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

[Continued from Part 1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Nothing was ever proved.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Neither were available to comment today.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr Brown became head of CID following Fettesgate.

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

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

Mr Brown would not comment yesterday on the story.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr Brown would not comment on the story.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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


Exaggerated

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Allegations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wood was not available for comment.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

She also claims a boy suffered abuse.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Point three is go to the media.

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

That’s too sensitive.

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

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

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

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

Many have never been to jail since.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MP’s enquiry that sparked dramatic chain of events

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MARTIN HANNAN


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

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

An appreciation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rocks Lane, south-west London.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRAPHIC: TRUST Thatcher made Fairburn and Smith senior officials

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘It was straightforward, old-fashioned conspiracy.’

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

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

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

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

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

RESIGNATION HURTS, SAYS BARONESS BUTLER-SLOSS

By Martin Delgado

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

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

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

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

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

‘Yes, it hurt me.’

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The claims were denied by his family.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘The lights seemed to shine a little brighter.’

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Miss Henderson first made allegations against Fairbairn and her father under the alias of Julie X in 2000, but no charges were brought.

She has chosen to come forward and be named after Fairbairn was implicated in the scandal over the Elm Guest House in London which saw youngsters abused by high-profile figures in the 1980s. Fairbairn died in 1995 at the age of 61, while Henderson died in 2012 aged 75.

Fairbairn’s daughter, Charlotte, 50, reportedly said she “did not know” whether the allegations against her father were true, but said she doubted it. “I would be very surprised by that, but he is dead,” she said. “He is not here to defend himself.”

Documents targeted by thief

THE Fettesgate scandal of 1992 involved the theft of sensitive materials from Lothian and Borders Police HQ at Fettes in July, 1992 – including a report by Detective Inspector Roger Orr into claims of an established “magic circle” of homosexuals in the legal fraternity who were subverting the course of justice. The theft was disguised as an attack by the Animal Liberation Front, but it later emerged the documents had been targeted by thief and conman Derek Conway, who sold the information from the files to national newspapers. Donaldson was later given an assured immunity from prosecution in return for handing back the files – but not before the Orr report made it into the public domain.


Daily Telegraph
, August 15th, 2014
Auslan Cramb, ‘I was victim of paedophile ring says woman ‘abused’ by Tory MP’

A WOMAN has claimed she was raped by a Tory MP who was a close ally of Margaret Thatcher and sexually abused by her father, a senior figure in the Scottish legal establishment.

Susie Henderson said she was sexually abused as a small child by her father, Robert Henderson QC, and by his friend Sir Nicholas Fairbairn.

She has waived her right to anonymity to claim she was the victim of an organised paedophile ring that also involved other legal figures.

Miss Henderson, 48, a mother of one who works in social care, first made allegations against Fairbairn, who was made solicitor general of Scotland by Mrs Thatcher, in 2000, when she was known only as Julie X. The police launched an inquiry at the time but no charges were brought after she halted the investigation when part of her statement was leaked to the press.

She said she had now decided to disclose her identity after the late Tory MP, who died in 1995, was linked to the scandal over the Elm Guest House in London, where youngsters from children’s homes were allegedly abused in the 1980s.

Last month, Fairbairn was named as one of those believed to have visited the house, which was also said to have been visited by Cyril Smith, the late Liberal MP who has been exposed as a paedophile.

Miss Henderson, who lives with her partner near Inverness, said she wanted a new police inquiry. She told the Daily Mail: “I want it acknowledged that my father and Fairbairn did something very evil. Not just to me.”

She added that she believes her father, who died in 2012, began abusing her at the age of three and repeatedly abused her until she was eight.

Miss Henderson also claimed her father, who was highly regarded as a defence lawyer and temporary sheriff, could be sadistically cruel, drank heavily and treated her mother like a “slave”.

She claimed that the family home in Edinburgh was often full of her father’s friends, who also abused her.

She told the newspaper that when she made the claims in 2000, senior Tories described her allegations as “rubbish” and her father phoned her and warned her not to continue making the allegations.

Miss Henderson also disclosed that she developed an eating disorder as a teenager, and that following the birth of her son in her twenties she suffered postnatal depression that caused many memories of the abuse to return and later spent time in a psychiatric unit.

She said she now hoped that she would be believed, adding: “He [Fairbairn] used to pay me money for it. A pound here, a pound there. It was as if it was his way of thinking it okay.”

Graeme Pearson, Scottish Labour’s justice spokesman, said ministers could not “stand back” from the call for an inquiry.

Fairbairn’s daughter Charlotte told the newspaper that she “utterly doubted” that her father was a child abuser, adding that he was “not here to defend himself”.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Robert Henderson claimed a so-called “magic circle” of judges, sheriffs and advocates were conspiring to ensure that homosexual criminals were given softtouch treatment by the courts. The claims were dismissed in an official inquiry.

GRAPHIC: Susie Henderson waived her anonymity to accuse her late father Robert Henderson QC and the Tory MP Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, right, of abusing her when she was a child


The Herald
, August 15th, 2014
Victoria Weldon, ‘Former judge’s shock over QC paedophile ring allegations’

A FORMER senior judge has claimed he is “utterly flabbergasted” at allegations a prominent lawyer and close friend of his headed up a high profile paedophile ring.

Lord McCluskey said he was also shocked to hear that Robert Henderson QC had been accused of repeatedly sexually abusing his daughter from the age of three.

Susie Henderson has waived her right to anonymity to tell of her alleged ordeal at the hands of her father and several other prominent figures, including senior Tory MP Sir Nicholas Fairbairn.

The 48-year-old claims she was repeatedly subjected to sickening sex attacks by her father, who was well known and respected in Scotland’s legal fraternity.

She also alleges that she was passed among a number of his colleagues who also attacked and raped her at the family’s Edinburgh home.

Lord McCluskey, a former Solicitor General for Scotland, said he found the claims hard to believe.

The former judge, who wrote a glowing obituary for Mr Henderson following his death in 2012, said: “I’m utterly flabbergasted by these allegations. Never in my life have I heard any suggestion of anything of this kind involving Bob Henderson.

“I’m just amazed to hear it and I would be astonished if it turns out to be true.

“I’ve no reason to believe it’s true – I have no evidence and I never heard even a bit of gossip suggesting this.

“I would await the outcome of any inquiry before adding anything further.”

Miss Henderson’s case was looked at by police in 2000, but was halted after details were leaked to the press. She said officers had told her that nobody would know until the investigation was over, but panicked and refused to continue when details appeared publicly.

At that time she handed a number of key pieces of evidence over to the police but claims she was recently told that they had been “misplaced”.

A number of articles appeared following the initial investigation, but Miss Henderson was referred to only as Julie X and her father’s identity was never revealed.

She now wants the case to be reopened by detectives.

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

Miss Henderson also claims to have the names of six other members of the Scottish legal profession who were involved, two of whom are still alive.

Detective Chief Superintendent Lesley Boal said Police Scotland were committed to investigating all reports of historic abuse.

She said: “There are many reasons why a victim may not report such abuse until years – even decades – after the event.

“These can include fear of not being believed, especially if the individual is a prominent public figure, and of reliving the incidents. Similarly, some victims may contact the police to report abuse but then find it too difficult. We will listen, we will ask our partners in support services to assist and we can pick up where we left off when they feel more able to provide the necessary information.”

She added: “Any report of historic child abuse will be treated seriously.”

Miss Henderson claims that, while her father was seen as a flamboyant star of the legal profession, behind closed doors her had a much more sinister side.

She believes he began abusing her when she was just three and would tell her mother he was taking her for a nap before carrying out the attacks. The advocate also hosted regular parties and Miss Henderson said she was told to do “whatever anybody wanted”.

Miss Henderson claims to remember an incident where Mr Fairbairn, a former Solicitor General, raped her when she was just four or five years old.

Mr Fairbairn, who died in 1995, has been linked to the notorious Elm Guest House in London, where young boys are believed to have been plied with alcohol and sexually assaulted. Calls have been made for the Scottish Government to instruct an inquiry into historic sex abuse cases.


GRAPHIC: Nicholas Fairbairn: Susie Henderson claims he raped her. Robert Henderson: Daughter claims he sexually abused her. claims: Susie Henderson says she was subjected to sickening sex attacks by her father. Picture: Derek Ironside


Evening News (Edinburgh)
, August 15th, 2014
Kaye Nicolson, ‘Victims of rape need justice’

Calls have been made for a Scottish investigation into historic rape claims after the daughter of a prominent Edinburgh solicitor claimed she was the victim of a paedophile ring.

Susie Henderson, whose father Robert Henderson was the QC and temporary sheriff at the heart of the Fettesgate scandal, waived her right to anonymity to talk about the abuse she allegedly suffered as a child at the hands of her father and the late Tory MP Sir NicholasFairbairn.

The 48-year-old claimed she was targeted by high-powered legal figures who subjected her to years of abuse at addresses in the Capital – including her New Town family home.

Miss Henderson’s shocking claims – which included an allegation that Sir Nicholas raped her at the age of four – have fuelled calls for a thorough inquiry into historic child abuse cases in Scotland.

The UK government has launched plans for an overarching child abuse inquiry, but its exact remit has not been confirmed.

Lothians Labour MSP Sarah Boyack today added her voice to growing pressure for a home-based investigation after her party colleague and former police officer Graeme Pearson demanded a public inquiry last month.

She said: “I support his call because victims need access to justice. Survivors of abuse deserve the chance be heard and possibly gain closure from their horrific experiences. It is also important that lessons are learned for the future.”

She added: “With more people speaking out, the case for a public inquiry becomes ever stronger.”

Meanwhile, Police Scotland said it was “committed” to investigating all reports of historic child abuse.

Detective Chief Superintendent Lesley Boal said: “There are many reasons why a victim may not report such abuse until years – even decades – after the event.

“These can include fear of not being believed, especially if the individual is a prominent public figure, and of reliving the incidents. Similarly, some victims may contact the police to report abuse but then find it too difficult. We will listen.”

Robert Henderson QC, who died in 2012, prompted a major legal scandal in the late 1980s and early 1990s when he claimed a “magic circle” of judges, sheriffs and advocates were conspiring to ensure homosexual criminals were given light sentences by the courts. The claims were dismissed in an official inquiry, but much of the evidence in the report was stolen from Fettes police HQ by conman Derek Donaldson and sold to the press, in an incident dubbed “Fettesgate”.

The UK government’s child abuse inquiry was announced earlier this year after it was alleged that senior politicians were passed files in the 1980s containing paedophile allegations about prominent figures.


The Sun
, August 15th, 2014
Stuart Patterson, ‘I was raped aged four by MP Sir Nicky; Top Tory ‘in paedo gang”

A MUM claims she was raped by former Tory stalwart Sir Nicholas Fairbairn when she was four years old.

Susie Henderson suffered years of abuse at the hands of Scotland’s ex-Solicitor General, she says.

She told how she was offered for sex to the MP by her father Robert Henderson, also a lawyer, who also raped her.

Susie, 48, claimed the pair were part of a secret paedophile ring of Scottish establishment figures, who preyed on underage youngsters at drink and drug-fuelled parties.

She said: “I want it acknowledged that my father and Fairbairn did something very evil. Not just to me.

“There are other children out there. These were people in power. We put them there and they are supposed to be trusted. It’s not right.”

Susie claims her father laughed as she was abused for the first time by Fairbairn at the family home in Edinburgh.

She said the flamboyant Kinross and Western Perthshire MP – who died aged 61 in 1995 – later gave her money after some sex attacks.

And she named six other members of the legal profession who she claims also abused her, including two still alive. Her father was never charged before he died in 2012 at 75.

Susie’s allegations come as an official probe has been launched amid claims of a Westminster paedophile ring.

Fairbairn, known as Nicky, was named as a possible suspect. His daughter Charlotte, 50, said she would be “very surprised” if the claims were true.

She added: “I doubt it. It’s all such a long time ago. I hope it’s not true.


Daily Mail
, August 23rd, 2014
Guy Adams and Andrew Malone, ‘Revealed: Full Horrifying Truth about the other Paedophile at Maggie’s side’

Despite his reputation as a womaniser and fondness for malt whisky, a daily habit that brought about his premature death aged just 61, the funeral of Sir Nicholas Fairbairn in 1995 was marked by an outpouring of respect and admiration.

As more than 1,000 luminaries crammed into St John’s Kirk in Perth, the former Tory MP’s significance as a political figure was underlined by the presence of Lady Thatcher, who had promoted the brilliant solicitor to her first Cabinet in 1979.

While a lone Scottish piper played a lament, Britain’s first woman Prime Minister strode solemnly to the pulpit to read an excerpt from The Prophet, a book by the Lebanese poet and philosopher Kahlil Gibran, who had been one of Fairbairn’s favourite authors.

Her tribute was witnessed by a host of leading politicians, judges, and Scottish aristocrats of the day.

They had come to pay respects to a uniquely colourful individual who, in a political career spanning two decades, has achieved a mixture of fame and notoriety as one the most recognisable but also controversial members of the Commons.

A self-styled eccentric, who lived in the 13th-century Fordell Castle near Dunfermline, Sir Nicholas was blessed with extraordinary intelligence and political talent. He had been Scotland’s youngest ever QC before being elected MP for Perth and Kinross in 1974, at the age of 40.

In Westminster, where his initial rise was stratospheric, he cut a dandyish figure, and was often seen in blue baronial tartan adorned with two miniature (working) silver revolvers, which Sir Nicholas would load with blanks and fire when drunk.

When speaking in the Commons, Sir Nicolas sometimes wore an enormous Highland smock (I know I look like an ironmonger, but I don’t want my suits to glitter like other MPs’ ‘), or a kilt teamed with double-breasted scarlet jacket, gold watch chain and lurid pink shirt.

Other favourite outfits were buckled shoes, tartan knickerbockers, and a thick brown jumper over which he placed a huge leather belt with a metal buckle. When the Queen knighted him in 1988, he turned up in full Scottish regalia, complete with a skhian dubh a small dagger and sword.

Clothes weren’t the only thing about Sir Nicholas that generated column inches, though.

A notorious adulterer, who clocked up two wives and scores of mistresses, he was forced to resign as Lady Thatcher’s Solicitor General for Scotland in 1982, after a scandal stemming from his decision not to press charges against a group of men accused of attacking a Glasgow prostitute with razor blades during a gang rape.

Thereafter, he descended into chronic alcoholism, consuming at least a bottle of Scotch each day though he stressed that he was happy to make do’ with vodka.

As his fondness for drink worsened, his tongue loosened. Throughout the Eighties and early Nineties, he became notorious for giving colourful interviews in which he expressed deeply offensive, and often highly misogynistic, sentiments.

On Desert Island Discs, for example, he declared that female MPs lack fragrance they all look as if they’re from the 5th Kiev Stalinist machine gun parade’.

In newspaper interviews, he called Labour MP and feminist Clare Short the big, fat one,’ described rape victims as tauntresses’ and asked what is a skirt, but an open gateway?’

In late-night Commons debate about the gay age of consent in 1994, Sir Nicholas was meanwhile called to order by the Speaker for delivering a drunken diatribe against homosexuality which included an obscene description of the mechanics of sodomy’.

In later years he took great pleasure in making unsolicited and often deeply demeaning advances on women unfortunate enough to catch his eye.

The Guardian reporter Judy Rumbold interviewed him in 1991. Towards the end of proceedings, she wrote: He lunges across the table and tries to engage me in a whiskery snog.’ Shockingly, Fairbairn’s second wife, Suzanne (known as Sam) was in the next room at the time.

Not even Lady Thatcher could avoid his unwanted attention. In the mid-Eighties, Sir Nicholas drunkenly propositioned the then Prime Minister during a dinner at Hollyrood Palace, whispering into her ear that he’d always fancied’ her.

The Iron Lady is said to have responded: Quite right, Nicholas, you have very good taste.’ But noting the extent of Fairbairn’s intoxication, she then added: However, I don’t think that you would make it at the moment.’

Doubtless Lady Thatcher, like many in those less enlightened times, regarded her former Cabinet ally as an amusing buffoon.

Perhaps she, and other friends, forgave his wandering hands as a sort of harmless horseplay. Indeed, following his death from cirrhosis of the liver, obituaries portrayed him as a bombastic eccentric who’d added greatly to the gaiety of Westminster.

But that was then. Today, things have changed. And in light of a series of appalling recent allegations, that light-hearted view of SirNicholas Fairbairn seems nothing less than grotesque.

For in addition to being a drunk and a womaniser, this famous Scottish Conservative also stands accused of being a predatory paedophile one of two abusers now identified in Lady Thatcher’s inner circle.

Talking to the Daily Mail last week, 48-year-old Susie Henderson gave a disturbing account of her childhood encounters with the MP.

Waiving her anonymity, she claimed that Fairbairn had sexually assaulted and raped her on several occasions, beginning when she was four years old.

Sir Nicholas was a close friend of Susie’s late father, Robert Henderson, a fellow leading light of the Scottish legal establishment, who regularly held decadent private parties at his family’s large and smartly decorated townhouse in Edinburgh.

It was during one of these sordid events in about 1970 that Susie says her father came into the kitchen with Fairbairn.

I was maybe four years old,’ she told the Mail. I had a skirt on and Nicholas and my dad had been drinking, and my dad told me to sit on Nicholas’s knee. I sat on his knee and he put his hand up my skirt and abused me. My dad just stood there laughing.’

During another party, Susie says she was raped by Sir Nicholas and another man in a guest room at the top of her parents’ five-storey home.

I hated that man,’ said Ms Henderson, who says she still recalls the pungent smell of Fairbairn’s feet. She’s not sure exactly how often Sir Nicholas abused her over the years, but says it happened many times.

Ms Henderson does not seem to have been his only victim, either.

Last month, Sir Nicholas was named as one of three MPs on a list of clients of the notorious Elm Guest House, a gay brothel in Barnes, West London, where under-age boys from a nearby care home were allegedly plied with drink and drugs and sexually abused.

The other MPs were Sir Peter Morrison another Scottish minister close to Lady Thatcher, who was a prolific child abuser and Cyril Smith, the Liberal MP for Rochdale exposed as a paedophile in 2012.

The trio feature in documents apparently penned by the owner of the guesthouse, which state that N Fairburn’ (sic) and C Smith’ (who asked to be called Tubby by staff and boys), visited on June 7, 1982. The documents add that Fairburn’ had used boys in sauna’. Given the very public opposition to homosexuality that Fairbairn expressed in Parliament, allegations that he abused boys at a gay sauna have shocked his former colleagues.

Take an extended look at hiss life, however, and some astonishing secrets emerge. For in his younger days, this obsessive womaniser turns out to have been something rather different: a highly promiscuous gay liberation activist with murky links to the now-notorious Paedophile Information Exchange.

And indeed, those who knew him before he entered politics say that Fairbairn grew up aggressively bisexual, but suppressed his true desires in order to advance in the Tory party of the mid-Seventies.

They believe this left him hopelessly conflicted, leading to his chronic drink problem and the predatory and often hugely offensive nature of his advances to women.

The story begins in a deeply dysfunctional childhood. Fairbairn was born in 1933. His father was a prominent psychoanalyst, his mother an aristocrat. By the time I was born,’ he recalled, they were totally estranged.’

After graduating from the exclusive Loretto School and Edinburgh University, he trained as a solicitor, and soon became known in legal circles as a gifted advocate with strong libertarian principles and, outside the office, a keen interest in the arts.

An amateur poet and painter, he soon became chairman of Edinburgh’s Left-wing Traverse theatre in the Sixties. And it was here that he became active in the radical gay community.

Under Fairbairn’s stewardship, the Traverse began specialising in gay and lesbian drama,’ recalls a contemporary. I remember going to one play called something like Gay Sweatshop,’ and another called Mass in F,’ which was full of nudity and got picketed by the Mary Whitehouse lobby. The funny thing, given Fairbairn’s views later in life, was that he was also notorious for propositioning male actors and theatre staff. I remember a boy in his 20s telling me about an advance Fairbairn had made on him at a Traverse party.’

Fairbairn was in fact married from 1962-79, to Elizabeth Mackay, the daughter of the 13th Baron Reay and mother of his three surviving daughters. But in the circles in which he moved, this was not uncommon.

It was a time of free love. You must remember that homosexuality was illegal in Scotland until 1980, and many gay and bisexual men were supposedly happily married,’ adds the contemporary.

We have established that, in 1970, Sir Nicholas became honorary vice president of the Scottish Minorities Group (SMG), a new, radical gay liberation organisation founded by a man called Ian Dunn.

The SMG campaigned, among other things, for homosexuality to be legalised in Scotland, and for the age of consent to be identical for gay and straight sex.

But it also had a more contentious place in history. For in 1974, Dunn and another SMG activist, Michael Hanson, co-founded the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE). The vile organisation, which lobbied for child sex to be legalised, was for the first year of its existence a sub- committee of the SMG.

Over the ensuing years, PIE retained affiliate status with the SMG, and forged links with other mainstream groups, including the National Council for Civil Liberties, which at the time was being run by future Labour heavyweights Patricia Hewitt, Harriet Harman and Jack Dromey.

Ms Hewitt apologised for her links to PIE earlier this year when they were highlighted by the Mail, though Harman and Dromey have so far refused to say sorry.

But we digress. After being selected as Conservative MP, Fairbairn performed a remarkable ethical volte face, quietly resigning his vice presidency of SMG in 1974, and morphing overnight into a vociferous opponent of gay rights. His links to PIE were never discovered by the Press. And details of his progressive youth never filtered through to Westminster where, though re-married to Suzanne, he ensured that he became famed as a womaniser by embarking on several high-profile affairs.

There were dozens of female lovers. One, a Commons secretary, attempted suicide outside his London home in 1981. Another, broadcaster Esther Rantzen, says he plied her with Krug and beluga caviar a few years later. The rest was inevitable,’ she wrote in her memoirs.

Ian Pace, a lecturer at City University in London, and a campaigner and researcher on organised abuse, believes Fairbairn’s behaviour during this era was part of a concerted effort to cover the tracks’ of his bisexual past.

If so, then it wasn’t entirely successful. In the early Nineties, a Scottish newspaper discovered Fairbairn’s name in an old piece of SMG literature. He responded by claiming that he’d had no idea of the nature of the perverted’ minority the SMG lobbied for when he’d agreed to be their figurehead.

That explanation always seemed unlikely, however. A former SMG activist who emailed the Mail this week described it as clearly a lie’.

I have never had access to early SMG membership records (they probably no longer exist), but I am told that Fairbairn was a fully paid up individual member before he was appointed as Honorary VP,’ said the activist.

Even if he hadn’t been, SMG was very high profile. And of course Fairbairn received all the Group’s mailings, for four years, so he must have known what the organisation did.

He moved in a lot of artistic circles in his youth and I know several (straight) people who can recall being propositioned by him. I wonder to what extent the denial of his sexuality led to the drinking which so clearly wrecked his life.’

Little wonder, perhaps, that even in his final years, Fairbairn still manoeuvred to keep his past under wraps.

A few years before his death, he called for Leveson-style curbs on Press freedom amid newspaper claims (dismissed by an inquiry) that a so-called magic circle’ of Scottish judges, sheriffs and advocates in his former professional set were conspiring to ensure that homosexual criminals were given soft-touch treatment by the courts.

After Sir Nicholas was buried at Fordell Castle, the obituaries talked of him as one of Parliament’s great womanisers. All of them, that is, except one in the little-read underground magazine ScotsGay.

Obtained by the Mail this week, it lamented that Fairbairn had died firmly in the closet’.

One straight man who remembers being propositioned by Fairbairn in the Sixties told ScotsGay: It was really a shame if he’d just accepted and been open about his bisexuality it would have taken a lot of pressure off him and he might not have taken to the drink.’

Given what we now know, of course, Fairbairn had plenty of other reasons to conceal the real nature of his sexuality. Did he, perhaps, drink himself to death because he was haunted by his paedophile past?

That seems unlikely. Shortly before his death, he expressed no regrets. I’ve had a hell of good time on Earth,’ he told Martin Robb, a fellow Tory. It has been Heaven.’

* Additional reporting:

Graham Grant

Secret perversion: Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, and, below, with Margaret Thatcher. Inset, Susie Henderson, who says he raped her when she was four years old.

Sunday Herald, August 24th, 2014
‘Notorious paedophile headed Scottish care home inquiry’

CHILD protection experts and abuse survivors are demanding an inquiry into why one of Britain’s most notorious paedophiles was put in charge of an investigation into a crimes against children at a Glasgow boys’ home.

The Sunday Herald has learned that Peter Righton – one of Britain’s leading care workers, and a man who lived a double life as a paedophile – headed an investigation into allegations of cruelty at the Larchgrove assessment centre for boys in Glasgow in the 1970s.

The inquiry resulted in no criminal proceedings being taken, despite 13 out of 30 allegations of violence and neglect being proved. The home, in Springboig, was under the control of Glasgow City Council, then Glasgow Corporation.

Glasgow City Council is now trying to trace all documentation in connection with the case. The council and the Scottish Government have both called on anyone who may have suffered abuse at Larchgrove to contact the police.

Although the inquiry in the 1970s focused solely on physical and emotional abuse, an investigation by the Sunday Herald in 2007 revealed that sexual abuse of children was also taking place in Larchgrove at the same time. A former director of social work said he had been aware of abuse at the home in the mid-1970s. There were claims that female as well as male members of staff were involved in the abuse of boys.

Righton, who co-led the Larchgrove inquiry in 1973, worked as a child protection expert and social care worker. However, he was also a founding member of the infamous Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) which campaigned for adults to be allowed to legally have sex with children.

In 1992, Righton was convicted of importing child abuse images when customs intercepted material en route from Holland. A police raid on his home turned up more paedophile material as well as numerous letters relating details of abuse.

He died in 2007, but last year the Metropolitan Police set up Operation Cayacos to investigate claims that Righton was part of an establishment paedophile network.

Claims have been made that Righton was connected to Cyril Smith, the late Liberal MP now exposed as a paedophile. Smith is known to have visited the Elm Guest House in London. Following claims that politicians and others abused boys in care at the Elm Guest House, the Met launched Operation Fernbridge. The late Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, a Conservative MP and solicitor-general for Scotland, has also been linked to the Elm Guest House.

Righton worked in a children’s home and was a lecturer in child protection and residential care. He was director of education at the National Institute for Social Work, and a consultant to the National Children’s Bureau. However, he is also now seen as one of the most determined and well-connected paedophile offenders in British criminal history.

The inquiry into Larchgrove ended in March 1973, when Righton was in his mid-40s. It came just a few years after Righton advised the Home Office on changes to the ­residential childcare system. As part of his research, Righton is alleged to have travelled extensively to carehomes across the UK.

There are claims he also visited Bryn Estyn approved school in Wrexham in Wales. Bryn Estyn was later at the centre of an abuse scandal which saw 140 former residents claim they were abused from 1974-84. An official report described “appalling” abuse, and former housemaster Peter Howarth was jailed for 10 years for sexually abusing boys as young as 12.

Peter McKelvie, a former head of child protection in England who helped convict Righton, told the Sunday Herald: “It is for me a no-brainer that Righton’s 1973 Larchgrove inquiry has to be declared null and void for many reasons and a new inquiry needs to be requested which should take an in-depth look at who recommended Righton and appointed him.

“A new investigation must be sought and former residents of Larchgrove pre-1973 be encouraged to come forward.”

Frank Doherty, founder of the Scottish charity Incas – In Care Abuse Survivors – yesterday also called for a new inquiry. Doherty was a resident at Larchgrove in the late 1960s and was subjected to regular physical abuse and violence.

He said Righton’s role leading the Larchgrove inquiry was “disgraceful”, adding that as well as a fresh inquiry into the care home, the Scottish Government should also institute a wide-ranging public inquiry into abuse, equivalent to Northern Ireland’s Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse.

“There has been too much cover-up and protection of those in high places,” Doherty said.

“We [Incas] have been calling for a public inquiry, similar to the one now going on in Northern Ireland, for the last 15 years. The Scottish Government is doing nothing to help us.”

The Larchgrove inquiry was conducted by Ronald Bennett QC, Sheriff of Berwickshire, and Righton. They were appointed by Glasgow council to investigate allegations made by a former supervisor, Francis Corrigan, at the carehome. Their report stated: “We do not find that the staff at Larchgrove pursued a course of systematic violence or harshness towards the boys in their charge.”

Some of the complaints of ill-treatment brought by the staff whistleblower were described as trivial, exaggerated and showing undue sensitivity. The report went on to praise staff for devotion to duty under “stress-producing conditions”.

Larchgrove was formerly known as a remand home for boys aged 11 and up who had appeared before a Children’s Panel or Sheriff Court.

