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.

UPDATE 2019: “Nick” has now been revealed to be a man named Carl Beech. His allegations have been comprehensively exposed as lies, and he has been found guilty of perverting the course of justice and fraud. He was also found to be in possession of a collection of child-abuse images, and to have used a hidden camera to film the teenage friend of his son using a toilet. For more, see here.