Cyril Smith

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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.

by

Leo McKinstry

Where might the child abuse cover-ups have taken place and what can be done to get to the truth?

Published March 23, 2015 by misty534

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When I first heard that the Metropolitan police referred themselves to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) relating to alleged cover-ups in child abuse inquiries it stopped me in my tracks. For the first time since rasing the issue at Prime Minister’s Question time in October 2012, it felt like there had been a major breakthrough in a very complex case.

One of the police cases relates to the Elm Guesthouse in Richmond, London. There is much unfounded rumour relating to the 1982 raid on the property. Despite the red herrings I am concerned there was a cover-up in the original inquiry. Sources close to the police have told me that Leon Brittan was named by a child linked to the raid. They say the child used “sexualised language” when speaking to social workers and spoke of his “Uncle Leon”. The sources allege that the police on duty during the night of the raid were instructed by senior officials to ensure that no record was made of the child naming Brittan. They also tell me that a second man, closely associated with the guesthouse, boasted of his friendship with Leon Brittan. Journalists have known these allegations for months. The Daily Mail has recently decided to publish them naming Brittan.

Remarkable investigative journalism has opened up the establishment’s murky past to scrutiny. Despite a bewildering array of false leads, good journalism is getting to the truth.

Journalist Liz MacKean and the team at Dispatches were the first to show that Special branch suppressed a police investigation into Cyril Smith. Thanks to Nick Hopkins at Newsnight we know of a second inquiry into Cyril Smith being shut down. Tom Parmenter from Sky News broadcast a report suggesting a third cover up.

The team at the Sunday People, and Exaro News, were the first to show that a criminal inquiry by the Metropolitan police into the network of convicted paedophile Peter Righton was shut down because of “orders from on high”. But how high? That is what we need to know. They revealed that former child protection officer Peter McKelvie, had campaigned for years to have the case re-opened but was ignored by police and politicians.

Righton had a more significant role in child abuse than his £900 fine and caution for assault might suggest. Peter McKelvie finally won his campaign. Last December Righton’s friend and co-member of the Paedophile Information Exchange, Charles Napier, a suspect in previous investigations, was jailed for 13 years.

Mark Conrad of Exaro News has also reported that Customs Officers seized videos linked to a former MP.

It has been reported that Mrs Thatcher awarded Cyril Smith a knighthood despite being explicitly told of a police investigation into an “indecent assault on teenage boys.” It has been reported former Detective Chief Inspector told her of rumours relating to Sir Peter Morrison before she appointed him Deputy Chair of the Conservative Party. She was also advisednot to award Jimmy Savile a knighthood. The files that detail the reasons are still being suppressed by the government.

Could it be that Mrs Thatcher was also told of Leon Brittan’s links to the Elm Guest House and other inquiries? We need to get to the truth. Theresa May is not wrong to suggest that we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

As the volume of thwarted cases grows, the IPCC is creaking under the weight of new evidence. In 2012 The IPPC only investigated 130 cases out of 2,100 referred to them. This was down to lack of staff. No wonder Yvette Cooper wants to abolish it and replace it with a tougher, more robust Police Standards Authority. Reform of the IPCC should be an in-tray item marked ‘urgent’ for the next Prime Minister.

Before his resignation as chair, Malcolm Rifkind assured MPs that the Intelligence and Security Committee is a more robust scrutiny body than ever before. If any group of MPs can get to the truth it is those that sit on this committee. I am writing to ask that they commission a review of what agencies told which ministers about criminal investigations into MPs. They might also want to ask just what was known about the Kincora Boys Homein Northern Ireland by the intelligence agencies.

I believe it is the duty of all former police and intelligence officers, civil servants and officials to share relevant information with the IPCC. David Cameron made explicitly clear that he wouldn’t want to see anyone prosecuted for “uncovering wrongdoing”. We need to hold fast to this commitment. There is a public petition to demand that he does so. Please sign it and share on social media.

This case goes beyond party politics. There needs to be a fundamental culture shift in this country. We all need to stand up for every survivor’s right for justice. The country needs a bigger conversation about what we can do politically, socially and culturally to end child abuse.

by Tom Watson MP

Paedophile Ring: More Questions Than Answers

Published March 21, 2015 by misty534

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The investigation of alleged corruption in the Metropolitan Police relating to child sex offences from the 1970s to the 2000s leaves a lot to be desired, writes Steven Walker


The news that the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating 14 separate referrals of alleged corruption in the Metropolitan Police relating to child sex offences from the 1970s to the 2000s might at first glance be seen as hopeful, especially to survivors of child sexual abuse who are pinning their hopes on receiving justice.

But the Home Secretary’s qualified answer to a question put to her by the home affairs select committee regarding immunity for police officers from prosecution under the Official Secrets Act gave the game away.

Her lack of certainty is guaranteed to stop any police officer coming forward with relevant information for the IPCC.

This latest twist in the long-running scandal of an Establishment cover-up of historic sexual abuse against vulnerable children could have another consequence. The long-delayed Goddard inquiry has just got under way after two false starts with inquiry heads acknowledged as too close to the Establishment and unable to secure the confidence of sexual abuse survivors.

