15 Year old Martin Allen
‘Thirty years on, we still don’t know who abducted our son’: Parents of Martin Allen make final plea for information
The ageing parents of a teenage boy abducted 30 years ago today made a final appeal for information about his fate.
Martin Allen, 15, was last seen by a friend at King’s Cross Tube station as he made his way home from school on November 5, 1979.
His case has baffled teams of Scotland Yard detectives who have been unable to find any trace of him.
Desperate: Martin Allen’s parents say they still cry on the anniversary of his disappearance in 1979 and have given up hope of ever seeing him again
Final plea: Tom and Eileen Allen are making one last appeal for information about their son, who was 15 when he vanished
Speaking today, Tom and Eileen Allen, of Bordon, Hampshire, admitted they have lost hope of ever seeing him again and fear they may die before his body is discovered.
Mrs Allen, 81, said: ‘We just want to know what happened so we can have some final closure. But of course it will never go out of our minds.
‘My biggest wish is to have a meeting of the family and a remembrance service, not a funeral, but a service so we can put our memories away.
Happier times: Martin with his mother. He disappeared while on his way home from school
‘We just want to know what happened. Somebody must know something. Please tell us so we can move on.’
Mr Allen, 85, revealed he still cries on the day his son disappeared, his birthdays and when he hears music his son loved.
He said: ‘I just break down. I go out into the woods and I simply burst.
‘After that I am all right. I cannot help it.
‘I had hope until the beginning of this year. I still had lots of hope but suddenly it disappeared. I do not know why.’
‘Baffling’: Martin disappeared as he made his way home from King’s Cross Tube station 30 years ago
Metropolitan Police officers have continued to investigate the disappearance of Martin since a review took place in 2006, but admit they have no new leads.
The teenager went missing as he travelled home from school to pick up some money to take to his older brother Bob in Holloway.
His father worked as a chauffeur and the family lived in a cottage in the grounds of the Australian High Commission in Hyde Park Gate, Kensington.
Martin left a friend at a foot tunnel leading on to the southbound Piccadilly platform at King’s Cross station at about 3.50pm.
He has not been seen since, but a passenger came forward after a television appeal and said he saw a man and a boy acting suspiciously at Earls Court.
The man was standing with his arm around a boy who looked like Martin and both appeared nervous.
He was heard to say: ‘Don’t try to run.’
Operation: Despite television appeals and this artist’s impression of a man standing with boy who looked like Martin no trace of him has ever been found
Despite a huge operation, including a visit to every property in Earls Court and the publication of an artist’s impression, police have not been able to trace the man.
Investigators have ruled out 200 possible suspects, spoken to 50,000 people and collected 600 statements to the inquiry.
They have not been able to find any of Martin’s possessions, which included his school books, lunchbox and part of a model railway.
At one point detectives considered whether serial killer Dennis Nilsen could be responsible but found no evidence to substantiate this.
Mr Allen said his son would have contacted them if he was alive because he would not have wanted them to worry.
He said: ‘There must be someone out there who knows a tiny little bit but has never said anything.
Missing: Detectives have spoken to 50,000 people and collected 600 statements in the investigation into Martin’s disappearance
‘They could be the answer we are looking for to help our family come to a bit of rest instead of always saying “I wonder what did happen?”‘
Mrs Allen, who works with disabled children, said her heart goes out to the parents of other missing children.
And she said she cannot bring herself to read coverage about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
She said: ‘It has been difficult because the other boys have grown up and they have got their own sons. It must be very hard for them.
‘Because I am still working with children that does help. I have got to keep going for the sake of the children that are left and the grandchildren.
‘Nobody wants you if you are miserable and crying all the time. I am strong and I have managed to keep my feelings to myself most of the time.’
Detective Chief Inspector Tony Nash, who is leading the inquiry, said the case is ‘truly baffling’.
He said: ‘Officers have worked tirelessly to trace Martin but despite floods of information coming in we have not been able to discover what happened to him.
‘I am convinced someone knows what happened to Martin and I would urge them to do the right thing and tell us.
‘I hope the passage of time will encourage them to come forward. Martin’s family have had an agonising 30 years not knowing what became of him.’
Anyone with information should call the incident room at Hendon on 0208 358 0100 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
8 Year old Vishal Mehrotra
Paedophile Sidney Cooke’s potential links to murder of boy, 8, ignored by police
21:30, 30 May 2015
Vishal Mehrotra was snatched after his family watched Princess Diana’s wedding procession and Cooke was mentioned at least EIGHT times in a censored police report
Britain’s most notorious paedophile Sidney Cooke has been linked to the murder of a boy snatched on Princess Diana’s wedding day.
Parts of eight-year-old Vishal Mehrotra’s body were found in woods 50 miles away months later.
Vile Cooke, in a child sex ring linked to the killing of nine boys, was mentioned at least EIGHT times in a censored police report.
Vishal’s father Vishambar last week said the 2005 review “raises more questions than it answers”.
After his son went missing, Vishambar received a call claiming he had been abducted by men linked to a VIP paedophile ring.
Cooke, now aged 88 and serving two life sentences, is believed to have provided young boys for Establishment figures to abuse.
The review was released to this newspaper through Freedom of Information but its findings were seemingly not acted upon.
Huge chunks apparently about Cooke and his gang of fellow abusers were removed.
The Sunday People understands one section may relate to information from an informant.
The man apparently said “Cooke and his associates” claimed at least 12 victims, including an “Asian boy”.
Police last week refused to say if Cooke was quizzed about Vishal.
Vishal vanished as he walked home ahead of his family in Putney, West London, on July 29 1981.
They had been watching the Prince of Wales and Diana Spencer ride to their wedding.
The boy was last seen near Elm House guesthouse , where kids were allegedly abused.
His skull and parts of his torso were found in West Sussex in 1982.
The Sussex Police review by ex detective Alwyn Evans, shows links with abductions and fairground worker Cooke began to be made in the early 80s.
It reveals there were two fairs in the area when Vishal vanished.
The case of Martin Allen, 14, who went missing in 1979, has been highlighted by the Sunday People
It said “Cooke and his associates” were fairground workers who “ostensibly ‘groomed’ children who visited fairgrounds”.
It cited Mark Tildesley, seven, believed murdered by Cooke, who vanished in Wokingham in 1984.
It said Thames Valley Police, who investigated Mark’s murder with the Metropolitan Police, “apparently considered the Mehrotra case and a report was forwarded to the Met and Sussex”.
It added: “This report is not amongst the papers.”
The review also mentioned the murder of Jason Swift, 14, and Barry Lewis, six, in 1985.Their bodies were found naked in woods.
Cooke, along with accomplices Leslie Bailey, Robert Oliver and Steven Barrell, were jailed for Jason’s manslaughter in 1989.
Cooke, suspected of Barry’s killing, was not charged. In 1998 the Met asked Sussex to find exhibits from its inquiry into Vishal.
Freed after being jailed for the manslaughter of Jason, Cooke got life in 1999 for child abuse.
Mr Mehrotra believes police “did nothing” and “things were brushed under the carpet” He added: “This edited report asks a lot more questions than it answers.”
Police watchdog the IPCC is managing a probe into how the Sussex force handled the Vishal inquiry.
Father claims Scotland Yard covered up son’s murder by Westminster paedophiles
Exclusive: The father of murdered eight-year-old Vishal Mehrotra says police ignored a tip-off that the boy may have been abducted by a VIP paedophile ring
The father of an eight-year-old boy murdered in the 1980s claims that his son may have died at the hands of a Westminster paedophile ring – and that Scotland Yard helped “cover up” the crime.
Vishambar Mehrotra, a retired magistrate, recorded a male prostitute saying in a telephone call that his son may have been abducted and taken to a now notorious guesthouse in 1981.
He took the recording to police at the time but claims they refused to investigate an allegation implicating “judges and politicians”. Mr Mehrotra said it had been a “huge cover-up”.
The Metropolitan Police announced last week that they were investigating possible murders linked to the Elm Guest House in Barnes, south-west London. The new inquiry began when an alleged victim came forward claiming to have witnessed three boys being killed, including one allegedly strangled by a Conservative MP during a depraved sex game.
