Since I started this site, I have already written two lengthy articles on the child abuse allegations at Westminster. The first of these, “A Moral Absolute” laid out the back story in relation to some of our parliamentarians, and asked why more of them aren’t demanding a full-scale, independent – and public – inquiry to get to the bottom of this affair.
The second, “The Paedophile’s Friend”, looked at the numerous individuals from within Thatcher’s circle of close associates who have been implicated in these events, and suggests that she surely would have been aware of the allegations, and that her intelligence services would certainly have known about them, in particular as a key UK intelligence official was implicated.
As an aside to that article, I also mentioned a number of cases which, for some reason, were never properly explored by the British media.
About a week after I wrote it, one of those cases, involving the American financier Jeffrey Epstein, did make the national press here after a witness in the case – Virginia Roberts – finally had her day in court, where she and her lawyers named Prince Andrew as one of a number of men Epstein introduced her to, and with whom she said she had sex.
The most lurid allegation is that she, Epstein and the Prince were involved in an orgy involving eight other young girls.
The Palace was on alert at once, with the Prince’s relationship with Epstein already a matter of public record.
They moved quickly to deny the scale of that relationship, but FBI records suggest different. The US hedge fund boss had no fewer than sixteen different contact numbers for the Prince, which tells its own story.
Epstein is undisputedly a serial sex offender. He has settled over a dozen cases out of court, and the ongoing criminal case against him in the United States – in which Andrew is named – is extensive.
So is his contacts book; along with the British royal, he’s had long friendships with British politicians including Peter Mandelson and Tony Blair, and he was a close confidante of former US President Bill Clinton. He has global reach, in spite of his notorious background.
Let me tell you just how long that reach actually is.
In 2010, he was sentenced to jail time – a whole 13 months of it – in accordance with a mind-bending series of allegations. They included his taking “delivery” of three 12 year old French girls as a “birthday present”; his purchasing of a “14 year old Balkan sex slave” and over 40 separate allegations in relation to underage prostitutes.
In light of that, the sentence is scandalous. When you consider his powerful friends, it is hardly even surprising.
He had, amongst other contacts, the home phone numbers for Michael Heseltine and the former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Shaun Woodward. He had ten contact numbers for Peter Mandelson, who Virginia Roberts says she saw at Epstein’s house on numerous occasions.
This is a case with international dimensions … and you can get there by following some threads that are much closer to home.
Let me tell you about one of them, one you’ll be familiar with but perhaps not as familiar as you thought.
In September 2001, the caretaker of Soham Village College was fired after an investigation revealed that he’d had an “inappropriate relationship” with a female pupil. This would have made the college super-alert when looking for a replacement.
After the job was advertised, it was finally offered to a part-time barman named Ian Huntley. He started work there in November that year. His girlfriend, Maxine Carr, found a job as a classroom assistant at a nearby school, St Andrews Primary.
It was there she got to know Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells.
On Sunday 4 August 2002, Jessica and Holly, then aged 10, were going by Huntley’s house. He asked them to come in. He told them Carr was inside. She wasn’t. She was in Grimsby visiting family. When the two girls entered the house, Huntley attacked them and killed them. He disposed of the bodies at a site near RAF Lakenheath, a local airbase.
The girls were reported missing, and the ensuing search sparked national, and then international, attention. It had the country on edge, and when they were finally found dead the revulsion was universal.
Carr had given Huntley an alibi, and so the police had initially dismissed him from the list of suspects, or so we were later told. It took weeks before they were able to finally arrest and charge him.
Yet even at that stage, there was disquiet about some of what was going on in the background.
A month after the girls disappeared, one of the police officers who was involved in the case, Brian Stevens, who had acted as a family liaison officer, was arrested in connection with the Operation Ore case, which started in the US as an FBI run investigation called Operation Avalanche.
It sought to trace paedophiles using child porn sites via their credit cards.
That’s important to note, and I’ll come back to it.
Stevens was one of a reputed 200 individuals, living locally, whose names came up in the Ore files. Shortly after the newspapers ran with this story, allegations surfaced about him having molested two fifteen year old girls in 1998.
He stood trial for this, and for the child porn claims, in August 2003.
A chunk of the case collapsed due to lack of evidence, and he was acquitted on all counts.
