VIP Abuse Investigations Reorganise

I’m a bit late with this; a recent statement from the Metropolitan Police concerning investigations of “VIP paedophilia” allegations:

…as Operations Midland and Fairbank have progressed officers identified a number of people and locations that were common to both enquiries. It is therefore operationally important to have the same officer in charge of these enquiries.

…Detective Superintendent [Angela] Scott, who is based within the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse (SOECA) Command, will oversee the work of officers from the Homicide and Major Crime Command, Directorate of Professional Standard and SOECA.

…To date the MPS has received 48 allegations of historical impropriety by police officers dealing with sexual abuse, during the period of 1970 to 2005. 

Although the police keep insisting that “we are not prepared to give a running commentary”, several statements relating to this story have now been released. I previously discussed one that appeared last month, and again more recently a few days ago.

Operation Midland was created due to clams made by “Nick”, who alleged not just paedophilia but also three murders; as such, it was treated separately from Operation Fairbank, which was set up to deal with “Non Recent Allegations of Child Abuse”.

Two of these murders supposedly took place at sex parties, while a third involved a boy who was run down in the street in Kingston-on-Thames in 1979. However, “Nick” is unable to remember the boy’s full name, there are no records of such an event, and no-one remembers it ever happening. For this, and other reasons, “Nick’s” credibility is now severely undermined, and it is no surprise that the police have reeled back from their initial (and, in some quarters, much derided) “credible and true” assessment.

The obvious inference from the above is that the merger is a device with which to wind down Midland with minimal embarrassment. I have three observations:

(1) It was known from Day One that there were “a number of people and locations that were common to both enquiries”, given the other “Westminster” accusers; this is not something that came to light during the investigations;

(2) although there is a reference to “Homicide and Major Crime Command”, it is not made clear whether this is a continuing homicide investigation;

(3) the emphasis has now changed from the testimonies of alleged abuse victims to that of ex-police. The fact that officers are mentioned in the statement is an implicit admission that this is firmer ground.

I agree that these “48 allegations” remain a loose end, although it’s not clear how many relate directly to the “Westminster” claims, and there’s a troubling slippage in “officers dealing with sexual abuse” rather than “officers dealing with allegations of sexual abuse” – just because a procedure was not followed properly, that does not mean that someone is guilty. However, even if anything of substance does emerge from these lines of enquiry, it will not remove the difficulties with “Nick’s” testimony – and it should be remembered that rumours about Dolphin Square and Elm Guest House have been in the public domain for years.

Other general loose ends have also been put forward by the journalist David Hencke. Hencke draws attention to claims that residents living near the Elm Guest House saw “children going into the guest house”, “posh chauffeur driven cars drawing up there”, and a visit by Leon Brittan.

Hencke accuses David Aaronovitch of over-emphasising the role of Chris Fay in promoting the Elm Guest House allegations; Fay, a former social worker who claims to have seen evidence, has been quoted in the media for a while, but only recently has it been widely noted that a few years ago he served a prison sentence for fraud (although the detail has been in the public domain for some time). However, whatever the strength of other lines of evidence, this pertinent information has somehow failed to appear on news sites publicising the allegations – most notably, Exaro News – and this has been a major failing.

Hencke warns:

Finally it will be a little premature to assume that the Elm Guest House investigation is over. It is not. There are links to the Operation Midland investigation and there are a number of unfinished leads. But that would be tantamount to speculating on a current police investigation.

Given Exaro‘s aggressive advocacy on behalf of accusers, this admonition against “speculating on a current police investigation” is very hard to take.

Lurid VIP Paedophile and Murder Claims Hit Australia’s MSM

Some alarming headlines from or about Australia:

A rather less sensational, but more informative, possible headline would have been:

  • Police investigation finds no evidence for lurid allegations of VIP murder and paedophilia (No one)

…but of course, no-one was going to run with that. The crucial detail, however, is buried in a couple of the articles:

Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Police said in a statement that the “matter was thoroughly investigated by ACT Policing’s Operation Attest and there was no evidence to substantiate the complainant’s allegations”.

According to the accuser’s story:

Speaking to media in Sydney, Fiona Barnett detailed her alleged abuse by the alleged elite paedophile ring 40 years ago.

…The northern NSW woman went on to detail “hundreds of crimes” she claimed she had witnessed, including child abduction, torture, rape and murder.

Ms Barnett described the alleged operation as a “very well-coordinated international paedophile ring”, and said there was a strict hierarchy.

“I was only saved for the VIP paedophiles,” she said.

“It’s a hierarchy, what I witnessed was the very top of the hierarchy.”

Ms Barnett said she “lives in absolute fear” and only decided to speak out because she “has nothing left to lose”.

However, that’s just the start of it. Despite the media’s taste for sensationalism, for some reason it has chosen to gloss over specific allegations by Barnett that have been in the public domain for months. Take a deep breath:

My perpetrators abused me until the time of my fifteenth birthday. The ring included police officers, psychiatrists, biochemists, psychologists, actors, writers, politicians, university lecturers and medical doctors, including a local Engadine GP named “Doctor Mark.” One perpetrator, a stage actor, went on to produce a play in which men were portrayed having sex with donkeys.

The network also involved former CIA and U.S. military psychologist Dr John W. Gittinger, the developer of the Personality Assessment System. Gittinger raped and abused me.

…In 1985, I witnessed approximately 10 children raped and murdered in Bathurst, during the weekend of the famous Bathurst car race. Some of these children were victims of kidnappings. Other children were born unregistered so that they could be used as sex slaves.

Gittinger’s role in the CIA, and the excesses of the CIA’s MKUltra programme (Gittinger vetted Sidney Gottlieb), have provided much fodder for conspiracy theorists, and this is the milieu from which the accusation against the late Oklahoma-based psychologist has emerged. Why would such a sensational element of the story – not just “VIP paedophile ring” but a “CIA paedophile ring” – be missing from the media accounts, if they regarded is as credible? And if they don’t regard it as credible, where does this leave the rest of the incredible tale? Are the media filtering out aspects of her account that they know are simply too outlandish?

But it gets even worse; a website called Child Abuse Recovery has further details:

Barnett, Dutch therapist Toos Nijenhuis and Jenny Hill of Garden Grove California all claimed their mind control experiences were overseen by Nazi mind control experts imported into their countries by the CIA after World War II to develop Super Spies. The childhood trauma that shattered them into multiple personalities included being repeatedly raped from an early age. Their abuse seemed to intensify by age six.

