All posts tagged Belfast

We must investigate new sex abuse claims says Leo McKinstry

Published April 9, 2015 by misty534

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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.


Leo McKinstry

Kincora victim Richard Kerr in explosive new claims as he returns to horror house 30 years on

Published February 20, 2015 by misty534


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.”

Liam Clarke

Inquiry into child sexual abuse by establishment figures could look at crimes as far back as 1945, says inquiry chair

Published February 15, 2015 by misty534


There are calls to broaden the geographical and chronological scope of the investigation

The inquiry into child sex abuse by establishment figures may have to examine crimes committed as far back as 1945, the judge who is chairing it has said.

Lowell Goddard also indicated that the investigation may go back even further than the end of the Second World War, arguing that fixed cut-off points for probes of this nature tended to be “artificial”.

Justice Goddard is a judge in New Zealand and was appointed by the Home Secretary after two UK-based figured had to step down from the position due to establishment links.

Critics, including alleged abuse victims, said the links of previous chairs presented a conflict of interest.

The former Elm Guest House, Barnes, the site of alleged abuse. Despite the case being reopened last year no one has been charged

The former Elm Guest House, Barnes, the site of alleged abuse. Despite the case being reopened last year no one has been charged“The terms of reference talk about going back to 1970 but there is a push from certain quarters to take it back to about 1945,” she told the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

“A cut-off point is always a bit artificial – someone who falls on the wrong side of it is aggrieved.”

The probe was expected to mainly concern crimes committed after 1970 when it was announced last July.

Theresa May is reported by the newspaper to support lifting time-limits on the inquiry.

Justice Goddard is also expected to issue a series of interim reports to prevent the investigation becoming bogged down.

Dolphin Square in Pimlico, London, where some abuse is alleged to have taken place

Dolphin Square in Pimlico, London, where some abuse is alleged to have taken placeThe New Zealander said she did not feel “intimidated” by the powerful people who could potentially be implicated in the investigation and that she would be likely to summon prominent people to give evidence.

Last week MPs called for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse to cover the whole of the UK, rather than just England and Wales.

A report by the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee said claims of abuse at a Belfast children’s home in the 1970s meant crimes could be intertwined and investigated together.

Separate abuse inquiries have been set up in Northern Ireland and Scotland where child protection is a devolved matter.

The Kincora Boys’ Home in Belfast; in 1981, three men were imprisoned for between four and six years for a number of offences relating to systematic sexual abuse

The Kincora Boys’ Home in Belfast; in 1981, three men were imprisoned for between four and six years for a number of offences relating to systematic sexual abuseThe head of  Amnesty International’s NI branch Patrick Corrigan said there were allegations that MI5 covered up abuse there.

“Allegations have persisted that paedophilia at Kincora was linked to British intelligence services, with claims that visitors to the home included members of the military, politicians and civil servants, and that police investigations into abuse at Kincora were blocked by the Ministry of Defence and MI5,” he said.

Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has also previously repeated allegations that the security services monitored abuse at the Kincora children’s home to gain leverage over politicians.

Jon Stone

Historical Abuse Inquiry told paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth abused children in Belfast care homes

Published January 5, 2015 by misty534

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A Catholic religious order has accepted that a notorious paedophile priest abused children while they were in the care of nuns in Northern Ireland, a lawyer told a public inquiry.

Fr Brendan Smyth visited two south Belfast residential homes at the centre of the independent probe into wrongdoing stretching back decades. The serial molester was later convicted of dozens of child abuse charges.

More than 100 witnesses from Nazareth House and Nazareth Lodge have come forward to the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry, headed by a former judge, which is one of the largest investigations of its kind ever held in the UK.

Senior counsel to the inquiry Christine Smith QC said: “Sexual abuse of children was perpetrated by the now notorious Fr Brendan Smyth.”

She added: “There will be evidence given in this module that he abused children both in Nazareth House and in Nazareth Lodge in Belfast.”

Sister Brenda McCall, a senior figure in the Sisters of Nazareth order which ran the now closed Nazareth House and Nazareth Lodge in South Belfast, gave a statement to the inquiry.

Ms Smith said: “She states that the congregation accepts that Brendan Smyth did abuse children while they were in our care and continued to abuse some after they left our care.

“She also accepts that he visited both Nazareth House and Nazareth Lodge.”


Some Catholic nuns at a children’s home in Northern Ireland were sadistic bullies, a former resident has claimed.

A “bleak, harsh and cruel” atmosphere was described by alleged victims at two properties in Belfast run by the Sisters of Nazareth Order, a lawyer told a public inquiry.

More than 100 witnesses from Nazareth House and Nazareth Lodge have come forward to the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry, headed by a former judge.

Thirteen institutions are being considered by the inquiry panel, which is tasked with making recommendations to Stormont ministers on issues such as compensating alleged victims.

Senior counsel to the inquiry Christine Smith QC quoted one witness, saying: “The nuns were at best indifferent and most often sadistic bullies who spoke with harsh, loud voices in scornful, dismissive tones.”

