Murder Victim’s Grandson Accuses Mark Williams-Thomas of “Predatory Actions”

UPDATE: The above headline reflects the fact that Causley has been convicted of murder. However, no body has ever been found, and the late Bob Woffinden argued that a miscarriage of justice had occurred. His critique of the documentary can be read here.

From the Mirror, August 2017:

A daughter trying to solve the riddle of her mother’s murder has launched a new bid to uncover the full truth after 30 years of torment.

Sam Gillingham is demanding her lovecheat father Russell Causley – in jail for the murder – reveals what he did with Carole Packman’s body.

She also intends to face Causley’s mistress Patricia Ward in court after launching a private prosecution against her for using tragic Carole’s ID.

…Last year, Carole’s murder was the subject of ITV ­documentary The Investigator, in which Mark Williams-Thomas – who exposed pervert DJ Jimmy Savile – probed her disappearance.

The BBC has an overview of the case here. The television series was broadcast in 2016, and a Mirror article published at the time reported how Samantha GIllingham “and son Neil sought help from investigator Williams-Thomas after he exposed Jimmy Savile as a paedophile.” The same article (by a showbiz reporter) said that “after watching the final instalment of ITV’s The Investigator, Samantha Gillingham feels she is one step closer to discovering her mother’s fate”, although a piece in the Express published the same day reported that “viewers were left feeling cheated and furious as after various suggestions that things were going to take an interesting turn, practically nothing was solved” (as ever, this was a “Twitter comment round-up” article).

So what happened about the “private prosecution” against Ward? No such prosecution has materialised, and in April this year Neil Gillingham (on social media “Neil Gill”) issued a statement criticising Williams-Thomas for what he calls “predatory actions” that have “humiliated” his mother. As evidence for this assessment, he has published a text message that he purportedly received on 14 July 2017, in which Williams-Thomas appears to have promised to fund the action:

So we will set meeting up for next week QC is back Sunday so will get date then . We are go on the private prosecution – I will fund £50k to get it to trial and getting going asap But this should be kept secret. We should start next week a crowd funding page to raise 50k for the private prosecution . I need you to talk to Police today and tell them you are about to start a private prosecution against Patricia . You have waited almost a year and no progress – you need to know the state of the review and if charges are imminent for Patricia . Does that work for you?

Must keep all funding aspect just between us.

The above is slightly ambiguous: is the crowd-funded money meant to supplement the promised £50,000, or to reimburse Williams-Thomas? Either way, though, the promise is unconditional and presented as an amount sufficient “to get it to trial”. It seems that this promise was not honoured.

Neil asks:

Who benefited from putting a positive spin on that [press] release? Mum? Me? My grandmother or Mark and ITV who the same week as saying we were launching a private prosecution also announced series 2 of The Investigator?

Given the claims recently made about Williams-Thomas in relation to the Jonathan King trial, this leaves a troubling impression. We might also ask why it is that this newsworthy grievance has not made its way into the same newspapers that have over the years used material either about or from Williams-Thomas.

(H/T @EricHardcastle)

Some Notes on Express Journalist James Fielding, Bill Maloney and Jon Wedger

A sensational headline from early 2014, via the Daily Express:

Female MP abused boy in care

A FORMER female MP was involved in a paedophile network at the heart of government, police have been told.

By JAMES FIELDING

She is alleged to have forced a boy in care to perform a “vile” sex act at one of a series of drug-fuelled parties in Westminster in the Eighties where boys and girls as young as 13 were allegedly abused.

Last night her alleged victim told the Sunday Express: “I want justice.”

Andrew Ash, now 45, said he has given Scotland Yard the name of the former MP. We cannot name her for legal reasons.

…He says they were organised by a paedophile ring involving David Smith, Jimmy Savile’s former chauffeur who killed himself last year before he was due to stand trial for sex offences.

…He said he is speaking out now because he is frustrated by the lack of action after being interviewed for 70 hours by the Met Police’s Paedophile Unit.

…Dutch intelligence officers attended at least one interview because Andrew told of being trafficked to Amsterdam on a number of occasions to be abused by a group of paedophiles including convicted child killer Sidney Cooke.

…Mr Ash is being helped by anti-abuse campaigners Bill Maloney and [redacted].

The lack of quotation marks in the headline is indicative of the climate back in 2014, at which time any “VIP sex abuse” allegation might receive sensational and uncritical coverage in the media. Of course, the story did not go anywhere – and Ash soon afterwards reeled back from at least one other allegation that appeared in the media. I’ve redacted the last name quoted above due to an unconfirmed report that this person has recently been charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice; he was also quoted in an old story published in the Sunday Times back in 1990, which focused on Ash’s Amsterdam claims in relation to the supposed existence of “snuff films” made for a group called “the Elite Twelve”.

Further details about the Express story have been put online by the former pop-singer Brian Harvey, who fell in with Maloney through an interest in conspiracy theories and travelled with him to interview Ash. According to Harvey’s account, the Express journalist James Fielding joined them on the trip, and Fielding’s own interview with Ash provided the material for the above story. Harvey was given the task of videoing Maloney’s subsequent interview with Ash (at which Fielding was not present), and since breaking with Maloney he has published it online. It shows Maloney reading a list of celebrity names to Ash, who confirms that most of them abused him; the list also included a non-celebrity known to Harvey, which Harvey believes was included to manipulate him. Ash comes across as vulnerable, and Maloney as overpowering. I discussed this in more detail here.

Maloney first came to public attention in 2007, after he made a low-budget gangster film; according to Ben Hoyle at The Times:

Lunatic is written and directed by Bill Maloney, 51, a former hod carrier and recovering alcoholic who grew up in care. He also takes the lead role. His wife Maria, 48, stars and produces, while their daughter Regan, 29, is director of photography.

“We are the economy Coppolas,” Mrs Maloney said yesterday at the family’s former council flat in Lewisham, which was remortgaged to fund their unlikely tilt at silver-screen glory.

He was prodded into films by his wife after they watched Gary Oldman’s gruelling drama Nil By Mouth.