The decision not to go for criminal proceedings in the Larchgrove case was taken in a statement issued on March 21, 1973 by Stanley Bowen, Crown Agent for Scotland, with the authority of Norman Wylie QC, the Lord Advocate – who was also a Conservative MP in Edinburgh. The statement said that the required standard of evidence was not available to justify criminal proceedings.

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said yesterday: “It’s understandable that people might have concerns. We are attempting to recover the report of the investigation and any surviving paperwork. While we will look afresh at any evidence of how the investigation was carried out, anyone who wishes to make an allegation of criminality should contact Police Scotland in the first instance.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “In terms of in-care historic abuse, independent inquiries in 2007 and 2009 explored how such abuses happened and addressed the particular challenges faced by the care system in Scotland.

“This systemic review and legislation on the management, cataloguing and retention of records delivered major improvements in the protection of young people in care. The Scottish Government will consider what further action is required in advance of our response to the Interaction Action Plan Recommendations in the autumn.

“We have also set up the National Confidential Forum which allows those who were placed in institutional care as children to recount their experiences of being in care in a confidential, non-judgmental and supportive setting.”


GRAPHIC: Peter Righton, below, one of Britain’s leading care workers while living a double life as a paedophile, led an investigation into allegations of cruelty at Larchgrove in Glasgow, left, in the 1970s 

Scotland on Sunday, November 9th, 2014
Tom Peterkin, ‘Behind the scenes bid to mount child abuse inquiry for Scotland’

A PLAN to hold public inquiry into historical child abuse in Scotland is being prepared by the Scottish Government, Scotland on Sunday has learned.

Ministers are looking at establishing a high-profile investigation into allegations of abuse carried out in care homes, educational institutions, by religious orders and by high-profile members of the Scottish establishment.

Discussions are taking place about the remit and timing of an inquiry, which would look at the allegations and how they were handled by the authorities at the time.

This week the education secretary, Michael Russell, will address Holyrood on child protection and will mention the issue of historical abuse in Scotland. His statement on Tuesday is not expected to include an official announcement of a public inquiry – an omission that will dismay abuse survivors who have been campaigning for years for such an investigation.

However, Scotland on Sunday understands that ministers and officials are working behind the scenes to set up a historical abuse inquiry in the coming months.

More work needs to be done to establish the precise nature of the inquiry and ministers are deliberating in order to avoid the problems that have plagued a similar investigation south of the Border.

Last week, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, apologised over the failure of a UK Government inquiry into child abuse to find a suitable chairperson.

Her apology came after May’s second nominated chairperson, Fiona Woolf, stood down because of her links to Lord Brittan, the Tory politician who was home secretary when some of the alleged abuse took place.

Woolf’s departure followed the resignation of Baroness Butler-Sloss, who resigned because of a conflict of interests arising from her brother Sir Michael Havers’s position as attorney general during the 1980s.

In Scotland, allegations of historical abuse have been made by former pupils at the Roman Catholic Fort Augustus School on the banks of Loch Ness. Hundreds of children are said to have been abused at Nazareth House in Aberdeen. Allegations of cruelty have also been made by those who were at Larchgrove boys home in Glasgow.

The inquiry is also expected to examine allegations involving the late Conservative MP Nicholas Fairbairn and a prominent member of the legal establishment, Robert Henderson QC.

This summer Henderson’s daughter Susie waived her anonymity to allege she had been assaulted by her father and Fairbairn, both of whom are now dead, from the age of four.

She said they were members of an organised paedophile ring which abused her in her family’s Georgian house in Edinburgh’s New Town and other locations. Fairbairn, a QC and former solicitor-general, has already been linked to the Elm Guest House in London – a gay brothel alleged to have hosted parties where vulnerable young boys had sex with influential people, which is now the subject of a police investigation named Operation Fernbridge.

Henderson was at the heart of the so-called Magic Circle scandal which emerged in 1989 and centred around rumours that a network of homosexual lawyers and judges in Scotland were conspiring to “go easy” on gay criminals. The rumours led to Fettesgate – where a 1992 police report into the claims was stolen from Edinburgh’s police headquarters – and ultimately led to an inquiry by William Nimmo Smith QC the following year, which dismissed claims of a conspiracy.

The Nimmo Smith report also took in concerns over Operation Planet, an investigation into a 16-year-old boy on leave from a children’s home who was drugged and raped by a group of men at an address in Edinburgh.

It is expected to be a matter of months before the Scottish Government makes the final decision on what form any inquiry will take.

Last night campaigners for an inquiry gave a cautious welcome to the prospect of an investigation, but remained impatient that it was taking so long. Frank Doherty, the founder of of INCAS (In Care Abuse Survivors) said: “We have been begging for a public inquiry for 15 years, but all the government has been doing is stalling, stalling.

“It was the government which put us in these places and when you have been fighting for this as long as I have, you can get a bit cynical. Don’t get me wrong. I would love to see a public inquiry, but we are still waiting.”

Doherty, who was abused in Larchgrove in the 1950s, added: “Everything has been covered up by the establishment – these paedophile rings came from the top of the tree.”

Graeme Pearson, the Labour justice spokesman who has been campaigning for an inquiry, said: “I think the pressure has become so significant and events elsewhere in the UK means that this needs to be done to clear the air. I just don’t know why the government has been dallying so long.”

Russell’s statement on Tuesday will focus on child sexual exploitation. The statement follows a warning from Annette Bruton, chief executive of the Care Inspectorate, that it would be a “serious mistake” to assume that Scotland is immune from the exploitation seen in Rotherham.

The Telegraph, November 11th, 2014
David Barrett, ‘How the child sex abuse review searched for key names; Pages buried at the back of the Home Office inquiry into handling of child sex abuse allegations reveal how it looked for references to a series of political figures’

Home Office staff were instructed to search their databases for information about paedophile allegations as part of the review by Peter Wanless.

Civil servants were handed a list of search terms including “homosexual”, “under age” and “indecent”.

But they were also given a list of key names who were either major political figures of the day or who have since been linked with sex crime allegations.

Top of the list was Cyril Smith, the Rochdale Liberal MP since exposed as a paedophile.

His name was followed by Leon Brittan, the home secretary of the day, now Lord Brittan of Spennithorne.

Also on the list of names to be searched for was Greville Janner, now Lord Janner, whose home was searched by police last year in connection with an investigation into historic child sex abuse allegations.

It also included Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, the late solicitor general for Scotland who a woman claimed earlier this year raped her when she was four years old.

David Atkinson, the late Tory MP, was also on the list of terms.

His son Anthony said earlier this year that he believed his father was a “prolific sexual predator” whose name may have featured in the dossier compiled by Geoffrey Dickens MP, whose work helped to trigger the current investigations even though he died in 1995.

The review by Peter Wanless, head of the NSPCC, and Richard Whittam QC also requested searches for names of a number of members of the highly controversial Paedophile Information Exchange group, including its former chairman Steven Adrian Smith .

The Herald, November 15th, 2014
Ellen Thomas, ‘Historic abuse probe: Police investigate possible murder’

Detectives examining allegations of historic sex abuse with links to government have launched a new investigation into “possible homicide”.

Scotland Yard said Operation Midland was started after officers working on Operation Fairbank, which is looking into claims of “serious non-recent sexual abuse”, were given information about alleged murders.

A spokesman said: “Our inquiries into this, over subsequent weeks, have revealed further information regarding possible ­homicide. Based on our current knowledge, this is the first time that this specific information has been passed to the Met.”

The BBC quoted a man who, it claimed, has told police investigating the alleged abuse that “former senior military and political figures”, as well as “law enforcement”, were involved.

According to the broadcaster, the witness, now in his 40s, claimed the group had access to 15 to 20 youngsters.

The man, speaking anonymously, said: “It started with my father. It started with quite severe physical abuse, quickly turning into sexual as well.

“Within a very short space of time he had handed me over, or whatever you want to call it, to the group. They controlled my life for the next nine years.

“They created fear that penetrated every part of me. That was part of my life, day in and day out. You didn’t question what they wanted, you didn’t hesitate to do what they asked you to do.

“You did what you were told without question or the punishments were very severe. They had no hesitation in doing what they wanted to do.

“Some of them were quite open about who they were. They had no fear at all of being caught, it didn’t even cross their mind. They could do anything they wanted without question and we were told that.

“I’ve never experienced pain like it and I hope I never do again.”

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said that because the inquiry was at an early stage it would not appropriate to issue appeals or reveal more information.

Detectives from the Metropolitan Police child abuse investigation command are working closely with colleagues in homicide and major crime units under the name of Operation Midland.

Operation Fairbank was launched in response to information passed on by MP Tom Watson, who used Prime Minister’s Questions in 2012 to air claims that there was a paedophile ring with links to No 10.

Mr Watson used parliamentary privilege to allege that a file of evidence used to convict Peter Righton of importing child pornography in 1992 contained “clear intelligence” of a sex-abuse gang.

He wrote to Scotland Yard, which has since spawned two more inquiries from Fairbank – Fernbridge, which is looking at claims linked to the Elm Guest House in Barnes, south west London, in the 1980s, and Cayacos.

Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, the controversial former Solicitor General for Scotland, has been linked to the scandal after claims emerged that the former Tory MP, who died in 1995 aged 61, may have visited the guest house.

In August, Scotland Yard said it had tripled the number of officers investigating the allegations of sex abuse in the wake of the claims of a Westminster cover-up.

The anonymous witness quoted by the BBC urged people to come forward with information.

He said: “Anyone who knew anything, it’s important they come forward too. They need to find the strength that we as survivors have done.

“If they have any suspicions, if they have any concerns, if they know they were part of it, they need to come forward and share what they know.”


GRAPHIC: Tom Watson: Parliamentary privilege allowed him to air claims.

 

Scotsman, November 17th, 2014
Claire Mckim, ’13 cases of child sex abuse every day in Scotland’

Child protection officers in Scotland are being presented with up to 13 new child sex abuse cases every day, it has emerged.

New figures reveal that between 2011 and September this year, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre passed on 10,434 cases of child sexual exploitation to police officers in Scotland to investigate.

At its peak during 2013, evidence of sex crime, including online abuse, was being handed to police in Scotland at a rate of 13 cases a day.

The statistics have been labelled “grave” and “extremely worrying” by experts.

The revelations come just days after education minister Mike Russell MSP announced taxi drivers, hotel staff and other night workers are to be issued with guidance on how to spot child sex abuse.

The Scottish Government is preparing to launch a public inquiry following the publication of a report by the charity Children in Scotland, which warned the country lacks a “confident and competent workforce for protecting children”.

Figures uncovered through a Westminster parliamentary question revealed that, during 2011, more than 1,100 leads were passed to UK police forces, which increased to 1,927 in 2012.

In 2013, that soared to 4,875. There have been 2,519 cases in the first nine months of 2014.

Lucy Morton, manager of the NSPCC’s Glasgow service centre, said: “The large number of children at risk of sexual exploitation is a matter of grave concern.

“Children who are abused or sexually exploited need to be listened to, believed and supported.”

Last month, Police Scotland announced the setting up of a National Child Abuse Investigation Unit to improve specialist intelligence-gathering and co-ordinate investigations.

Brian Docherty, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, warned that the volume of work faced by the unit may have a negative impact on frontline policing.

He said: “Resources have to come from somewhere and if that’s going to have to come from 24/7 response police, it is a concern for all of us.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Lesley Boal, head of public protection for Police Scotland’s Specialist Crime Division, said: “The National Child Abuse Investigation Unit will deliver an enhanced specialist response that will support our 14 local policing divisions.”

In Scotland, allegations of historical abuse have been made by former care home residents from Nazareth House in Aberdeen, Roman Catholic Fort Augustus School on the banks of Loch Ness and Larchgrove boys home in Glasgow.

A 2007 report, by Tom Shaw, a former chief inspector of education and training in Northern Ireland, estimated around 1,000 children were abused in Scots care homes from 1950 to 1995.

The inquiry is also expected to examine allegations involving the late Conservative MP, Nicholas Fairbairn.

 

Scottish Express, November 17th, 2014
Siobhan McFadyen, ‘Police flooded by child sex abuse allegations’

AS MANY as 400 child sex abuse cases are reported to Police Scotland each month, it was revealed yesterday.

Now campaigners are warning the number of children at risk is of “grave concern”, as shock new figures reveal the true extent of sexual exploitation and internet sex crime involving minors.

Between 2011 and September 2014, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre con-firmed it reported 10,434 cases of suspected child sex abuse to authorities.

Investigation In 2012, the number of individual leads passed on to police was 1,927.

That had increased to 4,875 in the following year.

In the first nine months of 2014, 2519 cases were notified to each of Scotland’s 14 local policing divisions.

Lucy Morton, manager of the NSPCC’s Glasgow service centre, is worried about the rise in the amount of reported cases, insisting more has to be done to take children’s complaints seriously.

She said: “The large number of children at risk of sexual exploitation is a matter of grave concern.

“Children who are abused or sexually exploited need to be listened to, believed and supported.” The Scottish Government is getting ready to launch a far-reaching inquiry into sexual exploitation following a report published by the charity Children in Scotland.

It concluded that the country lacks a “confident and competent workforce for protecting children”.

The investigation, which is yet to find a chairman, is expected to look into allegations of historical abuse at the former Roman Catholic Fort Augustus School on the banks of Loch Ness, Nazareth House in Aberdeen, and Larchgrove boys’ home in Glasgow. The inquiry will also turn its attention to allegations involving the Conservative MP, and one time solicitor-general for Scotland, Nicholas Fairbairn, who died in 1995.

But there are fears not enough resources will be available to help police stem the problem.

Last month, Police Scotland announced it is setting up a National Child Abuse Investigation Unit to gather expert intelligence.

But Brian Docherty, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, warned the sheer numbers facing the special task force could have a serious impact on frontline services.

He said: “Resources have to come from somewhere and if that’s going to have to come from 24/7 response police, it is a concern for all of us.”

However, Detective Chief Superintendent Lesley Boal, public protection lead for Police Scotland’s Specialist Crime Division, insisted the new unit will protect vulnerable youngsters.

Priority “The National Child Abuse Investigation Unit (NCAIU) will deliver an enhanced specialist response that will support our 14 local policing divisions and interagency child protection structures by providing dedicated specialist investigative resources who will lead and/or provide assistance during child abuse investigations.

“Protecting children is a priority and the NCAIU will play a critical role in helping us achieve that,” she said.

Scottish Daily Mail, November 20th, 2014
Graham Grant, ‘POLICE PROBE ‘MAGIC CIRCLE’ CHILD SEX RING; Second victim comes forward as 10 officers investigate paedophile abuse allegations involving Scottish MP and leading legal figures Police to quiz three more in Fairbairn abuse claims’

POLICE are investigating claims of a paedophile ring that included a former senior ally of Margaret Thatcher, after a second victim came forward with fresh allegations.

As the Scottish Daily Mail revealed earlier this year, Susie Henderson claims she was raped by the late Tory MP Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, an ex-Solicitor General, when she was just four.

Miss Henderson is the daughter of Fairbairn’s friend Robert Henderson, QC, who she says also systematically abused her when she was a child.

As a result of our disclosures, a major Police Scotland investigation comprising a team of ten detectives has been set up, and the Mail has learned a second victim has come forward following Miss Henderson’s revelations.

It is also understood that detectives are considering serious allegations made against three living prominent lawyers as part of the inquiry.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Henderson was a pivotal figure in a major legal scandal when he claimed a so-called ‘magic One circle’ of judges, sheriffs and advocates were conspiring to ensure that homosexual criminals were given soft-touch treatment by the courts.

The latest disclosures come as the UK Government prepares to launch a public inquiry into historic child sexual abuse, heaping pressure on the Scottish Government to follow suit.

A source close to the probe said yesterday: ‘We’re talking about events mainly spanning a period from 44 to about 35 years ago.

‘There is not going to be any forensic evidence, and any other evidence that supports the allegations is going to be difficult to attribute to any individual.

‘That doesn’t mean that what is discovered might not form an important part of an inquiry and influence legislation in the future. The information will not be gathered only to be discarded.’ It is understood that Miss Henderson has identified at least three prominent Establishment figures who are still alive as being among her abusers. Detectives are gathering as much information as possible so the allegations can be put to them.

Following our revelations in August, Miss Henderson spoke to detectives and made a detailed statement about her childhood abuse.

The Mail has learned that a second victim made contact with the team a few weeks ago and has made a statement, understood to relate principally to Henderson. These allegations are also now under close scrutiny.

Last night Miss Henderson, who waived her anonymity to speak exclusively to the Mail, said that she would not be commenting upon any developments at this stage.

Police Scotland has not to date invited other victims to come forward, nor set up a dedicated contact point for anyone with relevant information. Anyone wishing to contact detectives is advised to call Police Scotland’s non-emergency 101 number.

The experience of police forces in England which dealt with the paedophilia allegations made against Jimmy Savile has influenced Police Scotland’s procedure.

A well-placed source confirmed that the Savile experience had highlighted the fact that even when a suspect was dead, it had been shown to be important to be receptive to the stories of other victims, should they emerge, and to investigate thoroughly any living accomplices.

It remains to be seen if any prosecutions will be launched in Scotland in relation to the Fairbairn and Henderson claims, but investigators are realistic about the difficulties they face.

Miss Henderson, 49, told the Mail she had been four when she was first raped by her father and by Fairbairn, and that her father had allowed Fairbairn to abuse his daughter and had been present at times when he sexually assaulted her.

She also recalled that her father, a former Tory parliamentary candidate as well as Scotland’s most flamboyant QC in the 1980s, had taken her to the homes of other friends and Establishment figures and had allowed them to sexually abuse her.

Fairbairn died in 1995 at the age of 61, while Henderson, who was never charged, died aged 75 in 2012.

Miss Henderson first made her allegations against Fairbairn and her father under the alias of Julie X in 2000 but after an abortive police investigation no charges were brought. The initial probe was halted after evidence was mislaid.

Fairbairn was Solicitor General for Scotland and MP for Kinross and Western Perthshire. He was praised by Mrs Thatcher for his ‘loyal support’ and became a close ally.

The allegations come after an official inquiry was ordered into claims of historic child sex abuse by a Westminster paedophile ring.

Miss Henderson’s allegations are likely to fuel calls for a similar inquiry by the Scottish Government, which has not been ruled out by ministers.

Last night Police Scotland confirmed that a ‘live investigation is ongoing’ but said ‘it would be inappropriate to comment further.’ A spokesman said: ‘Anyone with information on child sexual abuse is asked to contact Police Scotland through 101.’

WAS MY SON A PAEDOPHILE VICTIM?

A SCHOOLBOY murdered 33 years ago may have been abducted by a VIP paedophile ring which was covered up by police, his father claimed yesterday.

Retired magistrate Vishambar Mehrotra accused Scotland Yard of failing to investigate after a male prostitute told him his son Vishal, 8, had been taken to the notorious Elm Guest House which has been linked to child abuse.

Vishal vanished on his way home to Putney, South-West London, after a trip to watch the royal wedding celebrations in 1981. It was almost a year before his remains were found in a West Sussex woodland. Four months later, police raided Elm Guest House in Barnes. Mr Mehrotra, 69, told the Daily Telegraph how soon afterwards he was contacted by a young male prostitute.

Mr Mehrotra said: ‘He told me he believed Vishal may have been taken by paedophiles in the Elm Guest House. He talked about judges and politicians who were abusing little boys.

‘I recorded the whole 15-minute conversation and took it to police. But they just pooh-poohed it.’


Elm Guest House: Vigil, September 15th, 2014, and Links to Newspaper Reports

[List of links fully updated 6/12/14]

Today a vigil was held at Rocks Lane, Barnes, at the site of the former Elm Guest House, a fundamental location for the VIP paedophile ring, where boys are believed to have been trafficked from nearby children’s homes to service the VIP guests, and which is at the centre of Operation Fernbridge. A series of videos were made of speeches from the event (which I was unfortunately unable to attend). Amongst those present were Peter McKelvie, who led the investigation in 1992 into Peter Righton, Peter Saunders, founder of NAPAC (the National Association for People Abused in Childhood), and Dr Liz Davies, Reader in Social Work at London Metropolitan University and the social worker who in 1992 blew the whistle on abuse at care homes run by Islington Council.

The videos, which were taken by someone from the Occupy News Network, can be accessed here (see the range at the bottom of the page): http://bambuser.com/v/4928350

The following attempts to be a comprehensive list of serious sources on Elm Guest House. There was a flurry of stories in August 1982 in various UK national newspapers (all linked to on the first Spotlight link given below), then very little, save for a range of pieces in Capital Gay magazine (see below), then a range of stories in 1990 at the time of the death of Carol Kasir. Then the story was taken up again following Tom Watson’s question to the Prime Minister in October 2012, and there has been a renewal of attention since Simon Danczuk’s appearance before the Home Affairs Select Committe on July 1st, 2014. On the whole I would recommend first and foremost reading the articles in the mainstream media, then those on blogs and Exaro (whose accuracy some have disputed), though many of the Spotlight articles simply feature scans of newspaper articles.


From Spotlight

Elm Guest House: The History of a Cover-up (updated) (essential reading – includes all newspaper reports from the period in August 1982 when Elm Guest House was in the news, and also some reports from 1990, following Carol Kasir’s death from an overdose, which include reports that a top Tory was named during the inquest)
How the British Establishment covered up a paedophile network
Leon, Maggie, Elm Guest House, and the CGHE
Was the Scotland Yard investigation into missing boys stopped?
In 1981 police were already investigating London ‘child pornography gang’ linked to trafficking and murder
UK connections with international paedophile network Spartacus
The Spartacus paedophile network was exposed by the Sunday People in February 1983
Keith Vaz and the Mystery of Barnes Common
CPS file on Elm Guest House suspects was destroyed in 2007
Scallywag magazine on a “Westminster paedophile ring”

From The Needle Blog:

Operation Fairbank: It’s Not Just Plebs And Slebs Who Should Be Worried (20/12/12)
Regina v Paul Rinehart AKA Michael Stuart Rowe (15/1/13)
Transcript Of The RAWRO Letter (15/1/13)
The Mysterious Death Of Andrew Keir (19/1/13)
Elm Guest House: Mind Map (22/1/13)
The Other Elm Guest House Mind Map (23/1/13)
The Elm Guest House ‘Family Tree’ (26/1/13)
‘Dave’ Speaks Out (4/2/13)
Where Is The File Mr Brittan ? (10/2/13)
Why Would They Not Show Their Support ? (12/2/13)
What Do You Know Keith Vaz ? (13/2/13)
The Ex-Tory Minister And The Press (18/2/13)
Father Tony McSweeney (26/2/13)
Grafton Lodge Children’s Home, Grafton Close, Hanworth (3/3/13)
MSM Connect Missing Children With Elm Guest House (4/3/13)
Uplands, Birmingham (8/3/13)
Rodney Road Children’s Home (12/3/13)
MWT: “100% Faith” In Police Inquiry (13/3/13)
Teddington Park Children’s Home (14/3/13)
Madlands’ Savile Article (4/4/13)
Conservative Homosexual Group (CHE) Was Always A Front For Paedophilia (5/4/13)
Spartacus Invitation To Elm Guest House (8/4/13)
Would The Real Louis Minster Please Stand Up? (1/5/13)
‘The Evil Men Behind Child Sex Empire’ (7/5/13)
From The NAYPIC Log: Elm Guest House (16/5/13)
CPS Considering ‘Elm Guest House Child Abuse’ Charges (17/5/13)
Four Oaks Children’s Home (25/3/13)
Loxley Hall, Uttoxeter Road (25/3/13)
Fernbridge: A Critical Look At The ‘Mary Moss Docs’ (29/5/13)
Ralph Morris: Castle Hill Report (30/5/13)
The Elm Guest House Money Men (6/6/13)
Elm Guest House Charge Sheet (13/6/13)
RAWRO INVESTMENTS (7/7/13)
Op Fernbridge: Over 300 Lines Of Inquiry (9/7/13)
Op Fernbridge: Haroon ‘Harry’ Kasir Arrested (9/7/13)
Looking At Today’s Elm Guest House Story (21/7/13)
Mary Moss Files (23/7/13)
Kincora, a small footnote to history (11/8/13)
Elm Guest House – “Mary Moss” files (23/8/13)
What Is ‘Evidence’ ? (23/8/13)
Elm Guest House, Mary Moss Files – Clarification (24/8/13)
“I know for a fact” (4/9/13)
Paedophile MP Cyril Smith: Questions for Jenny Tonge and Tim Razzall (14/9/13)
Spot The Cabinet Minister (25/9/13)
The ‘Fake’ Elm Guest House List (26/9/13)
Confirmation Of Independent Story (27/9/13)
Operation Fairbank: An Overview (4/10/13)
Operation Fairbank/Fernbridge Telephone Number (21/10/13)
Operation Fernbridge: Carole Kasir, A Liar ? (27/11/13)
Cat Among the Pigeons (29/11/13)
Op Fernbridge: CPS Drop Key Charges Against Stingemore And McSweeney (2/12/13)
Op Fernbridge: Harry Kasir Released From Police Bail (4/12/13)
Comments On Exaro Story (10/12/13)
Email From Colin Peters (12/2/14)
Roger Stoodley on The ‘Cooke Group’ And Elm Guest House Links (20/11/14)
Police Covered Up MP’s Involvement in Elm Guest House Child Abuse (6/12/14)
Is This The Last Word On Elm Guest House? (6/12/14)

 


Articles from Capital Gay, as collected on Spotlight

‘£1000 boost for ‘brothel’ charge hoteliers’, Capital Gay, July 2nd, 1982
‘The Elm Guest House’, Capital Gay, July 23rd, 1982
News of the World chase Elm defendants, Capital Gay, July 23rd, 1982
‘Attorney General to probe London brothel reports’, Capital Gay, August 13th, 1982
‘Police drop the worst Elm charges’, Capital Gay, October 1st, 1982
Elm defendants speak out, Capital Gay, November 12th, 1982
‘Elm Guest House couple sent to Old Bailey’, Capital Gay, December 3rd, 1982
‘Elm Guest House case at Old Bailey next week’, Capital Gay, April 15th, 1983
‘Police slash their Elm Guest House evidence’, Capital Gay, April 22nd, 1983
‘Elm Guest House: verdict expected’, Capital Gay, April 29th, 1983
‘Elm Guest House couple walk free’, Capital Gay, May 6th, 1983
‘Police silent over Spartacus chief’, Capital Gay, February 17th, 1984


More recent articles

‘Investigations, not witch-hunts: David Hencke on BBC R4 Today. Exaro, reporter, David Aaronovitch and John Humphreys discuss allegations of child abuse’, Exaro, November 9th, 2012

Keir Mudie, ‘Abuse scandals probe widens: The man who may hold key to UK’s biggest paedophile network ever’, Sunday People, November 11th, 2012

‘Audio: investigative journalism’s future after Newsnight fiasco’, Exaro, November 14th, 2012

Mark Watts, ‘Analysis: why media must still investigate claims of child abuse’, Exaro, November 16th, 2012

Nick Dorman, ”Paedo palace’ file re-opened: Detectives probing historic sex abuse claims’, Sunday People, December 2nd, 2012

Martin Hickman, ‘Scotland Yard investigating allegations senior politicians abused children in the 1980s and used ‘connections’ to escape justice’, The Independent, December 12th, 2012

David Hencke, ‘Exclusive: Police re-open investigation into London political paedo ring’, December 14th, 2012

David Hencke, David Pallister and Fiona O’Cleirigh, ‘Police investigate top Tories over ‘child abuse at guest house”, Exaro, December 14th, 2012

David Hencke, David Pallister and Fiona O’Cleirigh, ‘Police ‘twice failed to probe paedophile ring at guest house”, Exaro, December 14th, 2012

Gordon Rayner, ‘Allegation of paedophile ring of MPs investigated’, Daily Telegraph, December 15th, 2012 (see bottom of this post)

David Pallister, ‘Locals spoke of ‘the activities’ at guest house in police probe: Jilly Cooper included passage in book about ‘village talk’ of abuse at guest house’, Exaro, December 15th, 2012

David Pallister, ‘MPs and judges visited Elm Guest House, coroner’s court told’, Exaro, December 15th, 2012

David Hencke, ‘Detectives who must peer into disturbing case of child abuse’, Exaro, December 15th, 2012

James Hanning and Paul Cahalan, ‘Special report: Police revisit the grim mystery of Elm Guest House’, The Independent, December 16th, 2012

David Pallister, ‘Revealed: diaries and receipts for guest house in police probe’, Exaro, December 19th, 2012

Fiona O’Cleirigh, ‘How exposure of high-profile abusers impacts care for children’, Exaro, December 20th, 2012

David Hencke and David Pallister, ”Operation Fairbank’ carries out raid to seize files naming MPs’, Exaro, January 15th, 2013

Martin Hickman, ‘Police launch criminal investigation into MPs’ child sex ring’, The Independent, January 17th, 2013