But with these twin investigations pursuing parallel courses, covering much of the same ground and focussing on the activities of notorious paedophile Cyril Smith and other MPs, there is a danger of confusion and potential legal conundrums. This could lead to witnesses being called by both inquiries and evidence compromised.

The result could be a legal nightmare leading to stalemate and further delay at best. All of which will suit the Establishment which on past record is very adept at concealing truth, losing evidence and making sure the tracks of abusers are completely covered.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg still refuses to order a full-scale investigation into which senior Liberal Party figures knew all about Cyril Smith and his prolific paedophile activity.

Conservatives Edwina Currie, Gyles Brandreth and Rod Richards have previously made damning statements of how well known in Westminster circles it was that MP Peter Morrison was a dangerous paedophile and yet his career was unaffected as he rose to be deputy chairman of the Conservative Party. He was Margaret Thatcher’s parliamentary private secretary in 1990 and her campaign manager that same year despite this knowledge having been around for many years.

Tim Fortescue, Edward Heath’s Chief Whip from 1970-73, made public on Michael Cockerell’s BBC documentary in 1995 Westminster’s Secret Service that there was a tried and tested method for cover-ups named the dirt book system.

Talking about the role of the chief whip, Fortescue said: “For anyone with any sense who was in trouble would come to the whips and tell them the truth … a scandal involving small boys … we would do everything we can because we would store up brownie points and if I mean, that sounds a pretty, pretty nasty reason, but it’s one of the reasons because if we could get a chap out of trouble then, he will do as we ask forever more.”

Just after announcing, 18 months ago, that the Metropolitan Police were about to arrest a former Tory Cabinet minister,

Commander Peter Spindler, who had been leading the police criminal investigation into organised paedophiles sexually abusing young children from a council children’s home in Richmond upon Thames, was taken off the investigation and moved sideways to another job.

The suggestion is that powerful figures had complained about Spindler’s work in pursuing three major paedophile investigations and he had to be stopped.

More evidence of an Establishment cover-up has emerged as another former local newspaper executive has now claimed that he too was issued with an official warning against reporting on an exclusive paedophile ring, when he was interviewed by an officer working for Operation Fernbridge, the major criminal investigation examining very specific claims of sexual abuse and grooming of children.

Hilton Tims told a Fernbridge detective that his paper, the Surrey Comet, was issued with a D notice in 1984 — an official warning not to publish intelligence that might damage national security — when he sought to report on a police investigation into the notorious Elm Guest House. This is the guest house where Cyril Smith MP and other Establishment figures preyed upon vulnerable children taken there from a nearby children’s home.

Tims joins a list of newspaper editors who have gone on record to testify that similar gagging action took place around the same time. They include Don Hale, former editor of the Bury Messenger who recalled that Special Branch officers seized a paedophile dossier naming Establishment figures drawn up by Labour peer Barbara Castle in the 1980s.

Officers citing “national security” confiscated the file which listed 16 MPs along with other local VIPs.

The dossier was collated with help from concerned social workers by the former Labour MP for Blackburn who personally handed it to him. As well as key members of both the Commons and Lords, the dossier named 30 prominent businessmen, public school teachers, scoutmasters and police officers who had links to the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), a group dedicated to legalising sex with young children.

Under the 30-year secrecy rule the National Archives has just released a file prepared for Thatcher which details the paedophile activities of Sir Peter Hayman, a former career diplomat and head of MI6. He was named by Geoffrey Dickens MP in the House of Commons when his name along with many other MPs and government officials, was discovered in a dossier Dickens had collated.

This file is the first clear evidence that Thatcher herself was part of the cover-up.

The director of public prosecutions at the time did nothing either despite correspondence within the dossier showing Hayman’s link to the PIE and evidence of his interest in the sexual torture of young children.

This lack of action mirrored those of the then home secretary Leon Brittan who did nothing and allowed the dossier to get lost in the Home Office.

The historic child sexual abuse scandal continues as the Establishment settle down for the longterm, safe in the knowledge that their sordid secrets are safe from scrutiny, while witnesses are deterred from giving evidence.

– Steven Walker is a Unicef children’s champion.

New Cyril Smith whitewash: Police clear themselves over 1960s probe into paedophile MP

Published March 18, 2015 by misty534
  • Lancashire Police had been accused of covering up Cyril Smith’s crimes
  • But force bosses face claims of a ‘whitewash’ after it cleared itself of blame
  • They found ‘no evidence’ attempts to bring Smith to justice were blocked 
  • Contradicts claims by retired detective that key evidence was ‘locked away’ and they were silenced 

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A police force accused of covering up Cyril Smith’s crimes faced claims of a ‘whitewash’ last night after it cleared itself of blame.

Lancashire Police chiefs declared they found ‘absolutely no evidence’ that attempts to bring the paedophile Liberal MP to justice were blocked.

The internal inquiry contradicts claims by retired detectives that key evidence was ‘locked away’ and they were silenced.

Labour MP Simon Danczuk, whose book about Smith’s sordid double life sparked the investigation, last night accused the force of a whitewash.

He said there is a ‘mountain of evidence’ that Smith was a paedophile and serious failings had allowed him to ‘get away with his crimes for years’.

