Superb article from Anne Wade which joins many dots in Rochdale and beyond. She shows the value of unearthing abuse from years ago and the effects it is still having today.
The legacy of child abuse in an English town – Why the roots of historic child sexual abuse must be dug out
Should old and dead paedophiles be left in peace? By bringing out detailed stories of historic childhood abuse we may give relief and justice to survivors, but do we benefit the rest of the community? Or does this engage resources that are better applied to current abuse? Is there any harm in simply saying the past is past, and putting all our energy into how we treat children in the future?
It can be argued that it was just such a failure to challenge past abuse by a paedophile network in an ordinary town that enabled further, apparently unrelated, child abuse scandals to occur there. And the corruption and cover-up of the past that is still being maintained is allowing child sexual abuse to continue, locally and nationally.
The town of Rochdale, in Greater Manchester, has a proud history as the birthplace of John Bright, the co-operative movement, and Gracie Fields. But at the moment it is better known as the place where
- Cyril Smith and a score of his associates abused boys sadistically for decades
- 20 boys and girls from loving, harmless families were abused by being taken into care for up to 10 years for non-existent ‘satanic ritual abuse’
- hundreds of underage girls were, and are being, groomed for sexual exploitation, enslaved and trafficked into the paedophile sex trade.
At first these three episodes seem unconnected. But if we trace how they developed, we can see how the cover-up of earlier abuse, and the corruption that enabled this, made it easier for later abuse to occur. Sweeping wrong-doing under the carpet not only strengthens the perpetrators but it also weakens institutions, making it harder for decent members of the community to identify and challenge further offences. As corrupt council members, police, teachers and social workers age, they initiate younger members of staff into the corruption so that the cover-up continues and widens. This protects them from earlier victims who as adult survivors may try to disclose their abuse.
A pleasant English market town…
Why should all this have happened in Rochdale? What was especially awful about the place? Nothing. This is only typical of what has been happening in many areas of the country. What makes Rochdale unique is that we are safe to go public on all the episodes that took place there. Child protection workers, in cooperation with investigative reporters, and now increasingly the public, have details of similar events in dozens of other places. But in most of them the abuses have not yet become fully public. Whistleblowers are liable to litigation; or they are subjected to lies and defamatory publicity; or they are harassed, bullied, ostracised and sent to coventry at work or in the community; or they are muzzled by super-injunctions. The law is weak. The government, for its own protection, has no interest in preventing whistle blowing. And Rochdale’s story is simpler to describe because, although it is complicated by the web of national paedophile connections, it does not seem to have major international links.
…with countryside nearby
Scout Moor reservoir
A town like many another… with a terrifying and complex jigsaw of abuse and cover-up, with many pieces deliberately carved into the wrong shape or buried. Worst of all, this obfuscation was – and is – by those whose job it is to protect these children and our community. Even more than the abusers, of whom we expect no better, we are angry with those who collude, who are corrupt or culpably blinkered, because they have so betrayed us.
Cyril Smith was born in 1928 and became active in local politics in his teens. He promoted himself as working tirelessly for the welfare of deprived boys. Suspicions of child abuse began in the 1950s. In 1956 he bought St Mary’s Gate newsagent and tobacconist. In the late 1950s, according to Mike Smith of the CID, this was put under police surveillance because of concerns about the number of young boys seen going in through the back door. Specific complaints began in 1961: for instance, he supported a boy to have singing lessons, groomed and sexually abused him. Why were these leads not followed up?
Smith gradually developed connections with paedophiles both locally and elsewhere in the country. Without these connections, and without sympathisers protecting him on a large scale, he would not have been able to offend as he did. One notable connection was with his later friend Jimmy Savile, born in 1926. Savile similarly presented himself as a dedicated fund raiser for charity. He volunteered at Broadmoor from his early 20s, and as a porter in other hospitals. The first complaint of abuse against him came in 1955, at a Manchester dance hall he managed. Some abuse is recorded from 1960, for example with autograph hunters being taken into hotels and abused. Just as Smith’s abusing can be traced over the next decades, so too there are records of complaints about Savile at the BBC, at Leeds general infirmary, and at Stoke Mandeville hospital.
Smith and Savile continued to live parallel lives as predatory paedophiles for half a century, both becoming well-known members of the establishment and escaping public disclosure and judicial convictions during their lives. However, once their behaviour began coming out in 2012, after their deaths, the offending of Savile, the media figure, led to the establishment of five separate inquiries, most notably Operation Yewtree. Other media figures began to be effectively followed up. But in the case of Smith, the high-level politician, all investigations have been so far resisted, just as they have been for other politicians who have been implicated. The braver press, the Rochdale Alternative Press, followed by Private Eye, Northern Voices and the New Statesman, had published disclosures in 1979. Any others were suppressed by Jeremy Thorpe. In 2013, Channel 4 Dispatches broadcast a documentary, Cyril Smith The Paedophile MP How He Got Away With It. Then came the 2014 book by Simon Danczuk and Matt Baker, Smile for the camera, and Danczuk named Smith in the House.
Thanks to the public reaction to all this, one strand of IICSA, the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse, is assigned to Rochdale. We are not powerless. They govern by consent, and when ordinary protest is wide enough, they back down, at least until they think we have forgotten.
Peter Righton, another paedophile born in 1926, also became a close friend of Smith, and like him and Savile rose high in the establishment. Righton recorded in his diary abuse he committed during 1956-7 at Gaveston Hall School near Horsham and Cuddesdon College near Oxford, both of which he left after a few months. His next school, Red Hill in Maidstone, was run by Otto Shaw, a man with a reputation as a brilliant therapist with bright but maladjusted boys. Mark Thewliss was a pupil there, and has described in a 1994 documentary, The Secret Life of a paedophile, how he and other boys were groomed and seduced by Righton from 1957. This was confirmed by Righton’s diaries. Two other teachers separately reported concerns to the head about Righton, which he denied.
In 1963 Shaw and Righton came to a gentleman’s agreement that Righton should leave the school with a clean record. This would inevitably expose more children to his abuse. For a man of Shaw’s insight and awareness, it was unforgivable. Righton’s diaries show that he abused 28 boys at Red Hill, and that he continued in the same way afterwards. Shaw could and should have investigated properly. There is no shame in organisations having abusers, only in failing to deal appropriately with them. This includes not allowing them to continue their abusing career elsewhere. That was already recognised in the 1960s. It is not true that ‘these things were seen differently then’. However, not all institutions or people in authority were prepared to face the problem of challenging and investigating an offender. It is still not easy. Mandatory reporting would make this easier.
Like Smith and Savile, once he surmounted initial setbacks, Righton thrived as a predatory paedophile within the establishment.
Like Righton and Savile, Smith organised access to institutions with children whom he could abuse with relative impunity, first at Cambridge House and Moorland Home, and later at Knowl View School. He maintained a power base on the local council, managing to stay quietly in charge of the establishment committee so he had the gift of many good jobs in the area, eg all the head teachers, making people beholden to him. He kept his reputation by bribery, bullying, manipulation and do-gooding, and moved into national politics as the local MP from 1972 to 1992. I explore below how each time police put together a case, it was blocked at a high level. Smith escaped prosecution through corrupt pressure from friends on the council and senior police officers, and later from the British political establishment, who used the security services to steal files and cover up any charges by claiming ‘national security’. This is part of what we hope IICSA will investigate.
Despite hostile reporting in the alternative press, an increasing tide of critical reports from local professionals, renewed police investigations, and referrals to the DPP, the director of public prosecutions, Smith was knighted in 1988, recommended by David Steel. Questions about this recommendation were covered up for some time, but the fact was forced out under an FOI request in January 2014, the ICO ruling that there was a ‘legitimate public interest’ in it being disclosed. More questions should be asked of the Political Honours Scrutiny Committee about its lack of scrutiny over this award. The same applies to Savile, knighted in 1990, recommended by Margaret Thatcher. Righton, narrowly, never came up for a knighthood because he was fighting for his reputation by then, as the Azimuth trial, referred to in the documentary The secret life of a paedophile, was going on in which he and several other prestigious men such as Morris Fraser and Charles Napier narrowly escaped exposure.
In 1992 Righton had a minor conviction for pornography, which was enough to disgrace him and take him out of public life but was nothing to what he should have been prosecuted for before he died in 2007. Plenty has come out about him since then but there has been little public outcry compared with that against Savile and Smith, despite Righton having been the leading social work and child care trainer in the country, dominating government policy and corrupting and disabling the whole profession.
Smith managed to keep the lid on scandal until he died in 2010, with 144 complaints against him and 21 other men but without ever having been brought to court.
Savile, of course, also got away without being prosecuted. When he died in 2011, the flood of allegations began to wake the country up to what had been going on. But that was ‘just the women’, as Newsnight editor Peter Rippon reportedly wrote when claiming ‘a lack of evidence’ for Savile’s abuse.
On 13 November 2012, Simon Danczuk, who had become Rochdale MP, publicly exposed Cyril Smith by naming his abuse in the House, and was met with silence. This was followed by his 2014 book with journalist Matt Baker, Smile for the Camera: The Double Life of Cyril Smith, which made newspaper headlines. Now the abuse was difficult to deny because it was well substantiated from every direction.
So how did these paedophiles get away with it? In particular, who covered up for Smith? Who were the ‘21 other men’?
In 2014 the BBC said that GMP, the Greater Manchester Police, were looking at claims of abuse from 24 – or was it 40? – former pupils at the school as well as allegations of a cover-up of abuse committed by the former MP Sir Cyril Smith. What had happened to the 144 complaints identified four years earlier? GMP said they had interviewed 21 men aged between 35 and 80 under caution for a variety of offences relating to sexual and physical abuse from 1969 to 1995, but there were still a number of other suspects to be traced and interviewed. (So IICSA can require these 21 names, at least, of GMP.) Operation Clifton was set up to investigate criminal allegations of a cover-up. But on 29 September 2016, having got rid of Keir Starmer and Nazir Afzal, there was an announcement out of nowhere from the CPS that there would be no more action over Cyril Smith and the inquiry into Knowl View was closed. And on 8 Feb 2017 GMP announced that their investigation had shown that there was no cover-up. And, as one keeps feeling during this whole story, pigs might fly – I keep looking for more formal ways of putting it, but it all beggars belief. Does the government, local, central and top police, believe they can still con the public like this?
So how did Smith and his cohorts get away with 50 years of abuse?
First episode of child abuse: the Cyril Smith network, 1960ish-2010
It is unlikely that Cyril Smith only began abusing children in his thirties, but earlier abuse is not substantiated, and it is unclear who else was involved.
In 1962, when he was chair of the social services committee, Smith and his fellow Rotarians and Freemasons (from Liberty Lodge 5573) opened Cambridge House as an independent philanthropic project. Initially it was a hostel for working boys, mostly self-confident electrical engineering apprentices from Glasgow to whom Smith gave a wide berth, as they would have fought back. If you weren’t being abused it was a decent enough subsidised hostel for young men, with plenty of food at a time when food took a large proportion of one’s wages; but it was not sheltered and caring enough for younger children. Nevertheless Smith gradually arranged for social services to pay for places for boys in care. Increasingly the home took younger boys, orphaned or otherwise in need, who tended to be more vulnerable and easily dominated. Smith had the keys and the run of the hostel in the same way that Savile did at Broadmoor and in many hospitals.
Smith also groomed poor families with problems, helping to resolve crises, finding jobs for their boys, supporting them to discipline tearaways. Some families used him as a bogey-man to threaten naughty boys. Mothers would warn, ‘I’ll send for Cyril Smith’, and if they actually did so he would arrive with drama that impressed a streetful of little boys. He would enter the house, be directed to the bedroom, and spank the child with a lot of noise.
He advised families to put their older boys into care if they were unruly or if the family could not afford to feed and clothe them. Smith could appear kind, and he would bring them into Cambridge House, assuring them truthfully they would have as much as they wanted to eat. Once they were there, he assumed an authority he did not rightfully have. He would use the force of his personality to discipline them, telling them to strip and spanking them naked on the slightest pretext, giving them ‘medical examinations’ as an excuse for voyeurism and fondling their genitals, and gradually grooming them and finding excuses to abuse them, physically and sexually. It was easier for him to do this with older boys if they were away from their families. When he tried to spank one boy who was still at home, the boy refused to submit. They ended up in a brawl, and the boy reported it to the police as a sexual assault.
As well as using his aggression as sadism – the sexual perversion of gaining gratification from inflicting pain and humiliation – Smith was a childish bully who simply could not bear to be defied, and resorted to violence to get his own way.
This physical abuse was not trivial: in 1964 an attack on 11 year old Ronald Alan Neal, later a councillor in nearby Rossendale, for refusing to eat meat, caused the loss of two front teeth and a head wound needing stitching. The adults running the hostel were aware that 29 stone Smith had committed this violent assault on a slight pre-teens boy, resulting in his needing hospital treatment. ‘The person who took me to the hospital said “You’d better not say anything about what’s happened – we’ll tell them that you’ve tripped and had a fall.”
Barry Fitton and Eddie Shorrock have also spoken out in their own names about Smith’s violence – in their case his spankings, voyeurism and genital fondling. Smith would routinely round off his evenings of council meetings with spanking, fondling and grooming, leading on to fellatio and buggery. Kevin Griffiths, who was one of the first to stand up to Smith and report him to the police (see below), was advised by a member of staff, ‘Don’t worry Kevin, the best thing to do, don’t come back into the home between nine and ten o’clock at night, because Mr Smith finishes his council meetings then.’
At this time Smith also held some position of authority at Rochdale’s Moorland Home, a children’s holiday home in which Smith had, or assumed, some powers of inspection which again gave him access to naked children. He liked to bathe them and visit the dormitories after lights out, sliding his hands under the covers. I cannot find any further links to Moorland.
At the same time, in July 1963, Peter Righton was being investigated by police for sexual abuse. Righton wrote several suicide notes in which he admitted the harm he had caused one boy in particular. The case was dropped, quite unnecessarily, for ‘lack of evidence’ but Righton kept the notes, and they were found in 1992 with other incriminating papers.
In this period Savile was a DJ for Radio Luxembourg and was quietly building up his abuse, but we have little more than rumours until he began to present Top of the Pops in 1964, and then to volunteer at Leeds General and Stoke Mandeville in 1965.
Up to this point, no-one except Smith is known to be committing abuse in Rochdale. One of his close friends who was later implicated was a councillor and Freemason called Harry Wild, who chaired the education committee. Harry Halstead, Bill Harding, Alan Lovick and Ron Watson were among the committee members at Cambridge House (and some of them were also magistrates and councillors). Although they had a duty of care, and met at Cambridge House as the management committee every month, they have denied any knowledge of Smith’s abuse. Such men seem to think that it is enough to say ‘I didn’t know’ and ‘I can’t remember’ and that no-one can argue with them. But this is implausible: logically they were either complicit or negligent and incompetent. The abuse was common knowledge among staff and in the wider community, and committee members should have been doing inspections, and been approachable for staff and boys to confide in. It was possible – I experienced both good and bad practice in those days. They all failed in their duty to safeguard the boys, and were negligent.
Furthermore, it would have been possible for the committee to report Smith had they wanted to do so. They had authority and they would have known how everything worked on the council and in the local police – who was corrupt and who was friends with whom. Smith did not yet have invincible support from somewhere on high.
It would have been impossible for junior staff to report Smith in those days: they would have had no more credibility than the boys. And they had more to lose: their jobs, and any prospect of working again, as they might have been barred, and had no references. In the early 1960s, when I was training in a psychiatric hospital, someone my age in a neighbouring hospital, Garlands in Carlisle, was victimised like this. She was dismissed on the excuse of unpunctuality for publishing a book, Sans everything, about the abuse in psychiatric hospitals, and not allowed to complete her training. There was outrage and disbelief from senior general nursing professionals, ‘Hysterical nonsense – no nurse would ever behave like that’, and silence from the psychiatric profession. As junior staff, we knew it was true and whole heartedly supported this young girl, but we had no channels to speak out and no-one wanted to listen to us.
At best, staff at Cambridge House might have been believed but nothing would have been done. That happened to me in 1964: learning from the nurse in Garlands, I waited until I was leaving the county psychiatric hospital, and then made a formal complaint, which was politely received and then ignored. In 1967 Barbara Robb followed up the first book, without acknowledgement, with Sans everything: a case to answer, which was good as far as it went but missed much of what went on. Robb, a member of the landed gentry who ‘knew’ everyone, ran a strong campaign, which was denigrated by the minister of health but eventually led to Geoffrey Howe’s damning report on Ely Hospital. I kept pondering how working class people without such ‘connections’ could have any effect.
If the Cambridge House committee had reported Cyril Smith, junior staff would probably have been glad to back them up, as they didn’t like what Smith was doing to the boys.
Meanwhile Righton, with a falsely clean reference from Otto Shaw, got a job as tutor/organiser for the WEA in Wiltshire 1963-5. After this he had garnered eight years of apparently clean references. On the strength of this, his earlier training, work and references as a probation officer in Essex, and his innate chutzpah, he became a tutor in charge of a two-year course for child care officers at Keele University from 1965-68. With his plausible fluency he established himself as an expert in the care of vulnerable and troubled children in institutions, and from 1968 to 1971 he was a senior lecturer at the National Institute for Social Work, a government-funded educational and research centre. Somewhere in the 1960s he fitted in work at the North London Polytechnic, now London Metropolitan University.
In 1965 a Rochdale social worker did report Smith’s abuse to the new Chief Children’s Officer Lyndon Price. Price, an intelligent, idealistic young professional, recognised the sadistic implications of naked spanking. He in turn reported it as sexual abuse to the chief constable, Patrick Ross, expecting him to prosecute Smith. The first police investigation of Smith took place at this point, and enough evidence was collected to prosecute. Sworn statements were taken from boys, but Ross refused to prosecute, telling Price ‘it had been decided’ that no action would be taken. Price suspected that Ross had been leaned on. By whom? Afterwards Ross moved to West Sussex constabulary as assistant chief constable, in anticipation of the amalgamation of all the town police forces into the Lancashire county constabulary under a new chief constable William Palfrey.
Price did not take it further, as he believed, probably correctly, that he would have lost his job, but Smith lost his position as chair of social services, the children’s committee refused to contribute a requested extra grant that year, and that year, 1965, Cambridge House was closed. At the time, Price and other decent people on the council must have thought they had solved the problem. But they had not dug out the roots, and worse followed.
Despite the allegations of sadistic behaviour towards the boys at Cambridge House, Smith became mayor in 1966, and was awarded an MBE (having pestered his MP Jack McCann relentlessly for it). He was succeeded as mayor in 1967 by another close friend Henry Howarth (see below).