…The Maloneys set up Pie ’n’ Mash Films Ltd “to help to capture the dying culture of working-class southeast London” and began making short films with their daughter – fresh from a media and English degree – in charge of cinematography. (1)

Soon afterwards, however, Maloney instead decided to focus on making documentary videos, in which he interviews people about child sex abuse or confronts public figures about the subject. One early video, from 2010, includes an interview with David Icke, who is introduced as “becoming a predominant speaker against child abuse”. Maloney also became a speaker on the subject: in 2015 he addressed a crowd opposite Downing Street, in which he claimed that the refurbishments of Parliament and Buckingham Palace were being undertaken to destroy evidence of child murder, and suggested that the invasion of Iraq had been undertaken because Saddam Hussein knew too much about the subject.

Fielding has written a number of items for the Express relating to child sex abuse conspiracies: these include “Jimmy Savile was part of satanic ring” (again, a headline without quote marks), based on quotes from Valerie Sinason (I previously noted this story here); “‘Police gunman told me to ignore paedophiles’, says ex-child protection officer“, which also includes a quote from Maloney; “BBC embroiled in further scandal as executive ‘filmed Dutch child abuse movies'”; and “Rape victim reveals how her foster father and his army pals abused her as a child“, concerning an author named Esther Grace.

More recently, Fielding has promoted a close associate of Maloney named Jon Wedger, a former police officer who claims that he was bullied out of the Metropolitan Police for attempting to uncover paedophile rings. Wedger describes himself as a police whistleblower, although he says that because he is currently suing the police he cannot yet “name names”. His activism appears to consist mostly of undertaking sponsored walks and bike-rides; he claims that Brian Harvey’s appeals to him to break from Maloney amount to threats against him, although there is nothing in the public domain that would substantiate such an allegation so far as I can see. I discussed some of this previously here.

Fielding introduced Wedger to Sunday Express readers last autumn, in an article headlined “Baby P detective sues ‘bully’ police after exposing child abuse and corruption” (the extent of his involvement with the Baby P case is not clear, although we’re told that he interviewed the child’s mother). A week later, a follow-up article by Fielding appeared focusing on Maggie Oliver, a former officer involved in the Rochdale grooming gang case who “has now decided to speak out to support another detective John Wedger who the Sunday Express revealed last week is suing the Metropolitan Police for a psychiatric injury he suffered as a result of bullying”. Oliver had left the force over how the Rochdale case had been handled, but she now for the first time framed her experience as one of “bullying”, her story comparable to Wedger’s account.

This supposedly spontaneous reaction from Oliver then led a few weeks later to “Police whistleblowers call for independent body to be set up to expose corruption“, which also included reference to the issue being raised by Andrew Bridgen, a frequent rent-a-quote backbench MP who had previously commended Wiltshire Police’s ludicrous investigation into Edward Heath. Wedger has claimed in a video interview with Maloney that Wiltshire’s former Chief Constable Mike Veale has been in a contact with him, supposedly commiserating that “If they’ve been doing this to me as a chief constable, God alone only knows what they’ve been doing to you”.

However, for some reason Fielding’s articles make no reference to Maloney, despite the close connection between Maloney and Wedger that apparently goes back to 2010, and despite Fielding’s previous willingness to quote Maloney and to be led by him to interview Ash.

Fielding also avoids mentioning other connections between Wedger and the conspiracy milieu, as highlighted by a new Hoaxstead blog post:

Since leaving the Met, Wedger has broadened his troofer horizons, linking up with such luminaries as Robert Green, Wilfred Wong, Sacha Stone and his fake “ITNJ” nonsense, the Fresh Start Foundation, and others.

Why is Fielding ignoring these links? (2) Does Andrew Brigden know about them?

Notes

(1) “Pie ‘n’ Mash Films” is also sometimes presented as “Pie and Mash Films”, “Pie & Mash Films” and “Pie’n’Mash Films”. The official YouTube channel is “pnmfilms”. By chance, I recently discovered that there is a framed photo collage dedicated to Maloney’s early work on display next to the gents’ toilet in the basement of the Walpole Bay Hotel on the outskirts of Margate in Kent.

(2) Hoaxstead also notes some strange fundraising pages on two websites:

…“Support4theFamily“, launched last year. It’s not possible to determine how much, if any, this campaign raised, as it’s by direct donation to a bank account.

Then there’s “Funding Morality”, run by the ultra-dodgy Jewish Institute for Global Awareness (JIFGA; www.JIFGA.org). This U.S.-based organisation was previously known as the JONAH Institute for Gender Affirmation, but changed its name after a series of lawsuits by clients who found their methods both abusive and ineffectual. The organisation is involved in “gay-conversion therapy” for men whose sexual orientation conflicts with their religious beliefs. 

Support4theFamily is a project created by some UKIP supporters, although it doesn’t seem to be an official UKIP group. The page devoted to Wedger was written by Wilfred Wong, an evangelical believer in Satanic Ritual Abuse whom I previously discussed here. Wong’s text also appears on “Funding Morality” – it’s not clear who set up the project page there; it may have been a supporter rather than Wedger himself.

Mark Williams-Thomas Issues Statement After Judge References Alleged “Attempts to Gain Financial Advantage from Selling Details”

I return to a Daily Mail report that I discussed in my previous blog entry, concerning the former police officer-turned-journalist Mark Williams-Thomas:

Yesterday his professional reputation was called into question after Judge Deborah Taylor delivered a withering assessment of his previous work for Surrey Police on the [Jonathan] King case. before he left the force in October 2000 Mr Williams-Thomas was the detective who interviewed the first man to accuse King of sexual assault. He [i.e. Williams-Thomas] was subsequently accused – and acquitted – of blackmail in an unrelated case.

Yesterday the judge said: ‘During the investigation into that offence a document was found on his computer offering for sale names and introductions to victims of Mr King.

‘There was also information that prior to Mr King’s arrest, Williams-Thomas said that he had been provided by a journalist with information about King. Williams-Thomas left taking his contemporaneous notebooks of his involvement with inquiries into Mr King with him.

‘No attempts had been made to obtain them, although it is the Crown’s position that he should not have taken them with him as they were the property of Surrey Police.’

The judge added that it had been suggested ‘there was deliberate concealment of his previous prosecution and of the documents indicating attempts to gain financial advantage from selling details of Mr King’s case’. Yesterday Mr Williams-Thomas denied ever knowing the victims’ identities, or offering them for sale.