He claimed that high-profile paedophiles abused children at locations in London in the 1970s and 1980s.
Mr Mehrotra’s son Vishal was abducted as he walked home to Putney after watching the Prince of Wales and Diana Spencer ride to their wedding in a carriage on July 29 1981.
He had gone ahead of other family members for the last few hundred yards. He was last seen less than a mile from the guesthouse.
Mr Mehrotra claims he received an anonymous call from a male prostitute in the months following. A man he guessed to be in his 20s told him Vishal may have been abducted by “highly placed” paedophiles operating from the Elm Guest House, Mr Mehrotra said.
He told The Telegraph: “I was contacted by a young man who seemed to be in his 20s. He told me he believed Vishal may have been taken by paedophiles in the Elm Guest House near Barnes Common.
“He said there were very highly placed people there. He talked about judges and politicians who were abusing little boys.” Mr Mehrotra, a solicitor who was a JP at Wimbledon magistrates’ court until retiring in 2006, claims the man said he had already informed police about activities at the guesthouse, but had received no response.
He added: “I recorded the whole 15-minute conversation and took it to police. But instead of investigating it, they just pooh-poohed it and I never heard anything about the tape again. The whole thing went cold.
“At that time I trusted the police. But when nothing happened, I became confused and concerned.
“Now it is clear to me that there has been a huge cover up. There is no doubt in my mind.”
In February 1982, part of Vishal’s skeleton was found in woodland in West Sussex. There was no trace of his legs, pelvis or lower spine, nor of his outer clothes, his sleeveless vest or his Superman underpants.
At the inquest into his death, the West Sussex coroner Mark Calvert Lee recorded an open verdict but said “foul play” was likely.
Police said 20,000 people had been interviewed, half of them in nearby Putney, and 6,000 properties checked.
Mr Mehrotra, now 69 and living in West Molesey near Hampton Court, said he had “hardly been contacted” by police in the intervening years.
He said he had not been spoken to in recent months despite the alleged witness reporting the murder of three boys at the time Vishal vanished.
Mr Mehrotra said: “This guesthouse was right next to where Vishal disappeared. There were predatory people there who were taking young boys and abusing them.
“It seems to me that it all adds up, so I can’t understand why the police have again failed to get in contact with me. I think the revelations of Savile and others in recent months have opened up a Pandora’s box. Hopefully everything will all come out soon.”
In June 1982, four months after Vishal’s remains were found, police raided the Elm Guest House.
Dozens of men were questioned, reportedly including at least 30 who were prominent in public life and business. It was widely reported at the time that the raids were linked to Vishal’s disappearance. The Times reported that the investigation had included the disappearance of another boy, Martin Allen, 15, missing since Guy Fawkes Night, 1979, whose body has never been discovered. The son of the chauffeur to the Australian High Commissioner, he was last seen waving goodbye to a school friend at King’s Cross Underground station.
Police at the time dismissed the reports as “nonsense”. Soon afterwards, lawyers acting on behalf of the guesthouse threatened newspapers with legal action if they continued reporting on its alleged activities.
Martin’s brother said on Tuesday that police should reopen the investigation into the teenager’s disappearance. Kevin Allen, 51, said he had always suspected a cover-up after police told him all the case files had been lost in a freak flood.
He said: “I think it’s a new lead. Anything to ensure these people don’t get away with it. I think there are powerful forces involved in this. Years ago I was warned by a policeman that if I looked too deep into this then I might get hurt. I’ve never forgotten that.
“We have barely heard anything for 20 years, but there are other missing cases where the police barely stopped looking.
“My dad died never knowing what happened to Martin. We would love to have an answer for my mother before she passes away.”
In May 1983, as police wound up the inquiry into Vishal Mehrotra’s death, Carole and Harry Kasir, the owners of the Elm Guest House were fined £1,000 each and given suspended nine-month sentences at the Old Bailey for “running a disorderly house”. They were found not guilty of living off immoral earnings and having obscene films.
Five years later Carole told child protection officers that children from the council-run Grafton Close Children’s Home had been supplied to the brothel. She provided names of people who had frequented the guesthouse.
The Liberal MP Cyril Smith, now dead, has been widely alleged to have abused children from Grafton Close at The Elm.
At an inquest into her death in 1990, members of The National Association of Young People in Care said that Kasir had lived in fear of her life since the hotel was exposed. Christopher Fay said: “The reasons for her death are all tied up in this child pornography ring at the hotel.
“She was hounded and harassed by police and security services. She knew all the top people who had been involved in the ring at the hotel.”
Scotland Yard launched Operation Fairbank two years ago to look into suggestions that high profile political figures had been involved.
Officers have set up a new strand of the inquiry, Operation Midland, after being passed information about the three alleged murders.
The allegations emerged when a man in his 40s came forward claiming to have been one of around 15 boys who were abused by a powerful paedophile network 30 years ago.
Some of the abuse allegedly took place at flats in the Dolphin Square development in Pimlico, where a number of politicians have had London homes.
According to the man, a 12-year-old boy was strangled by a Conservative MP at a town house in front of other victims.
On another occasion, a boy of around 10 was deliberately run down and killed by a car being driven by one of his abusers, the man claimed.
The Attorney General on Tuesday said he would back an investigation into the allegations if there was evidence to support the claims. Jeremy Wright, speaking in the Commons, said: “My view is that the Crown Prosecution Service should pursue cases where the evidence exists to wherever the evidence leads, and that is regardless of the position held by the person being investigated.
“And if evidence is brought to light to justify such an investigation, I would expect it to be carried out.”
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said the force would not comment on an ongoing investigation.
Additional reporting by Ben Parsons
14 Year old Jason Swift
Friday, 17 December, 1999, 18:13 GMT
Cooke: The predatory paedophile
|Sidney Cooke has committed horrific offences|
Sidney Cooke is regarded as a dangerous and predatory paedophile who even at the age of 72 remains a constant threat to youngsters.
He has been given two life sentences for a catalogue of crimes involving the systematic rape and abuse of two brothers over several years.
But these horrific admissions are just one of a series of depraved acts the persistent offender has committed during the past three decades.
In his job as a fairground worker, Cooke was able to travel the country preying on vulnerable youngsters.
Known by colleagues as Hissing Sid, he set up his children’s ‘Test Your Strength’ machine at fairgrounds around the country using the opportunity to meet boys and lure them into depraved homosexual orgies.
With his sick friends Robert Oliver, Lennie Smith and Leslie Bailey, he would drug the children before subjecting them to brutal assaults.
Cooke, who habitually dressed in a filthy suit and trilby hat, was one of a 1980s gang suspected of being responsible for the killing of up to nine young boys during sex orgies.
Operating from a flat on the Kingsmead estate in Hackney, east London, the gang hired rent boys or snatched children off the streets and subjected them to horrific sexual torture.
“I can’t think of anything worse that could happen to a human being and a vulnerable young man
|Detective Superintendent David Bright|
The former farm worker led the paedophile ring jailed for killing 14-year-old Jason Swift from Hackney, East London, in 1984.
A gang of men each paid £5 to have sex with Jason in the “stinking, filthy” flat they used on the Kingsmead.
A few hours later he was dead. His body was found in a shallow grave on the outskirts of London.
Detective Superintendent David Bright, who was involved in the hunt for the killers of the teenager, said: “I can’t think of anything worse that could happen to a human being and a vulnerable young man.
“Cooke is a very hard and resilient man. He’s a very strong character but he’s an evil man.”
Cooke was sent to prison for 19 years in 1989 for Jason’s manslaughter but later managed to get his sentence reduced to 16 years by appeal court judges and was released after just nine in 1998.
He convinced the judges that Leslie Bailey was the evil genius and the mastermind behind the gang.
Cooke, however, was named by Bailey as one of the killers of seven-year-old Mark Tildesley, who vanished in June 1984.
Mark disappeared after visiting a funfair near his home in Wokingham, Berks.
His bicycle was recovered nearby but no trace of him has ever been found. Police believe he was lured away from the fair by Cooke for the promise of a 50p bag of sweets before being tortured and killed by Cooke’s gang in a caravan.