From 1966 Jimmy Savile’s offending became prolific. In his autobiography, Smith says they met in the early 1970s. This was also when Savile began abusing girls at Duncroft girls’ school near Staines, Surrey. Smith and Savile were friends for 40 years. It seems that some police officers, especially in Yorkshire, colluded with Savile, and administrators of various institutions, and the establishment, allowed him to groom them with his fundraising in the same way that he groomed children. Many nurses and porters were aware of what he was, and helped the children trapped in bed by advising them to pretend to be asleep if Savile approached them. But, like the care staff at Cambridge House and Knowl View, no-one with power wanted to listen to them. Many of the public were simply baffled by the indulgent attitude of royalty and top government.
In 1969, notwithstanding continuing allegations, Smith played musical chairs, taking over chair of the education committee from Harry Wild, who became chair of social services, from which Smith had been removed. Together they established a small LEA special boarding school for learning disabled and emotionally disturbed boys, Knowl View. They delegated the power to appoint staff to the governing body on which they would later serve.
Where were the other councillors in all this? Why did they allow it, when they had a fair idea of how Smith, and Wild, were behaving? Why could the decent ones not manage to stop it? How many others of them were part of Smith’s paedophile network, and swung the voting, or succumbed to his forceful personality or simply accepted bribes? Predictably, Smith dominated Knowl View as he had Cambridge House, and used it as his personal brothel, shared with his friends, including the 21 men the GMP interviewed – who were they? Who was visiting Knowl View, which was functioning in the same way as Bryn Estyn in Wrexham? Councillor Harry Wild, chair of governors and of social services, was one, named along with Smith as at least voyeurs by Martin Digan, soon after Digan started working at Knowl View; and also at various times by the police. Teacher David Higgins was another, as we shall see.
Complaints soon began at Knowl View, as they had at Cambridge House. Smith was arrogant and convinced everyone he was untouchable. Local joke at the time: ‘God is walking around Rochdale and thinks He’s Cyril Smith.’
Other complaints to the police increased: a former Cambridge House boy imprisoned in Risley Prison, Warrington, for soliciting minors said that he had ‘only done what Cyril Smith does’. This attracted serious attention. In 1969 police in Rochdale began a second investigation, following the first which had been started by Lyndon Price and stopped by CC Patrick Ross. This investigation started with some boys from Howarth Cross school who were being sexually abused at a nearby house during their lunch hour. One of them named Smith as his abuser. Eight more young men, mostly from Cambridge House, made formal complaints about him and other senior local politicians – the elected councillors – and council officials – the paid council staff – to the police. Police records, and officers on the case would be able to tell us the names of these paedophile members of the council. It looked this time as though the case might be brought to court, and Smith was seriously worried. He attempted to bully DI Derek Wheater into dropping the investigation, but he failed.
The behaviour of his friends towards the police was similarly outrageous – Henry Howarth, ex-mayor, councillor and a magistrate, named above as one of Smith’s close friends, actually threatened DI Jeffrey Leach: ‘I sincerely hope that this matter is not prosecuted before the court. In my opinion, as a justice of the peace, it is not court worthy. The prosecution can do no good at all and the backlash will have unfortunate repercussions for the police force and the town of Rochdale. It is no secret that Cyril and I are buddies, and not only politically.’
This comment was copied into the formal complaint to the DPP, the Allegations of sexual assault, on 11 March 1970. Henry Howarth was perhaps one of the paedophiles and certainly should have been charged with perverting the course of justice, but the DPP ignored it.
Under questioning from DI Leach, Smith tried to claim he was in loco parentis where the boys abused at Cambridge House were concerned. They were on his property, and in all matters medical and relating to general discipline, he claimed the boys had assigned to him the legal responsibility for their care. In other words, he could do whatever he wanted. The police proved to be less susceptible to the force of his personality, which usually got Smith whatever he wanted. DI Leach reported, in the first instance to the new chief constable of Lancashire William Palfrey, ‘it is without merit. It will not withstand even superficial examination.’ Smith ‘had difficulty articulating, and even the stock answers he offered could only be obtained after repeated promptings by his solicitor. Were he ever in the witness box, he would be at the mercy of any competent counsel.’
Still in 1969, the previous chief constable of Rochdale Patrick Ross, now in Sussex, ‘could not remember’ the 1965 complaints. Another pathetically implausible statement. The current chief constable William Palfrey also told his staff to stop investigating. A second cover-up by a chief constable. Why? Collusion or spinelessness? Where was this pressure coming from? It later appeared it was the DPP, Norman Skelhorn. These men all had authority, and could have stopped Smith’s predatory career. Instead, they covered it up. They should be held to account by IICSA, including publicising those who are dead.
Like his boss attorney general Michael Havers, DPP Norman Skelhorn seems to have had arrogantly poor judgment, unmodified by any sense of a need for accountability to the public or the rule of law. He told the Harvard Law Society that for a law officer, when dealing with Irish terrorists, any methods were justified. He was duped by the apartheid security forces of South Africa into prosecuting anti-apartheid campaigner Peter Hain, when they framed him for holding up a branch of Barclays bank. He gave immunity from prosecution to Britain’s first super-grass, Bertie Small, inappropriately and damagingly.
Corruption and cowardice were not the norm among the police despite being rife among their senior officers and on the council. Because they were being blocked, they quietly passed the case to Lancashire CID, under the highly respected assistant chief constable Joe Mounsey who was trustworthy and incorruptible. The job went initially to detective constable Jack Tasker. Tasker began a third investigation of the complaints, but very discreetly because of the way witnesses were ‘got at’ and top brass were blocking them. When he was ready, he interviewed Smith formally with his solicitor. ‘We concluded that he had a case to answer and I think those boys would have stood up in court. My opinion of Cyril Smith was that he was a big bumptious bully and any decent barrister or solicitor would have made mincemeat of him.’ Tasker said recently that he believes many other men were involved in the abuse, and the Smith investigations were only scratching the surface.
Once he learned about the case, Smith did ‘get at’ witnesses, and used all the dirty tricks he could. He tried to persuade young men to withdraw their disclosures, attempting to win their sympathy by saying they would ruin his career. Another line was, ‘This will kill my mother.’ One of the complainants was Kevin Griffiths (see above). Smith gate-crashed his wedding, making it miserable for him. Smith spoke, uninvited, at the reception and insinuated himself into the photos. When asked in a police interview about Griffiths’ disclosure of abuse, Smith denied it, claiming he was a good friend and had ‘even been invited to his wedding’.
Back in 1969, the investigation was taken over by the more senior detective sergeant Jack Watson. Tasker feared it was being covered up because of Smith’s complaints, and perhaps Watson made it look like that to keep Smith quiet while he concluded the case. But Watson confirmed Tasker’s findings: ‘Smith appears guilty of numerous offences of indecent assault. He used his unique position to indulge in a sordid series of indecent episodes with young boys toward whom he had a special responsibility.’ So an 80 page dossier was compiled, a strong case was put together, and it was expected to be successful. It included the statement: “Councillor Harry Wild has been viewed with suspicion regarding his association with young men and boys at Rochdale.” In the decades that followed, that suspicion grew. Harry Wild was one of the 21 suspects.
An ex-councillor, Eileen Kershaw, was a friend and neighbour of Smith. He told her he had been accused of interfering with boys, but in Channel 4’s Dispatches, 12 September 2013, she says she did not ask him what that involved.
She told Simon Danczuk a different version, of how Smith would come round each night for hours complaining he was being set up with sexual allegations, and that she believed him when he said it was not true.
However, in a third version she did admit to misgivings: in an interview with the Daily Mail in April 2014, she described meeting a man who had been at Cambridge House. She asked him if anything strange had happened there, if Smith had ever done anything to the boys… ‘he was silent, just staring ahead, and then drove off’. But she confessed she set it aside and continued to support Smith.
As the stress of the enquiry told on Smith, Eileen and her husband Jack Kershaw, a local headmaster who owed his job to Smith’s influence, asked Jack McCann, the local MP and deputy chief whip, to use his power and influence to help. These three conspired corruptly to cover up the boys’ complaints of Smith’s abuse. When asked on TV what she thought of McCann’s intervention, Kershaw’s only response was, ‘Well, it worked.’
Worked for whom? Not for the boys involved, who had spoken out bravely, only to be told they were worthless liars and nothing would be done. Few of them did as well as Alan Neal and Kevin Griffiths. Their future was much more likely to be unhappy, with a high level of suicide and prison and more than the expected proportion of severe physical illness. In 2012, Cyril’s brother Norman said the resurfacing of the allegations has been “very painful”. It was a lot more painful for the boys Cyril Smith abused.
MP Jack McCann pressured the DPP, Norman Skelhorn, to consider the case quickly and either take it forward at once or close it. Despite being advised by a prominent external barrister that there were grounds for prosecution, the DPP took only days to decide the boys were unreliable witnesses, and he closed the case in March 1970. Chief constable William Palfrey failed to appeal against the DPP’s decision, as he should have done. Jack McCann felt uneasy about his intervention, and discussed it again with the chief constable.
In July 1978 Albert Laugharne took over as chief constable of Lancashire. He and Joe Mounsey, assistant chief constable and head of Lancashire CID, both incorruptible, worked well together. Neither William Palfrey nor the DPP ‘could remember’ anything of the Cyril Smith scandal in 1979 when asked by a local paper. But given what Albert Laugharne revealed in 2015 of the pressure the CPS were bringing to bear on chief constables to cover up child sexual abuse by politicians, (see below), perhaps McCann’s corrupt interference made little difference: evidently the DPP would have done this anyway.
As Simon Danczuk has written, the DPP ‘may as well have said that as long as a high-profile politician decides to abuse boys of lowly social status, then there is zero chance of him being prosecuted. It more or less outlined a code of conduct for abusers. Stick to vulnerable people from broken homes and the law will give you a wide berth. The injustice contained in these words is as strong now as it was then. It was a loophole so huge that even someone as gargantuan as Cyril could skip through.’
The decision of the DPP effectively gave Smith immunity. Cabinet minutes from 1983 reveal that the DPP’s supervisor, the attorney-general Michael Havers, brother of Elizabeth Butler-Sloss who was asked to be the first chair of IICSA, was similarly corruptly protecting prominent public figures. Havers also tried to stop MP Geoffrey Dickens naming top diplomat Peter Hayman and various MPs in Parliament.
Eileen Kershaw was not intimidated by Smith: she was quick enough to tell him off when she wanted to, as when he ran a nasty personal election campaign against McCann – she told him he should remember what he owed McCann. She could have chosen to find out more and challenge Smith about abuse.
Kershaw also reported to the Daily Mail in April 2014 an episode which she did recognise to be corrupt: she saw with her own eyes “some of the electoral tricks he got up to. In local elections, for example, he would collect up the bundles of postal votes and go through them to see if they were votes for him or not.” She “watched in horror once as he threw postal vote after postal vote onto the fire. ‘What are you doing?’ she asked. ‘These buggers are against me,’ Smith responded, carrying on as though what he was doing was perfectly reasonable.” (How did Smith get his hands on postal votes?) Kershaw acknowledged the seriousness of that behaviour, but instead of reporting it, she just let it go.
In 1970 Michael Seed became a 12-year old resident of Knowl View, where he stayed for five years. He later became a senior Roman Catholic cleric and confidant to Tony Blair. In his autobiography Nobody’s Child, published in 2008, he made several very explicit references to the sexual abuse of boys at Knowl View, and the fact that some of them were ensnared in a rent boy racket. Only one conviction ever happened, of former teacher David Higgins (see below).
In 1970 Peter Righton, in his role as a senior lecturer at the National Institute of Social Work, helped to write an influential government report on the reform of residential child care. Researching this gave him an excuse to tour children’s homes all over the country and put out feelers for other paedophiles, probably in anticipation of the setting up of PIE, the paedophile information exchange. At Bryn Estyn it was easy, as he knew house master Peter Howarth from Red Hill… it is difficult to focus narrowly on individual case histories of paedophiles, in this case Smith, with Savile and Righton as two of his most influential associates, because the networks extend endlessly in every direction, and one has to make arbitrary decisions.
In 1971 Righton moved to the National Children’s Bureau to run the first Children’s Centre. He began to write more papers and lecture widely. His career and reputation were now well established.
In 1971 allegations of sexual abuse were made against a teacher at Knowl View, David Higgins. He was accused by two very small boys of rape. The Head, John Turner, a good friend of Smith, gave the boys a beating and told them not to say such things about teachers. Was he ever held to account? He transferred to Underley Hall in 1976 to open the new school in Cumbria. Was he one of the ‘21 men’? He retired in 1985 and died in 1996 aged 64.
It was thought expedient for Higgins to move to a primary school in Leeds, just 33 miles over the Pennines on the new M62. It is hard to believe from his pathetic recent court appearances as an old man in 2012-4, but as the judge said, at this time 40 years earlier David Higgins was a charismatic, predatory perpetrator. Like Harry Wild, Higgins was one of the ‘21 other men’.
In 1972 Smith became the MP for Rochdale. Without the intervention of the DPP Norman Skelhorn, empowered by the long term AG Michael Havers, to protect Smith, this could not have happened. The prosecution would have gone ahead, he would almost certainly have gone to jail, and he would have had a criminal record. His power in the community would have been curbed, and decades of abuse might have been prevented. Instead, for the next twenty years Smith operated with impunity under establishment protection, despite constantly skating on thin ice. Like Righton, his career was now established for the next twenty years.
As an MP, Smith gained further power nationally and in the local community. He pulled strings to solve problems for constituents, which gave him a reputation as a ‘good constituency MP’ and solidified his local vote, and he was charismatic, winning some people to worship him though others found him unpleasant. He could raise large sums of money reliably for any good cause, always a vote-winner. At Knowl View the boys were harshly treated unless they were favourites, beaten into submission, and groomed to be rent boys, in forced prostitution to paedophiles within and outside the school. This paedo pimping – the ability to provide on demand little boys more-or-less trained to be sexually compliant – was the source of a lot of Smith’s power. Complaints continued but were simply dismissed. Smith could make allegations ‘go away’, through a mixture of collusion with other paedophiles and sympathisers, bullying, influence and inducements, manipulation and grooming – as well as protection from the highest in the land, not just the DPP and top lawyers, but the government and MI5.
However, this final protection came not out of kindness towards Smith, but to get control of him. Just think how unmanageable parliament would be if MPs all followed their consciences. The government might even find they were forced to listen to the people, instead of running the country as if it were part of the old empire, a resource for them and their cronies to exploit.
When Ted Heath was chief whip, from 1955-59, he had set up the little black ‘dirt’ book system. A later chief whip, Tim Fortescue, was still maintaining this when Heath was PM, 1970-74. That was part of the government cover-up of paedophilia. It was taken as a fact of life, not exactly acceptable, but allowed for and contained within the system. It must have been similar for boys complaining about having been abused at boarding school, only to feel betrayed by finding that their fathers took it for granted.
Fortescue explained later, in a 1995 BBC documentary, Westminster’s Secret Service, that whips liked to have something ‘on’ an MP that they could make ‘go away’ with the help of MI5 and the Special Branch, like a problem with small boys, because it meant they could control him to vote the ‘right’ way. MI5 and the Special Branch come under the Home Office, which formed the other part of the cover-up of paedophilia. After the public outrage at that disclosure, the whips were told to continue to make notes and report to the chief whip, but then to shred their notes and not keep anything.
‘Kiddie-fiddling’, as I can remember, was seen as an embarrassing peccadillo in poor taste rather a crime, as long as you had the sense to confine your antics, as Danczuk said, to the kids who didn’t matter, the powerless lower classes, preferably those in care, and there was no publicity. No-one considered the children – they were only gutter-snipes anyway, the dregs of society who could be sacrificed without anyone being held to account. Who keeps real statistics, even now, on kids in care who go missing?
Smith’s abusive behaviour was known and condoned, patronisingly, at the highest levels of government and its institutions. It never occurred to Smith that this had any effect on his reputation – indeed, he blamed his failure to become party leader entirely on his lack of a university degree. But Smith continually sailed very near the wind. He had poor judgment, and however corrupt the government was, no-one was going to risk a repetition of any aspect of the Thorpe scandal, so he was not going to become leader.
In 1974, when a national coalition between Conservatives and Liberals was being discussed, the copy of Smith’s file that had been placed for security in the safe of the Lancashire Special Branch disappeared. This included the 80 page dossier of incriminating documents with signed affidavits from boys who had been abused by Smith. The police claimed that it was ‘lost’. In November 2012, Tony Robinson, a former Special Branch officer with Lancashire Police in the 1970s, said that it was actually seized by MI5. In the 1980s, copies of this file were spread to police forces throughout the country (see below), because ordinary decent coppers were incensed at the way their work was being corruptly misused. IICSA should be able to get hold of a copy.
In 1974 PIE, the Paedophile Information Exchange, was set up. Cyril Smith, Jimmy Savile and Peter Righton were all three charming, vicious, predatory paedophiles, abusing vast numbers of vulnerable children, and they were among the founding members. Paedophiles felt that secrecy had made their connections unduly slow in developing, which led them to get together with others they knew and create PIE. This brought paedophiles all over the country and in all walks of life into contact. Many of them were prestigious men, and this empowered them exponentially, enabling them to give references, appoint, and promote each other in every sector. The Rochdale network formed a strong local nexus of the national organisation.
The national membership office operated from within the Home Office, thanks to an employee, Steven Adrian Smith, chair of PIE. Journalist Guy Adams, in 2014, pulled together 1980s news reports and a 1986 essay Steven Smith wrote about himself for one of PIE’s pseudo-academic books, The Betrayal Of Youth, edited by Warren Middleton. Steven Smith, arrogant and flamboyant, was able not just to gain employment at the Home Office, but also to spend most of his (publicly-funded) working day running PIE affairs from his desk there. He kept membership files (and child pornography) in his office cabinet, wrote PIE newsletters on his desk, and printed them on a department photocopier. He even manned PIE’s telephone hotline from his office at the Home Office’s HQ in Queen Anne’s Gate.
‘I was employed by a firm of electrical contractors, Complete Maintenance Limited, to monitor a control panel of alarm systems,’ he explained. ‘The job entailed practically no work on my part, beyond attending the panel, and, in fact, I had a furnished office completely to myself seven days a week on a rotating shift basis. Much of PIE’s less sensitive file material was stored in locked cabinets there, where no police raid would ever have found them.’
PIE’s Secretary, Barry Cutler, also worked for the Home Office, as a member of the security staff. They were both quite openly known to be members of PIE.
But Smith and Cutler only lost their jobs when the News of the World headlines became too raucous in 1982, after an anti-PIE campaigner, Charles Oxley, infiltrated the group and revealed that the leader and another member of PIE were employed in the Home Office. Oxley, a teacher and headmaster, joined PIE under a pseudonym in 1976 in order to get involved and learn as much possible. He kept this up for six years, until in 1982 he realised there was suspicion in PIE about a mole. He witnessed against PIE men in court and provided masses of information to the police, which was not used as well as it should have been.