Curiously, the article was bylined (online at least – I haven’t seen the print version) to a generic “Daily Mail Crime Correspondent” rather than to the paper’s usual crime correspondent Rebecca Camber; perhaps she was unable to write the piece herself for some reason, but given Williams-Thomas’s dealings with journalists over the years an anonymous article suggests to me a lack of transparency.

As I noted previously, the article fails to make clear that the blackmail investigation, which was undertaken by Sussex Police, was resolved as long ago as 2003.  Matthew Scott, who has seen Judge Taylor’s judgment, says that it conveys that the information about the document allegedly offering to sell details “came into the hands of Surrey Police’s Anti-Corruption Unit in 2014”; it’s not clear how this came to be the case so many years later, but this was the same year in which Merseyside Police conducted a review of Surrey Police’s original investigation into King that had led to his 2001 conviction.

As a result of the review, King was rearrested in 2015 and subjected to police surveillance, which did not yield any new evidence. New historic charges were brought last year, which came to trial in June this year. The new trial collapsed when the judge determined that there had been disclosure failures: from the above, it seems that these failures primarily relate to problems with evidence gathered ahead of the 2001 trial and to the findings of the 2014 review, although the pointless surveillance from 2015 indicates that the new investigation was not a model of detective work either.

Williams-Thomas has now responded to the news, via a statement uploaded as an image to his Facebook page. This format makes the statement difficult to find and to quote from; and its nature is such that a summary would fail to convey the rhetorical strategies employed and its peculiarly diffuse style. I therefore provide here a full transcript, in the public interest:

For the first time on Monday of this week, I was made aware that my name has been mentioned in a ruling by HHJ Deborah Taylor in the case against Kenneth King (aka Johnathan [sic] King) at Southwark Crown Court. Neither the Police or Crown Prosecution Service had at any stage during Mr King’s case contacted me about such matters (both have known about such matters for 15 years), and neither has done so since. It follows that I have never been asked anything to date about the allegations made against me as set out in the Judgement and have therefore not been given any opportunity to defend myself and provide an explanation or account.

Following the ruling, I immediately wrote to the Director of Public Prosecutions and Surrey Police Professional Standards to seek clarification of the matters referred to by the Judge.

I would have expected the Police and Prosecution to have spoken with me about the issues concerned. I would like to set out my response to what has been recorded in open court and to what has been subsequently reported, and I do so without having had sight of any material apparently referred to as being held by the Police and Prosecution.

I took a statement from the first complainant to record a complaint against Mr King. Prior to that I had received some information from a well-connected writer (who lived on my force area) regarding Mr King and that information was submitted in full to the forces intelligence bureau and also to the then National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS).

Sometime later Max Clifford contacted Surrey Police to advise them that he was speaking with a male who was making allegations against Mr King. The Head of CID at that time saw that I had previously submitted information about Mr King and given my role at the time, I was asked to obtain a statement from the complainant. This male is the only complainant I had contact with at the time. I counter signed the statement as the taker as I would have done with any statement, therefore making me a witness in the case. His name was obviously known to me.

I have received apparent criticism for taking this statement, and I regard this criticism as unfair. The statement was taken from someone who was making an allegation against another. Given the nature of the complaint being made, a statement had to be taken. I had been asked to do so, and I simply did what was requested. The content of that statement is a matter of evidence, and the evidential value of it was always going to be considered by the Crown Prosecution Service. I simply recorded what I was told by the witness. If the circumstances of the taking of the statement was something that Mr King and his legal team looked to challenge, then I would have expected to have been contacted. Again, I was not.

Another matter that was the subject of judicial comment related to my pocket note-books. When I left the Police Force, I left with an exemplary record. At the point of leaving, I asked what I should do with my pocket note books. I was advised that the practice was for officers to keep them. This is exactly what I did.

When I left the police force, I became an investigative journalist, my current job today. As such, I am in regular contact with other journalists and also police officers. My determined work as an investigative reporter, often against overwhelming criticism, allowed me to finally expose the high-profile celebrity Jimmy Savile, where many other before had failed. Having done so, I worked closely with the Metropolitan Police Service and Operation Yewtree to secure evidence against many other offenders, including the high-profile sex offenders Rolf Harris and Max Clifford.

I am also aware form [sic] the judgement that there exists a document and that the content of that document was considered both in 2003 and in 2014 by Sussex and Surrey Police respectively. After two investigations, no action was taken against me. It must follow that no offences were disclosed. I am in regular contact with victims of all types or crimes, including those of a sexual nature. I pride myself on my ability to protect victims of such crimes, and others. I did so very successfully as a police officer and continue to do so as a report. Much of my work both in UK and overseas doesn’t get reported given the sensitive nature of it. I work to very high levels of confidentiality, integrity and trust.

It is very disappointing that I have not been asked by the Police and Crown Prosecution Service to comment previously, and crucially before a critical court judgement is realised. This has contributed to the criticism that has been levied against me. Had I have [sic] been asked to provide any information regarding my involvement in the King investigation I would have done so, and I would have had no hesitation in attending court should that have been necessary. I will continue to attempt to liaise with the DPP and Surrey Police to find out what has occurred, and in the meantime, I will continue to dedicate myself and my work to safeguarding children and to devote my time and expertise to help victims both of abuse and injustice.

For someone who spends the first three paragraphs complaining that he was not asked about the matters raised in court, and who towards the end of his statement asserts his willingness to have given testimony, it is strange that he does not anywhere specifically deny the existence of “documents indicating attempts to gain financial advantage from selling details of Mr King’s case” (or of even one such document – the basis for Taylor’s slip into the plural is not clear). It is also strange that he goes into such a lengthy justification for having taken a statement from a complainant – the report of Taylor’s judgment does not indicate that Williams-Thomas ought not to have done so, and the “apparent criticism” over this detail is not in fact “apparent” at all.

One passage in particular raises questions:

I am also aware form [sic] the judgement that there exists a document and that the content of that document was considered both in 2003 and in 2014 by Sussex and Surrey Police respectively. After two investigations, no action was taken against me. It must follow that no offences were disclosed.

