Leon Brittan was under Met probe over claims of child sex abuse

Former home secretary was subject to major investigation by police at time of his death

By Mark Conrad | 24 January 2015

Leon Brittan was under Met probe over claims of child sex abuseScotland Yard was investigating former home secretary Lord Brittan over multiple allegations of sexually abusing boys, Exaro can reveal.

At the time of his death last week aged 75, Brittan was under investigation over historical claims that he sexually abused boys at Dolphin Square, the apartment complex popular with MPs, and other locations.

Until now, Exaro has been unable to name Brittan for legal reasons, mainly the damage to an active police investigation. But the position has changed with Brittan’s death.

Exaro can reveal the key allegations against Brittan that were subject to investigation by the Metropolitan Police Service when he died:

  • that he was a member of the ‘Westminster paedophile network’;
  • that two unidentified men, who were part of the network, murdered a boy in front of him in a physical beating following sexual abuse in around 1981 or 1982;
  • that he sexually abused boys at the Carlton Club in St James’s in London, as well as Dolphin Square and elsewhere.

The abuse survivor known as “Nick” made these allegations initially to Exaro. The detective in charge of the Met paedophile unit’s wide-ranging investigation into politicians asked Exaro to put him in contact with Nick.

Exaro passed on the request, and Nick decided to arrange a meeting with the officer, insisting that our reporter also attended. This led to ‘Operation Midland’, which is investigating allegations against several prominent people of child sex abuse.

The operation is also investigating Nick’s claim that he witnessed members of the paedophile network murder three boys.

At his first meeting with detectives, Nick handed to them a list of 12 VIPs who, he says, sexually abused him. Brittan was named on the list.

Nick picked out Brittan from a large number of pictures shown to him by Exaro, identifying him as one of the men who sexually abused him.

The Met took a statement from our reporter on how the picture test was done.

Nick alleged that the ex-minister raped him on “more than a dozen” occasions from the age of 11 and other boys, who were between 10 and 14, at “abuse parties” at Dolphin Square and elsewhere.

Asked before the police took up the case how he knew Brittan was one of his abusers, Nick said: “Well, he told me. Not his full name. He told me that it was Leon. And it was only later in my adult life that I then knew who it was.”

Despite the astonishing nature of Nick’s claims about the three murders, police held a briefing for journalists last month to confirm that they believed him.

Detective Superintendent Kenny McDonald, who is leading the Met investigation, said: “Nick has been spoken to by experienced officers from child-abuse teams and experienced officers from murder investigations. They and I believe what Nick is saying to be credible and true.”

Two other witnesses, including one abuse survivor known as “Darren”, also told Exaro and police that Brittan sexually abused them and other boys in Dolphin Square.

Exaro can also reveal that, before Nick came forward, the Met was already investigating, under ‘Operation Fernbridge’, allegations of child sex abuse against Brittan, including claims that he had frequented Elm Guest House, the notorious paedophile brothel in south-west London, to sexually abuse boys.

In addition, the Met has been investigating Brittan over a claim that in 1967, before becoming an MP, he raped a female student known as “Jane”, then aged 19.

Police interviewed Brittan under caution over Jane’s claim. At the interview, he shuffled around in a pair of slippers.

But Brittan was notably sharper on his feet when he was caught in the media glare shortly afterwards as he attempted to explain what he did with a dossier on VIP paedophiles that was handed to him as home secretary in 1984 by the late Conservative MP, Geoffrey Dickens. 

In addition, a Customs officer seized a video that showed child sex abuse in the presence of Brittan. The video was being smuggled into the UK through Dover in 1982.

It is unknown what Brittan was doing on the video. However, no further action was taken.

Detectives seized a separate video that places Brittan at an “abuse party”.

Meanwhile, police face calls to continue their investigations into Brittan.

Related Stories: Child sex abuse, ‘Fernbridge’ and ‘Fairbank’: Exaro story thread

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