“In the late afternoon of Oct. 28 1975 I was taken to my sixth birthday party in the Kiama rainforest,” Barnett said. “The cordial was spiked with drugs. I fell asleep. When I awoke it was dark and I was lying naked face-up spread-eagle on a picnic table with my hands and legs tied. Perpetrators took turns sneaking up on me. A large group of men arrived in pick up trucks. They carried rifles and had a pack of starving Doberman dogs. I was told that the group of naked children huddled nearby were my responsibility. I was to run and hide them. Every child I failed to hide would be killed and fed to the dogs…”
Dutch therapist Toos Nijenhuis testified before five judges of the International Common Law Court of Justice in Brussels about her childhood torture at Barnett’s same Australian Holsworthy Army Base. Her perpetrators were military personnel directed by the CIA. Toos claimed that as a child she was forced to witness child murders that involved global elites who included former Pope Joseph Ratzinger, Dutch Catholic Cardinal Alfrink and Bilderberger founder Prince Bernhard.

Claims that Ted Heath took part in a paedophile orgy with Harvey Proctor where a castration nearly occurred sound pedestrian in comparison.

It’s not clear from this article* to what extent Barnett identifies with Nijenhuis’ further allegations, but presumably the two are associated. The “International Common Law Court of Justice” (H/T Eric Hardcastle) appears to be a “sovereign citizen” type entity, and it is a vehicle for a certain Kevin Annett. Annett, who is based in Canada rather than Brussels, is a former United Church minister and he makes extravagant and wide-ranging allegations of child-sex abuse and murder against senior clerical figures, particularly in the Catholic Church. Annett’s conspiracy-theorising includes the claim that all this carnage is orchestrated by a “Ninth Circle Satanic Cult”. Apparently, Annett’s “court” has issued summonses to Pope Francis and Queen Elizabeth to answer charges of genocide. And so on and so on.

All of this is significant for understanding the provenance of Barnett’s claims.


* The author is Judy Byington, whose 2012 book Twenty-Two Faces tells Jenny Hill’s story; Byington made an appearance on the Dr. Phil Show after publication. According to a critical review here, the book describes Satanic cults and includes supernatural elements.

John Mann and Geoffrey Dickens

4 November: The blog entry that was previous posted on this page has now been expanded and updated: see here.

Home Affairs Committee Probes “The Investigation into the Late Lord Brittan”

As is being widely reported, Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee has held a session on “The Investigation into the late Lord Brittan”, focusing on the allegation of rape made by “Jane”. Some pieces of new information have emerged, which I have incorporated into my previous blog entry about the subject.

From the various accounts, it seems to me that (a) the decision in May 2014 to interview Brittan would have been made even without Tom Watson’s letter; and (b) that this decision, although open to criticism, was not self-evidently baseless, although it ended up vindicating the original view in February 2014 that Brittan had no case to answer.

What happened was as follows:

After his question in the House of Commons three years ago, in which he raised the possibility of “a powerful paedophile network linked to parliament and No 10” in the 1970s and 1980s, Watson began to receive allegations of child sex abuse involving VIPs. He brought these to the attention of the police, and as such came to be regarded, in DCI Paul Settle’s term, as a “stakeholder.” Watson and Settle met on several occasions to discuss progress.

Although evidence of “a a powerful paedophile network” remains elusive, Watson’s efforts have helped to secure the prosecutions of three paedophiles (most notably, Charles Napier). Watson was never party to confidential information gathered by the police, and he did not offer operational advice.

At one meeting, Settle explained why an allegation against Leon Brittan brought by “Jane” had been dropped in February 2014 without Brittan being interviewed. Watson accepted Settle’s explanation, but he afterwards had a meeting with “Jane” at which she was distressed and Watson therefore decided to write to the Director of Public Prosecutions about it.

“Jane” passed a copy of the letter to Exaro News, which published a story around it on 17 May 2014. Given his ongoing working relationship with Watson, Settle was understandably put out. He regarded the letter as a “betrayal”. Then, On 19 May, a standard police review which had begun three weeks previously came to the decision that Brittan ought to be interviewed under caution as a matter of procedure (not because there was any evidence).

Settle interpreted this decision as having been prompted by Watson’s letter. He felt undermined and objected strongly (he has even agreed with the proposition put to him by a member of the committee that the subsequent interview with Brittan was “unlawful”), as a result of which he was taken off the case. The letter itself did not reach the police from the DPP until 2 June.

From this has come the recent headlines about how “Leon Brittan police ‘were panicked by Tom Watson’” and how “Tom Watson ‘forced out’ head of VIP sex abuse case” and “forced” the inquiry to continue. Settle claims that the letter caused “shock” and “panic”, but this has been denied by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Rodhouse. Such headlines, I believe, are implausible and misrepresent the dynamics of what actually happened. If the police have made errors, it is not because Watson has made them do it.

However, this does not mean that Watson should not be criticised. Watson’s letter is a strongly-worded attack on Settle’s handling of the matter, and Settle has a right to feel aggrieved that it was not raised with him first given his association with Watson.

Further, we know that Watson’s uncritical advocacy of attacks on Brittan has been inspired to a large extent by several individuals who claim that Brittan was an orgiastic paedophile. However, these individuals’ accounts have crumbled under scrutiny, and Watson’s credulity has been harmful. One of these individuals (Watson has confirmed it’s not “Jane”) was responsible for the now-notorious “close to evil” quote that Watson has now apologised for publicising.

UPDATE: Two somewhat more robustly critical takes:

(1) From Anna Raccoon:

Watson’s letter to the DPP that caused so much anguish and was instrumental in bringing the allegations against Leon Brittan into the public domain was written after senior officers had already decided to review DCI Settle’s decision – but crucially after Watson had had another interview with ‘Jane’ who was deeply distressed following her meeting with Settle. Sadly no one thought to ask Watson whether he had made the senior officers aware of Jane’s distress, or even whether he might have intimated to them that if they didn’t arrest Brittan he, Watson, would take matters further – he was allowed to rest on his answer that when he wrote the letter, the decision had already been taken.

Perhaps, although I think this is speculative.