This implies that he isn’t sure about which document has been under discussion, and that he wasn’t even aware of police interest until now. But it is difficult to see how there could have been “two investigations” over the matter without him being even asked about it.

Further, grounds for concern are broader than simply whether “offences were disclosed”. Of course it is not an offence to draft a document on one’s own computer offering to sell information. The mere existence of such a document does not prove that it was ever sent to anyone, or that if it was sent that any subsequent transaction occurred. But it does place its author under a heavy cloud of suspicion, and it raises doubts about character. Those doubts are not assuaged by cape-wearing platitudes about advocacy on behalf of “victims of abuse and injustice”.

Another difficulty is that given that there was apparently “deliberate concealment” of the document by Surrey Police in 2018, there seems little reason to have confidence that the matter was dealt with properly when it first came to light in 2003 (presumably Sussex would have referred the document on to Surrey) and then again in 2014 (presumably Surrey held an old record about it that was brought to light by the Merseyside review and referred to the Anti-Corruption Unit).

Perhaps it would be useful if Williams-Thomas could publish some of the investigation documentation online. He would be entitled to some via a Subject Access Request, and he could also publish the document itself. Of course, some redactions would be required, but primary sources we can judge for ourselves may do a better job of putting our minds at rest.

Jonathan King and Mark Williams-Thomas: Some Media Notes

From the Daily Mail‘s Crime Correspondent Rebecca Camber, a couple of days ago:

Jonathan King has blasted ‘false allegations’ after he said sex assault charges against him had been dropped and vowed he would challenge the earlier convictions which sent him to prison.

It came after police were savaged yesterday for their disastrous handling of Jonathan King’s fourth trial on child abuse charges.

…In a withering ruling, Judge Deborah Taylor blasted police and prosecutors. She said Surrey Police pursued the case not in the interests of justice but to repair the damage to their reputation over failings in the Jimmy Savile case.

King was originally convicted of sex offences against teenage boys in 2001; Merseyside Police reviewed Surrey’s investigation in 2014, and according to Camber, in a somewhat awkwardly expressed sentence,

This revealed flaws, while also suggesting that some victims may not have achieved justice.

The result was a new investigation, which began in 2015 and led to charges in 2017 and a trial that imploded a few weeks ago due to disclosure “errors”. These “errors” related to evidence gathered before 2015, and as such the 2014 Merseyside review – described by the Mail as a “secret report” that was “covered up” – is directly relevant; as Camber explains:

The unpublished Merseyside report said officers did not tape full interviews and used short notes and answers to victim questionnaires for statements typed up days or weeks later.

The report warned this practice could undermine other prosecutions were it routine.

In 2014 Surrey Police also learnt that former detective Mark Williams-Thomas, who helped run the original inquiry and is now an investigative journalist, was allegedly offering to sell information on – and introductions to – King’s victims.

The judge said this meant King should never have been charged on evidence taken by Mr Williams-Thomas. Detectives also failed to log their contacts with victims and witnesses and misled a magistrates to get a search warrant.

They did not disclose key matters to the defence including medical evidence about a victim undermining his own testimony.

This allegation about Williams-Thomas – who achieved fame with his 2012 documentary about Jimmy Savile – is discussed further in a second Daily Mail report published the same day. For some reason, this piece is bylined not to Camber but to a generic “Crime Correspondent for the Daily Mail”:

A former police officer in the Jonathan King case who is now a TV documentary reporter offered to sell the names of the pop mogul’s victims, according to a judge.

…But yesterday his professional reputation was called into question after Judge Deborah Taylor delivered a withering assessment of his previous work for Surrey Police on the King case. before he left the force in October 2000 Mr Williams-Thomas was the detective who interviewed the first man to accuse King of sexual assault. He [i.e. Williams-Thomas] was subsequently accused – and acquitted – of blackmail in an unrelated case.

Yesterday the judge said: ‘During the investigation into that offence a document was found on his computer offering for sale names and introductions to victims of Mr King.’

…The judge added that it had been suggested ‘there was deliberate concealment of his previous prosecution and of the documents indicating attempts to gain financial advantage from selling details of Mr King’s case’.

The article also states that Williams-Thomas allegedly retained in his possession notebooks that were the property of Surrey Police.

Although not clear from the above, the blackmail allegation against Williams-Thomas was resolved in mid-2003. This means that the alleged document on his computer offering to sell names was first discovered by police long before the 2014 date provided in the Camber-bylined article [UPDATE: More on this here].

The second article adds that Williams-Thomas has “denied ever knowing the victims’ identities, or offering them for sale”, which leaves open the question of where such an idea may have come from. Perhaps some confusion has slipped in due to Williams-Thomas’s role as some sort of informal agent for “VIP abuse” complainants; for example, in 2014 Camber noted (as did other media) that the initial allegation against Cliff Richard “first emerged in October 2012 when the alleged victim contacted Mark Williams-Thomas, an investigative journalist and former detective”. In 2016, Williams-Thomas was announcing “new lines of inquiry” in relation to the singer, with a “file expected to go to CPS within next 8 weeks”. Journalists who have worked with Williams-Thomas over the years may be able to shed some light on the subject.

Subsequent commentary 

The Mail has also published other articles about the case outcome, all with polemical overtones. A further item credited to Camber accuses King of having “taunted” his accusers by claiming to have been “cleared”, while a profile by Alison Boshoff refers to his “DJ swagger” and to a “string of convictions”, which is an odd way to describe one trial, even though there were several complainants. (1)

More substantial, however, is an op-ed by Nazir Afzal, who is celebrated for his past work as a Chief Prosecutor with the Crown Prosecution Service. Afzal writes:

When new accusations were made against him, detectives assumed he was guilty and didn’t try to reach the necessary benchmarks of proof. (There is also a concern now that King might use this shambles to try to have his previous conviction quashed.)

Their failures were shocking. Full interviews with alleged victims were not carried out, notes were not typed up until weeks later and, worst of all, evidence was hidden.