Barely three weeks later, he and a friend, Louise Austin, who was a Crown Prosecution Service case worker, were arrested for “perverting the course of justice” in relation to that case. Specifically, they were alleged to have concocted an “alibi” relating to Stevens’ laptop computer, on which child pornography had been found.
They were both found guilty, and Stevens received a jail sentence.
Following Ian Huntley’s conviction in the Soham case, it was revealed that he had a long history of allegations against him, one of which had resulted in a criminal conviction for burglary.
This, on its own, should have prevented him getting a job in a school, but it was the nine separate allegations of sexual predation, including rape, against him – including some relating to underage girls – that exploded onto the front pages.
Eight of the nine sexual allegations had surfaced whilst he lived in Humberside.
None of these cases, including his conviction, had stopped him passing “vetting.”
The Humberside police authority claimed that they’d never been asked about the burglary conviction, so had never disclosed it to the council.
They also admitted that they had, themselves, “redacted” the nine separate sexual allegations against Huntley because they believed “retaining that information breached the Data Protection Act.”
Other local police forces disputed that, claiming that this was too broad a reading of the regulations. An inquiry agreed, and the flap reached political circles, and in 2004, David Blunkett, then Home Secretary, furiously demanded that the head of the Humberside Police, David Westwood, resign.
Westwood was already a controversial figure. He had instigated a policy whereby anyone arrested in his catchment area, and who came from an Irish background, was to have their details logged and sent to Special Branch, where they would be held on file.
This story came to light when a local Labour activist and blogger, Dermott Rathbone, was arrested for speeding, and, during the roadside interview, noted the officer’s interest in his “Irish sounding name.” Rathbone investigated the matter, found out about the policy and contacted the media as well as local politicians. The story flared into a brief national scandal, which culminated in Westwood storming out of an interview with Jeremy Paxman as the Irish embassy, human rights lawyer Gareth Pierce and others howled their outrage in the background.
The policy was later “dropped” on the orders of the Home Office.
Westwood, it seems, had no problem keeping details of local Irishmen on file despite no evidence of criminality … but was presiding over a police force that deleted details of allegations relating to sexual assault and paedophilia.
At this point, let me say that I think the concept of innocent until proven guilty is second only to free speech in forming a fair society… and I want that on record before I continue, because having already mentioned Stevens’ alleged behaviours, and then his subsequent acquittal, and having said that Huntley was accused in nine cases but never convicted, I am certainly not in favour of any legal system which assumes guilt because of multiple allegations … but I don’t think any person, no matter how fair minded, could fail to be disturbed by the apparent pattern.
When Blunkett demanded Westwood’s resignation that should have been that. When the Home Secretary lays it down in such a way, there’s not supposed to be resistance.
Yet Westwood refused to go, and he was supported in this refusal by the then chief of the Humberside Police Authority, one Colin Inglis, who was also the Labour leader of Hull Council.
Blunkett was furious and used Home Office powers to compel Westwood to resign.
A year later, in 2005, Colin Inglis was arrested in connection with child abuse allegations dating back to the 1980’s, some in relation to his time as a home care social worker. It was later revealed that he had been investigated, but never convicted, in numerous other cases, including one in 1997, where he was accused of assaulting a teenage boy.
The 2005 allegations were in relation to 14 counts of indecent assault.
Midway through the trial, the judge personally dismissed eight of those cases, and Inglis was finally acquitted on the other six. In one of those cases, the jury cleared him in under an hour.
On the five additional counts, his Not Guilty verdicts were by a jury majority.
These facts are interesting enough, but what few are wholly aware of is that in four of the nine cases involving Ian Huntley, that information had been passed on to social work services, where Inglis had worked and where he retained numerous friends and contacts.
During the period between Inglis being charged and his being put on trial, he retained his positions in the Labour Party, and it was in this capacity that he was able to host a dinner at the City Chambers for a number of high ranking members of the Humberside Police Force, a dinner which wasn’t an official local authority event, and which only came to light later.
One of the men “honoured” at that dinner was Chief Superintendent Paul Cheeseman.
In December 2014, a senior detective with the Humberside Police, Detective Chief Superintendent Colin Andrews, was found guilty of a number of criminal charges, including witness intimidation, stalking and common assault, which came to light after he was accused of raping a woman after a Christmas Party the year before.