David Hencke, ‘Political Paedophile Scandal: Met Police announce criminal investigation, January 17th, 2013

David Hencke and David Pallister, ‘Met turns ‘Operation Fairbank’ into full criminal investigation’, Exaro, January 17th, 2013

‘Met investigates guesthouse child abuse claims’, BBC News, January 18th, 2013

Keir Mudie, ‘Child abuse cops seize VIP list: Politicians, MI5 agent, Royal aide and pop stars all named’, Sunday People, January 19th, 2013

David Pallister and David Hencke, ‘Found: co-manager of guest house at centre of police probe’, Exaro, January 19th, 2013

David Hencke, ‘Police raid home of former gay guest house contact in paedophile investigation’, January 20th, 2013

Mark Conrad, ‘Detectives set up 30 operations into ‘child sex abuse by groups’, Exaro, January 25th, 2013

Mark Conrad, ‘Police operations into ‘child sex abuse by groups’ – Exaro’s list’, Exaro, January 25th, 2013

David Hencke, ‘Revealed: The Tory promotion of the ‘paedophile’ guest house’, January 26th, 2013

David Pallister and David Hencke, ‘Tory group recommended guest house in Met’s paedo probe’, Exaro, January 26th, 2013

David Pallister and David Hencke, ‘Police investigate Richmond council over ‘VIP paedophile ring’: Met’s Operation Fernbridge finds victims’ harrowing evidence in forgotten council files’, Exaro, January 26th, 2013

David Pallister and Nick Dorman, ‘VIP case cops raid Dirty Harry home’, Sunday People, January 27th, 2013 (see bottom of this post)

James Hanning and Paul Cahalan, ‘Cyril Smith named in Barnes abuse case’, The Independent, January 27th, 2013

‘Top officials linked to ’80s child sex ring’, Morning Star, January 27th, 2013 (see bottom of this post)

David Hencke, ‘Child abuse questions for the London Borough of Richmond’, January 27th, 2013

Mark Conrad, ‘Police chief warns VIP paedophiles: look over your shoulder. Peter Davies: police have no lack of moral courage to tackle child sex abuse – by anyone’, Exaro, January 30th, 2013

Keir Mudie and Nick Dorman, Elm guest house scandal: First victim of paedo guest house breaks his silence, Sunday People, February 2nd, 2013

Keir Mudie, ‘Diana saved my life’: Elm guest house victim met princess when he was sleeping rough’, Sunday People, February 2nd, 2013

David Hencke and David Pallister, ‘Elm guest house scandal: Coded advert that gave signal to perverts’, Sunday People, February 2nd, 2013

Stephen Wright and Richard Pendlebury, ‘Timebomb at Elm Guest House: Pop stars, a bishop and a top politician appear on a list seized by police investigating child abuse at the London hotel in the 1980s’, Daily Mail, February 2nd, 2013

David Pallister and David Hencke, ‘Files reveal who turned Elm Guest House into paedo brothel: Coded newspaper ads hinted: guest house was for men who wanted sex with boys’, Exaro, February 2nd, 2013

David Hencke, Mark Watts and Alex Varley-Winter, ‘Richmond council made ‘hush payment’ to victim of sex abuse’, Exaro, February 2nd, 2013

James Hanning and Paul Cahalan, ‘Abuse victims ‘trafficked abroad”, The Independent, February 3rd, 2013

Arthur Martin, ‘They forced me to wear a fairy costume, claims Elm Guest House Victim’, Daily Mail, February 4th, 2013 (see bottom of this post)

Anil Dawar, ‘Two pop stars and politicians ‘part of 1980s VIP paedophile ring”, Daily Express, February 4th, 2013

David Hencke, ‘Did Richmond council pay ” hush money” to cover up the Elm Guest House child abuse scandal?’, February 4th, 2013

Nick Fielding, David Pallister, Fiona O’Cleirigh and David Hencke, ‘Two managers of children’s home named in VIP paedo probe: Records at Richmond council reveal troubled history of Grafton Close children’s home’, Exaro, February 4th, 2013

Martin Hickman, ‘Two arrested over claims that MPs took part in child-sex ring’, The Independent, February 6th, 2013

Sam Jones and agencies, ‘Police arrest two men in child abuse inquiry dating back to 1980s’, The Guardian, February 6th, 2013

Martin Evans, ‘Two arrested in Elm House paedophile ring investigation’, The Telegraph, February 6th, 2013

Richard Pendlebury and Stephen Wright, ‘Revealed: Face of boy abused in Elm House scandal as Catholic priest and head of boys’ home are arrested’, Daily Mail, February 6th, 2013

Natalie Evans, ‘Elm Guest House abuse scandal: Two men arrested by police probing ‘VIP paedophile ring’ at children’s home’, Daily Mirror, February 6th, 2013

‘Two men arrested in 1980s guest house ‘abuse’ inquiry’, BBC News, February 6th, 2013

‘Arrests over historic south west London child sex abuse’, Channel 4 News, February 6th, 2013

Tom Morgan and Jonathan Reilly, ‘Delia’s Norwich chaplain held over VIP paedo ring’, The Sun, February 7th, 2013 (see below)

‘Operation Fernbridge: Norfolk priest Tony McSweeney arrested’, BBC News, February 7th, 2013

Alison Winward, Mark Watts, Tim Wood, Keith Perry, David Hencke, Alex Varley-Winter and Mark Conrad, ‘Exaro’s pictures show first arrest in ‘Operation Fernbridge’, Exaro, February 7th, 2013

‘Operation Fernbridge: Norfolk priest Tony McSweeney arrested’, BBC News, February 7th, 2013

Mark Conrad and Alison Winward, ‘Richmond’s ex-head of social services ‘unaware’ of ‘paedo ring’: Louis Minster ‘never heard’ of allegations despite high-profile police raid in borough’, Exaro, February 9th, 2013

Keir Mudie and Nick Dorman, ‘Elm guest house: Home Office was warned by top Tory 30 years ago of VIP paedophile ring’, Sunday People, February 10th, 2013

Keir Mudie, ‘Elm guest house: Cops make first arrest into alleged VIP paedophile scandal, Sunday People, February 10th, 2013

Tom Savage, ‘Boy sex pics of former Cabinet minister is stolen’, Daily Star, February 10th, 2013

David Hencke, ‘See no evil,Hear no evil, Speak no evil: Richmond’s amnesia on child abuse’, February 11th, 2013

Mark Conrad and Nick Fielding, ‘Police examine sacking of Richmond’s head of social services: Louis Minster: councillors met behind closed doors in ‘political’ decision to dismiss me’, Exaro, February 11th, 2013

David Hencke, Mark Conrad, Nick Fielding and David Pallister, ‘Councillors give contrasting reasons for Louis Minster’s sacking: Liberal Democrats face scrutiny over move to fire Richmond’s head of social services’, Exaro, February 11th, 2013

‘Former Huddersfield MP’s VIP sex abuse dossier goes missing’, Huddersfield Daily Examiner, February 12th, 2013

David Hencke, ‘Richmond social services knew their children were abused – former children’s director’, February 14th, 2013

Mark Conrad, ‘Claims of child sex abuse haunted Richmond boss for 30 years. Terry Earland: no doubt in my mind that children were being used at Elm Guest House’, Exaro, February 14th, 2013

David Hencke and Fiona O’Cleirigh, ‘Elm Guest House: “Boy brothel boss” Haroon Kasir to leave Britain for America’, Sunday People, February 16th, 2013

David Hencke and Mark Watts, ‘Met paedophile unit prepares to arrest ex-Tory cabinet minister’, Exaro, February 16th, 2013

Fiona O’Cleirigh and Mark Watts, ‘Met detectives told of Jimmy Savile’s link to Elm Guest House: Haroon Kasir boasted of friendship with Jimmy Savile, and ‘was odd after star’s death’, Exaro, February 16th, 2013

David Hencke, ‘Analysis: public should know truth about VIP paedophile ring’, Exaro, February 16th, 2013

Fiona O’Cleirigh and David Hencke, ‘Co-manager of guest house in police probe plans to leave UK: Haroon Kasir makes hurried preparations to raise £60K and applies for visa to live in US’, Exaro, February 16th, 2013

David Hencke, ‘Will Elm Guest House man quit Britain?’, February 20th, 2013

‘Tory MP warned of powerful paedophile ring 30 years ago’, The Independent, February 22nd, 2013

Mark Conrad, ‘Police gave council advance warning of raid on Elm Guest House. Terry Earland: Richmond council provided social worker to help police operation in 1982’, Exaro, February 23rd, 2013

Mark Conrad, ‘Richmond council ‘was alerted to allegations of child sex abuse’: Former head of children’s services reveals borough’s knowledge about Elm Guest House’, Exaro, February 23rd, 2013

Josh Halliday, ‘Mark Williams-Thomas: I ran the Savile film like a criminal investigation’, The Guardian, February 24th, 2013

Keir Mudie and Alun Rees, ‘Tory MP’s file on alleged VIP child abuse ring was destroyed by family’, Sunday People, February 24th, 2013

Mark Conrad, ‘Council bosses failed to investigate VIP child abuse scandal despite warnings’, Sunday People, February 24th, 2013

Paul Cahalan and James Hanning, ‘Paedophile ring leader, Colin Peters, linked to Barnes scandal’, The Independent, March 3rd, 2013

Martin Hickman, ‘Police failings put dozens of children at risk from notorious paedophile ring’, The Independent, March 3rd, 2013

Martin Hickman, ‘Two arrested over claims that MPs took part in child-sex ring’, The Independent, March 6th, 2013

David Hencke, ”I regularly briefed Jenny Tonge on child abuse in Richmond’ – children’s director’, March 6th, 2013

Jessia Beckett, ‘Hunt is launched for late MP’s child sex abuse dossier’, Manchester Evening News, March 9th, 2013

Nick Dorman and David Hencke, ‘VIP child sex ring victims’ new pain: Telling cops was worse than the abuse’, Sunday People, March 16th, 2013

David Hencke, ‘Witnesses in ‘Operation Fernbridge’ plead for support service: Two men sexually abused as boys call on ministers to follow MPs’ key recommendation’, Exaro, March 16th, 2013

David Hencke, ‘Two who suffered sexual abuse make appeal through Exaro’, Exaro, March 16th, 2013

Ben Rossington, ‘Elm House abuse scandal: ‘Chance to investigate VIP B&B paedophile ring was missed 12 years ago”, Daily Mirror, April 1st, 2013

Keir Mudie, ‘New victim links notorious paedophile Peter Righton to VIP child abuse network’, Sunday People, April 6th, 2013

Mark Conrad, Alex Varley-Winter and David Hencke, ‘Police commander overseeing ‘Operation Yewtree’ quits Met’, Exaro, April 6th, 2013

Mark Conrad, ‘Met investigates police watchdog over Richmond ‘paedo ring’: IPCC faces scrutiny over its handling of complaint about sexual abuse of boys in borough’, Exaro, April 22nd, 2013

David Hencke, ‘Elm Guest House abuse scandal: “Paedo police ignored 16-year-old victim”‘, Sunday People, April 27th, 2013

Keir Mudie, ‘Elm Guest House abuse scandal: Picture of Princess Diana and Prince Charles wedding day barbecue at “perverts” home’, Sunday People, April 27th, 2013

Mark Conrad, ‘Scene pictured from children’s home in Met’s paedophile case: Photograph of summer barbeque belies dark secrets of Richmond’s Grafton Close home’, Exaro, April 27th, 2013

David Hencke, ‘Richmond files reveal failure to pursue claim of child sex abuse: Archives show inaction by police and council over Richmond ‘paedophile ring’ in 1983′, Exaro, April 27th, 2013

David Hencke, ‘Richmond child sex abuse file “No further action required”, April 30th, 2013

Mark Conrad, ‘Ex-Richmond boss Louis Minster denies being… Louis Minster: Former director of social services proves evasive over questions from Exaro reporter’, Exaro, May 1st, 2013

David Hencke, ‘The mad world of Louis Minster- the man who denies he is there’, May 2nd, 2013

David Pallister, ‘Elm Guest House linked to ‘Britain’s biggest child sex racket’: Papers seized by police link guest house to paedophiles, pimps and pornographers’, Exaro, May 7th, 2013

Rachel Bishop, ‘Tia Sharp killer Hazell not at care home embroiled in child abuse accusations, Richmond Council confirms’, Richmond and Twickenham Times, May 14th, 2013

David Hencke, ‘Police keep failing ‘to follow evidence’ in abuse cases, say MPs: Call for wide inquiry into ‘schools, churches, children’s homes, politicians and celebrities”, Exaro, June 3rd, 2014

Mark Watts, Mark Conrad and David Hencke, ‘Met’s ‘Operation Fernbridge’ is ‘going well’, says Boris Johnson’, Exaro, June 5th, 2013

Cahal Milmo and Paul Peachey, ‘Police reveal scale of Elm Guest House investigation into alleged paedophile ring’,The Independent, June 9th, 2013

‘Operation Fernbridge: Met looking into 300 lines of inquiry’, BBC News, June 10th, 2013

David Hencke, Mark Watts, Mark Conrad, Tim Wood, Fiona O’Cleirigh and Mike Deri Smith, ‘Met’s ‘Operation Fairbank’ arrests half-brother of top Tory MP’, Exaro, June 26th, 2013

Fiona O’Cleirigh, Alison Winward, Mark Watts, Mark Conrad and Tim Wood, ‘Exaro’s video shows ‘Fairbank’ arrest of Tory MP’s half-brother’, Exaro, June 27th, 2013

Margaret Davies, ‘Third arrest in Elm Guest House investigation into alleged paedophile ring’, The Independent, July 9th, 2013

Paul Peachey, ‘Third arrest in child sex abuse inquiry’, The Independent, July 9th, 2013

‘Operation Fernbridge: Third arrest in child abuse probe’, BBC News, July 9th, 2013

David Hencke, ‘Police arrest manager of Elm Guest House’, July 10th, 2013

Mark Conrad, Fiona O’Cleirigh and David Hencke, ”Operation Fernbridge’ arrests ex-manager of Elm Guest House: Police detain Haroon Kasir ‘on suspicion of possession of indecent images of children”, Exaro, July 10th, 2013

Keir Mudie, ‘Former manager of ‘VIP paedophile ring HQ’ Elm Guest House arrested’, Sunday People, July 13th, 2013

Nick Fielding, ‘Cyril Smith told detectives: I never behaved in any indecent way. Leading Liberal refused to make a statement to police, but then issued a staunch denial’, Exaro, July 16th, 2013

James Hanning and Paul Cahalan, ‘Elm Guest House investigation: Former senior cabinet minister faces rape investigation’, The Independent, July 21st, 2013

‘Operation Fernbridge: Two Men Charged with Sexual Assault’, Crown Prosecution Service, July 22nd, 2013

Sara Smyth, ‘Roman Catholic priest, 66, and 71-year-old man charged with historic sexual abuse at children’s home’, Daily Mail, July 22nd, 2013

‘Priest charged with child sex abuse’, BBC News, July 22nd, 2013

‘Two charged with historic child abuse under Operation Fernbridge’, This is London, July 22nd, 2013

‘VIP sex abuse charges handed out’, Daily Star, July 23rd, 2013

‘Father Tony McSweeney in court over child sex abuse allegations’, BBC News, September 4th, 2013

Mark Conrad and David Hencke, ‘Priest and ex-manager of Richmond children’s home in court: Magistrates bail John Stingemore and Tony McSweeney over charges of indecent assault’, Exaro, September 4th, 2013

Amy Dyduch, ‘Richmond care home boss and priest in court on child sex charges’, Richmond & Twickenham Times, September 4th, 2013

‘Sir Cyril Smith ‘visited alleged sex abuse guest house”, BBC News, September 13th, 2013

David Hencke and Mark Conrad, ‘Police pursue new leads in paedophile case against ex-minister: Met’s paedophile unit probes ex-Conservative cabinet minister’s Amsterdam connection’, Exaro, October 11th, 2013

James Fielding, ”Police gunman told me to ignore paedophiles’, says ex-child protection officer’, Sunday Express, October 20th 2013

Mark Conrad and David Hencke, ”Operation Fernbridge’ releases Elm co-manager without charge: Police to take no action against Harry Kasir as they continue to probe Elm Guest House’, Exaro, December 4th, 2013

Justin Penrose and Mark Conrad, ‘Ex Tory Cabinet minister ‘caught on camera at child sex party”, Sunday People, December 7th, 2013

Mark Conrad, Mark Watts and David Hencke, ‘Met’s paedophile unit seizes video of ex-minister at ‘sex party’: Detectives ‘talk to’ former cabinet minister about party where men sexually abused boys’, Exaro, December 7th, 2013 [this story to be treated with caution]

Mark Conrad and David Hencke, ‘Detectives investigate use of ‘staging post’ for Elm Guest House: Witness tells how he was taken to ‘holding house’ before brothel for ‘VIP paedophiles”, Exaro, February 3rd, 2014

David Hencke, ‘Second venue identified in Elm Guest House child sex abuse scandal’, February 5th, 2014

Mark Conrad, ‘Police and CPS ‘leave survivors of child sex abuse in the lurch”, Exaro, February 20th, 2014

David Hencke, ‘Police poised to level charges in paedophile ring linked to MPs: Bishop tells Met’s ‘Operation Cayacos’ how same network sexually abused him as a boy’, Exaro, February 26th, 2014

‘Murky link to VIP paedos’, Sunday People, March 30th, 2014 (see below)

Steven Swinford, ”Influential’ politician visited guest house at centre of child sex investigation’, The Telegraph, April 19th, 2014

Richard Pendlebury and Stephen Wright, ‘Was this woman murdered to cover up Cyril Smith’s sex ring? After a week of devastating revelations, this may be the most devastating question yet’, Daily Mail, April 19th, 2014

Paul Cahalan and Ian Gallagher, ‘I had underage sex with police officers at guest house used by ‘VIP paedophile ring’: Astonishing allegations by masseur who worked as a 16-year-old at notorious party venue ‘used by politicians, judges and pop stars”, Daily Mail, April 20th, 2014 (see below)

Jaya Narain, ‘Another paedophile politician could be unmasked by MP who exposed Cyril Smith’s sex ring’, Daily Mail, April 21st, 2014

‘New book places Cyril Smith at Barnes ‘abuse house”, Richmond and Twickenham Times, April 22nd, 2014

Kevin Maguire, ‘Victims of abuse are owed truth and justice – no matter how powerful the perpetrator’, Daily Mirror, April 28th, 2014

Peter Dominiczak, ‘Government urged to reassure public about child sex claims’, The Daily Telegraph, May 5th, 2014 (see below)

Paul Bracchi and Tim Stewart, ‘Child abuse at George Osborne’s old school and a scandal that grows ever darker’, Daily Mail, May 10th, 2014

Keir Mudie, ‘Tory cabinet minister accused of rape ‘protected from arrest in a murky establishment cover-up’, Sunday People, May 17th, 2014

Keir Mudie, ‘Cabinet minister ‘lured woman to flat on blind date and brutally raped her’, Sunday People, May 17th, 2014

Keir Mudie, ‘Tom Watson blasts police failure and demands urgent inquiry into Tory cabinet minister accused of rape’, Sunday People, May 17th, 2014

Jason Beattie, ‘MPs demand inquiry into historic claims of child sex abuse by Cabinet Ministers’, Daily Mirror, June 4th, 2014

Mark Conrad, ‘Met complains about Exaro’s ‘overly intrusive’ investigation’, Exaro, June 5th, 2014

David Hencke and Frederika Whitehead, ‘Every MP asked to back inquiry into organised child sex abuse’, Exaro, June 16th, 2014

Mark Leftly, ‘MP will name politician ‘involved in child abuse”, The Independent, June 22nd, 2014

Tom McTague, ‘Former Home Secretary Leon Brittan urged to step forward and share ‘his thoughts’ on child sex abuse dossier sent to Whitehall in 1980s’, Daily Mail, July 1st, 2014

‘Brittan file action ‘appropriate”, York Post, July 1st, 2014

Mark Conrad and David Hencke, ‘Simon Danczuk asks DPP to review claim over Elm Guest House: MP accuses CPS of key error on evidence of child sex abuse from ‘Operation Fernbridge”, Exaro, July 1st, 2014

Richard Pendlebury and Stephen Wright, ‘Leon Brittan’s faulty memory and a ticking timebomb that could shake Westminster: Tory peer faces questions over 1980s files complied by MP Geoffrey Dickens on Westminster paedophile ring’, Daily Mail, July 2nd, 2014

Jack Blanchard, ‘Tell us what you did with paedo report: Lord Brittan ‘has questions to answer’ over missing dossier’, Daily Mirror, July 2nd, 2014

Adrian Radnedge, ‘Tory peer defends himself over ‘paedophile cover-up”, Metro, July 2nd, 2014

Leo McKinstry, ‘Fear of child abuse cover up secret dossier at the heart of establishment’, The Express, July 3rd, 2014

Amy Dyduch, ‘Paedophile inquiry call gathers pace after dossier revelation’, Richmond and Twickenham Times, July 3rd, 2014

Lewis Smith, ‘Child abuse list includes 10 MPs and peers’, The Independent, July 4th, 2014

Gordon Rayner and David Barrett, ”More than 10′ politicians on list held by police investigating Westminster ‘paedophile ring’, The Telegraph, July 4th, 2014

Gordon Rayner, Tim Tate and Christopher Hope, ‘Tory MP allegedly found with child porn in 1980s faced no charges, police told’, The Telegraph, July 4th, 2014

‘CHILD PORN TORY MP’ PROBE URGED’, Daily Mail, July 4th, 2014

‘New probe into abuse claims ordered’, Belfast Telegraph, July 4th, 2014

‘PM Orders Probe Into Paedophile Dossier’, Sky News, July 4th, 2014

Nick Dorman, ‘MP Tom Watson tells Cameron to beef up ‘totally inadequate’ paedophile ring investigation’, Sunday People, July 5th, 2014

Daniel Boffey, ‘Edwardian house at heart of a long-simmering sex scandal’, The Observer, July 5th, 2014

Daniel Boffery, ‘Child abuse files lost at Home Office spark fears of cover-up’, The Observer, July 5th, 2014

Ross Kaniuk, ”Kid Porn’, Claim’, Daily Star, July 5th, 2014 (see below)

‘David Cameron wants ‘answers’ on paedophile dossier’, BBC News, July 5th, 2014

Tim Shipman, James Gillespie and David Leppard, ‘Police quiz Brittan over rape claim; Files missing in Home Office ‘cover-up”, The Sunday Times, July 6th, 2014 (see below)

Tim Shipman, ‘Home Office loses 114 sex abuse files’, The Sunday Times, July 6th, 2014 (see below)

David Harrison and Tim Shipman, ”THIS WILL BLOW IT APART’ ‘THIS WILL BLOW IT APART’; An MP who spent years investigating child abuse identified leading public figures in a secret dossier. Now his son wants them named and shamed’, The Sunday Times, July 6th, 2014 (see below)

Tom Whitehead, ‘Westminster paedophile ring allegations: timeline’, The Telegraph, July 6th, 2014

Chris Johnston, ‘Q&A: what is the Leon Brittan dossier and why are there fears of a cover-up?’, The Observer, July 6th, 2014

Simon Danczuk, ‘Call for a public inquiry into historic child abuse: Forget the expenses scandal. If MPs have harboured paedophiles, the damage to British democracy will be fatal says MP’, Mail on Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Louise Mensch, ‘Child abuse isn’t party political… covering it up is’, The Sun on Sunday, July 6th, 2014 (see below)

David Barrett, Christopher Hope and Tim Tate, ‘Westminster paedophile ring allegations: Scotland Yard detectives trace ‘victim”, The Telegraph, July 7th, 2014

Tom Whitehead, ‘Decades of child abuse ‘covered up’ by Whitehall; Missing evidence, a ‘protected’ Establishment, and VIP paedophiles who felt ‘untouchable’, The Telegraph, July 7th, 2014 (see below)

Stephen Wright, Sam Marsden, Martin Robinson and Amanda Williams, ‘Leon Brittan denies allegations he raped woman at London flat after blind date in 1967 and says claims are ‘wholly unfounded”, Daily Mail, July 7th, 2014

Emine Sinmaz, ‘Child in alleged Westminster paedophile ring traced to U.S: Man now in his 40s said his abuser worked in ‘the big house’ after he was rescued more than 30 years ago’, Daily Mail, July 7th, 2014

Matt Chorley, ‘I was warned I could be responsible for Leon Brittan’s death if asked about paedophile dossier, claims Labour MP’, Daily Mail, July 7th, 2014

Jason Groves, ‘I’ll sue if anyone links me to untrue paedophile claims, says Tory grandee Sir Peter Bottomley’, Daily Mail, July 7th, 2014

Fiona Hamilton, ‘Rape claim is unfounded, says Brittan’, The Times, July 8th, 2014 (see below)

John Hall, ”’Powerful elite’ of at least 20 establishment figures may have been part of paedophile ring that abused children for decades’, Daily Mail, July 8th, 2014

Stephen Wright and Daniel Bates, ‘Victim called himself Daddy’s Little Princess’, Daily Mail, July 8th, 2014 (see below)

Ed Riley, ‘Major public figures involved in YEARS of child abuse! Claims whistleblower’, Daily Star, July 9th, 2014 (see below)

‘Why are abuse allegations in news?’, BBC News, July 9th, 2014

Nick Buckley and Keir Mudie, ‘Margaret Thatcher ‘personally covered up’ child abuse allegations against senior ministers’, Sunday People, July 12th, 2014

James Hanning, ‘Exclusive: Child abuse victims to sue Government’, The Independent, July 13th, 2014

James Gillespie, Jon Ungoed-Thomas and Marie Woolf, ‘Police ‘superlist’ of 21 child abusers; Thirteen forces are now working together in a huge investigation as hundreds more victims accuse officials of a cover-up’, The Sunday Times, July 13th, 2014
(see below)

Dan Warburton, ‘Tory child abuse claims: Calls for criminal probes as more attack allegations emerge’, Daily Record, July 14th, 2014

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

Matt Chorley, ‘Thatcher’s bodyguard says he warned her about underage sex rumours about close aide amid claims senior ministers were named in dossier’, Mail on Sunday, July 27th, 2014

Lynn Davidson, ‘I told Mrs T police were probing top Tory’s sex parties with young boys’, The Sun, July 27th, 2014 (see below)

Mark Conrad, ‘CPS to reinstate key charges after error over Elm Guest House: Prosecutors: decision to drop case of one witness’s claims of child sex abuse ‘was wrong”, Exaro, August 6th, 2014

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

Auslan Cramb, ‘I was victim of paedophile ring says woman ‘abused’ by Tory MP’, The Daily Telegraph, August 15th, 2014 (see below)

Jeremy Watson, ‘Minister raped me, says QC’s daughter’, The Times, August 15th, 2014 (see below)

Guy Adams and Andrew Malone, ‘Revealed: The Full horrifying truth about Sir Nicholas Fairbairn – the other paedophile at Margaret Thatcher’s side’, Daily Mail, August 22nd, 2014

Steph Cockroft, ‘Catholic priest and former children’s home boss appear in court accused of abusing young boys in their care in the 1980s’, Daily Mail, August 27th, 2014

Jurgen Balzan, ‘[WATCH] Social services head admits being told of abuse allegations’ Malta Today, September 9th, 2014

Charlotte Edwardes, ‘Zac Goldsmith: I don’t want to be a minister — I’d need a lobotomy to read from someone else’s script’, The Standard, September 16th, 2014

Jurgen Balzan, ‘Former Malta university lecturer investigated on Richmond child abuse’, Malta Today, October 7th, 2014

Mark Watts, Tim Wood, Mark Conrad and David Hencke, ”Operation Fernbridge’ loses chief as pressure mounts on Met’, Exaro, October 7th, 2014

‘Home Office may never release abuse files, MP wars, Yorkshire Post, October 17th, 2014

Jurgen Balzan, ‘Expat denies involvement in Richmond paedophile ring cover-up’, Malta Today, October 28th, 2014

Guy Adams, ‘Are the vile paedophile allegations against Leon Brittan a sinister MI5 smear plot? Labour MP uses Commons privilege to link top Tory to abuse’, Daily Mail, October 31st, 2014

Mark Conrad and Mark Watts, ‘Met starts investigation into child sex abuse at Dolphin Square’, Exaro, November 1st, 2014

Keir Mudie, Nick Dorfman and Mark Conrad, ‘MPs and VIPs ‘child abuse ring’ at luxury flats near Parliament investigated by detectives’, Sunday People, November 1st, 2014

Keir Mudie and Nick Dorfman, ‘Elm Guest House ‘boy brothel’ victim slams Theresa May’s bungled abuse inquiry’, Sunday People, November 1st, 2014

