- Sir Peter Hayman was a respected diplomat and army officer given an MBE
- But he hid a secret life as a member of the Paedophile Information Exchange
- The group encouraged child abuse – but he was let off with a caution
- Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens raised issue of Sir Peter’s abuse in Commons
- There were strenuous attempts by Whitehall and Whitehall to stop Dickens
- Hayman affair in spotlight amid pressure for alleged paedophile ring inquiry
- Involves a missing dossier handed to former home secretary Leon Brittan
- Allegedly contained child abuse allegations involving Establishment figures
Pillar of the Establishment: But Sir Peter Hayman broke down and wept when confronted by police
Sir Peter Hayman’s life was one decorated with worthy acronyms and exclusive memberships.
By the time of his retirement from ‘the Diplomatic’, the Stowe and Oxford-educated former Rifle Brigade officer had been a Home and Foreign Office mandarin, working closely with the intelligence services at the height of the Cold War: it has even been suggested he was a senior figure in MI6.
His final posting was as High Commissioner to Canada.
As a result of these labours he was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG), Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) and an MBE.
Off duty he also belonged to the MCC and the Army and Navy private members’ club (The Rag). Like Sir Peter, both were pillars of London’s old-school-tie Establishment.
Yet unlike the MCC, there was no distinguishing neckwear at Sir Peter’s rather more discreet third ‘club’, to which he seems to have devoted most physical energy and expense as a pensioner newly returned from post-colonial duties in Ottawa.
His membership number was ‘330’ and this organisation of similarly minded if not gilded individuals was called the Paedophile Information Exchange. It had been formed almost exactly 200 years after the MCC.
PIE supported and encouraged illegal sexual relationships between adults and children. In other words, child abuse.
Sir Peter lived with his wife of 40 years in a lovely home in South Oxfordshire where, in a parallel existence, he was deputy chairman of the Conservative Association. He acted as a churchwarden’s assistant, and opened the local fete.
Everyone there thought he was marvellous. Who was to know otherwise?
That was because his official PIE literature and graphic correspondence with fellow paedophiles was by squalid necessity sent to a flat at 95 Linden Gardens, Notting Hill Gate, London, some 50 miles away.
The ex-diplomat had rented it for that purpose — as well as extra-marital sexual liaisons — under the name of Peter Henderson. The fact that the flat was almost across the road from the Soviet embassy was simply an irony. How the KGB would have loved to have made blackmail use of his peccadillo.
Then Sir Peter made a mistake. He left a packet of paedophile material in an envelope on a London bus. It was addressed to Mr Henderson at Linden Gardens in Notting Hill. A fellow passenger was curious. The package came into the possession of the police.
Soon afterwards, in November 1978, they raided the Linden Gardens flat.
What they found was a huge trove of revolting paedophilia and other extreme pornography. Among it was a library of 45 substantial diaries in which Sir Peter had recorded in detail his sexual experiences and fantasies, the latter including sex with minors.
There was also substantial correspondence with other PIE members — 111 pages in one instance — in which they shared their otherwise secret desires and other graphic paedophile material.
Police later found that two of the dozen or so paedophiles in Sir Peter’s epistolary circle had been writing to each other about their interest in the extreme sexual torture and murder of children.
Even the hardened cops of the Obscene Publications Squad were ‘revolted’ by the Linden Gardens haul.
When interviewed, Sir Peter — a man who had been deputy commandant of the British zone in Berlin and was later tasked to tear a strip off the Soviet ambassador to London after Moscow crushed the Prague Spring of 1968 — broke down and wept.
He would surely be exposed and his reputation ruined. All those official laurels would be for naught.
And yet he wasn’t.
Much to the anger and disbelief of the Obscene Publications Squad he was let off with a caution. The grounds for this decision certainly seem extraordinary to contemporary eyes. The Director of Public Prosecutions deemed that as the paedophile material sent through the post by Sir Peter and his friends had not been ‘unsolicited’ nor traded for profit, no offence had taken place worthy of prosecution.
The result? Save among a few officers at Scotland Yard, Sir Peter’s reputation remained intact and might have remained so until his death in 1992 had he not been later exposed in parliament.
The Hayman affair came back into the spotlight this week, with David Cameron ordering an investigation into an alleged cover-up of a VIP paedophile ring which included leading figures in Westminster and Whitehall.
