after naming politicians as suspects.

The Met said Operation Overview is a “scoping exercise” launched in response to the “Mirror’s reports of historic sexual offending in Lambeth“.

Any victim of abuse is urged to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.



GRAPHIC: paedo ‘carer’ Carroll was jailed.

‘Cover-Up is probed’
Daily Mirror, November 6th, 2014

A STRING of historical abuse allegations has been made against politicians in the last two years.

Scotland Yard is investigating claims uncovered by the Daily Mirror that a minister in Tony Blair’s government was protected by the establishment when a detective investigated him on suspicion of child sex abuse.

Retired Met officer Clive Driscoll said he was removed from the children’s home probe in Lambeth, South London, in 1998 after he named politicians as suspects. Operation Overview has interviewed witnesses in connection with the alleged cover-up.

Scotland Yard is also carrying out an internal anti-corruption inquiry.

Police launched a number of investigations after Labour’s Tom Watson made claims of sexual abuse linked to Westminster to MPs in October 2012.

A national police group is exploring possible links between child sex abuse probes involving celebrities and politicians, and schools and care homes.

James Murray, ‘Was this social worker killed because he got too close to an Establishment child abuse snuff film ring?’
Sunday Express, November 16th, 2014

SCOTLAND YARD is being asked to investigate two potential child murders and the deaths of a man and a woman as part of the rapidly expanding investigation into VIP paedophile rings.

One boy is feared to have been trafficked to Holland for a snuff video – he is believed to have been murdered on film – and another boy vanished after being seen with a notorious child killer.

A social worker was battered to death after planning to blow the whistle on a gang and a woman who ran a guest house where paedophiles were filmed died in suspicious circumstances.

The developing strands of the complex investigation come as Prime Minister David Cameron is under mounting pressure to appoint a head of the public inquiry into historic sex abuse scandals said to involve a former Cabinet minister, several MPs and spy chief Sir Peter Hayman.

Today we reveal former social worker Chris Fay has told Scotland Yard of how a paedophile ring trafficked the boy to Holland.

Speaking exclusively to the Sunday Express, Mr Fay said: “I was in contact with a Dutch police investigator looking into snuff videos some 30 years ago.

“He sent me an audio tape of what sounded like a snuff video taking place. I distinctly heard a boy aged about 10 with the same south London accent as me. I went cold and was naturally very worried for the child’s safety.

“It was thought a paedophile ring had arranged for the boy to be sent to Holland, effectively selling him on to other paedophiles.

“Nobody has ever established what happened to the child. It was known snuff movies involving child murder were going on in Holland.

“Over the years I have gained a great deal of knowledge of paedophile rings which I have passed on to the police.”

Mr Fay suspects that paedophile Sidney Cooke was involved in trafficking children. Farm labourer Cooke, 87, of Stroud, Gloucestershire, was jailed in 1985 for the sadistic manslaughter of 14-year-old Jason Swift who died during a horrific attack.

His body was found in a shallow grave in Essex.

Mr Fay said: “Cooke was a highly dangerous, evil person working with a well-organised ring. There is evidence that he was seen with two boys going into a wooded area in east London and one of the boys escaped. “Police spoke to the boy who got away but they never found the other boy and I fear he was abused and murdered.

“I raised this with the police back in 1990.”

It is believed Yard officers have spoken to Cooke, who is being treated in the hospital wing of Wakefield Prison in Yorkshire after he suffered a stroke.

Cold case detectives are also looking into the unsolved murder of social worker Bulic Forsythe, who uncovered a vice ring centred on a children’s home.

Mr Forsythe, 42, was found dead with a smashed skull in his burning London flat in 1993.

Months earlier he told colleagues of his concerns about organised child abuse in which films were apparently made. One name mentioned was that of a future Labour minister.

Earlier this year his daughter Kiddist, 21, said: “Police must examine whether my dad was killed because of what he knew about child sex abuse in Lambethand if it was linked to people in power.

“He told more than one person he was going to expose wrongdoing in the borough shortly before he was murdered.”

Scotland Yard is also investigating child abuse alleged to have been carried out by a Westminster paedophile ring at the Elm House guest house in Barnes, west London, and the exclusive Dolphin Square apartments just a short walk from Parliament. Carole Kasir, 47, ran the gay-friendly guest house, which several MPs including the disgraced Liberal Democrat Cyril Smith are said to have visited.

She is said to have taken photographs of well-known visitors in compromising situations with juveniles.

In June 1990 she was found dead in her London flat from an insulin overdose. Notes indicating suicide were found nearby. However, during the inquest the coroner said “conspiracy allegations threw doubt on the accuracy of the suicide notes”.

A suicide verdict was later recorded.

Mr Fay said: “Scotland Yard should be taking a closer look at her death. She was keeping an awful lot of secrets.”

The Yard is also investigating separate allegations that a former Cabinet minister, spy chief and military figures were part of a paedophile ring abusing children at Dolphin Square.

A witness told the BBC: “They created fear that penetrated every part of me, day in day out.

“You didn’t question what they wanted. You did as they asked and the punishments were very severe.”

Among those who attended the parties was MI6 chief Sir Peter Hayman, who was caught with paedophile literature in 1978 and fined six years later for gross indecency. He died in 1992 at the age of 78.

Scotland Yard said in a statement it was aware of allegations of sexual abuse said to have occurred more than 30 years ago and its investigations had led to information regarding possible homicide.

Child abuse detectives and homicide colleagues were looking at the case under the codename Operation Midland. It went on: “At this early stage in this inquiry, with much work still to do, it is not appropriate to issue appeals or reveal more information.”

‘It sounded like a snuff video was taking place – a boy of about 10 with a London accent. I went cold’

GRAPHIC: Pictures: MIRRORPIX; REXVICTIM: Jason Swift and Sidney Cooke, jailed for killing himUNSOLVED MURDER: Social worker Bulic Forsythe was found with a smashed skull in his burning flat raising suspicions he was killed to hush him up

Don Hale, ‘Sex gang ‘murders”
Daily Star, November 16th, 2014

DETECTIVES investigating an alleged VIP child abuse ring are looking into the possible murder of two whistleblowers more than 30 years ago.

It is thought the pair, who worked in a children’s home, were about to reveal information about the alleged Westminster paedophile ring. The shock news came after it emerged Scotland Yard is probing a “possible homicide” at a block of luxury flats popular with MPs.

The Dolphin Square apartments in Pimlico, London, are said to have been used for child sex abuse “parties” involving senior politicians, spy chiefs and leading military and legal figures in the 1970s and 80s.

But an MP now claims the alleged sex abuse ring may have been linked to at least two more murders.

John Mann, 54, inset above, said: “The deaths of these people are linked to a children’s home at Lambeth and concern two adults that I believe were murdered.

“They were both potential whistle- blowers who knew about the paedophile activities of senior political figures and well-known individuals.

“I have given the details to the police before but now they seem to be taking the allegations seriously and I have been interviewed and expect to be interviewed again soon.

John Mann

“The information has come from various sources including alleged victims of this paedophile ring. They have also told me of many suicides by children who were abused and humiliated.”

Met Police detectives are currently searching for the infamous “Dickens Dossier” – the missing file detail- ing allegations of a Westminster child sex ring in the 1980s.

Mr Mann, Labour MP for Bassetlaw, Notts, added: “Since the Dickens Dossier and the activities of paedophile MP Cyril Smith have been highlighted, victims have started coming forward.

“At first I heard from about eight victims but now dozens of people are coming forward to give evidence. “They are naming names but they are not all politicians or famous people.”

The Government set up an inquiry into claims of a top level cover-up of VIP paedophiles but Home Secretary Theresa May has struggled to find a chairman.

Two people asked to lead the inquiry – lawyer Fiona Woolf and retired judge Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss – have been forced to quit over their links to the Establishment.

Rebecca Camber, ‘MP ‘told police about VIP paedophile ring’s parties 26 years go’: Labour’s John Mann claims he handed evidence of abuse over to Scotland Yard but investigation was shelved’
Daily Mail, November 17th, 2014

  • MP John Mann said he handed evidence of ‘abuse parties’ to police in 1998
  • Claims case was closed within three months on orders of ‘those at the top’
  • Police probing reports of murders linked to paedophile ring in 1970 and 80s

Police were told a Cabinet minister and prominent MPs were abusing children 26 years ago at a block of luxury flats used by politicians but nothing was done, a senior MP revealed yesterday.

