Retired senior officer who worked on child murder case warns not to discount a cover-up
A senior detective who worked on an unsolved case of child murder in the 1980s says she fears there could have been a “cover-up” surrounding allegations of a Westminster paedophile ring based at the notorious Elm Guest House.
Jackie Malton, who worked as a detective with the Metropolitan Police, told the Daily Telegraph newspaper there had sometimes been “a feeling of misuse of power”.
“There is clear evidence that something was happening at that guesthouse,” she said. “If nothing has been done about it in retrospect, then Mr Mehrotra is right. Either the police disbelieved it, or they covered it up one way or another.”
“During my time in the police there was a feeling of misuse of power. There were a lot of powerful people saying, ‘Don’t you know who I am?’”
Now retired, Ms Malton worked on the investigation into the 1981 disappearance of nine-year-old boy Vishal Mehrotra as a detective sergeant. Vishal was abducted as he walked home to Putney in south London, after watching the marriage procession of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
He disappeared less than a mile away from the notorious Elm Guest House in Barnes during the period it was alleged to be used as a base for child abuse by top establishment figures.
The child’s bones were found in a Sussex field six months later.
The Metropolitan Police announced last week that it was investigating the possibility that murders could have been linked to the alleged paedophile ring.
The inquiry was started after an alleged victim at the guesthouse came forward claiming to have witnessed three boys being killed, including one who was allegedly strangled by a Conservative MP during a violent sex game.
Earlier this week Vishal’s father, Vishambar Mahrotra, who is a retired magistrate, claimed he had recorded an anonymous caller saying his son might have been taken to the Elm Guest House. He says he took the recording to the police but that they had to refused to investigate the allegation. Mr Mahortra said he believed there was a “cover-up”.
Jane Tennison, Dame Helen Mirren’s character in the television programme Prime Suspect was based on Ms Malton, who retired from Scotland Yard in 1997 having achieved the rank of detective chief inspector.
The former senior officer said she had no evidence of a cover-up, but described a policing culture at the time in which police were deferential to politicians who were implicated in crimes.
“Some inquiries would come to an end when someone senior said, ‘That’s enough’,” she said. “I remember a case where there was an MP accused of cottaging and it all kind of disappeared.”
“There was also a strong sense of the power of Parliament and of politicians. It was very much a case of ‘do as you are told’.
“There was certainly a culture of disbelief among the officers, and that often didn’t help to get to the truth. But the politicians were very much in power, and the police officers’ voices could often not be heard.”