Mark Conrad, ‘Ex-MI6 Chief named as sexual abuser of boys at Dolphin Square’, Exaro, November 8th, 2014

Mark Watts and Mark Conrad, ‘Revealed: Peter Hayman, paedo, spy Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, PIE’, Exaro, November 8th, 2014

Mark Watts and Mark Conrad, ‘How Peter Hayman was linked in Parliament to paedophile ring’, Exaro, November 8th, 2014

Keir Mudie and Mark Conrad, ”MI6 chief and shamed diplomat raped me’ claims alleged victim of VIP paedophile abuse ring’, Sunday People, November 8th, 2014

Keir Mudie, ‘Battle to expose UK pervs in high places’, Sunday People, November 9th, 2014 (see below)

Tom Peterkin, ‘Behind the scenes bid to mount child abuse inquiry for Scotland’, Scotland on Sunday, November 9th, 2014 (mention of Fairbairn and Elm Guest House)

”Homicide’ probe into child abuse’, Press Association, November 14th, 2014 (see below)

Heather Saul, ‘Scotland Yard investigating ‘possible homicide’ in historical abuse inquiry’, The Independent, November 14th, 2014

Paul Gallagher and Nigel Morris, ‘Westminster child abuse gang ‘linked to boy’s murder”, The Independent, November 14th, 2014

Martin Evans, ‘Westminster paedophile ring investigated over murder links’, The Telegraph, November 14th, 2014

Justin Davenport, ‘Police investigation into ‘murder linked to VIP paedophile abuse network’, Evening Standard, November 14th, 2014

‘Possible Homicide’ In Sex Abuse Probe’, Sky News, November 14th, 2014

Clare Carter, ‘Detectives investigating alleged Westminster paedophile ring uncover evidence of possible link to MURDER’, Daily Mail, November 14th, 2014

Rebecca Camber and Stephen Wright, ‘Did VIP abusers murder a boy? Scotland Yard’s new probe into paedophile ring at luxury flats used by ministers’, Daily Mail, November 14th, 2014

Mark Conrad, ”Operation Midland’ investigates Tory MP over boy’s murder’, Exaro, November 15th, 2014

Keir Mudie and Mark Conrad, ”I watched Tory MP MURDER a boy during depraved Westminster VIP paedophile party”, Sunday People, November 15th, 2014

Ollie Gilliam, ‘Victim of VIP abuse scandal ‘saw Tory MP throttle 12-year-old to death’ as police launch probe into THREE deaths linked to depraved sex rings’, Daily Mail, November 16th, 2014

Sean O’Neill, ‘Murdered boy’s father says police ignored informant’, The Times, November 19th, 2014 (see below)

Bill Gardner, ‘Father claims Scotland Yard covered up son’s murder by Westminster paedophiles’, The Telegraph, November 19th, 2014

Bill Gardner, ‘Nick Clegg: ‘Claims Scotland Yard covered up boy’s murder are grotesque”, The Telegraph, November 19th, 2014

Bill Gardner, ‘Metropolitan Police detective’s fears of Westminster paedophile ‘cover-up”, The Telegraph, November 19th, 2014

Joe Murphy, John Dunne and Justin Davenport, ‘MPs demand action over claims magistrate’s son was murdered by VIP paedophile ring’, Evening Standard, November 19th, 2014

Laura Proto, ‘Father alleges Elm Guest House murder cover-up over abduction of his son in 1981′, Richmond and Twickenham Times, November 19th, 2014

Jamie Grierson, ‘Murdered boy’s father’s abuse fears’, Press Association, November 19th, 2014 (see below)

Tom McTague, Martin Robinson and Francesca Infante, ‘Clegg demands police probe into ‘grotesque’ claim Scotland Yard covered up murder of 8-year-old boy by VIP abuse ring’, Daily Mail, November 19th, 2014

Kunal Dutta, ‘Westminster child abuse scandal: Scotland Yard accused of ‘cover-up’ over death of boy in 1980s’, The Independent, November 19th, 2014

Josh Halliday, ‘Father claims police covered up son’s murder by Westminster paedophile ring’, The Guardian, November 19th, 2014

Matthew Weaver, ‘Westminster child abuse claims: what do we know?; Police are investigating possible murders linked to Elm Guest House in south-west London after claims of a cover-up’, The Guardian, November 19th, 2014

Sandra Laville and Josh Halliday ‘Paedophile ring allegations: police are failing us, murdered boy’s father says’, The Guardian, November 19th, 2014

Sam Rkaina, ‘Father of boy murdered in 1980s claims ‘Westminster paedophile ring may have been to blame’, Daily Mirror, November 19th, 2014

David Brown, Georgie Keate and Sean O’Neill, ‘Paedophile gang ‘may have killed 17 more children”, The Times, November 20th, 2014 (see below)

Bill Gardner, ‘Westminster sex ring: Police investigating father’s murder claims’, The Telegraph, November 20th, 2014

Graham Grant, ‘POLICE PROBE ‘MAGIC CIRCLE’ CHILD SEX RING; Second victim comes forward as 10 officers investigate paedophile abuse allegations involving Scottish MP and leading legal figures Police to quiz three more in Fairbairn abuse claims’, Scottish Daily Mail, November 20th, 2014 (see below)

Scott D’Arcy, ”Cover up’ fear over boy’s murder’, Press Association, November 20th, 2014 (see below)

Steph Cockroft, ‘Notorious paedophile gang ‘could have covered up 17 child murders and be linked to VIP guest house”, Daily Mail, November 20th, 2014

Paul Gallagher, ‘Westminster sex abuse scandal: Police investigate father’s claims that eight-year-old son was murdered by Conservative MP’, The Independent, November 20th, 2014

Jon Stone, ‘Politicians’ alleged paedophile ring murder could have been covered up, says top detective’, The Independent, November 20th, 2014

Tom Kelly and Rebecca Cambra, ‘Murder covered up, says father’, Daily Mail, November 20th, 2014 (see below)

Tom Pettifor, ‘Nick Clegg describes Westminster paedophile ring murder cover-up claims as “grotesque”‘, Daily Mirror, November 20th, 2014

Laura Proto, ‘Richmond politicians horrified at Elm Guest House “cover-ups”‘, Richmond and Twickenham Times, November 21st, 2014

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

‘Police ‘not in contact’ over murdered boy’, The Telegraph, November 21st, 2014 (see below)

Mark Conrad, ‘Met trawls files on 200 missing boys in murder probe into VIPs’, Exaro, November 22nd, 2014

Mark Conrad, ‘MP paedophiles were ‘Untouchables’ – ex-Special Branch officer’, Exaro, November 22nd, 2014

Daniel Boffey, ‘Media ‘gagged over bid to report MP child sex cases’; Security services accused of aiding Westminster paedophilia cover-up’, The Observer, November 23rd, 2014

James Gillespie, ‘Security services ‘have abuse file”, The Sunday Times, November 23rd, 2014 (see below)

James Murray and James Fielding, ‘Exclusive: Elm House ‘never ran gay orgies”, Sunday Express, November 23rd, 2014

James Fielding, ‘Labour was told in 2002 about child sex scandal’, Sunday Express, November 23rd, 2014

Keir Mudie and Mark Conrad, ‘Retired Scotland Yard detectives back up claims that paedo MPs murdered boys at sex orgies’, Sunday People, November 23rd, 2014

Nick Dorman, ‘Westminster paedophile ring: Cop warned brother of missing Martin Allen questions would get him ‘hurt”, Sunday People, November 23rd, 2014

Dan Bloom and Tom McTague, ‘Former Scotland Yard detectives say young boys were murdered by Westminster paedophile ring’, Daily Mail, November 23rd, 2014

Francesca Infante, ‘Missing boy’s brother claims he was threatened by police when he told them he believed they covered up disappearance’, Daily Mail, November 23rd, 2014

Lynn Davidson and Shaun Wooller, ‘VIP paedos snatched my kid brother; VICTIM’S FAMILY SPEAK OUT ; COPS ‘GIVEN FILE”, The Sun, November 24th, 2014 (see below)

Georgie Keate, ‘Paedophile ring may have killed boy, 15’, The Times, November 26th, 2014 (see below)

‘Police may reopen the case of dead boy linked to VIP ring’, Evening Standard, November 26th, 2014

Lamiat Sabin, ”Kidnapped boy may have been abused and murdered by VIP paedophile ring,’ say police;
Martin Allen went missing aged 15 while on his way home in 1979′, The Independent, November 26th, 2014

Christopher Hope, ‘Sir Edward Garnier ‘tried to stop Labour MP challenging Lord Brittan over child abuse claims’; Simon Danczuk says former Conservative Solicitor General tackled him on the evening before he was due to give evidence to Home Affairs select committee’, The Telegraph, November 27th, 2014

Arj Singh, ”Establishment Figures’ at hotel’, Press Association, November 27th, 2014 (see below)

Tom McTague, ‘Ex cabinet minister was photographed in sauna with naked boy at notorious guest house where children were ‘brought in for sex’, MP tells Parliament’, Daily Mail, November 27th, 2014

Jack Doyle, ‘Did PM’s adviser try to stop MP linking Brittan to claims of child sex abuse? Former solictor general said naming him ‘would not be a wise move”, Daily Mail, November 27th, 2014

Steph Cockroft, ‘Catholic priest and former children’s home boss appear in court accused of abusing young boys in their care in the 1980s’, Daily Mail,

David Brown, ‘Former minister ‘in sauna with naked boy”, The Times, November 28th, 2014 (see below)

David Brown, ‘Paedophile ring trial opens’, The TImes, November 28th, 2014 (see below)

Emily Ashton, ‘Minister and Boy in Sauna’, The Sun, November 28th, 2014 (see below)

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith, ‘Westminster sex abuse scandal: Ex-Cabinet minister ‘was photographed in the sauna with a naked boy at Elm Guest House”, The Independent, November 28th, 2014

Mark Watts and Mark Conrad, ‘Buckingham Palace drawn into scandal over ‘paedophile ring”, Exaro, November 29th, 2014

Mark Watts, ‘Revealed: Buried files link Buckingham Palace to paedophilia’, Exaro, November 29th, 2014

Mark Watts and Keir Mudie, ‘VIP paedophile ring ‘abused teenage boy INSIDE Buckingham Palace and Balmoral’, Sunday People, November 29th, 2014 (mentions palace officials linked to EGH)

Stephen Wright and Richard Pendlebury, ‘Scotland Yard ‘hid top MP’s name’ in sex abuse inquiry: Police ‘buried young boy’s testimony in Establishment cover up’, says author of book about Cyril Smith scandal’, Daily Mail, December 5th, 2014

Mike Sullivan and Tom Morgan, ‘MP ‘was at snuff film lad’s murder’; Exclusive: VIP Paedophile Horror’, The Sun, December 6th, 2014 (see below)

Paul Cahalan and Peter Henn, ”Willie Whitelaw ordered police to scrap inquiry into VIP child sex abuse ring’: Police probe into sensational new cover-up claims’, Mail on Sunday, December 7th, 2014

Daily Telegraph, December 15th, 2012
Gordon Rayner, ‘Allegation of paedophile ring of MPs investigated’

SCOTLAND Yard detectives are looking into claims that senior MPs were part of a paedophile ring in the 1980s and avoided prosecution because of their positions.
The officers began the probe after receiving information from Tom Watson, the Labour MP, who told Parliament in October that “a senior aide of a former prime minister” was linked to a network of child abusers.
Some of the abuse is said to have taken place at a guesthouse in Barnes, south-west London, used as lodgings by members of all three main political parties.
The inquiry, code-named Operation Fairbank, is described by the Metropolitan Police as a “scoping exercise” to assess whether there is enough evidence to mount a full-scale investigation.
Officers from the Met’s Child Abuse Investigation Team have spoken to several adults who claim to have been abused as children, some of whom contacted Mr Watson.
Some alleged victims have claimed that MPs were arrested as part of an earlier investigation into activities at the Elm Guest House, but that no further action was taken.
In 1982 Carole Kasir, who managed the guesthouse, was convicted of running a brothel. Before her death in 1990, she told child protection campaigners she had discovered that boys from care homes were being supplied to paedophiles staying at her establishment in the early 1980s.
Police have been told that the guesthouse was raided and arrests were made.
They are checking through their files to see if there are leads that can be followed.
One of the documents being sought by police is the register from the guesthouse, which they believe still exists.
The inquiry is separate from Operation Yewtree, set up to investigate historical allegations of child abuse involving Jimmy Savile and others.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “Officers have spoken with the MP, Tom Watson, who has passed on some information which is now being looked into.”
Separately, the Yard also said it was “reviewing an historical allegation of child abuse in west London”.


Sunday People
, January 27th, 2013
David Pallister and Nick Dorman, ‘VIP case cops raid dirty Harry home’

POLICE have raided the home of the former owner of the notorious Elm guest house.
Detectives believe Haroon “Harry” Kasir may hold vital clues to help them uncover a network of paedophiles with links to politics, showbiz and royalty.
Kasir, 69, was the main phone contact for the guest house in adverts placed in gay newspapers.
The Elm is alleged to have hosted sex parties where vulnerable youngsters were preyed on.
Officers swooped at Kasir’s new address to try to recover any evidence that may help identify high-profile abusers. Although Kasir was not arrested, officers are likely to want to talk to him again as they build their case.
Kasir and wife Carole ran the Elm from 1979 for about four years and were in charge when police raided it in 1982.
The Kasirs were fined £1,000 each and given suspended jail sentences after being found guilty of running a brothel.
They are believed to have sold the guest house to cover their court costs.
Carole died in 1990 after an overdose of insulin. Kasir still lives in the area and works as a driver for a charity.
When reporters in a probe by the Sunday People and Exaro investigative website approached him he said: “You might as well contact police.” Officers are close to making their first arrests.

GRAPHIC: ADVERT: Trawling for customers
QUIZZED: Former Elm owner Harry Kasir this week
Picture: NEWSPICS


Morning Star
, January 27th, 2013
‘Top officials linked to ’80s child sex ring’

The Metropolitan Police launched a full-scale criminal investigation, Operation Fernbridge, into the historic claims 10 days ago but was tight-lipped on its details. But several former top Tories have since been named on the internet in relation to the case, including an ex-Cabinet member and other former government ministers, MPs, and officials of the right-wing Monday Club. The claims have been published widely on the web in around 60 documents reported to have been part of a dossier compiled by concerned care worker Mary Moss.
Among others implicated are at least one ex-Labour MP, ex-Liberal MP Cyril Smith, former Richmond councillors and officials, a number of top lawyers, police officers and one-time leader of the National Socialist Movement in Britain Colin Jordan. Images posted in recent days and purported to come from Ms Moss’s dossier feature typed and handwritten notes, names and addresses said to have been recorded by at least one care worker looking into allegations of systematic child sex abuse at the Elm Guest House in Barnes between 1979 and 1983. The south London guesthouse is said to have been used to abuse young boys from the age of nine who were transported from care homes in Richmond and elsewhere to the premises. Police visited the home of Ms Moss, who now goes under another name, two weeks ago as part of Operation Fairbank, which is investigating historical claims of child sex abuse. It was launched following Labour MP Tom Watson’s October demand for an inquiry into an alleged paedophile ring which he claimed reached to the top of the British Establishment. Ms Moss has since reportedly handed 19 files to the police, many of which were said to have been hidden with neighbours to protect them against seizure and destruction by third parties. The Metropolitan Police has asked anyone with information to call its hotline on (020) 7161-0500.


Daily Mail
, February 4, 2013
Arthur Martin, ‘THEY FORCED ME TO WEAR A FAIRY COSTUME, CLAIMS ELM GUEST HOUSE VICTIM’

A VICTIM of an alleged establishment paedophile ring told yesterday how he was ordered to wear a fairy costume before being abused.
The orphan was 13 when he and his 12-year-old brother were sent by staff at their children’s home to the Elm Guest House for a treat’, it is claimed.
He said boys were plied with alcohol before being told to pose for pictures wearing girls’ clothing.
The men at the guest house – said to include MPs and pop stars – would then abuse the children after pretending to play hide-and-seek, the victim said.
More than a decade after leaving care, the victim’s brother, Peter, killed himself six days after his 28th birthday.
A line in his suicide note which appeared to refer to his ordeal read: I will get those b*******.’
The former guest house in Barnes, south-west London, is now the centre of a police investigation into an alleged child sex abuse ring in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Police are examining claims that children from the Grafton Close Children’s Home were taken to the guest house to have sex with men.
During a police raid on a property in central London last month detectives seized a list of names of high profile alleged visitors to the guest house.
As reported in Saturday’s Daily Mail, the list includes a number of senior MPs, two pop stars, a high-ranking policeman, a leading tycoon, an official from the Royal household and traitorous Soviet spy Anthony Blunt.
Cyril Smith, the late Liberal MP, has already been named as a regular at the guest house.
Yesterday the victim, known only as Dave, said: The people responsible have blood on their hands. I shouldn’t think my brother is the only one to have taken his life because of this. I’m speaking out now because I want justice done for me and for my brother. What went on was absolutely disgusting.
When we told the staff at the care home what was happening at Elm they used to say: “They are friends, they are good people”. No one was listening to us. It’s taken 30 years for anyone to listen.’
Dave, who now has young children of his own, told how he and his younger brother were taken into care after their widowed mother killed herself following years of depression. They were sent to Grafton Close Children’s Home in Hanworth, west London, in 1978.
Dave was 13 when minibus outings to the Elm Guest House began. We were told we were going to the “good house” for a party,’ he told a newspaper.
It wouldn’t be more than a handful of us at a time. When we got there it was a huge house.’
He said the children would be escorted through reception without signing the guest book and taken to a back room where parties were held. There would be easy-listening music playing, sort of mellow stuff, and loads to drink,’ Dave said. Sometimes there would be two adults there, other times more. They laid on tables with beer and cider. We would have races to see who could drink it first.
They used to make us dress up, make us put on outfits like fairy costumes meant for girls, then play games of hide-and-seek with the adults looking for the kids.’
When the children were found’, they were forced to take part in appalling sex abuse.
Dave added: There would be flash bulbs going off when someone was taking pictures.
I can remember all the adults had posh accents. They used to say things like “He’s cute, he’s nice”. They would pick out the pretty boys, especially the ones who looked young for their age.’
Last week Dave was visited by two officers from Scotland Yard’s Operation Fernbridge, which is investigating the case.
Dave’s testimony echoes that of former child protection worker Chris Fay, who says he was shown photos of children dressed up at Kings and Queens parties’ at the guest house. One photograph is said to show a former Tory Cabinet minister in a sauna with a naked 14-year-old boy.


The Sun
, February 7th, 2013
Tom Morgan and Jonathan Reilly, ‘Delia’s Norwich chaplain held over VIP paedo ring’

A CATHOLIC priest signed up as Norwich City FC’s chaplain by TV cook Delia Smith was one of two men arrested yesterday over a VIP paedophile ring.
Father Tony McSweeney, 66, who officiated at boxing champ Frank Bruno’s 1990 wedding, was quizzed along with retired children’s home chief John Stingemore, 70.
The pair, held in dawn swoops by police, are suspected of helping to send vulnerable kids to be abused at Elm Guest House, an ex-guest house in Barnes, South West London, once used as lodgings by pop stars and senior politicians.
The priest presided over Bruno’s wedding to Laura, which ended in divorce 11 years later. It is not clear how long he was linked with Norwich, where Delia, who refused to comment last night, is a director and the majority shareholder.
Cops are probing allegations dating to 1977 that kids from three council children’s homes were taken to Elm Guest House to be abused.
The Operation Fernbridge probe began last month after claims of a “powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and No10”.
Father McSweeney, of St George’s Church in Norwich, has worked as a part-time chaplain for the Premier League side and was personally asked by Delia to hold a Mass for Catholic fans in the club restaurant after a 2004 match.
Last night a spokesman for the Diocese of East Anglia confirmed: “Tony McSweeney, a priest of the Diocese of East Anglia, is currently assisting police with their inquiries into historical allegations of the sexual abuse of children.”
Both Stingemore, of St Leonards, East Sussex, and McSweeney were last night bailed until April.


Manchester Evening News
, March 9th, 2013
Jessica Beckett, ‘Hunt is launched for late MP’s child sex abuse dossier’

AN MP’s lost dossier alleging high profile child abuse is being hunted down almost 20 years after his death.
Geoffrey Dickens handed the 50-page report about suspected paedophile rings, police misconduct and abuse of boys in a care home, to the government in 1984.
The scandal is thought to have never been investigated and the file is now missing.
But an MP is calling for it to be tracked down and reopened.
Mr Dickens, who represented Littleborough and Saddleworth from 1983 until his death in 1995 aged 63, spent years collecting his evidence but was left in fear of his life after uncovering the alleged abuse.
Coun John Hudson, leader of Oldham’s Conservative party and Saddleworth South councillor, was Mr Dickens’ agent from 1990 until his death. He said: Geoffrey was very sincere in his views and he was a diligent, hard-working member of parliament who was dedicated to his job.
At the time a lot of people thought he was a bit over the top and these kind of allegations were hard for people to believe.
He wasn’t afraid to break boundaries and speak up for people but he was often laughed at.
Things have changed a lot in the past 20 years and I hope the document is found if it was taken seriously at the time, maybe it could have changed things. But hindsight is a wonderful thing.
The outspoken MP was convinced he had solid proof of a network of abuse and in 1985 told the Commons he had received threatening phone calls and had been put on a ‘multi-killer’s hit list’ following his campaign. As a result he was given police protection.
At the time some MPs tried to undermine his campaign.
The dossier was submitted the same year as Mr Dickens campaigned for the outlawing of the controversial Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE).
In 1983, Mr Dickens said there were big, big names people in positions of power, influence and responsibility and threatened to expose them in Parliament if no action was taken against PIE.
The MP handed a million-strong petition against the group to then Home Secretary Leon Brittan and called for him to investigate the allegations in his dossier. There are suggestions it contained links to the notorious Elm guest house in south-west London which is currently the focus of a police investigation.
Bromwich MP Tom Watson has now asked the government to produce a copy of the dossier which officials are still trying to track down.
Mr Dickens is believed to have made two copies of his report one which he gave to the government and the other which he kept. But that copy was ordered to be destroyed by his widow Norma who thought it was too sensitive to keep in the family home following his death.
She died last year.
Their son Barry, 49, said: I see the new investigations as re-establishing my father’s reputation as a serious, campaigning politician.
People like Jimmy Savile might have been rooted out three decades ago if the government had acted on my father’s dossier.
A Home Office spokesman said: We are aware of media reports from the 1980s about papers collected by Geoffrey Dickens.
Files from that time are no longer held centrally by the department, but work is under way to find out what relevant documents have been archived.

GRAPHIC: LOST FILE The late Geoffrey Dickens, who was Conservative MP for the old Littleborough and Saddleworth consituency


The People
, March 30th, 2014
‘Murky link to VIP paedos’

OPERATION Fernbridge is an offshoot of Scotland Yard’s Operation Fairbank probe into claims of sexual abuse and grooming involving parties at Elm Guest House in the 70s and 80s.
Cops confirmed last year they were looking into claims a high-profile “paedophile ring of VIPs” abused boys from Grafton Close Children’s Home in Richmond, South West London who were taken to the nearby Elm. Members are believed to have included ex-spy Anthony Blunt and Liberal MP Cyril Smith. Other alleged visitors to the Elm include ex-diplomat Sir Peter Hayman.


Daily Mail, April 20th, 2014
Paul Cahalan and Ian Gallagher, ‘I had underage sex with police officers at guest house used by ‘VIP paedophile ring’: Astonishing allegations by masseur who worked as a 16-year-old at notorious party venue ‘used by politicians, judges and pop stars”

Lee Towsey told new investigation he had underage sex with officers
He was working as a masseuse at London’s infamous Elm Guest House
He is the first person with first-hand knowledge of events to speak publicly
In an MoS interview, he also talks of a sexual encounter with Cyril Smith
He claims police told him to ‘keep quiet about what and who you saw’
A former child actor has told detectives he was abused by undercover male police officers at a guest house at the centre of an alleged VIP paedophile ring.
Lee Towsey made the astonishing claim to Scotland Yard’s Operation Fernbridge, which is investigating historic child sex abuse.
He says it happened while he worked at the Elm Guest House in South-West London in 1982. At the time, Mr Towsey was 16, then under the age of homosexual consent.
‘I was naive and struggling to come to terms with my sexuality,’ he said. ‘After we had sex the officers offered me money.’
In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, he also tells of a sexual encounter with Cyril Smith – and how he was warned by police to ‘keep quiet about what and who you saw’.
For years, the question of what went on at the Edwardian terrace in Rocks Lane, overlooking Barnes Common, has been the subject of speculation. It was claimed politicians, judges, pop stars, a high-ranking policeman, a member of the Royal household and an MI5 officer were among the visitors. There were allegations that some VIPs preyed on boys from a nearby children’s home.
But until today no one with any first-hand knowledge of what went on has ever spoken publicly. In bombshell testimony, Mr Towsey, who worked at Rocks Lane for five months as a masseur, claims:
Guest house owner Carole Kasir paid police protection money.
Names of high-profile guests were kept in a black book, referred to by Kasir as ‘my insurance policy’.
Kasir told him a Cabinet Minister was a regular visitor.
He only knew Cyril Smith was a politician when he recognised his Spitting Image puppet years later.
Mr Towsey has also spoken to Labour MP Simon Danczuk, whose book about Smith revealed how he abused scores of boys. Last night Mr Danczuk said: ‘This is a significant part of the jigsaw in what is a complex cover-up. It really moves on the need for a more in-depth inquiry.’
Mr Towsey first visited Elm Guest House in February 1982. At the time he was pursuing his dream of becoming an actor. He later appeared in Grange Hill and Doctor Who.
‘I went out one night with a friend and we ended up going back to where he was staying in Barnes, which was on my way home,’ said Mr Towsey. ‘It was Elm Guest House. We had a couple of drinks in the bar and that’s where I first met Carole Kasir, the owner. She was kind of hippy-ish and made quite a fuss of me.’
She was less welcoming the following morning. ‘Carole’s demeanour changed. She said I had to pay for my night’s stay but I couldn’t afford it. She said: “You can work here as a masseur.” ‘
Carole told him that some of the visitors were prominent people. Mr Towsey said: ‘She kept their names in a black address book, which she referred to as her insurance policy.
‘She said one was a Cabinet Minister and there were judges and politicians. I remember Cyril Smith but I didn’t know he was a politician until I saw his puppet on Spitting Image.
‘Carole told me not to let him in the sauna, as he had got stuck in there before and they had to take the door off to get him out.’ He added: ‘Smith wanted me to strip naked and massage him. I was also forced to watch as he masturbated.’
Carole came to confide in the 16-year-old, complaining how she was under pressure to contribute to Richmond police’s ‘Christmas fund’. ‘It was protection money,’ he said.
In all, Mr Towsey slept with three people at the house. ‘They all turned out to be police,’ he said. ‘One came round in the first month. He was early 20s, good-looking, not the usual sort who went to the house.’
Mr Towsey saw the man again some months later – at Richmond police station – after he and the Kasir were arrested in a raid. Before that, Mr Towsey claims, two other undercover officers visited the house. ‘The first came in April and I had sex with him. He turned out to be one of the officers who later raided the house.
‘He came back about three weeks later and hired a room. He stayed two nights and on the second night his partner stayed too. I ended up having sex with them. Afterwards they asked how much and I told them that they were not clients and felt insulted they wanted to pay me.’
Mr Towsey continued at the house until the raid in June. He was charged with keeping a disorderly house and assisting in the management of a brothel. ‘That year was terrible,’ he said. ‘People were ringing up making death threats. I got a job in the kitchen at a bingo hall in Hounslow. My dad used to pick me up after work in his Nissan Sunny.
‘One day he didn’t turn up because its tyres had been let down. But he didn’t have time to let me know. Yet when I arrived at the usual spot, a Nissan Sunny was in the usual place and I got in the front.
‘There were three police officers inside. One of them was at the station following the raid. They told me they could pick me up at any time and told me keep my mouth shut. I never told anyone, not even my family.’
The day he was due at the Old Bailey, the charges against him were suddenly dropped. Kasir, who died in 1990, was found guilty of keeping a disorderly house but received a fine and suspended sentence.
Mr Towsey was contacted by detectives from Operation Fernbridge in 2012. ‘They said they were opening up the case again because of Savile. I have had a couple of calls since to say they are still investigating but they haven’t moved anything on. I am considering legal action against the Met. I shut the door on it once and I want to shut the door on it again and move on.’
Scotland Yard declined to comment.
MP: I may name ‘influential politician’ who visited Elm Guest House with Smith
By PAUL CAHALAN
A Labour MP says he is considering the sensational step of publicly naming an influential politician who allegedly abused boys at Elm Guest House.
Simon Danczuk, who exposed former Liberal MP Cyril Smith, said he would use Parliamentary privilege – giving him legal immunity – to unmask someone ‘much more important’. ‘I have used privilege before and I would consider using privilege to name the Parliamentarian,’ he said yesterday.
Rochdale MP Mr Danczuk published a book last week detailing how Smith, who died in 2010, abused hundreds of vulnerable boys over four decades.
Unlike Smith, the politician he is now considering naming is still sitting in Parliament.
Calling for a new in-depth inquiry into the activities at Elm House, which closed in 1982, Mr Danczuk said: ‘There is undoubtedly a cover-up.
‘This isn’t just about Smith, this is a much wider network of paedophiles, people who were abusing youngsters. We have to get to the bottom of it, not least because some of these people are still alive and should face justice.
‘Anyone who has any more information should come forward so that we can all move on from a horrible piece of recent history.’