Even after the media publicity, there was reluctance to take action against Smith and Cutler. They were given time to get carloads of PIE files out of the Home Office building before anyone investigated. And they were given time to get out of the country before they were arrested. Steven Adrian Smith was scheduled to stand trial with David Joy and Peter Bremner in November 1984 but he stayed in Holland, where he successfully claimed political asylum by saying he was part of a persecuted minority group. However, he was prosecuted and imprisoned for a few months when he came back in 1991, expecting it all to have been forgotten.
In his own 1986 account of events, Steven Smith wrote of his surprise at the fact that the story was not published by most of the newspapers, attributing this suppression to the then Home Secretary, Willie Whitelaw.
In 2011 Steven Smith, who had changed his name to Steven Freeman, appeared at the Old Bailey alongside his old literary collaborator Warren Middleton, editor of The Betrayal Of Youth, who had changed his name to John Parratt. They were found guilty of orchestrating a massive child pornography ring whose members shared thousands of images of abuse along with computer games in which players had to rape as many young boys as possible. 3,000 of the images were Smith’s own drawings of children being raped. Barry Cutler and other men who had been members of PIE were also convicted. Steven Smith was given an indeterminate sentence for public protection, and remains in prison. Middleton, meanwhile, was released to live in a block of council flats in Putney, South-West London, within half a mile of four primary schools, three nursery schools and two playgrounds.
In the 1970s, the Home Office gave PIE support in other ways. PIE always claimed, and the government always denied, that they had grants of £Ks from the Home Office and the then Department of Education and Science, as well as help from the Albany Trust with translating and printing documents.
Tim Hulbert, a civil servant in the Home Office at the time, saw a report on the re-funding of PIE with £35,000 for three years in 1980, which indicated previous funding in 1977 of the same amount. Having small children, he was quick to realise what this meant. He challenged his boss, Clifford Hindley (a covert member of PIE), who was head of the voluntary services unit, which was responsible for government grants. Hindley told Hulbert the PIE grant was in order, and that the request came from the Metropolitan Police Special Branch, which was under the jurisdiction of the Home Office. ‘Hindley gave me three reasons,’ Hulbert says. ‘One, PIE was recognised as a legitimate campaigning organisation. Two, this was a renewal of an existing grant. Three, that PIE was being funded at the request of Special Branch, who found it politically useful to keep an eye on paedophiles.’
Tim Hulbert went on to have a successful career in public life, rising to head of social services at Bedfordshire County Council, before retiring in the 1990s. In 2013, however, amid growing concern about rumours of a network of paedophiles in high places, he passed on these details to MP Tom Watson. The Home Office announced a formal inquiry into Hulbert’s claims, but withheld the identity of the man carrying out the inquiry. He approached Hulbert for evidence, but according to friends, ‘did so in such a way as to make Tim feel threatened’.
Hulbert was told, for example, that he should consider having a lawyer with him when talking to the inquiry, which according to friends ‘left him thinking he might face disciplinary action if he said the wrong thing’. Hulbert also sought assurances that he would not be prosecuted for accidentally breaking the Official Secrets Act while testifying. But no such assurance was forthcoming, so he decided to give his initial evidence in writing. After carefully filing his submission, he then expected the inquiry leader to contact him confirming receipt and asking follow-up questions. No such contact was made. And despite a string of calls and messages from Hulbert, all of which went unanswered, the two men never actually spoke.
Nothing happened for several months. Then the Home Office suddenly published the investigation. Its report described Tim Hulbert’s evidence as ‘hazy’ and ‘vague’ and claimed there was no documentary evidence of payments to PIE (since this was doubtless amongst the 114 ‘missing’ files). All this was unconvincing, given that the author of the report had never bothered to cross-examine Hulbert. ‘Tim is very angry,’ says a friend. ‘He has run investigations and internal inquiries, and if someone had handed him that report, he would have thought it was a bad joke. ‘As to being called vague, Tim says he’s as clear about his recollection of that meeting in 1979 as if it happened yesterday.’
Given his previous experience, Tim Hulbert can be forgiven for wondering if the Establishment really wants to get to the bottom of this affair. ‘From a political point of view, my evidence is incredibly embarrassing and dangerous, and I believe the Home Office is now interested only in burying this once and for all,’ he says. He discussed all this on Radio 4’s Today programme on 12 November 2014. The recording ‘is no longer available’ on their website. At some point he also informed Scotland Yard.
In the Home Office, there was evidence of further institutional failures in November 1983, when a whistleblower revealed that an employee at Queen Anne’s Gate had been caught two years earlier receiving parcels containing child pornography. One package, containing 12 obscene letters and 57 photos and projector slides, was addressed to the civil servant and discovered in his pigeon hole. But rather than call in the police, they held an internal investigation. No action was taken, the perpetrator was allowed to keep his job, and the affair was kept secret because civil servants believed that ‘the confidentiality of the recipient [of the illegal child pornography!] must be upheld’. Why was he entitled to privacy when he was involved in criminal activity for which children had been deliberately harmed? Who was this man? Who made the decision to cover up his obscene behaviour? It can only have been Willie Whitelaw in 1981 when the package was discovered, and his successor as Home Secretary Leon Brittan in 1983 when the whistleblower was ignored and the cover-up continued. Whitelaw and Brittan are both now dead, but should be named by the Inquiry.
At the same time, 1983, Home Office bosses decided to commission an internal report on the age of consent. The staff chosen to carry out this exercise were criminologists Ron Walmsley and Karen White. Their booklet, Sexual Offences, Consent And Sentencing, argued that the age of consent should be lowered to 14 – and 12 in some cases – and penalties for incest reduced. One chapter said that many girls reach puberty before their tenth birthday and may not only want sex but initiate it themselves – the paedophiles’ wet dream, without any foundation in reality. PIE’s founder Tom O’Carroll praised Walmsley and White in his book Paedophilia, The Radical Case.
It was no wonder that PIE thought they had a green light from the whole establishment, not just from the paedophiles within it. There is evidence of support from the Home Office, the Department of Education and Science, and the Department of Health, as well as the Cabinet Office.
But PIE eventually over-reached themselves in terms of what the rest of the country would tolerate.
Paedophilia was presented persuasively to the public, in a professional manner, by personable men who were attractive to many. The professions, especially social work, were particularly targeted. The tenor of their arguments was, ‘… not that I’m that way inclined myself, but really all my research shows that it’s harmless, and even normal. And you’re being oppressive to a minority if you persecute them. You must at least allow freedom of speech to discuss it.’ They tried to get it accepted on the coat-tails of decriminalisation of homosexuality, and some good people were taken in briefly by their claims that children were entitled to consensual intergenerational sexual relationships – it was just another repressive boundary that had to be swept away in an era of sexual emancipation.
Anne Goldie, a much loved and valued social worker and later a leading whistleblower in Islington, admitted she was initially taken in by Peter Righton. Other respected and experienced social workers, such as Barbara Kahan of the National Children’s Bureau and Daphne Statham of the National Institute for Social Work, also acknowledge they were conned in different ways by Righton. Some social workers were accused of homophobia when they made allegations of child sexual abuse against other staff.
Nettie Pollard, one of the workers at NCCL, the National Council for Civil Liberties, now Liberty, and one of the handful of women in PIE, arranged for PIE to become affiliated. She was extreme in her opinion not only that children are sexual, but that babies are, even before birth, whatever she meant by that. Many well-meaning radical activists tolerated PIE in the name of freedom of speech, to an extent that they regretted later when they became clearer about what this meant.
NCCL, along with older social workers who should have known better, was exasperatingly juvenile in its acceptance of this rubbish in the name of freedom. Freedom for whom and for what? What about the freedom of the child to explore all aspects of itself and the world while being protected from extreme consequences? What about integrity, common sense, the genuine needs of a child? You encourage a child to run about and climb, but you keep them safe in traffic or on cliff edges. You encourage a child to socialise, but you do not allow other adults unsupervised access to them. Could NCCL not see through the devious lies, self-interest and manipulations – see how they were being groomed, just like the children? As mother of a new baby at the time, and with years of working with abused children, I was incandescent, as angry with their dangerous naïvety as with the paedophiles.
Writings in magazines such as the NAMbLA Bulletin, MagPIE and Childhood Rights, meant for semi-confidential circulation to members of PIE and NAMbLA, the North American Man-boy Love Association, reveal their true colours. Peter Melzer, an American who joined PIE in 1978 when he was in London, wrote in nauseating detail about techniques of seduction, and how to entice and manipulate children so they would be confused and mystified, and unable to recognise and resist what was happening – so much for their constantly professed non-coercion and waiting for children to take the initiative:
How to groom little boys
“I am attracted to boys up to the age of about 16…
My first suggestion is to restrict your sexual involvement and overtures to boys who need you, boys who value you and your friendship… Before risking any direct sexual overture, you can tell a lot about a boy with a few well-placed sexual jokes or comments… Leave a pornographic magazine some place where he’s sure to find it… Masturbation and pornography go hand in hand. An aroused and adventurous adolescent with a positive view of sexuality may try just about anything to get off… the best way for you to pursue boys is to emigrate from the US… to a country or culture where boy-love has greater acceptance… Weigh the pros and cons of becoming involved yourself in sex tourism overseas. Seek and find love from American boys on a platonic, purely emotional level. For sexual satisfaction, travel once or twice yearly overseas. You might get arrested overseas… but the legal consequences… will be less severe.”
Advice on performing anal and oral intercourse on minors follows. Melzer also writes about his experience as a counsellor at a summer camp:
“I… never had a shortage of cute kids eager to sit on my lap. I watched 40 boys, ages nine through 13, skinny dip during a lake-side camp out. Later, after I put them to bed, I made love on the sand to one of the finest nine year-old bodies God has ever made… I watched each day while my crew of boys dressed, undressed, and showered.” [from January-February 1993 NAMbLA Bulletin, pp. 28-30]
Peter Righton, founder member #51, was back at the National Institute for Social Work, now as director of education and, with the help of his friends in PIE, was becoming the leading social work trainer in the country. This was the sexual philosophy he taught to a generation of our social workers, leaving much of the profession in confusion until the present. He had rapidly moved from being a suicidal teacher under investigation for child sexual abuse in 1963 (see above) to what was now an impressive and extensive career as a lecturer, writer and government adviser on child care – thanks to the power of networking with other paedophiles. In turn he wrote lying references for other paedophiles like Charles Napier. Like Smith, there were several points at which Righton could and should have been stopped and prosecuted.
Righton was charismatic, manipulative and plausible, a typical gifted sociopath. Where Cyril Smith was a bullying blunderbuss, Righton was a subtle, invisible rapier. Together they seemed, for the time being, invincible. And there were many men of their calibre supporting each other in PIE, aiming at getting control of every area of life in the country – and to a horrific degree achieving this. Righton visited Smith in Rochdale, and he and Smith met in London. Even more than Savile and Smith, he was hiding in plain sight: he was quite open about what he believed, while smoothly and untruthfully denying actually acting on it.
Smith’s friend David Higgins, or Superhig as he liked the boys to call him, erstwhile teacher at Knowl View, was one of the many hundreds who joined PIE. So did other predatory paedophiles such as Morris Fraser (consultant child psychiatrist), Charles Napier (teacher), Keith Laverack (Guardian ad litem), Peter Morrison (MP for Chester and PPS to Thatcher), and Peter Hayman (top diplomat, High Commissioner to Canada, PIE member #330)… as well as many other élite men.
Other men with less power and influence were nevertheless important cogs in maintaining the paedophile network and enabling it to expand. Mike Johnson was skipper, paedophile, and a useful patsy who took the rap in the Azimuth trial, which failed to convict the real leader, Morris Fraser, or any of his élite friends, and nearly brought down Peter Righton. This has been the only prosecution of the many paedophiles owning ocean-going yachts, apart from the 2012 conviction in Paris of Léonid Kameneff, of École en bateau, after 40 years’ pursuit all over the world.
Another of these useful PIE members was Keith Harding, #329, who ran a world-renowned workshop in Islington specialising in restoring antique mechanisms, and who kept the PIE membership list in his safe. He had been a teacher until he was convicted for indecent assault against small children in 1958. Cyril Smith used to visit him privately, with Leon Brittan and the ostentatious PIE members Tom O’Carroll and Steven Adrian Smith. They would usually be let in a side entrance to the shop by staff, and go upstairs to meetings in Harding’s office. When PIE closed down, Harding moved to Gloucestershire and re-opened his business there. He was exposed as a member of PIE in 1980 when footage emerged of him appearing alongside Jimmy Savile on a Christmas special of Jim’ll Fix It.
In 1974, after several prior verbal warnings, Tony Blair was convicted for cottaging in the Bow Street magistrates court under his middle names of Charles Lynton, and fined £50. He did not have to appear in person, but as a point of honour, he was obliged to report this conviction to the bar, which he failed to do. This happened again in 1983. Like other leading politicians, such misbehaviour gave … someone … power over him. No-one wants to sound paranoid, but we are all increasingly aware that there is much more to all this than we have begun to unravel.
It was also at this time that child sexual abuse became rife in local football teams around Rochdale and, it is becoming clear, in many other places, almost certainly as part of the spread of PIE. It has taken forty years for this abuse, mainly by coaches, to erupt into public awareness. But the same sudden delayed eruption happened with Savile.
In the 1970s Savile abused 23 girls at Duncroft School in Staines, Surrey. His abuse at Stoke Mandeville, Broadmoor and many other hospitals and other places became prolific, continuing almost until his death.
In 1976 David Higgins was dismissed from his job in Leeds and prosecuted for indecently assaulting a small boy there. He was given a conditional discharge and was able to set up as a youth worker offering outdoor activities in Skipton, again a short drive from Rochdale, 40 miles on the M65/66.
In 1976 Smith set up a second school at Underley Hall in Kirby Lonsdale, Cumbria, which lasted until 2012. John Turner, headmaster of Knowl View, moved to lead Underley Hall. Staff moved between the schools, and sports fixtures and outdoor activities were arranged between them. The regime was as brutal and abusive as Knowl View. Smith was a regular visitor.
Special Branch to the rescue… or maybe not
The deal between Conservatives and Liberals in 1974 came to nothing.
In 1976 the security services investigated Smith again when the Lib-Lab pact was mooted. (I have avoided mentioning political parties as much as possible because as far as I can tell there has been little to differentiate Liberal/Tory/Labour in the matter of child sexual abuse.) As well as abusing boys in the children’s institutions, Smith was having longer-term paedophile affairs. Special Branch carried out cleaning-up operations to protect the government from fallout from these:
In 1976 some of Smith’s more personal underage affairs were disclosed when a sergeant of Thames Valley Police CID with his detective constable Paul Foulston visited a lad at Ashford Young Offenders Centre (now Feltham) to eliminate him from a murder inquiry. They were not aware of any connection to Cyril Smith. Foulston and his sergeant were accosted outside the centre by two Metropolitan Police Special Branch officers who told them they were forbidden to interview the youth as it would ‘not be in the national interest’ to do so. ‘My sergeant was livid and told them to piss off. We were on a murder inquiry that was nothing to do with them.’ A furious row ensued. ‘They were arrogant in the extreme and treated us like a couple of yokels.’ But Foulston’s colleague dug his heels in and the Special Branch officers eventually backed down.
Or did they? Perhaps Special Branch were fed up with being used to clean up Smith’s ordure, when he treated them with such childish arrogance – perhaps the whole thing had been a charade. As they left, they gave a word of warning. ‘They said we could eliminate the suspect from our inquiries, but under no circumstances were we to ask him about Cyril Smith’ – which sounds rather like Brer Rabbit begging ‘whatever you do, don’t throw me in the briar patch.’
They duly interviewed their suspect, ruled him out of their inquiries, but then asked: ‘What do you know about Cyril Smith?’ The teenage boy had been calm and helpful, but now he lost control. ‘It turned out he was Cyril Smith’s ex-boyfriend and was furious at how he had discarded him.’ He had been ditched for a younger boy who had in turn been cast off in favour of a boy even younger – ‘when they were young and tight, they excited him [Smith] – when they became older he lost interest in them.’
In November 1976 Savile was filmed molesting a teenaged girl, Sylvia Edwards, on live TV. The video has been preserved. She complained to the BBC manager, who told her to ‘Get lost – it’s just Jimmy’. Police dropped charges against Savile seven times, in Surrey, Jersey and London – even more than Smith. He also committed many offences in Yorkshire, but too many police were corrupt so he was never charged there.
In 1976 Peter Watts, a 15 year old from Colwyn Bay with no history of running away, was found murdered in Euston underpass. The case was never solved, and his father believed he had been abducted – just another of the kids who vanish, only, like Vishal Mehrotra, he happened to be missed immediately, followed up quickly and recorded.
In 1978 Peter Hayman, a high-ranking diplomat who had until recently been high commissioner to Canada and worked for MI6, came to the attention of the DPP Thomas Hetherington, attorney general Michael Havers and PM Margaret Thatcher, when he left a bundle of sensitive papers on a bus, which led to the police raiding his London flat and discovering a large hoard of incriminating letters, 45 obscene diaries and other pornography. This revealed much sordid detail of his sexual proclivities, and implicated many other establishment figures and their membership in PIE. Their homes were also raided.
Five other men were prosecuted for placing adverts in a PIE magazine ‘calculated to promote indecent acts between adults and children’ while others got lesser charges if they gave evidence against them. Some letters discussed extreme sexual torture and murder of children. There was frantic insistence within government and by the men that these were only fantasies. Who knows? Rumours about snuff movies abound, many possibly false and designed to put us off the track of real ones. The case against Hayman, who went under the pseudonym of Henderson in PIE and was at the centre of the correspondence, was quietly dropped.
In 1978 Cyril Smith molested an 11-year-old boy at the National Liberal Club in London; and a teenager in the House of Commons in 1979 and 1980:
Smith took a 16 year-old youth, with an unhappy family background, under his wing and groomed him. The boy was a young liberal and Smith encouraged his political activity, impressed him with his contacts and implied that he could help the boy further his political career. He also began to sexually molest the youngster, including on one occasion in his office in parliament, while senior politicians, including then leader of the labour party, Michael Foot passed by on the other side of the closed door. In the course of the abusive relationship, Smith bragged to the young man that he had evaded conviction over the Cambridge House assaults, which the man took to imply that it would be a waste of his time if ever he complained about Smith. (Guardian 30 November 2012). The abuse was not reported, or acted upon, at the time, although the man in question, now a Greater Manchester businessman with four children, has now given statements about it to the Greater Manchester police and Rochdale MP, Simon Danczuk.
Martin Digan, a social worker, began working at Knowl View School at this time. He complained that Smith and his friend Councillor Harry Wild, chair of the board of governors at Knowl View, would enter the school for no apparent reason but to look at the boys. Digan put in several complaints but was threatened with disciplinary action by the Head. Digan was warned not to complain about Smith again or else he would face dismissal. As John Turner had transferred to Underley Hall in 1976, this must have been a different equally corrupt headmaster.