‘It is very disappointing that Lancashire Police are unable to accept this and are now trying to rubbish the claims of their own former officers,’ Mr Danczuk added.

‘This shows that we haven’t learned lessons from the past and a culture of cover-up and denial still persists.’

The outcome of the inquiry will raise questions over whether it is appropriate for police to investigate themselves in such cases.

Yesterday, the independent police watchdog revealed it is overseeing 14 claims of cover-ups and corruption by Scotland Yard in historic sex abuse cases. The London force will also investigate itself.

MPs want Prime Minister David Cameron to guarantee police whistleblowers will not be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act if they come forward.

They said ex-officers, public officials and spies may hold vital information that could open up suspected powerful networks that protected abusers.

Home Secretary Theresa May yesterday insisted spies and police will not face prosecution under the Official Secrets Act if they give evidence to the police or the Home Office’s abuse inquiry.

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She has invited Justice Goddard, who is leading the inquiry, to seek confirmation from the Attorney General that no charges would be brought.

However, when pressed by the Home Affairs Committee, Mrs May declined to extend the protection to whistleblowers who speak to the media or elsewhere in public.

Police suspect Smith’s activities as a paedophile could be key to unlocking claims of an Establishment child sex ring. The politician abused children at care homes and schools in Rochdale and Manchester.

He was also seen at the notorious Elm Guest House, in Barnes, south-west London, where appalling crimes are said to have taken place involving young boys.

Jack Tasker, a former Lancashire detective, who led one of three investigations into Smith, said it was stopped because it could have led to the ‘fall of the Government’.

He claims his 1969 inquiry into abuse at Cambridge House care home was stalled by Special Branch officers who confiscated his notes and ordered him to forget the matter.

‘We were under the impression then that they’d take the investigation over … but I never heard any more about it,’ he told Sky News. He added: ‘Other people were rather worried that if Cyril Smith went before a court, he would open his mouth.’

Another ex-officer, Tony Robinson, said he had advised Lancashire Police to look at the case file he found locked in a Special Branch safe in the 1970s.

‘It doesn’t surprise me at all that they’ve dismissed the claims,’ he said. ‘It’s an easy way out.’

A Lancashire Police spokesman said it had referred the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission which ‘determined that a local investigation be carried out’.

He added that the Constabulary’s Professional Standards Department found ‘absolutely no evidence to substantiate any of the claims’.

Chris Greenwood & Jaya Narain

Cyril Smith ‘put pressure on BBC’ over investigating MPs

Published March 17, 2015 by misty534

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Liberal MP Cyril Smith wrote to the BBC in 1976 asking it not to investigate the “private lives of certain MPs”.

The MP, who died in 2010 and has been accused of abusing children, wrote to the then home secretary about “filth, innuendo and stirring” by reporters.

The BBC investigation had been looking into claims of an alleged foreign-backed campaign to discredit MPs.

Former children’s minister Tim Loughton said the former Rochdale MP’s letters were “bully-boy tactics”.

“It was an abuse of position that somebody as an MP was saying, ‘You shouldn’t look at us, we’re above the law,'” he said.

‘Personal involvement’

Smith had been the subject of an investigation into the alleged abuse of children in Rochdale but the case was not known about publicly, and he was never charged.

Current Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk is due to appear before the Home Affairs Select Committee later, where he is expected to call for a new inquiry to include the activities of Smith.

Mr Danczuk recently published a book alleging more than 140 complaints had been made by victims but Smith had been left free to abuse children as young as eight.

Greater Manchester Police and Rochdale Council are carrying out two separate investigations into child abuse allegations involving the late MP.

More than 100 MPs are calling for a larger inquiry into historical claims of child abuse in schools, hospitals and care homes.

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At the time the media had been investigating a claim made by Prime Minister Harold Wilson that South African secret agents had been trying to smear British MPs.

The Liberal Party was thought to be a particular target because of its outspoken opposition to South Africa’s apartheid policy.

The BBC had employed two freelance journalists, Barrie Penrose and Roger Courtiour, to look into Mr Wilson’s claims.

According to letters in the National Archives, Smith wrote to BBC director general Sir Charles Curran in September 1976 saying he was “deeply concerned about the investigative activities of the BBC”, especially relating to “the private lives of certain MPs”.

“So far as I am aware I am not one of them, and hence I write without personal involvement.”

Public interest

In another letter, Smith urged the then Home Secretary, Merlyn Rees, to ensure the BBC was not using public money for “muck-raking”.

He wrote: “Frankly, I am fed up of the filth, innuendo and stirring that has gone on for the last six months or so about MPs in all three political parties, and I really do think the time has come for something to be published, or for the thing to come to an end.”

The month before Smith wrote his letter, the BBC had ended its contract with Penrose and Courtiour, saying it did not believe it had proper control over where else they might publish their material.

It is understood Smith had not been one of the subjects of their investigation.

Sir Charles responded to Smith, saying the South African story was “a proper subject for journalistic inquiry”.

But he added: “I was not prepared to see public resources devoted to the pursuit of personal dirt, possibly for publication outside the control of the BBC.”