Settle (helped by CPS advice) clearly judges that “Jane’s” narrative amounts to a story of a consensual sexual encounter. But it’s not outlandish to suggest that there could be a reasonable (although not necessarily compelling) alternative perspective on “Jane’s” account. Such a counter-interpretation could have informed the review and Rodhouse’s agreement with that review. Certainly, I’m wary of someone who says they did not consent to sex being told that they did in fact do so, based on what appears to be an account of an encounter in which the complainant says that she had reason to feel afraid (of course, we now know that “Jane’s” account has not stood up to fact-checking, so this point is somewhat moot).

Anna also raises the issue of the letter that found its way to Exaro:

If Tom Watson, rather than explaining the situation to her, did give her a copy of a letter implying that a senior MP was of the opinion that the police had fallen short of their duty by not arresting Leon Brittan, then he only has himself to blame for the opprobrium that has fallen on him.

That seems to me to be a fair point, although it remains the case, it seems to me, that the media’s presentation of the casual chain is not substantiated.

(2) From Matthew Scott in the Telegraph:

First he introduced Jane to the police. When the experienced DCI Settle, the officer in charge of the case, decided any further investigation would amount – in his words – to a “baseless witch-hunt”, Watson then wrote an inflammatory letter over the officer’s head, to the DPP herself, in effect demanding that Brittan be interviewed. In other words, he was asking the DPP to perform what the officer in charge of the investigation actually did regard as a “witch-hunt”.

Anna and Matthew also both draw attention to robust questioning of Watson by Victoria Atkins. As Matthew notes:

Atkins pressed him about the way he had treated “Jane”. Had he made any video recording of his meetings with her? Had he made any audio recordings? He had not. Was he concerned that his involvement with Jane might prejudice any criminal trial? It seemed that Watson had barely considered that.

Complaining to CCHQ about Bullying Risks Escalating Attacks

Tim Ireland recounts details of what happened when he complained to Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) about harassment committed by individuals associated with the Conservative Party:

…the result of [CCHQ’s] indiscretion and neglect was escalation up to and including repeated false allegations of child rape and suggestions from my bully that I should “drink bleach” or otherwise do myself in. Bullies often escalate when they think they are under threat, and even revisit this behaviour when the heat is off if they discover they have been able to use certain behaviours without consequence. The most recent messages (yes, this is still happening) assure me that if I will soon end up in jail or “topped” if I continue to ‘whine’ about it.

I’ve been chronicling these attacks for some time now – the problems began when Tim discovered that Conservative activists associated with his then-local MP in Surrey were found to have created an anonymous website accusing a Liberal Democrat council election candidate of being a paedophile. Tim was later targeted himself; the continuing attacks are both (a) ruthless smears designed to discredit and intimidate someone who has drawn attention to dishonesty and corrupt behaviour, and (b) acts of private revenge motivated by pure malice and spite.

In both contexts, it should be remembered that following the general election in May, in which Tim stood as an independent candidate, he received an anonymous threatening message warning him that “we will continue to affect your ability to live contentedly amongst us” if he dared to bring a legal action about a relentless series of smears deployed by Nadine Dorries during the election period. Tim went ahead anyway, although his claim failed due to a solicitor’s error in serving notice. We know that the person who sent this message has private links with Dorries, although it is not here alleged that she approved the act.

Tim’s experience is relevant to recent reports about a culture of bullying within the Conservative Party that appears to have been allowed to flourish in recent years. This has come to wide attention following the suicide of a young activist, Elliot Johnson, who claimed to have been targeted by Mark Clarke, a “former special advisor to ex-Tory Chairman Grant Shapps”. There are other allegations against Clarke, including threats of personal destruction though anonymous media attacks.

Based on his own experience of complaining about this kind of thing, Tim adds:

I am concerned that Elliott Johnson complained to CCHQ that he was being bullied, was suddenly confronted with an escalation of bullying because someone at CCHQ had leaked the details of his complaint to the person targeting him, and perceived himself to be in such a hopeless and isolated position that a tragedy resulted. 

What happened to Johnson will now the subject of an internal investigation led by Edward Legard, an employment judge who has also previously stood as a Conservative candidate.

I don’t believe that what’s happened here proves that all Conservatives are “like that”; bullying is a dysfunctional human universal, and no organisation is immune. But there’s no reason why it has to become a big problem if there proper procedures in place, and the Conservative Party ought to be able to clean up its act.

However, as Tim notes:

There’s vague talk of email(s) to an unknown number of members of the Conservative party, but there has been no attempt by the Conservatives to reach out to potential victims outside of the party (which is typical as it is short-sighted), and there has been no attempt to make this point-of-contact for victims of bullying obvious and readily-accessible on the web, despite the recent tragedy.

Further,  complaints submitted to the current party chairman, Lord Feldman, are read by “somewhere between six and a dozen other people who play an unknown role behind the scenes”, and Feldman does not appear to be interested in hearing about how older complaints of bullying made to his predecessors, Shapps and Sayeeda Warsi, were leaked or improperly disclosed to hostile parties.

It seems to me that it is time for some critical scrutiny of how the Conservative Party handles allegations of bullying; and I support a petition on the subject introduced here.

VIP Abuse Allegations: “Unstructured Therapeutic Disclosure” Under Fire

From  the front page of the Sunday Times:

Two key witnesses championed by the deputy Labour leader Tom Watson in the VIP paedophile sex abuse scandal are being helped by a charity that uses a controversial therapy experts fear could generate false memories.

The therapy, in which the victims are given the details of the effects of sex abuse suffered by their own counsellor, has prompted concerns of a repeat of previous scandals in which “recovered memory” played a part in false false claims of child abuse in cases such as the Cleveland child abuse scandal in 1987 and the Orkney satanic ritual case in 1991.

…The therapy, “unstructured therapeutic disclosure” (UTD) is carried out at the Lantern Project in Merseyside. The charity is run by Graham Wilmer, a prominent anti-abuse campaigner…

Wilmer is the author of Conspiracy of Faith: Fighting for Justice After Child Abuse (Lutterworth), which describes sexual abuse he suffered as a boy at the Salesian College in Chertsey, Surrey.

The article includes critical comments from the barrister Matthew Scott (promoted by the paper into “a leading QC”), as well as from other specialists:

Matthew Scott… said “It would be hard to devise a form of counselling more fraught with the danger of producing unreliable evidence.”

…Sarah Garner, and affiliate of the Centre for Memory and the Law at City University, London, said the technique rang “major alarm bells”. Roger Kennedy, a consultant psychiatrist with the Child and Family Practice in London, said: “I find the description of this therapy very strange, they’ve obviously gone completely haywire.”

