This is a cross-post from Barrister Blogger
Exaro News has been drip feeding allegations and rumours of a paedophile sex ring in high places for many months.
Today – in collaboration with the Sunday People – it has alleged that it was not only a sex but a murder ring. A Tory MP strangled a 12 year old brown haired boy in a central London town house in 1980. Apparently,18 months to two years later two other men murdered a second boy in front of another Tory MP, “a cabinet minister.” Both MPs, are “still alive.” Its source is a man in his 40s to whom they have given the pseudonym “Nick”.
The scene was set yesterday when the BBC decided to join Exaro News in broadcasting an interview with a man in his 40s known as “Nick” who alleges that he was repeatedly raped by Conservative MPs and other “VIPs” in the 1970s and 80s. Nick, it is said, is grateful to Exaro News and to his counsellor for “allowing” him to tell his story in public, and wants to encourage others to go, as he has now gone, to the police to corroborate his account. According to the BBC he has been “in counselling on and off since he was in his twenties” and has only now “found the strength to come forward.” There was no mention in the BBC interview of any murder and Exaro have never previously revealed that Nick witnessed a murder.
Mark Watts the Exaro interviewer suggests “a lot of people will find your account hard to believe,” but that does not mean that Nick is lying. Nevertheless Exaro, and now the BBC, have acted extremely unwisely by catapulting him into the public domain.
Both the BBC’s interview, and even more so Exaro’s, go into considerable detail about the alleged abuse. We are told, for example, how Nick and other children would be driven to Dolpin Square where sex parties were held. They would be made to dance and sing, before being sexually abused by a group including MPs, “an ex-Cabinet Minister,” and other “powerful people.” Nick says that he was repeatedly raped while his head was held under water in a bath, and on a number of occasions he nearly drowned. Boys were injured, and a doctor, he says, was part of the group to treat these injuries. It was, indeed, a paedophile ring.
The first effect of broadcasting Nick’s detailed allegations is that anybody wishing to make a false allegation has now been given not just rumours, which in truth have been flying around on the internet for years, but a detailed and apparently first-hand description of exactly how another witness says the abuse took place. This, of course, flies in the face of good policing practice in which the account of one witness is never given to other potential witnesses precisely because of the danger of contamination. It is true that neither Exaro nor the BBC has actually given the names of the alleged abusers but 5 minutes on the internet would supply a selection of Tory MPs and cabinet ministers about whom rumours have swirled. Most of those who were cabinet ministers in Mrs Thatcher’s first administration are now dead, so the tidbit that the Minister in question is still alive narrows the field to about 10 suspects.
In any case involving multiple complainants the defence always strives hard to show that the complainants may have colluded with each other, or at least that later complainants knew of the substance of an earlier complaint, while the prosecution tries to show that such collusion or awareness is unlikely. Well, Exaro and the BBC together have comprehensively ensured that any future complainant will be aware of the detail of Nick’s complaint and his evidence will for that reason be devalued. In a nutshell, if a future witness relates similar details to Nick’s he will be accused of having learnt them from the BBC and Exaro interviews. It is on such issues that cases turn.
Do read the rest of Matthew’s post here.