Fears of a cover-up of an Establishment paedophile ring deepened last night as an MP said he handed over evidence in 1988 of ‘abuse parties’ at Dolphin Square and other London locations, but an investigation was shelved by Scotland Yard.

Labour’s John Mann said the case was closed within three months on the orders of ‘those at the top’.

His revelation came as it emerged that police are probing disturbing reports of three murders linked to the alleged VIP paedophile ring in the 1970s and 1980s.

A victim has claimed he saw a Conservative MP strangle a 12-year-old boy to death at an ‘abuse party’ in a Central London townhouse around 1980.

The witness, known only as Nick, says a Tory Cabinet minister watched two men kill a second boy in a depraved sexual assault a year later.

He has also told police he saw a boy of ten or 11 being run over in broad daylight.

The extraordinary allegations come just days after Scotland Yard announced it was setting up a new inquiry, Operation Midland, to investigate ‘possible homicides’ more than 30 years ago linked to a child abuse network said to involve senior politicians, spy chiefs, prominent military and legal figures.

But yesterday Mr Mann claimed the Metropolitan Police knew back in 1988 that these sex parties were happening and did nothing to stop them.

As a young councillor investigating corruption in his local borough of Lambeth, Mr Mann uncovered evidence that a Tory Cabinet minister and other serving politicians were sexually abusing children taken from care homes to Dolphin Square, a luxury riverside estate in Pimlico which has been home to dozens of MPs.

He reported his concerns to Lambeth police, but told the Mail: ‘I was told in 1989 by local police that they were very unhappy but they had been instructed to stop the investigation by someone at the top of the police.’

In July this year, it emerged that a 40-page dossier on suspected Establishment paedophiles compiled by the late Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens and sent to then Home Secretary Leon Brittan in 1983 had vanished.

A recent Home Office inquiry into its whereabouts failed to uncover the files and Home Secretary Theresa May said she could not rule out a possible cover-up.

Tom Watson, the Labour MP who first raised the alarm in 2012 at Prime Minister’s Questions when he said a paedophile ring was linked to ‘Parliament and No 10’, called for a national police inquiry.

‘The allegations of cruelty, torture and murder are truly shocking, and go far beyond the case that I raised with the Prime Minister two years ago,’ he said.

‘The public will be deeply concerned, which is why it is vital the police quickly establish the facts.

‘They are such disturbing allegations that I have no doubt that the resources will be found to conduct a thorough investigation.’


The man whose allegations of VIP sex parties are at the centre of a police inquiry last night claimed to have witnessed a boy being murdered by a Tory MP.

Known only as ‘Nick’, the witness said the horrifying experience of being assaulted by an alleged VIP paedophile ring of MPs, spy chiefs, military and legal officials had haunted his life.

Around 1980, he recalls being driven by a chauffeur to a luxury London townhouse with a terrified 12-year-old boy who he claims was then strangled to death by a Tory MP.

The man told the Sunday People: ‘I knew we were being taken somewhere to be sexually abused by powerful men. But I had no idea of the true horror of what was about to happen.’

He also claims a Tory Cabinet minister and another Tory MP raped him and other boys aged between ten and 14, who were chauffeur-driven to parties across London in luxury cars.

One of the addresses where the alleged parties took place was in Dolphin Square, a prestigious Pimlico complex popular with MPs.

Nick believes he was taken there at least ten times for ‘abuse parties’ between 1975 and 1984.

In 1979, he says he saw an unknown member of the paedophile gang run over a boy of ten or 11 in south-west London as a ‘warning’ to other victims not to speak out. Then, in 1981, he alleges a third child was murdered in front of a Tory Cabinet minister.

After received counselling for the abuse he suffered, Nick contacted the Exaro investigative website in May before deciding to go to police. His claims are being investigated by Scotland Yard.

Guy Adams, ‘Paedophile orgies in luxury flats and claims three boys were murdered by VIPs: Special report into the growing stench of a cover-up by the Establishment ‘
Daily Mail, November 21st, 2014

The claim was as clear as it was chilling: behind the genteel façade of one of London’s most famous apartment blocks, children faced abuse on an industrial scale.

Every weekend, groups of vulnerable boys from local care homes were being smuggled to an address in Dolphin Square, Pimlico. There, after being plied with alcohol, they suffered sickening sexual assaults.

The paedophile ring orchestrating these crimes had, over time, come to believe it enjoyed immunity, a whistle-blower told police at the time.

After all, members were said to include a cross-section of Britain’s most influential politicians.

‘I had been specifically told that we were dealing with Conservative MPs,’ that whistle-blower, John Mann, recalled to me this week. ‘That’s one of the things which stood out for me.

‘Another was how violent it sounded. There was talk of dogs being involved and beatings. I would describe it as quite awful; the sort of thing you don’t easily forget.’

Mann, who is now a prominent Labour MP, originally stumbled across claims of abuse at Dolphin Square in 1988, when he was an ambitious young councillor in the South London borough of Lambeth.

At the time, he was leading an inquiry into endemic corruption in the Left-wing council’s housing department, where millions of pounds of taxpayer money was being syphoned to crooked building contractors.

‘The whole place was rotten to the core,’ he recalls. ‘I was leading a team of three or four employees looking into it. The scale of corruption was enormous. It involved criminal gangs. Two of our sources were drivers for [the Krays’ gangster rival] Charlie Richardson.’

During the course of this 18-month investigation, Mann had, however, uncovered evidence of a very different sort of organised crime: that a shady group linked to the building fraud was also running child sex rackets.

‘My team was getting tip-offs about all sorts of things,’ he says. ‘But this particular one was very precise. We were told that young boys from Lambeth care homes were being recruited as rent boys. Many went to Dolphin Square.

‘We were told this by several sources. It was very specific: there were sex parties there, and they involved Tory MPs.’

Initially, Mann says he ‘couldn’t work out what to do’ with this information, since ‘sex crimes weren’t something we were supposed to be investigating’.

But soon, realising the gravity of the situation, he decided to call a meeting with two officers from Streatham police station in South London.

‘I told them everything, and they promised to look closely into it,’ he says.

So far, so straightforward. But three months later, Mann heard a knock on the door of his office on South Lambeth Road. It was the two policemen. They apologised, but told me they had been forced to close their entire investigation,’ Mann recalls.

‘They’d been forced to drop it. Pressure had come from on high in the police service. There was nothing they could do about it. They were very unhappy.’

With that, the Dolphin Square child sex scandal of 1988 was brushed under the carpet.

And there it might very well have remained were it not for an extraordinary series of events which began at exactly 12.06pm last Friday.

That was when the Metropolitan Police issued a press release revealing that it has launched an inquiry, ‘possible homicide’, linked to an establishment paedophile ring believed to have operated at Dolphin Square and other locations 30 years ago.

News of the inquiry, Operation Midland, came as an alleged victim, known as ‘Nick,’ gave two harrowing interviews detailing his ordeal at the hands of ‘very powerful people’ who ‘controlled my life for … nine years’.

Speaking to the BBC, ‘Nick’ told how he was originally ‘handed over’ to the group by his own father, an active paedophile, in the late 1970s.

‘They created fear that penetrated every part of me,’ he said. ‘I’ve never experienced pain like it. I hope I never do again.’

The group was ‘very organised’ and included leading members of the judiciary, military, and security services, along with politicians. It would hire chauffeurs to pick up victims and ferry them to sex parties or ‘sessions’.

The group would hire chauffeurs to pick up victims and ferry them to sex parties

After several hours of carousing, the ‘sessions’ would descend into ‘private time’, where ‘you’d have to perform various sexual things, but it would always culminate in being raped’.

On occasion, events took an even darker turn. For in an interview with Exaro, an investigative website, ‘Nick’ made the extraordinary claim that in addition to abusing victims, the gang had killed at least three of them.

He recalled seeing one small boy murdered in the presence of a former Tory Cabinet Minister, and another asphyxiated by a Conservative MP at a central London townhouse.

‘I watched while that happened. I am not sure how I got out of that,’ he said.

The third murder is said to have occurred in broad daylight on a street in South-West London in 1979, when a member of the group deliberately ran over and killed a boy aged between 11 and 12.