There is also a second article on page 12, which has the detail that Wilmer is a “former copywriter”, as well as a further quote from Kennedy, who is described as having “worked with a number of adult victims of Jimmy Savile”:

“The therapist or counsellor should not be divulging vast amounts about their own lives and pushing that onto the patient. It’s very confusing.”

For those without access to the Sunday Times articles, there is also now a derivative piece in the Mail.

The quote from Matthew is taken from a blog entry he wrote a year ago; at that time, there was less appetite by the mainstream media to delve critically in the subject of “VIP sex abuse”.

The spectre of false memory and the echoes of Satanic ritual abuse is one of the main reasons why this blog has undertaken such an extensive detour from the subject of religion to discuss allegations of VIP paedophilia (the other is that some related news stories have also raised the possibility of VIP Satanism, although that has remained a minor theme).

Experiments have shown that it is possible to create false memories; children, whose sense of reality remains undeveloped, have been coached into making grotesque false allegations (seen most recently in videos created by the perpetrators of the Hampstead Satanic abuse hoax); and adults have been made to believe by therapists that they had suppressed memories of being abused in Satanic rituals (in one instance in the USA, a man was even convinced that he had committed Satanic abuse). The most notorious case is that of the late Carol Felstead, who, as a result of supposed “therapy”, came to believe that her family were Satanists and that she had been sexually abused with a claw hammer at Conservative Central Office.

False memory is not the only cause of false allegations, though – and the Sunday Times has made an error in mentioning Cleveland, where abuse was actually mis-diagnosed via a now-discredited medical intervention. [1]

Wilmer’s UTD has come under scrutiny because of the Lantern Project’s links to “Darren” and to Esther Baker, who have both made allegations of VIP abuse. In “Darren’s” case, we now know that two years ago he emphatically denied having been abused by Leon Brittan, although he now claims that he was, while Baker’s allegations have grown from abuse within a religious group to abuse including VIPs, a specific ex-MP (who she says she recognised only recently), and visits to Dolphin Square in London. Although the Sunday Times highlights the connection to Watson, Baker’s story has actually been promoted more by John Mann MP, who raised her claims in Parliament.

The Sunday Times quotes the ex-MP accused by Baker:

“He [Wilmer] has been with her all the time. The problem with the therapy is that it is encouraging people to remember things that don’t exist. It is a mechanism for generating miscarriages of justice.”

The Lantern Project’s website highlights articles that dismiss the possibility of false memories, and that suggest that the concept was developed by sexual abusers. In response to the Sunday Times, Wilmer has pointed out on Twitter that UTD has been taken seriously by John Moores University.

However, Baker states that “neither myself or ‘Darren’ have had UTD therapy from the Lantern Project. Or elsewhere”, and that “when I named the anonymous MP I was under counselling by RASA not the Lantern”. Given that Baker features prominently in the second Sunday Times story, including in a photo, it seems odd that the journalists apparently did not attempt to contact her for her position on this. [2]

One issue that the paper doesn’t refer to is that, following infighting over the setting up of the child abuse inquiry, Wilmer has a grudge against the ex-MP named by Baker (and against two abuse survivors, who he claims are associated with this person). Wilmer comes across on Twitter as a somewhat aggressive character, and he likes to post triumphant and goading messages that boast of discrediting disclosures just around the corner (“tick tock” being a favourite phrase). This not only leaves a very poor professional impression; it gives the strong appearance of a conflict of interest, as Wilmer has a personal interest in an allegation that is being made by someone who is using his services.


[1] According to Tim Tate, “ST’s Jim Gillespie tells me that the Cleveland claim ws removed by subs, but somehow re-appeared”.

[2] One of the journalists responsible for the story, Tim Rayment, has Tweeted to Baker that “I’m sorry Esther – I didn’t know that nobody had asked you for comment”

Metropolitan Police Leon Brittan Statement: Some Context

UPDATE (21 October): Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee has now held a session to discuss how police handled the allegation made by “Jane”; extra details have now been added in italics to reflect the extra information from this.

The Metropolitan Police (MPS) has issued a statement about its handling of the allegation of historic rape against Leon Brittan. There are three main points of interest, which I will briefly summarise and discuss.

The initial decision not to inverview Brittan in 2013

The statement confirms that the initial complaint of rape made by “Jane” against Brittan in November 2012 (referring to an event that allegedly occurred in 1967) was marked as “no further action” in September 2013, following advice from the Crown Prosecution Service.

This decision was known already; according to the CPS in June:

At [the police’s] request, we provided police with early investigative advice on this matter in July 2013 – there was not at this stage enough evidence to request a charging decision and any decisions made at this stage were investigative and operational and therefore for the police.

The Independent added a few days later:

The Independent on Sunday can reveal that the initial legal advice given to the police in August 2013 was that the evidence against him fell short of the standards required to lead to a prosecution. The police agreed, and decided against interviewing Lord Brittan.

…The CPS opinion has never been made public, but the IoS can reveal that concerns were expressed as to whether, assuming an encounter took place, “the suspect was unaware that the victim was not consenting to the sexual intercourse between them”. “On the victim’s evidence alone,” says the advice, “there is no evidence that the suspect had asked the victim for sex, that he had demanded sex, that he had forced the victim to [lie] on the bed, neither did he ask her to remove her clothing”.

Some details had also appeared on Exaro in May, including the detail hat Brittan’s name was “masked” when the file was sent to the CPS. However, Exaro also claimed that the “officer in charge” later confirmed that Scotland Yard had given Brittan’s name and details of the case to the CPS. It’s not clear what “later” here means.

[The officer in charge at the time was DCI Paul Settle. Speaking to the committee, he clarified that the advice sought was “early operational” advice, not advice on a charging decision. This kind of advice does not direct the police to take particular operational decisions. Settle says that potential media interest was “a factor” in asking the CPS for advice, but that the decision not to proceed was based on evidence, and that it did not appear that the offence of rape had occurred. In his opinion, the case “fell at the first hurdle”.]

The decision to interview Brittan in May 2014

According to the statement, the complainant “expressed unhappiness” with this result in February 2014, highlighting that Brittan had not been interviewed about the matter.

[Settle confirmed that there had been a “heated meeting”. He rejected a claim, apparently made by “Jane”, that he had slammed papers onto his desk].