The matter was raised by campaigning MP Simon Danczuk, and centres on a dossier of child sex allegations involving senior Establishment figures, which was handed to the then Home Secretary Leon Brittan by fellow Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens in November 1983.
Lord Brittan says that he passed the documents on to Whitehall officials. But no action was taken and the Home Office has admitted that the Dickens dossier was subsequently destroyed.
The peer faces increasing pressure to fully explain both his handling of the dossier and what it contained. Mark Sedwill, the current permanent secretary at the Home Office, has been given until Monday to explain what the department did with the information the dossier contained.
For his part, Dickens was always convinced there had been a high-level cover-up of VIP paedophilia. The rough treatment he received when in March 1981 he used the legal protection of parliamentary privilege to name Sir Peter Hayman in the Commons, and ask about the security risk his paedophile activities might have posed, is certainly instructive of the Establishment attitude of the time.
In the immediate aftermath of Dickens’ outing of Hayman, the letters page of the Times newspaper gave some flavour of the ranks closing against the campaigner, whom some clearly saw as a working-class oik from a far-flung constituency in the North of England. The fact that he was exposing a member of a paedophile ring which sexually exploited children seemed incidental.
‘Until a week ago, only a few unfortunates in Huddersfield had heard of Mr Geoffrey Dickens and no one who has watched him performing his stunt can have supposed that he has one scintilla of Sir Peter Hayman’s unselfish ability,’ wrote R P T Davenport-Hines. ‘Mischievous avidity for headlines is no substitute for talent or hard work.’
Mr Davenport-Hines is now an eminent historian.
In a similar vein one Julian Fellowes, himself the son of a senior British diplomat, wrote: ‘Thoroughly revolted as I am by the Paedophiliac Society with all its professed aims, I feel I cannot be alone this week in being almost as disgusted by the spectacle of a Tory MP dangling his victim over the slavering jaws of the media.
‘The feeblest student of human nature must surely be aware of how slight the connexion between pornography and practices need be.
‘To flirt with fetishes is hardly rare in the best circles . . . now he has to have his life, public and private, more thoroughly smashed than if he had murdered his kinsman in broad daylight.
‘It is particularly depressing that Salem-like justice should be meted out by a Conservative Party (MP) . . . their one faintly convincing battle cry has always been the importance of championing the rights of the individual against the so-called good of the faceless, heartless state.’
What of the rights of the children featured in the pornography, some might wonder.
Today the Oscar winner and Downton Abbey creator is a Tory peer — Lord Fellowes of West Stafford. He is married to a lady-in-waiting.
Prior to Dickens naming Hayman, there had also been strenuous attempts by leading figures in Westminster and Whitehall to prevent him from doing so.
The then Attorney General Sir Michael Havers argued with him outside the Commons chamber for 20 minutes before the disclosure of Hayman’s name in written questions.
Dickens later argued: ‘I have had to consider a gentleman with a very distinguished career for which he was many times honoured, and his family.
‘But I have also to consider the parents whose children are procured, sometimes for a bag of sweets, to perform sexual acts and pose for sexual photographs.’
The parliamentary record Hansard shows that Liberal leader David Steel also spoke out in the House against Dickens’ use of parliamentary privilege to name the paedophile diplomat in written questions.
‘As a member of the Select Committee on Privileges I am naturally concerned that parliamentary privilege should at all times be defended,’ said Steel. ‘I submit it is difficult to defend if there is a sign on occasion it is being abused.
‘I want to draw your attention to two questions which have appeared on the Order Paper today naming a retired public servant and asking for further inquiries into his activities.’
He added: ‘I would like to suggest to you this is creating a dubious precedent of which we should be careful.’
The Times reported that the Liberals said Mr Steel was merely expressing the doubts felt by many MPs.
We know now, of course, that Mr Steel and his Liberal Party failed to recognise the paedophile activities of their own MP Cyril Smith, who is believed to have been named in the dossier Dickens later handed to Brittan. Police recently confirmed that Smith was also a visitor to the notorious Elm Guest House in South-West London, where paedophile parties were allegedly held.
At the time, Steel and the Liberals did nothing, and Smith took his secrets and good reputation to the grave.