Cooke has indicated he knows where Mark’s body is buried but refuses to tell police or the boy’s grieving parents exactly where his grave is.
The children who were abused by Sidney Cooke suffered some of the vilest and cruellest sex offences imaginable
|NSPCC director Jim Harding|
In 1991 the Crown Prosecution Service declined to prosecute Cooke for Mark’s murder.
During his time in London’s Wandsworth prison Cooke was admired by other paedophiles for the extent of his depravity and the lengths he was prepared to go to ensnare his victims.
Angry protests had greeted his release from prison last year and he was forced to keep on the move as soon as his identity was discovered.
He eventually lived, at his own request, in a suite of three cells at Yeovil police station in Somerset where the Home Office provided him with a TV, washing machine, microwave and small cooker.
Nearly a year after his release, Cooke was arrested at the police station by Thames Valley Police detectives investigating allegations of rape and other serious sexual offences which had come to light after the Channel 4 documentary, Dispatches.
Following his sentencing, NSPCC director Jim Harding said of the sentence: “The children who were abused by Sidney Cooke suffered some of the vilest and cruelest sex offences imaginable.
“He should never have been freed after serving his last sentence. We sincerely hope he will never be given the opportunity to hurt another child again.”
Friday, March 13, 1998 Published at 07:59 GMT
Fears over release of paedophiles
Police and the probation service are demanding a change in the law to help deal with six dangerous paedophiles, due for release from prison.
The men fall through loopholes in the law as they are considered so dangerous, they are denied parole – which would mean their release under supervision.
Also, because they were jailed before the 1991 Criminal Justice Act, no powers exist to order supervision once they have served their terms.
Police chiefs are demanding changes to the law to allow such men to be held under the Mental Health Act.
That would enable them to be detained in a special hospital indefinitely.
Police struggled to cope with the release of Robert Oliver
The warning comes as detectives revealed how they struggled to cope with the release last September of child killer Robert Oliver, one of a gang which abducted, raped and killed 14-year-old rent boy Jason Swift.
Oliver and his accomplices were initially charged with murder but convicted of manslaughter. They are suspected of at least two other paedophile murders.
Police mounted round-the-clock surveillance on Oliver after his release, observing him visit a children’s library and watching youngsters in Brighton amusement arcades – lawful activities they were powerless to prevent.
As controversy surrounding his freedom grew, Oliver – judged to be a “sexual deviant with a personality disorder” – asked police for protection and spent four months living in a police station.
Struggle to find accommodation
Penny Buller interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme (2’35”)
East Sussex chief probation officer, Penny Buller, says she spent four months trying to find somewhere to put Oliver after he asked for protection.
Finally, in February, a bed was found for him at a private medium-secure unit for mentally disordered offenders in Milton Keynes.
The probation officer warned the episode would be repeated with other dangerous sex offenders.
The Home Office has said there are 150 more cases of sexual offenders facing release without supervision.
“They are not all as notorious and as dangerous as Robert Oliver, but about half-a-dozen of them are,” said Penny Buller.
The six other paedophiles due for release over the next two years include Sidney Cooke, a member of Oliver’s gang.
Convicted paedophile Sidney Cooke: due for release
He is due to leave prison next month after serving 11 years of a 19-year term.
The Chief Constable of Sussex, Paul Whitehouse, said there were dangerous gaps in the law.
“If you have a personality disorder, which to the layman appears to be no different to being mentally ill, then you can’t be sectioned.
“If the Mental Health Act was altered to include people with a personality disorder then that could well be the solution.”
Probation officers also want to see such loopholes closed, extra money put into treatment and supervision, and electronic tagging to make sure sex offenders obey curfews.
Wednesday, 22 April, 1998, 01:34 GMT 02:34 UK
Secret meeting on home for paedophile
Secret talks are being held to try to decide where child killer Sidney Cooke is to live, amid protests from parents who are adamant he should be kept well away from their children.
Police, probation officers and social workers will be involved in what is being seen as a response to the spontaneous public protests over the undisclosed whereabouts of the 71-year-old paedophile.
He is under 24-hour supervision at a police station in the Avon and Somerset area having been released from prison.
Mr Cooke was released from prison on April 6th having served nine years for the manslaughter of 14-year-old Jason Swift.
When news leaked out in recent days that Mr Cooke was in the West Country and apparently heading for a Bristol bail hostel, police stations at Yeovil and Bridgwater were picketed by protesting parents.
Angry residents in the St Paul’s area of Bristol met to make it clear he would not be welcome at the bail hostel in the heart of their community either.
So far Avon and Somerset police have refused to comment on the whereabouts of Mr Cooke and it’s thought unlikely that any clues will be forthcoming after these secret talks.
The Yeovil MP Paddy Ashdown is keeping a close watch on events and maintaining contact with the Home Office on this issue. He has urged the public to allow time for solutions to be found.
He said: “Of course I understand public concerns but it will help no-one if this is allowed to degenerate into hysteria.”
Mothers in Yeovil have pledged to continue with their pavement protests outside the town’s police station, hoping to pressurise the police into revealing the whereabouts of Mr Cooke.
Paedophile admits child sex attacks
Sidney Cooke served nine years in jail
Convicted paedophile Sidney Cooke has admitted to a string of 10 sex attacks on two brothers.
The offences took place between 1972 and 1978 when Cooke, 72, preyed on youngsters as he travelled across the country working on fairgrounds.
“Hissing Sid” set up children’s Test Your Strength machine in fairgrounds, using the opportunity to meet boys and lure them into homosexual orgies.
Cooke, habitually dressed in a filthy suit and trilby hat, was one of a 1980s gang of four jailed for killing of runaway Jason Swift, 14, in a squalid flat at Hackney, east London.
He was sent to prison for 19 years in 1989, but was freed in April last year after his sentence was cut by Appeal Court judges.
Cooke was housed in police cells following public anger at his release.
But earlier this year he was arrested by detectives investigating allegations of serious sexual offences which had come to light after a Channel 4 documentary, Dispatches.
Cooke admitted five counts of indecent assault and five counts of buggery when he appeared at Manchester Crown Court on Tuesday.
He also denied four counts of rape as well as three further counts of indecent assault and one of buggery dating to 1981.
Mr Justice Poole ordered those charges to lie on the file.
Both brothers were teenagers when they were assaulted by Cooke – one over a four year period and the other over a two-year period.
Sir John Nutting QC, prosecuting, described how for part of their formative years the children were brought up in homes because their mother could not cope.
He said: “Cooke systematically embarked on a course of sexual abuse, so frequent and so manipulative that the boys came to regard a sexual relationship as the natural relationship between adult and child.
“Assault and buggery were the stock-in-trade of the defendant’s relationship with them.”
Sir John told the court that Cooke blamed his actions on what he had suffered himself as a child.
“He claimed to police in interviews this year that because he himself had suffered abuse as a young boy, he considered that when he abused the two boys he had behaved naturally.”
‘I will never forgive him’
The older brother later told police that Cooke had ruined his life through the systematic campaign of abuse waged against him.
The victim told the police: “I feel that the treatment I suffered during my childhood and teenage years has caused me much suffering and mental anguish and has destroyed a lot of my relationships.
“I will never be able to forgive Sidney Cooke for what he did to my family.”
Sentencing was adjourned for a month to await psychiatric reports.
Friday, 17 December, 1999, 18:50 GMT
Notorious paedophile begins life sentence
Sidney Cooke faces two life sentences
One of Britain’s most notorious paedophiles is beginning a life sentence as police admit they are still investigating his past.
Sidney Cooke was given two life sentences after admitting a systematic campaign of abuse against two young brothers.
Mr Justice Poole, sitting at Wolverhampton Crown Court, told Cooke he would not be considered for release until he had served at least five years.
You remain for the time being and will remain for an incalculable period, a serious danger to children
Mr Justice Poole
The judge told Cooke, 72, he would only be released after the five-year period had elapsed if the Parole Board was satisfied he was not a danger to the public.
Detective Superintendent Trevor Davies, of Thames Valley Police, said after the hearing that officers were still investigating “an offence where Cooke was named”.
The police probe into Cooke is understood to centre on the June 1984 disappearance of seven-year-old Mark Tildesley.