The police decision was reviewed from 28 April to 19 May 2014, at which point it was decided to interview Brittan after all. According to the statement, the review was “part of established police practice”, and the officer who had asked for the review was not aware of the complainant’s “reaction” to the September 2013 decision.


Tom Watson MP wrote to the DPP about the case on 28 April. The letter did not reach the police until 2 June [after arriving at the CPS on 2 May], but its existence became public knowledge on 17 May. Did this information affect the outcome of the review two days later? The MPS insist that it did not:

The MPS is frequently contacted about ongoing investigations by MPs acting on behalf of their constituents or campaigning for a particular cause.We accept that this is part of their Parliamentary duties and a legitimate part of holding the police to account in a democracy. But the principle that police officers are independent when making decisions about operational matters is one that we firmly adhere to.

The fact that the police decision came on 19 May does give an unfavourable impression, but given the existence of the review starting from 28 April (exactly three weeks before), it seems to me reasonable to judge that the timing was coincidental. We cannot know for sure, though.

Details of Watson’s intervention were reported in the Daily Mail in July 2014:

Police only questioned Leon Brittan now over alleged 1967 rape because Director of Public Prosecutions demanded to know why they shut case with no investigation

Former Home Secretary Leon Brittan was only questioned over allegations he raped a student in 1967 following demands by the Director of Public Prosecutions, it has been claimed.

…Saunders is believed to have looked into the case herself after the campaigning Labour MP Tom Watson wrote to her asking that she examine the way the police handled the case.

The tone of the article clearly implies that the police were suspiciously slow to act – a striking contrast with the current slew of condemnatory articles in the same paper in which “campaigning Labour MP Tom Watson” has morphed into “Witch-hunter Watson“, the man who forced the police to re-open an investigation into an innocent and dying man. Case in point:

How letter from Tom Watson complaining that police had ignored Brittan rape claim struck fear into the hearts of Scotland Yard chiefs.

…A Police Federation source said: ‘Watson struck fear into the Yard’s top tier because of his role in uncovering the hacking scandal. There was extreme panic. Detectives were joking that Scotland Yard was being run by Commissioner Watson.’

This “Commissioner Watson” sound-bite does not ring true, and it seems to me that if Watson really did provoke “extreme panic” that reflects more on the police than on him. I think there are grounds to criticise how Watson has handled the allegations against Brittan (see below), but this is polemical misdirection. If the police got it wrong, it is not because “Watson made them do it”.

[Settle believes that the letter did have an effect, causing “panic” and “shock”. However, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Rodhouse rejected this at the committee, stating that he does not believe the letter had any influence.

Settle was surprised by the letter, since it followed a meeting with Watson in which he had explained to Watson why “Jane’s” case was not going forward. However, Watson says after this meeting he spoke with “Jane”, who was in a distressed state, and as a result he wrote the letter to the DPP. 

A copy of the letter was then given by “Jane” to Exaro, hence the publication on 17 May].

The decision to push on in late 2014

A further file was passed to the CPS in November 2014. However, The CPS “wrote back saying it would not consider the file because it did not meet the appropriate criteria”. The police decided to appeal this decision, for extraordinary reasons:

It was felt that these were highly unusual circumstances where the previous independence of the police to tackle sexual offending by VIPs had been publicly called into question. A decision to take no further action in respect of this allegation would undoubtedly have resulted in media criticism and public cynicism, and there was clearly a very strong public interest in ensuring that the correct decision had been made.

Lord Brittan could not therefore, at that point, have been informed that no action was to be taken in respect of this allegation. Although the MPS had concluded that there was not a strong case against Lord Brittan, the purpose of requesting a CPS view was to assess whether, in its view, it did reach the evidential standard. It would have been open for the CPS to conclude that it did not meet the threshold for charging and no further action should be taken, or that further enquiries were needed, or that there was in fact sufficient evidence for a charge. It was therefore conceivable that a reviewing CPS lawyer could have concluded that Lord Brittan could have been charged.

The matter was raised informally with the Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for London on 15 January 2015, and then in writing on the 23 January and the 2 February. Lord Brittan died on the 21January.


This must surely undermine “the principle that police officers are independent when making decisions”. Natural justice for the accused demanded that the matter be resolved as quickly as possible; yet an operational decision was instead made for public relations reasons. As a result, Brittan died before the final outcome was known.

[Rodhouse insists that the reason he wrote to the CPS in November was to ensure good practice. However, Alison Saunders, the DPP,  says that the file did not meet the clear evidential level required for it to be considered by the CPS. I had originally imagined the CPS and the police passing the file back and forth, but having heard Saunders’ explanation I no longer think that is fair. It appears that the decision was properly that of the police].

Further comments

One can see why an argument to drop the matter on the grounds of doubts around lack of consent would be controversial, but it now seems clearer than ever that the initial police decision not to proceed in 2013 has turned out to be the correct one. Evidence and testimony since collected by the police suggest that either the story is a complete fiction, or that Brittan was a victim of mistaken identity [although “Jane” told police that she saw Brittan’s name on a certificate on the wall of the location where she claims that the offence occurred]. I don’t know which, although I do think it would be better to form a judgement based on these facts, rather than on claims that “Jane” is “mentally ill” (which, even if true, may be completely irrelevant) or speculations that she is motivated by political malice. [1]

There are, of course, other allegations against Brittan. However, the testimony of several men who have linked Brittan to VIP paedophile orgies has fallen apart: one of “Nick’s” stories involving a public event cannot be substantiated, and his tales of abuse and murder include fantastical elements; another previously insisted he had not been abused by Brittan; and third said he was pushed into naming Brittan as a “joke” (much of this revealed by the BBC’s Panorama) . Watson promoted and endorsed these people, when he ought to have been more discrete, more circumspect – and more sceptical.

Operation Midland, which was set in motion by “Nick’s” allegations, is continuing, although I’d very surprised at this stage if anything of substance about VIPs comes of it. There are, however, a couple of other loose ends involving Brittan. Ironically, we turn once again to the Daily Mail, which before turning on Watson boasted in May (H/T to Joe Public) that it had

…led the way in reporting allegations [of police corruption], particularly concerning the notorious Elm Guest House in Barnes, South London, where a VIP paedophile ring is said to have operated.

