Over the weekend the inquiry into a Westminster paedophile ring took a dramatic turn with Met Police officially saying it had seconded murder detectives to the investigation.
On Sunday the People newspaper and Exaro News disclosed the inquiry was related to the horrific revelations from a survivor called Nick (not his real name). It involved three murders including one boy being run over, another being strangled at a party where sadistic child sexual abuse seemed to be the norm. It also suggests that other premises in Central London as well as Dolphin Square were used as venues.
Some of the more sceptical MPs and commentators, some of whom are also incidentally are opposed to an overarching child sexual abuse inquiry, have expressed near disbelief that this could have happened anywhere near Westminster in the 1980s.
To those doubters I would say this has been a meticulous detailed investigation – by my colleague Mark Conrad – who in a related piece on Exaro News gives the background to the events.
It has taken months to uncover and has involved building up the confidence of the brave survivor who decided himself to report it to the police after years of being told never to repeat what happened.
As he said himself : “The MP was particularly nasty, even among the group of people who sexually abused me and others. I still find it difficult to talk about these incidents after all these years.”
Some of the scepticism is based on the fact that there may have been rumours of wild parties in Westminster at the time – and that people might have been smeared by Westminster gossip. The fact that nothing was proved at the time does not mean it did not happen.
I am reminded by the “cash for questions” investigation which I revealed on the Guardian in the mid 1990s. That actually referred to events happening a decade previously right under the nose of the Westminster lobby. And they were proved to be true.
These allegations will now be investigated by the Met Police who will have to decide, along with the Crown Prosecution Service, whether there is enough evidence to prosecute.
In the meantime it is becoming very clear that this historic child sex abuse scandal is not going away. More revelations in London and other parts of the country will make sure it won’t.
One hopes those who did these deeds are jailed and those who have suffered at their hands be helped
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As Mark Conrad himself wrote that the accusactions “defied belief” it seems a little unjust to describe those with open minds – and who obviously do not have access to all the information – as “doubters” in any negative sense of the word.
It follows that the more incredible the claim the more demanding will be the assurances sought of its veracity.
(If I told you I had just found a pound in the street you’d probably believe me without asking to see it. An envelope with £1000 inside? A cardboard box with a million? You’d no doubt, er, “doubt” the truth of the statement without seeing further proof. And rightly so!)
The BarristerBlog has a piece whose title speaks for itself:
Although I don’t agree with all that is written there it does raise some important points regarding the information which Exaro is placing in the public domain which COULD be used by any future defence to raise doubts/scupper the prosecution.
Obviously Exaro will be receiving legal advice about what it can sensibly say, but I hope this advice is not only from the perspective of avoiding libel/etc., but also thinking ahead to any courtroom battle. I’ll mention an example of what seemed to me to be not only unnecessary but also potentially damaging, but please remove this if you so desire (or the whole post!):
In previous Exaro articles featuring ‘Nick’ the point was raised that although he was not abused at Elm he did remember boys being dropped off there. Regardless of whether or not this were true – and regardless of his “togetherness” & credibility in the witness-box – the defence would surely have no trouble making his ability to recall a run-of-the-mill building, in a street almost identical to thousands of others, a quarter of a century after the fact, look a little questionable? I repeat, REGARDLESS of the truth of the claim.
And seeing as this claim seemed almost like an afterthought in the article I could only see one beneficiary to its inclusion: the defence, looking for points of attack.
A final point: the comments below the BarristerBlog piece suggest “Nick” might be active on Twitter. I hope this is not the case (or that at least he is not accepting all-comers as has unfortunately happened in the past).
Thanks for your comment. My overall policy is to publish all comments unless they start naming or accusing individuals who are still alive which would both be libellous and unfair to the individuals concerned.
You raise some interesting points – I can certainly assure you that Exaro has very good lawyers who take account of what could be libellous and whether information could prejudice a future trial.
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I’m very sceptical that anyone in authority will act to reveal the truth. The symbolic appointments of ‘safe hands’ Butler Sloss and Fiona Woolf are indicative of the lack of will to uncover any wrong doing. The final straw came when David Cameron said Wanless had exonerated the Home Office from any attempts to cover up and that ‘conspiracy theorists’ would have to look elsewhere. So that really told us all that Tue government wants to cover it all up whilst camouflaging themselves in a flurry of pointless, toothless public enquiries specifically designed to get precisely nowhere. It’s all smoke and mirrors folks because the truth is too dreadful to contemplate. Revealing even a fraction of what really happened would change the face of politics forever and the Americans, NATO and Stay Behind have too much invested in the status quo to allow that to happen.