‘Nick,’ who claims to have visited Dolphin Square on at least ten occasions (and recalls its ‘dimly-lit, musty corridors’), has supplied Operation Midland with a written account of his ordeal and been interviewed extensively by investigators, passing them names of the Tory MP and the Cabinet Minister.

He has also identified a third abuser, Sir Peter Hayman, a former diplomat prominent in the Paedophile Information Exchange, a pro-paedophile lobby group endorsed at the time by the National Council for Civil Liberties, run by the future Labour grandees Harriet Harman, Jack Dromey and Patricia Hewitt.

The three boys identified by ‘Nick’ are doubtless not the only alleged victims now on Operation Midland’s radar.

On Wednesday, for example, the father of Vishal Mehrotra, an eight-year-old boy murdered in the 1980s, went public with the claim that his son also died at the hands of a Westminster paedophile ring.

Vishambar Mehrotra, a retired magistrate, told the Daily Telegraph how he received an anonymous phone call following his son’s disappearance on a Putney street in July 1981.

It purportedly came from a male prostitute who believed Vishal had been taken to Elm Guest House, a gay brothel in nearby Barnes allegedly frequented by high-profile sex offenders, including several figures now implicated in the Dolphin Square scandal.

At the time, Mr Mehrotra passed a 15-minute tape recording of the call to detectives, but claims they never properly investigated the allegation.

Part of Vishal’s body was found in woodland in West Sussex in February 1982. His legs, pelvis and lower spine were missing, along with his outer clothes and Superman underpants.

‘Now it is clear to me that there has been a huge cover-up,’ Mr Mehrotra said. ‘There is no doubt in my mind.’

The very idea that grown men might have killed small boys for sexual gratification might sound outlandish, but it’s not without precedent.

In a notorious 1989 court case, Sidney Cooke and three other members of a paedophile gang dubbed The Dirty Dozen were convicted of killing 14-year-old Jason Swift, who had been gang-raped.

Cooke was later implicated by one of his co-accused in that case, Leslie Bailey, of having also been involved in the 1984 abduction, rape and killing of seven-year-old Mark Tildesley, although only Bailey was eventually charged, having pleaded guilty to Mark’s manslaughter.

Police are believed to have tried recently (without success) to persuade the now 87-year-old Cooke to assist with recent inquiries. He is understood to have refused to help, and is not believed to have had personal links with MPs, judges or other VIPs.

Wherever they lead, this week’s developments will, nonetheless, add weight to claims – first aired by the Labour MP Tom Watson in October 2012 – that a ‘powerful paedophile network’ with links to Parliament operated with impunity in the 1970s and 1980s, using friends in high places to stay ahead of the law.

A string of prominent figures from all three major parties have so far been implicated in the scandal, most notably Cyril Smith, the Lib Dem MP for Rochdale, and Sir Peter Morrison, Margaret Thatcher’s private secretary.

The former Home Secretary Leon Brittan, has, meanwhile, been accused of ignoring or burying a dossier, given to him by the Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens in 1983, which named eight MPs as members of the sex ring. He denies the allegation.

Over the past year, I have devoted much of my time to investigating these child sex scandals, along with others involving the Paedophile Information Exchange, the Labour peer Lord Janner, and the Tory backbencher Sir Nicholas Fairbairn.

The idea that grown men might have killed small boys for sexual gratification might sound outlandish, but it’s not without precedent

While a definitive ‘smoking gun’ is yet to emerge, the surprising number of parallels between the cases, and the weight of evidence to support the often-outlandish claims at their centre, leaves me in little doubt that some sort of Establishment paedophile ring existed in Britain in the 1970s and 1980s. And it seems increasingly likely many of its members were protected by the security services.

With this in mind, three police investigations are duly underway: Operation Midland, Operation Fernbridge (focusing on Elm Guest House) and Operation Fairbank (looking at political figures). A fourth, Operation Cayacos, is scrutinising the late Peter Righton, an influential social worker and convicted paedophile.

A source with knowledge of their progress told me this week that investigators currently believe Establishment paedophiles used flats at Dolphin Square as a ‘dropping-off point’ for young prostitutes.

‘Kids were brought there, and often partied there, but were sometimes also ferried to the Dorchester, or the Ritz, or addresses in central London,’ he said.

‘They were like lumps of meat in the back of a car. It [Dolphin Square] was a very convenient, and discreet, dropping-off point.’

The vast complex of 1,250 flats on a 7.5-acre plot close to the Thames was built in 1937 to provide homes for individuals its developers described as ‘notable in public life or society’.

Past tenants include the Far-Right political leader Oswald Mosley, Harold Wilson, Christine Keeler and Princess Anne, who (after moving out) allegedly claimed to be tired of ‘nosy neighbours, noisy traffic and the sight of hookers plying their trade nearby’.

By the late 1980s, it housed 51 MPs, 16 peers, 12 generals and six admirals. More recently, such noted Parliamentarians as William Hague, Alastair Darling, Malcolm Rifkind, Menzies Campbell and Mo Mowlam called it home.

Dolphin Square, just a few hundred metres along the Thames from Parliament, has always contained its own shops, restaurants and leisure facilities, but – unusually – was not gated, meaning outsiders could come and go. Some of its units could also be rented on short-term lets, making them perfect for non-residents to hold decadent parties or conduct fleeting affairs.

Intriguing in light of recent events is the fact that in 1994, a small-circulation magazine called Scallywag published a lengthy article detailing rumours that politicians had been abusing children at Dolphin Square for 20 years.

‘We often have underage boys wandering around, totally lost, asking for a particular flat,’ a source there purportedly told it.

Scallywag was, however, the very opposite of a reliable source. It had achieved notoriety in 1993 after being sued by the Prime Minister John Major for reporting entirely fictitious rumours that he’d had an affair with a Downing Street caterer.

Its coverage of Dolphin Square was also riven with factual errors. Indeed, it centred on the entirely false premise that a paedophile ring was being run there by the late former Tory treasurer Lord McAlpine.

Only one source was named for this very serious allegation: a former care home resident called Steve Messham.

In 2012, the same Mr Messham resurfaced on BBC Newsnight. He again alleged that he had been abused by a ‘senior political figure’, who was later identified on social media as Lord McAlpine, only to realise – after being shown a photograph of the Conservative peer two days later – that it was a case of mistaken identity.

The ensuing controversy saw the BBC pay £185,000 in damages, and led to the resignation of its new director-general George Entwistle.

 It is vital this new investigation is utterly rigorous – only then will Dolphin Square finally give up its secrets

All of which neatly illustrates the difficulty of separating truth from fantasy when dealing with historic sex abuse, along with the scale of

the challenge now facing investigators if they are to assemble sufficient evidence to secure any convictions.

The testimony of ‘Nick’ provides another case in point. A professional man, who has no criminal record or apparent mental health issues, he is considered a trustworthy witness.

However, there is at present no physical or documentary evidence to back up many crucial aspects of his story about the Dolphin Square sex ring (I have searched in vain, for example, for contemporary newspaper articles about a small boy being mown down on a London street in broad daylight).

Neither are the police believed to have found anyone capable of providing reliable testimony that corroborates many of ‘Nick’s’ claims.

This fact may explain why the BBC have (unlike the news website Exaro) so far held back from broadcasting some of the more explosive aspects of his story, including suggestions that he witnessed murders carried out by senior Tories.

It may also explain why the police chose so publicly to announce their murder investigation – believing, perhaps, that media coverage might be a good way to persuade other victims to come forward.

After all these years, attempting to substantiate even vague details of Labour MP John Mann’s tale is equally difficult. Only two members of the small team who worked with him at Lambeth are still believed to be alive. The location of one, Hayley Graham, is currently unknown, but this week I tracked the other, Jack Organ, to Almeira in Southern Spain.

Here, the 73-year-old retiree lives with his wife Paula Strudwick, who coincidentally is a former dominatrix who in 1997 made headlines after telling the News of the World about her lengthy affair with the Tory minister Jonathan Aitken.

Organ told me that in September he was contacted by police officers from London working on the Dolphin Square sex inquiry. However, he was unable to offer them much help.

‘I remember rumours of abuse, involving homosexuality in Lambeth children’s homes. There was talk of important people being involved. But it was hard to pin down anything specific.