Mark disappeared after visiting a funfair near his home in Wokingham, Berkshire. His bicycle was recovered nearby but no trace of him has ever been found.
Lavinia Tildesley hopes to find her son
Mark’s mother still clings to the hope that Cooke will help her find her son’s body – despite him never admitting knowing what happened to him.
Lavinia Tildesley said: “We can’t rest until we have found him, had a funeral, and laid him to rest.”
The judge told Cooke pre-sentence reports were unanimous that despite his advancing years, the convicted child killer remained a serious danger to children and young adolescents.
The horrific assaults came to light after a TV appeal following his release last year from serving nine years for the 1984 killing of Jason Swift, 14, during a homosexual orgy.
Bearded Cooke admitted five counts of indecent assault and five counts of buggery committed between 1972 and 1978 at the hearing in October.
He pleaded not guilty to eight other counts which were ordered to lie on the file.
Mr Justice Poole said the case was aggravated by the fact that the two brothers, who were 13 when the assaults began, had been “groomed” by Cooke to such an extent they regarded the abuse as normal.
“The reports before me are unanimous that, not withstanding your advancing years, you remain for the time being and will remain for an incalculable period, a serious danger to children.”
Sir John Nutting QC told the court: “Cooke systematically embarked on a course of sexual abuse, so frequent and so manipulative that the boys came to regard a sexual relationship as the natural relationship between adult and child.
“Assault and buggery were the stock-in-trade of the defendant’s relationship with them.”
He added Cooke admitted in police interviews in January this year that what he had done to the children was wrong.
“He said he had come to recognise and understand in the last decade that his behaviour towards them was something to be ashamed of.”
The court heard the offences took place around the country as the two brothers moved around Oxfordshire, London, Kent, Hertfordshire and Tyne and Wear.
The older brother later told police that Cooke had ruined his life through the systematic campaign of abuse waged against him.
Police said the two victims were both now married with children of their own.
After the hearing both brothers admitted to feeling “hatred” for the abuse meted out to them by Cooke during their childhoods.
“We never want to see him released. The judge’s description of him was very accurate,” the younger brother added.
7 Year old Mark Tildesley
The murder of Daniel Handley – three features
Published April 1995
Feature 1 –
The boy on the bike was heading home. It was a cold, dark Sunday afternoon and all along Tollgate Road, the families in the terraced council houses were turning on their lights and huddling into the warmth behind their curtains.
The two men were sitting in their car, a silver-blue Peugeot estate, parked by the kerbside just near the roundabout where Tollgate Road meets the old route down to the Thames and the East End docks. They had been on the estate for an hour now, circling and driving and stopping again, evidently searching for something.
They looked quite harmless. The thick-set muscular man behind the wheel was Tim Morss, aged 31, born in Islington in north London, the son of a postman. He had spent 18 months in the army and was now leading an apparently stable and respectable life. He followed a regular routine, spending most of each week in a small town called Bradley Stoke, just north of Bristol, where he ran a flower shop called Green Fingers, and working at weekends as a taxi-driver for Guy’s Cars in Camberwell, south London.
His closest friends knew that he was gay, that he lived with an older man, David Guttridge, aged 58, a ruddy-faced businessman with silver hair who owned Guy’s Cars and who had loaned Morss the money to open his flower shop. They were well-liked by their neighbours. Although he was gay, Guttridge had once been married and liked to flirt with some of the women on the estate where they lived. One of them, who had recently separated from her husband, had been so impressed that she had thought about having an affair with him. No-one saw anything worrying about Tim Morss and his elderly boyfriend.
When Morss encouraged the local boys to come and kill time in his flower shop, no-one thought twice about it. Morss used to make the children laugh. He kept cannisters of helium in the shop so that he could inflate decorative balloons for special champagne bouquets and he used to let the boys breathe it in so that their voices went all squeaky and weird. They liked him and when they asked their parents if they could work for him, delivering leaflets on their bicycles, the parents saw nothing wrong with that.
No-one who saw him now, sitting calmly behind the wheel of the Peugeot, would have guessed that Tim Morss had a history of raping children. Nine years earlier, on November 29 1985, he had been jailed for seven years for buggering two twin boys whom he was supposed to have been babysitting. The boys were nine when the truth came out and by that time, Morss had been using them for four years, not only penetrating them but slapping them to increase his pleasure. One of the boys had been his favourite: Morss had shared him with his best friend and sat and watched as the boy was forced to submit.
The man who sat with him, in the back of the Peugeot, looked equally harmless. Brett Tyler was aged 29, a Londoner, born a few minutes drive away in Limehouse, the son of a lorry driver. Like Morss, he, too, worked part-time for Guy’s Cars, as a controller, putting in extra long shifts for a month at a time to earn as much cash as possible so that he could return to his real life, half way around the world, in the Philippines. There his earnings, which were relatively humble by London standards, made him a wealthy figure.
He lived there with his boyfriend, a Philippine national named Rolando Reyes, known as Roly, in a luxurious home, which was serviced by house maids and equipped with expensive leather furniture and top-of-the range video and stereo equipment. The house was in a deserted spot, up a dusty track on the edge of the jungle near a town called Olongapo, not far from the volcano at Mount Pinatubo which exploded in 1992. Brett Tyler lived well and counted police officers and government officials among his friends.
A few of them knew that he posed as a priest, that he had business cards on which he called himself Rev Brett Tyler and that he and his friends ran phoney religious services in Tyler’s home at ten o’clock on Sunday mornings. None of them objected to this pretence. None of them had seen the 60 videos he kept at his house in which he had recorded scenes) of sexual abuse which he had inflicted on the young Filipino boys and girls whom he attracted to his ‘church’. Some of their parents had been anxious, but they had been reassured because they thought he was a religious man. One Catholic priest had worried out loud about him, but he had been silenced after Tyler made donations to the local community.
None of Tyler’s influential friends knew that it was the easy availability of desperately poor children like these which had first attracted him to the Philippines, to the clubs and brothels, to the ice-rink in Manila where destitute children went to be picked up, and to the notorious cinema where men took their seats with a single cigarette in the breast pocket of their shirt and waited for a child to earn the cigarette with sexual favours in the dark.
None of them knew – for he had lied to the Phillipine authorities – that on March 16 1986, at the Old Bailey in central London, Brett Tyler had been sentenced to four years of youth custody for subjecting a nine-year-old boy and his sister to three years of repeated oral and anal rape. He had met the boy in the street and befriended him and then bribed him with money and sweets to co-operate with his desires, then he had bribed the sister, too. Tyler had felt guilty. He still carried the scar on his chest where he had persuaded the boy to stab him with a knife while they were having sex. But the guilt had never stopped him repeating the abuse.
Tim Morss and Brett Tyler had been out like this before, cruising the streets of London, usually picking an impoverished area, looking for excitement, looking for a fantasy – looking for a boy, aged about nine or ten, with a slim build and blonde hair and with no- one looking after him. Just like this one with the bright red jump suit with Champion written across it, peddling towards them now on a rusty sports bike without a saddle.
As soon as the two men saw him, they liked him, and Brett Tyler stepped out of the back door of the Peugeot on to the pavement with a map in his hand and he called to the boy to ask him if he’d got a moment. They were lost, he said, and they needed help. Daniel Handley stopped peddling; he had always been a helpful lad.
He was the kind of kid that could only have born in the East End of London, a chirpy, cheeky artful dodger of a boy, only nine years old but already living off his wits, making his own way in life. He worked as a trolley-jockey down at the ASDA store on the edge of the estate, he washed windscreens at traffic lights, he delivered papers, he did odd jobs, anything to turn a penny. He used the money just like any other worker – to take himself off to a cafe for a bit of lunch, to take a break (which meant buying a comic and conning a ride backwards and forwards on the Docklands Light Railway), or to buy clothes or cigarettes.
Just about everyone on the estate knew Daniel, and some of them felt a bit sorry for him. They knew he didn’t have much of a home life. His mother, Maxine, had five kids, all of them boys. Daniel was the fourth . She had divorced their father, David, ten months earlier and now she was living with a young black lad called Alex Joseph. On her own, Maxine had been inadequate, barely able to keep the family together, to feed them and clothe them and send them off to school from time to time. But teamed up with Alex, she had become a nightmare.