In 1979 the Rochdale Alternative Press published The strange case of Smith the man, disclosures by 10 adult ex-residents of Cambridge House and one non-resident, with full details of how Smith abused them. RAP took affidavits and supported the men to go to the police. Some of the police who had been blocked in taking their cases forward over the years gave RAP information. This was also reported in Private Eye, the New Statesman and Northern Voices. Northern Voices revisited this in 2010. The mainstream press were too scared to report it, because Smith threatened an injunction against RAP, and to sue them for libel, though he never actually pursued this. Also Jeremy Thorpe took steps to ensure that all these disclosures were stifled, because he was about to stand trial over his own scandal and did not want another sex scandal in his party.
Everyone in Rochdale read the story. When asked, the DPP ‘could not remember’ whether the case had come to his office. The retired chief constable William Palfrey ‘could not remember’ anything about the case. David Steel asked Smith about it, and he blatantly confirmed it, claiming it was about old-fashioned discipline, despite RAP giving explicit sexual details. Steel did not take it further, commenting ‘It’s not a very friendly gesture, publishing that, all he seems to have done is spank a few bare bottoms.’ (David Steel’s Press Office, 22 April 1979). He said later it was only what happened in every boarding school in England. (And the obsession of men from public schools with being spanked and caned used to be known in brothels throughout Europe as the English disease.)
Albert Laugharne, chief constable of Lancashire Police from 1978, said in 2015 that in the 1970s he and his assistant chief constable Joe Mounsey were asked to lie about Smith’s abuse and to deny a file on him had been sent to the DPP. This request came from ‘a very senior official working in the London office of the Director of Public Prosecutions’. Laugharne and Mounsey refused to lie about Smith’s file. This may tell us who was leaning on Ross, Palfrey and other senior police all over the country, though there is obviously a lot more we need to learn.
Laugharne went on to become deputy commissioner to the Met under Kenneth Newman. Together they wrote The Principles Of Policing And Guidance For Professional Behaviour – the so-called ‘little blue book’ – which was to guide the force’s approach to policing and renew its integrity after a series of controversies over the 1981 Brixton riots and Scotland Yard corruption during the David McNee era and before. A particularly telling piece in it is that a police officer ‘is not answerable to any government official or to the Home Office or to Parliament. He is answerable to the law and holds his office independently of anyone else’. So why do the police have to swear to be bound by the Official Secrets Act?
Perhaps instead of asking that Parliament allow exemption from the Official Secrets Act for anyone helping IICSA, we should demand that the police be truly independent and not have to sign it in the first place – especially when, as we see in this account, it is misused by the establishment to cover up child abuse and corruption.
Another example of abuse of the Official Secrets Act occurred in July 1980, when Jeff Edwards published in the London Evening News a report that police had passed information to the DPP about 12 men sexually assaulting 40 boys from the age of six, and procuring them for a VIP paedophile network which included politicians, prominent lawyers and film stars. The DPP was pursuing 350 offences. Home Secretary William Whitelaw allegedly demanded that a senior Metropolitan Police boss quash the year-long investigation into this gang and ensure that nothing further was printed. Edwards was summoned to an interview and threatened with prosecution under the Official Secrets Act. His police source was disciplined and fined six months’ pay.
Jeff Edwards has reported this recently and hopes to be able to give his account to IICSA.
In about 1980, as a seven or eight year old, Chris Marshall was made to perform oral sex on Smith. He recalls this in a later Channel 4 Dispatches film, The Paedophile MP: How He Got Away With It, After this he asked staff for his own room, and slept with a chair under the door-knob so no-one could get in. ‘Our lives were a living hell. Teachers would take pupils to a public toilet in Manchester where the boys would have sex with men who had travelled from all over the North.’ (Like Higgins?) ‘Men would come to the school and we were made to have sex with them. I was forced to perform a sex act on the late MP Cyril Smith who we called the Fat Man. It had such an effect on us that some of the boys have either committed suicide or are in prison. I feel let down by the council because we were vulnerable children and they were supposed to be taking care of us but instead we were exposed to the most horrible acts of depravity.’
Smith was arrested for cottaging in Birmingham, and in the public toilets in St James Park, close to the junction of Marlborough Road and the Mall, in London. Ron Foynes, a member of the Royal Military Police Company based in central London says that Smith was detained on a number of occasions by the Royal Parks Police after he was caught ‘in acts of gross indecency with young lads’ at these toilets. Smith was grandiose and flaunted his immunity from prosecution. True enough, on each occasion they were told to discontinue their inquiries due to Smith’s status. He was crude and without shame, and they were out-spoken about their anger at his arrogance in enjoying seeing them impotent, and at the way they were misused in such demeaning tasks.
Does the establishment really think it can get away forever with using MI5, Special Branch and the Royal Parks Police to cover up these offences for anyone with status? They should be worried about the time bomb they have created. It is reminiscent of the aristocracy assuming their servants would be endlessly discreet and pretend not to see what they got up to.
Motorway police found child pornography in Smith’s car when they stopped him near Northampton. Simon Danczuk tells a detailed story about what happened next. Investigations by the local police force were stopped by Special Branch officers who drove up at high speed from the Met to get him released. Again, Smith’s bare-faced arrogance left the local police furious, and like so many of these episodes with various politicians like Mr Eddy, Greville Janner and Uncle Leon, the story got out, official secret or not.
Recently senior Northampton police have insisted that they have searched their archives and assure us, somewhat ridiculously, that this never happened because there is no record of it. To misquote Mandy Rice-Davies, ‘Well there wouldn’t be, would there?’ They have begged any retired officers with knowledge of the episode to come forward. They do not offer exemption from the Official Secrets Act, so anything they revealed would be concealed all over again.
From 1977 and into the 1980s, Smith was a well-known guest at the notorious monthly parties at the Elm Guest House in SW London. He also used to visit Grafton Close, the children’s home run by Richmond Borough, which trafficked children for these parties. They were made drunk, drugged, raped and made to participate in sadistic sexual dramas for the gratification of the élite. Smith attended similarly disreputable parties at other London addresses, including Dolphin Square, the luxury flats by the Houses of Parliament; a flat in Coronation Buildings, a mile from the Houses of Parliament, across the river in Lambeth; care homes in other boroughs particularly in Islington; and a house in Streatham.
In 1981 police installed hidden cameras, with the help of a caretaker (who was murdered for it eight years later), in all the places hosting these parties, as part of a major operation. Smith was arrested at one of these venues after taking part in a lewd party there. He was released the same night, and the sergeant who wanted to keep him in custody was reprimanded. It was said that Smith could not be charged because he would reveal too many other names in court. The officers were then ordered to hand over all of their evidence, including notebooks and video footage, warned under the Official Secrets Act, and assured that those who had been caught ‘would not be playing a role in public life any more’. But that was a lie. Smith continued as an MP until 1992.
Police sign the Official Secrets Act, and have to take it very seriously. If they are found to have broken it, they lose their career and pension, and will probably be imprisoned. This actually happened over Kincora, the notorious children’s home in Northern Ireland. The police are having their allegiance abused by the establishment.
In Islington murderer and paedophile pimp Sidney Cooke supplied boys for this elite group. Photos were collected by Operation Orchid. The Times on 14 February 1986 said that MP Geoffrey Dickens had given Scotland Yard information and called on the Home Secretary to prepare a full report on allegations of the existence of child brothels in Islington. Scotland Yard was now investigating claims that such brothels were being run on an estate in the Archway district, he said. Dickens said: ‘My informant, whose name I shall, of course, keep secret, has told me that some 40 children are involved. He has passed on to Scotland Yard tapes purporting to depict the voices of children clearly taking part in unsavoury activities. Scotland Yard has told me it is treating these allegations seriously. I hope that urgent action will be taken to stamp out this evil trade.’
The borough of Islington became notorious for every children’s home having paedophiles on the staff, often being a paedophile brothel, and exchanging children with similar children’s homes in other parts of the country, especially the equally notorious Haut de la Garenne in Jersey, where Savile and Heath were also involved. Margaret Hodge, who was leader of Islington council through all this, has the effrontery to blame her staff for failing to keep her informed, after refusing to take action when Liz Davies, Demetrious Panton, the Evening Standard and others kept telling her what was happening. And yet Tony Blair made her, of all things, his ‘minister of children’. What secrets does she have on powerful people?
PIE in the universities
In 1981 a pseudo-academic book, Perspectives on paedophilia, edited by Brian Taylor, a sociology lecturer at Sussex University, aka Humphrey Barton when writing for PIE, was published. Taylor continued at Sussex, and died recently – his obituary had no mention of his advocacy of paedophilia. This book was a collection of essays by members of PIE, including one by Peter Righton. Similar books followed, such as The Betrayal Of Youth discussed above, and Children’s sexual encounters with adults, by CK Li, DJ West and TP Woodhouse in 1990, in a systematic attempt to make paedophilia academically respectable, although the British Library still catalogued such books as ‘Children. Sexual abuse by adults’.
Children were portrayed in these books not only as enthusiastic and equal, but, like Lolita, as initiating the sex, which is no more than a paedophile’s favourite fantasy. Another misperception is that manipulation of a child’s body, producing a physical response, means they are enjoying it and are consenting. The David Wade Correctional Facility in Homer, Louisiana USA, has done some interesting work on such cognitive distortions and how to challenge them effectively. But in the UK in the 1980s these perverted academics were able to get away with propagating them unchallenged.
Other universities are still implicated, though most have dismissed anyone who engaged in or promoted paedophilia. But Essex and Cambridge have been and still are blatant in their support of discussion of child sexual abuse on grounds of freedom, like NCCL in the 1970s. But what they do is promotion, not balanced academic debate. Essex University is notorious for subsidising emeritus professor of sociology Ken Plummer, PIE #236 to promote paedophilia throughout his career. Cambridge allowed emeritus professor of clinical criminology Donald West the same licence, most recently letting him and others of their many younger pro-paedophile staff hold a conference promoting paedophilia in 2013. Tom O’Carroll, who had written Paedophilia: The Radical Case in 1980, was ‘very happy to attend’.
All these men promote the idea that paedophilia is normal and harmless, apart from a few sadistic abusers, and that the only thing that does harm is the outrage of other adults when they discover it. This formed a supportive background to PIE’s discussions. For many of the men in PIE, this deviant culture became the self-evident norm, to such an extent that they began to believe their battle was won and that everyone really accepted paedophilia, even if the law hadn’t yet quite been changed. However, a lot of men were undone through believing their own hype.
Another link PIE had was with Freemasonry. The New Welcome Lodge, No. 5139, is a British Masonic lodge based in the Palace of Westminster open to all MPs and peers. Hundreds of MPs currently appear in the Masonic Year Book, along with the names of judges, senior police commanders and top Whitehall civil servants. We keep hearing about how it works in a similar way to PIE, with many of the same men. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to reverse that: PIE seems to have been set up along similar lines to Freemasonry, using their confidential communications.
In the early 1990s David Crane, a lecturer in Durham University English department, with a wife and family, believed PIE’s self-delusions and naïvely wrote in a university magazine of the joy of being seduced himself at seven, and how he wanted nothing more than to pass on that joy. He was surprised when he was dismissed by the university, investigated by the police, prosecuted and convicted for abusing a series of distinctly unjoyful small boys.
Stafford University had staff lockers cleaned out one summer vacation, and pornography was found in that of Roger Joy, a lecturer and member of PIE. He was dismissed and prosecuted, and convicted. And in 1998 Chris Brand, lecturer in psychology at Edinburgh University, was removed from his post after claiming publicly that consensual paedophilia with an intelligent child was acceptable.
There is no shortage of evidence now of the harm done by child sexual abuse. Paedophiles should be exposed in group therapy or restorative justice to the pain and fury of survivors until they understand how wrong they are about this, and how sexual relationships with adults hurts children – with a leader strong enough to keep the group under control. Maybe IICSA can recommend this.
In the 1980s Derek Smith, an instructor with Sussex Police, described how one of his colleagues used Cyril Smith’s case as part of a training session for other officers about cases of child abuse, as an example of how you had to get as much evidence as possible if you wanted to charge someone with important social status. She was disciplined, and all other instructors were threatened with dismissal if they mentioned Cyril Smith again. Who authorised this?
What was wrong with senior police all over the country that they behaved like this? Why did they not stand up against the establishment, as Albert Laugharne and Joe Mounsey and others did? Presumably they are not all as bad as Gordon Anglesey. But a significant number of senior police officers appear to have been either corrupt or too weak to stand against it. Who was orchestrating this? The attorney general and the CPS? Who else?
By the late 1980s, copies of the file that had been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions in 1970 containing allegations of Cyril Smith’s abuse had been distributed to officers all around the country – a remarkable effort in the days before the internet. Such was their disgust that many were part of a letter-writing campaign to High Street banks, urging them to remove Smith as the public face of an ad campaign for Access credit cards. He was dropped. As I said earlier, this is a file which IICSA should be able to get hold of.
In 1981 MP Geoffrey Dickens named Peter Hayman in the House under parliamentary privilege, despite strenuous efforts to dissuade him by AG Michael Havers. Dickens ignored his advice, and was publicly condemned by Havers, who said “All Mr Dickens has done is make certain that Sir Peter’s shame and embarrassment is known to the world. There cannot be any justification whatsoever for what has happened. How can the public have gained by this? How can it be in the public interest to name this man?“ Havers defended the decision not to prosecute Hayman despite his possessing a huge collection of images of child abuse including babies being abused in their prams, and diaries indicating actual abuse.
Dickens quite rightly accused Havers of taking part in a “whitewash and the cover-up of the century”. Havers still refused to prosecute Hayman. Tom O’Carroll, lower class and not part of the establishment, who had been arrested as part of the follow-up to Hayman’s negligence in losing incriminating material, was sentenced to two years.
Like Smith, neighbouring Chester MP Peter Morrison was arrested several times for cottaging in London and in Crewe railway station, and always let off by senior police officers. In 1982 a 14 year old boy in Harting, Surrey, helped a man with a posh car which wouldn’t start, was befriended, groomed and invited for a weekend in London. The family reluctantly allowed this after many invitations as he seemed such a respectable gentleman. The boy was taken to Elm Guest House, made drunk and raped but escaped. The boy’s father reported it to the police, and they were visited by officers from Scotland Yard who eventually assured them that the man had been caught and convicted and would not be bothering him again. Much later the boy realised it was Peter Morrison, and that he had not been prosecuted at all. Harting is less than 3 miles from where the abducted child Vishal Mehrotra’s dismembered body was found at that time.
In 1983 Smith’s friend David Higgins was again convicted, this time in Skipton, of indecent assault against two little boys. He failed to declare the previous conviction in Leeds. He was only sentenced to probation.
In 1983 MP Geoffrey Dickens gave Home Secretary Leon Brittan the infamous dossier on MPs who were part of the parliamentary paedophile ring. The 30 minute meeting is recorded in Hansard. Brittan wrote to Dickens acknowledging receipt of the file, and implying that the police had been informed. Copies of this file are still thought to exist: IICSA could make it known they would receive it anonymously. Or it can be passed via the Guardian through SecureDrop.
In 1983 Barbara Castle gave her own dossier to Don Hale, editor of the Bury Messenger and experienced in whistle blowing. It was said to name 16 paedophile MPs including Edward Heath and another 40 who were supportive of PIE. It also contained details of Elm Guest House and a Home Office investigation into Dickens’ allegations. Hale notified MPs and asked for their comments, and asked the Home Office where the investigation stood. Cyril Smith stormed into the newspaper office, demanding that a planned article not be published and all documents be handed over. Hale refused. The next day, Special Branch raided the office, with 3 plain clothes men and 15 uniformed officers, and confiscated Castle’s dossier.
A D-notice was produced and shown to Don Hale. This was supposed to be an advisory notice that something an editor was considering publishing would harm national security because it would compromise UK military and intelligence operations and methods, or put at risk the safety of those involved in such operations, or lead to attacks that would damage the critical national infrastructure and/or endanger lives. This was obviously corrupt misuse of a D-notice.
Copies of Castle’s dossier are still said to exist, and IICSA should be able to get hold of it.
Heath’s file showed he was present at Westminster meetings with paedophile rights campaigners from the PIE group. He is said to have attended at least a quarter of the 30 or so monthly or bi-weekly meetings. His name is said to have appeared on minutes of the private gatherings, also apparently attended by other MPs, along with scoutmasters and head teachers.
In July 2014 Dickens’ dossier could not be traced in the Home Office. Leon Brittan changed his story twice: first he denied all knowledge, then he ‘could not remember’ having received this explosive material – which his department had investigated and reported on – and then he said he had passed it to civil servants to deal with.
More recently Don Hale gave Operation Midland information about all this – and they said they were ‘being prevented from interviewing Brittan’.
Now we are told that Brittan is ‘cleared of all allegations’, when all that has been even considered by the CPS is an alleged rape of a 19 year old girl in 1967. She was still technically a child as the age of majority was only lowered to 18 in 1970. When she went to the police more recently, she was subjected to hostile questioning. This was inappropriate and bullying, and also pointless as there was no evidence and nothing was or could have been investigated. They should have advised her that if the alleged rape did take place, Brittan had ensured there was not enough evidence to try to take it to court. All that could be claimed about this case was that there was no evidence to substantiate her allegation – not that Brittan was cleared.
This alleged rape was a different issue from the child sexual abuse allegations against Brittan, which were never investigated, or the clumsy pro-paedophile support by Brittan, which was well-known, and being covered up by the government – eg by ‘losing’ files, blocking disclosures from the Home Office, and stopping Operation Midland from interviewing him.
It was extremely sharp practice of the government to conflate all this and try to claim, with blatant dishonesty, that Brittan had been exonerated.
A little later in 2014, Home Office permanent secretary Mark Sedwill claimed that 114 files relating to historic allegations of child sex abuse, from between 1979 and 1999, had disappeared from the Home Office. Interesting choice of verb: that which has ‘disappeared’ can always reappear if it becomes expedient, unlike ‘shredded’ or ‘burned’.
Norman Tebbit commented on BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show, 6 July 2014, that there may well have been an establishment cover-up: ‘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. That view, I think, was wrong then and it is spectacularly shown to be wrong because the abuses have grown.’
In 1984 another local journalist, Hilton Tims, news editor of the Surrey Comet, was also threatened with a D-notice in the same way as Don Hale, when he investigated Elm Guest House.
The Guardian asked the government if these D-notices had actually been issued. They reported that ‘Officials running the D-notice system, who work closely with MI5 and MI6 and the Ministry of Defence, said they did not believe that such a notice would have been issued, but admitted that some records relating to official requests for media blackouts in the early 1980s have been destroyed.’ Unless a retired member of Special Branch tells us, it is impossible to know if these were real D-notices, or if SB was brandishing false documents.
