We must investigate new sex abuse claims says Leo McKinstry

Published April 9, 2015 by JS2

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For years there have been dark rumours that a paedophile ring operated at the heart of the British establishment in the 1970s and early-1980s.

Such claims used to be frequently dismissed as nothing more than lurid conspiracy theories.

But after all the revelations about Cyril Smith and Jimmy Savile that kind of arrogance is no longer tenable.

A significant new development has further exposed the foul malignancy within the political system.

This week Richard Kerr, a child abuse survivor from Northern Ireland, recounted how he was not only brutally exploited by paedophiles in the notorious care home of Kincora in Belfast but was also trafficked to London, where he was assaulted at the Elm Guest House in south-west London and at a flat in Dolphin Square, the apartment complex near Parliament.

These locations in the capital have heavily featured in allegations about a paedophile network within the elite.

Cyril Smith reportedly was a visitor to the Elm Guest House.

What is so important about Richard Kerr’s testimony this week is that he provides confirmation of the link between the sinister Kincora home and the bases of organised paedophilia in London.

It is clear that the strings of this influential web of depravity extended right across our country.

And that is why it is vital that the remit of the official inquiry into historical child abuse must be extended to cover Kincora.

So far Home Secretary Theresa May has refused to take this step, arguing that allegations of past abuse in Belfast are a devolved matter for the Northern Irish Government.

This is unconvincing, first because the worst of Kincora’s horrors occurred during the Troubles when London was directly responsible for the governance of Northern Ireland.

Second because the home was integral to the operations of the political elite’s national paedophile ring.

Kincora is no minor, peripheral Ulster problem. It is a key element of the abuse saga.

Founded in 1958 as a home for troubled teenage boys the place was turned into an arena of exploitation by its warden William McGrath, a fanatical Orangeman and pederast who eventually was jailed in 1980, along with two Kincora colleagues, for several counts of abuse after a newspaper exposé.

Yet the authorities had known about the nature of his sick regime for years before this.

The reason he had been able to get away with his crimes for so long was because of his connections to the establishment, especially military intelligence, the civil service and Westminster.

In fact it is said that within the establishment paedophile ring Kincora came to be regarded as a kind of weekend retreat.

According to one source, Sir Maurice Oldfield, the former head of MI6, was an occasional visitor, as were several senior MPs.

Part of McGrath’s immunity lay in his closeness to top Unionist politician Sir Robin Knox Cunningham, who was also a pederast and once served as parliamentary private secretary to Harold Macmillan.

While at Cambridge, Knox Cunningham had become friends with Anthony Blunt, later the infamous Soviet spy and another alleged abuser of Kincora boys.

It has been claimed that Blunt used his knowledge of Kincora’s other clients to protect himself from prosecution when he had been uncovered as a spy.

The establishment paedophiles do not seem to have confined their abuse in Ulster just to Kincora’s premises.

I was telephoned recently by a respected BBC journalist who told me that he had uncovered serious allegations that boys from care homes in Belfast and Dublin had been trafficked for rape-fuelled sessions in stately homes in the west of the province.

The violent chaos in Ulster at the time provided the perfect cover to protect abusers and silence witnesses.

In a world dominated by fear the usual checks on the misuse of power disappeared. Investigations could easily be shut down in the name of security.

Former army intelligence officer Brian Gemmell said yesterday that in 1975 MI5 told him aggressively to stop looking into claims of abuse at Kincora despite the powerful evidence he had collected.

Another former officer Colin Wallace said in 1973 that he had received intelligence about abuse but his superiors had refused to act on the information.

The Troubles had also created a society where death was woven into its fabric, thereby giving further protection to those with something to hide.

Many of those close to warden William McGrath came to sudden ends in the early-1980s.

Josh Cardwell, a Belfast Unionist councillor in charge of children’s homes and a suspected paedophile, was found dead in his garage from carbon monoxide poisoning in March 1982.

Even more chillingly John McKeague, a pederast and extreme loyalist paramilitary leader, was gunned down in 1982 soon after he had reportedly told police that he was prepared to give the names of the other men involved in the Kincora paedophile ring.

His killers were reported to be dissident republicans, though it has been claimed that they had links to British intelligence.

This murky world needs a full, public enquiry with the power to demand testimony and documents from the security forces.

The limited investigation into Kincora, currently under way in mid-Ulster, does not go nearly far enough.

A national approach is the least that survivors such as Richard Kerr deserve.

by

Leo McKinstry

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