There are two specific claims: (a) that a boy rescued from the Elm Guest House had mentioned “Uncle Leon” who worked “at the big houses”, but that this had been excised from his statement to police; and (b) that Brittan had been photographed by police entering the premises of a paedophile party, and that the surveillance operation was then closed down. Papers and photographs then “went missing”.

Both stories are anonymous; the former is presented as fact, despite the lack of any hard evidence. The reference to “the big houses” (or, in another version, “the big house” – the slippage here is significant) sounds contrived to me – if he knew “Uncle Leon” worked at Parliament, why not use that word? If he didn’t know, where did “big houses” come from? If he knew something in-between, wouldn’t “the place where Big Ben is” be more likely? The boy apparently now lives in the USA and does not want to talk about it.

Investigations involving Brittan are thus continuing – but are the police actually still gathering and assessing the evidence, or procrastinating?


[1] Once again, the Mail has been shameless here – in July 2014 the paper reported that:

A woman has claimed that Lord Brittan – then in his late 20s and a rising star in the Conservative Party – raped her at his London home after they went on a blind date in 1967 when she was 19.

She then said she was subject to a ‘dirty tricks campaign’ when she finally went to police in 2012 to report the alleged crime, claiming officers then launched a smear campaign to paint her as promiscuous and mentally ill.

The woman, now 66 and reported to be a Labour Party member, did not identify Lord Brittan in her interview [with Exaro News].

Subsequent Mail articles went on to describe her as a “Labour activist”, but the whole thing was re-hashed polemically at the end of September as “now it can be disclosed the woman… may have had a political motive”. This spurious “now it can be disclosed” was obviously a crude (but effective) way to generate a sense of crisis, and to minimise the paper’s own involvement in promoting lurid stories.

Pastor John Hagee Recounts Shooting Attempt

The Christian Post reports on a recent appearance by Pastor John Hagee on James Robison’s TV show:

December 1971, I started to teach my congregation about the biblical position of demonology because I was raised in a denomination that did not believe it, and said they certainly couldn’t belong to our denomination, although the devil was sitting probably on every pew. …

And it was in the second series on a Wednesday night. As I’m teaching a man walks in the front door with a loaded gun in his hand; and he walks up the aisle and he roars like a lion. My people thought it was an illustrated sermon because I talked about Jesus, the demon’s coming out with a loud roar. And they thought, boy, the preacher is really going all out.

Hagee has actually told this story of the “demonized man” numerous times over the years. According to the main details as related here, the man ordered Hagee to beg for his life or face death at the count of three; Hagee stood firm, and the man fired six shots after a count of two. Despite being just eight feet away, the man missed, with the bullet holes later found to Hagee’s left and right. The man attempted to flee, but an athletic member of the church apprehended him and he was taken away by the police.

A fuller account of the story appears in Hagee’s 2004 book The Seven Secrets (pages 63-64), which dates the occurrence to 23 December 1971 (actually a Thursday). It adds the details that the man was taken by police to the Rusk Hospital “for the criminally insane”, but released 90 days later. The man then hanged himself from “the highest tree in his backyard”.

Apparently, there were “front page” newspaper reports at the time of the shooting incident; there is also an audio recording, which Hagee played to his congregation earlier this year.

Hagee also told the story to Glenn Beck in 2011, in which the man this time managed to get out of the building, where he was “knocked down”, presumably by a vehicle, before being apprehended.

An earlier version was apparently published in the John Hagee Ministries magazine in May/June 1993, although I have only been able to see a partial re-print of the text as quoted in another source. In this version, it’s “December 24, 1972” (a Sunday), and the man “was under the direct orders of a witch”. The shots all “missed”, although (unless this part of the story has not been quoted), there’s no reference to bullets on Hagee’s left and his right. I suspect the “witch” detail reflects the Satanic Panic period during which it was published, and has been discarded in later versions.

There is also another version of the story, although the source is second-hand. A writer named Ballah Kemah claims to have seen Hagee discussing the incident on TV with Paul Crouch; this time, the gun “jammed”, and just one shot was fired, into the ceiling. Of course, Kemah’s recollection could be faulty as to these details.

Re-tellings by third parties also introduce other elements, such as a comment here where we’re told told that that the man was “an ATHEIST”.

Daily Mail Probes Esther Story as Ex-MP Interviewed By Police

From the Daily Mail:

A former MP became the latest victim of Labour’s child sex abuse ‘witch-hunt’ yesterday.

Detectives questioned him for three hours over claims he raped girls as young as six while uniformed police kept watch.

Esther Baker, 32, waived her right to anonymity earlier this year to claim she was one of several children abused by the politician.

…The politician claimed Miss Baker, who lives in Liverpool, was being ‘manipulated by third parties driving an agenda against me’.

…He said he turned up by police appointment and was interviewed between 11.30am and 2.30pm. ‘There was a detailed discussion including me providing information about her motives for perverting the course of justice,’ he said. ‘What has happened is that the police responded to the public campaign of two Labour MPs.’

…He claimed that, before accusing him of ‘monstrous’ crimes, Miss Baker had, under an assumed name, made a different set of allegations against others, claiming she had been abused by a ‘faith-based paedophile group in a church setting’.

Baker’s account has been in the public domain for some months; the same paper that now complains about “Labour’s child sex abuse ‘witch-hunt'” was more than happy to report her story in May under the lurid headline “VIPs raped me in wood as police stood guard: Child sex abuse victim claims judge and peer were among gang”.

The paper’s newly-discovered scepticism reflects a new editorial line of attacking Tom Watson, [1] who has endorsed and promoted the claims of several alleged “survivors” in ways that have given hostages to fortune. Oddly, however, although the above story includes details about Watson, the “two Labour MPs” are not identified. The Guardian, however, clarifies the point:

The former MP said: “We must continue to listen to people who allege that they have been abused as children. We must not be derailed by … politicians, like Jess Phillips and John Mann, who have been openly campaigning on one side of this case during an ongoing police investigation.”

Mann has referred to Baker’s case in Parliament; he boasts of having a list of names of VIP paedophiles, and when Harvey Proctor’s home was raided earlier this year he crowed to the Mail that this would be the “first of many” investigations.

According to Baker’s story, she was sexually abused at night in woodland (shades of Satanic Ritual Abuse, although that does not form an explicit part of the allegations), as well as in buildings in Staffordshire. On one occasion, according to one report, “she heard one of her abusers being addressed as ‘Lord’, which, she claims, made her believe that he was God.” Apparently, there has been an arrest of someone else she has accused of being a part of this.

