Man Who Accused Dead MPs of Child Sex Abuse Defends Donald Trump From Groping Allegation

From the Sunday Mirror, July 2014:

Tory child abuse whistleblower: ‘I supplied underage rent boys for Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet ministers’

Senior Tory cabinet ministers were supplied with underage boys for sex parties, it is sensationally claimed.

Former Conservative activist Anthony Gilberthorpe said he told Margaret Thatcher 25 years ago about what he had witnessed and gave her names of those involved.

…He says one person who attended a party is a current serving minister.

Others said to be present at the parties included Keith Joseph, Rhodes Boyson, Dr Alistair Smith and Michael Havers.

Gilberthorpe came forward two weeks after articles had appeared in the media suggesting that the former Home Secretary, Leon Brittan, had mishandled “dossiers” given to him by Geoffrey Dickens MP containing information about child sex abuse in high places. These “Dickens dossiers” have in recent years acquired something of a mythical status, although from what we know of them they actually contained little of substance and were produced by Dickens as publicity stunts. John Mann MP made further claims about one of them a year ago, although interest has since waned.

Gilberthorpe’s sudden claim about his own “dossier” – which was supposedly seen by the Prime Minister – was thus obviously opportunistic. Nevertheless, his story was picked up by other tabloids, such as the Daily Mail, and the Sunday Mirror ran follow-up pieces in which Gilberthorpe’s claims were described as a “revelation”, as if confirmed.

It was left to Private Eye magazine (1372) to dredge up some pertinent context in its “Street of Shame” column:

Gilberthorpe, a former Gloucestershire county councillor and party activist, says that in 1989 he sent a 40-page dossier to Margaret Thatcher (a friend of his, or so he claims) … Other newspapers, especially the Daily Mail, have eagerly recycled the story. But none has taken the precaution of warning readers that Gilberthorpe – known to his few remaining friends as “Gilby” – is not the most reliable of witnesses…

In September 1987, for example, he announced his engagement in the Times to Miss Leah Bergdorf-Hunt, a fashion designer from California… But there was no engagement, and indeed no Miss Bergdorf-Hunt. As revealed in Eye 690, the whole thing was a fantasy.

And that’s just the warm up: the article goes on to relate how Gilberthorpe had won a libel action in 1988 over a claim that he had contracted Aids, despite the newspaper concerned claiming that the false information had been supplied by Gilberthorpe himself (the award was later overturned on appeal); how it had been claimed that he had somehow acquired £250,000 “from a former patient of a nursing home he owned”; and, most notoriously, how he had surreptitiously videoed his friend, the late Piers Merchant MP, having sex with a teenage girl and then sold the recording to the Sunday Mirror. For some reason, though, the Eye left out allegations of fraud in relation to an antiques centre in York in 2003.

Gilberthorpe is now in the news once again, in unexpected circumstances. From the New York Post:

Donald Trump’s campaign says a British man is countering claims that the GOP presidential nominee groped a woman on a cross-country flight more than three decades ago.

The man says he was sitting across from the accuser and contacted the Trump campaign because he was incensed by her account — which is at odds with what he witnessed.

“I have only met this accuser once and frankly cannot imagine why she is seeking to make out that Trump made sexual advances on her. Not only did he not do so (and I was present at all times) but it was she that was the one being flirtatious,” Anthony Gilberthorpe said in a note provided to The Post by the Trump campaign.

Gilberthorpe’s testimony is apparently the “evidence” to which Mike Pence recently referred. Gilberthorpe is currently 54 years old; in 1980, then, he would have been 18 or 19 years old when he was travelling business-class across the USA.

Inevitably, there is now a new flurry of interest in Gilberthorpe, with articles appearing in SlateBuzzfeed, TPM, and other outlets, including the Daily MailIn contrast to its 2014 article, however, the Mail this time notes in its subheading that Gilberthorpe has “no evidence” to support his claim.

UPDATE: Gilberthorpe has now flown to the USA to appear on Fox News’s Justice with Judge Jeanine:

Jeanine Pirro: Tell me about you, what is the worst thing that you have done? Because we are going to find out about it one way or another.

Gilberthorpe: The internet’s full of it, they’re on overdrive. And frankly, let this be testimony to the weaponry that I have.

Gilberthorpe went on to explain that he had provided “the Trump organization” with

factual evidence of the configuration of those seats, where Trump was, where she was, where I was. That was just after she made no mention whatsoever of a witness… It was between [her] first and second statement that I gave my evidence to Trump.

Footnote

Rhodes Boyson and Keith Joseph were also supposedly named in yet another alleged dossier, this time one supposedly given to a journalist named Don Hale by Barbara Castle MP. According to Hale, this dossier was seized by police before he could make use of it, and by the time he decided to go public with his story Castle had been dead for some years.

Hale’s story was reported in the Daily Mail a few days after its derivative Gilberthorpe article, and the paper treated his claims as confirmed facts. More recently, the Mail has been scathing on the subject of false VIP abuse allegations.

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