It wasn’t that she didn’t love her children, but she was weak and dominated by Alex, who was beset by personality problems. He had an IQ of less than 70 – he had trouble reciting the days of the week – he had spent most of his life in care, and he had a history of solvent abuse and of furious violence when he would lash out on all sides. Together, they drank away the days, lying in bed, stumbling from one crisis to another. There were all kinds of stories about the things that went on in that house – things that would have given the social workers a fit – while Daniel and his brothers were left to fend for themselves.
Now Daniel Handley stood next to the silver-blue Peugeot straddling his bike while the man on the pavement stood right beside him, right next to the rear passenger door of the car, which was wide open, wide enough to make it easy to grab the boy and bundle him onto the backseat in one movement, wide enough for the man to jump in behind and yell “Drive”. And they’d be gone.
Just then, a Moroccan family drove down Tollgate Road and could not help but notice the small boy and the man beside him. There was something about the scene which worried them and so instead of driving straight on, they reached the roundabout and circled back so that they could drive past again and take another look. Morss and Tyler saw them. Tyler quickly thanked the boy on the bike and got back in the car. Daniel rode off towards his home. And the Moroccan family were reassured that all was well after all.
Morss and Tyler, however, had had enough of being frustrated. This was supposed to be the ultimate fantasy, the last taboo and yet, time and again, when they went out on these hunting trips, they returned empty handed. Always the boy was the wrong size or shape or age for one of them, or there would be an adult who got in the way.
Morss had been dwelling on this fantasy for years. And for years he had shared it with Brett Tyler, ever since they had first met, in the segregation wing of Wormwood Scrubs prison in west London. They had been sent there to protect them from other prisoners – Tyler, in particular, had been badly beaten once his offence became known to other inmates – but they had used their time together to fuel each other’s fantasies. Morss had become so excited in the prison that he had even confided his fantasies to one of the prison officers, Edward Cook.
It was in the same prison wing that Morss had met David Guttridge, who was to become his boyfriend. They were all kindred spirits. Guttridge, too, was in there for sexually abusing children – two adolescent boys and a girl. He had had trouble with the oldest boy and had had to beat him into submission, so he was serving time for causing actual bodily harm as well as for seven counts of child abuse. But Guttridge was different in one way: he wanted to stop.
He had been sent to jail only because he had gone to a psychiatrist and confessed and had then followed his advice to begin his cure by going to the police. It had cost him his wife and children, who had left him and never spoken to him again, but he had persisted. When the three of them were eventually discharged from Wormwood Scrubs, Guttridge went to group therapy at the psychiatrist’s practice and slowly succeeded in controlling his passion for children.
Guttridge tried to persuade Morss and Tyler to do the same. Tyler went once to therapy and never went back. Guttridge didn’t mind. He was jealous of Tyler, he wanted Morss to himself. He wanted to cure Morss not only to protect children but also to encourage him to concentrate on him. But Morss made a nonsense of the therapy. Instead of trying to change his mentality, he boasted to the group of his previous conquests and then recited in intimate detail the full extent of his fantasies. While Guttridge settled down to the life of a businessman, with Tim Morss as his live-in partner, Morss and Tyler secretly set out to find children on whom they could practise their obsession.
Morss soon seduced the eleven-year-old son of a family friend in London. The boy had had no interest in having sex with men before this happened, but Morss worked on him slowly and deliberately – made friends with him, gave him gifts, told him secrets, held his hand, rubbed his back, until finally he had the boy believing that this was a natural thing to do. For years, Morss used him for sex and videoed himself in the act. When the boy’s family moved down to Bristol, Morss persuaded Guttridge that they should go down there to stay for weekends and eventually, to buy their own place there, in Bradley Stoke.
Guttridge suspected that Morss was abusing the young boy but persuaded himself that it could not be true. The boy’s stepfather also started to suspect – he had even come round to their house one day while Morss was having sex with the boy upstairs – but Morss had come down and lied to his face, told him they were talking, admitted that he liked the boy, denied that he had ever abused him. And the boy, who was loyal to his special adult friend, had kept the secret.
Tyler, too, enjoyed the boy, at Morss’ invitation. Just as Morss had done years before with his first victims, he persuaded the boy to be shared so that he could watch him submit. Brett Tyler, however, was also interested in young girls and on his visits to London from the Philippines, it was he who started walking the streets of run-down estates, looking for nine-year-old girls who could be bribed to let him play around with them. Sharing a passion, the two men became lovers. Morss told friends that he was in love with Tyler though he would never leave Guttridge, whose money he needed.
Morss and Tyler were constantly alert for a child who might be vulnerable to their abuse. Just as Tyler used the bogus church in the Philippines, so, too, in London they used the office of Guy’s Cars in Camberwell Road as a honey trap to attract children. Boys would come in off the street to shelter from the cold and to play on the gaming machines in the front room and then find themselves being offered bribes and threats to persuade them to comply. Local social workers dealt with two separate complaints from boys who said they had been indecently assaulted there. Neither of them wanted to go to the police. One of them said he was unsure who had attacked him; the other said it was a man called Tim.
But none of this was enough for Morss and Tyler. Sex with these children was all right but eventually it became boring, because for one reason or another, the children were willing. Morss and Tyler wanted more than that. They wanted the ultimate fantasy – to find a boy, aged about nine or ten, with a slim build and blonde hair and with no- one looking after him; to abduct him; to rape him by force in front of a video camera; and, finally, to kill him and throw him away.
That was the ultimate fantasy, the one they had shared for so long, and now, on the cold, dark afternoon of Sunday October 2 1994, in Tollworth Road in the east end of London, finally they had found the right boy, and Tim Morss and Brett Tyler were not about to let him get away. As the Moroccan family drove off, the silver-blue Peugeot followed the boy on the bike into the darkness. Just over four hours later, at 10.46 pm, Maxine Handley called the police to report that her nine-year-old son, Daniel, had failed to come home.
From the beginning, Detective Superintendent Ed Williams believed he was dealing with a paedophile and probably with a murderer. In the first days, there was an outside chance that the boy had simply run away. His bike was missing and his home life was obviously unstable, so possibly he had gone off on his own. But three days later, two lads from the estate came forward and admitted that they had seen the bike lying on the verge just around the corner from Tollworth Road and had taken it home with them. Williams started looking for two things: sightings of the boy, and a body.
In the first week, his officers came up with too many sightings, many of them mistaken, and some days passed before they succeeded in weeding out the false leads and establishing that the last people who had seen Daniel were the Moroccan family who had noticed him talking to the two men in the silver-blue Peugeot. Armed with their description, Williams went on to BBC Crimewatch and received 138 calls from people who believed they had seen the car. But none of them amounted to anything. Daniel had vanished.
In the meantime, Williams set out to tear open the east end of London. He had divers in the river and the docks and the tidal basins. His men searched wasteland and warehouses and started visiting the homes of known paedophiles in the area. They found nothing. Williams was now thrust into the most difficult of inquiries: he had no hard evidence that a crime had even been committed let alone evidence that would identify a culprit. There were no clues. Yet, over the next eight months, with a combination of ground-breaking detective work and bizarre fortune, Ed Williams cracked the case.
He began by running up a dead end. The more that he looked at Daniel Handley’s family, the more he began to worry. He heard stories of bizarre sexual activity; of Daniel’s mother, Maxine, routinely having sex in her bedroom with her boyfriend, Alex Joseph, knowing that local children were watching through holes in the door; other adults visiting the house for group sex.
Williams was particularly worried about Alex Joseph. Here was this physically powerful young man – he could clear and press 140 kilos – with a notorious temper, who, he discovered, had previously had fantasies about killing children. Williams found evidence of two occasions when he had attacked Daniel’s oldest brother, Paul, who was then 14. Once, Paul had beaten him at a computer game, and Alex had thrown him on the floor and kicked him. On another occasion, Alex had been having a row with Maxine and had tried to take back his engagement ring; when she refused, he had grabbed Paul by the neck and started strangling him, threatening to kill him unless she handed over the ring. Was it possible that Alex had lost his temper with Daniel, gone too far and killed him, and that Maxine was now covering up for him?