‘The police were searching for hard evidence. They offered to come and see me if I had any. I just can’t remember the sort of details they are after.’

Time will tell whether other lines of inquiry yield more fruit. The tragedy, of course, is that if police had mounted a thorough investigation 30 years ago and these allegations had been tested in court, the fate of ‘Nick’ and so many other young men is likely to have been very different.

That is why it is vital this new investigation is utterly rigorous. Only then will Dolphin Square finally give up its secrets.

Additional reporting: Rebecca Camber.


Harvey Proctor’s Statement Today – and the False Claims about Tom Watson and other MPs

Below is the complete text of Harvey Proctor’s extraordinary statement today (originally posted on The Needle Blog), after having yesterday been questioned for the second time by detectives from Operation Midland, which is investigated allegations of child sex abuse linked to Westminster.

It would not in any way be my place to express a view on the truth or otherwise of the extraordinarily serious allegations detailed below – this is for the police to investigate, and either bring charges against the individual(s) alleged to have committed the offences, or if there is found to be clear evidence of false allegation or malicious intent, to bring charges against the individual(s) responsible for that.

But I want to draw attention to one thing said today by Proctor:

Those Labour Members of Parliament who have misused parliamentary privilege and their special position on these matters should apologise. They have behaved disgracefully, especially attacking dead parliamentarians who cannot defend themselves and others and they should make amends. They are welcome to sue me for libel. In particular, Mr Tom Watson, M.P. should state, outside the protection of the House of Commons, the names of ex Ministers and ex M.P.s who he feels are part of the so called alleged Westminster rent boy ring.

The definition of Parliamentary Privilege is as follows:

Parliamentary privilege grants certain legal immunities for Members of both Houses which allow them to perform their duties without interference from outside the House. The privileges are: Freedom of speech, freedom from arrest (on civil matters), freedom of access to the sovereign and that ‘the most favourable construction should be placed on all the Houses’s proceedings’. Members are immune from legal action in terms of slander but must adhere to the principles of parliamentary language.

Since Tom Watson MP made his statement on October 24th, 2012 alleging that the evidence files used to convict Peter Righton contained evidence of a high-level paedophile ring with links to a former prime minister (which Watson detailed more on his blog, not subject to parliamentary privilege), there have been several debates and select committee hearings in Parliament to do with child sexual abuse involving prominent people, most of them last year in the process leading to the setting up of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual AbuseI blogged about one of these debates here; others can easily be found on Hansard.

In none of these debates have any of the leading campaigning MPs – Tom Watson, Simon Danczuk, John Mann, Sarah Champion from Labour, ex-MPs John Hemming and Tessa Munt from the Liberal Democrats, Zac Goldsmith or Tim Loughton from the Conservatives, or Caroline Lucas from the Greens – said anything to my knowledge which could identify an MP or other prominent figure, nor anything which could not be safely repeated outside of the House of Commons. Furthermore, one should not that by no means are all of these MPs from the Labour Party, contrary to Proctor’s claim that ‘the paranoid Police have pursued an homosexual witch hunt on this issue egged on by a motley crew of certain sections of the media and press and a number of Labour Members of Parliament and a ragbag of internet fantasists’. This is a cross-party issue, and there is every reason to think that some of the allegations being investigated have the power to be extremely damaging for Labour themselves – not only those against Lord Janner or Lord Tonypandy or a minister in Tony Blair’s government alleged to have been linked to an abuse ring in Lambeth, but also those claims concerning current acting Labour Party leader Harriet Harman, former Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt and MP Jack Dromey in the context of the affiliations between the National Council for Civil Liberties and the Paedophile Information Exchange when all three individuals were involved with the former association at a high level (about which I have blogged plentifully elsewhere, and believe there is more information yet to become public knowledge). Furthermore, John Mann (who in December 2014 handed a dossier naming MPs and peers to the police), has been very publicly critical of Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn concerning his response to allegations of serious abuse in Islington in the 1980s. No party stands to come out well from this, nor is the campaign a partisan issue.

If Proctor does indeed turn out to be the victim of unfounded slurs, he has my every sympathy, and is entitled to full recompense in whatever form that may take. And I do not accept that those offence with which he was charged and convicted in the 1980s, leading to the end of his Parliamentary career (about which he talks more on the 1988 After Dark  discussion below) in any way relate to the truth or otherwise of what is detailed below. But his claims about politicians are unsustainable, and he must provide evidence. Where have MPs said things in Parliament which they would not repeat outside of it, and what are these things? The one case of which I am aware is by Jim Hood who named Leon Brittan in Parliament on October 14th, 2014. This is an isolated case, which none of the other campaigning MPs backed. In March, John Mann said that Harvey Proctor will be the first of many to be investigated, after it was made public that the police had questioned Proctor, but this claim was made outside Parliament.

I believe Proctor is attempting here to maliciously pin blame on Tom Watson, who I believe will undoubtedly be the best Deputy Leader that the Labour Party can have, and has done enormously courageous work campaigning on child abuse and also on disreputable media practices. This claim needs to be questioned properly and Proctor made to substantiate it. Watson has rightly made the following statement, which I wholly back:

It is not for me to judge the innocence or guilt of Harvey Proctor. That is for a jury to do, if the police inquiry yields sufficient evidence to bring a case to court.

I don’t regard allegations of child abuse as a party political matter and I’ve worked with members of all political parties to help bring about the Goddard inquiry into child sexual abuse. I have never used parliamentary privilege to name anyone accused of child abuse.

After Dark, 4/6/88

One very important point to make is that this statement has not been checked exactly with what he actually said today.





I am a private citizen. I have not held public office and I have not sought public office since May 1987. As such, I am entitled to be regarded as a private citizen. Since the General Election of 1987 I have sought a private life. I have been enjoying a full life, gainfully employed and personally happy.

This all came to an abrupt end on 4th March 2015. What now follows is a statement on my present predicament created by an unidentified person making totally untrue claims against my name. Before going any further I wish to make it clear that the genuine victims of child sexual abuse have my fullest sympathy and support and I would expect the full weight of the law to be used against anyone, be he ‘ever so high, or ever so low’, committing such odious offences. Nobody and I repeat, nobody is above the law.

2. However, I attach equal weight to justice for innocent people wrongly accused of child sexual abuse, especially when it is done anonymously. This is what is happening to me and many high profile figures, many of whom are dead and cannot answer back. This statement is necessarily lengthy and detailed and at times complicated. Please bear with me and at the end I will be prepared to answer your questions.

3. On 18th June, 2015, at my request, I was interviewed by the Metropolitan Police Murder Squad “Operation Midland”. This interview lasted over 6 hours. At the very outset I had to help the Police with my full name which they appeared not to know. It may surprise you that it was over 3 and an half months after my home was searched for 15 hours and more than 7 months after the most serious allegations were made against me that I was interviewed. I went on to cooperate fully with the Police with their investigation.

4. The allegations have been made by a person who the Police have dubbed with a pseudonym – “NICK”. He appears on television with a blacked out face and an actor’s voice. All of this is connected with alleged historical child sexual abuse in the 1970ies and 1980ies. “NICK” was interviewed by the Police in the presence of a reporter from Exaro – an odd internet news agency.

5. As a Member of Parliament I always spoke in favour of the police. I believe in law and order and I believe in equipping the police to do their job and , with my track record, it will come as a surprise that I have grave and growing concerns about the Police generally and more specifically “Operation Midland”. I have decided to share these concerns with you. I believe I am not speaking just for myself today. I hope I am not being presumptuous when I say I feel I am speaking for those who have no voice whatsoever including the dead to whom I referred moments ago.

6. Two days before my interview with the Police, my Solicitors – Sakhi Solicitors of Leicester – were sent a “disclosure” document. It set out the matters the Police wished to discuss with me. It was the first time I had known of what I had been accused. On the day of my interview I was not arrested, nor placed on Police bail, I was told I could leave the Police Station at any time and that it was a voluntary interview. I and my Solicitors had previously been told I was not a suspect.

7. At the end of the interview I was given no information as to how much longer the Police investigation would take to bring the matter to a conclusion. I think you will understand I cannot allow this matter to rest.