In 1984 Dickens gave Brittan another, entirely new, dossier of paedophilia, this time purely relating to Peter Morrison, the MP who abducted and raped the boy in Harting near where part of Vishal Mehrotra’s body was found. This dossier was entrusted to Dickens because of his courage over the first one. Dickens was ostracised and disparaged by some MPs from the start of his campaign against child sexual abuse, not because he was wrong but for breaking ranks within the establishment. This was another of the dossiers that Brittan ‘could not remember’ receiving later – as if any Home Secretary could forget such episodes. This dossier also disappeared.
But 30 years later, in October 2015, a copy of this second file was handed to John Mann by the same individual who had provided it to Geoffrey Dickens in 1984, after it had been compiled by former Tory MPs Sir Victor Raikes and Anthony Courtney – both now dead.
In 1984 retired diplomat Peter Hayman was again in trouble. This time he was convicted of gross indecency in a public lavatory but was let off with a caution. He had become a liability in public life, as revealed in files in the National Archives in 2015, and in any case was now 70. He transferred to MI6 as a deputy director, which perhaps was something of a sinecure. He was an old school friend of Baron John Henniker, and they had led parallel lives in the army, diplomatic and now the secret service. Hayman died in disgrace in 1992. Henniker was influential in the British Council, and in the appointment of notorious paedophile Charles Napier to teaching posts abroad with them, despite his being on the DES list 99. Henniker’s name comes up again in 1992 in connection with giving refuge to Peter Righton.
PIE closes down – in theory
In 1984, after being in existence for ten years, PIE found it expedient to close down. They realised they had miscalculated. Some police forces were not corrupt, were not propaedophile and did not contain paedophile networks. Some senior officers were not pathetic yes-men in thrall to their masters. Some police forces were resisting élite influence and pressure from above, and prosecuting paedophiles. Gay groups had dissociated themselves from PIE. The public, as opposed to some sophisticated politicians and naïve professionals, were not taken in by their specious arguments. They were quite simply horrified at such a threat to their children. Most people saw paedophiles as total monsters, which was unhelpful in identifying them, and they would have none of PIE’s arguments. There had been some violent demonstrations against PIE as well as reasoned campaigns.
PIE realised that they were not going to be able to abolish or lower the age of consent or get control of child employment law – they had wanted to create a loophole which would allow children to be paid to act in child porn films. And men all over the country, though still not those who were members of the establishment, were being imprisoned, which was not what they had bargained for.
On the other hand, PIE were now in every profession, hiring and promoting other paedophiles so they themselves would be protected as they aged. PIE, along with its brother organisation in America, NAMbLA, and a variety of European paedophile organisations had established a self-perpetuating underground network that is now a permanent parasite on national and international life.
In 1986 Barry Strevens, Margaret Thatcher’s trusted personal police bodyguard, passed on to her the information that Peter Morrison was attending sex parties with underage boys. She still recommended him for a knighthood. Colin Smart, the excellent social services director of Sunderland, said about this in 2014: ‘Despite my hostility to many aspects of the political actions of Mrs Thatcher, the idea that she approved or condoned crimes committed against children is nonsense.’ He looked for some explanation from her biographer about her belief about what is in the public interest, as discussed by Norman Tebbit on the Andrew Marr show in 2014.
Perhaps there are other aspects to explore in this. One is an unconscious inclination to make allowances and put the best interpretation on the actions of one’s friends. Another is the double standard of truth that is accepted by some people between private and public parts of their lives, along with the double standard of truth implied in swearing oaths in court and similar formal settings. And yet others are expediency under pressure and one’s own comfort and convenience: Peter Morrison made Margaret Thatcher feel more comfortable and secure in a difficult job. But from a wider view, this deceit in their relationship served her badly. She would have done better to have faced up earlier to the difficulties in what her ministers and the public were telling her.
For a picture of where this slide in truth and integrity in public affairs leads, we have only to look across the Atlantic at the moment.
The London borough of Lambeth was the home of Elm Guest House and some of the other paedophile party venues frequented by Cyril Smith, Peter Morrison and their friends. Grafton Close, Angell Road and other children’s homes, presumably including Shirley Oaks, whose survivors are currently very active, were used as reservoirs of children available for trafficking to parties as required. Cyril Smith used to visit Grafton Road in between parties, to rape boys. John Mann, MP from 2001, encountered this as a Lambeth councillor in the 1980s, and was told by police contacts that their inquiries had been stopped on orders from superiors.
In 1987 Lambeth housing officer Tom Hosey died in mysterious circumstances. At the time he was said by colleagues to be very frightened, having come across evidence of child sexual abuse. He was painting the front door of his flat when he ‘fell over the balcony’ to his death. As you do.
In 1989 an unnamed Lambeth caretaker, who was said to have tapes on ultra-violent sex parties involving children, suffered a suspicious death in an apparent arson attack in his flat, where the fire endangered his neighbours. It appears that this was the same Lambeth council caretaker who set up hidden cameras for the police in Streatham and other party venues in 1981, at the time when Cyril Smith and others were arrested and bizarrely released (see above).
In 1993 Bulic Forsythe, a manager and senior housing officer in Lambeth, was very clearly murdered. He was beaten to death, his skull badly fractured and his flat set on fire, endangering other occupants in the block, like the caretaker in 1989. He had just produced a major report on child sexual abuse in Lambeth, and had said he would submit it the next day. All his files were stolen, nothing else.
As so often in this story, the police appeared to do nothing in all these cases, in a way that was in itself suspicious. It is unlikely that this was because they did not care. They have told politicians and journalists repeatedly that they are being prevented from speaking out. If they were given exemption from the Official Secrets Act, they might provide effective information. But the government appears to be too scared of what might come out to do this.
In the 1980s Peter Righton went freelance as a consultant. He helped Peter Barclay produce the Barclay Report on the roles and tasks of social workers; he was in demand as a speaker; he became a senior lecturer at the Open University, and designed courses for them; he got a job working on the Charter for Children, being paid £200 a day; he had much more of this sort of work for the next ten years.
Throughout the 1980s there are reports of Savile having been repeatedly investigated. He was alleged to be part of a paedophile ring in Scarborough which included the mayor, Peter Jaconelli. A police officer, retired now, investigated an attack a young girl reported at Savile’s caravan in a BBC car park. At least seven women are known to have complained of such attacks before Savile’s death, and to several police forces. But there was no mandatory reporting, even by police to other forces, and no collation of complaints. Surrey police later complained that they would not have dropped their investigations into Savile had they known other forces were investigating him for similar offences. If complaints had been collated, their pattern and frequency would have indicated that Savile was a serial abuser, and he could have been investigated as such. Even so, evidence could have been collected if corruption and cover-up, especially among Yorkshire police and within the establishment, had not prevented it. A year after Savile’s death, hundreds of complaints had been reported, and the number went on rising.
In 1988 a very junior police officer was called to a house in Stockport after a complaint that the occupier had been committing a lewd act in his window in view of a newspaper boy. The PC found the elderly owner having a party with Cyril Smith, an off-duty police sergeant who claimed to be there on other business, and two drunken underage teenage boys, one an absconder from the local children’s home. Smith, the sergeant and the other boy went off. The PC sent for a van to take the absconding boy back to the children’s home, and took the owner to the police station. There he discovered that the pensioner had a record dating back to the 1960s for sex offences and had spent half his life behind bars. Nevertheless, he was just given a caution for the latest offence – a decision the officer ‘found very strange’.
The next day he was called to a meeting with a senior officer and his mentoring officer, Don Mackintosh. ‘I was told I would break the Official Secrets Act if I told anyone. Mackintosh was my mentoring officer – in charge of all young bobbies. I was told don’t say anything – it’s all in hand. CID will deal with it. They knew Smith was there and knew who he was.’
Two months later, for saying nothing and ‘doing a good job’, he was rewarded with a police driving course. He said: ‘Normally you never got on a driving course when you were on probation.’ This is how corruption begins, with a stick and a carrot.
The same year 1988, this senior officer Don Mackintosh was accused of assaulting a boy himself at the Boys’ Brigade when the child attempted to commit suicide. His parents disclosed this to the host Platt Lane Methodist church in Fallowfield, a suburb of central Manchester, where the son of a church official was also a victim. The church covered this up as being only hearsay evidence and merely asked Macintosh to resign from the BB. Both sets of parents agreed not to report to the police for fear of increasing the children’s trauma.
Also in 1988, concerns about the sexualised behaviour of the children at Knowl View School were raised in a written report by Dr Alison Frazer, child psychiatrist at Birch Hill, the local psychiatric hospital, for example that children were working as rent boys in Rochdale and Manchester. Nothing was done –
– except that the Queen knighted Smith that year, on the recommendation of David Steel. Cabinet Office minutes show there was considerable debate beforehand with the Political Honours Scrutiny Committee about the wisdom of this. When people wondered later how it had happened, there was an attempt to refuse an FOI to hide Steel’s name, as described at the start of this account.
And also in 1988 the government denied that there was enough child sexual abuse to warrant including it as a reason for putting children on the ‘at risk’ register – ‘there might be in America, but not in England’ (quoted by Michele Elliott of Kidscape). The NSPCC, tied too closely to the government by their funding, were similarly disparaging. When, as directors of a voluntary organisation, Education Otherwise (EO), we asked the NSPCC in1988 if they could help us design a policy for child protection, we found they were worse than useless. They told us sarcastically that they were fully occupied with ‘real’ child abuse – neglect and physical abuse – and they did not have time for ‘irrelevant middle class sexual fantasies’.
The independent Kidscape, on the other hand, gave us genuine help. Michele Elliott gave workshops for our members, helping them to face up to child protection issues, gave our members places on her anti-bullying workshops, and gave us support as we were being targeted by paedophiles and sued for libel. With her support and advice from a Law Centre we successfully fought the libel case in 1989 and gradually created one of the first child protection policies. We needed to do this urgently because we were being targeted not only by paedophiles, mainly from what had been PIE, but also by extreme right wing libertarians who, whether or not they were themselves paedophiles, supported the abusers’ claim that children should be free to engage in intergenerational sexual relationships – as long as they were ‘non-coercive’. The power of grooming was not yet understood by most people.
When it became impossible to deny that child sexual abuse was happening throughout the country, the official line from the government and NSPCC became that it was 80% incest, and we shouldn’t worry so much about monsters outside the family. As child protection workers struggling to combat the predations of PIE, who were still targeting EO despite claiming to have closed down, we exasperatedly gave the government and NSPCC the benefit of the doubt, assuming they were just naïve and out of touch with what ordinary people were experiencing. We were very wrong.
From today’s perspective, we can see that the government and NSPCC were at best part of a culture of dissociation and denial, and some members of both were, and are, corrupt and lying. It is still striking how the reputations of whistleblowers are undermined with ‘dirty tricks’ typical of the secret services, and how Parliament rallies to the support of any member who has been accused of abuse, while sending to coventry those MPs who expose them. Do they think the public doesn’t take notice, and count it as bullying of whistleblowers?
One of the reasons I knew so much about PIE was that one of our members set up a group to offer counselling to paedophiles to help them stop offending, as the most effective way he could think of to stop the predations. The group found that many of these men were trying to escape from PIE because they were so frightened by the violence and murders that were happening. Our group were told that children were dying during sadistic abuse; survivors and paedophiles who might disclose names were being ‘suicided’; and they were warned that whistleblowers – judges, police, lawyers and children’s workers – were being harassed and murdered, while other members of these same professions were among the paedophiles. Their office was expertly robbed, the files stolen, nothing else, and whistleblowers and families were threatened. We heard from another police force that this robbery was done by a team from a paedophile network which at that time existed within Wiltshire police.
What my research over thirty years in Education Otherwise showed was that only 20% of the child sexual abuse we dealt with was incest, and 80% was targeting from paedophiles outside the family, none of them monsters and most charming and plausible. Some were very destructive, trying to wreck the organisation for challenging them, and some were helpful people who nevertheless were doing terrible damage to individual children, as solicitor Ivan Geffen did. The figures were small and I wondered if our families were unusually caring. I asked friends and co-workers in the field what they had found, and it was similar. It certainly looks as if it was similar in Rochdale. I question why so many experts have quoted the reverse. It is claimed to be the result of research with survivors, but to some extent perhaps it has just become accepted as a norm one does not have to confirm by up-to-date research, or think about or question. It obviously wouldn’t apply to boys within football clubs and girls within gymnastics clubs, for instance. It will vary between girls and boys in cultures where girls are kept secluded in the home after puberty, but less so in more liberal societies.
From 1988-1992 Rev Paul Flowers, the infamous Crystal Methodist who has since sabotaged the Co-operative Bank, was a councillor and vice-chair of Rochdale social services. He oversaw Knowl View, including receiving three highly critical reports: that already referred to from child psychiatrist Alison Frazer in 1988, another from AIDS consultant Phil Shepherd in 1991 and a third from clinical psychologist Valerie Mellor in 1992, both below. Not only did he do nothing about them, perhaps because he was complicit in the abuse of the boys himself, but he was also responsible for initiating the abuse perpetrated by the council over fallacious ‘Satanic ritual abuse’ (see below).
In 1990 MP Peter Morrison of the nearby Chester constituency was once again picked up in the public toilets at Crewe station having sex with an underage boy. The police had always been forced to drop these cases, as he was PPS to Margaret Thatcher and was protected by her, MI5 and other powerful figures. He was also named, both by boys and by MP and leader of the Welsh Tories Rod Richards as one of the men visiting Bryn Estyn and Bryn Alyn to abuse the boys. William Hague, who was Welsh Secretary at that time, later confirmed this to Gyles Brandreth, the next MP for Chester. Much more was alleged, like the Harting incidents above. Now Thatcher had retired and a deal was struck with Labour, local Tories, police and press, that this time the cottaging matter would only be kept out of court if Morrison stood down in the next elections. He died of a heart attack aged 51 in 1995, having never been brought to account. However, there is obviously much more to come out, particularly from Dickens’ second dossier, which John Mann was given again in 2015, see below.
In September 1990, an intruder broke into Knowl View one night, plied some of the boys with cider and dope, and then molested and raped them. The staff member on duty was not on the premises as he should have been. The next night the intruder came back but was ambushed and beaten off. Rodney Hilton, a known local sex offender, was blamed, but this was a red herring. In the early 1980s, years earlier, Hilton had raped and beaten one of the boys in the woods in the grounds. But this intruder was identifiable as councillor Harry Wild. No-one was disciplined or prosecuted for this.
In 1991, when staff got a chance to make their anger known, during a much-needed training on prevention of AIDS by Phil Shepherd, they took it eagerly and the planned training had to be dropped: ‘most of the day was spent with the staff voicing very strong feelings about problems at the school, in particular concerns about the safety and behaviour of some of the 36 boys’. (The 48 bed school was never fully used.) One can imagine the scene.
Martin Digan, the senior residential social worker and head of care who had been trying to whistle blow ever since he came to work at Knowl View and began to discover what was happening, took the lead in these disclosures. Shepherd, appalled, wrote a damning report to the director of education, Diana Cavanagh, detailing the serious sexual abuse that was taking place at Knowl View, including boys as young as eight being groomed to work as rent boys, and warning her that it was about to become a public scandal. Shepherd made this report available to Operation Clifton and the BBC, claiming there was still a cover-up. This report will doubtless be available to IICSA.
At the time in 1991 Cavanagh told Shepherd to keep this confidential, and assured him it was being dealt with. She sent it to acting director of social services Ian Davey, who wrote to Pam Hawton, chair of Rochdale’s health authority, discussing ‘a concerted approach to the problem involving police, education and social services’. A follow-up Council investigation was requested and refused. The AIDS team was not called back in to work with the boys, as they urgently needed. Nearly a year later, in February 1992, Valerie Mellor, a consultant clinical psychologist, produced a report purporting to deal with the problems. She said there was no doubt that up to a quarter of the pupils had been involved in serious sexual incidents and the activity had continued ‘over a very long period of time… It is very difficult to believe that this behaviour had not come to the attention of at least some members of staff.’
Valerie Mellor’s report was completely inadequate. Although it suggested that sexual activity was at an end, it was continuing as before, and five months later a pupil and a former pupil, both 14, were formally cautioned by police for soliciting in the town’s Smith Street lavatories. It must have infuriated staff who had been trying to whistle blow for years, in the face of a council cover-up. As a response by a consultant clinical psychologist to the problems reported by Alison Frazer, Martin Digan and Phil Shepherd, this report can only be part of the cover-up. She tells them, belatedly, what they have already told the Council. She minimises the problem: ‘up to a quarter’ means fewer than nine pupils involved in sexual incidents. She blames the staff on the ground. And she implies the problems are in the past. This was just the same 20 years later when the gross neglect of the sexually exploited young girls was exposed: the head of children’s services, speaking on Woman’s Hour, blamed the NHS sexual health crisis intervention team for having failed to alert social services to the problem although sexual health services had been banging their heads for years against the brick wall of council and police indifference. And all the way through, police and council kept assuring everyone, falsely, that lessons had been learned and the problem was being properly dealt with now.
Another official who culpably failed to do anything was John Pierce, the chief executive of Rochdale council. He has gone on record as claiming he knew nothing about the three separate reports in 1988, 1991 and 1992 that paedophiles were abusing children as young as eight years of age. Yet Pierce was sent copies and Paul Rowen, who was leader of the council in 1992, said he had a number of meetings with Pierce in which the abuse at Knowl View was discussed. Shepherd’s report then appears to have been buried. It was certainly withheld from DS Bob Huntbach when he was assigned to carry out a police investigation in 2000, and asked for all the papers.
Who else was responsible for this bit of the cover-up? And all this was covered up again in 2014.
But pressure was building on Rochdale’s paedophiles. They were no longer totally inviolate. Smith did not stand for re-election to Parliament in 1992 under the newly-formed LibDems. He was 63, too young to retire voluntarily from politics, and still with nearly twenty years to live. He was still active in local politics.
In 1993 Rochdale liberal councillor, John Heyworth, was convicted of indecently assaulting a 14-year old girl. He refused to resign from the council’s children’s sub-committee, and Smith publicly defended his right to remain on it (Private Eye 817).
As a school, Knowl View was the immediate responsibility of the LEA. Smith, having seen Shepherd’s report, aimed to circumvent supervision now by trying to change the school’s status under a policy called Local Management of Special Schools, which would pass full control of Knowl View from the council to him. This failed, largely thanks to Digan contesting it – no-one else would have bothered. The council just allowed Knowl View to drift on until pupils apparently took matters into their own hands in 1995, by setting it on fire.