The Daily Telegraph
, May 5th, 2014
Peter Dominiczak, ‘Government urged to reassure public about child sex claims’

MINISTERS must “reassure the public” about a series of child sex investigations involving Westminster politicians, the Labour MP who exposed Cyril Smith’s behaviour said yesterday.
Simon Danczuk, the MP for Rochdale, last month published a book on Smith which reignited the scandal over the former Liberal MP, who used his power and influence to abuse hundreds of boys for more than four decades.
However, Mr Danczuk has also disclosed details of allegations about two other senior Westminster figures who have been accused of historic abuse.
Mr Danczuk said that he has now been contacted by police officers about a case involving a senior Labour politician and said that officers are taking the allegations “extremely seriously”.
He has also disclosed that during the course of his investigation into Smith, who died in 2010, he interviewed a man who was sexually abused by the MP at the Elm Guest House in Barnes, London, when he was 16. The man gave him the name of another parliamentarian who had visited the guesthouse, describing him as a “much bigger fish” and significantly “higher up the food chain”. Mr Danczuk yesterday said that with so many investigations under way, the Government needs to make a public statement about the allegations.
“We need them to reassure the public that the police are getting adequate resources to carry out these investigations,” he said.

GRAPHIC: Simon Danczuk, MP for Rochdale, has disclosed child sex allegations involving senior Westminster politicians


Daily Star
, July 5th, 2014 Saturday
Ross Kaniuk, ”KID PORN MP’ CLAIM’

A FORMER top MP was stopped coming into Britain with a haul of child porn, it is alleged.
The Conservative was found to have explicit videos of children “clearly under 12” – but he escaped without any action being taken, it is claimed Last night the Director of Public Prosecutions was urged to investigate allegations that the politician was stopped by customs while driving back to the UK via Dover.
The videos and paperwork that were taken during the 1980s incident have subsequently gone missing The Customs officer has spoken to detectives on Operation Fernbridge, an inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse by people including highprofile figures at the Elm Guest House in Barnes, south-west London.
The Labour MP Tom Watson, who has led calls for a comprehensive probe into historic child abuse, said he was writing to Alison Saunders, head of the DPP, to ask her to examine evidence. He said: “It’s a remarkable revelation. If true, it shows a crime was not investigated but also it is shocking because it’s yet another example of intelligence going missing.” The senior Tory’s name is said to have been included in a dossier alleging paedophile activity in Westminster, which the Government admits has probably been destroyed.


The Sunday Times
, July 6th, 2014
Tim Shipman, James Gillespie and David Leppard, ‘Police quiz Brittan over rape claim; Files missing in Home Office ‘cover-up”

LORD BRITTAN, the former Tory home secretary, has been questioned by police over an allegation of rape.
Brittan, 74, was interviewed last month about an alleged assault on a woman in 1967, Scotland Yard said.
The former cabinet minister, who served as home secretary under Margaret Thatcher, was interviewed under caution by appointment at a central London location. He was not arrested. The alleged victim told police she had been raped at an address in London.
The revelation of the rape investigation comes after an admission by the Home Office that more than 100 files believed to contain information on child sex abuse have been destroyed or lost by Whitehall mandarins.
That admission followed the disclosure of the loss of a 40-page dossier by Geoffrey Dickens, the former Conservative MP, which named eight prominent public figures as paedophiles, and which was passed to Brittan in 1983.
The internal review of hundreds of thousands of files found 13 previously undisclosed “items of information about alleged child abuse” last year – including four implicating Home Office officials. But Mark Sedwill, the man appointed by David Cameron to investigate claims of a Whitehall cover-up of political paedophiles revealed that “114 potentially relevant files” were “presumed destroyed, missing or not found”.
The revelations last night led to claims of a “massive cover-up” at the heart of Whitehall. Officials had previously only admitted that irrelevant files were destroyed. In total 278,000 records from the period were destroyed.
It was announced last night that an independent legal figure, expected to be a prominent QC, is to be appointed to conduct a review of the Home Office’s handling of the case.
The lawyer will report back within four weeks. But only the executive summary of the report is likely to be published, a move that could spark further suspicions that there is something to hide. The developments came as the former policeman who first exposed Jimmy Savile’s sex offending and helped bring the case against Rolf Harris revealed he has been the target of a letter bomb and threats of violence since he began investigating sex abuse by celebrities.
Mark Williams-Thomas received a series of telephone threats of violence and was also sent obscene paedophile material showing a child under the age of five being abused. The material has been passed on to the police.
A letter bomb was sent to him while working at ITV in 2012. “It was a petrol letter bomb, an incendiary device addressed to me,” Williams-Thomas said. “Police fully investigated it and analysed the contents but to date no one has been caught.”
In a further case of intimidation, the MP who exposed Cyril Smith as a paedophile also claimed last night that a senior Conservative MP attempted to prevent him from challenging Brittan over what he knew about child sex abuse.
Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP for Rochdale, says he was warned that targeting Brittan, when he gave evidence to the home affairs committee last Tuesday, could kill the Tory peer – an apparent attempt to silence him.
Danczuk says the MP confronted him on Monday night last week. He said: “He pulled me over to one side and he said: Continued on page 2 uu Continued from page 1 ‘I had Diana Brittan on the phone over the weekend and she’s worried you’re going to target her husband at this select committee.
“He then said she made it clear Brittan is very unwell. He might not have said ‘you’ll kill him’, it might have been ‘he might die as a consequence’. But that was the gist of it – that if you name him tomorrow you could well kill him.
“He wasn’t being compassionate, in my view, he was trying to apply pressure. I was quite bugged by it. I didn’t appreciate the way he approached me.”
Brittan emerged from his home on Wednesday morning and admitted that he had passed the Geoffrey Dickens dossier to officials in 1983.
“I was given the impression on Monday night that he was at death’s door,” Danczuk added. “They were trying to pull a fast one.”
Danczuk told The Sunday Times: “The fact we now have confirmation that 114 potentially important files in connection to serious child abuse have gone missing or been deleted raises some very serious questions about the competency of Home Office officials.
“This suggests either incompetence on a wide scale or a massive cover-up.”
Danczuk added: “The public has lost confidence in these kind of official reviews, which usually result in a whitewash. The only way to get to the bottom of this is a thorough public inquiry.”
The review last year concluded that Brittan had acted appropriately.
The MP also revealed that he spoke on Monday to police investigating historic sex abuse and they told him that one victim of Elm Guest House, a gay brothel in southwest London, where it is alleged a number of public figures abused children during the 1980s, has named a prominent Conservative as his abuser.
The man gave an initial statement but is now refusing to co-operate with the police investigation.
“The police have spoken to a witness who has identified a senior Conservative as the man who abused him,” Danczuk said. “He made an initial statement but now he won’t play ball.”
The Sunday Times spoke to the witness, who now lives in the US, but he declined to comment.
Danczuk also says he has been told the police have spoken to several victims who have named a prominent Labour parliamentarian as their abuser.
“I’ve spoken to quite senior policemen investigating this figure,” he said. “They’ve got a good number of victims. There are significant allegations against him in relation to abuse that it is alleged he carried out on boys.”
Williams-Thomas, who revealed the truth about Savile in a documentary in 2012 and has since played a part in the convictions of Max Clifford and Rolf Harris, backed up Danczuk’s claims and said he knew the names of 10 other well-known people who were the subject of sex abuse allegations.
Williams-Thomas received another violent threat last week after the conviction of Harris. “The case has upset a lot of people – and I understand that. Rolf was a celebrity, and for many, he was their childhood. But don’t take it out on me, direct your anger at him.
“I will continue to dig away and that makes people uncomfortable … I am aware of some very serious pressure being applied to people to be quiet,” he said.
In a letter to Keith Vaz,the home affairs committee chairman, Mark Sedwill, the permanent secretary, said the original review did not find a single dossier from Dickens but several sets of correspondence over a number of years to several home secretaries.
“The review found no record of specific allegations by Mr Dickens of child sex abuse by prominent public figures.”
‘This will blow it apart’, Focus, page 18


The Sunday Times
, July 6th, 2014 Sunday
Tim Shipman, ‘Home Office loses 114 sex abuse files’

MORE than 100 files believed to contain information on child sex abuse have been destroyed or lost by Whitehall mandarins, the Home Office admitted last night.
The internal review of hundreds of thousands of files found 13 previously undisclosed “items of information about alleged child abuse” last year – including four implicating Home Office officials. But Mark Sedwill, the man appointed by David Cameron to probe claims of a Whitehall cover-up of political paedophiles revealed that “114 potentially relevant files” are “presumed destroyed, missing or not found”.
The revelations last night sparked claims of a “massive cover-up” at the heart of Whitehall.
Officials have previously only admitted that irrelevant files were destroyed. In total 278,000 records from the period were destroyed.
The full extent to which information on child sexual offences has disappeared came after the Home Office admitted they had lost a 40-page dossier by Geoffrey Dickens, the former Conservative MP, which named eight prominent public figures as paedophiles, and which was passed to the home secretary Leon Brittan in 1983.
It was announced last night that an independent legal figure, expected to be a prominent QC, is to be appointed to conduct a review of the Home Office’s handling of the case.
The lawyer will report back within four weeks. But only the executive summary of their report is set to be published, a move that could spark further suspicions that there is something to hide. The developments came as the former policeman who first exposed Jimmy Savile’s sex offending and helped bring the case against Rolf Harris revealed he has been the target of a letter bomb and threats of violence since he began investigating sex abuse by celebrities.
Mark Williams-Thomas received a series of telephone threats of violence and was also sent obscene paedophile material showing a child under the age of five being abused. The material has been passed on to the police. A letter bomb was sent to him while working at ITV in 2012. “It was a petrol letter bomb, an incendiary device addressed to me,” he said. “Police fully investigated it and analysed the contents but to date no one has been caught.”
In a further case of Continued on page 2 uu Continued from page 1 Files missing in Home Office ‘cover-up’ intimidation, the MP who exposed Cyril Smith as a paedophile also claimed last night that a senior Conservative MP attempted to prevent him from challenging Lord Brittan over what he knew about child sex abuse.
Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP for Rochdale, says he was warned that targeting Brittan, when he gave evidence to the Home Affairs committee last Tuesday, could kill the Tory peer – an apparent attempt to silence him.
Danczuk says the MP confronted him on Monday night last week. He said: “He pulled me over to one side and he said: ‘I had Diana Brittan on the phone over the weekend and she’s worried you’re going to target her husband at this select committee.”
“He then said she made it clear Brittan is very unwell. He might not have said ‘you’ll kill him’, it might have been ‘he might die as a consequence’. But that was the gist of it – that if you name him tomorrow you could well kill him.
” He wasn’t being compassionate, in my view, he was trying to apply pressure. I was quite bugged by it. I didn’t appreciate the way he approached me.”
Brittan emerged from his home on Wednesday and admitted he passed the Dickens dossier to officials in 1983. “I was given the impression on Monday night that he was at death’s door,” Danczuk added. “They were trying to pull a fast one.” Danczuk told The Sunday Times: “The fact we now have confirmation that 114 potentially important files in connection to serious child abuse have gone missing or been deleted raises some very serious questions about the competency of Home Office officials.
“This suggests either incompetence on a wide scale or a massive cover-up.”
Danczuk added: “The public has lost confidence in these kind of official reviews, which usually result in a whitewash. The only way to get to the bottom of this is a thorough public inquiry.”
The review last year concluded that Brittan had acted appropriately. The MP also revealed he spoke on Monday to police probing historic sex abuse and they told him that one victim of Elm Guest House, a gay brothel in southwest London, where it is alleged a number of public figures abused children during the 1980s, has named a prominent Conservative as his abuser. The man gave an initial statement but is now refusing to co-operate with the police investigation.
“The police have spoken to a witness who has identified a senior Conservative as the man who abused him,” Danczuk said. “He made an initial statement but now he won’t play ball.” The Sunday Times spoke to the witness, who now lives in the US, but he declined to comment.
Danczuk also says he has been told the police have spoken to several victims who have named a prominent Labour parliamentarian as their abuser. “I’ve spoken to quite senior policemen investigating this figure,” he said. “They’ve got a good number of victims. There are significant allegations against him in relation to abuse that it is alleged he carried out on boys.”
Mark Williams-Thomas, who revealed the truth about Savile in a documentary in 2012 and has since played a part in the convictions of Max Clifford and Rolf Harris, backed up Danczuk’s claims and said he knows the names of 10 other well-known people who are the subject of sex abuse allegations.
Williams-Thomas received more violent threats last week after the conviction of Harris. “The case has upset a lot of people – and I understand that. Rolf was a celebrity, and for many, he was their childhood. But don’t take it out on me, direct your anger at him. I will continue to dig away and that makes people uncomfortable … I am aware of some very serious pressure being applied to people to be quiet,” he said. “There is a direct threat that I am aware of from a very senior politician basically saying, ‘leave it [the Dickens dossier] alone, it’s all been put to bed, stop making any further inquiries. Leon Brittan is a very ill man’ – well he’s not ill, he’s perfectly capable.”
In a letter to Keith Vaz,the Home Affairs committee chairman, Mark Sedwill, the permanent secretary, said the original review did not find a single dossier from Dickens but several sets of correspondence over a number of years to several home secretaries containing allegations of sexual offences. As well as these specific allegations, later correspondence from Dickens focused on broader related policy issues, such as the risk of children and young people being drawn into occult activities,” Sedwill wrote.
“The review found no record of specific allegations by Mr Dickens of child sex abuse by prominent public figures.”
‘This will blow it apart’, Focus, page 18


The Sunday Times
, July 6th, 2014
David Harrison and Tim Shipman, ”THIS WILL BLOW IT APART’ ‘THIS WILL BLOW IT APART’; An MP who spent years investigating child abuse identified leading public figures in a secret dossier. Now his son wants them named and shamed’

It was more than 30 years ago but Barry Dickens remembers it as though it were yesterday.
His father Geoffrey, a Tory MP, arrived home from work in November 1983 and told him: “That’s it now.
Let it all begin.
This is going to blow it all apart.” Geoffrey Dickens, the Conservative MP for Littleborough and Saddleworth, had just delivered an explosive 40-page dossier to Leon Brittan, the British home secretary. The dossier was the result of years of investigation into child abuse.
It named leading figures from public life, including senior politicians, who were said to be paedophiles “operating and networking within and around” the Westminster elite. Dickens had doggedly gathered evidence, including testimony from many of the abuse victims and now it was all in the hands of the home secretary.
“My father believed that justice would take its course and that the paedophiles would be exposed and punished,” said Barry Dickens, speaking in the garden of his home on the outskirts of Swindon, Wiltshire. “He had worked on it for a long time and, the more he looked into it, the more he was shocked by what he had found because, in those days, in the 1980s, the subject was not out there like it is now.
He didn’t name the individuals but he said I would be totally and utterly amazed when it all comes out who they are.” Dickens waited for the timebomb to explode and shake Westminster to its foundations. But there was no response.
The MP died in May 1995 and the silence continued. So what happened to the dossier? The question has been revived as part of the series of investigations into paedophilia among the rich, famous and powerful since the Jimmy Savile case.
The inquiries have seen the PR man Max Clifford, the broadcaster Stuart Hall, and, last week, the entertainer Rolf Harris jailed for abusing children.
Police sources said last week that the dossier – said to include the names of Savile, Sir Cyril Smith, the late Rochdale MP, and Sir Peter Morrison, Margaret Thatcher’s former parliamentary private secretary, who has been linked to child abuse in North Wales and died in 1995 – had “disappeared”. The Home Office said that it had not been “retained”, prompting claims of a cover-up.
Last week Brittan, now Lord Brittan, claimed he had no recollection of the dossier but soon afterwards said it had been handed to the director of public prosecutions, who had passed on Dickens’s concerns to the police.
Last Friday, amid growing political pressure, David Cameron ordered Mark Sedwill, the Home Office’s top official, to carry out a review of what happened to the dossier.
The move followed new claims by Simon Danczuk, the Rochdale Labour MP who raised the allegations about the “VIP” paedophile ring. Danczuk, who exposed Smith as a paedophile, said he had received about a dozen new pieces of information and the allegations threw up the same MP’s name “time and again”. Cameron’s announcement failed to defuse mounting tension over the dossier. Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, said the prime minister’s review did not go far enough, and called for an “over-arching” and “comprehensive” investigation.
Danczuk described the review as “little more than a damagelimitation exercise”.
Yesterday Sedwill revealed that a Home Office investigation had found that “114 potentially relevant files” to the abuse investigation “had been presumed destroyed, missing or not found” – further fuelling claims of a cover-up.
DICKENS was a colourful, rent-a-quote MP who was often mocked for malapropisms, including a reference to the “Prevention of Television Act”. He once called a press conference to announce that he had been unfaithful to his wife.
But he fought a serious and determined battle to protect children from sexual abuse. A former amateur boxer who had sparred with the British heavyweight champion Henry Cooper, Dickens was not afraid to land a few blows on the Establishment – or to take a few below the belt. He had felt the Establishment’s wrath after naming Sir Peter Hayman, a highranking diplomat, who had held senior posts in the Ministry of Defence and Nato delegation, as a member of the Paedophile Information Exchange, set up in 1974. Hayman, who had used the name “Henderson” to protect his identity, was arrested in October 1978, after hardcore child pornography addressed to him was found on a bus.
He received only a caution but Dickens used parliamentary privilege to name him in questions to Sir Michael Havers, the attorney-general.
Dickens said his use of privilege had led to a backlash from fellow MPs, including his friend Smith.
Smith, like Savile, was exposed as a serial child abuser only after his death. Smith was a visitor to Elm Guest House in southwest London which was run by Carole Kasir, a German, and is at the centre of the police investigation.
It is claimed that boys from a local care home were taken to the guest house to be abused.
The guest house closed in 1982 after a police raid during which an under-age boy was removed from the property.
Kasir died eight years later and an inquest returned a verdict of suicide, although there were claims that she was murdered because of what she knew. The Sunday Times traced one of the Elm House victims said to have been abused by a senior Tory MP to his home in America. He declined to talk about what had happened.
Barry Dickens said his father had received “many death threats” from people trying to silence him but “he didn’t care.
He was whiter than white and wouldn’t be deterred.” Dickens’s homes in London and Saddleworth, Greater Manchester, were burgled after he named Hayman.”It was done very professionally,” Barry Dickens said.
“They came home after a late vote one night, in the early hours of the morning, and they walked into the bedroom and found a hole cut into the bedroom roof.
The burglars left the London flat place upside down but nothing was taken.
In the main house they went in through the cellar.”
DIANNE CORE, who founded the Childwatch charity in the 1980s and worked closely with Dickens, believes the dossier has been destroyed.
“It was dynamite,” she said.
“But there was “a massive cover-up culture in the 1980s and the 1990s.
Child abuse was an embarrassment.
If you got close to anybody of any importance, in showbiz or government, that you suspected was an abuser you were told, ‘It’s not in the public interest.’ I was told that so many times over the years.
It was as though we were accused of fantasising.” The only other non-Establishment person who knew what was in the dossier was Dickens’s wife Norma, who worked as his secretary.
She never spoke about it, according to Barry.
Dickens had kept a copy of the dossier in their office at home but Norma got rid of it when they were moving house and had a lot of things in storage.
“Dad went into hospital at that time and eventually died,” Barry said. “Mum had to decide what she did and didn’t need.” In 2012 Tom Watson, the Labour MP, revived the claims about a paedophile ring and the Home Office commissioned a review of historical abuse claims.
It found that the Dickens dossier had not been “retained” and that the Home Office “acted appropriately, referring information … to the relevant authorities”.
It also said that four cases involved Home Office staff. Last week it emerged that the dossier was understood to have named a former Tory MP who was found with pornography videos featuring children “clearly under 12”, but no action had been taken. Victims of the child abuse scandal in the 1980s have told police that their abusers included a prominent Conservative and a Labour parliamentarian, according to Danczuk, who is leading calls for a “Hillsborough-style” inquiry into the allegations.
Danczuk also claimed that a senior Conservative MP tried to stop him from challenging Brittan last week over what he knew.
“The MP said, ‘I had Diana Brittan on the phone over the weekend and she’s worried you’re going to target her husband at this select committee.
He then said she made it clear that he is very unwell … the gist of it was that if you name him tomorrow you could well kill him.” When Brittan emerged from his home last Wednesday and admitted he had passed the Dickens dossier to officials in 1983, Danczuk was not impressed. “Brittan came bounding out of his house in Pimlico in front of the press but on Monday night I was given the impression that he was at death’s door.
One gets the impression that they were trying to pull a fast one.” The Home Office said its review had shown than Brittan “acted appropriately” but Danczuk said he found it “astonishing” that the former home secretary had changed his story about the dossier.
He believes that child abuse allegations have been covered up by all political parties and the secrecy culture continues.
“If Savile was named in this dossier then we know that the authorities could have stopped 30 years of abuse by that man,” he said.
“If the prime minister thinks it’s going to go away as an issue, he’s sadly wrong.” Back in Wiltshire, Barry Dickens wants the people named in the dossier to be exposed.
“That’s what Dad worked for and that’s what the victims deserve,” he said. “Justice has to be done after all these years.”
What happened to the ‘paedophile dossier’? 1985 Dickens tells Commons his two homes were broken into and his name appeared on a killer’s hit-list around the time he named Hayman.
1995 Dickens dies aged 63.
October 2012 Tom Watson MP raises concern over ‘ignored’ 1980s paedophile allegations January 2013 Police launch Operation Fernbridge into allegations of child abuse at Elm Guest House, southwest London, in 1980s.
2013 Home Office review finds 1984 letter from Brittan to Dickens saying concerns were passed to the police but Dickens’s dossier was “not retained”.
July 2014 Brittan says he cannot recall receiving the dossier, then says he does remember and he asked officials to investigate
1981 Geoffrey Dickens MP names Sir Peter Hayman as a paedophile
1983 Dickens hands Leon Brittan, home secretary, dossier of alleged VIP paedophiles

GRAPHIC: Leon Brittan as home secretary when he was given a dossier about child sex abuse, reflected in the headlines of the time


The Sun
, July 6th, 2014
Louise Mensch, ‘Child abuse isn’t party political… covering it up is’

NICK CLEGG – step away from the brink.
The hypocrite and political coward desperately tried to stop a child sex abuse inquiry last week, hiding behind “ongoing police inquiries”.
“As the files are with the police, we should leave them to get on with it,” he said.
Oh, really, Nick? Well, the public wants to know about cover-ups and Sir Cyril Smith – one of the most famous Lib Dem MPs ever, a pillar of the establishment, a knight of the realm – was at the heart of it.
A paedophile to rival Jimmy Savile in his evil, operating at the heart of Parliament.
Clegg’s motivation is obvious. He doesn’t want the world to know what the Lib Dems knew as we approach the 2015 election. What they covered up.
In contrast, it was Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens who carefully put together the dossier on paedophiles that was handed to Leon Brittan.
Brittan’s changing story on this won’t wash.
Let’s remember that, as Home Secretary, he failed to cut funding for the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE). And Labour has no credibility on this because Harriet Harman worked for a group affiliated to PIE, with her Labour MP husband Jack Dromey.
NEITHER has ever apologised. Consider that again.
Harriet Harman is not a figure from the past. She’s not an ex-Cabinet minister from the Eighties. She is Ed Miliband’s No2. And she has never apologised.
That is utterly revolting.
Paedophilia is not a matter of party politics. But cover-ups ARE – and the current set of party leaders will be judged on how quickly and openly they move to investigate the Elm Guest House – where MPs joined other establishment figures to abuse children – the Dickens dossier, and institutional abuse.
I believe Nick Clegg knows very well the Lib Dems knew all about Cyril Smith – and hushed it up as a party.
Ed Miliband has no credibility while Harriet Harman is Labour’s deputy leader.
For David Cameron, the matter hangs in the balance.
Tory MP Dickens tried to open up the scandal to the light. Ex Home Secretary Leon Brittan was in charge while it was destroyed and has since changed his story.
We now hear a former Tory Cabinet minister was caught with child porn tapes.
It will be deadly to public trust if Parliament tries to protect former colleagues – now dead or in the Lords. And in the age of the internet, the truth will eventually come out.
Just ask jailed Rolf Harris, who a few years ago was at the Palace painting the Queen. Now he will end his life at Her Majesty’s Pleasure, and quite right too.
David Cameron should begin this inquiry. The weight of unanswered questions and public suspicion is too much for anything else.
Clegg and Harman have harmed their parties irreparably on this issue.
Cameron has a chance to prove himself open and just, willing to look at the brutal facts, no matter how many offenders were Tories – and he should take it.

GRAPHIC: PROBE … Cyril Smith and Nick Clegg


The Daily Telegraph
, July 7th, 2014
Tom Whitehead, ‘Decades of child abuse ‘covered up’ by Whitehall; Missing evidence, a ‘protected’ Establishment, and VIP paedophiles who felt ‘untouchable”

THEY were, and some still are, household names, some of the most powerful and respected people in the country.
For the last 50 years the politicians, who operated a VIP Westminster paedophile ring from the heart of the British Establishment, felt untouchable after successfully suppressing their names from being linked with it, it is alleged.
There are now allegations of a massive cover-up across Whitehall spanning decades, pressure on the police and prosecutors not to pursue cases and the apparent disappearance of key dossiers and files detailing claims of child abuse and alleged attackers.
More than 10 current and former politicians are said to be on a list of alleged child abusers now being investigated by police and pressure is growing for a public inquiry. But the belated investigations only serve to highlight decades of apparent inaction in the corridors of power to get to the truth despite relentless campaigning by a number of MPs.
The story begins with Cyril Smith, the late Liberal Democrat MP, who was exposed in 2012, two years after his death, aged 82.
Rumours of child abuse had dogged the 29-stone Rochdale politician throughout his career but no action was ever taken. As early as the Sixties, he allegedly routinely assaulted young boys, especially in children’s homes and special schools in his home town, where he was MP from 1972 to 1992.
He was also said to have been a visitor to the notorious Elm Guest House in south-west London, now the focus of a Scotland Yard investigation into an alleged VIP paedophile ring.
It was claimed earlier this year that police received 144 complaints against him over the years but no prosecution was brought, prompting allegations he was protected by influential friends. Smith was named as a paedophile in the House of Commons in 2012 by the current Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk.
However, Smith was only one of a number of alleged high-profile child abusers within Westminster said to have been named in a 40-page dossier submitted to the Home Office by the late Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens in 1983.
Mr Dickens told his family at the time that it named leading public figures, including senior politicians, and was going to “blow it all apart”.
It was also said to contain information on the notorious Paedophile Information Exchange which was set up in 1974 to promote and lobby for the legalisation of sexual activity between minors and adults.
But the timebomb never exploded. The home secretary at the time, Lord (Leon) Brittan, was sent the file but no record of any subsequent criminal inquiry has been found and the dossier itself has disappeared.
Lord Brittan, who was home secretary under Margaret Thatcher from 1983 to 1985, is now facing questions over his handling of the document and inconsistencies in his account of what he did with it.
He told journalists last year he had no recollection of it but last week said instead that he had been handed a “substantial bundle of papers” by Mr Dickens in November 1983 and had passed them to officials for further investigation but had no further dealings with it.
Just hours later he amended his position again when proof emerged that he had written to Mr Dickens in March 1984 to say the dossier had been assessed by prosecutors and handed to the police.
Over the weekend, Mark Sedwill, the Home Office permanent secretary, con-firmed that a review had not found “a single dossier from Mr Dickens”.
However, officials did uncover “several sets of correspondence over a number of years” from the MP to several home secretaries containing allegations of sexual offences.
Mr Sedwill also revealed that 114 offi-cial files relating to historic allegations of organised child abuse have also gone missing.
The former Conservative cabinet minister Lord Tebbit, who also served in Mrs Thatcher’s government, said there “may well” have been a political cover-up over child abuse taking place at Westminster in the Eighties.
“At that time I think most people would have thought that the Establishment, the system, was to be protected and if a few things had gone wrong here and there that it was more important to protect the system than to delve too far into it,” he said.
There are also questions over what happened to evidence surrounding a senior Tory MP who was said to have been found with child pornography videos by a customs officer in the Eighties.
The politician, a former MP believed to be another name in the Dickens dossier, was stopped in Dover after acting suspiciously. The videos, which allegedly involved children under 12 taking part in sex acts, were passed to the officer’s superiors but the MP was never arrested or charged. The tapes and paperwork have also gone missing.
The customs officer has since spoken to detectives from Operation Fernbridge, the Scotland Yard investigation into Cyril Smith and others at Elm Guest House.
Last month, police searched the Westminster office of the Labour peer Lord Janner of Braunstone in connection with historical child sex abuse allegations.
The search was part of an ongoing inquiry linked to children’s homes in Leicestershire and came after officers searched his home in Golders Green, north-west London, in December. The peer has not been arrested.
Another said to be on the police list of alleged abusers is Sir Peter Morrison, the parliamentary private secretary to Mrs Thatcher, who died in 1995. He was linked to allegations of child abuse at homes in North Wales.
The disclosures were made as it emerged over the weekend that Lord Brittan himself has been questioned by police in connection with a rape allegation.
He was understood to have been interviewed under caution last month after a woman claimed she was raped in London in 1967. The peer is believed to strongly deny the allegation.