Afzal’s analysis here is confused about the timeline: he has actually listed old failings that were revealed by the Merseyside review in 2014, before the new investigation even started. The issue is how old material was misrepresented in 2018, as is made clear from Matthew Scott’s account of the judgment on his blog:

Complainant A’s evidence – seemingly the very first witness ever to make a statement about King [in 2000] – did not in the end form part of the original trials, and a count relating to it was “left on the file,” where it remained until 2018. At that point the prosecution applied to resurrect it, in order to join it to the new case. They told the court that they had made full disclosure, and on that basis the judge allowed counts based on A’s case to be joined to the new trial.

This is why “deliberate concealment of [Williams-Thomas’s] previous prosecution and of the documents indicating attempts to gain financial advantage” was an issue, and why “King should never have been charged [in 2017] on evidence taken by Mr Williams-Thomas [in 2000]”.

The implications, as Matthew explains, could be grave:

Of course there may be some innocent explanation for all this. Cock-ups tend to be rather more common than conspiracies. Mr Wiliams-Thomas was not prosecuted for any offence relating to corruption or misconduct in public office, so we should not assume that he was guilty of any wrongdoing. One would like to think not, because a police officer, or an ex-police officer, making money by selling the contact details of complainants, or even thinking about doing so, is the sort of thing which utterly corrupts not just one case but potentially every case in which he is, or has ever been, involved. (2)

Excursus: Jonathan King and Anna Raccoon

Regarding the merits of King’s original prosecution in 2001, Matthew Scott refers to Bob Woffinden’s analysis of the case:

In his final 2016 book, The Nicholas Cases, Woffinden… made a compelling case that the original trial had been unfair and produced evidence that suggested King had a strong alibi for one of the offences – he was in America at the time, as attested by several witnesses and documents discovered after the trial. Another of Woffinden’s revelations was that the main complainant in the case against King had, reportedly, after the trial, admitted lying against King for money: he had also apparently sold his story for £45,000 to one newspaper and £5,000 to another.

I had a brief email exchange with King in 2015, after he wrote a private message thanking me for a post I had written about an event involving Paul Gambaccini and Chris Jefferies. Before he contacted me, I received an message of introduction from the late Susanne Nundy (or Susanne Cameron-Blackie), better known as Anna Raccoon, in which she said that “I’m not given to writing references for too many people – but for Jonathan – I am happy to vouch for him”. She went into further details, although the rest of her message, sent by Twitter DM, has been lost.

The news in 2017 that King was to stand trial once again came as a shock to Anna, who at that time was entering the last stage of her illness. She lost confidence in her original judgement that King had been a victim of a miscarriage of justice, and she began to post prejudicial Tweets about the case. She also repudiated all of her writings that critically scrutinised high-profile abuse allegations (including a forensic dissection of the Savile “Duncroft” claims, drawing on her own background as a former resident of the institution); she issued apologies to extravagant “VIP” accusers and their vicious associates, and turned on old friends and allies. It was a sad end; I was put in mind of crude evangelical tracts that imagine Voltaire recanting on his deathbed, or an elderly Charles Darwin repudiating the theory of evolution.

Notes

1. The offences were said to have occurred between 1983 and 1989, but the trial was in 2001. Someone skimming the background might misread the earlier dates as referring to earlier convictions, thus providing the “string of convictions”.

2. This measured assessment is in contrast with Williams-Thomas’s own rhetoric about Matthew. In 2015, Williams-Thomas said on Twitter that he had blocked him due to his “views about child abusers & his small group of pro paedophile followers”. He did not explain what these “views” were, although he inferred something disreputable from Matthew’s criticism of the decision to make Greville Janner attend court despite a medical diagnosis of advanced Alzheimer’s disease. Further details here.

Edward Heath Accuser Has IICSA Application Tossed Over Impossible Claims

The website of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has posted online – and then removed without explanation – a “Notice of Determination” in which the Chair of the inquiry, Alexis Jay, explains her reasons for denying core participant status to an individual given the reference number “WM-A5”.

The applicant alleged that she had been abused in the 1970s by ten individuals described by Jay as persons who “are or were well known, some very well known, in the fields of politics and entertainment.” Two names are disclosed in the document:  Jimmy Savile (misspelt as “Jimmy Saville”) and former Prime Minister Edward Heath. WM-A5 also alleged Satanic Ritual Abuse.

Jay found WM-A5’s claims impossible to credit. WM-A5 claimed to have been abused by Conservative politicians at Chequers, the Prime Minister’s official country residence, at a time when the Labour Party was in power, and to have been abused by Heath at his home in Salisbury several years before he lived there. Further, she claimed to have first made these allegations some years ago, supposedly thus proving that she was not just bandwagoning on current news reports, but her evidence for this was found to be false. She provided a range of locations, but “no explanation as to how she came to be in such disparate places”.

Presumably the document has been withdrawn by the IICSA because it contains other material that might indicate the applicant’s likely identity when compared with media reports. We thus have a situation in which someone can present themselves as being at the centre of a sensational narrative in the media, yet avoid scrutiny by resorting to anonymity when further claims are presented in another context.

This impedes putting the record straight – and holding to account journalists and others who have been involved in concocting and promoting false allegations and conspiracy theories.

UPDATE (2 September) : The Notice of Determination has since been referred by Private Eye magazine (issue 1477) and by The Sunday Times. The latter has a quote from the IICSA about the removal of the document from the inquiry website:

“We received a complaint about the notice of determination and took it down while it is addressed. It will be republished in the next few weeks.” 

A Note on Sub Judice and the Worcester “Acid Attack” Case

From BBC News:

Father in court over Worcester ‘acid attack’ on boy, 3

The father of a boy who was the victim of a suspected acid attack is among five men who have appeared in court.

…The other men charged are [names redacted here].

The father cannot be named for legal reasons.

The mood on social media is that the BBC ought to have referred explicitly to the men’s ethnicity and residential status in the UK, although the former can be inferred from the names themselves. Further, before the charging decision, a joint Daily Mail and Mail Online article made claims about the boy’s parents and their domestic relations, from which readers continue to speculate – or rather, to make confident assertions – about motive and likelihood of guilt.

Inevitably, the allegations are also being used to draw wide-ranging negative inferences about the character of immigrants living in the UK, even though such expressions of contempt sit uneasily with supposed sympathy for the boy and his mother.