But Roger Courtiour said the two journalists were “totally convinced the story was in the public interest and should have been continued”.

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Part of the BBC director general’s memo relating to the South African investigation

On Tuesday, the BBC said: “The documents date back nearly 40 years, so we have no additional commentary to offer, and their content appears to be self-explanatory.”

The Home Office said it would make any decisions about a further inquiry into child abuse after a number of current investigations were complete.

By Tom Bateman

Cyril Smith child sex abuse inquiry ‘scrapped after his arrest’

Published March 17, 2015 by misty534

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Claims that police officers were ordered to hand over evidence are ‘very credible and very frightening’

The Metropolitan Police are facing fresh allegations after it was revealed that an undercover police investigation that gathered evidence of child abuse by MP Cyril Smith was scrapped shortly after his arrest.

The Liberal MP, who died in 2010, was arrested for his alleged involvement in sex parties with teenage boys in south London during the 1980s, a former police officer told BBC Newsnight.

During a three-month secret inquiry into a high-profile child sex abuse ring, police collected compelling video evidence of men abusing boys as young as 14, the source said.

Newsnight was also told that police had evidence that a senior member of Britain’s intelligence agencies and two high-ranking police officers took part in the abuse.

The inquiry is reported to have led to a house in Streatham, where Smith and several others were arrested. Newsnight alleges he was released just hours later without charge.

The decision to scrap the inquiry was made by a high-ranking police officer, whom the undercover team had no prior contact with, the source alleges.

“Officers were then ordered to hand over all their evidence – including notebooks and video footage – and were warned to keep quiet about the investigation or face prosecution under the Official Secrets Act,” reports The BBC’s Nick Hopkins.

Former Scotland Yard detective Clive Driscoll has described the claims as “very credible and very frightening”.

“Smith was being protected by some fairly powerful people […] because he knew of other paedophiles in the networks in which he operated,” said Labour MP Simon Danczuk, who has worked to expose Cyril Smith as a prolific paedophile.

This latest revelation comes just hours after the police watchdog announced that it would be beginning an investigation into claims that the Met Police covered up child sex offences because of the involvement of high-level politicians and police officers.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has described the allegations as “historic, high-level corruption of the most serious nature”.

The police force refused to comment on the recent allegations, but said that it was investigating allegations that police officers “acted inappropriately” in relation to historic child abuse investigations. It urged anyone with information to come forward.

Met Police probed over claims it covered up child sex abuse

16 March

An investigation has begun into claims that the Metropolitan police covered up child sex offences because of the involvement of high level politicians and police officers, the police watchdog has announced.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is looking into 16 allegations of high-level corruption in the force from the 1970s to 2005.

“These allegations are of historic, high-level corruption of the most serious nature,” said deputy chairman of the IPCC, Sally Green. “Allegations of this nature are of grave concern and I would like to reassure people our commitment to ensuring that the investigations are thorough and robust.

The investigation will look at claims that London’s police force suppressed evidence and hindered or halted investigations because of the involvement of MPs and police officers.

The list of allegations being investigated include claims that:

  • Police officers sexually abused a young boy and then carried out surveillance on him
  • Surveillance of a child abuse ring was shut down because of “high-profile people being involved”
  • A document, which originated from within the Houses of Parliament, was discovered at a paedophile’s address and listed a number of high-level individuals as being involved in a paedophile ring, but no further action was taken.

The Metropolitan police told the BBC that the force had voluntarily referred the cases to the IPCC because it “recognised the severity of the allegations and the importance of understanding whether or not our officers had in the past acted inappropriately”.

It also said that its ongoing investigations and recent convictions have shown that the service is “fully committed” to investigating non-recent allegations of sexual abuse.

The Week

Thatcher turned a ‘blind eye’ to Smith abuse

Published March 8, 2015 by misty534

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Margaret Thatcher was told about the child sex abuse allegations against the MP Cyril Smith when she was still Prime Minister

The UK government has been accused of trying to suppress a dossier of secret files which reveal that Margaret Thatcher knew about child sex abuse allegations against the MP Cyril Smith before he was knighted.

The documents, only made public this week after an intervention from the Information Commissioner, include an undated letter marked “secret” warning Ms Thatcher that there was “the risk that such an award could give rise to adverse criticism”.

Smith, who died in 2010, served as the Liberal and later Liberal Democrat MP for Rochdale between 1972 and 1992.

He was accused of abusing eight boys in the late 1960s and, though he was not prosecuted at the time, police say procedural changes mean he would be today.

Read More: Twenty people claim to be victims of sexual abuse by Sir Cyril Smith

The Cabinet Office has denied a “cover-up” after releasing the 19-page file following repeated demands from the UK Mail on Sunday, and said the case was “sensitive and complex”.

Among the letters relating to the decision to knight Smith in 1988, the warning letter from Political Honours Scrutiny Committee member Lord Shackleton spelled out to Ms Thatcher that police had investigated Smith in 1970 for “indecent assault against teenage boys”.

It said that that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had decided “there was no reasonable prospect of conviction”.

Read More: Six named in Westminster child sex file sent to police

The letter to the then prime minister said the case was reported in the Rochdale Alternative Press and Private Eye, adding: “One may regret this kind of press reporting but it could be revived if an award to Mr Smith were made.”