The Times
, July 8th, 2014
Fiona Hamilton, ‘Rape claim is unfounded, says Brittan’

Lord Brittan of Spennithorne yesterday described a historical rape allegation against him as “wholly without foundation”.
The former home secretary was interviewed under caution last month after a woman claimed that she was attacked at his London flat in 1967 when she was 19.
Lord Brittan, 74, said in a statement through his solicitors: “It is true that I have been questioned by the police about a serious allegation made against me. This allegation is wholly without foundation.”
The woman, 66, has accused Scotland Yard officers of trying to undermine her claim and of questioning whether she was promiscuous at the time. A spokeswoman for the Met said: “This remains a live investigation and it is not appropriate to comment.”
Lord Brittan’s statement also dismissed separate suggestions that he failed to deal adequately with documents passed to him in the 1980s by the Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens, which allegedly named paedophiles operating at Westminster. He said such suggestions were “completely without foundation”.
The development came after Sir Peter Bottomley, a veteran Conservative MP, said that 30-year-old false claims that he [Sir Peter] was involved in child abuse were being recirculated. The MP for Worthing West denied any involvement and warned that he would sue for libel if publishers repeated the claims. He said that he was also being falsely linked to the Elm Guest House, alleged to have been the scene of paedophile activity and sex parties attended by politicians and other prominent figures in the 1970s and 1980s.
Sir Peter successfully sued The Mail on Sunday in 1989 after it printed false claims against him relating to abuse and warned other newspapers at the time not to repeat them.
He told the Today programme on Radio 4: “Now people are trying to restart it. And people have also said that I am somehow connected to the Elm Guest House – a place I’ve not been to, I’ve not been involved. I give this public warning: if any substantial publisher links me in any defamatory way, they can expect the same kind of action as The Mail on Sunday got”.
Sir Edward Garnier, the Tory MP, told the Commons that there was a “dripfeed of insinuations”. He said that the guilty parties should be convicted but the reputations of innocent people should not be ruined.
The late Conservative peer Lord McAlpine of West Green was wrongly implicated by the BBC’s Newsnight programme in 2012 over allegations that politicians sexually abused boys in the care of the Bryn Estyn children’s home in Wales in the 1970s and 1980s.
The report did not name Lord McAlpine but he was then wrongly identified on the internet. The BBC apologised unreservedly and settled his defamation claim. He then pursued some of those who named him on Twitter, including Sally Bercow, the wife of the Speaker of the Commons.

GRAPHIC: Lord Brittan said he was questioned by police over “a serious allegation”


Daily Mail
, July 8th, 2014 Tuesday
Stephen Wright and Daniel Bates, ‘Victim called himself Daddy’s Little Princess’

A BOY linked to the alleged Westminster paedophile ring was so traumatised by his ordeal that he despairingly referred to himself as daddy’s little princess’, it emerged last night.
The tormented youngster also had a pet name for one of his suspected attackers that suggested he was a politician who later became a cabinet minister.
The disclosures were made by a care worker who comforted the youngster when he was rescued from years of alleged abuse at the Elm Guest House in Barnes, south-west London.
The care worker was present when the boy – then eight or nine – was taken into care in 1982 and interviewed by police about his ordeal. The child said the suspected abuser worked in the big house’, which detectives believed could have meant the Houses of Parliament.
He also provided social workers with the man’s first name, which the Mail is not revealing for legal reasons.
With the help of overseas law enforcement agencies, Scotland Yard traced the alleged victim, now in his 40s, to the United States in a bid to gather further evidence about his suffering three decades ago. But according to sources in America, the alleged victim either changed his story or declined to give a statement elaborating on what he told police in the 1980s.
* A Labour minister suspected of sexually abusing children with a convicted paedophile tried to help the pervert foster two young brothers, it was claimed yesterday.
The politician, said to be close to Tony Blair, was alleged to have brought pressure on social services to allow children’s home boss Michael John Carroll to get care of two vulnerable boys aged 12 and 14. Carroll said the claim was nonsense.


Daily Star
, July 9th, 2014
Ed Riley, ‘Major public figures involved in YEARS of child abuse! Claims whistleblower’

A VIP paedophile ring involved at least 20 major public figures who abused kids for decades, a whistleblower has claimed.
Top politicians, military figures and even high-ranking officials linked to the Royal Family were among the alleged members.
The Daily Star has seen a list of the suspected abusers which includes the names of six one-time MPs.
The claims were made by former child protection officer Peter McKelvie.
He said victims were treated like “lumps of meat” and taken from place to place to be molested by the “elite” group.
But he claims police probes were blocked.
Peter McKelvie, former child protection officer
It comes after Home Secretary Theresa May, left, earlier this week announced two probes into the scandal engulfing Westminster.
Mr McKelvie said: “There is strong evidence that there’s been an extremely powerful elite among the highest levels of the political classes.”
Home Office top civil servant Mark Sedwill is to be quizzed about the handling of abuse claims, including loss of files.
A dossier handed to then Home Secretary Leon Brittan in 1983 is said to have named Elm Guest House in Barnes, south-west London, and Lib Dem MP for Rochdale, Cyril Smith, who died in 2010.
Related articles Home Secretary lauches probe into child abuse allegations X-Men child abuse claim: Director linked to ‘paedophile parties’ SAME AS TV PAEDO SAVILE: Top cop compares disgraced Max Clifford to evil child abuser


The Sun
, July 27th, 2014
Lynn Davidson, ‘I told Mrs T police were probing top Tory’s sex parties with young boys’

A FORMER top policeman has told how he warned PM Margaret Thatcher that one of her senior aides was suspected of holding sex parties for underage boys.
Personal bodyguard Barry Strevens informed Maggie of damning intelligence that Peter Morrison could be a paedo – but she ignored it and promoted him to a key role regardless.
Maggie appointed Morrison, who she trusted as a loyal confidant, to be deputy party chairman in the 1980s despite police misgivings about his private life.
Besides rumours of sex parties, stories abounded of him kerb-crawling and being cautioned for having sex with a boy of 15 in a public toilet.
Old Etonian Morrison – now dead – has since also been linked to scandals at children’s homes in Wales. Last night Barry, now 70 and retired, said of Mrs Thatcher’s decision to promote him: “I wouldn’t say she 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.”
In an exclusive interview with The Sun on Sunday, ex-detective chief inspector Barry said he first heard rumours about Morrison from a senior Cheshire Police officer.
He knew Mrs T was considering appointing Morrison, the MP for Chester, as deputy party chairman to replace disgraced Jeffrey Archer – who had stepped down over prostitute allegations in 1986.
So he immediately dashed to Downing Street and had an evening meeting with the PM and her private secretary Archie Hamilton, who took notes of what was said.
Barry recalled: “A senior officer in Chester had told me there were rumours going around about underage boys – one aged 15 – attending sex parties at a house there belonging to Peter Morrison.
“After we returned to No10 I asked to go and see her immediately. It was unusual for me to do that so they would have known it was something serious.
“When I went in Archie Hamilton was there. I told them exactly what had been said about Peter. Archie took notes and they thanked me for coming.
“There was no proof but the officer I spoke to was certain and said local press knew a lot more.
“This was just after the Jeffrey Archer scandal and I knew she needed to know about it because they were deciding on the appointment of the next deputy chairman. “I always told her things straight, as I saw them. She listened and thanked me.
“I assumed Archie Hamilton would have spoken to Peter Morrison following that.
“When he was appointed I assumed there had been nothing to the claims – as there was no way on earth she would have given him the job otherwise.”
Since then Morrison has been named in connection with a series of official inquiries into allegations of child abuse in North Wales children’s homes. But even at the time of his appointment there were stories of him being seen kerb-crawling for rent boys in central London and being cautioned for having sex in a public toilet in Crewe with a 15-yearold boy.
‘He was supportive and she liked him’ Senior Tory figure Lord Tebbit even admitted hearing rumours about Morrison and young boys and confronting him – and being met with a flat denial.
Morrison, a member of a wealthy family who own the Scottish island of Islay, was a close confidant of Mrs T. She spent her first holiday as PM on the whisky-producing Hebridean isle and Barry, who accompanied her on one trip, remembered Morrison as an affable chap.
He said: “He was very personable. She liked him. He was very supportive to her.
“I’m sure Peter knew I had spoken to her about him because he mentioned something to me when we were away in the US and I knew what he was referring to.”
Morrison’s father John was made Lord Margadale in recognition of his services to the Conservatives and he himself was knighted in 1988.
Maggie later made him her parliamentary private secretary and put him in charge of her disastrous re-election campaign in 1990, where she lost office.
However Morrison continued to work for her out of loyalty as an unpaid parliamentary aide. He died of a heart attack at 51 in 1995. Home Secretary Theresa May has announced a full-scale investigation into historical claims of child abuse at Westminster and an alleged paedophile ring.
Asked whether Maggie had considered the possibility some of her closest aides were paedophiles, Barry said he thought she would have had no idea.
He said: “It was a different generation and she would need solid proof to convince her.
“If all the rumours turn out to be true I am sad because Peter Morrison failed Maggie.”
Speaking outside his Westminster flat, Archie Hamilton confirmed Barry Strevens’ account of coming to No10 but failed to remember there being any mention of underage boys.
He said: “I remember Barry Strevens coming in and what he actually said at the time was that there were parties at Peter Morrison’s home in Cheshire and there were only men who were there.
“I don’t remember him saying they were underage. There may have been but the point he was making to her was that there were only men involved in the party.
“She listened to what he said and that was it. It was merely a party and men were there.”
Asked about rumours at Westminster about Peter Morrison, he added: “There were always rumours if you weren’t married, whoever you were.”
lynn.davidson@the-sun.co.uk DYNASTY WITH LINKS TO TOP SIR Peter Morrison was part of a rich political dynasty loyal to the Conservatives. His father John was a close friend of Margaret Thatcher and his sister Mary is one of the Queen’s most senior ladies-in-waiting. Morrison, who studied law at Oxford, became MP for Chester in 1974. Described as a closet gay – and said by fellow Tory MP Edwina Currie to be a “noted pederast” – he reportedly took young boys to his hunting lodge in Scotland. In 2012 ex-minister Rod Richards implicated him in the North Wales homes scandals where up to 650 children were abused.
The 32yrs trying to find truth November 1983: Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens hands dossier on alleged child abusers in establishment to Home Secretary Leon Brittan. March 1984: Mr Brittan informs Mr Dickens the 40-page dossier has been assessed and given to police. October 1986: Maggie Thatcher’s bodyguard tells her of sex allegations concerning Peter Morrison. May 1995: Mr Dickens dies. His wife later destroys a copy of the dossier.
September 2010: Death of Rochdale MP Cyril Smith, who was never charged with any child abuse offences. September 2012: Jimmy Savile abuse scandal breaks. October 2012: Labour MP Tom Watson claims “clear intelligence” suggests a powerful paedo network linked to Parliament and No10. November 2012: New Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk claims Cyril Smith, right, sexually abused boys. CPS reveals it considered allegations against him. December 2012: Cops set up Operation Fairbank to look into allegations about Elm Guest House, where it is claimed establishment figures abused boys in the 1970s and 1980s.
March 2013: Lord Brittan is asked about the dossier by journalists but has “no recollection” of it.
December: London home of Labour peer Lord Janner is searched by police. He is not arrested.
June 2014: Lord Janner’s Westminster office is searched by police. Later it emerges the Home Office can find no record of Mr Dickens’ dossier.
July 2: Lord Brittan confirms receiving a dossier and asking the Home Office to “look carefully” at it.
July 7: Home Secretary Theresa May launches child abuse inquiry.
July 8: Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss is made chairman of review into abuse. July 13: She quits when it is revealed her late brother Sir Michael Havers tried to stop suspected paedophiles being named in Commons.

GRAPHIC: Peter Morrison, seen left with Mrs Thatcher at a memorial in 1990
Ex-policeman Barry Strevens, seen here with Premier Maggie in 1985
MP … Morrison in 1976
Warning . . Barry, now retired
Meeting … Maggie Thatcher


The Sunday Times
, July 13th, 2014
James Gillespie, Jon Ungoed-Thomas and Marie Woolf, ‘Police ‘superlist’ of 21 child abusers; Thirteen forces are now working together in a huge investigation as hundreds more victims accuse officials of a cover-up’

WHEN officers from 13 constabularies met at the headquarters of Merseyside police last month, they each brought with them a secret list bearing the names of elected officials and celebrities who were being investigated for alleged child sex abuse.
The 30 officers at the meeting compared notes to ensure there was no duplication and then drew up a “superlist” of the 21 best-known suspects – half of whose names have not yet entered the public domain.
The officers were from forces including the Metropolitan police, Greater Manchester, North Wales, Leicestershire, Lancashire and Surrey. There are now 21 separate child abuse investigations under way.
The sheer scale and number of police inquiries means that detectives face a huge task, not just in bringing the guilty to justice but also in reassuring the public that reports of child sexual abuse will be properly investigated regardless of whoever is accused.
There is growing concern that many historic allegations were hushed up because they involved powerful figures.
Over the past week, hundreds of new victims of child sexual abuse – several of whom were allegedly attacked by senior politicians – have approached MPs, complaining about a cover-up.
Some of the most serious claims made against MPs are likely to have been recorded by the parties’ whips’ offices in the House of Commons.But it emerged this weekend that the Conservative office has destroyed or shredded an archive of notes.
Former Tory whips say a policy of shredding notes recording the behaviour of MPs, including their sexual proclivities, drunkenness, extramarital affairs and financial problems, was introduced at the end of 1996 following fears the information could be made public via a court disclosure order.
The notes were regarded as the personal property of the chief whip, who on leaving office would take the notes and their carbon copies home. Former whips said chief whips usually destroyed the documents.
A long-serving former whip said: “It was tittle-tattle that was extremely useful to whips and sometimes it was just something funny but may have looked from the outside spiteful or malicious.
“Sometimes it would just be very silly. You wrote on it [the whips’ notes] and you could pull it out and there was a copy behind it. They were read out at whips’ meetings.”
While many of the comments may have been little more than rumour and innuendo, the destruction of the notes will add to fears that misconduct by MPs has been covered up.
Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park, who has been contacted by dozens of alleged victims, said: “I am absolutely convinced that there has been a series of cover-ups that protected powerful and influential people.”
Mark Williams-Thomas, the former detective and broadcaster who first exposed Jimmy Savile’s offending, said he had received new information about a very senior Tory “yet to fall under scrutiny” and allegations that child sexual abuse claims against the figure were covered up by key Establishment officials in the 1980s.
The Department of Health also faces allegations that it failed to act after being passed a confidential report in the 1990s that exposed a British paedophile network. It is claimed the network included civil servants, a paediatrician and a key adviser on social services policy.
A two-page report warned how members of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), which lobbied for sex with children to be legalised, and other associates were involved in a child sex network. It said the evidence comprised “letters, diaries, photographs, magazines and videos.”
The May 1993 document stated: “Amongst the men who have been identified as paedophile or likely paedophiles are a [senior churchman], current social services and education staff, and civil servants.”
Hereford and Worcester child protection officers who compiled the report said the material had been obtained during an investigation into Peter Righton, who had worked as director of education at the National Institute for Social Work and as a consultant to the National Children’s Bureau, a leading charity.
A separate document called for a team funded by the Home Office and Department of Health to investigate “the infiltration of the social work profession” and warned of the “traffic of children around the country as they are passed from the hands of one set of abusers to another”.
Child protection experts say it was disgraceful that the department did not launch an immediate investigation. Righton, who died in 2007, was arrested in 1992 during an investigation into child pornography. The five suitcases of material found at his home in Evesham, Worcestershire, pointed to a network of abusers in senior positions of authority.
The material included a list of the names of 100 children suspected to have been abused by Righton; details of a suspected child abuser in the British Council, the government’s international cultural organisation; and the activities of Morris Fraser, a child psychiatrist and child abuser.
Terry Shutt, a former police officer involved in the Righton investigation, said: “In among all the other documentation, there was a definite link to establishment figures, including senior members of the clergy. So for me there was a definite feel that this was something bigger than we were looking at locally and that it should have been investigated further.”
Liz Davies, a social worker who blew the whistle on abuse in children’s homes in Islington, north London, and who also helped to investigate Righton, said: “People who did not act when they should have done now need to be called to account.”
When Davies left Islington with a “big suitcase of papers”, she started working with Scotland Yard on child abuse connections around the country.
Details of the information passed to the department have emerged as police investigate and review hundreds of cases of historical abuse at children’s homes, schools and detentions centres.
Baroness Butler-Sloss, the retired High Court judge, was last week appointed to head an inquiry into the handling of child abuse allegations by public institutions. David Cameron said it would “make sure these things cannot happen again”.
But Butler-Sloss’s appointment has been met with some scepticism because of her establishment connections and allegations that she avoided naming a bishop in a previous inquiry report on sex abuse because “she cared about the church”.
Williams-Thomas described her appointment as “questionable”. “You are going to be challenging members of the establishment – this is what it is about,” he said.
“It is not just about MPs, it’s about children’s services directors and managers, senior police officers and church officials … Significantly she stood down from the inquest into Diana and Dodi Fayed. If she couldn’t cope with that big an inquiry, this one – if done correctly – will dwarf it. ” Another review, headed by Peter Wanless, the head of the NSPCC, will examine how police and prosecutors handled information given to them. It was ordered after it emerged that information provided to the Home Office by former Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens on alleged paedophiles had disappeared.
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan police commissioner, has tripled the number of detectives working on inquiries that include Operation Fernbridge, looking at allegations that children were abused by paedophiles, including members of the political establishment, at Elm Guest House, in Barnes, southwest London.
Elm Guest House was a gay brothel run by Carole and Haroon “Harry” Kasir in the late Seventies before it was raided and closed down by police in 1982. The Kasirs were convicted at the Old Bailey in 1983 of running a disorderly house, fined and given suspended sentences.
Rumours continued to swirl around the guest house with allegations that underage male prostitutes (the homosexual age of consent was then 21) worked there; that boys from Grafton Close Children’s Home in Hounslow, west London, were taken there before being plied with alcohol and abused, and that the guests included VIPs.
A list that purports to record the names of regular visitors includes a number of senior MPs, a high-ranking policeman, a leading tycoon, figures from the National Front and Sinn Fein, an official of the Royal Household, an MI5 officer, two pop stars and the Soviet spy Anthony Blunt. Cyril Smith, the late Liberal MP for Rochdale and an alleged serial paedophile, has also been named as a regular at the guest house.
The truth, however, is difficult to http://www.establish.No one disputes that it was a brothel and advertised in gay publications, offering a discount to Spartacus Club members. This, according to some, was a reference to an organisation based in Amsterdam, which catered to those seeking underage sex.
Another inquiry, Operation Winthorpe, is looking at separate allegations, coincidentally also in the Barnes area, in which five people have been arrested.
Perhaps the biggest inquiry is being conducted by the National Crime Agency, which is looking at sexual abuse of children in several care homes in North Wales. A number of prominent people have been linked to this abuse, including Sir Peter Morrison, a Tory MP and former aide to Lady Thatcher. The agency said this weekend 46 people had been identified as potential suspects and 20 had been arrested and a further eight interviewed under caution.
In Leicestershire, detectives have searched the home of a former MP over allegations of child abuse. In Manchester, police are examining claims of abuse by Cyril Smith at Knowl View, a residential school for boys and, possibly, other care homes.
There are also several inquiries in Northern Ireland where police are reported to be reviewing evidence of the involvement of establishment figures from the military and politics at the Kincora home for boys.
The Department of Health said: “The department will co-operate fully with the inquiry and will make all known documentation available so that it can be independently and thoroughly investigated.”
Six areas where historic child abuse by MPs is being investigated conducting ‘a number’ conducting ‘a number’ Northern Ireland Detectives are conducting ‘a number’ of historical cases. They are said to be re-examining files relating to a sex abuse scandal at Kincora, a former boys home in Belfast. That is said to implicate senior political and military figures No arrests yet Manchester Police examining claims of sex abuse by Cyril Smith, left, former Liberal MP for Rochdale at Knowl View, a residential school for http://www.boys.No arrests yet Leicestershire Police have searched the home and House of Lords office of a Labour peer. He has not been questioned Total of 21 cases involving politicians and celebrities being investigated by 13 police forces East Anglia Unspecified allegations said to involve at least one former MP. Police action unclear London Detectives are probing allegations of sex abuse against children by at least two MPs at Elm Guest House in Barnes North Wales Police have arrested or interviewed 28 people linked to sex abuse claims at care homes. Members of the Tory establishment, including former Tory MP Sir Peter Morrison, right, an aide to Lady Thatcher, have been named in allegations Police are also reviewing allegations about key members of the Paedophile Information Exchange, which include former social work adviser Peter Righton, above What the public thinks Do you think it is probably true or false that some senior politicans in the 1970s and 1980s were involved in abusing children? True 76% False 4% Don’t know 20% 56% think there should be a full public inquiry Source: YouGov questioned 1,963 adults on July 10-11
SOME OF THE MOST SERIOUS CLAIMS MADE AGAINST MPS HAVE BEEN RECORDED BY PARTY WHIPS. IT EMERGED THIS WEEKEND THAT THE CONSERVATIVE OFFICE SHREDDED ITS NOTES
FIVE SUITCASES OF MATERIAL FOUND AT PETER RIGHTON’S HOME AFTER HIS ARREST POINTED TO A NETWORK OF ABUSERS IN SENIOR POSITIONS OF AUTHORITY

GRAPHIC: BOB BARCLAY/TONY HARRIS
Manchester police are investigating claims of abuse by Cyril Smith, left


The Daily Telegraph
, August 15th, 2014
Auslan Cramb, ‘I was victim of paedophile ring says woman ‘abused’ by Tory MP’

A WOMAN has claimed she was raped by a Tory MP who was a close ally of Margaret Thatcher and sexually abused by her father, a senior figure in the Scottish legal establishment.
Susie Henderson said she was sexually abused as a small child by her father, Robert Henderson QC, and by his friend Sir Nicholas Fairbairn.
She has waived her right to anonymity to claim she was the victim of an organised paedophile ring that also involved other legal figures.
Miss Henderson, 48, a mother of one who works in social care, first made allegations against Fairbairn, who was made solicitor general of Scotland by Mrs Thatcher, in 2000, when she was known only as Julie X. The police launched an inquiry at the time but no charges were brought after she halted the investigation when part of her statement was leaked to the press.
She said she had now decided to disclose her identity after the late Tory MP, who died in 1995, was linked to the scandal over the Elm Guest House in London, where youngsters from children’s homes were allegedly abused in the 1980s.
Last month, Fairbairn was named as one of those believed to have visited the house, which was also said to have been visited by Cyril Smith, the late Liberal MP who has been exposed as a paedophile.
Miss Henderson, who lives with her partner near Inverness, said she wanted a new police inquiry. She told the Daily Mail: “I want it acknowledged that my father and Fairbairn did something very evil. Not just to me.”
She added that she believes her father, who died in 2012, began abusing her at the age of three and repeatedly abused her until she was eight.
Miss Henderson also claimed her father, who was highly regarded as a defence lawyer and temporary sheriff, could be sadistically cruel, drank heavily and treated her mother like a “slave”.
She claimed that the family home in Edinburgh was often full of her father’s friends, who also abused her.
She told the newspaper that when she made the claims in 2000, senior Tories described her allegations as “rubbish” and her father phoned her and warned her not to continue making the allegations.
Miss Henderson also disclosed that she developed an eating disorder as a teenager, and that following the birth of her son in her twenties she suffered postnatal depression that caused many memories of the abuse to return and later spent time in a psychiatric unit.
She said she now hoped that she would be believed, adding: “He [Fairbairn] used to pay me money for it. A pound here, a pound there. It was as if it was his way of thinking it okay.”
Graeme Pearson, Scottish Labour’s justice spokesman, said ministers could not “stand back” from the call for an inquiry.
Fairbairn’s daughter Charlotte told the newspaper that she “utterly doubted” that her father was a child abuser, adding that he was “not here to defend himself”.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Robert Henderson claimed a so-called “magic circle” of judges, sheriffs and advocates were conspiring to ensure that homosexual criminals were given softtouch treatment by the courts. The claims were dismissed in an official inquiry.

GRAPHIC: Susie Henderson waived her anonymity to accuse her late father Robert Henderson QC and the Tory MP Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, right, of abusing her when she was a child
BRUCE ADAMS/DAILY MAIL /REX & NEWSLINE


The Times
, August 15th, 2014
Jeremy Watson, ‘Minister raped me, says QC’s daughter’

The daughter of a prominent QC said she was raped at the age of four by Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, who served as Scotland’s solicitor-general under Margaret Thatcher.
Susie Henderson has waived her right to anonymity to talk about the abuse she allegedly suffered at the hands of the late Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, a former MP for Kinross & Western Perthshire.
Miss Henderson, 48, the daughter of Robert Henderson, a temporary sheriff, said she was also abused by her father. Locations included the five-storey Georgian townhouse in Edinburgh’s New Town where her family lived.
“I want it acknowledged that my father and Fairbairn did something very evil,” she said. “Not just to me. There are other children out there. And these were people in power. We put them there and they are supposed to be trusted.”
Ms Henderson also alleged that she first made allegations against Sir Nicholas and her father in 2000 but an initial police investigation did not lead to charges. She is calling for the investigation to be reopened by police.
She said Sir Nicholas first abused her at one of her father’s parties at his Edinburgh home. She said: “We were in the kitchen. I was maybe four years old. I could have been younger.
“I had a skirt on and Nicholas and my dad had been drinking, and my dad told me to sit on Nicholas’s knee. I sat on his knee and he put his hand up my skirt and abused me. My dad just stood there laughing.”
In another incident, Ms Henderson, who lives near Inverness, said that Sir Nicholas raped her when she was in bed with him and “another guy” in a guest room on the top floor of her family home.
Her father, she says, abused her between the ages of three and eight.
She acknowledges that parts of her story may sound unbelievable. She asked: “Who would believe that the solicitor-general and other top lawyers would be abusing children?” She said she had chosen to come forward and be named after Fairbairn was implicated in the Westminster scandal over the Elm guest house in London, in which young people were abused by high-profile figures in the 1980s.
Fairbairn died in 1995 at the age of 61, while Henderson died in 2012 aged 75.
Lists of VIPs visiting Elm guest house are being used by Scotland Yard as evidence.

GRAPHIC: Susie Henderson said she was raped aged four by Sir Nicholas Fairbairn


Keir Mudie, ‘Battle to expose UK pervs in high places’
Sunday People, November 9th, 2014

CLAIMS that an evil web of VIP paedophiles exists in British public life – protected and hidden by rich and powerful people – go back more than 30 years.

The Sunday People has led the way in exposing paedophile scan-dals since Labour MP Tom Watson MP stunned the Commons in 2012 with claims of a paedophile net-work linked to Downing Street.

We told how a damning dossier drawn up by Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens and handed to then Home Secretary Leon Brittan has disappeared. We also shone a on the Paedophile Exchange and links to government – member Geoffrey a GCHQ worker who secrets to Russia.

We told how boys care were taken be abused at a paedophile brothel at the Elm Guest House in south-west London. In the late 1970s and early 80s it was frequented by politicians like Lib Dem MP Cyril Smith, MI5 agents, a pop legend and royal art expert and spy Anthony Blunt.