To shouts of ‘old school tie’ from Labour MP Christopher Price, Sir Michael Havers had to explain to the House why Hayman had not been prosecuted along with other members of PIE in a trial which had ended at the Old Bailey the previous week with the former PIE chairman Tom O’Carroll being jailed for two years for conspiracy to corrupt public morals.
Hayman’s alias of ‘Mr Henderson’ and his collection of paedophile material and diaries had been alluded to in O’Carroll’s committal hearings, but his true identity was suppressed.
(O’Carroll’s prosecution had been criticised by the National Council for Civil Liberties, to which PIE was affiliated. The NCCL’s legal officer at the time was Harriet Harman, now Deputy Labour Leader. She refuses to apologise for the NCCL’s links with PIE.)
Sir Michael explained that Hayman himself had escaped prosecution not because of ‘special treatment’, but because he had not sat on PIE’s executive committee. Dickens claimed that police investigating PIE in 1978 had been ‘absolutely staggered’ that Hayman was not charged.
But the Establishment did then take some action — against the whistleblowers.
The DPP ordered the Metropolitan Police to carry out a leak inquiry into who had given Hayman’s name to Dickens. It was assumed — probably correctly — that the ‘culprit’ was a member of the Obscene Publications squad who had seen the diplomat’s collection at first hand.
Police quizzed Dickens for 45 minutes. He would not tell. A Tory MP even tried to table a motion to force Dickens to reveal his source.
Last night Barry Dickens, the son of Geoffrey Dickens, who died in 1995, said he was disgusted by the backlash against his father at the time of the Hayman affair.
‘I find some of these views quite shocking,’ he said. ‘To defend the odious Peter Hayman, who used his diplomatic bag to carry pictures of children, and I understand in some cases babies in prams, being abused is quite sickening.
‘Julian Fellowes has used flowery language to defend the indefensible and to praise the gutter. David Steel’s Liberal Party was giving sanctuary to the child-abusing monster Cyril Smith. If they have a shred of decency, they will retract their remarks and apologise for attacking my father who was a man of proven integrity.’
Yesterday, Lord Fellowes told the Mail: ‘My position today is exactly the same as it was 30 years ago — I abhor paedophilia in any form, but I think these matters should be decided in a court of law.’
Will we ever know the truth about Establishment paedophiles in the Eighties, and to what extent their activities were covered up?
The Mail can reveal that despite extensive inquiries over the past 20 months, no record of the Dickens dossier being passed to the Metropolitan Police in the mid-Eighties, let alone investigated, has been found by Yard detectives.
Operation Fairbank, the umbrella name for several historic child abuse inquiries relating to PIE, Elm Guest House and a children’s home in South-West London in the Seventies, has been staffed by just seven detectives since it was launched in November 2012.
Compare this with 200 or so detectives tasked with probing alleged media crime around this time, and the 30 or so officers deployed on the post Jimmy Savile scandal inquiry, Operation Yewtree, it is not difficult to understand why sceptics believe the alleged Westminster paedophile ring which operated in the Eighties continues to be covered up.
Certainly there are grounds to suspect that PIE had established a foothold in the Home Office during this period.
A whistleblower has told police that PIE had received grants totalling £70,000 from the Home Office. This person told the Yard he witnessed a successful three-year grant renewal application for £35,000 in 1980, implying that a similar grant had been made in 1977.
PIE leader Steven Adrian Smith (who replaced the jailed Tom O’Carroll), even used a telephone number in the Home Office building as a contact point for the child-sex-supporting organisation, while he was working there as an electrical contractor on behalf of a firm called Complete Maintenance Ltd.
According to his own account, Smith stored paperwork in cabinets at the Home Office and received full security clearance from Scotland Yard.
Smith later went on the run while facing child porn charges. He fled to Holland where he claimed asylum, on the grounds that he was part of an ‘oppressed’ minority campaigning for changes in the UK law.
He cited PIE’s long association with the NCCL. Smith won his asylum plea, but was arrested and jailed on his return to the UK in 1991.
Last night, a man in his 40s who alleges he was a victim of abuse at an institution probed by Scotland Yard, told us: ‘The Government and all its agencies need to wake up and realise that without a proper independent inquiry into historic child sex abuse, the guilty will be left in peace whilst a mass group of traumatised survivors will continue unsupported and tortured by our experiences.’