– and Peter Righton
In April 1992 Smith’s teflon-coated friend and fellow PIE member Peter Righton was arrested, following the chance seizure of child pornography sent in the post from Holland. He was only ever convicted of this child pornography, but evidence of much more predatory behaviour was found in his possession. He held a massive cache of letters and diaries incriminating many other paedophiles as well as himself, detailing unbelievable quantities of child abuse over many years, along with boxes of child and baby pornography. According to Terry Shutt, a former detective constable with West Mercia Police involved in the arrest, there were five suitcases stuffed with letters at his property in Evesham, Worcestershire. And like the material from Peter Hayman and other incriminating files and dossiers, it seems to have conveniently disappeared. David Tombs, director of the social services involved, Hereford and Worcester, warned civil servants in the Department of Health about a Westminster paedophile network. They responded that he was wasting his time as there were ‘too many of them over there’. Ministers in the DoH were less forthcoming than their civil servants, but Sir William Utting, the Chief Inspector of Social Services for England, asked for a report.
In 1993, Peter McKelvie wrote the report for Hereford & Worcester social services department about Righton and his connections with other child sex abusers and sent it to Bill Utting, for the attention of Health Minister Virginia Bottomley and the Department of Health. It explained that an extensive network of paedophiles had infiltrated the social services profession, and gave details. The report went on to give recommendations of how the Department of Health could deal with the problem, including a national investigation by a small team of experienced social workers and police. It recommended that the investigation should be jointly funded by the Department of Health and the Home Office. The basis of such a team had already been tentatively put together, and would be released to serve on it.
But when asked about it the following year by the media, the DoH said ‘We are not prepared to release the letter because it raises sensitive issues particularly about striking a balance between protecting children and civil liberties’. Whose civil liberties? What exactly does this mealy-mouthed phrase mean? Was the health minister Virginia Bottomley really saying that we cannot do anything about the problem of paedophiles subverting children’s services in Britain because such people are entitled to privacy for their criminal activities? This is far worse than the stupid behaviour of Harman, Hewitt and Dromey in NCCL, about which there has been uproar – at least they had the excuse of being young and naïve. Virginia Bottomley was flagrantly justifying a cover-up when she was old and experienced enough to understand precisely what she was doing. This is the same attitude as that shown in 1981 by Michael Havers when criticising Geoffrey Dickens for naming Peter Hayman in the House as a paedophile; and that shown by William Whitelaw and Leon Brittan in protecting the Home Office paedophiles, Steven Adrian Smith, Barry Cutler, and the unknown recipient of pornography because, for some unfathomable reason, ‘the confidentiality of the recipient must be upheld’. Havers, Whitelaw and Brittan are dead, and their offences should be publicised. Bottomley is not, and as well as being publicised, she should also be brought fully to account, both in IICSA and in the courts. She may say it was Home Office and Health Department culture, at least at the time (who knows the current position?) but it was not within the law.
Why would Virginia Bottomley want to protect the paedophile Peter Righton? Who else might he have implicated?
Legislation in the Data Protection Act 1998 did not change but clarified what should always have been obvious, that criminal activity must not be protected:
Section 29 contains 3 separate but related exemptions:
Section 29(1) –
Personal data processed for specified purposes of crime prevention/detection, apprehension/prosecution of offenders or imposition of tax or similar duties – exempt from principle 1 and section 7 where application of either ‘would be likely to prejudice’ those purposes.
Section 29(2) –
Personal data obtained from a body who had it in their possession for any of the above purposes in order to carry out a statutory function – exempt from the same provisions to the same extent.
Section 29(3) –
Disclosures made for any the above purposes are exempt from the non disclosure provisions to the same extent.
The Data Protection Act 1984, which was then in force, said much the same in s28. Child protection trumps data protection. It seems overwhelmingly simple: ordinary decent people were never in any doubt about this.
Police and social services had all the material found at Righton’s house, and with that they could have excised much of the pernicious network that PIE had established. Instead, the scheme was not approved, Righton’s papers were removed and ‘lost’ and a golden opportunity to heal the nation was destroyed.
This blocking action by Virginia Bottomley was one of the most blatant of the government child abuse cover-ups, it is fully documented, and Bottomley is still alive to be called to account, both by IICSA and in court.
Peter Righton found sanctuary on the Henniker family estate when he fled society with his partner, convicted paedophile Richard Alston, after his conviction for child pornography in 1992. John Henniker (see above) disclaimed any knowledge of his presence. His daughter-in-law agreed Righton was a tenant, but said he had assured her that he had been wrongly convicted. This rubbish is on a par with the officials who ‘didn’t know’ and ‘can’t remember’. At the same time, this was also the estate which hosted the Islington-Suffolk Project to provide holidays for children in care in Islington, which also involved paedophiles. The Chief Constable of Suffolk – another of the decent police chiefs – warned against Righton being allowed to live there, but was ignored. How much arrogance, corruption and collusion among the élite do the government think the public will tolerate?
In 1994 Don Mackintosh, the mentoring police officer who threatened the young Rochdale PC with the Official Secrets Act in 1988 and covered up for Smith, was himself arrested for a string of sex assaults on at least a dozen boys in the Boys Brigade in Fallowfield, and sentenced to nine years in jail for paedophilia. These offences could all have been discovered and the children helped five years earlier, when two of them were reported, if they had been properly dealt with.
This same junior police officer who was pressured in 1988 to be silent over Cyril Smith also claimed that Don Mackintosh was tipped off about his impending arrest. Mackintosh was thus able to resign and keep his £52,000 golden handshake plus £11,000 a year police pension: “A week later I got a visit from the Y department (professional standards branch) who wanted to question me about Mackintosh’s habits and an allegation he had interfered with a couple of police cadets. I said he had never molested me and the officer said ‘that’s the answer we want you to say’. I know two bobbies that were abused by him. They told me that when they were cadets he assaulted them, yet he was never charged.”
In 1994 Barry Bennell, scout and coach for Manchester City and later Crewe Alexandra as well as many junior teams in the area, was jailed in Florida for four years for child sexual abuse.
In 1994 Education Otherwise had cause to ban Cyril Smith’s friend and fellow PIE member David Higgins (the ex-Knowl View teacher) from our membership. We had set up a child protection group, before this became the norm, because of being targeted by PIE since about 1978. Michele Elliott of Kidscape was unfailingly supportive and generous as we battled with a malignancy from PIE that we found hard to believe.
Higgins came to our notice because he was claiming to be an outdoor pursuits social worker, and was trying to get single mothers to let him help them by taking their small boys on exciting outward bound-type excursions – unaccompanied. We were suspicious because he would not have other parents go out with him, although he claimed to welcome their help. He wanted to take little boys out on the hills on his own, which was obviously unsafe practice. Members found that he already had convictions and we expelled him. We also expelled David Crane and Roger Joy (see above). Other members of PIE had already been expelled in connection with Azimuth sail training holidays.
In early 1995, there was a major fire at Knowl View, allegedly caused by pupils. Between the fire and the scandalous reports it was closed down. John Pierce, the same chief executive of the Council who had denied any knowledge of the problems at Knowl View despite discussing what to do about them, asserted that (while claiming to know nothing of the problems) the authority was already taking action before Shepherd made his report in 1991. He also insisted there had been no cover-up and that the police said the same. But Breitbart reports allegations from Labour workers that a Lib-Lab deal was done to say nothing about Cyril Smith’s abuse in exchange for not publicising a senior Labour man abusing two little girls with special needs.
In 1996 Liz Lynne, who was elected as Rochdale MP to replace Cyril Smith in 1992, ignored allegations of abuse by Smith at Knowl View and a cover-up by the council. Her assistant Deborah Doyle took pages of notes from a phone call with Martin Digan, which Lynne told her to destroy and refused to follow up. Digan managed to catch Lynne on the phone later on, and arranged a meeting, which someone else cancelled at the last minute.
Martin Digan was scapegoated for his whistle blowing, probably primarily at Smith’s instigation. He was made redundant by the council, lost his family’s accommodation, and he was harassed and intimidated by people angry about the closure of the special school.
Whether or not it is true, in narrow legal terms, that a cover-up cannot be proved in court, it is abundantly clear that Rochdale council, along with senior staff in the police and the rest of local services, were guilty of gross institutional child neglect causing death by suicide among several ex-residents of Cambridge House and Knowl View, in a way that parallels the institutional racism resulting in the death of Stephen Lawrence. It is also clear that this was enabled by government.
In January 1996, Dispatches on Channel 4 showed Soccer’s foul play. This related to three abusive coaches in the Greater Manchester area including Barry Bennell. Football clubs were asked to ensure that no adults were ever alone with a child, but they refused to co-operate. Why was this failure not publicised, so that parents could have criticised the clubs and demanded that it be made a rule? The Football Association refused to engage even though most voluntary organisations by then were implementing child protection policies.
Roger Jones, a BBC governor from 1996 to 2002, was chair of Children in Need from 1999 to 2002. He banned Savile from the programme because he was uncomfortable with his creepy, strange behaviour, and felt he should not be allowed near children. He admitted he had not openly challenged it while he was a governor because there was no hard evidence. But what he, and the rest of BBC management, should have instituted, like football, was a tight child protection policy. This had become established in ordinary voluntary organisations well before the turn of the century. Why were the big institutions lagging so far behind?
In 1997 MP Iain Mills, who had helped MP Geoffrey Dickens research paedophilia among MPs, was found dead in his Dolphin Square flat. At first there was confusion over the cause of death, but Westminster coroner Paul Knapman recorded a verdict of acute alcohol poisoning – despite Mills having been tee-total for as long as anyone had known him, as his friends and constituents insisted. He was surrounded by empty gin bottles, and had an extremely high blood alcohol level. Dickens had said earlier that they had had death threats, and was dismissed as hysterical: ‘The noose around my neck grew tighter after I named a former high-flying British diplomat (Hayman) on the floor of the House … as important names came into my possession so the threats began. First, I received threatening telephone calls followed by two burglaries at my London home. Then, more seriously, my name appeared on a multi-killer’s hit list.’
In 1998, when Barry Bennell was deported from Florida on release, he was jailed here for nine years.
In 1998 the Greater Manchester Police investigation Operation Cleopatra started, concluding in 2002. It ended up including 66 children’s homes over the whole area. The police referred Smith to the DPP, Barbara Mills, in 1998 and again to DPP David Calvert-Smith in 1999. These DPPs still refused to prosecute him, on the grounds that although there were sufficient allegations to prosecute him, he had already been told he would not be prosecuted for these offences and there was nothing new.
However, some were new: according to the Independent on Sunday (27 January 2013), two boys under the age of 16 in care in Lambeth identified Smith as a user of rent boys at the Elm Guest House, in Barnes, London. Police also referred another file with statements from two new witnesses and victims from Cambridge House. Despite the fact that this clearly was new evidence, the CPS once more refused to act. Serious questions must be asked about this decision. Was it negligence, incompetence, or continued evidence of a cover-up?
The CPS at that time was branded the Criminal Protection Society by police nationally.
Complaints against Harry Wild grew, and in the 1990s he was investigated by another Greater Manchester Police child abuse operation. In 2000, the Manchester Evening News reported the allegations after GMP’s chief constable intervened to prevent Wild’s appointment as high sheriff of Greater Manchester. Wild told the paper that his community work made him vulnerable to ‘mischievous claims’: ‘Of course, one has to consider the type of boy at Knowl View – low-grade really.’ Just like Smith, he was never convicted. Wild died, aged 80, in 2001.
Second episode of child abuse 1990-2000 – false allegations of ‘satanic ritual abuse’
One of the strategies used by PIE (which claimed to close down in 1984 but was still effectively active) was to start an alarm about non-existent abuse, and initiate an investigation which would find nothing. Then when allegations were made against the real paedophiles, the authorities would be reluctant to embarrass themselves again with another possibly fruitless and expensive investigation. Back in 1990 Cyril Smith was coming under increasing pressure, like all paedophiles, as his victims grew older, more confident and more likely to disclose his abuse. Several of his plans had come unstuck. Knowl View School was increasingly chaotic and out of control, and Martin Digan was a braver, more persistent, whistleblower than he had had to deal with before. Smith was finding it more difficult to hold his empire together. It would be convenient if attention could be diverted on to a different abuse case. The solution came through Paul Flowers, the utterly corrupt fundamentalist Christian pastor.
And so in 1990 the Devil was brought to Rochdale, or at least his Witch-finder General, Liz McLean of the RSSPCC (now Children 1st, the Scottish equivalent of the NSPCC). In March a police officer and two social workers were sent to attend a London seminar on ‘satanic ritual abuse’, and received a ridiculous list of ‘satanic indicators’, which they circulated round Rochdale schools. Two weeks later a little boy told his teacher he had dreamed of ghosts, and that was enough for the teacher to ring social services and start a panic – because dreaming of ghosts was on the list of ‘satanic indicators’ they had just received. It later came out that the evening before his dream he had watched a ghost film which he had not understood.
Liz McLean, notorious in other ‘satanic ritual abuse’ cases and as deluded as Matthew Hopkins the original 17th century Witch-finder General himself, was the self-designated expert brought in by social services to sniff out Satan and his covens. Helped by local social workers Jill France and Susan Hammersley, she pressed the children to disclose what she ‘knew’ had happened to them: being drugged with hallucinogens, being subjected to ritualised sexual abuse, being locked in cages, and watching the ritual sacrifice of babies. They were supported all the time by Paul Flowers, the Crystal Methodist, who was by then vice-chair of social services.
Imprisonment of children: abuse by the State
In March 1990, 16 children from the Langley estate, and four more in the following months, who all denied having been abused, were taken into care and subjected to this grotesque questioning, on no other grounds than a six year old’s very ordinary dream. All three social workers and Paul Flowers were fundamentalist Christians for whom Satan was an actual person. These people had lost touch with consensual reality, in a temporary folie à trois or quatre. Jill France and Susan Hammersley came out of this group psychosis after a few months when challenged, and were said to have apologised. Despite their gross failure of judgment, they continued to work in child protection. Liz McLean disappeared. Paul Flowers may have been equally deluded, or it may have been an expedient to distract from Cyril Smith’s paedophile network. Flowers went on to greater depths of disgrace in the Coop.
Langley was a ‘sink estate’ neglected by the Council, and these parents were mostly out of work. They were working class and did not have influential friends they could involve as advocates to help them fight their corner, as families in this situation did in Orkney and Humberside – I knew those cases in detail. Those in Langley were impoverished and disadvantaged, but they were loving and the children were happy in these families. They were not abusive.
Daily Mirror headlines in March 1990 reported that the ‘NSPCC makes sensational claims and gets world-wide publicity – kids forced into satan orgies – sex slaves ordeal exposed by NSPCC’. Videos of Liz McLean’s interviews with other children show her bullying them and using unprofessional techniques, such as
- very lengthy interviews
- leading and suggestive questions
- refusal to accept denials
- bribing them to answer the ‘right’ way
- and over-interpretation of trivial things children said.
By September 1990, within six months, the case had collapsed, with the Daily Mirror headlines claiming that ‘Satan kids council gives NSPCC boot: £160,000 grant axed’. But some of the children were nevertheless kept in care ‘for further investigations’, for up to ten years. No reason was ever given, no neglect or abuse was ever found and the Council claimed in 2006, when they were sued, that they had apologised – though no-one else had noticed. Liz McLean went on to create the same havoc elsewhere, until she received severe criticism from Lord Clyde in the inquiry after Orkney, which finished her career, and she vanished.
Add to all this the fact that some of the Rochdale children, taken into care on the strength of fantastical false allegations of abuse, were placed for ‘safety’ in Knowl View School – a place where real abuse was happening.
The rumours that Smith and his friends orchestrated this debacle have not been proved, but it is a standard strategy with PIE.
What is undeniable is that the institutional weakness caused by decades of dishonesty, denial and turning a blind eye to wrong-doing made the authority less able to perceive reality or act with common sense and integrity. ‘That’s just the way we do things round here’ becomes the norm, with dodgy deals over every issue. The complaints by some of the staff at Knowl View School were all too real, but like the children they had never been able to get anyone to listen. If Smith and his friends had not been allowed such licence for the previous thirty or forty years, it is unlikely that the insanity of allegations of satanic abuse would have found such fertile ground in Rochdale, and then these families would have been saved years of suffering and injustice. And it is certain that the boys at Knowl View would have been better safeguarded.
Similar accusations of satanic ritual abuse occurred in over 80 areas in the UK over a few years around 1990. People working with paedophiles were told repeatedly that members of PIE were initiating these stories to distract attention from real paedophiles. It was the same story everywhere, with greater or lesser success: PIE were able to hook into a group of Satan-fearing Christian fundamentalists who would not normally have got a hearing in this country, and hysteria took off.
In 1994, professor of anthropology Jean la Fontaine produced a report on the subject. She researched 84 cases, and found some hint of ritual in only three of them. The three were sexual abuse with a ritualised element to confuse the children. She found nothing satanic. Since then, there have been no more cases involving children in the UK.
There are still some irresponsible therapists who allude to satanic ritual abuse when they have an adult patient in a suggestible state, in effect lightly hypnotised. They encourage dissociative identity disorder, leading their clients into ridiculous numbers of multiple personalities and false memories, perhaps of human sacrifice, cannibalism, bestiality, dismemberment of foetuses, witchcraft and devil-worship. This is corrupt, reckless and damaging.
Occasionally we still get police believing these negligent therapists and their unfortunate patients, which undermines what may otherwise be a substantive case against a paedophile. There have recently been attempts to mislead the Wiltshire police like this over Ted Heath. Richard/Rachel Hoskins conflated the satanic ritual abuse allegations with the child sexual abuse allegations and claimed they were equally ridiculous.
Third episode of child abuse 1998-ongoing – CSE
From 1998 stories began to circulate of a gang of British Pakistani Muslim taxi drivers abusing large numbers of girls in Rochdale. They were targeting white girls, in their early teens or younger, often but not always from broken homes, some but not all in care. This was actually one of the early cases of a child sexual exploitation and trafficking gang, but at first no-one made sense of it or took it seriously. I remember hearing fragments at the time and wondering, ‘Is there something new going on here or not?’
I noticed how negligent some care homes had become. What was happening? I had not known the extent of privatisation and the consequent fall in standards of care in some, not all, of the homes. But many of these girls were still living at home, perhaps somewhat out of control but with caring, anxious parents, so that was only part of the answer. Schools were reporting concerns and getting no response from social services. Parents made the same complaint. Social services in many parts of the country appeared to be falling apart.
One of these girls was Victoria Agoglia: at 13 she wrote this heart breaking cry for help, in which she describes being drugged and raped by numberless unknown older men:
Victoria was born in 1989 and was fine until her mother died when she was eight. Her stepfather was an inadequate carer and she was taken into care a year or two later. This also proved to be inadequate. She sought help from her local NHS crisis intervention team, and was described by sexual health worker Sara Rowbotham as “bright, funny and engaging”.
DC Maggie Oliver sent her letter with a report to the local police, but a half-hearted investigation into the sexual abuse of many girls by older men, Operation Augusta, was closed down in her absence during three months compassionate leave. Nothing was done and the child died of an overdose two years later.