8. So you can gauge how angry I am and in an attempt to stop the “drip, drip, drip” of allegations by the police into the media , I now wish to share with you in detail the uncorroborated and untrue allegations that have been made against me by “NICK”. Anyone of a delicate or a nervous disposition should leave the room now.

9. The following is taken from the Police disclosure document given to my Solicitors two days before my first interview with the Police under the headings “Circumstances”, “Homicides” and “Sexual abuse”.


“ Circumstances

The victim in this investigation is identified under the pseudonym “Nick”. He made allegations to the Metropolitan Police Service in late 2014. Due to the nature of the offences alleged, “Nick” is entitled to have his identity withheld.

“Nick” stated he was the victim of systematic and serious sexual abuse by a group of adult males over a period between 1975 and 1984. The abuse was often carried out whilst in company with other boys whom were also abused by the group.

“Nick” provided names of several individuals involved in these acts including Mr HARVEY PROCTOR. He states MR PROCTOR abused him on a number of occasions which included sexual assault, buggery and torturous assault. He also states MR PROCTOR was present when he was assaulted by other adult males. Furthermore, “Nick” states he witnessed the murder of three young boys on separate occasions. He states MR PROCTOR was directly responsible for two of the allegations and implicated in the third.

The dates and locations relevant to MR PROCTOR are as follows:-


1980 – at a residential house in central London. “Nick” was driven by car to an address in the Pimlico/Belgravia area where a second boy (the victim) was also collected in the same vehicle. Both boys, aged approximately 12-years-old, were driven to another similar central London address. MR PROCTOR was present with another male. Both boys were led to the back of the house. MR PROCTOR then stripped the victim, and tied him to a table. He then produced a large kitchen knife and stabbed the child through the arm and other parts of the body over a period of 40 minutes. A short time later MR PROCTOR untied the victim and anally raped him on the table. The other male stripped “Nick” and anally raped him over the table. MR PROCTOR then strangled the victim with his hands until the boy’s body went limp. Both males then left the room. Later, MR PROCTOR returned and led “Nick” out of the house and into a waiting car.

1981-82 – at a residential address in central London. “Nick” was collected from Kingston train station and taken to a “party” at a residential address. The witness was among four young boys. Several men were present including MR PROCTOR. One of the men told the boys one of them would die that night and they had to choose who. When the boys wouldn’t decide, the men selected one of the boys (the victim). Each of the four boys including “Nick” were taken to separate rooms for “private time”. When they all returned to the same room, Nick was anally raped by MR PROCTOR and another male as “punishment”. The other males also anally raped the remaining boys. MR PROCTOR and two other males then began beating the chosen victim by punching and kicking. The attack continued until the boy collapsed on the floor and stopped moving. All of the men left the room. The remaining boys attempted to revive the victim but he was not breathing. They were left for some time before being taken out of the house and returned to their homes.

Between May and July 1979 – in a street in Coombe Hill, Kingston. Nick was walking in this area with another boy (the victim) when he heard the sound of a car engine revving. A dark-coloured car drove into the victim knocking him down. “Nick” could see the boy covered in blood and his leg bent backwards. A car pulled up and “Nick” was grabbed and placed in the car. He felt a sharp pain in his arm and next remembered being dropped off at home. He was warned not to have friends in future. “Nick” never saw the other boy again. “Nick” does not identify MR PROCTOR as being directly involved in this allegation. However, he states MR PROCTOR was part of the group responsible for the systematic sexual abuse he suffered. Furthermore, he believes the group were responsible for the homicide.

Sexual Abuse

1978-1984 – Dolphin Square, Pimlico. “Nick” was at the venue and with at least one other young boy. MR PROCTOR was present with other males.MR PROCTOR told “Nick” to pick up a wooden baton and hit the other boy. When “Nick” refused he was punished by MR PROCTOR and the other males. He was held down and felt pain in his feet. He fell unconscious. When he awoke he was raped by several males including MR PROCTOR.

1978-1981 – Carlton Club, central London, “Nick” was driven to the Carlton Club and dropped off outside. MR PROCTOR opened the door. Inside the premises were several other males. “Nick” was sexually assaulted by another male (not by MR PROCTOR on this occasion ).

1978-1981 – swimming pool in central London. “Nick” was taken to numerous ‘pool parties’ where he and other boys were made to undress, and perform sexual acts on one another. He and other boys were then anally raped and sexually abused by several men including MR PROCTOR.

1981-1982 – Large town house in London. “Nick” was taken to the venue on numerous occasions where MR PROCTOR and one other male were present. He was forced to perform oral sex on MR PROCTOR who also put his hands around “Nick’’’s throat to prevent him breathing. On another occasion at the same location, MR PROCTOR sexually assaulted “Nick” before producing a pen-knife and threatening to cut “Nick’’’s genitals.MR PROCTOR was prevented from doing so by the other male present.

1979-1984 – residential address in central London.”Nick” was taken to the venue. MR PROCTOR was present with one other male. MR PROCTOR forced “Nick” to perform oral sex on him before beating him with punches.

1978-1984 – numerous locations including Carlton Club,Dolphin Square and a central London townhouse. “Nick” described attending several ‘Christmas parties’ where other boys were present together with numerous males including MR PROCTOR. “Nick” was given whiskey to drink before being forced to perform oral sex on several men including MR PROCTOR.

MR PROCTOR will be interviewed about the matters described above and given the opportunity to provide an account.”

10. I denied all and each of the allegations in turn and in detail and categorised them as false and untrue and, in whole, an heinous calumny. They amount to just about the worst allegations anyone can make against another person including, as they do, multiple murder of children, their torture, grievous bodily harm, rape and sexual child abuse.

11. I am completely innocent of all these allegations.

12. I am an homosexual. I am not a murderer. I am not a paedophile or pederast. Let me be frank, I pleaded guilty to four charges of gross indecency in 1987 relating to the then age of consent for homosexual activity. Those offences are no longer offences as the age of consent has dropped from 21 to 18 to 16. What I am being accused of now is a million miles away from that consensual activity.

13. At the start of the interview, I was told that although the interview would be recorded by the Police both for vision and sound, I would not receive a copy of the tapes. I asked to record the interview for sound myself but my request was refused. During the interview, to ensure that “Nick” had not identified the wrong person, I asked if I could see photographs purporting to be me which had been shown to him. My request was refused. At the end of the interview I was asked if I knew my 8 alleged co conspirators whose homes it was alleged I had visited. I believe I have a good recollection and the list comprised a number of people I knew, some who I had heard of but not met and some I did not know. None of the allegations were alleged to have taken place at my home and I have not visited the homes of any of the “gang”.

14. The list included the names of the late Leon Brittan and the late Edward Heath.

15. If it was not so serious, it would be laughable.

16. Edward Heath sacked me from the Conservative Party’s parliamentary candidates’ list in 1974. Mrs Thatcher restored me to the list 18 months later. Edward Heath despised me and he disliked my views particularly on limiting immigration from the New Commonwealth and Pakistan and my opposition to our entry into and continued membership of what is now know as the E.U. ; I opposed his corporate statist views on the Economy. I despised him too… He had sacked the late Enoch Powell, my political “hero” from the Shadow Cabinet when I was Chairman of the University of York Conservative Association. I regarded Enoch as an intellectual giant in comparison with Heath.

17. The same Edward Heath, not surprisingly, would never speak to me in the House of Commons but would snort at me as he passed me by in a Commons corridor. The feeling was entirely mutual.

18. Now I am accused of doing some of these dreadful things in his London house as well; a house to which I was never invited and to which Heath would never have invited me and to which I would have declined his invitation.

19. The same Edward Heath’s home with CCTV, housekeeper, private secretary, chauffeur, police and private detectives – all the trappings of a former Prime Minister – in the security conscious days of the IRA’s assault on London.

20. It is so farfetched as to be unbelievable. It is unbelievable because it is not true. My situation has transformed from Kafka- esque bewilderment to black farce incredulity.

21. I have nothing to hide and nothing to fear. I appeal to any witness who truthfully can place me at any of the former homes of Edward Heath or Leon Brittan at any time to come forward now. I appeal to any witness who can truthfully say I committed any of these horrible crimes to come forward now.