If the above reads as though I’m tiptoeing around the specific details, it is because I am mindful that the case is now sub judice, and as such discussion by law must be circumscribed, to ensure a fair trial. I may be overdoing it by redacting names that have appeared in the BBC report, but it is better to be overcautious in such matters. Trial by social media risks prejudicing the actual trial that we must assume will take place in due course: a situation in which jurors enter the courtroom with preconceptions of guilt, or in which potential defence witnesses feel intimidated by the public mood, is not conducive to justice, and if a judge believes that a fair trial is impossible then the case may collapse.

However, as was shown by reactions to Tommy Robinson’s contempt of court at Canterbury and Leeds, there is apparently an increasing belief that the temporary reporting and commentary restrictions that follow charging decisions – which many of us understand and take for granted – are actually a conspiracy to suppress important information.

Perhaps it doesn’t help that CPS warnings about sub judice appear to be ineffective, as I lamented in 2015, but as regards Tommy Robinson the public ignorance has weaponised by third parties in North America. And this is happening once again with the acid case: thus the Canadian activist Tarek Fatah falsely accuses the BBC of having “covered up for the father by not disclosing names of accused or the motive.”

A Note on JUST Yorkshire and Sarah Champion

From The Times:

An MP who received death threats after condemning the sexual abuse of girls by groups of British Pakistani men has been given increased security amid fears that hard-left and Muslim opponents are trying to force her from office.

…The strongest public attacks on Ms Champion, who campaigns for the victims of child sexual exploitation, have been made by a Rotherham-based racial justice charity, Just Yorkshire.

…In March Just Yorkshire published a report on Ms Champion that it said was commissioned by a “grassroots partnership” of activists and organisations.

…Co-authored by Nadeem Murtuja, the chairman and acting director of Just Yorkshire, it said that British Pakistanis felt “scapegoated, dehumanised and potentially criminalised” by their MP, who had “crossed a point of no return”. Its foreword accused her of “fanning the flames of racial hatred” and acting like a “neo-fascist murderer”.

The Times understands that the report led to death threats against Ms Champion. Scotland Yard’s counterterrorism unit increased her security risk level and she was advised to accept extra protection. The MP declined to comment.

The article – unsurprisingly – is by Andrew Norfolk, who won plaudits for his reporting on “grooming gangs” in Rochdale and Rotherham (like Maggie Oliver, he was depicted in the Three Girls Rochdale dramatisation), but whose more recent reporting of a fostering case in London involving a Muslim family became mired in controversy over sensationalism and distortions.

An accompanying Times editorial states that the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which has provided funding to JUST Yorkshire, is “implicated” in what it calls “the saga in which the Labour MP for Rotherham, Sarah Champion, has received death threats”; in response to the main article, JUST Yorkshire has issued a statement along with links to

both our press release (published August 11, 2017) and Temperature Check report (published March 15, 2018) from which words have been taken and manipulated in creating this baseless and sensationalist front page Times story.

Champion wrote an article for the Sun last August under the headline “British Pakistani men ARE raping and exploiting white girls”. She later complained that the article had been “stripped of nuance” by editors, but she was forced to resign her shadow ministerial position (and to my knowledge, she has not explained in what ways exactly the editors distorted her article). Despite this semi-repudiation by its author, the article has often been cited as evidence of Champion’s willingness to speak out on a matter of public interest, and its critics as extremists who are weaponising false allegations of racism in order to suppress discussion of crimes against children.

The JUST Yorkshire report

The JUST Yorkshire report states that Champion, through her Sun aticle, “was sending out a message to the entire non-Muslim population of the country, whites especially, that our daughters are all at risk from males of ‘Pakistani heritage'”, although it concedes that its survey “does not provide evidence of any direct correlation between racist and Islamophobic attacks post the Champion article and media interviews and what Sarah Champion wrote and spoke in the media.” It does not dispute or criticise the findings of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham (the Jay Inquiry), and notes the inquiry’s findings that “people in state funded authority had turned a blind eye” to reports of abuse and that Asian girls were among the victims.

Having browsed the report, it seems to me that its call to frame what happened more in general terms of “predatory men” – with comparative references to Jimmy Savile and Harvey Weinstein – is not conducive to properly understanding the specifics of the “grooming gang” scandals, but there is nothing here that can be reasonably blamed for inspiring death threats. It is noteworthy that Norfolk feels the need to bolster his article by referring to “recent Tweets” by “the charity’s leader”, a “radical academic” named Waqas Tufail. Norfolk conveys the grave news that Tufail regards the royal family as epitomising “white privilege”, and that he

mocked the England football team during the World Cup, describing its three lions emblem as a colonial legacy that would more appropriately be of “three hedgehogs”.

The JUST Yorkshire report also contains a couple of references that are critical of the older Times reporting – a detail that gives Norfolk a personal reason for polemical coverage.

The Alleged Death Threats

There were previous media references to Champion receiving “death threats” soon after her Sun article’s publication, although details were scarce and there was no reference to any police investigation. And this seems to be the pattern once again: it is not clear why The Times merely “understands” that there have been new threats since March, or on what basis it believes that the JUST Yorkshire report is what “led” to them. There is also again no reference to any police investigation; one might speculate that details are being withheld so as not to alert a potential suspect, but that if that is the case then surely no article ought to have been published at all?

Champion also declined to provide any information in a follow-up article in the Guardian, although she provided more general quote which suggested she is vulnerable due to statistical probability:

Champion said she didn’t want to comment in detail on her case but said: “The real story is that at least nine women MPs have convictions against people planning to murder them (and one succeeded in Jo Cox’s case). Where is the outrage? Think how many have threats, I’m far from unique. Femicide accounts for two murders a week in the UK.”

“Where is the outrage?” is an odd complaint given that such cases receive widespread publicity and condemnation.

UPDATE: Extrapolating from the Times report, the narrative on social media is that Champion has been targeted for simply having “spoken out” about grooming gangs, or even for having “exposed” them, rather than because of criticism over how she framed the issue in her Sun op-ed.