Baker also says that she was taken to London, and that she recognised details from “Darren” of a fake “medical room” at Dolphin Square where grotesque forms of abuse took place. In turn, “Darren” says that he recognises Baker from a photograph. However, “Darren’s” credibility has now come under considerable strain: he has a long history of disturbed behaviour, including false confessions and a hoax bomb threat, and he is no longer cooperating with police. He also made an allegation against Leon Brittan, despite previously previously denying that Brittan had abused him.

Baker has not just gone public; she has become a social-media commentator on the subject of “VIP abuse” claims, often bantering with those who take a more sceptical approach to the subject. However, those tempted to get involved should be careful: in August, she told Exaro News that there are “infiltrators” on social media who are “associated” with her abusers. Handily, that casts a shadow over anyone who might dare to raise doubts.

Today’s story follows a piece in the Mail on Sunday in which it was reported that

Questions were raised about Ms Baker’s account after it was revealed that in January, months before she publicly made the rape claim, she admitted she ‘had never met a politician in my life’. Later she said she meant that she had never met a politician in a professional capacity.

The unnamed ex-MP now adds that “Not to my knowledge have I ever met her, but she may have been at a meeting I spoke at earlier this year.” Indeed, Baker claims that it was because she attended this meeting that she was able to identify her past abuser as being this man.

This brings us to the question of the “third parties” who the MP claims are “manipulating” Baker. Baker is strongly associated with a charity for abuse survivors in Liverpool run by a man named Graham Wilmer. There have been reports of infighting between survivors and survivors’ groups (particularly in relation to the child abuse inquiry), and Wilmer is in a bitter feud with two individuals in particular. On Twitter, Wilmer has accused these two individuals of having “dodgy” links to the ex-MP, and he has posted goading messages implying that some sort of devastating exposure is just around the corner (the phrase “tick-tock” seems to be a favourite). This leaves a very poor impression – in my experience, someone alluding to the existence of a police process as evidence of criminality, particularly in a gloating manner, is a big warning sign of bad faith. [2]


[1] Note, for instance, the Mail‘s reporting of “Jane”, a woman who claims that she was raped by Leon Brittan in 1967 – in June, the paper reported that the police had closed the case due to “insufficient evidence”; only in October did the paper definitively describe the allegation as “false”. The paper attempted to downplay its change of of emphasis by stating that “Now it can be disclosed the woman… may have had a political motive because she is a Labour activist”, but this was a detail that paper had previously reported more than once anyway. Background here.

[2] More background on this from Anna Raccoon.

Some Notes on Tom Watson, the Daily Mail, and Leon Brittan

From the Daily Mail:

Watson MailLeon Brittan’s brother has demanded an apology from Labour deputy leader Tom Watson for making ‘unfounded’ sex crime allegations about the former Home Secretary.

Sir Samuel Brittan, 83, called on Mr Watson to say sorry directly to his sister-in-law, Lady Brittan, for accusing her late husband of rape and child abuse.

…Days after Lord Brittan died, Mr Watson wrote an article describing how the late peer stood ‘accused of multiple child rape’ and repeated accusations he said came from victims that he was ‘as close to evil as any human being could get’.

Other papers have reported the story, but the Mail has presented it as a front-page slash in a spirit of advocacy for Brittan’s family.

There are two issues here: is this a matter that ought to trouble Watson’s conscience, and is this a subject on which the Daily Mail has the authority to be leading the charge?

Brittan and Watson

Rumours that Brittan may have been involved in sex abuse will probably be impossible to comprehensively debunk. An innocent person accused of having committed a sex crime at a certain place and on a certain date may be fortunate enough to have an alibi; but on the other hand, they may not. An innocent person accused of abusing someone (perhaps unspecified) at a vague location at some point several decades ago is in an even more difficult predicament.

In Brittan’s case, there are multiple accusers, which may strengthen the case for the prosecution. But given that the rumours are old and have been in the public domain for a long time (see below), the problem is that accusers may have heard these stories before coming forward. And the specific testimony on which Watson has based his campaigning has now been shown to be doubtful in the case of “Jane”, and fatally flawed in the case of three men currently claiming to have been abused as children by Brittan at sex parties.

Jane” claims to have been raped by Brittan as a young adult woman in the 1960s. Police, according to an recent report, undertook an “exhaustive investigation, which included tracking down key witnesses and examining Lord Brittan’s job and domestic arrangements at the time of the alleged offence”, and the results of this “undermined his accuser’s story.” The police decided there was no case to answer, and there is no serious reason to believe that this decision was unsound.

“Nick”: we now know (a) that Nick first accused his late step-father of abuse 2012; VIPs were only added to the story gradually (and, apparently, following media stories), and then the allegations of murder; (b) that his claim that a school-friend was deliberately run down in Kingston in 1979 has been investigated and found to be unsubstantiated;* and (c) that his stories contain luridly fantastical elements, such as Ted Heath intervening to prevent him from being castrated by Harvey Proctor.

Further, “Nick’s” claim that he was subjected to sadistic abuse by Jimmy Savile does not fit with other allegations against Savile; he is the only current accuser of Greville Janner to place Janner within the context of orgiastic VIP paedophilia in London (although the claim does also appear, unsourced, in David Icke’s 1998 conspiracy opus The Biggest Secret); and he is the only accuser to also claim that Brittan was present at a party where child murder was committed. Raids on the homes of Brittan, Proctor, and Lord Bramall as a result of Nick’s allegations have all drawn blanks.

Nick, I suspect, was the source of the “close to evil” quote used by Watson, for which Watson has now expressed regret.

“Darren”: “Darren” wrote an email two years ago confirming that Brittan had not abused him, and describing Brittan as a “poor man”.* He also has a history of dishonesty and disturbed behaviour.

“David”: “David” has retracted his allegation, and claims that Brittan’s name was put to him as a “joke” by Chris Fay,* a former social worker who in 2011 went to prison for fraud.

[*These details from Panorama]

Fay himself claims to have seen compromising photos of Brittan, but this is hearsay from a man with a history of criminal dishonesty.

The news site Exaro argues that we should not express scepticism while the police are still investigating, but given its aggressive and sensationalising advocacy on behalf of Brittan’s accusers, this is very hard to take. And there are now serious questions about how the police are (mis)handling VIP allegations; it is not reasonable to expect people to suspend their critical judgement indefinitely, or for those affected by the allegations not to complain when things drag on.