Police launched a criminal investigation last year after being handed a list of around 30 names. A public inquiry into allegations of a cover-up is finally getting underway. But it is proving hard to find someone to head it who is not linked to people in power when child abuse has been alleged. Baroness Butler-Sloss quit as inquiry chairman because her brother Sir Michael Havers was an Attorney General accused of attending underage sex parties.

Her replacement Fiona Woolf also quit after it was revealed she dined with Leon Brittan.


”Homicide’ probe into child abuse’
Press Association, November 14th, 2014

Detectives examining allegations of historic sex abuse with links to government have launched a new investigation into “possible homicide”.

Scotland Yard said Operation Midland was started after officers working on Operation Fairbank, which is looking into claims of “serious non-recent sexual abuse”, were given information about alleged murders.

A spokesman said: “Our inquiries into this, over subsequent weeks, have revealed further information regarding possible homicide. Based on our current knowledge, this is the first time that this specific information has been passed to the Met.”

The BBC quoted a man who, it claimed, has told police investigating the alleged abuse that “former senior military and political figures”, as well as “law enforcement”, were involved.

According to the broadcaster, the witness, now in his 40s, claimed the group had access to 15 to 20 youngsters.

The man, who was speaking anonymously, said: “It started with my father. It started with quite severe physical abuse, quickly turning into sexual as well.

“Within a very short space of time he had handed me over, or whatever you want to call it, to the group. They controlled my life for the next nine years.

“They created fear that penetrated every part of me. That was part of my life, day in and day out. You didn’t question what they wanted, you didn’t hesitate to do what they asked you to do.

“You did what you were told without question or the punishments were very severe. They had no hesitation in doing what they wanted to do.

“Some of them were quite open about who they were. They had no fear at all of being caught, it didn’t even cross their mind. They could do anything they wanted without question and we were told that.

“I’ve never experienced pain like it and I hope I never do again.”

Scotland Yard said: “At this early stage in this inquiry, with much work still to do, it is not appropriate to issue appeals or reveal more information.

“Detectives from the child abuse investigation command are working closely with colleagues from the homicide and major crime command concerning this information, which is being looked at under the name of Operation Midland.”

Operation Fairbank was launched in response to information passed on by MP Tom Watson, who used Prime Minister’s Questions in 2012 to air claims that there was a paedophile ring with links to No 10.

Mr Watson used parliamentary privilege to allege that a file of evidence used to convict Peter Righton of importing child pornography in 1992 contained ”clear intelligence” of a sex abuse gang.

He wrote to Scotland Yard, which has since spawned two more inquiries from Fairbank – Fernbridge, which is looking at claims linked to the Elm Guest House in Barnes, south west London, in the 1980s, and Cayacos.

In August, Scotland Yard said it had tripled the number of officers investigating the allegations of sex abuse in the wake of the claims of a Westminster cover-up.

The anonymous witness quoted by the BBC urged people to come forward with information. He said: “Anyone who knew anything, it’s important they come forward too. They need to find the strength that we as survivors have done.

“If they have any suspicions, if they have any concerns, if they know they were part of it, they need to come forward and share what they know.

“People who drove us around could come forward. Staff in some of the locations could come forward. There are so many people who must have had suspicions. We weren’t smuggled in under a blanket through the back door. It was done openly and people must’ve questioned that. They need to come forward.”

Scotland Yard added: “At this early stage in this inquiry, with much work still to do, it is not appropriate to issue appeals or reveal more information.

“Detectives from the Child Abuse Investigation Command are working closely with colleagues from the Homicide and Major Crime Command concerning this information, which is being looked at under the name of Operation Midland.”

Operation Fairbank was launched in response to information passed on by MP Tom Watson, who used Prime Minister’s Questions in 2012 to air claims that there was a paedophile ring with links to Number 10.

Mr Watson used parliamentary privilege to allege that a file of evidence used to convict Peter Righton of importing child pornography in 1992 contained ”clear intelligence” of a sex abuse gang.

He wrote to Scotland Yard, which has since spawned two more inquiries from Fairbank – Fernbridge, which is looking at claims linked to the Elm Guest House in Barnes, south west London, in the 1980s, and Cayacos.

In August Scotland Yard said it had tripled the number of officers investigating the allegations of sex abuse in the wake of the claims of a Westminster cover-up.

Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said the number of officers looking in to decades-old allegations has been beefed up to “well over 20”.

Speaking to the police and crime committee at London’s City Hall, he said of the sex abuse claims: “We’ve tripled the number of people in there this week. Well over 20 people will be dedicated to that and we will make an assessment of the cases.

“It takes a little while because sometimes victims will have moved on to other parts of the country, sometimes abroad, and that poses its own challenges. Not all the people are prepared to tell us all the details or to go on to the criminal justice process.”

The BBC quoted a man who, it claimed, has told police investigating the alleged abuse that “former senior military and political figures”, as well as “law enforcement”, were involved.

According to the broadcaster, the witness, now in his 40s, claimed the group had access to 15 to 20 youngsters.

The man, who was speaking anonymously, said: “It started with my father. It started with quite severe physical abuse, quickly turning into sexual as well.

“Within a very short space of time he had handed me over, or whatever you want to call it, to the group.

“They controlled my life for the next nine years.

“They created fear that penetrated every part of me.

“That was part of my life day in and day out.

“You didn’t question what they wanted, you didn’t hesitate to do what they asked you to do.

“You did what you were told without question or the punishments were very severe.

“They had no hesitation in doing what they wanted to do.

“Some of them were quite open about who they were. They had no fear at all of being caught, it didn’t even cross their mind.

“They could do anything they wanted without question and we were told that.

“I’ve never experienced pain like it and I hope I never do again. Some of it was deliberate because they set rules that were impossible to follow. You couldn’t help but break the rules on occasion and you were punished for that, which some of them enjoyed.

“It is something that stays with you forever. It has destroyed my ability to trust. It’s pretty much wrecked any relationships that I’ve had. Intimacy for me is pretty much a no-go area. It’s been hard, and various things will come along at various parts of your life or the year to trip you up or trigger you because the memories never go.

“Anyone who knew anything, it’s important they come forward too. They need to find the strength that we as survivors have done.

“If they have any suspicions, if they have any concerns, if they know they were part of it, they need to come forward and share what they know.

“People who drove us around could come forward. Staff in some of the locations could come forward. There are so many people who must have had suspicions. We weren’t smuggled in under a blanket through the back door; it was done openly and people must’ve questioned that. They need to come forward.”


Sean O’Neill, ‘Murdered boy’s father says police ignored informant’,
The Times, November 19th, 2014

The father of a child murder victim claimed last night that his son could have died at the hands of an establishment paedophile ring and that Scotland Yard dismissed information about the crime.

Vishambar Mehrotra, a retired magistrate whose son Vishal, eight, was abducted and murdered in 1981, said he was contacted by someone at the time who told him the boy may have been killed by a group linked to a notorious guesthouse used by paedophiles.

Mr Mehrotra says he took a recording of the phone call from the informant to police but that they did not act on the details it contained – including allegations that “judges and politicians” were involved in an abuse ring.

The caller alleged that Mr Mehrotra’s son may have died after being taken to Elm Guest House in southwest London, which is now the subject of a police investigation into allegations of child sex abuse in the past.

Reports have linked MPs – including the late Cyril Smith – military personnel and other establishment figures to the guesthouse. The property was also the subject of police investigations in the 1980s that focused on a gang of paedophiles led by the notorious sex offender Sidney Cooke.

Scotland Yard said last night that the murder of Vishal “could form part of our inquiries” but that it was “not giving a running commentary” on the investigation.

Last week, Scotland Yard said that it had set up Operation Midland to investigate “suggestions of homicide” in information it had received from a survivor of abuse who says that he was sexually assaulted by men in flats at Dolphin Square in central London. The man, who gave the name Nick, said that he saw a boy being strangled by an MP during one session when boys were coerced into sex.​

Vishal disappeared on the night of the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer in July 1981. He was walking with his sister and their nanny back to his home in Putney, southwest London, less than a mile from Elm Guest House, when he was abducted. His skull and several rib bones were discovered in 1982 by pigeon shooters in remote marshland at Durford Abbey Farm, at Rogate in Sussex.

In 2000, Sussex police opened a cold case investigation into the murder and detectives said that the theory of abduction by a paedophile ring – as in the cases of two other children from London, Daniel Handley and Jason Swift – was one line of inquiry.

The guesthouse was raided by police in 1982 and The Times reported then that there were suspected links to a paedophile ring and the abduction of another boy, Martin Allen, 15, who went missing in west London in 1979.

Mr Mehrotra, 69, told The Daily Telegraph that he received an anonymous call from a man in the months following his son’s disappearance. A man he guessed to be in his 20s told him that Vishal may have been abducted by “highly placed” paedophiles operating from the Elm Guest House. “He talked about judges and politicians who were abusing little boys,” he said.

Mr Mehrotra, a solicitor who was a JP at Wimbledon magistrates’ court until retiring in 2006, said that he recorded the 15-minute conversation and took the tape to police.

“But instead of investigating it, they just pooh-poohed it and I never heard anything about the tape again. The whole thing went cold. At that time I trusted the police. But when nothing happened, I became confused and concerned. Now it is clear to me that there has been a huge cover-up. There is no doubt in my mind.”

At the inquest into Vishal’s death, the West Sussex coroner Mark Calvert Lee recorded an open verdict but said that “foul play” was likely.

Despite Scotland Yard running a series of investigations into so-called VIP abuse, Mr Mehrotra said that no one had been in contact with him. “It seems to me that it all adds up, so I can’t understand why the police have again failed to get in contact with me,” he said.

Until the Jimmy Savile affair, police around the country had a policy of high-level secrecy on files about sexual offences involving prominent people.


Jamie Grierson, ‘Murdered boy’s father’s abuse fears’,
Press Association, November 19th, 2014

The father of an eight-year-old boy murdered 33 years ago has reportedly claimed his son may have been killed by a Westminster paedophile ring.

Vishambar Mehrotra, a retired magistrate, recorded a male prostitute saying in a telephone call that his son Vishal may have been abducted and taken to theElm Guest House in Barnes, south-west London, in 1981, The Daily Telegraph said.

Mr Mehrotra took the recording to the Metropolitan Police at the time but told the newspaper they refused to investigate an allegation implicating “judges and politicians”.

Scotland Yard announced last week that it was investigating possible murders linked to the Elm Guest House.

The new inquiry was triggered when an alleged victim came forward claiming to have witnessed three boys being killed, including one allegedly strangled by a Tory MP during a sex game.

The skull and several rib bones of eight-year-old Vishal were discovered in 1982 by pigeon shooters in remote marshland at Durford Abbey Farm, at Rogate, close to the Hampshire-West Sussex border.

Vishal, from Putney, south-west London, vanished while shopping with his nanny and sister on July 29 1981 – the same day Lady Diana and Prince Charles were married.

Mr Mehrotra, now 69 and living in West Molesey, in south-west London, claims he received an anonymous call from a male prostitute in the months following, the Daily Telegraph reported.

A man he guessed to be in his 20s told him Vishal may have been abducted by “highly placed” paedophiles operating from the Elm Guest House.

He told the newspaper: “I was contacted by a young man who seemed to be in his 20s. He told me he believed Vishal may have been taken by paedophiles in the Elm Guest House near Barnes Common.

“He said there were very highly placed people there. He talked about judges and politicians who were abusing little boys.”

Mr Mehrotra, a solicitor who was a JP at Wimbledon magistrates’ court until retiring in 2006, claims the man said he had already informed police about activities at the guesthouse, but had received no response.

He added: “I recorded the whole 15-minute conversation and took it to police. But instead of investigating it, they just pooh-poohed it and I never heard anything about the tape again. The whole thing went cold.”

At the inquest into Vishal’s death, the West Sussex coroner Mark Calvert Lee recorded an open verdict but said “foul play” was likely.

Police said 20,000 people had been interviewed, half of them in nearby Putney, and 6,000 properties checked.

Mr Mehrotra, now 69 and living in West Molesey near Hampton Court, said he had “hardly been contacted” by police in the intervening years.

He said he had not been spoken to in recent months despite the alleged witness reporting the murder of three boys at the time Vishal vanished.

Mr Mehrotra said: “This guesthouse was right next to where Vishal disappeared. There were predatory people there who were taking young boys and abusing them.

“It seems to me that it all adds up, so I can’t understand why the police have again failed to get in contact with me. I think the revelations of Savile and others in recent months have opened up a Pandora’s box. Hopefully everything will all come out soon.”

In June 1982, four months after Vishal’s remains were found, police raided the Elm Guest House and it was widely reported at the time that the raids were linked to the boy’s disappearance.

In May 1983, Carole and Harry Kasir, the owners of the Elm Guest House were fined £1,000 each and given suspended nine-month sentences at the Old Bailey for “running a disorderly house”. They were found not guilty of living off immoral earnings and having obscene films.

Five years later Carole told child protection officers that children from the council-run Grafton Close Children’s Home had been supplied to the brothel.

The Liberal MP Cyril Smith, now dead, has been widely alleged to have abused children from Grafton Close at The Elm.

Scotland Yard last week said Operation Midland was launched into possible homicide links to Operation Fairbank, which is looking into claims of ”serious non-recent sexual abuse”.

Operation Fairbank was launched in response to information passed on by MP Tom Watson, who used Prime Minister’s Questions in 2012 to air claims that there was a paedophile ring with links to No 10.

Mr Watson used parliamentary privilege to allege that a file of evidence used to convict Peter Righton of importing child pornography in 1992 contained ”clear intelligence” of a sex abuse gang.

He wrote to Scotland Yard, which has since spawned two more inquiries from Fairbank – Fernbridge, which is looking at claims linked to the Elm Guest House, and Cayacos.

A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police said the force would not “provide a running commentary” on an ongoing investigation.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told LBC radio it was time for “a kind of reckoning with our past”.

Referring to the latest claims, the Liberal Democrat leader said: “You cannot think of a more serious and grotesque allegation than that. Clearly it needs to be looked into.”


David Brown, Georgie Keate and Sean O’Neill, ‘Paedophile gang ‘may have killed 17 more children”,
The Times, November 20th, 2014

The detective who led the investigation into Britain’s most notorious child abusers said its files could provide evidence for Scotland Yard’s investigation of an alleged Westminster paedophile ring.

Roger Stoodley said he would be delighted if the Metropolitan police were to reopen Operation Orchid, the inquiry into the Sidney Cooke gang, which abducted, abused and murdered children in the 1970s and 1980s.

The murders of three children – Jason Swift, 14, Barry Lewis, six, and Mark Tildesley, seven – were solved but detectives believed that as many as 17 other abductions and murders were connected.

Mr Stoodley said he had looked for possible links between the Cooke group and the Elm Guest House, in southwest London, which is at the centre of allegations about an establishment paedophile conspiracy, but was unable to find any.

The former detective chief superintendent said: “The Orchid files – if they still exist – could hold the key to renewed concerns over the handling of police investigations into two child abductions.”

Mr Stoodley said: “Elm Guest House came up in our inquiry but it was not within our remit at the time. It is in our system, but we could not establish a link with Cooke.”

He said Leonard Smith, one of Cooke’s accomplices, had been a young prostitute in the West End who could have come into contact with prominent figures but he had refused to discuss his past.

The families of eight-year-old Vishal Mehrotra, who was abducted and murdered in 1981, and Martin Allen, 15, who disappeared in 1979, have asked the Met whether their cases are linked to new investigations into paedophile groups said to have included judges, politicians and military personnel.

Vishambar Mehrotra, 69, said that he was “pooh-poohed” by police in the 1980s when he handed them a tape recording of a call from an anonymous informant who said his son’s death could be linked to sex abuse sessions at Elm Guest House. Vishal’s partial remains were found in a shallow grave in Sussex in 1982.

Jeffrey Allen, whose brother Martin has never been found, said Mr Mehrotra’s claims should “blow the case open”. He added: “The police never made it secret from us that Martin’s disappearance was linked to a paedophile ring.” Amid a swirl of allegations, a survivor of abuse told the website Exaro last week that he had told police about three murders, including the strangling of a boy by a Conservative MP.

Mr Stoodley said the disappearances of Vishal and Martin “matched the modus operandi” of Cooke and his associates.

“We had the premise that there were 20 [victims] and we established there were three, so I have no doubt there were others we missed,” he said. “We had allegations that an Asian boy was killed but we did not have enough evidence to identify him.

“We were trawling through missing persons registers to see if kids were missing. That proved to be a very difficult challenge because half the forces did not record them properly.”

Cooke’s gang lured boys away when they were walking on their own, or groomed them for abuse.

Mr Stoodley said Cooke – who is serving two life sentences for sex offences – and his gang were “horrible individuals who would certainly not have fitted in with VIPs unless they had a like-minded persuasion, but we never found any link”.

Operation Orchid was wound up shortly after Mr Stoodley retired in 1992. The former officer said there had been a report “a foot deep” and a room full of supporting documents.

He said: “The information should have been kept because it contained future potential leads.”

Mr Stoodley said he hoped Scotland Yard would now reopen the investigation and that he would be happy to help: “There are still potentially 17 unsolved murders.”

The Met said it was not answering questions about the inquiries.

Hissing Sid’s gang of abusers Profile Sidney Cooke, a fairground worker who was known as Hissing Sid, led the Dirty Dozen, a gang of paedophiles who hired rent boys or abducted young boys before drugging and raping them. Cooke, now 87, was convicted with Leslie Bailey, Robert Oliver and Steven Barrell in 1989 of the manslaughter of Jason Swift, 14, who died after being drugged and raped at a flat in Hackney, east London, in 1985. His body was found in a copse in Essex.

Bailey, nicknamed Catweazle, was convicted in 1992 of the manslaughter of Mark Tildesley, seven, who was raped in Cooke’s caravan while visiting a fairground near Wokingham, Berkshire, in 1984.

Bailey was also convicted of the murder of Barry Lewis, six, who was abducted in June 1991 before being sexually abused by up to eight men. His body was found in a shallow grave near Waltham Abbey, Essex.

Cooke received two life sentences in 1999 for a series of sexual assaults on two young brothers in the 1970s. Four charges of rape, a further three of indecent assault and one of buggery were left on the court file.

Cooke is still in Jail.

Bailey was murdered in his prison cell in 1993. Oliver was reported in July to be living in a bail hostel in Guildford, Surrey, sparking local protests. The whereabouts of Barrell are unknown.


Graham Grant, ‘POLICE PROBE ‘MAGIC CIRCLE’ CHILD SEX RING; Second victim comes forward as 10 officers investigate paedophile abuse allegations involving Scottish MP and leading legal figures Police to quiz three more in Fairbairn abuse claims’
Scottish Daily Mail, November 20th, 2014

POLICE are investigating claims of a paedophile ring that included a former senior ally of Margaret Thatcher, after a second victim came forward with fresh allegations.

As the Scottish Daily Mail revealed earlier this year, Susie Henderson claims she was raped by the late Tory MP Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, an ex-Solicitor General, when she was just four.

Miss Henderson is the daughter of Fairbairn’s friend Robert Henderson, QC, who she says also systematically abused her when she was a child.

As a result of our disclosures, a major Police Scotland investigation comprising a team of ten detectives has been set up, and the Mail has learned a second victim has come forward following Miss Henderson’s revelations.

It is also understood that detectives are considering serious allegations made against three living prominent lawyers as part of the inquiry.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Henderson was a pivotal figure in a major legal scandal when he claimed a so-called ‘magic One circle’ of judges, sheriffs and advocates were conspiring to ensure that homosexual criminals were given soft-touch treatment by the courts.

The latest disclosures come as the UK Government prepares to launch a public inquiry into historic child sexual abuse, heaping pressure on the Scottish Government to follow suit.

A source close to the probe said yesterday: ‘We’re talking about events mainly spanning a period from 44 to about 35 years ago.

‘There is not going to be any forensic evidence, and any other evidence that supports the allegations is going to be difficult to attribute to any individual.

‘That doesn’t mean that what is discovered might not form an important part of an inquiry and influence legislation in the future. The information will not be gathered only to be discarded.’ It is understood that Miss Henderson has identified at least three prominent Establishment figures who are still alive as being among her abusers. Detectives are gathering as much information as possible so the allegations can be put to them.

Following our revelations in August, Miss Henderson spoke to detectives and made a detailed statement about her childhood abuse.

The Mail has learned that a second victim made contact with the team a few weeks ago and has made a statement, understood to relate principally to Henderson. These allegations are also now under close scrutiny.

Last night Miss Henderson, who waived her anonymity to speak exclusively to the Mail, said that she would not be commenting upon any developments at this stage.

Police Scotland has not to date invited other victims to come forward, nor set up a dedicated contact point for anyone with relevant information. Anyone wishing to contact detectives is advised to call Police Scotland’s non-emergency 101 number.

The experience of police forces in England which dealt with the paedophilia allegations made against Jimmy Savile has influenced Police Scotland’s procedure.

A well-placed source confirmed that the Savile experience had highlighted the fact that even when a suspect was dead, it had been shown to be important to be receptive to the stories of other victims, should they emerge, and to investigate thoroughly any living accomplices.

It remains to be seen if any prosecutions will be launched in Scotland in relation to the Fairbairn and Henderson claims, but investigators are realistic about the difficulties they face.

Miss Henderson, 49, told the Mail she had been four when she was first raped by her father and by Fairbairn, and that her father had allowed Fairbairn to abuse his daughter and had been present at times when he sexually assaulted her.

She also recalled that her father, a former Tory parliamentary candidate as well as Scotland’s most flamboyant QC in the 1980s, had taken her to the homes of other friends and Establishment figures and had allowed them to sexually abuse her.

Fairbairn died in 1995 at the age of 61, while Henderson, who was never charged, died aged 75 in 2012.

Miss Henderson first made her allegations against Fairbairn and her father under the alias of Julie X in 2000 but after an abortive police investigation no charges were brought. The initial probe was halted after evidence was mislaid.

Fairbairn was Solicitor General for Scotland and MP for Kinross and Western Perthshire. He was praised by Mrs Thatcher for his ‘loyal support’ and became a close ally.

The allegations come after an official inquiry was ordered into claims of historic child sex abuse by a Westminster paedophile ring.

Miss Henderson’s allegations are likely to fuel calls for a similar inquiry by the Scottish Government, which has not been ruled out by ministers.

Last night Police Scotland confirmed that a ‘live investigation is ongoing’ but said ‘it would be inappropriate to comment further.’ A spokesman said: ‘Anyone with information on child sexual abuse is asked to contact Police Scotland through 101.’

WAS MY SON A PAEDOPHILE VICTIM?

A SCHOOLBOY murdered 33 years ago may have been abducted by a VIP paedophile ring which was covered up by police, his father claimed yesterday.

Retired magistrate Vishambar Mehrotra accused Scotland Yard of failing to investigate after a male prostitute told him his son Vishal, 8, had been taken to the notorious Elm Guest House which has been linked to child abuse.

Vishal vanished on his way home to Putney, South-West London, after a trip to watch the royal wedding celebrations in 1981. It was almost a year before his remains were found in a West Sussex woodland. Four months later, police raided Elm Guest House in Barnes. Mr Mehrotra, 69, told the Daily Telegraph how soon afterwards he was contacted by a young male prostitute.

Mr Mehrotra said: ‘He told me he believed Vishal may have been taken by paedophiles in the Elm Guest House. He talked about judges and politicians who were abusing little boys.

‘I recorded the whole 15-minute conversation and took it to police. But they just pooh-poohed it.’


Scott D’Arcy, ”Cover up’ fear over boy’s murder’
Press Association, November 20th, 2014

A father’s claims his young son may have been murdered at the hands of a Westminster paedophile ring could be correct and possibly even “covered up” by police, according to a detective who worked on the original case.

Jackie Malton told the Daily Telegraph the case of eight-year-old Vishal Mehrotra’s death 33 years ago was never solved even though officers were “highly passionate” about it, while she had a feeling of “misuse of power” during her time at Scotland Yard.

Earlier, Vishal’s father Vishambar Mehrotra, a retired magistrate, told the paper he recorded a male prostitute saying in a telephone call that Vishal may have been abducted and taken to the Elm Guest House in Barnes, south-west London, in 1981, but police took it no further.

The guest house is at the centre of a new Scotland Yard inquiry announced last week and triggered when an alleged victim came forward claiming to have witnessed three boys being killed, including one allegedly strangled by a Tory MP during a sex game.

Miss Malton, a former detective chief inspector and the inspiration for the Prime Suspect TV drama series, said: “There is clear evidence that something was happening at that guest house. If nothing has been done about it in retrospect, then Mr Mehrotra is right. Either the police disbelieved it, or they covered it up one way or another.

“I do remember that the officers were highly passionate about the Mehrotra case, but for some reason we never managed to get anywhere.”

While she said she had no evidence officers in the case were leant on, she said the influence of politicians was felt in the force during that period.

“There was also a strong sense of the power of Parliament and of politicians. It was very much a case of ‘Do as you are told’,” she said.

The skull and several rib bones of Vishal were discovered in 1982 by pigeon shooters in remote marshland at Durford Abbey Farm, at Rogate, close to the Hampshire-West Sussex border.

Vishal, from Putney, south-west London, vanished while shopping with his nanny and sister on July 29 1981 – the same day Lady Diana Spencer and the Prince of Wales were married.

In June 1982, four months after Vishal’s remains were found, police raided the Elm Guest House and it was widely reported at the time that the raids were linked to the boy’s disappearance.

Meanwhile, former detective chief superintendent Roger Stoodley called on the Metropolitan Police to examine links between the 1980s paedophile ring led by Sidney Cooke, jailed following Operation Orchid, and Elm Guest House.

He told the Times: “The Orchid files – if they still exist – could hold the key to renewed concerns over the handling of police investigations into two child abductions.

“Elm Guest House came up in our inquiry but it was not within our remit at the time. It is in our system but we could not establish a link with Cooke.

Mr Stoodley said detectives worked on the assumption there were more victims, adding: “There are potentially 17 unsolved murders.”

Scotland Yard said last week Operation Midland was launched into possible murder links to Operation Fairbank, which is looking into claims of ”serious non-recent sexual abuse”.

Operation Fairbank was launched in response to information passed on by MP Tom Watson, who used Prime Minister’s Questions in 2012 to air claims that there was a paedophile ring with links to No 10.

A spokesman for the force said it was not providing a running commentary on the inquiries.


Tom Kelly and Rebecca Cambra, ‘Murder covered up, says father’
Daily Mail, November 20th, 2014

A SCHOOLBOY murdered 33 years ago may have been abducted by a VIP paedophile ring which was covered up by police, his father claimed yesterday.

Retired magistrate Vishambar Mehrotra accused Scotland Yard of failing to investigate after a male prostitute told him his eight-year-old son Vishal had been taken to the notorious Elm Guest House which has been linked to child abuse.

Yesterday Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told LBC Radio: You can’t think of a more serious and grotesque allegation than that, and it clearly needs to be looked into.

We are in the early stages of a reckoning with our past, of things happening on a scale and of a gravity which just a few months ago would have seemed unimaginable and almost too horrific to contemplate.’

Vishal vanished on his way home to Putney, South-West London after a trip to watch the royal wedding celebrations in 1981. He was walking ahead of his family when he disappeared less than a mile from his home, close to Elm Guest House.

It was almost a year before his remains were found in a West Sussex woodland. His legs, pelvis and lower spine were missing – along with much of his clothing, including his Superman underpants. West Sussex coroner Mark Calvert Lee recorded an open verdict but said foul play’ was likely.

Four months after Vishal’s body was found, police raided Elm Guest House in Barnes and questioned dozens of men including high-profile individuals. Mr Mehrotra, 69, told the Daily Telegraph how soon afterwards he was contacted by a young male prostitute.

Mr Mehrotra said: He told me he believed Vishal may have been taken by paedophiles in the Elm Guest House. He said there were very highly placed people there. He talked about judges and politicians who were abusing little boys.

I recorded the whole 15-minute conversation and took it to police. But instead of investigating it, they just pooh-poohed it and I never heard anything about the tape again. The whole thing went cold.’

He added: At that time I trusted the police. But when nothing happened, I became confused and concerned. Now it is clear to me that there has been a huge cover-up. There is no doubt in my mind.’

The extraordinary allegations come just days after Scotland Yard announced it was setting up a new inquiry, Operation Midland, to investigate possible homicide’ linked to a child abuse network said to involve senior politicians, spy chiefs, military and legal figures.

An alleged abuse victim has told police he saw a Conservative MP strangle a 12-year-old boy to death at an abuse party’ in 1980. The witness, known only as Nick, says a Conservative cabinet minister watched two men kill a second boy in a depraved sexual assault a year later. He also claims to have seen a young boy being run over in broad daylight in a street in South-West London in 1979. Now in his forties, Nick has provided detectives with e-fits of the boys involved, but none of them are said to fit Vishal.