22. The “gang” is also alleged to have included Lord Janner ( a former Labour M.P.), Lord Bramall (Former Chief of the General Staff) , the late Maurice Oldfield (Former Head of Secret Intelligence Service – MI6), the late Sir Michael Hanley ( Director General of the Internal Security Service – MI5), General Sir Hugh Beach (Master-General of the Ordnance) and a man named – Ray Beech. I did not move in such circles. As an ex Secondary Modern School boy from Yorkshire, I was not a part of the Establishment. I had no interest being part of it. I cannot believe that these other 8 people conspired to do these monstrous things. I certainly did not.

23. Yesterday I was interviewed again by the Metropolitan Police Murder Squad for 1 hour 40 minutes. It was a voluntary interview. I was free to go at any time. I was not arrested. I am not on bail. Unhelpfully, the second disclosure document was given to me some 20 minutes after yesterday’s  interview was supposed to have started rather than last Friday as had been promised.  My Solicitors were told by the Police it was ready but had to be signed off by superior officers on Friday.  The Metropolitan Police are either inefficient or doing it by design. Whatever else, it is  inept and an unjust way to treat anyone.   During yesterday’s interview,  I was shown a photograph of “Nick” aged about 12. I did not recognise him. I was shown computer generated e fit images of 2 of the alleged murder victims created by “Nick”.  They looked remarkably similar  to each other but one with blonde hair and one dark brown. I did not recognise either image. I was asked if I knew Jimmy Saville. I told them I did not. “Nick” alleges – surprise surprise – that Saville attended the sex “parties”. I was asked if I knew a number of people including Leslie Goddard and Peter Heyman. I did not these two. I was asked if I knew well, a doctor – unnamed. Apparently “Nick” alleges the doctor was a friend of mine and allegedly he turned up to repair the damage done to the boys when they were abused at these “parties”. I could not help there . I was asked if I could recognise images of the pen knife mentioned earlier. It was suggested it was Edward Heath who persuaded me not to castrate “Nick” with it. I was obviously so persuaded by Mr Heath’s intervention that I placed the pen knife in “Nick’s” pocket ready for him to present it to the Metropolitan police over 30 years later as “evidence”. I could not identify the knife. I have never had a pen knife. I was asked if I visited Elm Guest House in Rocks Lane, Barnes. I wondered when that elephant in the room would be mentioned by the Metropolitan police. I am sorry to have to disappoint the fantasists on the internet but I did not visit Elm Guest House. I was unaware of its existence.  The so called “guest list” which makes its appearance on the net must be a fake.

24. During my first interview I was told that the Police were investigating to seek out the truth. I reminded them on a number of occasions that their Head of “Operation Midland”, Detective Superintendent Kenny McDonald had said on television some months ago “ I believe what “NICK” is saying as credible and true “. This statement is constantly used and manipulated by Exaro and other Media to justify their position.

25. This remark is very prejudicial to the police inquiry and its outcome. It is not justice and breaches my United Kingdom and Human Rights. This whole catalogue of events has wrecked my life, lost me my job and demolished 28 years of my rehabilitation since 1987.

26. The Police involved in “Operation Midland” are in a cleft stick of their own making. They are in a quandary. Support the “victim” however ludicrous his allegations or own up that they got it disastrously wrong but risk the charge of a cover up. What do I think should happen now?


I should be arrested, charged and prosecuted for murder and these awful crimes immediately so I can start the process of ridiculing these preposterous allegations in open court


“NICK” should be stripped of his anonymity and prosecuted for wasting police time and money, making the most foul of false allegations and seeking to pervert the course of justice. Those who have aided and abetted him should also be prosecuted. “NICK” should be medically examined to ensure he is of sound mind.

27. Detective Superintendent Kenny McDonald should resign from his position as Head of “Operation Midland”. He should resign or be sacked. But as the Metropolitan Police is a bureaucratic “organisation” I suggest, to save face, he is slid sideways to be placed in control of Metropolitan London parking, traffic, jay walking or crime prevention. He too should be medically examined to ensure he is of sound mind.

28. An investigation should be launched into “Operation Midland” and its costs. Detectives’ expense claims should be analysed and a full audit carried out by independent auditors.

29. Those Labour Members of Parliament who have misused parliamentary privilege and their special position on these matters should apologise. They have behaved disgracefully, especially attacking dead parliamentarians who cannot defend themselves and others and they should make amends. They are welcome to sue me for libel. In particular, Mr Tom Watson, M.P. should state, outside the protection of the House of Commons, the names of ex Ministers and ex M.P.s who he feels are part of the so called alleged Westminster rent boy ring.

30. Lady Goddard’s Inquiry should examine “Operation Midland’s” methods so as to sift genuine historical child sexual abuse from the spurious.

31. “Operation Midland” should be wound up by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner who should also apologise at the earliest opportunity. On the 6th August 2015, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe shed crocodile tears criticising the Independent Police Complaints Commission and Wiltshire Police for naming Edward Heath as a suspect. He said it was not “fair” and his own force would not do such a thing. This is very disingenuous. When his Police officers were searching my Home and before they had left, the Press were ringing me asking for comment. I was identified. They had told “Nick” of the search who passed on the information to his press friends. The Metropolitan police have also told the press that they were investigating Heath and Brittan and others. Sir Bernard should resign for the sin of hypocrisy. If he does not, it will not be long before he establishes “Operation Plantagenet” to determine Richard III’s involvement in the murder of the Princes in the Tower of London.

32. Superintendent Sean Memory of Wiltshire Police should explain why he made a statement about Edward Heath in front of his former home in Salisbury and who advised him to select that venue. He should also resign.

33. Leon Brittan was driven to his death by police action. They already knew for 6 months before his death, on the advice of the DPP, that he would not face prosecution for the alleged rape of a young woman. But they did not tell him. They just hoped he would die without having to tell him. The Superintendent in charge of his investigation should resign.

34. The Police should stop referring automatically to people who make statements of alleged Historic child sexual abuse as “victims”. They should refer to them as “complainants” from the French “to lament” which would be more appropriate. Parliament should pass laws to better balance the right to anonymity of “victims” and the “accused”. Parliament should reinstate in law the English tradition of “innocence before being found guilty” which has been trashed in recent months by certain sections of the Police, the DPP, MPs, Magistrates and the Courts themselves.

35. I have not just come here with a complaint. I have come with the intention of showing my face in public as an innocent man. I have come to raise my voice as an aggrieved subject now deeply concerned about the administration of Justice. What has become increasingly clear about Police investigations into historical child sexual abuse is that it has been bungled in years gone by and is being bungled again NOW. The moment has come to ask ourselves if the Police are up to the task of investigating the apparent complexities of such an enquiry ? These allegations merit the most detailed and intellectually rigorous application.

36. What is clear from the last few years of police activity driven by the media, fearful of the power of the internet and the odd M.P. here and there is that the overhaul of the Police service up and down the country is now urgently required. We need “Super cops” who have been University educated and drawn from the professions. Such people could be of semi retirement status with a background in the supervision of complex, criminal investigations. These people could be drawn from the law, accountancy and insolvency practices. Former Justices of the Peace could chair some of these investigations. Adequate incentives should be provided to recruit them.

37. I speak for myself and, as a former Tory M.P. with an impeccable record in defending the Police, I have now come to believe that that blind trust in them was totally misplaced. What has happened to me could happen to anyone. It could happen to you.

38. In summary, the paranoid Police have pursued an homosexual witch hunt on this issue egged on by a motley crew of certain sections of the media and press and a number of Labour Members of Parliament and a ragbag of internet fantasists. There are questions to ask about what kind of Police Force do we have in Britain today. How can it be right for the Police to act in  consort with the press with routine  tip offs of House raids, impending arrests and the like. Anonymity is given to anyone prepared to make untruthful accusations of child sexual abuse whilst the alleged accused are routinely fingered publicly without any credible evidence first being found. This is not justice. It is an abuse of power and authority.

39. In conclusion, I wish to thank my Solicitors Mr Raza Sakhi and Mr Nabeel Gatrad and my family and friends for their support without which I would not have been able to survive this onslaught on my character and on my life.

I am prepared to take questions.


Peter Morrison – the child abuser protected by MI5, the Cabinet Secretary, and Margaret Thatcher – updated July 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]

Peter Morrison 1

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)

Currie Diaries

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).

Peter Morrison 3

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).

Christine Russell

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).