This child’s death was manslaughter by gross institutional negligence, within the definitions of the Adomako test. This includes the denial by police and social services of reports of child sexual exploitation by Sara Rowbotham and Maggie Oliver, until Nazir Afzal took action to review their cases.
A major obstacle for the local authority was that such allegations seemed racist, which was more heinous to some people than child sexual abuse.
Another was that these girls, like the boys Smith abused, were seen as ‘white trash, rubbish kids in care, already damaged goods, who were probably asking for it’. This was the explicit attitude of some social workers, who told concerned, loving parents that prostitution was the chosen life-style of these children. Actually, they were mostly normal rebellious young teens and pre-teens, some but not all disadvantaged and vulnerable, who all deserved better care than they got from some of the police and social workers. As sexual health worker Sara Rowbotham says in the TV docudrama Three Girls, ‘There’s no such thing as a child prostitute: what there is, is a child who is being abused.’
Another obstacle, it is alleged, was that police, themselves already caught up in previous paedophile activity, participating or covering up for Cyril Smith’s network, took backhanders from these men to turn a blind eye.
Sara Rowbotham spent years trying to get police, the council and social workers to take the grooming, abuse and trafficking seriously.
Maggie Oliver was a brave detective trying to do the same. Some of the parents were beside themselves trying to keep their daughters safe while some of the police colluded corruptly with the gangs. For years nothing serious was done to stop the gangs. It was repeatedly alleged that the gangs were paying off some of the police. It was admitted that the police assigned to the case were untrained.
Three Girls was followed a little later on BBC1 by a documentary, The Betrayed Girls, which gave more details of the difficulties over racism, and the complex reactions of the Muslim community.
Ann Coffey MP for Salford wrote an excellent independent report in 2014, Real Voices. This described child sexual exploitation in Greater Manchester, using young people’s own accounts and photos. She has recently written a follow-up report.
The latest manifestation of the victim blaming is seen with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), which takes it upon itself to deny some children compensation, inadequate to start with, because it deems them to have been complicit in their abuse. This fails to understand grooming and fails to accept the best professional judgment of what happens with these children. It is a crime to engage in sexual activity with a child because a child is not capable of giving fully meaningful consent. They cannot legally be complicit in their abuse. Therefore they cannot legally be denied criminal compensation. Perhaps the CICA rules should be challenged in the High Court.
Back to Knowl View: in 2000, DS Bob Huntbach, head of the domestic violence and child abuse unit in Rochdale, led a further enquiry into the abuse around Knowl View. He has spoken openly about the way he was misled by the Council, including the fact that Phil Shepherd’s damning 1991 report was withheld from him and his team. This alone was a cover-up, since Shepherd’s report contained all the most significant information, and Huntbach was ready and able to act on it.
More and more was coming out. The Council enquiry was stopped, because they could not be trusted to investigate their own shortcomings. But who could be trusted to investigate? Over the years some senior police officers had also fallen very short. There were many excellent people in the area, but there were corrupt people in every department. There was talk of calling in the Home Office, but even more problems had been flagged up there over covert support for PIE, and apparent cover-up of government misbehaviour. Indeed, it was becoming apparent that a lot of the problem was arising from government and the rest of the establishment.
In 2001 Ronald Hall, assistant director of Manchester social services, was arrested as part of Operation Cleopatra. He was jailed for 11 years for 21 counts of historic sexual and physical abuse at a different children’s home, Broome House, in Didsbury. His deputy at the home, Ian Gray, was given a 14 year sentence for serious sexual abuse.
In 2001 Judge Andrew Chubb met a suspicious death when a lawnmower exploded in his garden shed. There were technical details that made this unlikely, and the fire brigade immediately reported it as a suspicious death to the police. Like so many of these deaths, it was the attitude of the police, who seemed to want to dismiss it without investigation, that raised as much suspicion as the death. Chubb did not live nearby, and his death is only raised here because of so many other suspicious deaths of judges, senior police, and others, combined with this strange reluctance of police to investigate properly.
In 2002 Mike Todd took over as Chief Constable at Greater Manchester, and caused considerable bad feeling by starting to clean up corruption, forcing eleven police officers to resign. He offended and alienated others who were involved. He died in 2008 in suspicious circumstances before completing this task (see below). There were also rumours that he knew too much about extraordinary rendition for the comfort of the government.
In 2002 Smith’s friend David Higgins was at last convicted for sexual abuse at Knowl View School in 1971, though he was only jailed for 2 years. More was still to come out.
In 2007 Peter Righton died aged 81, having never been brought to account for all his sexual abuse of children.
In 2007 Judge Rodney Mckinnon apparently jumped to his death from his flat in Dolphin Square, after convicting various high profile paedophiles. Several things made genuine suicide unlikely. As with the death of Iain Mills ten years earlier, it seemed more likely that he was paying for combatting paedophilia, or that he had seen untoward events around sex parties in the flats. Another strange death at Dolphin Square and yet again Paul Knapman was responsible for the inquest, and police and coroner seemed only too eager to dispose of the case.
Dolphin Square is a dangerous place to live, at least for anyone opposing paedophilia. And the Westminster coroner, Dr Paul Knapman, was coming under increasing criticism for various decisions.
On 10 March 2008 Sergeant Richard Fuller, head of round-the-clock security at an ostensibly little-used country house, Ray Mill near Lacock in Wiltshire, belonging to the Duchess of Cornwall, had apparently shot himself to death. No-one seems to understand why the tax payer should contribute £2,600,000 a year for the upkeep of this manor house, or what it is used for. The only record of the house being used is for the wedding of a Parker-Bowles daughter. What else goes on there. Why does it need so much security? Why do we have to pay for it? Fuller’s death was unexplained – the usual list of personal reasons – but might have passed unnoticed had it not been followed immediately by those of two more police officers.
The day after this, 11 March 2008, Greater Manchester Chief Constable Mike Todd supposedly fell off the 300-foot Bwlch Glas in Snowdonia without injuring himself, drank himself so silly that he collapsed in the snow but was barely over the limit, though there was a strong smell of gin on him and around, stripped off most of his clothes and died of exposure. He was an experienced mountain walker. He had arranged to meet a whistleblower up there. There was much debate about whether this was a suicide, and an open verdict. North West Wales coroner Dewi Pritchard-Jones said there was not enough evidence to rule that Mr Todd deliberately intended to take his own life in the isolated spot on Snowdon where his body was found.
Then 13 March 2008, Inspector Neil Munro, 20 years with Dorset police, was found dead in Poole harbour, caught under the jetty of a sea-front mansion belonging to a Manchester property dealer. It was widely reported that he had bad head injuries and a ticket for the night ferry in his pocket. It was unclear whether he had fallen/ jumped/ been pushed off a ferry or been murdered on-shore and dumped in the sea with the ticket put in his pocket. Dorset chief constable Martin Baker, previously an inspector – with GMP! –, denied any head injuries and said the death was not suspicious. Another biddable chief constable?
But Munro was investigating the élite yachting community, following claims that children from Haut de la Garenne children’s home on Jersey, and other children from Islington and other English children’s homes ‘holidaying’ there, were being trafficked to wealthy yachtsmen to be abused; some were said to have been murdered when they recognised their abuser as Ted Heath on Morning Cloud, or as Heath’s bodyguards referred to it Morning Sickness – just knocked on the head and dropped off in deep water. Munro had collected considerable evidence, which disappeared on his death. He was very concerned about the death of Mike Todd. Coroner Sheriff Payne recorded an open verdict on Munro, saying: ‘I do not feel all explanations for him ending up in the water have been resolved. There may be a strange explanation we are unaware of.’
In all, three police officers died in inadequately explained circumstances in four days. Stress and personal problems were given as reasons for all of them, but they had no more than most senior police, and officers working in child protection were concerned that some or all had been ‘suicided’.
Linda Corby has written that following a tip-off, she and a Jersey senator watched 11 children go out sailing with Ted Heath, and 10 come back. The mum from St Helier said she and the senator went to police HQ to make a statement but a few days later officers told them ‘someone above’ had told them not to investigate, and later they ‘lost’ her statement. Other witnesses have described children being taken out on the Morning Cloud and coming back crying. There are many similar stories, and masses of links with Islington children’s homes and through them with Suffolk centres such as that on the Henniker estate.
Eileen Fairweather has researched and written about the abuse on Jersey and elsewhere for years. One of the repeated experiences she has written about has been of junior police officers, some very frightened, coming to her with information about paedophiles that their senior officers have forbidden them to follow up or pass on appropriately.
Complaints about paedophile gangs in Rochdale continued. Gradually I collected reports from other areas, Derby, Oxford, Telford, Rotherham, Bradford, Keighley, Blackburn, Bristol, Preston…
In 2006 Mohammed Shafiq, a youth worker, married with three daughters, initially became aware of the problem of British Pakistanis abusing very young girls in Blackburn. He then found it in his home town of Rochdale and started campaigning against it.
In 2008 Shabir Ahmed and Kabeer Hassan were arrested and questioned following a complaint of rape from a young girl (Holly in the film Three Girls), but nothing further happened. It took the police 11 months to send the file to the CPS. Just as the DPP had refused to prosecute Smith 40 years earlier, and for the same non-reason described by Danczuk, the DPP decided, apparently on the advice of the police, that the witness would not be credible. He refused to prosecute, despite Ahmed’s DNA being on the girl’s underwear. Just as with Smith, this refusal to prosecute led to the gang becoming absurdly arrogant; they boasted to the girls that they were untouchable, making them feel more helpless. Sexual exploitation became the norm for a huge number of girls. 47 were named by the police, but many more were known. In a similar episode in Rotherham, a similar sized town, Alexis Jay estimated that 1,400 girls had been abused.
In 2009 Savile’s last recorded offence took place. So far at least 500 offences are known.
In 2009, the year before Smith died, RAW, Rochdale Alternative Website, the successor to RAP, talked of his ‘simplistic gut feelings, shallow political opportunism and aggressive sniping – that is the political legacy of Cyril Smith in Rochdale. Bluff, bullshit and bullying well mixed with coverup, murky deals and secret societies benefitting from the mess.’
That was indeed what Smith bequeathed on Rochdale. RAW went on to describe vividly the invidious position the boys Smith had abused were in.
In 2009 Judge William Everard died in strange circumstances. He too had convicted paedophiles. It was claimed he had been drunk and drowned in a couple of inches of water. But friends said he was not drunk when he left the village pub to walk the short way home.
In 2009 Jack Straw, then Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary under PM Gordon Brown, instead of taking steps to help protect children from abuse, tried to make it illegal, in Part 2 of the Children, Schools and Families Act 2010, for children in care homes to complain of abuse. Fortunately the Justice Select Committee intervened, and repealed this section under section 17(4) of the Crime and Courts Act 2010 before it was enacted. I have a copy of an FOI request where this was confirmed by the Ministry of Justice.
It beggars belief that Straw could be so brazen. He should be called to a televised hearing of IICSA, in the way the Australian Royal Commission held high officials like Cardinal George Pell to public account. They are unlikely to get an admission or evidence of collusion, but let the public see just how plausible his denials are, as we did Pell’s.
In 2010 Smith died aged 82, followed a year later by Savile, aged 85. Looking back at their offending careers, they belong to the minority of predatory paedophiles who abuse an astonishing number of children. Even so, Sir Cyril and Sir Jimmy were in a different league from most we know of, because of the way they were protected and therefore enabled by the establishment – by influential members of national and local government, royalty, the police, the secret services, the civil service, social services, the media – every institution they touched. And, but for the chance discovery by customs, Righton almost managed to become ‘Sir Peter’ with them.
In 2011 a blue plaque to Smith was put up. In 2012, the then Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk spoke out, demanding a full investigation into the allegations against Smith. The blue plaque was removed ‘to prevent any vandalism’. So was Savile’s headstone, as complaints about him came out and the family gave up protesting his innocence.
In perhaps 2011, more of the Attorney-General Michael Havers’ cover-up was revealed when Cabinet Office minutes from 1983 were released – the 30 year rule had begun to be gradually reduced. The minutes showed that he had restricted the scope of the Kincora inquiry, in order to protect MPs and other prominent public figures. This rigging of an inquiry and cover-up of child sexual abuse in a Northern Ireland children’s home had been alleged for years, and whistleblowers had been denigrated and even imprisoned where they could be claimed to have broken the Official Secrets Act. This is what we have been worried will be done to IICSA. Havers’ sister Elizabeth Butler-Sloss also covered up sexual abuse of young people in inquiries she ran.
In 2011 the CPS appointed Nazir Afzal to be the NW chief crown prosecutor, and he reversed previous decisions and prosecuted the men who were exploiting the girls.
In 2012 nine men were convicted of child sexual exploitation: Shabir Ahmed, 59, the ringleader of the gang, inappropriate behaviour in court, 19 years. Throughout the trial, he showed no remorse. He tore out clumps of his own chest hair in the witness box and made a female court interpreter run crying from the room. Delivering a bilious rant from the dock, he dismissed the accusations as “white lies”, cursed the “bent bastards” who had brought him to trial and denounced everyone from the prosecution lawyer and Theresa May to Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher. Kabeer Hassan, 25 claimed he was too young and innocent to understand what was going on, 9 years. Abdul Aziz, 41, married, a father, ferried girls to Leeds, Bradford etc and sold them off, 9 years. Abdul Rauf, 43, married, a father, sacked by the mosque under dubious circumstances, irritated co-defendants by praying non-stop under his breath, was punched by one for it, 6 years. Mohammed Sajid, 35, married, a father, 12 years. Adil Khan, 42, married, a father, made an underage girl abort a pregnancy, claimed they weren’t girls, they were women, 8 years. Abdul Quayyum, 43, married, a father, ‘a pillar of Rochdale’s Pakistani’s community’, ‘has fully adopted the British way of life’ according to references two councillors, Zulf Ali and Aftab Hussain, wrote for the jury, 5 years. Mohammed Amin, 44, 5 years. All of Pakistani origin; and Hamid Safi, 22, an Afghan asylum seeker, 4 years.
The crimes detailed by Operation Span, which led to the conviction of these nine men in 2012, were the same as those identified ten years earlier in Operation Augusta. Even though they were brought to account, the charges, which should have been rape in most cases, were minimised and they were out of jail too soon.
A month later, Shabir Ahmed was convicted, in a further trial, on 30 counts of child rape. This time his victim was Asian. The abuse had gone on for longer than a decade, but it was not until after Ahmed’s arrest in the grooming case that his victim found the courage to give the police full details of what she had suffered.
In 2012, when news about these convictions came out, a girl walked into Rochdale police station saying she knew about the grooming. She reported that when she was aged 14 and 15 she was repeatedly sexually groomed by a large number of men from the Rochdale area. The victim – described by prosecutors as an ‘extremely vulnerable young woman’ who had had a difficult home life and a learning disability – said her phone number had been passed around and that hundreds of men would ring her wanting to meet for sex.
This led to another large investigation, Operation Doublet, with many men arrested, many previous complaints from girls being re-opened and more girls traced.
In 2012, the Independent Police Complaints Commission and the Association of Chief Police Officers reported on the abuse of police powers to perpetrate sexual violence. It was good as far as it went. It would not be helpful in a situation where a significant proportion of a force was sexually corrupt.
On 27 November 2012 a statement was put out by the CPS by Nazir Afzal, discussing the previous decades of decisions not to prosecute abusers – Smith and his network, and these gangs of exploiting men. He had also done good work in tackling so-called ‘honour’based violence and forced marriage. Keir Starmer, the then DPP, had appointed him to head a new national network of specialist prosecutors for child abuse and sexual exploitation.
In 2013 Keir Starmer resigned, and Alison Saunders, the DPP who made excuses and delayed any prosecution of Greville Janner until it was too late, took over.
In 2013 Commander Peter Spindler was leading the police criminal investigation into organised paedophiles and the abuse of children at Grafton Close children’s home and Elm Guest House in Lambeth, as well as other leading paedophile cases. After announcing (why don’t people just do something quietly before announcing it?) that the Metropolitan Police were about to arrest a former Tory Cabinet minister, he was taken off the investigation and moved sideways to another job. Nothing more was heard about arresting the minister.
In 2014 Operation Clifton started looking into an alleged cover-up during the years 1985 to 1995 of child abuse, with Andrew Warnock QC leading. It was taken over in the April by Neil Garnham QC.
Phil Shepherd, who wrote the damning report about Knowl View in 1991, complained on Channel 4 that still no-one from the Council or Health department had spoken to him.
On 7 July 2014 Peter Fahy, chief constable of GMC – himself implicated in at least looking the other way – asked the Council to stop investigating as they were too involved in the cover-up to consider it. But so were Greater Manchester Police!
On the same day Theresa May, at that point still running the Home Office, announced the original inquiry into institutional child sexual abuse under Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, the government’s safe pair of hands, until protests from an appalled public forced Butler-Sloss to stand down. At first these protests were mainly about the influence of her relationship with her brother Michael Havers, the attorney general who had not only covered up for prestigious paedophiles but had also come under suspicion himself. But pressure about her own failures soon followed. For instance she admitted that she had covered up the abuse by Bishop Peter Ball because she cared about the Church.
All this led to doubts about the good faith of the government in setting up the inquiry. What does it say about Theresa May’s integrity that she should appoint such a woman?
In 2014 Smith’s friend David Higgins was convicted to 14 years for abuse, not at Knowl View but in Leeds. This was a different boy from the one he was convicted of assaulting in 1976, for which he had had a conditional discharge. Higgins was the only one of Smith’s network to be convicted. He had still not been fully prosecuted for Knowl View. More survivors made complaints, including more from Knowl View, and further cases were waiting to be heard.
In November 2014 Simon Danczuk and his parliamentary aide Matthew Baker published Smile for the Camera: the Double Life of Cyril Smith, an exposé of the abuse committed by Smith, in what was now Danczuk’s constituency of Rochdale. As a result Danczuk was asked for support by a flood of survivors, which was beyond his capacity to cope with. It made him understand the stress of working with survivors, and in the end he had to say he could not take any more. He apparently behaved chaotically, sometimes inappropriately, and the stories were increased by disinformation that was broadcast about him to bring him into disrepute. As so often happens for whistleblowers, it was impossible to distinguish truth from propaganda and black ops. Some of the mud tends to stick, although sometimes there are no grounds for it.
Andrew Brown, a businessman from Rhyl, appeared in court in October 2014 to disclose abuse by paedophile ex-police sergeant Don Mackintosh for two years when he was a child. Mackintosh was remanded on bail.
In October 2014 Don Mackintosh was found hanged at his home in Stalybridge – by his own hand or another’s? He had been due to face another trial in May 2015 for fresh child sex allegations dating back to the 1970s. In February 2015 the officer he had threatened with the Official Secrets Act in 1988 received an anonymous call from a man who said: ‘There may be an investigation – keep your mouth shut.’ So police corruption, with threats of extreme violence, was continuing in 2015.