On December 14 1994, Williams arrested Maxine and Alex. His officers questioned them both closely about Daniel’s disappearance. Maxine soon persuaded them that she was telling the truth. Williams was not sure about Alex. But a psychiatrist who examined him concluded that he was far too simple-minded to be able to concoct and sustain a complicated lie, and that he must be telling the truth. Williams accepted that they had done nothing to Daniel, but he charged them with gross indecency with children, assault and neglect. Williams redoubled his efforts to find Daniel, a boy who evidently had been a victim all his life.
He spent three months trawling for a lead, building relationships with known paedophiles who were shocked at the possible murder and who were willing to disclose some of the secrets of their life. Williams’ great fear was that Daniel was being kept alive as a sex object, that every day of the inquiry was another day of suffering for the boy. The break-through, when it came, was unexpected.
On March 27 1995, six months after Daniel’s disappearance, a social worker who was out with his dog looking for rabbits near a golf course in a small town called Bradley Stoke, just north of Bristol, found what looked at first like an old safety helmet. Then he realised it was a small skull. When police came and cut back the grass, they found a bright red jump suit with Champion written across it, and they called Ed Williams. Daniel’s dental records confirmed that this was his skull. There were 26 other small bones, buried near-by. Now, at last, Williams had something to work on. He called a press conference and went again to Crimewatch to ask for help – particularly for sightings of Daniel in the Bristol area – and he was rewarded with a series of new leads.
One witness reported seeing a boy like Daniel, wearing a bright red jump suit, being pulled unwillingly along a Bristol street by two men. Another, an educated and intelligent woman, reported that she had been with her daughter in Paul’s Cafe in Thornbury, on the edge of Bristol, several months earlier and that she had noticed a boy who looked very much like Daniel sitting with three men. The boy had seemed ill at ease, she recalled. One of the men had been thick-set and muscular, “a bull of a man”. Williams, who has a degree in psychology, decided to try to retrieve every scrap of detail from her memory by taking the unprecedented step of recreating in every detail the scene in the cafe.
This was not easy: Paul’s cafe had closed. But Williams arranged for his men to re-open it, to clean it up, to regather its furniture and fittings from far-flung corners, to reconstruct the entire location. Then he asked the woman and her daughter to walk from the car park, just as they had on the day in question, to take the same seat, to order the same drink – and to recall everything. And it worked. She produced a vivid and detailed picture of the “bull of a man”. Williams felt strongly that this was his prime suspect, the man who had evidently kept Daniel prisoner for months before finally killing him. But who was he?
Williams circulated the picture through the press and hoped for a lead. In the meantime, there were hundreds of other fragments of information coming in from his previous appeals. He received an extraordinary call from a psychiatrist, whose wife had seen the case on Crimewatch. He did not know if it was important, but he wanted the police to know that he had once had a patient who had come to a group therapy session and boasted of his fantasy to abduct, rape and murder a boy of Daniel’s age. This man had been so callous that the psychiatrist had never forgotten it and, even though he had a duty not to disclose what his patients told him, he had wrestled with his conscience and decided that, on this occasion, he had to say something. He was particularly worried, be explained, because this man lived in the area where the body had been found His name was Tim Morss.
This lead was tucked in amongst hundreds of others which led nowhere, but as soon as Williams started to check, it began to look useful. He checked on Tim Morss’ background and saw his conviction for child abuse; he discovered that he was driving taxis in London, near where Daniel lived, and living in Bradley Stoke, near where he was buried; finally, he found a picture of Morss and recognised it immediately. All the hard work in Paul’s Cafe had paid off. This was the face of the “bull of a man”.
On May 30, Ed Williams’ team arrested Tim Morss and David Guttridge in London. Two weeks later, his men also arrested Brett Tyler in the Philippines. All three men confessed in more or less detail and finally, Williams was able to uncover the truth of what had happened to Daniel Handley. It was not what he had expected.
In a long and detailed confession, Brett Tyler described how he and Morss had taken the boy to the office of Guy’s Cars and kept him in the flat upstairs while Morss went off to fetch a video camera. They had taken it in turns to rape him while the other recorded the action, then they had told him they were taking him home and set off again in the car, but, instead, they had stopped at the home of Brett Tyler’s father to pick up a garden fork and spade and set off down the M4 towards Bristol. They had thought about keeping him a prisoner, to abuse him whenever they wanted, but they had had nowhere to keep him and they had been afraid that David Guttridge would find out and betray them. So they had pulled off the motorway at junction 14, climbed into the back seat where Daniel was by now asleep, and together they had strangled him with a tow rope. (NOTE to subs: This sentence may need to be re-written if Morss alone is convicted of the murder; Tyler originally confessed but is now saying he took no part in the physical act of killing Daniel).
Guttridge filled in more of the picture. He told Williams’ team how eight months earlier Morss had seen police talking about his car on Crimewatch and had confessed to him that he and Tyler had “been involved”; how he had refused to believe the truth even though Morss had kept repeating his confession; how Morss had lost his head when Daniel’s body was found and begged him to help him escape and how he had given him money to fly to the Philippines with Tyler until the pressure died down.
The story all fitted together with one extraordinary exception. It now appeared that Daniel had died within six hours of being adbucted, in which case the boy who was seen in Paul’s cafe several months later could not have been him, in which case the picture of the “bull of a man” was a false clue. And yet it had led the police directly to the culprits. It was almost as if some hidden hand had been guiding them to the truth. Williams charged Morss and Tyler with murder and Guttridge with assisting Morss to avoid detection.
Pulling together the loose ends of the inquiry, Ed Williams began to build a picture of the private life of these paedophiles. He could see their tangled personalities. As a child, Morss had seen his parents split up; his adolescent brother had died; there were reports that he had been abused; by the time he was 14, he was in trouble with the law for burglary; by the time he was 16, he was going AWOL from the army; by the time he was 18, he was, as David Guttridge described him “a block of ice wrapped in barbed wire”, a man who was capable of raping children and blaming the parents for being so stupid as to let him near them, a man who could complain to Guttridge about the murder of Daniel Handley: “It was a complete waste – we only got one fuck.”
Williams could see similar tangles in Tyler’s character. Even now, in custody, he was cutting his arms and legs with anything that he could lay his hands on and he was apparently haunted in his cell by visions of Daniel. Tyler admitted that he and Morss had revisited Daniel’s grave and had once dug up the body, apparently to gloat. Tyler had felt so full of guilt that he had slashed his arm and ended up in Casualty at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, and yet, despite this remorse, he had continued, after Daniel’s death, to pose as a priest in the Philippines in order to abuse local children. Williams’ men had confiscated the videos which proved it. And they had discovered one other thing when they searched his home on the edge of the jungle.
Tyler had adopted two young children, a boy whom he had named Brett Tyler Jr and a girl whom he had named Jeanette. They were members of a local tribe whose village had been devastated by the Pinatubo volcano. Their parents apparently had died during the eruption, and Tyler had been allowed to adopt them without any kind of supervision and to keep them in his home. Now, doctors who examined them reported that both of them had been anally abused. The boy denied that his “father” had been responsible. The girl said nothing: she had been struck deaf and mute by the death of her family. She was a perfect victim.
It was impossible to measure the depths of their obsession. But the experience of two young boys, in particular, suggested to police that it was almost endless. One was the son of Morss’ family friends, who was now 17 years old, and who contacted police after Morss’ arrest to describe how Morss had seduced him and used him. He was now, in his own eyes, ruined – damaged for ever not only emotionally but also, he feared, physically. Tipped into the world of promiscuous paedophilia, he now believed that he was HIV positive.
The other boy lived not far from Morss’ flower shop in Bradley Stoke. He was in his early teens and Morss had made a point of befriending his mother, winning her trust, using her as an excuse to get close to the boy. Morss had started to spend a lot of time with the boy and had boasted to him that in a single night in the Philippines he had had sex with six boys of his age. As far as the police and his mother could tell, Morss had not yet raped the boy. As far as they could tell, from the confessions of the three paedophiles, Morss was not planning to seduce the boy at all. He had something else in mind. As far as they could tell Morss was planning to rape this boy and to kill him and throw away the body. The ultimate fantasy was still alive in his mind.