Lord Shackleton said it would be “slightly unfortunate” if this “episode” stopped Smith receiving the honour but added: “We felt it right to warn the honours system would be at some risk if the award were to be made and announced.”

The Mail on Sunday reported that another letter in the file, from Britain’s most senior civil servant at the time, the cabinet secretary Sir Robin Butler, asking the DPP why Smith was never prosecuted.

Read More: Murder of three boys linked to ‘MP child sex gang’

He said: “The case for taking the exceptional step of writing to you in this way is to protect the Prime Minister (and The Queen) while also being fair to Mr Smith.”

He said the committee wanted to know “whether the case against Mr Smith was not well founded: or whether it was a sound case, but that the evidence was not likely to stand up in court”.

The newspaper said no reply from the DPP is recorded in the file.

Independent News Service

A paedophile priest, two bishops and a sickening conspiracy of silence: He married Frank Bruno and said Mass for Delia Smith. But behind the glitz was one of the Catholic Church’s dirtiest secrets

Published March 5, 2015 by misty534

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Brought to justice: Father Tony McSweeney, 68, lied and lied for decades

  • SPECIAL INVESTIGATION: Father Tony McSweeney
  • ‘The priest’ would always try to kiss and fondle the boys
  • The Church had the chance to protect the children from him
  • He hired a rent boy for sex, then claimed he was his godson 

Father Tony McSweeney chalked up a number of notable additions to his CV during a lifetime supposedly devoted to the service of children and God.

He said Mass at Norwich City Football Club at the request of its celebrity cook owner Delia Smith, and conducted the marriage of world heavyweight boxing champion Frank Bruno.

He also received the prestigious Silver Acorn for decades of ‘dedication’ to the global Scout movement and his co-authorship of its official songbook.

Last week, he even boasted of being the ‘world expert’ on organising campfire get-togethers.

But now he must add a chilling new entry to his list of achievements: he has become the first paedophile to be tried and convicted after being linked to allegations of a VIP ring based at an infamous South London guesthouse who preyed on boys from a nearby care home.

And unless police make further progress with their investigations, he could well be the last.

For decades — culminating in his trial and conviction at Southwark Crown Court on Friday — McSweeney, 68, lied and lied.

He broke criminal laws, childcare rules, the bond of trust between priest and congregation and his priestly vows of celibacy, sometimes in the most disgusting fashion.

His offending, as far as we know, goes back to the Seventies when, while training for the priesthood, he worked as a part-time carer at a local authority-run home for vulnerable boys in Grafton Close, Richmond-upon-Thames.

He was given the job by the manager, his ‘good friend’ — and fellow predator — John Stingemore.

McSweeney was finally caught when, more than 30 years later, police launched an investigation into historic allegations that Grafton Close boys had been sent to Elm Guest House, a gay hotel in nearby Barnes, to be sexually abused.

The list of alleged abusers included Cabinet ministers and MPs, diplomats, spies, policemen, judges, pop stars and staff of the Royal Households.

Delia SmithFrank Bruno

Detectives are satisfied that the late Liberal MP Cyril Smith, a known but unpunished abuser of boys during his long political career, was one visitor to the guest-house.

As the Mail revealed in 2013, one of the Grafton Close boys, Peter Bornshin, had been so traumatised by his experiences that he later committed suicide.

McSweeney’s conviction last week for offences of indecent assault of a minor and making indecent images of children confirms his four decades as a known, active paedophile, most of which he spent in positions of authority over children and young people.

Yet following his trial and an investigation by this newspaper, a number of disturbing questions remain.

One in particular should be addressed by the Roman Catholic Church, whose image in recent years has been severely damaged by revelations of widespread paedophile abuse by clergy and cover-ups by the hierarchy.

It is this: why in 1998, when McSweeney had just been thrown out of an Essex parish after a cleaner found a video that she believed to show under-age gay sex, did two bishops agree he should almost immediately be given a posting to another diocese, where his history was unknown to the congregation?

As we shall see, at least one Catholic layperson who became aware of the reason for McSweeney’s sudden departure from Essex was shocked when, by chance, he found that the priest had been ‘recycled’ to another part of the country as though nothing had happened.

We can also reveal that one of those bishops behind that decision went on to be the longest-serving English Catholic prelate of modern times.

The other, whom McSweeney described in court last week as his ‘friend’, has risen to become the current Archbishop of Southwark, one of the most senior figures in the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales. The scandal — for that is what it seems — touches no fewer than three dioceses.

For a decade before he took holy orders in 1978, McSweeney was a warden at Britain’s then largest Scout camp, in Waltham Abbey, Essex.

One can make an educated guess at the motives behind his desire to spend time in the great outdoors with adolescent boys.

Indeed, the court heard that in 1976 he approached a boy in a shower block at a Scout retreat and told him to ‘wash under the foreskin’.

Elm Guest HousePeter Bornshin

When the boy reported it to another warden, he was told not to ‘be so stupid and make trouble’ — and no charge was ever brought.

Two years later, McSweeney joined St John’s Roman Catholic seminary near Guildford. The professor of canonical law at St John’s during the four years he spent there was the future Archbishop of Southwark, Peter Smith.