During the trial, the investigating officer described Andrews as “connected and influential”, and said she’d initially been worried that Andrews, who was said to be in possession of a good deal of knowledge, could do great harm to the Humberside Police Authority if he decided “to dish the dirt.”
The investigating officer, Judith Heaton, had good reason to be concerned. Her predecessor as Divisional Commander of C Division was a man named Patrick Geenty, who had worked alongside Andrews for years and had gone on to be the chief constable in Wiltshire.
He was due to retire this year, but his retirement has been postponed as he is the subject of an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission … into mishandling of child abuse allegations.
Geenty and Andrews, along with others, were named by the victim in Andrews court case, of being members of what she had called the “Goole mafia”, a group of police officers who had worked in that area and had become adept at covering each other and their mates.
One of the other members of the “Goole mafia”, who was at the Christmas Party after which Andrews carried out his attack, was Paul Cheeseman, with whom Colin Inglis had a more than cordial relationship, and who he’d honoured at that notorious dinner whilst he was facing criminal charges.
At the same time as all this has been going on, Humberside police have been successfully sued by a number of individuals who were framed in connection with child sex cases, including the former head of a childrens unit, Michael Curran, who was the victim of a smear campaign from within the police force itself … and which implicated two un-named officers.
In 2008, Colin Inglis was re-elected to Hull Council.
In 2010 he was actually selected as Labour’s candidate for Lord Mayor of Hull … and he won that election.
In 2012, he was one of the short-list candidates to be appointed as one of the newly created Police Crime Commissioners for Humberside, until, for some reason, Labour withdrew its support for him.
What followed can, charitably, be categorised as a somewhat bizarre coincidence, as Jeffrey Epstein’s notorious friend, Peter Mandelson, washed up in Hull when he was appointed its High Steward.
This decision infuriated long-time local MP John Prescott, who had wanted that position for himself, after losing the Police Crime Commissioner election in which Inglis had been hoping for the nod.
Prescott, who had served the constituency since 1970, wanted to know why Mandelson, and not he, had been chosen. It was Inglis who responded, pointing to Mandelson’s time as an EU commissioner, as well as his grandfather, Herbert Morrison, having served in the same role.
Mandelson’s appointment was announced along with that of Virginia Bottomley, who was appointed High Sherriff.
Those who’ve followed these events closely will be aware that both Virginia Bottomley and her husband, Peter, have long been linked to sex abuse allegations, and when the inquiry into the Elm Guest House saw media speculation reach fever pitch last year he was one of a number of MP’s and former MP’s, including Leon Brittain, who threatened to sue any newspaper which reported allegations against him, as he had already done in the nineties.
During Operation Ore, the British branch of the FBI investigation Operation Avalanche, several British national newspapers reported that amongst the 7000 names UK police had in connection with the case were some regarded as “household names”.
Two were said to be members of the Tony Blair Labour government.
Respected internet bloggers, who know something about these issues, still maintain that the UK media was asked not to explore this avenue of the investigation because it came at a time when British forces were preparing to go into Iraq.
Mandelson’s friendship with Epstein is already well established.
His relationship with Colin Inglis is also a fact.
We know too that Operation Ore almost netted at least one Great White in the UK, and it certainly caught up with David Stevens of the Soham case, with which Inglis is inextricably linked via his social work background and his defence of David Westwood.
Inglis keeps some odd company. So too does his friend Peter Mandelson.
And this is a microcosm of the larger story, a look at how just one case – the Holly and Jessica murder inquiry – and events related to it sprawls and hints at bigger things going on, about how even following the threads of that individual piece of the puzzle can take you in a hundred directions and threatens to overwhelm you with fact and innuendo, until you’re not sure about anything.
The need for a full inquiry to establish those facts is acute, if for no other reason than to end the innuendo once and for all. The people responsible for abuse need to be caught, and those who’ve done nothing wrong protected.
Until that happens, this is the scandal that simply won’t go away.
This won’t be my last article on it.
(This website depends on your support and generosity. If you want to support it you can do so by using the PayPal link at the top or bottom of the page, depending on how you’re reading this. The first issue of our website’s magazine, Enjoy The Silence?, is out and, available to download free, right here. Just click on the magazine cover below, and don’t forget to share it and Follow us.)