Excursus

Champion’s “campaign[ing] for the victims of child sexual exploitation”, which Norfolk juxtaposes with “public attacks” by JUST Yorkshire as part of his monstering, includes the view that complainants should always be believed. This was shown in a Tweet of support she sent to Esther Baker, after Baker complained about sceptical Daily Mail coverage of her allegation against the former MP John Hemming of (satanic?) ritualistic sex abuse in woodlands decades ago.

Elon Musk Still on Twitter Despite “Pedo Guy” Jibe

From the Independent, last week:

Elon Musk has apologised to the British cave diver he labelled “pedo guy”.

…Mr Musk… attacked Mr [Vern] Unsworth on his Twitter page, claimed it was suspect that Mr Unsworth lived in Thailand, labelled him “pedo guy” apparently without any grounds at all and suggested that the diver had invited the attack on himself.

…Mr Musk had initially doubled down on the tweets, despite intense criticism. “Bet ya a signed dollar it’s true,” he wrote to one user who questioned him over the posts.

As was widely reported, Musk lashed out after Unsworth contemptuously dismissed his suggestion that the group of trapped boys that Unsworth had rescued from a flooded cave could instead have been brought to safety via a mini-submarine designed by his company.

The offending Tweets have now been deleted – but there is no indication that Twitter took any interest in the controversy, despite reports in June that the platform was cracking down on abuse.

The implications of Twitter’s inaction are disturbing. “Pedo” is not a mere insult, like “bastard” or “wanker”; the term is always meant literally and substantively, to indicate an inappropriate and disturbing sexual interest that is synonymous with serious crimes against children. The word’s deployment is highly stigmatising, and someone so labelled is in danger of personal destruction and perhaps even of physical harm. It does not matter whether such an allegation is merely spat out as a casual jibe in a fit of petulance (as in this case), or is made as a serious proposition – it takes very little to stir up a mob, or to put a cloud over someone’s reputation.

Twitter could have sent a strong message that this kind of rhetoric is unacceptable, by suspending Musk for a period. Instead, it has colluded in the normalisation and trivialisation of false child sex abuse allegations.

Perhaps someone who is not a public figure would have been treated differently, but if so then we are in an even worse situation. If anything, a Twitter account with a blue tick verification symbol ought to be held to a higher standard – to instead give such users extra license to bully and abuse is dystopian.

A Media Note on “Police Whistleblowers” and the Conspiracy Milieu

From the Daily Express, December 2017:

POLICE whistleblowers are calling for an independent body to be set up where officers can expose corruption without being bullied out of their jobs.
By JAMES FIELDING

MP Andrew Bridgen has written to the policing minister Nick Hurd asking him what support is currently available to officers who raise concerns over criminality within their force.

In the letter Mr Bridgen told him that those who “dare” to speak out are often “put under pressure to back down and keep quiet.”

…The letter added: “Any new body should act as an ombudsman and be a point of contact for serving officers who wish to come forward with information. 

…Two former detective constables, John Wedger [sic – should be “Jon Wedger”] and Rochdale whistleblower Maggie Oliver told the Sunday Express how their lives were made unbearable once they reported police corruption to their senior officers.

Oddly, it seems that Bridgen’s enquiry was informal: it does not appear on the list of Bridgen’s “Written Questions and Answers” on the Parliamentary website, nor is it mentioned on Bridgen’s own website. I have been unable to find any report about Hurd’s response, if there was one.

I noted Wedger and Oliver just a few days ago; Oliver is a mainstream celebrity, based on her involvement in exposing the Rochdale “grooming gang” case, while Wedger claims that he was forced out of the Metropolitan Police after raising a concern that evidence about a paedophile ring had been covered up – more recently, his allegations have come to include claims about Satanic Ritual Abuse (as noted by Hoaxstead Research), and he appears to have introduced Oliver to a conspiracy-theory milieu that includes the likes of Robert Green.

James Fielding, the author of the above article, wrote about both Wedger and Oliver in November 2017 (here and here); previously, Oliver had said that she had resigned in 2012 over how the Rochdale case was being handled, but in Fielding’s piece she re-framed her experience as “bullying”, explaining that she had not spoken out until now “so as not to detract from the way in which the young victims were let down by the police.”

Bridgen is a backbench MP who frequently obliges journalists with rent-a-quotes on a range of topics (1), and given his intervention just a couple of weeks later it is very reasonable to suppose that he was brought in at Fielding’s request to generate an easy follow-up article that would give a sense of the November stories moving onward and upward. (2)

A couple of months later, in February 2018, Wedger undertook a canal walk from London to Manchester, to raise awareness of his “whistleblowing” cause and to raise money for a drug rehabilitation centre; according to his Justgiving crowdfunding blurb:

Support has also come from morally focused MPs who have faced resistance from their peers for supporting us, as well as victim and survivor support groups and members of the public. Well-wishers have included the Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham; Cardinal Vincent Nichols; and the original and most famous police whistleblower, Frank SERPICO.

The canal walk was also reported by Fielding, this time for Mail Online, but the journalist focused on the detail that Wedger was being accompanied by Chris Lambrianou, a former East End gangster and associate of the Kray Twins who is now a Christian after having had a conversion experience in prison.

Manchester was also the location of the mysterious “police whistleblowers’ meeting” attended by Wedger and Oliver that I noted in my previous post; in a short video, Wedger said that the meeting was taking place somewhere in the north of England, but an associate then gave the game away by complaining that it had taken him an hour to get to the venue from Manchester Airport, when the journey should have taken just two minutes.

Several other short “to-camera” videos from the meeting were uploaded to YouTube, but for some reason some of these have now been removed. In one of them, Wedger complained about an unnamed individual who was causing “unlimited damage”; and just yesterday he used social media to announce his immediate withdrawal from campaigning, supposedly due to “threats”. This is despite having recently launched a line of merchandise, including t-shirts bearing an image of his face and the words “I Stand with Jon” (3).

From context, it is obvious that the person Wedger says is causing “unlimited damage” is the former pop-singer Brian Harvey. However, it is difficult to see how this can be substantiated: in a recent YouTube video, Harvey spoke respectfully of Wedger, but appealed to him to disassociate from Bill Maloney, a self-styled activist who has made extravagant allegations of sex abuse and murder against politicians. Wedger says that he has known Maloney for eight years.