Thatcher Morrison Brittan

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?’).

Rod Richards

Rod Richards

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).

John Allen

John Allen

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.

Gyles Brandreth

Gyles Brandreth.

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).

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with her private secretary Peter Morrison arriving for the Ian Gow memorial service at St. Margaret's, Westminister, London.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with her private secretary Peter Morrison arriving for the Ian Gow memorial service at St. Margaret’s, Westminister, London.

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)

Barry Strevens

Barry Strevens

Barry Strevens with Thatcher

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.

Edwina Currie

Edwina Currie

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’

The Westminster politician protected by MI5 when suspected of child abuse was the Conservative MP Peter Morrison, who became one of Margaret Thatcher’s aides, The Times has learnt.

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.

The documents in the Andrew Faulds archives on Greville Janner

WARNING: Contains reproductions of anti-semitic material.

A major new report in today’s Mail  (Guy Adams, ‘Child sex claims, a police ‘cover-up’ and troubling questions for a Labour peer: This special report reveals the full extent of the deeply disturbing allegations against ex-MP Greville Janner’, Daily Mail, October 4th, 2014) contains details of two very sensitive documents filed within the archives of late Labour MP Andrew Faulds. These concerned allegations against the then-MP for Leicester West, Greville Janner, who retired from the House of Commons in 1997 and now sits in the House of Lords as Baron Janner of Braunstone. Janner was named in the 1991 trial of Frank Beck by one witness as having abused him; Janner was not himself on trial and did not testify, and he was widely believed (including by many MPs) to have been unfairly smeared here.

I have previously posted a large collection of press reports from during the Beck trial and its aftermath, including many of the reactions of other politicians upon Janner’s return to Parliament. Various other reports relating to Janner have emerged during the course of the last year. Janner’s house was searched in December 2013, which was widely reported (See Sonia Elks, ‘Lord Janner’s home searched over historic child sex allegations’, The Times, December 20th, 2013, reproduced below; Lizzie Parry, ‘Police raid home of Labour Lord as part of historic sex abuse probe and spend two days searching his £600,000 apartment’, Daily Mail, December 20th, 2013; Paul Peachey, ‘Police investigating child abuse search peer Greville Janner’s home’, The Independent, December 20th, 2013; ‘Lord Greville Janner’s home searched as part of child sex investigations, say police’, Telegraph, December 20th, 2013). The Leicester Mercury reported in early May that the Crown Prosecution Service were considering evidence against Janner (‘Leicester peer Greville Janner in child abuse inquiry’, Leicester Mercury, May 3rd, 2014), then in June it was reported that Janner’s offices in the House of Lords had been searched as part of police investigations (‘Child abuse detectives search peer’s office’, The Times, June 23rd, 2014, reproduced below; Rebecca Camber, ‘Police raid offices in Parliament of Labour peer Lord Janner as part of inquiry in historic sex abuse claims’, Daily Mail, June 23rd, 2014).

Then in July, a report in the Mirror spoke of over 20 allegations of historic child sex abuse being made against an unnamed peer (including one by a man who was aged seven at the time), many relating to offences which took place in children’s homes, but reporting that the peer in question would not be interviewed or arrested as he had been declared unfit by two doctors (Tom Pettifor and Nick Sommerlad, ‘Labour peer escapes probe over 20 child sex claims because he is ‘suffering dementia”, Daily Mirror, July 9th, 2014). The peer in question was reported to have entertained the young people with magic tricks. These doctors should be identified and their reports made public. In August, Sean O’Neill in The Times revealed that there had been orders in 1991 not to arrest Janner, only interview him by appointment in his home (Sean O’Neill, ‘Police told not to arrest MP over abuse claims’, The Times, August 8th, 2014, reproduced below) – on this, see my earlier post on the subject, with details of David Gandy, who was the temporary Director of Public Prosecutions at the time, after Sir Allan Green had been arrested after being discovered kerb-crawling. Then in September, Chief Constable of Derbyshire Mike Creedon spoke of having been forbidden to arrest Janner after allegations first surfaced in 1989 (before the Beck trial, when Creedon was a Detective Sergeant) (Sean O’Neill, ‘Child sex inquiry into MP ‘was blocked’; Police ‘forbidden to make arrest’, The Times, September 25th, 2014, reproduced below; Chris Greenwood, ‘Police ‘told to limit abuse probe into MP”, Daily Mail, September 26th, 2014)

Here I am reproducing the two documents in the Faulds archives. I would urge much caution with these, as they clearly emerge from some far right sources and include various vicious anti-semitic claims. I stress here that I am in no sense endorsing their contents, and find the anti-semitic remarks (and such things as the red eyes on the cover of the booklet) obscene, and again urge scepticism because of their contents (it has been plausibly suggested to me that the picture of Janner with the ‘Scouting for Boys’ book has been doctored); however, as Faulds thought they were important enough to keep and file, then I think they should be made available. I have erased the name of the individual who made the allegations against Janner.

I am about to leave to join a vigil at 114 Grosvenor Avenue, Islington (beginning 1:45 pm) to commemorate the many who were abused within the Islington care system as a result of careless, foolish and incompetent policies during the time when Margaret Hodge, now Labour MP for Barking, was leader of Islington council. Amongst the speakers there will be Liz Davies, former social worker in Islington who blew the whistle on the abuse. We have heard much, rightly, about abuse and its cover-up from members of the Conservative Party, including major allegations against late former MPs Peter Morrison, Nicholas Fairbairn, Rhodes Boyson, and others, and wider allegations relating to the sinister events at Elm Guest House; also against former Liberal MP Cyril Smith, about whom pioneering Labour MP and campaigner Simon Danczuk wrote a book together with Matt Baker. But Labour have their own questions to answer as well: about Islington Council under Hodge’s tenure; about the relationship of current Deputy Leader Harriet Harman MP, Shadow Minister for Policing Jack Dromey MP, and former MP Patricia Hewitt during their time at the National Council for Civil Liberties when one section of this group’s activities were strongly influenced by the Paedophile Information Exchange, which seems to have been easily tolerated by these people (see also here and here) – there is definitely much more information to be revealed about this; about former MP and leadership contender Bryan Gould’s expression of support for PIE’s aims; about allegations of a Blair minister being involved in serious abuse in Lambeth and also (perhaps another minister) who was investigated as part of Operation Ore; about the activities of former Labour MP and Speaker of the House George Thomas aka Lord Tonypandy; about the role of local Labour politicians in allowing grooming gangs to abuse over 1400 girls in Rotherham (and perhaps in various other localities as well); and more generally about the extent to which many members of the liberal left tolerated, even encouraged, leading paedophile figures such as Peter Righton so long as they clothed their activities in the language of gay rights. Only when Ed Miliband and the Labour front bench declare their readiness to co-operate absolutely and look honestly and unflinchingly about what was known and what was covered up, will the Labour Party have any real credibility on this issue; otherwise they appear like a party prepared to look the other way in the face of some forms of abuse, only paying attention to those for which they can gain party political advantage.

Faulds Janner-1

Faulds Janner-2

Faulds Janner-3

Faulds Janner-4

Janner 1

Janner 2

Janner 3

Janner 4

Janner 5


























The Times
, December 20th, 2013
Sonia Elks, ‘Lord Janner’s home searched over historic child sex allegations’

The home of Labour peer Lord Greville Janner has been searched by police investigating allegations of historic child sex offences.

Officers from Leicester police spent two days searching the 85-year-old former barrister’s £600,000 North London flat on Monday and Tuesday as part of a continuing investigation.

Lord Janner has not been arrested by police, who declined to confirm what was seized or the reason for the search.

However, it is understood that the swoop was part of a historic child sex investigation dating back many years.

A spokesman said: “Leicestershire Police can confirm its officers executed a search warrant of a property in Barnet, London as part of an ongoing criminal inquiry.

“No arrests have been made at this stage.”

Lord Janner, who was made a life peer as Baron Janner of Braunstone in Leicester in 1997, is well known as the former chairman of British Jews and a prominent speaker on Jewish rights, who has been hailed for his efforts to see Holocaust victims receive compensation.

Builders working on a renovation next door to his home saw a number of police cars and officers at the address on Monday and Tuesday.

One said: “There were loads of police cars here on Monday and Tuesday.