<>We know that Watson met “Nick” and was impressed by him, but it’s now very clear that his confidence in “Nick” and the others has been misplaced. Perhaps some credible evidence against Brittan may yet emerge, but that’s a truism that applies to many unsubstantiated accusations.

Brittan and the Daily Mail

The Mail (here meaning both the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday) has a mixed record on the subject of Brittan. As regards the allegations of child abuse, the Mail highlighted an old suggestion from Private Eye that Brittan had been the victim of an MI5 smear in the 1980s (here and here). However, it also ran a sensationalising article claiming that Brittan had been “named” in an MI5 file, as evidence of how “the VIP paedophile scandal” had “deepened”.

Further, in December last year it published an article with “chilling details” about the the Elm Guest House, based on the story of a boy who was rescued from the premises during a police raid:

Was there a cover-up? We now understand that the social worker present at the boy’s interview in 1982 was later shown copies of the resulting police statement. What struck him most was what had been left out.

The man recalled that during the boy’s testimony at Richmond Police Station, he had spoken of an abuser whom he called ‘Uncle XXXXX’. This abuser worked ‘at the big houses’, the boy said.

As the boy talked, at least two of those officials present came to independent realisations of his testimony’s significance. 

…It had become clear to them that the boy was describing a prominent politician of the time. The Mail knows the identity of the politician, but cannot name him for legal reasons.

Yet no politician was ever charged or even questioned, as far as we know, and there is a simple reason for this.

When the same eyewitness to the boy’s interview was later shown the child’s police statement — which should have been a verbatim account of all his allegations — there was no mention of ‘Uncle XXXXX’ or the naïve reference to the Houses of Parliament. It had simply disappeared (if it were ever put to paper at all).

Other reports in other papers confirm that “Uncle XXXXX” was indeed supposed to have been “Uncle Leon”; the Mail refrained from naming Brittan “for legal reasons”, not because they thought it would be unethical. The boy concerned reportedly now lives in the USA, and has declined to cooperate further with police. [1]

On the subject of “Jane”, the Mail was happy to report last year on how “campaigning Labour MP Tom Watson” had encouraged the DPP to action, under the clearly insinuating headline “Police only questioned Leon Brittan now over alleged 1967 rape because Director of Public Prosecutions demanded to know why they shut case with no investigation”. In June, it published an even-handed account of the police decision about “Jane”, which was re-hashed and given a more polemical angle a few days ago and bizarrely presented as if new.

However, the area where the Mail was more aggressive against Brittan concerned the claim that, while serving as Home Secretary, he had suppressed a dossier on paedophilia given to him by Geoffrey Dickens MP. Dickens was an energetic campaigner against a radical pro-paedophile lobby, but he was also a homophobe and his dossier was unlikely to contain much of value. Later in the decade, he embraced lurid conspiracy theories about Satanism and witchcraft. The dossier would have been more of media stunt than anything, and he never complained that Brittan had mishandled it. Yet the myth has arisen that this dossier was crucial evidence of VIP paeophilia, and that Brittan had “lost” it.

References to the dossier appear in several Mail articles, including a lurid piece on “Nick’s” murder allegations that headlined “the growing stench of a cover-up by the Establishment”. Brittan’s association with Fiona Woolf was raised as a reason why Woolf was not suitable to lead the judicial enquiry into child abuse, under the headline “So was this ANOTHER party with Leon Brittan you forgot, Mrs Woolf?: Pressure grows on beleaguered sex abuse inquiry chief to resign… as MoS uncovers new link to ex-minister who ‘lost’ vital evidence”. “Lost” in quotation marks obviously insinuates that Brittan had acted corruptly.

The story of the dossier was also put into a scandalous juxtaposition in an illustration to go with the December 2014 article about the “Uncle XXXXX” accuser:

Brittan Mail Elm

Further, while Watson’s pursuit of Brittan over “Jane” is now portrayed as a vindictive campaign against a dying man, the Mail was sceptical when Brittan’s health was raised in relation to Simon Danczuk MP’s grandstanding over the dossier:

Amazingly, Mr Danczuk was even warned he could be responsible for Lord Brittan’s death if he was subjected to the stress of becoming embroiled in a public row.

The Mail even foregrounded the dossier in reports about Brittan’s death earlier this year, with one report headlined “Now will we ever find truth on abuse dossier? As tributes pour in for Leon Brittan after his death at 75, a troubling question”; another piece highlighted a quote from Danczuk that Brittan’s death was “‘a sad day for the survivors of child sex abuse’ still waiting for answers over lost paedophile dossier”.

The Mail also followed Exaro in reporting that Brittan had been buried in an “unmarked grave”, although it amended this to “undisclosed location”

More generally, the Mail has been happy to promote the rantings of John Mann MP, a demagogue who boasts about having a list of VIP paedophiles and whose glee at the police raid on Harvey Proctor included the claim that Proctor “will be first of many to be investigated.” However, Mann has described himself as “blue Labour”, placing himself on the right of the party. That’s the opposite pole from Watson, who has progressed from “campaigning Labour MP” several months ago to Deputy Leader of the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn.

I suspect that this political promotion, and the fact that the allegations against Brittan promoted by Exaro appear to be falling apart anyway, have more to do with the reverse ferret than a newly-discovered sense of outrage over Brittan’s ruined reputation.

UPDATE (16 October): More today.


[1] According to the Mail:

…By the following year, the boy, who was in local authority care, was insisting that his original statement was largely untrue. Officials believe that Carole Kasir [the Elm Guest House manager] had managed to communicate with him in order to buy his silence.

The story followed a piece in the Telegraph, which had been published the previous July:

Scotland Yard has tracked down a child at the centre of an alleged 1980s Westminster paedophile ring who has implicated a senior political figure, The Telegraph can disclose.

…The alleged victim is understood to have named the senior figure. During his original interview in 1982 the child referred to his abuser working at “the big house”, which detectives believe was the Houses of Parliament.

…This newspaper understands the retired detective [who interviewed the boy] was reluctant to go into detail about why information about the politician was not included into witness statements at the time or submitted into evidence as part of a potential prosecution.

As this implies, and as the Mail article makes clear, there is in fact no documentation from 1982 to confirm what would have been a very early allegation against Brittan (Note also that the “the big house” here becomes “the big houses” in the Mail).