Yesterday Labour MP John Mann, who claims he tipped police off to child abuse by politicians in 1988, said: It is another extraordinary development and it tallies with other allegations. This boy died in terrible circumstances and his family deserve a full police inquiry.’

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said the force would not provide a running commentary’ on an ongoing investigation.


‘Police ‘not in contact’ over murdered boy’
The Telegraph, November 21st, 2014

Scotland Yard is investigating claims by the father of a boy murdered in the 1980s that he may have been killed by a Westminster paedophile ring.

Vishambar Mehrotra recorded an unknown man saying in a telephone call that the nine-year-old may have been taken to the notorious Elm Guest House,south London, in 1981.

He claims he took the tape to police but that they refused to investigate claims implicating “judges and politicians”.

Mr Mehrotra welcomed the new investigation but said he had still not been contacted. “If there has been a cover-up, I need to know,” he said.

More than 34,000 police jobs could be lost after the next election as a result of spending cuts, Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers warned last night.


James Gillespie, ‘Security services ‘have abuse file”
The Sunday Times, November 23rd, 2014

THE intelligence services will have kept a copy of the lost Dickens dossier naming senior political figures allegedly involved in the sexual abuse of children, according to a former Tory minister.

The claim, by Rod Richards, who was MP for Clwyd North West and was a minister in the Welsh Office between 1994 and 1996, comes after the Wanless inquiry failed to find any trace of the document at the Home Office.

The late Geoffrey Dickens, MP for Littleborough and Saddleworth, handed his dossier to Leon Brittan, then home secretary, in 1983. It alleged a paedophile ring at the highest levels of the political establishment.

When the Home Office was asked for a copy of the document in 2013 it could not be found. Another 114 documents that may have contained information about sex abuse allegations had been lost or destroyed.

Richards, who once worked in the intelligence services, said: “I have a good knowledge of the filing systems used. In the case of Geoffrey Dickens there would be more than just the interest from the Home Office in the dossier, there would be interest from the police, but clearly there would also be an interest from the security service.”

“I can tell you now there were at least two copies of everything,” Richards said. “So don’t tell me that identical copies have been lost. The security service will have copies of all the letters, all the files, any notes from meetings regarding the Geoffrey Dickens folder.

“It would be kept in the security service registry. You can’t just walk in and pick something up like a book in a public library, everything has to be signed out and everything has to be signed back in so if they were missing there would be the name of who last had them.”

However, the Home Office said yesterday that the Wanless inquiry had asked the security services for any relevant files but, as Wanless recorded, they “did not hold any that were relevant to the review”.

Meanwhile, two journalists have claimed that their publications were issued with D-notices – warnings not to publish information that might damage national security – when they attempted to investigate allegations of a paedophile ring in the 1980s.

Don Hale, who was editor of the Bury Messenger, said he was presented with a D-notice after a dossier of names linked to Dickens’s allegations was passed to him by the Labour MP Barbara Castle in 1984.

Hilton Tims, news editor of the Surrey Comet between 1980 and 1988, told The Observer his newspaper had received a D-notice when a reporter made inquiries about a police investigation into the Elm Guest House in Barnes, southwest London, at the centre of allegations about a Westminster paedophile ring.

It is not possible to check the claims because the Dnotice archives for that period “are not complete”.

A spokesman for the defence advisory notice system said: “If Don Hale was ‘served’ with anything purporting to be a ‘Dnotice’, it was quite obviously a fabrication.”

The new claims come after Scotland Yard last week reopened an investigation into the murder of Vishal Mehrotra, 8, who disappeared in 1981 near the ElmGuest House.


Lynn Davidson and Shaun Wooller, ‘VIP paedos snatched my kid brother; VICTIM’S FAMILY SPEAK OUT ; COPS ‘GIVEN FILE”
The Sun, November 24th, 2014

THE family of a teen who vanished 35 years ago say they believe he was snatched by a VIP paedophile ring.

Their claim came as the Home Secretary yesterday warned that allegations of child abuse and murder by top politicians are just the “tip of the iceberg”.

Theresa May told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show the Government had to “get to the truth” of what happened in the Seventies and Eighties.

Martin Allen was 15 when he disappeared in 1979.

He lived next to millionaires and diplomats as his dad was Australian High Commission head chauffeur in London.

Now his brother Kevin has revealed that a private detective last year gave him a file which detailed “figures in public authority” involved in covering up Martin’s case.

He handed the file to police but got no response. A probe into historic abuse by paedos is centred on the notorious Elm Guest House in Barnes, South West London.

When police raided the hostel in 1982 it was reported that the move was linked to Martin’s disappearance.

Kevin, 53, of Waltham Abbey, Essex, said: “Something was going on we weren’t told about and there were powerful forces involved. My dad knew it and I knew.

“I won’t ever forget an officer telling me that if we dug too deep someone would get hurt. We need answers.”

The case is back in the spotlight after revelations that police linked Martin’s case to the 1981 murder of eight-yearold Vishal Mehrotra.

The disappearances have similarities and Vishal’s dad thinks his son was killed by a Westminster paedophile ring and the case covered up.


Georgie Keate, ‘Paedophile ring may have killed boy, 15’
The Times, November 26th, 2014

Police investigating an alleged paedophile ring at Westminster have told the family of a missing boy that he may be one of the three children claimed to have been murdered by establishment figures.

Martin Allen, the son of the Australian high commissioner’s chauffeur, went missing in 1979, aged 15. His brother, Kevin, 51, has said he was called by Detective Chief Inspector Diane Tudway of the Metropolitan police on Friday, who said she was investigating whether Martin’s disappearance was linked to an alleged VIP ring.

Operation Midland, the investigation into the deaths, was set up this month. Officers said that intelligence from Operation Fairbank, which is looking into whether high-profile figures were involved in organised child sex abuse in the 1970s and 1980s, suggested that murders had taken place.

A man known as Nick, who said he was abused by MPs and establishment figures, had alleged that he saw three boys being murdered by the paedophile network. He said one was deliberately run over, a second was strangled by a Conservative MP and the third was killed in front of a government minister.

The case of Martin Allen’s disappearance was closed in the 1980s, but reopened in 2009 and shut again last year. Mr Allen and his brother, Jeffrey, 61, have described how police said in 2009 the files had been destroyed in a flood.

“We had to give evidence over again to the police,” Mr Allen said. “But then later, when the case was still open, the two detectives on it told us that a retired police officer had withdrawn the files and gone to Spain.

“They said they had tried to get a warrant to question the officer but couldn’t get it from the Spanish authorities. You don’t know what to believe.” Jeffrey Allen said the detective who led the case in 1979 had told his family that there were “high-up people involved” and that they should “not take it further because someone will get hurt”.

The Met said it could not comment.

Last week Vishambar Mehrotra, an ex-magistrate and father of Vishal, eight, who was murdered in 1981, said he was called by a male prostitute who said that his son had been taken to Elm Guest House in Barnes, southwest London, said to be a haunt of the alleged ring, to be abused by “highly placed” paedophiles.

Mr Mehrotra said he had given police a tape of the conversation but they refused to investigate.


Arj Singh, ”Establishment Figures’ at hotel’
Press Association, November 27th, 2014

A former cabinet minister was photographed with a naked boy in the sauna of a guesthouse at the centre of historic child sex abuse allegations, an MP has said.

Tory Zac Goldsmith (Richmond Park) claimed that a child protection campaigner had been told by one of the owners of the Elm Guest House, Carol Kasir, that she had photographs of “establishment figures” at the hotel where boys in care had been “brought in for sex”.

One of the pictures allegedly showed a former cabinet minister in the hotel sauna with a naked boy, Mr Goldsmith said.

But the evidence, along with logbooks, names, times, dates and photographs of Mrs Kasir’s customers simply disappeared after a 1982 police raid on the guesthouse.

Mr Goldsmith said evidence from 12 boys alleging abuse had also “evaporated” and Mrs Kasir and her husband Haroon were eventually given suspended sentences for “running a disorderly house”.

Mrs Kasir then died a few years later in “very odd circumstances”, he said.

In a backbench debate on the progress of the Government’s inquiry into historic child sex abuse, Mr Goldsmith told the Commons: “When Mrs Kasir died a few years after the house was raided in very odd circumstances, a child protection campaigner from the National Association of Young People in Care called for a criminal investigation into events at Elm Guest House.

“He said that he’d been told by Mrs Kasir that boys had been brought in from the local children’s home, in Richmond also, Grafton Place, had been brought in for sex.

“And that she had all kinds of photographs of establishment figures at her hotel.

“One of them allegedly showed a former cabinet minister in the sauna with a naked boy.

“She had logbooks, names, times, dates, pictures of her customers and so on.

“All that evidence simply disappeared after the raid. It no longer exists.

“That surely is astonishing.”


David Brown, ‘Former minister ‘in sauna with naked boy”
The Times, November 28th, 2014

A former cabinet minister was photographed with a naked boy in the sauna of a guest house at the centre of historical child sex abuse allegations, a Tory MP claimed yesterday.

Zac Goldsmith said that the owner of the Elm Guest House in his constituency allegedly claimed to have had photographs of “establishment figures” at the hotel where boys in care had been “brought in for sex”.

The MP for Richmond Park said that evidence seized from the guest house along with logbooks, names, times, dates and photographs of guests simply disappeared after a police raid on the hotel in 1982.

In a Commons debate on the progress of the government’s inquiry into historical allegations of child sexual abuse, Mr Goldsmith said that evidence from 12 boys alleging abuse had also “evaporated” and the hotel’s owners, Carole Kasir and her husband, Haroon, were eventually given suspended sentences for “running a disorderly house”.

Mrs Kasir died a few years later in “very odd circumstances” after giving details of the involvement of politicians, including the late Liberal Democrat MP Cyril Smith, and celebrities to a campaigner for child protection.

Simon Danczuk, a Labour MP, also claimed that Sir Edward Garnier, one of David Cameron’s former top legal advisers, tried to stop him “challenging” Lord Brittan of Spennithorne over child abuse allegations in the Houses of Parliament.

Mr Danczuk said that Sir Edward, a former solicitor-general, tackled him on the evening before he was due to give evidence to the home affairs select committee in the summer.

Mr Danczuk told MPs: “The night before my appearance at the committee I had an encounter with the right honourable learned Member for Harborough [Sir Edward Garnier]. He told me that challenging Lord Brittan on child abuse would not be a wise move and that I might even be responsible for his death as he was unwell.

“People who might know about child abuse allegations should answer questions whatever their position. We should not shy away from that.”

It is understood that Sir Edward, who has known Lord Brittan for 40 years, was intervening after a request by Lady Brittan, who was worried about the strain on her husband’s health.


David Brown, ‘Paedophile ring trial opens’
The TImes, November 28th, 2014

A priest and a retired children’s home manager yesterday denied sexually abusing and taking indecent photographs of boys as young as ten in the first prosecution into an alleged establishment paedophile network. John Stingemore is accused of abusing six boys. Father Tony McSweeney allegedly indecently assaulted two of the youngsters and a third alleged victim, and made child abuse images judged to be in the worst category.

The men were arrested by Scotland Yard’s Operation Fernbridge, set up to investigate allegations of child abuse by senior politicians and other prominent figures at the Elm Guest House in Barnes, southwest London. Both men are charged with offences allegedly committed between January 1979 and July 1981. Mr Stingemore, 72, was a former manager of the Grafton Close Children’s Home in Hounslow, west London. Father McSweeney, 67, of Pease Pottage, West Sussex, was a trainee Roman Catholic priest.

Mr Stingemore, who sat in a wheelchair outside the dock at Southwark crown court, bowed his head each time he denied indecently assaulting five boys. He also denied buggering and conspiring to bugger one of the boys along with an unknown man.

Father McSweeney, who officiated at the boxer Frank Bruno’s wedding in 1990, is accused of indecently assaulting three boys and taking indecent photographs of two of them.


Emily Ashton, ‘Minister and Boy in Sauna’
The Sun, November 28th, 2014

A FORMER Cabinet minister was snapped with a naked boy in the sauna of a notorious hostel, an MP claimed yesterday. Tory Zac Goldsmith said the owner of the Elm Guest House had pictures of “Establishment figures” with children in care.

A probe into historic abuse is centred on the property in Barnes, South West London.

In a major Commons debate, Mr Goldsmith said he had spoken to a child protection campaigner who had been “told that boys had been brought in from the local children’s home for sex”. The MP added: “One of them (photos) allegedly showed a former Cabinet minister in the sauna with a naked boy.”

But Mr Goldsmith said the guest house had since been “raided in very odd circumstances”. He added: “All that evidence simply disappeared. It no longer exists.”

Meanwhile, Labour MP Simon Danczuk claimed Tory MP Sir Edward Garnier warned him against probing former home secretary Leon Brittan over the scandal – because it could lead to his death “as he was unwell”.


Mike Sullivan and Tom Morgan, ‘MP ‘was at snuff film lad’s murder’; Exclusive: VIP Paedophile Horror’
The Sun, December 6th, 2014

DETECTIVES probing the Westminster paedophile ring are investigating bombshell evidence that an MP was involved in the murder of a child in a snuff movie.

A young boy sold for sex is said to have died in a torture session filmed at Amsterdam’s notorious Blue Boy vice club.

Allegations that the unnamed MP was present can be revealed today as The Sun exposes the sinister web at the heart of the scandal.

The claims mean police are now investigating FOUR child murders linked to the alleged abuse ring.

Informants said the MP was present at the murder after going to Holland for sex with boys supplied by paedo fixer Warwick Spinks.

Met detectives are now re-examining files on Spinks amid claims he was a regular visitor to Elm Guest House, where the alleged systematic abuse of children sparked the original VIP inquiry in 2012.

Boys were allegedly taken to the guest house, in Barnes, South-West London, and the upmarket Dolphin Square flats near Westminster, to have sex with MPs including Cyril Smith, and VIP figures.

They included a police chief, an MI5 man, two pop stars and Soviet spy Anthony Blunt.

Yesterday it emerged that police who investigated Spinks in the 1990s were told a boy had died at the Amsterdam club while the MP was present.

A source said: “Officers were told Spinks knew the MP and arranged a tour to Amsterdam. While there he went to the Blue Boy bar, where Spinks was running a brothel.

“The MP was said to have been present when a boy died during an orgy which was being filmed. The information was not confirmed and the MP’s identity never surfaced.

“However, clear evidence that boys were tortured was discovered.”

Spinks was jailed in 1995 for sex offences, including abducting a boy of 14 and taking him to Amsterdam to be abused in a brothel.

Evidence from the Spinks investigation is now being analysed by the Met’s three-pronged probe into networks of VIP paedophiles. Police never found the snuff films, and have been hampered by the loss of files amid claims of an establishment cover-up. The team are already probing three other alleged child murders, one by a Tory MP.

The families of two boys believed to have been murdered by Sidney Cooke’s paedophile gang are also urging police to investigate possible links to the VIP ring.

mike.sullivan@the-sun.co.uk SET up as a secret ‘scoping’ exercise to find out if claims made in Parliament were true.

In 2012, it was claimed files on paedo Peter Righton “clear intelligence a widespread paedophile ring” in the 1970s and 1980s involving politicians.

Former teacher Charles Napier last month admitted sexually abusing 21 underage boys. Napier is the half-brother of Tory MP John Whittingdale. Meanwhile, Operation Fernbridge was set up last year into abuse at Elm Guest House.

LAD of eight murdered in 1981 on Charles and Diana’s wedding day. His father believes Westminster paedo ring killed him and that there was police cover-up.

A CHILDREN’S home run by Richmond borough council.

Police are looking at claims that boys from the home were brought to Elm Guest House for sex.

OBESE MP for Rochdale and serial abuser of boys was at Elm House parties. He died in 2010 aged 77.

EX-Soviet spy and keeper of Queen’s pictures. Named on list cops seized as an Elm House party-goer.

FORMER deputy chairman of Tory party alleged to have held sex parties with boys. Died in 1995.

FORMER teacher and one of first paedophiles snared by probe. In jail for abusing 21 boys under 16.

PAEDO social worker and founding member of Paedophile Information Exchange. Died in 2007.

DIPLOMAT who led double life as a member of the Paedophile Information Exchange Died in 1992 aged 77.

ONE of UK’s most notorious paedophiles, serving two life terms for gang rape and killing of Jason Swift, 14.

PAEDO fixer who targeted vulnerable children on the “meat rack” at London’s Piccadilly Circus.

AN UPMARKET apartment block in Pimlico where up to 70 MPs lived.

Now at the centre of claims of child abuse. One man claims he was raped while his head was held underwater.

A DOSSIER detailing claims of sex abuse by paedo politicians has gone missing. Given to Home Secretary Leon Brittan, right, in 1983, it allegedly exposed a vile network in Westminster.

SET up last month to investigate the alleged murders of three boys over 30 years ago following intelligence received from Operation Fairbank.

A victim known as Nick has described seeing a small boy being murdered in the presence of a former Tory Cabinet minister and another strangled by a Conservative MP.

A third murder was said to have taken place when a boy was deliberately run over in the street.

BOY of 15 went missing in 1979. No trace of him has ever been found. Cops are now looking for links with three alleged murders, including that of Vishal Mehrotra.

TODAY The Sun reveals the sinister web in the VIP paedophile scandal engulfing Westminster.

It began with a claims of a “powerful paedophile ring” operating from Parliament and an ‘establishment cover-up”. PM David Cameron was asked about allegations of an historic network of culprits linked to Westminster and No10.

A police investigation – Operation Fairbank – has spawned three operations. They are investigating murder allegations involving three boys. Suspects, many unnamed, include senior MPs, a top cop, a Soviet spy, an MI5 man and two pop stars.

The Government’s own official inquiry was announced in but has been blasted by the alleged victims of abuse.

A GAY establishment in South West London. After claims of child abuse there in the 1980s a ‘super guestlist’ of names was seized by cops.

Haroon and Carole Kasir, below left, ran it and she died in 1990. Despite hearing she had been threatened, a coroner recorded a verdict of suicide by insulin overdose.

Operation Fernbridge is probing claims of abuse there in the ’80s.

Sun 061214 - Web of Evil


PIE – Documentary Evidence 8 – Mary Manning in Community Care and Auberon Waugh in The Spectator, 1977

1977 is an important year in the history of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) and their profile. There was a campaign against the organisation by a woman called Christine Jolliffe in Bournemouth, who delivered a 3000 name petition to Downing Street calling for toughening of sentences upon sexual offenders against children, whilst a group of MPs led by Sir John Eden (MP for Bournemouth East and thus presumably Jolliffe’s MP) and awaited a report on PIE from the Minister of State at the Home Office (this would probably have been Brynmor John (1934-88), who served in the role from 1976-1979), well before Geoffrey Dickens’ later campaign against the organisation, whilst Mary Whitehouse was stepping up her campaign against the organisation (see Tom Crabtree, ‘Adults only’, The Guardian, May 19th, 1977). There were also harsh earlier reports on the movement in the Daily Mirror (see ‘Adults only’, Daily Mirror, August 24th, 1977; and Lucy Robinson, Gay Men and the Left in post-war Britain: How the personal got political (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2007), pp. 134-135), which were soon afterwards condemned by the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE) (see ‘Paedophile talks backed by homosexuals’, The Times, August 30th, 1977).

First there was the Love and Attraction Conference from September 5th to 9th in Swansea, which became something of a media event when several members were ejected, forbidden to speak, or simply withdrew (see ‘Conference ban puts paedophile group further into cold’, The Guardian, August 27th, 1977; ‘Dutch MP backs child sex’, The Guardian, August 28th, 1977; Iain Murray, ‘Britain ‘intolerant’ on child sex’, The Observer, September 4th, 1977; ‘Priest’s child sex views repudiated’, The Guardian, September 9th, 1977)

Then there were the violent confrontations with members of the National Front and others at a PIE meeting on September 19th at Conway Hall, Holborn, London to deal with issues of the age of consent, after an earlier planned meeting at Shaftesbury Hotel, London, had had to be scrapped. (see ‘Hotel ban on paedophiles’, The Times, August 25th, 1977; ‘Paedophile conference plans ‘age of consent’ meeting’, The Guardian, September 1st, 1977; ‘Fury of the Mothers: Child-sex men are beaten up’, Daily Mirror, September 20th, 1977; ‘Three men fined after paedophile meeting’, The Times, September 21st, 1977).

Tom O’Carroll was suspended from his position as a press officer at the Open University soon afterwards (‘Open University Man suspended’, The Times, September 23rd, 1977), a decision attacked by CHE and the National Union of Journalists (see ‘Gays join PIE fight’, The Guardian, September 24th, 1977).

It was in this context that a series of other articles appeared relating to the movement, including Maurice Yaffé’s ‘Paedophilia: The Forbidden Subject’, New Statesman, September 16th, 1977, p. 362 (which I will post on here when I have a copy), Auberon Waugh’s rather facetitious ‘Suffer the little children’, The Spectator, September 30th, 1977, p. 6 (reproduced below), and a letter followed by an article, both relatively sympathetic, by Mary Manning (presumably the same who authored such books as Your Children’s Health (London: Elm Tree Books, 1973), The Drugs Menace (London : Columbus, 1985), and Help Yourself to Mental Health (London : Columbus, c. 1988)), in social work trade journal Community Care. I am printing these here to add to knowledge of PIE and how they were viewed in various journals and professions.

I would like to extend my profound thanks to Charlotte Russell for finding, copying and scanning the Manning articles.


Mary Manning, ‘PIE is not getting ‘fair hearing”, Community Care, September 26th, 1977

Mary Manning open letter


Mary Manning, ‘Should We Pity the Paedophiles?’, Community Care, October 19th, 1977

Mary Manning article 1

Mary Manning article 2

Mary Manning article 3

Mary Manning article 4


Auberon Waugh, ‘Suffer the little children’, The Spectator, September 30th, 1977, p. 6
.

The most remarkable — some may find it encouraging — aspect of recent queerbashing outbreaks in Swansea University College and Red Lion Square, London, has been the tacit approval of the press, radio and television. The reason for this, of course, was the magical image of children who, like old age pensioners, have a special place in the feigned affections of our great national consensus.

In fact, of course, the English are famous throughout the entire civilised world for their hatred of children. My own guess is that we hate children even more than we hate the old. Until I have had time to start a Gerontophile Information Exchange I will be unable to test this hunch, but I am prepared to bet that public reaction will be much less extreme.

If I am right, the violence of the public reaction against Mr O’Carroll’s paedophiles should be seen as a cover-up — not, heaven knows, for any sexual attraction towards children on the part of the general public — but as a sign of the guilt they feel for disliking children so much. I have often observed how the English, who shut their parents away in retirement bungalows and old people’s homes as soon as the opportunity presents itself, yet feel constrained to make little mooing noises of appreciation whenever an old age pensioner is wheeled onstage during a children’s pantomime or other public entertainment. So it is with children. In order to understand the present phenomenon I am afraid we will need to analyse it by social class.

Members of the upper and upper middle classes (we, gentle readers, the Beautiful People) have always got rid of our children by sending them to boarding schools. We have usually known that a small but significant proportion of the teaching staff of these establishments is paedophile. Such stirrings of guilt as we might have felt at this inhuman treatment were subdued by the reflection that the education was better and we were making enormous financial sacrifices to send our children off in this way.

Those parents who were prepared to face up to the matter — I am amazed by the number of my contemporaries who assure me that homosexuality has now disappeared from the nation’s preparatory and public schools — accept that there must be some consolation in the miserable life of those who choose to look after children.

Which may explain the fairly tolerant attitude towards these unfortunate people which has grown up in our bourgeois society. It does not extend to child rapists or violators or pre-pubertal girls, but if the boys end up buggered that is accepted as a small price to pay for the opportunity to develop their whole characters etc which ‘ separation from parents must bring.

The lower middle classes have never been able to send their children away, of course. Their method of showing dislike for their children is to refuse to talk to them, to dress them in hideous clothes called anoraks and romper suits, to turn them out of the house or dump them in front of the television set as soon as they come in; and, if they give the slightest trouble, to stuff their mouths with sweets until their teeth blacken and fall out to lie like rabbits’ droppings all over the fitted carpet in the television lounge. If ever parents of the lower class feel the slightest guilt about this inhuman treatment of their children, they overcome it by giving them huge sums of pocket money to buy even more sweets until their bodies and legs disappear and they have to be taken to school in special aluminium wheelbarrows designed by Lord Snowdon and supplied by the Welfare.

But however much one may sneer, snarl or hoot at these people one must also admit that they can’t send their children away and actually have to live with them. So one can see they might feel indignant at any suggestion that their children should also be buggered. It is like making boys at the local comprehensive school wear stiff white collars and bum-freezers, only rather worse.

However, having said all that and having put oneself in their shoes as much as possible, one. must also make it clear that that is the extent of our sympathy for them. Officers’ wives get pudding and pies, soldiers’ wives get skilly. To spend one’s time agonising about those less fortunate than oneself is a recipe for general misery, as well as being vaguely insulting to the deprived.

I have sometimes been accused — the accusation was made in these pages recently — of being insufficiently responsive to the special needs of our homosexual community, Perhaps I have sometimes found it in my heart to deny them that extra compassion, tolerance, understanding which the Church now demands and which alone enables them to thrive like so many queen bees on Royal Jelly. But there is surely all the difference in the world between railing against effeminate affectations in the world of letters, against a homosexual and leftwing stranglehold on public patronage of the arts and even against various flaunting and extravagant queens in public life — perhaps I made their children cry on the way back from school! — there is all the difference in the world, as I say, between that and actually trying trying to stop the buggers from doing it. Not content with that, the new proletarian response is to try and stop them from talking about it among themselves, and even to stop other people from discussing the problem. Last month, Mr Stewart W. Hastings, Swansea area officer for the National Union of Public Employees, wrote two letters which I here release in the public interest. The first is addressed to all members of the Swansea University College branch of NUPE: ‘Dear Member, ‘I am taking the unusual course of action of asking you to withdraw all services to a delegate at the forthcoming Love and Attraction Conference. . .

‘The delegate concerned is Mr Tom O’Carroll of the Paediophile Information Exchange. This rather interesting and somewhat confusing title covers the real intent of this society, simply what they want to legalise is sex between adults and children. Alan Williams, MP for Swansea West, describes Mr Tom O’Carroll as “a most unwellcome [sic]visiter [sic ]” .

‘As a Union we would hope that any members coming into contact with this delegate will not offer him any service. This means no portering, no cleaning, no feeding, in fact, no help in any way. We shall be writing to the Conference Organisers and asking them to withdraw the credentials before the confrontation takes place. I hope this action receives your general agreement?

The second letter was addressed to the conference organisers: ‘I am writing on behalf of the members of the NUPE employed in Swansea University. These members have already stated quite clearly that they will withdraw all services from the delegate representing the Paediophile [sic] Information Exchange at the forthcoming Conference.

‘They have also expressed some surprise that credentials were even granted to delegates on what seems to be with such ease of application [sic, sic, sic]. We cannot see what the Paediophile [sic] Information Exchange has to offer, and we hope, therefore, that these credentials are withdrawn well before the limited action planned by our members starts to take effect.’

The intention is unmistakably not so much to register disgust at what Mr O’Carroll had to say as to prevent him from saying it. As we now know, the university authorities were more concerned about their tea and biscuits than about the Conference’s subject matter and gave in. I wonder which academic subjects will next attract NUPE’s attention. One day, perhaps, the country will understand how the proletarian mind is quite simply unable to assimilate the idea of free speech as a concept.

I have four children, all very dear to me, and I would like to think I have their best interests at heart. I see a much greater threat to their future in this example of NUPE activism, NUPE English and NUPE power than I do in anything Mr O’Carroll might try to do to them.


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.


LAMBETH


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.


‘LAMBETH LBC SUSPENDS SENIOR OFFICER IN CHILDRENS’ HOMES INQUIRY’
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.


‘CARE MANAGER ADMITS 35 CHARGES’
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


‘UNISON LETTER LEADS TO LAMBETH U-TURN ON CHILDCARE OUTSOURCING’
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


‘CARE PROBE PROCESS SILENCES FEARFUL ABUSE VICTIMS IN LAMBETH’
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
premises.

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.


OPERATION ORE


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?

by MIKE JAMES

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


RECENT REPORTS ON LAMBETH, CLIVE DRISCOLL, AND THE LABOUR MINISTER



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

MAIN-Child-Sex-House

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.

Clive-Driscoll

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

MAIN-Child-Sex-House

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.”

Simon-Danczuk

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.”

Clive-Driscoll

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;
EXPOSED social workers say ex-Blair MINISTER MAY HAVE BEEN PROTECTED
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.”

WHISTLEBLOWER
Police said they saw it as fantasy. That was the end of it and I was not to repeat it. It was heavy

NIGEL GOLDIE
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

Silhouette

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’
gareth.davies@croydonadvertiser.co.uk
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.