McSweeney told the court that around the same time and ‘by the grace of God and the favour of John Stingemore’, he got the part-time job as a carer at the Richmond care home Stingemore was managing.

Oh no, not again. He promised not to…

McSweeney, who will be sentenced on March 27, had met Stingemore in 1970. The court heard that after they started working at the care home, they took Grafton Close boys on holiday together.

The two men also travelled to Amsterdam, visiting sex shops in the red-light district. Shortly after that trip, the pair sat in Stingemore’s flat at Grafton Close and watched a film featuring sex acts involving boys as young as ten.

The court heard the boys at the care home knew McSweeney as ‘the priest’, and that abuse happened ‘almost all the time’ when he stayed over at the home. He would try to kiss them or fondle their genitals, and he made them sit on his lap.

John Stingemore was eventually dismissed — it is not clear exactly when — after the authorities learned he had taken indecent photographs of boys in his care.

When this happened, McSweeney dropped all contact with him. By then, McSweeney had been ordained into the priesthood and was working in the diocese of Brentwood. The bishop was Thomas McMahon, who held the post for 34 years until retiring last year.

Detectives are satisfied that the late Liberal MP Cyril Smith (pictured) was one visitor to the guest-house

McSweeney was moved around the diocese – he later claimed that his role was as a ‘troubleshooter’ for the bishop – before becoming parish priest of St Peter’s in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, in 1997.

But it would prove a short-lived appointment. McSweeney had been there for only a year when his housekeeper looked in a bedside drawer and found sex toys, bondage equipment and videos.

The woman, who was a policeman’s daughter and the mother of adolescent boys, played one of the videos on the presbytery’s television.

In the brief scene she watched, two youths she thought to be as young as 14 were engaged in penetrative sex.

She phoned the police and told them what she had seen. But because she wished to remain anonymous, they did not follow up the complaint, she told the court during McSweeney’s trial.

She then took the matter straight to the diocesan authorities, but ‘wasn’t very satisfied’ by their response.

They admitted that they knew McSweeney was gay, she said, but implied she had misjudged the ages of the boys in the film.

Indeed, in court, McSweeney claimed the youths were ‘Twinks’ — gay slang for 18 to 25-year-olds — who looked younger than they actually were.

This newspaper was told by another lay source in the parish that the diocese’s initial reaction was ‘Oh no, not again. He promised not to…’ which suggests they were aware of his predilection for gay pornography.

The video was found on a Friday and McSweeney had gone from the parish before Sunday Mass, a source told the Mail.

And so, almost two decades after what we now know to be McSweeney’s first serious offending, at the Grafton Close care home, the Church was given the chance to curtail his activities and protect not only its own image but youngsters with whom McSweeney came into contact.

Visit: McSweeney and fellow predator John Stingemore travelled to Amsterdam, visiting sex shops in the red-light districtVisit: McSweeney and fellow predator John Stingemore travelled to Amsterdam, visiting sex shops in the red-light district

McSweeney told the court that in the aftermath of his housekeeper’s discovery, he was ‘effectively banished’ by Bishop McMahon.

But instead of facing disciplinary procedures and the possibility of being laicised — the Catholic version of defrocking — he simply went to live with ‘various friends’ and had what he called a ‘breakdown’.

Then, as he explained to the court, he phoned ‘a friend who was [another] bishop. He accepted everything that happened. He spoke to my bishop’.

Though it is not clear who this other bishop was, within months McSweeney was back in office, in the parish of St George’s, Norwich, in the diocese of East Anglia.

At the time, the Bishop of East Anglia was Peter Smith, McSweeney’s old professor at seminary in Guildford.

Three years ago: In the febrile atmosphere that followed the eruption of the Jimmy Savile (pictured) scandal, old allegations about abuse by well-known figures at Elm Guest House were revived

Three years ago: In the febrile atmosphere that followed the eruption of the Jimmy Savile (pictured) scandal, old allegations about abuse by well-known figures at Elm Guest House were revived

The disgraced priest’s resurrection came as a surprise to a Catholic layperson from McSweeney’s former diocese in Brentwood, who had good reason to remember him well.

One evening the year before, this layperson had gone to the St Peter’s presbytery to get the keys for the church hall.

When McSweeney opened the door, he threw the keys in the man’s face and told him to ‘f*** off’.

Might he have been doing something that made him particularly keen not to be disturbed?

The parishoner recalls: ‘It was the strangest blessing I’ve ever had from a priest.’

It was shortly after this incident that McSweeney was booted out in disgrace. A few months later, the same Essex parishioner attended a conference for Catholic professionals, held in Norwich. The guest speaker was none other than Tony McSweeney. His subject? The joys of Scouting.

‘I could not believe what I was seeing,’ says the source.

McSweeney prospered in Norfolk. He became chaplain and governor of a school.

He rubbed shoulders with local celebrities — hence, presumably, his invitation from Delia Smith, the Catholic cookery writer, to say Mass at Norwich football club, where she and her husband are majority shareholders.

McSweeney also took children on pilgrimage to the Catholic shrine at Lourdes, and continued to burnish his Scouting profile.