“They were coming and going all day.

“I don’t know what happened, but they’ve been back quite often ever since.”

Lord Janner declined to speak to reporters about the search when approached at the Hampstead flat.

A young man, who identified himself as “Jameson” and claimed he was the peer’s personal spiritual healer said: “The Lord won’t come to the door.

“He is exhausted with all the stress of dealing with the police.

“He’s old and needs his rest. I don’t want to say any more.”

A spokesman for the peer said: “Lord Janner has not been arrested but has been assisting the police with their enquiries. We are not able to make any further comment at this time.”

It is not the first time Lord Janner has sparked controversy. In 2006, he was struck by fellow Lord Bramall, a former head of the Armed Forces, during a furious row over the Lebanon conflict.

He served as an MP for 27 years for Leicester North West and then Leicester West until his retirement in 1997, when he was made a life peer.

The widowed peer says on his official website that his hobbies include autograph collections, glass and other antiquities, swimming, speaking his nine languages and his family.

It also says he is a member of the Magic Circle and the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

The Times
, June 23rd, 2014
‘Child abuse detectives search peer’s office’

Police have searched the Westminster office of Lord Janner of Braunstone, the Labour peer, in connection with historical child sex abuse allegations. Leicestershire police confirmed that its officers had searched part of the House of Lords in March. They added that the former MP, 85, had not been arrested.

A spokeswoman said: “Leicestershire police can confirm that in March 2014 its officers carried out a search of part of the House of Lords in connection with an ongoing inquiry into non-recent child sexual abuse.

“A search warrant was obtained in advance from a crown court judge and the search was conducted in accordance with established House of Lords procedures, and monitored by senior officials from the House of www.Lords.No arrests or charges have been made, and inquiries continue.”

The search follows a raid of the peer’s home in north London, last year.

Greville Janner was an MP for 27 years, originally for Leicester North West and then Leicester West, until he retired in 1997. He was made a life peer that year.

The father of three is a former president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and has been active in efforts to get compensation for Holocaust victims. On his website, Lord Janner says that he speaks nine languages and is a member of the Magic Circle and the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

The Times
, August 8th, 2014
Sean O’Neill, ‘Police told not to arrest MP over abuse claims’

Detectives investigating a Labour MP over child abuse allegations more than 20 years ago were stopped from arresting him, The Times has learnt.

Greville Janner, now Lord Janner of Braunstone, was interviewed by appointment in the company of his solicitor as part of a major investigation into the abuse of boys at homes in Leicestershire in 1991.

A number of sources with knowledge of the case have confirmed that officers had wanted to arrest the Leicester West MP, which would have given them the power to search his home and offices.

Legal advice was sought on taking the rare step of arresting an MP and it is understood that the advice from senior counsel was that it was an appropriate course of action. At the last minute the planned arrest was blocked.

Arrangements were made instead for Lord Janner to attend a police station by appointment with his solicitor, Sir David Napley.

The decision-making process is being re-examined by Leicestershire police as part of Operation Enamel, which is looking into allegations against Lord Janner and others.

Kelvyn Ashby, the retired officer who was senior investigator on the original case, confirmed that he was in contact with the Operation Enamel team but declined to comment further.

Police executed search warrants at Lord Janner’s home in Golders Green, north London, in December and at his office at the House of Lords in March. A partial file of evidence has been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service, which is providing the police with “investigative advice”.

The peer, now 86 and said by friends to be in very poor health, has not been arrested. He has strongly denied the allegations against him in the past.

The new investigation into Lord Janner and others is one of dozens of historic abuse inquiries which come under the umbrella of Operation Hydrant, a nationwide steering group headed by senior police officers and set up to ensure consistent approaches to cases involving “persons of public prominence”.

A Leicestershire police spokesman said that the force was “investigating several complaints in relation to Operation Enamel – it is an inquiry into allegations of criminal conduct and all appropriate lines of inquiry will be progressed”.

Asked if the decision not to arrest Lord Janner was part of the new investigation, the spokesman said: “This is an operational matter, no further details will be disclosed.”

Lord Janner’s current solicitor did not respond to requests for comment, but in 1991 the MP for Leicester West told the House of Commons that there was “not a shred of truth” in the allegations made against him.

The Times
, September 25th, 2014
Sean O’Neill, ‘Child sex inquiry into MP ‘was blocked’; Police ‘forbidden to make arrest”

An investigation into child abuse allegations against a prominent politician 25 years ago was blocked, one of the country’s most senior police officers has revealed.

Mick Creedon, chief constable of Derbyshire, told The Times that he was a detective sergeant in 1989 when he was ordered to limit his inquiries into Greville Janner, a leading Labour backbench MP. Mr Creedon said there was “credible evidence” against the MP, now Lord Janner of Braunstone, QC, that warranted further investigation, but he was given orders forbidding an arrest or a search of his home or offices.

“The decision was a clear one – he will be interviewed by appointment and there won’t be a search of his home address or his constituency office or his office in the House of Commons,” Mr Creedon said.

The order was “conveyed” by a superintendent but Mr Creedon believes it came from chief officers. He added: “It was a decision made by people more senior than me.”

The allegations against Lord Janner, 86, who was a senior Labour backbencher and president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, surfaced during the police investigation into Frank Beck, the manager of Leicester children’s homes who died in jail after being convicted of abusing boys in his care.

A former resident of one home alleged that he had had a two-year sexual relationship with the MP when he was a teenager in the 1970s. The alleged victim later aired the allegations in public when he gave evidence at Beck’s trial in 1991.

However, Mr Creedon said there were concerns about the credibility of the evidence against Lord Janner, notably that the key witness was in thrall to Beck despite being the victim of abuse.

The alleged victim also gave evidence for Beck. None of the other hundreds of residents interviewed made any allegations against the MP.

The witness had produced affectionate letters that were allegedly from the MP, some on House of Commons notepaper, and provided a detailed description of the inside of the MP’s Hampstead home. Mr Creedon said: “I look at this now, as a chief constable, as a senior investigating officer, in the light of many inquiries before and since – and one of the lines of inquiry could have been to search the house.

“My view has always been that the allegations were very serious, there was enough evidence to put a file before the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service], and as investigating officers our job was to search out as much evidence as possible to prove or disprove the offence. My interpretation of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act would be that under the circumstances it would have been justified to search the house [and] offices.”

He said he did not know who made the decision to limit the investigation.
The 1989-91 inquiry was limited to an interview at Leicestershire police headquarters during which Lord Janner gave “no comment” answers to detectives’ questions. A file was sent to the CPS, which decided there was insufficient evidence to bring charges.

When the allegations became public during Beck’s trial in 1991, the jury was told they were a “red herring” and not relevant to the case. Lord Janner later said there was “not a shred of truth” in the allegations against him.

Those allegations are central to a new police investigation into Lord Janner and others, called Operation Enamel, which has led to warrants being obtained to search the peer’s home in north London and his office in the House of Lords.
The peer, who is in poor health, has never been arrested and has not been interviewed by detectives from the new investigation. His lawyers did not respond to requests for comment.

Academia and Paedophilia 1: The Case of Jeffrey Weeks and Indifference to Boy-Rape

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’. [28]

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. [29] 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’. [30] 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. [31] 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.’ [30] 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. [31] 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. [32]

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.’ [33] 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. [34] 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. [35]

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. [36] 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.’ [37] 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. [38] 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. [39] 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. [40]

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. [41]

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, [42] 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. [43] 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’. [44] 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. [45] 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. [46] 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. [47] 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. [48] 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?’ [49] 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’. [6]

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. [7]

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.”

William Malcolm, the murdered paedophile who may have been about to expose a VIP ring

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’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
‘Agency: Agency’

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

, 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.’ d.williams@dailymail.co.uk

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

Express 130589 - Jason sex ring face quiz over child murders

Express 130589a - Jason sex ring face quiz over child murders

Express 130589b - Jason sex ring face quiz over child murders

Express 130589c - Jason sex ring face quiz over child murders

Express 130589d - Jason sex ring face quiz over child murders

On the Eve of Possible Major Revelations – and a Reply to Eric Joyce

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.

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

[Please continue to write to your MP to ask them to support a national inquiry into organised abuse, and also please sign this petition calling for such an inquiry]

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)

11.25 am

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 Sav