Dolphine Square

All posts tagged Dolphine Square

We must investigate new sex abuse claims says Leo McKinstry

Published April 9, 2015 by misty534

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 09.36.32

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

Another Dark Chapter for London’s Most Scandalous Address

Published December 22, 2014 by misty534


Newly resurfaced abuse and murder allegations put Dolphin Square, a hulking and slightly nefarious presence for nearly 70 years, at the center of a possible child sex ring.

There’s a bleak certainty in British public life that whenever the words “sex scandal,” “M.P.s,” “establishment,” and “cover-up” appear in pretty much any order, the name of a vast central London apartment block, Dolphin Square, follows soon afterwards. And so it is with what London’s Metropolitan police are calling “credible” allegations that Conservative Members of Parliament belonged to a pedophile ring that operated there between 1975 and 1984 and was responsible for the murder of at least one young boy.

The allegations have been circulating for three decades, but they surfaced with renewed vigor in recent months, following the discovery that the late BBC television presenter Jimmy Savile and several other British “TV personalities,” all now in jail, were serial sexual abusers. The Metropolitan police are taking seriously the evidence from an anonymous witness, known as “Nick,” who says he was abused from age seven to 16. He implicates a Conservative M.P. and a cabinet minister in the murder, and now the police have appealed for help from anyone who lived or worked in Dolphin Square during the 70s and 80s.

The story is nightmarish, with hints of terrible depravity. The police may get somewhere after all these years, but, like the square itself, the affair seems impenetrable. There are the usual rumors of an establishment cover-up—this is Britain, after all—of destroyed dossiers, missing government files, and aborted investigations. The identities of the supposed perpetrators, still less the victims, are not known, though names of public figures are murmured and there now seems to be a genuine attempt to connect the murdered boys with the names of the missing. Only one of the alleged abusers has been named: the late Sir Peter Hayman, a diplomat and former director of MI6 who was named by M.P. Geoffrey Dickens, during his lifetime, as a subscriber to the Pedophile Information Exchange, and investigated for possessing images of child abuse.

It’s easy to imagine the terror of a child smuggled into the square at the dead of night, knowing he was going to be abused by powerful men—an experience “Nick” says he endured on eight or nine occasions. Huge and inscrutable, Dolphin Square is unlike any other building in London. It is a prize example of what Fred F. French, the American developer who conceived the block, called “dense urban suburbia,” a phrase he used to describe the Tudor City and Knickerbocker Village complexes he built in New York. It is a world of its own, with an atmosphere that lies somewhere between menacing and melancholy—a place as distinct, in its own way, as the Overlook Hotel in The Shining or the Bramford Building in Rosemary’s Baby. Dolphin Square is such an attractive name, yet the vibes are anything but.

At the 1997 inquest into the death—from acute alcoholic poisoning—of the Conservative M.P. Iain Mills, it was said that no one noticed his absence for two days. People spoke of the solitary and reclusive lives of residents, of the silent corridors that have no daylight: of the hush. The tabloid headlines deploy the words “V.I.P.” and “luxury” in the descriptions of the square, but the truth is that life can be rather grim in  some of the cabin-size apartments that I saw advertised in the lobby for between $480 and $1,170 a week.

A product of 1930s authoritarian gigantism—which may explain why the leader of the Britain’s Black shirts, Sir Oswald Mosley, made his home there before being interned during the war—Dolphin Square is built on the scale of an ocean liner. An illustration from the 1936 brochure shows residents dressed in evening wear looking down on the Thames from a balcony, as if their ship had just docked in a foreign port.

The British company Costain, which completed French’s plan, successfully marketed the square to the working members of the Establishment as a convenient and fashionable pied a terre, and today many of the 1,229 rented apartments are still leased to a transient population of politicians and civil servants. But writers (Angus Wilson), actors (Peter Finch, Jill Bennett), royalty (Princess Anne), prostitutes, and spies have also taken advantage of the square’s gift of anonymity. It is close to Parliament and Whitehall, as well as to MI5 and MI6, which are just a few minutes’ walk away, although that would not necessarily have been an advantage to the late Labour M.P. Raymond Fletcher, who was busy passing secrets to the Russians while a resident.

In his 1963 Cold War classic, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, John le Carré described his hero Alec Leamas’s meeting with a Communist agent called Ashe. “Ashe had a flat in Dolphin Square. It was just what Leamas had expected—small and anonymous with a few hastily assembled curios from Germany.” This was not Ashe’s home, of course—merely a discreet venue for a rendezvous.

Anonymity and transience are sometimes precursors of transgression. The building is home to many single men, and men whose wives are safely tucked up in bed in their constituency homes. The place lends itself to infidelity and experiment. In 1971, it emerged that, in addition to the swimming pool, restaurant, bars, and shopping arcade, Dolphin Square possessed its own de facto sadomasochistic, run by a woman named Sybil Benson, who on a good week claimed to make the then incredible sum of £1,260, even though she limited herself to six clients a day. In the late 80s, another Conservative M.P., Sir Anthony Meyer, was revealed to enjoy some light punishment, received and administered by a model and singer named Simone Washington, a story that suggested the dream headline—at any rate for the Sunday Mirror—“I bathed my spanking M.P. in champagne.”

In the early 60s, the place became notorious during the two overlapping scandals involving the War Minister John Profumo and a gay civil servant at the Admiralty named John Vassal, who after living at the square for four years was arrested in 1962 for passing secrets to the Russians. Profumo did little more than deny his affair with a young woman named Christine Keeler, who may or may not have been simultaneously knocking off the Soviet naval attaché Yevgney Ivanov. She lived in the Dolphin Square apartment rented by an equally spirited young woman named Mandy Rice Davies, who was connected to a shady London landlord named Peter Rachman.

I got to know Mandy in the 70s, and it is sad to learn that a few hours after I was walking around Dolphin Square, thinking about her and how she loathed the place and was convinced that it had some kind of bad karma, she died of cancer last week, aged 70. She was really intelligent and the best possible company, being both funny and curious—qualities that allowed her to survive Profumo and her short stay in Dolphin Square.

The entanglements of the two scandals have provided decades of pleasure to the prurient British, but actually the affair she got caught up in amounted to just a little illicit sex, a little lying, and a country house or two. It all seems rather harmless compared to the allegations of murder. What was amusingly scandalous, or simply sad, about Dolphin Square has been replaced by something much darker and more terrifying. No one believed the enormous catalogue of Jimmy Savile’s abuse until after his death, when a pileup of evidence banished all hopes of denial, so it now seems at least possible that Nick’s appalling story may also be proved true.

Henry Porter