Richard Kerr (53), who now lives in the US, visited the site of the former care home as he returned to Northern Ireland to launch legal action so the truth about Kincora can finally be told
A former resident of Kincora has made a poignant return to the notorious care home where he was abused decades ago.
Richard Kerr (53), who now lives in Dallas, visited Belfast this week to support a legal challenge against the Government’s refusal to include Kincora in its forthcoming child abuse inquiry.
While he was here Mr Kerr went to the east Belfast site for the first time in more than three decades.
Kincora was the subject of a high-profile child sex abuse scandal in the 1980s. Three senior staff were jailed in 1981 for abusing 11 boys in their care at the home. Those convicted were the warden Joseph Mains, his assistant Raymond Semple, and Kincora’s housefather William McGrath.
Mr Kerr was among the young residents who were abused. He was sent to live there in 1975 when he was just 14. Mr Kerr’s evidence about Kincora is potentially explosive because he claims he was taken out of the care home and introduced to other men for sex at hotels. He also alleges MI5 involvement in the abuse at the home. This contradicts previous police investigations and a public inquiry into the scandal, which found there was no evidence of a paedophile ring connected to Kincora. Mr Kerr choked back tears as he walked through the grounds of the locked-up building.
He pointed out where abusers and victims had their rooms, where abuse took place and where abusers had parked. The visit jogged his memory. He pointed to a nearby building where he said boys were taken for sexual encounters. He also described a shed or hut in what is now a yard behind Kincora which was used for sex. “It had a chair and a mattress in it, that’s about all,” he said.
Mr Kerr was in Belfast High Court this week to support the application of Gary Hoy, another Kincora resident, to have the issue examined by the UK-wide institutional child abuse inquiry in England rather than the local one chaired by Anthony Hart QC.
On Thursday they were granted leave to appeal after a statement by Mr Kerr was presented to the court. He gave further statements to his solicitor, Kevin Winters, about sexual abuse which happened in London, Manchester and other parts of Britain. Some may have occurred on a weekend trip from Kincora, where he lived most of the time between 1975 and 1978.
Other abuse occurred after he was sent to live in England. One of Mr Kerr’s most explosive allegations is that Joseph Mains used to send him to collect other men. Although some met him in the city centre, often near the Europa where he worked for a while, he called at some of their homes.
“One on the Shore Road seemed like he might be an Army captain, he had loads of medals,” he said. He is making a list of the names, at least one of whom was a well-known loyalist.
Kevin Winters said: “My clients include three Kincora inmates – the other two are Gary Hoy and Clint Massey. I have put their names in to the Police Ombudsman who is investigating. All of these people are bringing civil litigation as well and I have another solicitor dealing with the compensation claims.”