Revealed: The secret child sex abuse scandals at Dolphin Square

An amazing new book by ex MP Simon Danczuk and author Daniel Smith

New book published today reveals child sex scandals dating back to the 1980s and a thwarted Met Police investigation that wasn’t the discredited Operation Midland

An amazing new book today reveals the notorious history of one of London’s iconic block of flats – the 1930s built Dolphin Square overlooking the Thames- home over the last nine decades to the rich and famous, spies, Fascists, entertainers and glitzy film stars and even the unofficial home of the Free French army during World War II.

The authors chronicle the lives of about 300 people who lived there from Oswald and Diana Mosley who were interned in World War Two, the Vassall Russian spy and Profumo sex scandals of the 1960s to murders down to an amazingly discreet character, Major Monty Chidson, who smuggled diamonds out of Amsterdam in a daring do operation during the German invasion of Holland. It kept them out of Nazi hands in the Second World War.

This book has been well covered by the Daily Telegraph magazine and other national media with one extraordinary exception. Not a single word has been written about the groups of men who used Dolphin Square for child sex abuse despite two chapters in the book devoted to their alleged crimes.

I am going to concentrate on these stories because you won’t read them anywhere else – I suspect because both the police and the media have been bruised by the activities of Carl Beech, a paedophile who posed as a survivor and fed elaborate and detailed stories of the rich and powerful abusing children and is now in jail for perverting the course of justice.

The terrible heart rending tale of David Ingle

The first story dates from 1982 is of David Ingle, described as an articulate and handsome youth from Lincolnshire, who was taken to Dolphin Square by a Lincolnshire farmer, Gordon Dawson,, after being repeatedly raped by him.

The authors write “According to David, he suffered abuse in three locales: in Lincolnshire, at Dolphin Square and in guesthouses close to the spectacular Blickling Estate in Norfolk. All the while, David’s life away from Dawson was unravelling. He became withdrawn and his previously high performance at school dipped steeply. His only real peace came in the company of the horses he loved to ride”

Dawson took him to London while on church business where he sub leased a flat in Dolphin Square. He took him to dinner with “important people” from the Church of England and MPs. Later he was taken back to the flat. The authors write: “He does have memories of waking up in the flat the next morning, sometimes hearing the voices of men milling about the apartment. He frequently experienced pain in his body that he knew did not correspond to the physical effects of the rapes that Dawson had perpetrated. In other words, he was assaulted by some person or persons other than (or in addition to) Dawson on these weekends. Unable to recall the specifics of the attacks, he would feel ashamed, stripping the bed of soiled sheets, removing the very evidence of his abuse in his anxiousness that no one should know what had been done to him.”

It took him to 2007 to go to Lincolnshire Police to complain about Dawson. The police told him that he was not the first to complain about him. They went to arrest Dawson but once he knew about David’s complaint he went into the woods and was found dead with a bullet to the head.. An inquest gave an open verdict.

The case was raised again in 2015 under the Met Police’s Operation Fairbank but because he couldn’t name anyone it was dropped. Lincolnshire Police also re-opened their inquiry but could not progress the case further.

“It felt to David as if he would only be listened to if he could come up with the name of a ‘big-hitter’ to investigate, or else he would need to produce a signed confession from one of his abusers, or perhaps a videotape.”

William van Straubenzee

The second story comes from the late David Weeks, Tory leader of Westminster about the role William van Straubenzee, a Tory minister who was solicitor to the Dolphin Square Trust and also a paedophile. Weeks said van Straubenzee was a gatekeeper to getting a flat in Dolphin Square. Straubenzee himself lived in a grace and favour flat in Lambeth Palace. The authors write, using evidence given to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse:

William van Straubenzee in 1970. Picture credit :BBC

‘In 1982, MI5 received information that suggested that William van Straubenzee engaged in sexual activities with young boys whilst in Northern Ireland [he had been Northern Ireland minister
between 1972 and 1974]. This information was shared with the Cabinet Office, who shared it with the Prime Minister (Margaret Thatcher).’ MI5 confirmed that if this intelligence had been received today, under current policy it would be passed to the police.”

Incendiary evidence

The third story is the most dramatic. The authors write:

“Among the most incendiary evidence of wrongdoing at Dolphin Square came in a statement taken from a former police officer identified only as GB. It was entered into evidence only at the end of the last day of hearings in IICSA’s Westminster investigation and the witness did not appear in person to give evidence, nor were they seemingly provided with questions by the inquiry to which GB would have been
legally obligated to give answers. The statement adduced in evidence dated from 20 December 2016 and was given as part of Operation Winter Key, the Metropolitan Police’s investigation into allegations of
non-recent abuse.”

He revealed another investigation called Operation Mileshogue.

“GB’s statement was wide ranging. It included allusions to surveillance of a London MP who was suspected of hosting young people overnight in his constituency office. But it also included significant detail of police operations concerning Dolphin Square in the 1990s.”

“MH was … an intelligence gathering operation revolved around a guy called [NAME REDACTED] … He had been a rent boy himself, living in Greenwich at that time. He had a series of young boys. One was [WM-A118] another was (WM-A119] and another 5 or 6. Those boys I interviewed on tape several times. suggested that these children were thirteen or fourteen when they were speaking to them but that their abuses had started when they were as young as 8.]
“They claimed one another had been abused by other people, were taken to parties and things by [NAME REDACTED] himself he was like a modern day Fagan [sic]. He also had them doing robberies and burglaries but he was also an informant for the police, inform on them and then turn up as their appropriate adult. These were kids all from local Children’s Home”.