Then, three years ago, the Jimmy Savile scandal erupted as a welter of accusations against the former DJ emerged. In the febrile atmosphere that followed, old allegations about abuse by well-known figures at Elm Guest House were revived.

Having seen the coverage in newspapers, the court heard, one of Tony McSweeney’s former victims from Grafton Close, now in his 50s, decided to come forward.

Fully 15 years after the Catholic Church had simply moved McSweeney to another diocese, police from Operation Fernbridge — investigating events at Elm Guest House — raided his Norwich presbytery.

It was the strangest blessing I’ve ever had from a priest

They found on his laptop thousands of recently downloaded pornographic images, including the most serious category of paedophilia. Forensic examination showed that he often used the keyword ‘boy’ when searching for porn.

The judge in his trial refused the defence’s request to have these offences separated from the historic paedophile assaults at Grafton Close. They were all of a part.

In the witness box, McSweeney continued to lie and deny. Morbidly obese and not wearing a clerical collar, he cut a pathetic figure, weeping theatrically while giving his evidence.

But they were crocodile tears. In an extraordinary passage, McSweeney was asked by his own counsel to explain one of the many portrait photographs of adolescents or young men which the police had found in his home.

It was a picture of his ‘godson’, the priest told the court fondly.

Sorry: Earlier this year, Pope Francis (above) issued an apology to victims of clerical sex abuse and asked for forgiveness

This lie was exploded by the prosecuting counsel. A large number of other images of the same male, this time naked, had been found on a CD in the presbytery. They had been taken in a Paris hotel room.

The ‘godson’ was, in fact, an Italian rent boy whom McSweeney had paid for sex. It wasn’t a lie, McSweeney argued pathetically: ‘godson’ was merely ‘shorthand’ for the ‘pastoral care’ he had given the male prostitute.

Much as the conviction of this dangerous man is a victory for the authorities, McSweeney may prove to be the only catch for Operation Fernbridge.

John Stingemore — former manager of the Grafton Close care home — was charged with similar offences, but died just weeks before the trial.

What then of the Church’s role in failing to act decisively against McSweeney? Earlier this year, Pope Francis issued an apology to victims of clerical sex abuse and asked for forgiveness.

Yet commentators observed that Vatican officials remained reluctant to act against bishops accused of orchestrating cover-ups.

One irony of the McSweeney case is that, prior to his current position, Archbishop Peter Smith — McSweeney’s old friend from the Guildford seminary — had been promoted from East Anglia to head the archdiocese of Cardiff. The previous incumbent in Wales had stood down amid claims he ignored ‘warnings about paedophile priests in the archdiocese’.

I could not believe what I was seeing

Archbishop Smith was tasked with restoring the Welsh Church’s reputation, and declared he ‘wanted to help people bind up the wounds and bring healing’. This was three years after McSweeney had been given a new post in Smith’s East Anglia diocese.

This newspaper contacted the archbishop’s office about McSweeney’s claims of friendship, but inquiries were redirected to his former diocese of East Anglia.

In a statement, that diocese claimed: ‘The incident involving the video tapes in Fr McSweeney’s possession [in Brentwood, Essex] … was not investigated by the police on the grounds that they were not illegal. At that time, no allegations of child abuse had been made against Fr McSweeney.

‘The possession of such tapes was regarded by the Church as a matter of clergy discipline.’

The Diocese of Brentwood and its former head, Bishop McMahon, were asked by the Mail about their role in the affair. The diocese responded: ‘(After) the discovery of these videos in 1998, Fr McSweeney was offered therapy and counselling.

‘He then decided to leave the diocese, and some time later sought an appointment in the Diocese of East Anglia. Following consultations between the two bishops, he was allowed to take up a post in that diocese.’

There is no doubt the conviction of Father Tony McSweeney has seen a predatory man brought to justice. But the feeling remains that many others who abused boys at Elm Guest House and elsewhere have got away with their crimes scot-free.

Richard Pendlebury

EXCLUSIVE: Sordid tales were kept out of Jeremy Thorpe’s murder trial

Published December 8, 2014 by misty534

EXPLOSIVE sex claims about former Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe were kept out of his trial for the attempted murder of ex-male model Norman Scott.

Jeremy-Thorpe-544447

Graphic testimony from gay men he had met in bars and on the street was never heard after Thorpe agreed to admit in court to “homosexual tendencies”.

The deal was made between the prosecution and Thorpe’s celebrated defence barrister George Carman QC and it prevented shocking and lurid details emerging during the 1979 trial, said the lawyer’s son Dominic.

He also told the Sunday Express that Thorpe, who died last week aged 85, had helped to cover up fellow Liberal MP Cyril Smith’s sexual abuse of children.

Thorpe was worried those allegations would further harm his own reputation, already in tatters over the alleged murder bid.

Mr Carman, who still has his late father’s entire trial brief, said: “What is in the prosecution evidence is a substantial amount of information from a lot of different men, which confirms that Thorpe was, to quote the phrase of the 1970s, a ‘promiscuous homosexual’.

“The relevance of that was to prove he was that way inclined because he had always denied it.