Ms Smith said the picture was mixed – another child missed the nuns and said they made sacrifices for the youngsters.

But she added that paedophile Fr Brendan Smyth was active there.

“There will be evidence given in this module that he abused children both in Nazareth House and in Nazareth Lodge in Belfast.”

Ms Smith said 102 witnesses have come forward, and more than 90 are expected to give evidence.

The module surrounding Nazareth Lodge and Nazareth House will take more than 40 days, the single biggest in terms of the number of witnesses.

Homes runs by the Sisters in Derry and by the De La Salle order of religious brothers in Rubane House in Kircubbin, Co Down, have already been investigated and testimony taken from children sent by the institutions as migrants to Australia.

The inquiry was established to investigate child abuse in institutional homes in Northern Ireland over a 73-year period, up to 1995.

‘Bleak lovelessness’ at Care Homes

Catholic-run homes in Northern Ireland in the 1950s were centres of “bleak lovelessness”, an official at the time said.

Kathleen Forrest, a state health inspector, called for the system to be reformed after visiting the Belfast Nazareth House and Nazareth Lodge homes runs by the Sisters of Nazareth.

Counsel to the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry Christine Smith QC quoted from her 1953 report, saying: “I find these homes utterly depressing and it appals me to find that these children are being reared in bleak lovelessness.

“I think we must press for a complete overhaul of the whole set up of these homes and assist them in every way possible.”

Later she visited Nazareth Lodge and said babies were well cared for, clothed and fed but schoolchildren were not getting any chance in life, knowing nothing but understaffed institutional care from babyhood.

Children were sitting with bare legs and feet waiting to wash before supper, being hissed at by an older boy to stay quiet.

“What is needed here is institutional reorganisation so that these little children can have some individual love and care rather than being dragooned.”

Ms Smith also recounted the case of one 11-year-old child in 1927 from Nazareth Lodge who was found by police wandering barefoot around Belfast on a cold May morning with marks on his legs and claimed he had been beaten.

Police obtained a doctor’s certificate detailing his injuries but later medical reports could find no trace of the alleged ill-treatment. The nuns denied inflicting serious injury.

Pondering prosecution the senior officer said: “I have no doubt that the evidence of the sisters and reverend mother would be believed before that of the boy.”

Amnesty International warns hearing set to be “one of the darkest chapters”

Amnesty International warned that the latest hearing in the historic institutional abuse inquiry in Northern Ireland which got underway today will be one of the darkest chapters in the ongoing investigation.

The comments were made from the Banbridge Courthouse where the inquiry started hearings into allegations of abuse at the Nazareth Lodge and Nazareth House children’s homes, operated by the Sisters of Nazareth religious congregation.

Speaking from the Banbridge Courthouse in Belfast, Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Programme Director, said:

“It is clear from the opening statements of the counsel that this phase of the inquiry will be one of the darkest chapters.

“The inquiry will hear from over 100 witnesses of a litany of emotional, physical and sexual abuse suffered by children of all ages in both children’s homes.

“It has already been established that among the abusers was notorious serial paedophile Father Brendan Smyth, who was allowed to use both children’s homes as a personal playground for his depravity. It is clear that the abuse suffered by the children at these two Belfast homes represents a monumental failure by both religious and state institutions in Northern Ireland.

“We hope the inquiry will continue to give voice to the experiences of those who suffered as children in these homes.

“The process must deliver not only public acknowledgement of the suffering, but also justice and redress.”

Belfast Telegraph

Former top prison warder found with child porn stash avoids jail

Published July 2, 2013 by misty534



A former top prison officer who admitted possessing more than 2,000 indecent images of girls aged 10-16 on two computers has walked free after being put on probation for three years.


Craigavon Crown Court, sitting inBelfast, heard how former principal prison officer William Moore (62), of Bellevue Drive, Lisburn, had previously received a community services medal, but was arrested last August when police uncovered the child pornography.

Prosecuting lawyer Ian Tannahill told the court how the offences came to light after an intelligence-led police search of Moore’s home in 2008, during which police seized two computers. Moore admitted the existence of the images, including movies, to police at the scene, with 118 images on one machine and 1,929 on the second computer.

Mr Tannahill said although Moore had not viewed them since 2008, and had in fact deleted them at that time, an examination of the computers revealed that a “large number” of the images had been in the level one category, with some in levels three and four.

Imposing the three-year probation programme, Judge Gemma Loughran said she accepted Moore had not viewed the material since 2008 and that he had admitted his actions to police when they came to his home, later pleaded guilty to 17 offences of possessing indecent images of children on dates between December 22, 2007 and August 24 last year.

Moore also “remains deeply embarrassed by his actions”, the judge told the court. Fining Moore £2,000 for possession of the images, to be paid over 20 weeks, the judge said: “You should pay back to the community in some way for what you have taken out, in the broadest sense.”


Belfast Telegraph