In December 2014 MP John Mann gave Scotland Yard a file with detailed evidence of five paedophile networks at Westminster, involving 22 politicians.
In 2015, just as the CPS was at last dealing properly with the child sexual exploitation in Rochdale, the chief crown prosecutor for the north-west, Nazir Afzal, stood down in unclear circumstances. The Manchester Evening News reported in March 2015 that he had resigned ‘after being cleared of alleged impropriety’ – he was accused and then cleared of sending a text to a defendant – which sounds like typical MI5 dirty tricks towards whistleblowers. At the same time he was ‘being made redundant as part of government savings’. Apparently Nazir Afzal was ‘let go’ by DPP Alison Saunders, who was being widely criticised for returning to the previous CPS practices of covering up for paedophilia networks in general, in order to protect it within the establishment.
Afzal had criticised earlier CPS decisions on the decades of abuse in Rochdale since 1970. He had reversed the CPS stance and successfully prosecuted Shabir Ahmed and his gang in 2012. A similar case was well under way. We have seen that the previous DPP Keir Starmer appointed him to head a new national network of specialist prosecutors for child sexual abuse and exploitation because of his work on ‘honour’-based violence and forced marriage. Was he sacked from that too, or not?
Was it particularly the last of these that led the government to get rid of him? Just think how he could have worked with IICSA. Just imagine him live-streamed with them. What a threat that would have been to establishment paedophiles and their helpful friends. If that suspicion appears to be based on insufficient evidence, try combining it with the situation for another arm of the criminal justice system:
On 9 July 2014 Chris Hobbs, a retired special branch officer, told Sky news that it was clear that quite a few officers, from the rank of commissioner and chief constable to detective level, would know something about allegations of child abuse among politicians three decades ago, and would speak out if there was protection from the Official Secrets Act. Peter Garsden, president of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers, pointed out that this must not include letting them off child abuse allegations themselves.
In 2015 some MPs asked David Cameron to guarantee that police who gave evidence to IICSA would not be disciplined in any way or face charges under the Official Secrets Act, as most police officers still feel too threatened to speak out about these issues.
Instead of simply agreeing, as he would have done had he been backing IICSA, Cameron put it to Parliament, who voted against it, disgusting most of the public. Theresa May as Home Secretary gave a typically weak response: ‘would not expect them – I would hope them not to be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act.’ Unsurprisingly, as they see what happens to whistleblowers, police do not feel confident that this is enough to ensure their jobs and pensions – and lives – are safe. It does, however, ensure that any establishment paedophile networks continue to feel safe.
Theresa May should be challenged again now she is PM. This is something decent she could do for the country without any expense. As Danczuk said,
‘There has to be a more formal response from government, which says that former police officers who co-operate, give evidence and share their knowledge of what went on with regard to this alleged cover-up should not be disciplined in any way, with regard to the Official Secrets Act or in any other way.’
In October 2015, John Mann passed on to the police another file dealing with the Westminster child abuse when he was given another copy of Geoff Dickens’ second dossier, which he also showed to the BBC.
Barry Bennell was jailed again in 2015 and in 2016 was out on licence under an assumed name, which soon became known. Why was he released so soon? More and more people have been coming forward with complaints about him. Because of football’s macho culture, individual football stars are only now beginning to disclose that they were abused, and revealing how it wrecked their careers and lives. Andy Woodward went public, and then six more professional footballers did the same, and soon it was twenty, then forty. Within two hours of a helpline being opened, more than 50 other men had made complaints, and in a week it was 860. It is now obvious that an extensive paedophile network existed, and survivors believe hundreds and probably thousands of boys were abused. This time no-one questioned the credibility of the disclosures. Eddie Heath, Chris Gieler and others have been named along with Bennell and the list grows all the time.
In April 2016, the second Rochdale sex trafficking gang, consisting of 10 men, was convicted. Afraz Ahmed, 33, rape, conspiracy to rape and sexual activity with a child, 25 years in jail. Another defendant, 40, who cannot be named for legal reasons, rape and attempting to abduct a child, 23 years. Choudry Ikhalaq Hussain, 38, convicted in his absence of rape, sexual activity with a child and conspiracy to rape; absconded during trial currently believed to be in Pakistan, 19 years. Mohammed Dauood, 38, rape, sexual activity with a child and sexual assault, 16 years in jail. David Law, 46, of Ilkeston, Derbyshire, conspiracy to rape, 11 years. Rehan Ali, 27, rape and sexual activity with a child, 7 years. Kutab Miah, 35, rape and sexual activity with a child, 9 years. Abid Khan, 38, sexual activity with a child, 6½ years. Mohammed Zahid, 54, sexual activity with a child, 5 years. The 10th man, Mahfuz Rahman, 29, is serving a five and a half year sentence at Garth prison, having pleaded guilty in September 2015 to three counts of sexual activity with a child.
This time there were charges of rape, as there should have been in the first trial, and consequently longer sentences.
On 29 Sept 2016 there was a sudden announcement out of nowhere from the CPS, now with Martin Goldman as chief crown prosecutor for the north-west and Alison Saunders as DPP, that there would be no more action over Cyril Smith and the inquiry into Knowl View was closed. Back to the days of the Criminal Protection Society. David Higgins and others will not face further prosecutions, despite the demands of other survivors who are still waiting to be heard. There were protests from the survivors waiting to go to court. There was no explanation. Could this have happened if Nazir Afzal had still been in place? Was that why he was removed?
In February 2017 we learned that Operation Clifton had found that there was no cover-up of child sexual abuse at Knowl View… unsurprisingly. I have accumulated enough evidence here, from publicly accessible sources, to show this is itself yet another cover-up. No doubt survivors and decent professionals in Rochdale can add to my account. The people responsible for Clifton should be brought before IICSA on TV to account for how they interpreted this evidence as something other than a cover-up. Again, as with Cardinal George Pell in the Australian inquiry, they may not be proved guilty but the public will be able to see how feeble their answers are.
So the Rochdale child sexual abuse story still has no conclusion. There is still a massive cover-up. Corrupt police officers still operate there, having perhaps disposed of their biggest threat, chief constable Mike Todd. Some council staff are still lying. Unless IICSA can really dig out the roots of child sexual abuse in Rochdale, it will continue in some form. At the moment that looks like being more trafficking and child sexual exploitation, probably developing an online aspect. This appears to be extending to boys now as well as girls. I have not made any attempt to explore online abuse, because I have no expertise in it. No doubt other novel ways of sexually abusing children will evolve if the community is not cleaned up and strengthened.
People unconnected with the problems are impressed that 19 men have been imprisoned in connection with CSE, and yet this is trivial in the light of the descriptions by young people and youth workers of the reality of mass harassment. Despite having been individually reported, at least a hundred of these men still dominate the streets, intimidating past victims and looking for – the revolting term they use – ‘fresh meat’.
Survivors want IICSA to look at their cases and give them public justice, while an extraordinary number of politicians and other establishment figures appear to be undermining the Inquiry. Drusilla Sharpling, the lead for the Rochdale strand, has shown herself trustworthy in past cases. Will she be allowed to do the job properly? We all know why Butler-Sloss and Wolf were unacceptable as chairs, but we are concerned about what happened with Goddard, and we are anxious to have full and honest disclosure about it. The fourth chair, Alexis Jay, has proved herself by doing a good job in similar, though less public, circumstances in Rotherham.
Rotherham was a child sexual abuse investigation on the scale of one of the 13 strands in the IICSA investigations. It produced a result which satisfied most of the public as being competent and open, unlike those, for instance, in North Wales, where the Jillings report was suppressed at the insistence of Municipal Mutual Insurance for fear of compensation costs. Tim Hulbert, the whistleblower in the Home Office, reported this as common practice by insurance companies in local authorities. He accused insurers of ‘immoral and obscene’ behaviour which had allowed the full extent of abuse to remain hidden.
Jay proved herself resilient against the dirty tricks of corrupt police and councillors in Rotherham but the black arts operate at a different level in Westminster. Are the guilty going to let her find them out? She has made it clear she is aware of them after all that has happened to IICSA. ‘Strong vested interests would like to see this inquiry implode. There are institutions which would prefer to see us fail, because we are such a threat. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to achieve the maximum impact’. ‘Turning a blind eye takes many, many forms. There are some powerful institutions and individuals that don’t know what we know. Like it or not, they’re going to be called to account.’
We are hoping that Jay has been able to build a strong enough team, and has enough public backing, to support her against those of the country’s élite who take it as axiomatic that they are entitled to dominate and exploit the rest of us. Are the people going to unite to stop the guilty blocking her and the team, or are we going to disable ourselves with in-fighting?
English civil servants have a formidable reputation for intelligence and competence – and, apart from the inevitable odd bad apple, integrity. The quality we have seen from IICSA in on-line seminars is impressive, but these have not yet been about anything politically sensitive. We have seen how a significant proportion of the Home Office, both civil servants and elected government ministers, could not be trusted even in the recent past. Barbara Castle named 40 MPs, quite apart from the paedophiles she named, as sympathetic to PIE. To what extent is this sympathy and cover-up continuing in the present? Can we trust all of the IICSA team? We have to be reassured by having as much as possible fully open to the public.
IICSA is possible – look at what has been achieved by the similar Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia, which like Rotherham is recognised as a success. If we allow IICSA to be derailed by the guilty and their friends, abuse will continue unabated as long as the cover-up continues, as it did after Jillings, needing further reports and prosecutions to get the work done. And the guilty will make it impossible for us to get another inquiry going for the foreseeable future.
Look how long Hillsborough took to get honesty, and how it festered until there was finally an open inquest, with a jury. The high-handed rule of the South Yorkshire police chief constable was found to be at the root of the disaster. David Duckenfield, the chief superintendent in charge on the day in 1989 that 96 people were killed, had to be cross questioned in court for a week until he admitted his failings over policing the football match, and that he had lied. He was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence. Many others had lied, colluded, and been negligent and six have been convicted. Orgreave in 1984 was less important in that no lives were lost, but the same South Yorkshire police have never been held properly to account for their violence and lies there. This unresolved injustice is still giving them a bad name throughout the country, and is causing bitterness in the local community. It led directly to their incompetence and lies over Hillsborough, and thence to bribe-taking and collusion over CSE.
It is the same principle that I am exploring in this whole piece: unless the roots of a problem are dug out, it is liable to become institutionalised and expand in ever-widening circles down the generations. The situation is similar with various institutions all over the country. This corruption cannot be resolved only by forgiveness and reconciliation. Restorative justice first requires honest disclosure of what they did, even if it is decades old, and even if the perpetrators are dead.
At the same time, it is a careful balance. We need historical cases opened up, but corrupt police encourage distraction into investigating the dead to the exclusion of living paedophiles. The police must pursue the paedophiles who are still alive, and bring them to justice; and police, mostly retired, must be legally enabled to give evidence about what they saw in the past. IICSA must take the lead in painstakingly digging out the past, and either referring people to the police for prosecution now for historic abuse; or publicising the offences of the dead with evidence so that their allies can never again claim their innocence. The establishment must be shown up for its corruption. We need past and present dealt with, hand in hand, thoroughly.
The major change which has empowered the public is the internet, which has dramatically decreased the deference felt towards the establishment. The establishment is fighting a rear guard action to maintain their superiority, while ordinary people claim their equality. They govern only with our consent: our power lies in uniting. Let us unite and impel them into honesty. And remember that some of them always were honest, and some have done their best to bring the truth out.
It is not true that ‘it was a different era and the climate towards child sexual abuse was different’. Ordinary people were always appalled at such depraved behaviour. The difference was that they were more naïve – they assumed that the great and good did not, on the whole, behave in such ways. The public simply could not believe that decent, high-status men working for our good would do so. And they were right about some of them: some of the men and women in the establishment neither abused nor colluded, but far too many did.
Some still do: we currently see corruption most clearly over money, whether expenses claims, bribery in brown paper bags or the blatant conflicts of interest in successive health ministers and NHS England officials who claim to support the NHS while bleeding it dry into nursing homes and privatised firms from which they take enormous profits.
It’s not that we’re obsessing over dead men who got away with child abuse. We are after those who allowed them to get away with it, women as well as men, who in many ways make us even more angry; and those now who deny that those dead men committed these crimes. Paedophiles are psychopaths we despise, of whom we have no better expectations, while those who cover up for them are often people we expected better of, who have betrayed our trust.
So what was so awful about Rochdale, to create all this havoc? Nothing special. There was a mixture of causes, just as in all the other towns and cities where this was and is happening. Many of the men in the latest outbreak were from the same Kashmiri village, and knew each other before coming to England. In many towns the situation is similar to Rochdale: older Pakistani men targeting vulnerable under-age white girls. Some Pakistani men have been found guilty of sexually and physically abusing younger Muslim children in madrasas.
In Bristol such a convicted gang was Somali. In Hull, teachers complained of a group of Kurdish men pestering their pupils. In some areas the perpetrators are long-established criminal gangs of mainly older white men, enslaving and trafficking very young girls of any ethnicity as part of their business portfolio. In one trial in Derby in 2012, seven out of eight men convicted of sexually exploiting vulnerable under aged girls were white, and they were not working as a gang. In some areas the exploitation is not by gangs of older men but by street gangs of younger men of any race, not much older than the girls, and the abuse is almost incidental to gang warfare and knife crime, sometimes gun crime, all fuelled by drug running. Sue Berelowitz, the deputy children’s commissioner, recently told the House of Commons home affairs select committee: ‘There isn’t a town, village or hamlet in which children are not being sexually exploited.’
Some councils are exasperating in their complacency – ‘there does not seem to be a particular ethnicity in the abusers’ – in an area where I knew there were problems with young single male asylum seekers from a particular region of the world, a badly failing ‘care’ system, teachers in despair because they had nowhere to refer obvious child abuse to – and a well-known paedophile ring within the local police were insisting that the DPA required them to delete any allegations of child sexual abuse after a month. To some extent that has been painstakingly dealt with, but not completely.
Over the country, girls of various ethnicities are targeted – the only thing they have in common is that they are vulnerable in various ways, mainly because of their age. The only thing the men have in common is that they are selfish, misogynist, entitled and exploit girls who are too young to see through them and stand up to them.
It is not about religion: Islam does not permit child abuse, any more than Christianity does. It appears to be about patriarchal cultures that bring boys up with a sense that they are worth much more than their sisters. We also have to ask why so many of our little girls are vulnerable: why do they feel so neglected and unloved that they respond to furry animals, food and false affection from what most kids would avoid as ‘dirty old men’?
In many areas what is still not being addressed is the background of chronic corruption of all kinds – business and planning for instance – as well as the long-standing cover-up of child sexual abuse that has been rife for decades. Most of these districts still cannot be named for fear of libel. So many police forces are notorious for networks of both Freemasonry and paedophilia, and often they are hand-in-glove with a council and its services running on back handers, all going back generations.
Yorkshire, for instance, after the police lies and corruption over Orgreave and Hillsborough, and years of denial, back handers and undue influence from Savile, was as vulnerable as Rochdale and the towns around it to the next network of abusers getting greater and greater control of the situation. After colluding with Savile, and letting him top-up one’s salary or expenses, it was an easy step to conspiring with the business men and planning departments. And so we had the 1,400 abused girls in Rotherham, multiplied by all the other towns.
At the end of the film Three Girls, we see the continuing denial and cover-up by the police and social services, which we can see will enable abuse to continue – unless IICSA can do as much as the Hillsborough Inquiry. Senior police tell PC Maggie Oliver that they won’t bring any more prosecutions – with the result, as we know, that the remaining scores or hundreds of abusers are dominating the streets and still intimidating girls. Some social services boss tells a radio presenter that it wasn’t their fault they didn’t do more: the sexual health support service should have alerted them to the scale of the problem – just like Valerie Mellor in 1992 blaming staff at Knowl View. In both cases, senior staff are blatantly lying, still trying to cover up their responsibility for failing to deal with the abuse and blaming the staff at the coal face, Sara Rowbotham and her colleagues over CSE and Martin Digan and his colleagues at Knowl View, who had whistle blown for years. And Greater Manchester Police have the brass neck to say, ‘We’ve investigated and there was no cover-up.’
Anne Wade 2017
Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading this information. These links are generally UK based.
- The Sanctuary for the Abused [A] has advice on how to prevent triggers.
- National Association for People Abused in Childhood [B] has a freephone helpline and has links to local support groups.
- One in Four [C]
- Havoca [D].
- Useful post on Triggers [E] from SurvivorsJustice [F] blog.
- Jim Hoppers pages on Mindfulness [G] and Meditation [H] may be useful.
- Hwaairfan blog An Indigenous Australian Approach to Healing Trauma [J]
- Survivors UK for victims and survivors of male rape or the sexual abuse of men [K]
- Voicing CSA group [L] helps arrange survivors meetings in your area
- A Prescription for me blog Various emotional support links [M]
- ShatterBoys -“Male Survivors Of Childhood Sexual Abuse Inspiring change, Through Shared Experience Whilst Building Connections…Together We Can Heal” [N]
- Fresh Start Foundation Scottish not for profit group, helping child sexual abuse victims & survivors [P]
Rochdale Three Girls MP Cyril Smith child sexual abuse satanic ritual abuse child sexual exploitation Peter Righton Jimmy Savile Cambridge House Moorland Home Knowl View School Underley Hall School MP David Steel Harry Wild Henry Howarth David Higgins MP Michael Havers Elizabeth Butler-Sloss Peter Hayman MP Peter Morrison MP Leon Brittan MP David Steel mandatory reporting exemption from Official Secrets Act Don Mackintosh Paul Flowers Valerie Mellor John Pierce Bill Utting MP Virginia Bottomley MP William Whitelaw IICSA Ian Davey Pam Hawton MP Ted Heath The Betrayed Girls Jack Straw Alison Saunders Theresa May Alexis Jay Dru Sharpling
Victims: Vishal Mehrotra Tom Hosey the unnamed caretaker Bulic Forsythe Victoria Agoglia
Survivors/whistle blowers: Ronald Alan Neal Kevin Griffiths Barry Fitton Eddie Shorrock Chris Marshall Andrew Brown Andy Woodward
Whistle blowers: Lyndon Price Simon Danczuk Matthew Baker MP Geoffrey Dickens MP Barbara Castle MP John Mann MP Tom Watson Guy Adams Charles Oxley Tim Hulbert RAP Jeff Edwards Don Hale Hilton Tims Barry Strevens Martin Digan Alison Frazer Phil Shepherd Michele Elliott Peter McKelvie Sara Rowbotham Maggie Oliver Nazir Afzal Mike Todd Neil Munro Linda Corby Eileen Fairweather Mohammed Shafiq
[A] Sanctuary for the Abused http://abusesanctuary.blogspot.co.uk/2006/07/for-survivors-coping-with-triggers-if.html
Let justice be done though the heavens fall – Fiat justitia ruat cælum