Feature 2 –
The police operation that led to the conviction of the men who raped and murdered nine-year-old Daniel Handley was a masterpiece of detection, but the success of its outcome masks a story of embarrassing failure in Scotland Yard.
In an exclusive interview, the man who led the operation, Detective Superintendent Ed Williams, has exposed a catalogue of errors in the policing of paedophilia. During his eight-month inquiry, Williams found that
* police had lost track of active paedophiles because national computer records were out of date and unreliable;
* hundreds of dossiers on serious offenders had been lost including files on all three paedophiles convicted over Daniel Handley’s death;
* serial sex offenders could attack without being detected because the police unit that was supposed to identify them consisted of only one man and a secretary;
* crucial records from the biggest paedophile inquiry in London’s history had been mislaid.
Williams, who retired from Scotland Yard last autumn, fears that paedophilia is largely an invisible crime, unreported by most of its child victims, and that police are failing to detect it on a large scale. “The response is inadequate,” he warns. “The police response to property crimes is OK. But what are they doing about crimes that mark people for the rest of their lives?” In speaking out publicly, he is echoing fears that that have been raised internally over the last ten years by a series of other officers who specialised in the policing of sex offenders.
By the time he took over the inquiry into the disappearance of Daniel Handley, in October 1994, Ed Williams was one of the most experienced child abuse officers in the Metropolitan Police. As a young detective he had worked under “Nipper” Read and the Old Grey Fox, Bert Wickstead, on the abduction of Susan Blatchford and Gary Hanlyn. He had gone on to head the child abuse team at Woodford, to set up other similar teams in north London, to investigate the abduction of a 13-year-old girl who was forced into a prostitution and, most important, to take a three-year degree in psychology.
One of his first moves in the Handley inquiry was to contact NCIS, the National Criminal Intelligence Service, to get access to the central data base on all convicted paedophiles. NCIS had taken over this information from Scotland Yard’s Obscene Publications Squad three years earlier but whereas the Yard detectives had continued to update it, NCIS had been denied the funds for their own operational arm and had simply stored the information.
Williams wanted the names and addresses of any known paedophiles within a radius of the street where Daniel Handley had been abducted. If the intelligence had been accurate, this would have put him on to the trail of all three men who were eventually to be convicted – one lived in the area, the other two worked there. But when the intelligence arrived, it was out-of-date and unreliable, and it contained no clue to the presence of the three guilty men.
“There was a lot of spurious and unvalidated information. They were giving us people who had moved away without them knowing it, people who had died without them knowing it, some very high profile paedophiles who had been re-convicted and sent to prison except that their files didn’t mention it. One notorious paedophile who had been living on the patch had moved down to Kent, but they had no record of that. And, of course, there was no record of paedophiles who had moved into the area in the previous two or three years. Frankly, it was a hindrance to our inquiry.”
From the outset, Williams considered the possibility that the men who had abducted Daniel might be linked to the Operation Orchid inquiry in the mid 1980s when police found that a network of paedophiles had abducted, raped and murdered boys from the East End of London, including Jason Swift, Barry Lewis and Mark Tildesley. Although the Orchid inquiry ended with the conviction of four men, its senior officers identified other possible suspects who escaped the net. But when Ed Williams tried to consult the Orchid files, he ran into complete confusion.
“I said ‘What has happened to all the intelligence from Orchid?’. The answer was ‘Nothing’. No one had been responsible for analysing it. No-one had done anything with it. It was supposed to be on a data base somewhere. I spent hours and hours trying to get hold of the original reports. The intelligence branch, SO 11, told me it had been wiped – they just didn’t have it. And then by sheer luck, it turned out that one of our typists in our station had worked on Orchid and she knew where to find some of it. This was the major inquiry into paedophile abuse in London; it should have been ready and available, it should already have been taught to people like me. But it wasn’t.”
Months later, Williams eventually discovered that there indirect links between the Orchid paedophiles and Daniel’s attackers. They had used the same technique to abduct young boys – carrying a map and asking directions; both groups had carried tranquilisers – temazepam was found in the bodies of two of the Orchid victims, and largactyl was found in the coat pocket of Tim Morss, who abducted Daniel Handley. Williams later discovered that all three of the guilty men had had the chance to borrow techniques from the Orchid killers because one of their friends was a sex offender who had shared a prison cell with one of the Orchid paedophiles, Sidney Cooke. But at the time, the vital clues that could have led him to this trail were missing.
Det Supt Williams was alarmed by these failings because, like other specialists in child abuse, he believed the crime was dangerously wide-spread and that the police response was inadequate. Scotland Yard’s specialist paedophile squad has 4,000 known active child abusers on its files, and only 17 officers to investigate them – less than a tenth of the number of officers who specialise in armed robbers or drug dealers.
When Det Supt Mike Hames retired as the head of the paedophile squad a year ago, he submitted a confidential report to the Commissioner arguing that the squad had to have more resources and had to start targetting known paedophiles, as the Flying Squad targets known robbers, catching them before they commit crimes. It was not good enough, Hames said, simply to wait for children to report their abuse or only to follow up the evidence that was found in seized child porn. However, his report was rejected.
Five years earlier, one of his predecessors, Iain Donaldson, who ran the squad from 1985 to 1989, had mounted exactly the same argument in a formal proposal, entitled “The Investigation of Multiple Offences of Child Exploitation Outside the Family”. That report, too, was rejected
In 1986, Det Chief Supt Roger Gaspar produced an internal paper called “People not Property” in which he described how he had followed up one allegation by one social worker in Kilburn and ended up dealing with 653 complaints of paedophilia and charging 20 different adults with serious offences against children. Gaspar tried to alert Scotland Yard to the hidden scale of unreported paedophilia. He pointed out that almost all Scotland Yard’s specialist squads were devoted to protecting property – arts and antiques, cheques, counterfeit currency, stolen cars, frauds, robberies, burglaries – and he asked for a squad to protect young people by going out and gathering intelligence on paedophiles and then targetting them.
Gaspar and his deputy, John Lewis, presented their paper to the Association of Chief Police Officers and to the men who were then in charge of serious crime at Scotland Yard, but it was rejected. Shortly afterwards Detective Chief Superintendent Gaspar was put in charge of stolen cars.
Ed Williams knew all this. “It’s almost as though guys like me and Hames and Gaspar are seen as nuisance value to the police service. Child protection is not macho. Those who are involved in it are looked at askance by Met police officers. They don’t have the same status as Regional Crime Squad or Flying Squad.” Williams was once told to his face by a friendly senior detective that if he ever wanted to make a success of himself, he had to drop “this child abuse business”. He had been worried when he attended a course in the management of serious crime to find no reference to the investigation of paedophilia.
As he ploughed into the Handley inquiry, Williams saw again the signs of Scotland Yard’s official indifference to child abuse. In his search for a lead on Daniel Handley, he turned to the Scientific Intelligence Unit, which is attached to the Yard’s intelligence section, SO11. Its job is to analyse evidence and intelligence on serious sex offences in order to identify serial offenders. It turned out that the Home Office had provided funds for only one detective sergeant and one administrative officer to back him up. “It is outrageous. One officer cannot possibly absorb and assimilate all of the data that comes in from the whole metropolitan area. And in addition he is supposed to be going out and talking to the intelligence bureaux in each of the five force areas. It’s an impossible task. So we are picking up some serial rapists in London – but not all of them.”
When he succeeded in breaking through and identifying three suspects, he tried to research their history to find out their sexual preferences and ways of operating. All three men had been convicted of child abuse, but when he tried to locate the case papers for Tim Morss and Brett Tyler, he found that their files were alarmingly incomplete. Crucial papers had simply gone missing. And when he applied for the case papers on David Guttridge, there was nothing at all.
Williams was not even surprised. Shortly before he took over the Handley case, he had tried to carry out a survey of serious sex offenders in one of Scotland Yard’s five operational areas. The General Archive was supposed to contain dockets on every offence which had come to trial or which had been investigated and abandoned without a solution. Williams found that more than 30% of files involving serious offences were simply nowhere to be found.
