‘Evidence of sexual abuse of children by powerful people has been hidden for too long’
By David Hencke | 16 February 2013
This is a story that I always wanted the public to know. For more than five years, I have been aware, thanks to a very good source, that unspeakable events involving a paedophile ring took place in leafy Barnes in south-west London some three decades ago.
I was told that very powerful people abused young boys there. But could I or my source find anyone to take any interest? No. My source’s complaints were ignored by Richmond council, the police, social services, councillors, MPs and ministers.
I was left with the impression that very powerful people wanted to make sure that nothing would ever be done. Evidence of sexual abuse of children by powerful people has been hidden for too long.
Thanks to the revelations about Jimmy Savile and the guts shown by Tom Watson, MP, in raising in the House of Commons evidence of an even wider paedophile ring, the tide is turning.
This time, when I took my source to see one of London’s most senior policemen in the presence of Tom Watson, he listened.
The police taped the evidence given to them, and they pledged this time to do something about both Elm Guest House – and the wider issues raised by Watson. They said that they would follow the evidence wherever it took them and whoever was involved.
By working for Exaro, launched only in late 2011, I was able to have the time, resources and support to follow up the story properly. Exaro also showed guts in not being frightened by mistakes made elsewhere into ignoring this important story.
Several of my colleagues at Exaro have helped uncover what is clearly one of the UK’s biggest child-abuse scandals: David Pallister, Fiona O’Cleirigh, Mark Conrad, Nick Fielding, Alison Winward, Tim Wood, Keith Perry, Alex Varley-Winter, Frederika Whitehead and, of course, the Editor-in-Chief, Mark Watts.
Today, Exaro breaks three significant stories that shed more light on allegations surrounding a VIP paedophile ring. First, evidence that links Savile, the late BBC star, to Elm Guest House, which is at the centre of a police investigation into sexual abuse of boys by VIPS and others.
Second, disclosure of how a key figure at the centre of that police investigation is making plans to leave the country.
And, we reveal a secret briefing on preparations by Scotland Yard’s paedophile unit to arrest a former Conservative cabinet minister as part of two separate operations investigating political figures from all main political parties.
And, despite reluctance in some quarters of the mainstream media to follow up the story, Exaro has worked with the Sunday People, Sunday Mirror, Channel 4 News and ITV News to help bring it to the wider attention that it needs.
Thanks to the first leads given by my source on Elm Guest House, the police have already made two arrests. I am sure that there will be more to come as the investigations continue.
Those I hope that will really benefit from these fresh investigations are the children – now in their 40’s. They deserve closure. The people who did such unspeakable acts should be behind bars.
David Hencke, a former Westminster correspondent of The Guardian, is a senior reporter on Exaro. He was named ‘Political Journalist of the Year’ in the British Journalism Awards 2012 for his exposure for Exaro of civil servants who minimised their tax bills by working ‘off payroll’.