“My father struck a deal with the prosecuting barrister that none of the evidence would appear in court if Jeremy Thorpe admitted to having ‘homosexual tendencies’.

“He admitted that and there fore this whole pile of evidence was never submitted as it was deemed irrelevant.

“Some of it would even now be viewed as being pretty strong stuff.”

The trial still gripped the nation with claims of secret affairs, murder and revenge.

Thorpe, a twice-married father of one, led the Liberal Party between 1967 and 1976.

He was accused of murdering Norman Scott for threatening to uncover their alleged relationship.

He was said to have hired a hitman to kill Scott but the contract killer instead shot dead Scott’s dog, Rinka.

Days before the Old Bailey trial in May 1979, allegations that Smith was a predatory paedophile who preyed on young boys surfaced in the Rochdale Alternative Press and later Private Eye.

Mr Carman said not only had Thorpe been well aware of the allegations, he actively took steps to make sure they were stifled.

He instructed the establishment’s chief fixer, lawyer Lord Goodman, to ensure the claims were never followed up by the national press to avoid being tarred with the same brush so close to standing trial.

Mr Carman said: “Thorpe was concerned and a discussion about Cyril Smith was had.

“Although it wasn’t immediately relevant to the case if it had got wider currency and been published by the national press of the time, that would have potentially created much further prejudice against Thorpe because it would imply they’re all at it.

“Smith and Thorpe had nothing in common whatsoever and absolutely loathed each other but, of course, as is often the case in politics, they had to work together.

“Lord Goodman, who was a general fixer and worked on behalf of both Harold Wilson when he was prime minister in the early 1970s and indeed Thorpe, was instructed to stop any further reporting of this by the national press and it worked.”

Thorpe emerged from the 31-day trial victorious but his political career never recovered and he lost his North Devon seat in the 1979 general election.

He died on Thursday after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

James Fielding

EXCLUSIVE: Cyril Smith was linked to paedo brothel murder probe says ex-cop

Published December 7, 2014 by misty534

Cyril-Smith-414072

PERVERTED MP Cyril Smith was investigated over a ­possible paedophile murder, a detective revealed last night.

Jack Tasker probed the 29stone ­politician’s warped lusts – and believes he was a major supplier of boys to other sex beasts.

And retired Jack says Smith’s name even came up during inquiries by fellow officers into killings linked to a notorious gay ­brothel.

But Jack, 82, says his own investigations were shut down by police top brass – and he was told he’d be “back in uniform” if he didn’t leave Smith alone.

The former detective sergeant, who served with Lancashire Police for 35 years, said he has no doubt there was a cover-up to protect Smith’s depraved antics.

Jack said: “Smith’s name even cropped up in talks with colleagues as a possible ­suspect for a murder at the Elm Guest House in ­London, where we knew Cyril was a regular visitor.

“It is all being investigated again now.

“It was always my impression that he was a supplier, as well as being a full-blown ­paedophile.

“I believe he was supplying kids for a lot of powerful people.”

Jack also revealed for the first time that Smith had unsupervised access to a young offenders’ centre in his Rochdale ­constituency.

He said: “Smith was a regular visitor to Buckley Hall Detention Centre, which was full of boys.

“He used to come and go as he pleased.

“People who worked there told me he had his own set of keys – not to the perimeter but to the interior.

“He used to come in, pick his keys up and wander around alone.

“He was allowed access to anywhere inside and could have anything he wanted.”

Last month, the Metropolitan Police ­confirmed they were investigating possible historical murders linked to a paedophile ring centred on Westminster officials.

The group are also linked to Elm Guest House, a hotel in Barnes, south-west ­London, which was run as a gay brothel in the 1970s and 80s.

Disgraced Smith was one of the high-profile names said to have attended orgies there.

But Jack had investigated Smith even before then, leading a major investigation into the then-councillor dating back as far as 1969.

He said: “We saw eight young lads who had been his victims but Smith eventually found out.

“We later discovered that his mother worked at the police station as a cleaner.

“She cleaned the stairs and offices and heard all the gossip.”

Jack interviewed Smith, with the ­politician “sweating profusely” and stumbling over his answers.

Jack said: “I think we would have cracked him but officials would not allow us to go there again.

“What really did me was what those lads must have thought.

“That was the bit that stuck in my craw.

“We were ordered to stop.

“We were visited by a superintendent and a chief superintendent.

“They were from the Lancashire Police HQ at Hutton.”

He said the officers forced him to unlock a drawer containing files on Smith.

“They told me to take everything out that relates to this case and added ‘We mean ­everything, every scrap of paper and every note you’ve ever made’.

“They said we would be back in uniform if anything went wrong.”

He added: “I would still like to see justice done.

“I thought we had let these victims down.”

Jack said files he produced and others from a subsequent inquiry ended up “languishing in a Special Branch safe at Hutton for years”.

It was there they were finally discovered by Special Branch detective Tony Robinson.

We told last week how Tony, now 81, had been threatened by former colleagues at Lancashire Police over speaking to the press about what he saw.

Now we can reveal that Tony has contacted MP Simon Danczuk, Labour member for Cyril Smith’s old Rochdale seat and has named the police officers who he says warned him off.

by Don Hale