During the inquiry, Williams found that the problems extended beyond Scotland Yard. When the boy’s body was found near Bristol, he went to Avon and Somerset police to ask what they knew about paedophiles living in their area. They said they thought there were none but they were willing to look and when they started to collate the names of convicted child abusers in the city, they found literally hundreds and threw all their effort into following up this new intelligenc. “They were a bit shocked. But it’s not because Bristol is particularly prone to paedophilia but simply because in every city in the country, there are hundreds of known paedophiles. And very often, the police are unaware of them.”
He also discovered that early in 1995, at a point when his operation was desperate for a break-through, David Guttridge had called a psychiatrist who specialised in child abuse to report that his boyfriend, Tim Morss, had “done something dreadful”. The psychiatrist had failed to take any action, apparently because he considered the information to be confidential. If police had questioned Guttridge, they would have discovered then that Morss had confessed to him his role in the rape and murder of Daniel Handley.
The Handley inquiry turned out to be Ed Williams’ last case. In September 1995, four months after arresting his three suspects, he retired. Before he left Scotland Yard, he submitted a six-page internal report, urging the Metropolitan Police to target paedophiles instead of waiting for them to commit offences. He made a series of specific recommendations: sex offenders should not be imprisoned with others with whom they can trade fantasies and techniques; paedophile prisoners should be released on licence and required to report changes of address and employment; police should train their own detectives in “offender profiling” instead of relying on outside psychiatrists; police should work much more closely with prison psychiatrists, who should be required to divulge signs of dangerous behaviour in their patients.
The report was not welcomed. Williams had planned to follow it up with a second, more detailed proposal, but he decided there really was no point. Since then, the Home Office has suggested that it will consider requiring convicted paedophiles to report changes in their address and employment. For the rest, there is no sign of change. Williams’ verdict is clear: “We are not doing enough.”
Feature 3 –
What kind of person would take pleasure from raping and killing a ten-year-old boy? Psychiatrists will study Tim Morss looking for some light in the darkness of his character, but one person already knows his secret: his mother.
Iris Morss is a short, plump woman, who lives in a cramped council flat in a tower block in north London with her Elvis Presley tapes and her picture of a sunset in the Philippines that her son once gave her. She is aged 60, a Londoner, born in Essex, brought up in the poorest streets of the East End, worked most of her life as a cleaning lady.
She doesn’t claim to understand everything about her son and, given half a chance, she will convince herself that he has done no wrong. But, looking back across the years, she can see the fatal steps that led him astray – and she knows that the first of them was one she took herself, on the day that he was born.
She says she had no choice. She says that by the time that Tim was born, on March 11 1963, she had already split up from his father, Bill, who was a man with many problems. When she first met him, he had been working as a bus conductor but he had taken to drinking and had soon lost his job. He had tried to become a Post Office driver, failed the GPO driving test and, in his frustration, he had stolen a mail van and been sent to prison. Later, he developed schizophrenia. “Tim never knew him,” she says.
She was on her own, pregnant, with no money and with no alternative but to carry on working long hours as a chamber maid in a hotel near the Strand to make ends meet. She had already given up her oldest son, Terry, to be looked after by her husband’s parents. And so, on the day that Tim was born, she arranged for workers from a childrens home to visit her in Whittington Hospital, in north London, to take her second son away from her.
It was a bad start: to be abandoned by both parents within 24 hours of being born. But other children have suffered a similarly unhappy beginning without growing up to become paedophiles. What made Tim Morss turn? His mother shrugs. There was more, she says.
The boy spent his first six years in care. He came within a whisper of happiness when the matron at the home offered to adopt him and take him to Australia. It could all have been so different, but the Childrens Society said it was against the rules, and so the matron went off to her future without him. Instead, the little boy was sent to foster parents in Kent. It never worked. He was unhappy and said later that the couple had shown him cruelty.
Still, he settled and did well at school, until he was six, when the childrens home gave up trying to find a family to adopt him permanently and told his mother that she must have him back. So, he was wrenched away from the few people he had come to know or trust and sent back to live with a mother who was a stranger to him, in a place that was full of threat.
“By that time, I was living in a slum, in Walworth in south London. Coming out of the childrens home, he was very well-mannered and well-spoken. He was a posh kid. And all these rough-and-ready kids used to try and beat him up. I used to have to meet him from school. And he didn’t like that. I tried to send him to Sunday School but it didn’t work out, he was getting unruly.”
His brother, Terry, seven years his senior, returned and offered him some protection and, for a while, the boy found refuge in the home of an elderly man, Bill Owen, who lived in the slum and who became a father figure to him. “He used to tell Timmy about the army and being a soldier in the war, and all things that boys like. Then he died when Timmy was nine. After that, he went right into himself. He really missed him.”
By this time, he was unhappy and surly, but he was no monster. The final step towards the destruction of his character was still in the future. Once more, it was his mother who took it.
As a pupil at secondary school in Herne Hill, the boy discovered that he could beat the bullies by joining them. Soon, he was running wild with a little gang. When he was twelve, he was caught with a group of boys who had stolen some carpets from a factory, and his mother made a fatal decision. “I don’t think he’d done the actual stealing, but I wanted to give him a shock. The police wouldn’t do anything. So I sent him back to the childrens home.”
Morss spent the rest of his childhood in care. He had now lost every adult he had ever been close to – his father, his mother, his original foster parents, the matron who wanted to adopt him, the old man who had befriended him in the slum, and now his mother once more. And in the childrens home, he was to suffer one more, decisive, destructive act of adult treachery. “He was molested in the home by a man who was supposed to be looking after him. I didn’t know about it for years. I think that’s what finally turned his brain.”
Now, the child that had been born innocent and healthy was twisted entirely out of shape, and it was only a matter of time before he began to act out his pain. The adolescent boy was soon in more trouble – up before Southwark juvenile court at the age of 14 for burglary, back in the same court two years later for going equipped to steal. In the meantime, the one remaining relationship in his life collapsed. His older brother, Terry, who was an energetic happy-go-lucky type with an eye for the girls, was killed in a car crash.
Morss went straight from the childrens home into the army, where he became a driver. His mother says he found it boring, his records show he started to go AWOL. By the time he was 20, he had been discharged back to civilian life and he started earning a living driving taxis and then, later, cleaning chandeliers. His mother suspected he was up to no good sexually but she never really knew, until her son was 22, in 1985, and a neighbour came to see her.
“He said Tim had molested his foster kids, twin boys. He said he was sorry but he was going to have to tell the police.” Morss was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting the nine-year-old twins. He confessed to police that he was a paedophile and that he had been abusing the boys for four years.
His mother could not evade the truth about her boy, though she persuaded herself that the twin victims were more to blame than her son. “They were evil kids,” she sayd. “I don’t like to say wicked things, but they stole, they told lies, one of them tried to gouge his mother’s eyes out because they were couldn’t have Christmas pudding. They don’t exist for me.”
By the time he was released from his seven-year sentence, his mother – who had given away both of her own sons – was working as a child-minder and foster parent. Morss went to live with her and often played with the children who were staying there, some of whom were sent by social services in Leyton, who were apparently unworried by the presence in the house of a convicted child-abuser.
Mrs Morss admits that her son is a paedophile but she grasps at whatever straws of consolation she can find. “He never touched any of my children. If he had touched any of my kids, I would never have spoken to him again. He’s never hurt me and he’s never hurt anyone I know.”
She says she cannot believe that her son murdered Daniel Handley. “I have been in shock about this trial. All my friends who know him can’t believe that he could do anything that bad. They say he couldn’t have murdered a child. If he’s guilty I would condemn it. It’s disgusting, child molesting. But I would have to stay in touch with him. He is my son.”
She recalls that soon after the boy’s disappearance, her son visited her in her flat. Together they were watching television when a report of the police hunt came on. She says she turned to him and shook her head.
“Isn’t it a shame?” she had said.
And she remembers that he nodded towards her. “Yes,” he had said. “It’s disgusting. What kind of person would do a thing like that?”
Mrs Morss says she really doesn’t understand how her boy became that kind of person.
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