Harvey at one time worked with Maloney, and he has video clips, apparently from late 2013, that show Maloney “coaching” an obviously vulnerable adult in a way that is disturbing and demeaning, and asking this same man to confirm whether he had been abused by various celebrities. Maloney’s list of names also included a private individual known to Harvey, and Harvey very reasonably believes that this name was included to manipulate him (4). There is also a clip in which Maloney tells Harvey and the vulnerable adult that his life is in danger, and warns them that theirs may be as well.

This brings us back to James Fielding. Harvey claims that Fielding travelled with him and Maloney to meet this man; he says that Fielding was not present when Maloney read his list of names to him, but that he conducted a separate interview that yielded a sensational headline about supposed abuse by an unnamed politician. This was during a period when posthumous allegations against Jimmy Savile and the ongoing farce of Operation Midland meant that any lurid “VIP abuse” allegation would be published uncritically, although details were often kept vague to skirt libel laws and evade proper scrutiny.

Was it through Maloney that Fielding came into contact to Wedger? And if so, what does this tell us about the interactions between rabble-rousing conspiracy activists, journalists seeking sensationalist scoops, and publicity-hungry politicians?

Notes

(1)

As I have previously noted, the media has faithfully conveyed Bridgen’s view that it is “totally inappropriate” for the National Trust to be promoting gay rights; that he has “no idea” why John Lewis is selling children’s clothes as gender neutral; that police have “more important things to investigate” than a car being accidentally splashed with water from a watering can; and that “people will be shocked” by the proportion of National Lottery grants that go to Scotland. Etc, etc.

(2)

Last October Bridgen received a pre-publication copy of Wiltshire Police’s underwhelming report into Edward Heath, for which he provided positive publicity before the rest of us could see it and judge for ourselves. In the same month, he spoke supportively of  Wiltshire Chief Constable Mike Veale, when it announced that Veale was facing a disciplinary investigation on an unrelated matter. Fielding wrote this up for the Express in an article that carried the headline “Edward heath chief investigating constable victim of ‘ridiculous’ accusations” – the single quotes around “ridiculous” serving as cover for the obvious editorialising in such an announcement.

(3)

The items are for sale via a shopify website called “resistanceclothing”, apparently based in Thornton, Wirral. Alongside the “Jon Wedger Whistleblower collection”, the site sells “Clothing etc for patriots (rebels) with a cause whilst helping fund the patriots cause!” The items for sale mostly carry designs based on the Union Flag; there are also mugs advertising bacon, and a range of items promoting a Tommy Robinson supporter who goes by the name of “The Pissed Off Patriot”.

(4)

Harvey suffers from a bipolar disorder, and has in the past made something of a spectacle of himself (e.g. turning up outside Downing Street in 2014 and demanding to be seen by Davd Cameron). His broader narrative involving phone-hacking and police statements is difficult to follow, and some of his inferences are arguable. He also appears to remain invested in conspiracy theories. However, the Maloney material speaks for itself, and it’s a shame that journalists show no interest in it while running trivialising “weird news”-type articles about Harvey’s reduced circumstances and supposed mental state.

Harvey most recently gave his account in an interview with a London-based activist who goes by the name “Eddie Is OK” (var. Eddieisok, Eddie Isok). “Eddie Is OK” is a black Briton who, from his various videos, appears to be supportive of Tommy Robinson and of Anne Marie Waters’s For Britain party. He believes that immigration to Britain by Muslims is a conspiracy, and the blurb on one of his YouTube videos directs readers to a book by William T. Still entitled New World Order: The Ancient Plan of Secret Societies.

High-Profile Former Rochdale Officer Attends “Police Whistleblowers’ Meeting” Involving SRA Conspiracy Theorists

A Tweet from independent journalist Anna Brees, 11 July:

I have been told that 30 police whistleblowers are meeting in Manchester tomorrow and I’ve been told @itn will be there along with @thetimes Thankyou I have hope

Informal pieces to camera recorded during the “meeting” have been posted online by Brees and by a YouTube channel called Battletv, although for a gathering of “whistleblowers” details are oddly thin on the ground. Brees has highlighted the involvement of Jon Wedger and Maggie Oliver, while Battletv also refers to “Robert Green, Anthony Carlin amongst other heavy hitters”, as well as Gareth Slinn and Darren Cox. There is no sign of coverage from ITN or The Times.

As a Detective Constable with Greater Manchester Police, Oliver played a significant role in bringing the Rochdale “grooming gang” to justice, since when she has become something of a celebrity: she was portrayed by Lesley Sharp in last year’s Three Girls BBC dramatisation, and earlier this year she was a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother. She resigned from the force in 2012, and last year she told the Daily Express that this had been because of bullying. It was stated that previously she “not spoken publicly about her bullying so as not to detract from the way in which the young victims were let down by the police.”

Wedger, meanwhile, claims that he was bullied out of the Metropolitan Police for uncovering paedophile rings; when he came forward in 2016 Oliver expressed support, and the two have since made joint appearances. A nuanced discussion of Wedger’s account can be found on the Hoaxtead Research website.

However, the Hoaxtead author also points out Wedger’s association with Bill Maloney, which of course takes us deep into the conspiracy milieu: Maloney has made numerous videos alleging VIP abuse, and in 2015 he gave a speech at a rally opposite Downing Street in which he accused David Cameron of being a “paedophile protector” and alleged that refurbishments at Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Westminster were being undertaken to conceal evidence of ritualistic child abuse and murder by up to 76 MPs. Wedger has also come to include Satanic Ritual Abuse in his own claims, in discussion with Maloney about the notorious “RAINS list“, and in interviews with Lou Collins for David Icke’s website and with the alt-right “Red Pill Phil“.

Maloney was not apparently at the “whistleblowers’ meeting”, but the name of Robert Green (not an ex-officer) will be familiar as the continuing promoter of the Hollie Greig hoax and of SRA claims, while Anthony Carlin is a “common law” (similar to US “sovereign citizen”) theorist who was imprisoned for contempt of court after attempting to arrest a judge during civil litigation in which he was involved.

UPDATE: More here.

UPDATE 2: Brees has made a Tweet that strongly indicates that she supports the American “QAnon” conspiracy theory.