GB then referred to the ‘Fagin-figure’, saying: ‘He also mentioned Dolphin Square he had been there as a child himself, been abused.’
GB discussed how they had made requests for additional investigative resources to senior officers but their requests were repeatedly refused or bounced back as it was ‘too difficult to do at this time’ and ‘we weren’t regarded as a priority of the Paedophile Unit at that time, GB said: ‘They didn’t want to know about a mass operation with loads of kids to interview. They didn’t know how to deal with it.’
I asked the child sex abuse inquiry their reaction to this. A spokesman denied the inquiry had not weighed up GB’s evidence and pointed instead to an inquiry by the Independent Office for Police Conduct into GB’s allegations. and evidence from Met Police Commander Catherine Roper about the operation. She gave evidence on a number of child sex abuse investigations in London to the inquiry.

Whatever the disclosures both the inquiry and the book conclude there was never a specific VIP paedophile ring.

But they do say: “it is fair to conclude from a wealth of evidence, powerful individuals who did abuse children in Dolphin Square and who got away with it because of who they were and who they knew: in other words, they abused because they knew they could.”

Scandal at Dolphin Square: A notorious history . History Press £20

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Child sex abuse: Investigators announce a game change decision

The announcement by the Independent Police Complaints Commission that it is to investigate  cover ups  inside the Metropolitan Police on historical child sexual abuse inquiries is  game changing. It means not only are the Met Police convinced that evidence from survivors of a powerful paedophile ring that may have operated in Westminster and Whitehall needs investigating and people prosecuted but the Met Police conduct at the time needs to be held to account

The full statement on the IPCC  site lists no fewer than 14 allegations to be investigated going back to the 1970s. and 1980s to the early 2000s. You can read them in the release.

As the IPCC Deputy Chair Sarah Green said:

“These allegations are of historic, high level corruption of the most serious nature.

“We will oversee the investigations and ensure that they meet the terms of reference that we will set. Allegations of this nature are of grave concern and I would like to reassure people of our absolute commitment to ensuring that the investigations are thorough and robust.”

The press release names Dolphin Square as one of the venues of the ring  and also South London – linking possible venues like Elm Guest House in Barnes  and Lambeth. It covers a number of investigations by exaro and disclosures on a closed website that  former Met  police officers working on these cases believed they had been stopped from pursuing important people.

Survivors and victims should at last be pleased that they are being taken seriously and must hope that this will really be a thorough detailed investigation that will not shy away from finding out who in the Met agreed or was told to close down such investigations .

However a word of warning it is to be – as the Danny Shaw, the BBC’s home affairs correspondent points out –  a ” managed ” inquiry – meaning that the Met police’s own Professional Standards Body will carry out the investigation into the Met police. They will be overseen by the IPCC which is hit by not having enough resources due to the austerity measures.

In some ways this investigation parallels the equally appalling murder of Daniel Morgan – current the subject of an independent panel inquiry into  the murder of the private investigator. The evidence from the Met Police finally handed over late last year should also open up inquiries into why leading figures in the Met never got a successful prosecution.

What can be said now is that these lurid allegations against MPs, senior Cabinet ministers, spies and the various churches- which some commentators believe must be false – have to be taken seriously and cannot just be ignored.

The investigation I hope will go some way to restore trust in the police to conduct such inquiries in the future and also show those who thought they could cover up matters in the 1970s and 1980s will not get away with it.

The inquiry has to be seen to be robust, transparent and thorough and getting to the root of the many scandals in the capital. If it doesn’t suspicions will remain. it will require nerves of steel  to tackle the prominent people who stand accused.

The net begins to close on the Westminster paedophile ring

As the child  sex abuse inquiry starts to take soundings from survivors a very serious development has happened for those who hoped to keep the Westminster paedophile ring dead and buried forever.

A brave survivor who has never talked to the police decided to take his courage in his hands and talk to the Met about his horrendous experiences in Dolphin Square where sexual abuse of young boys is alleged to have been combined with sadistic practices.

The survivor who has been given the name ” Nick” to protect his identity. The full story by my colleagues on Exaro was published last weekend in both the Sunday People. You can both read it in full and hear an interview with  him by editor Mark Watts  and my colleague Mark Conrad on the Exaro website.

Suffice to say they have been rumours of dark events at Dolphin Square, used for years as London flats for MPs of all parties but no one has ever testified to the police on what they alleged had happened to them.

He told Exaro that officers “are very serious” about investigating his allegations that two former Conservative MPs – including an ex-cabinet minister – and other VIPs sexually abused him as a boy at Dolphin Square and other locations.

Nick told of how the two well-known politicians raped and physically beat him after he was forced to drink alcohol. He recalled that he was taken to Dolphin Square around 10 times, from the age 11, over a period of two to three years either side of 1980.

Interestingly he also recognised the address that used to be Elm Guest House in Barnes – where the criminal investigation Operation Fernbridge began- as he place where other boys were dropped off – even though he was never abused there. This suggests there is a connection between the notorious guest house and Dolphin Square.

He is not the only person who has made allegations to Exaro about Dolphin Square but there are also other boys who must still be alive today who may also know  what happened to them there.

Given that there is now an inquiry with a remit to look at how well police investigations are conducted it is to be hoped that this time the Met will be given the time and resources to thoroughly investigate the matter. Just as Theresa May, the home secretary, has described the child abuse inquiry as a ” once in a generation ” opportunity to lay this matters to rest it is to be hoped that senior people in the Met will take their cue from her and decide they have a ” once in a generation ” opportunity to investigate  and clear up a matter that has been the subject of Westminster rumour and speculation for decades.