VIP child abuse inquiry is staring to unravel: ‘Grave doubts’ emerge over key witness’s claim that he saw boys murdered
- Alleged abuse victim ‘Nick’ is ‘credible and true’, Met source said last year
- Yet officers have not found a ‘shred of credible evidence’ to back up claims
- ‘Nick’ says Establishment figures murdered three boys in 1970s and 1980s
- But there are now fears he is a ‘Walter Mitty’ who made up shocking claims
Scotland Yard is under pressure to shelve its VIP paedophile murder inquiry after it emerged detectives had ‘grave doubts’ about the testimony of the key witness.
Officers have not found a ‘shred of credible evidence’ to back up claims that a string of senior Establishment figures were responsible for murdering three boys in the 1970s and 1980s.
Many detectives believe the inquiry – which has already cost the taxpayer more than £1million – is doomed and should be wound up.
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Scotland Yard chiefs are reportedly ‘too scared’ to pull the plug on the inquiry, centred around the claims of ‘Nick’ (right) and linked to the Dolphin Square apartment complex in Central London (left), that three boys were murdered by senior establishment figures in the 1970s and 1980s
Senior figures in the separate judge-led public inquiry into historic child sex abuse and in the Crown Prosecution Service have been told informally that there appears to be no substance to the allegations made by a witness known only as ‘Nick’.
Nick is an alleged abuse victim who was described by a senior Met Police detective last year as being ‘credible and true’.
Amid claims that Yard chiefs are ‘too scared’ to pull the plug on the inquiry, 30 officers in the cash-strapped force are probing the astonishing triple-murder allegation, linked to Dolphin Square in Central London.
It can also be revealed that:
- Police initially took Nick’s account seriously because he has a respectable managerial job and does ‘not fit the stereotype of a child abuse fantasist’;
- But there are now fears he is a ‘Walter Mitty’ who has made up the murder allegations;
- Police have not been able to identify any of the alleged victims, discover any bodies or find any credible independent witnesses.
Sources say a number of officers have ‘grave doubts’ about Nick’s account but fear that saying this in public could put child-sex victims off contacting police.
Details of the Met’s fears over the allegations have emerged after former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor accused police of a ‘gay witch-hunt’ when he disclosed that he had been questioned over the alleged murders.
Nick says he was abused at depraved sex ‘parties’ from the age of seven, and claims to have witnessed horrific acts at the luxury Dolphin Square estate between 1975 and 1984.
He has described being driven by a chauffeur, along with a terrified 12-year-old boy, to a luxury townhouse where he watched as a Tory MP strangled the other child.
Nick said he saw a second boy being murdered in front of a Tory Cabinet minister in 1981. A third boy died in 1979 after being run over by a member of the gang, he alleges.
In November last year, Nick told the BBC that his abusers ‘created fear that penetrated every part of me, day in day out’.
But the Mail has been told that when Nick is challenged on his version of events, he ‘becomes emotional and the interview is stopped’.
A source said: ‘When he contacted police, he had a well-rehearsed script and initially appeared believable. But when you scratch under the surface of his claims, there is nothing there.
‘The notion of an organised paedophile gang of a former prime minister, MPs and Establishment figures is just nonsense.
‘Police have not been able to identify any victims. There is not one shred of credible evidence to support his allegations. The police investigation has been exhaustive but they have drawn a blank.’
The late former prime minister Sir Edward Heath (left) and ex-home secretary Lord Brittan (right) have been accused of being part of a child sex ring
Last week Mr Proctor said he had been accused of being part of a child sexual abuse ring along with the late former prime minister Sir Edward Heath, ex-home secretary Lord Brittan and former heads of MI5 and MI6.
He was accused of being part of a ‘gang’ which murdered three boys and abused many others at Westminster sex parties in the 1970s and 1980s.
There is also mounting concern among officers about the role of an ‘investigative’ news website called Exaro, which has close links to campaigning Labour MP Tom Watson.
An Exaro journalist accompanied Nick to his first police interview and one was involved in a heated exchange with Mr Proctor at his press conference last week.
The former detective who helped expose the Jimmy Savile scandal has warned that many of the allegations against high-profile political figures are unsubstantiated and amount to ‘paedophile madness’.
Mark Williams-Thomas said the behaviour by some in the police, media and on the internet posed ‘a very real danger of undoing all the good that has been done’ since he revealed Savile’s serial offending.
There is mounting concern among officers about the role of an ‘investigative’ news website called Exaro, which has close links to campaigning Labour MP Tom Watson (pictured)
Last night, in a statement issued through Exaro, Nick declined to comment ‘given that there is an on-going police investigation’.
Mark Watts, editor-in-chief of Exaro, said: ‘A small number of ill-informed commentators have criticised Exaro over its reporting of the allegations by Nick. The criticisms have, however, each been made on a false basis.
‘Far from reporting “rumours”, as alleged, we in fact reported testimony from a witness that we at Exaro – and experienced detectives who specialise in child abuse and in homicide – regard as credible.’
Tory MP Nigel Evans said: ‘If it transpires this exercise is either politically motivated or a politically correct procedure costing valuable time and resources, then clearly it’s time for the police to put up or shut up.’
There is no suggestion that the behind-the-scene problems with the Yard murder probe will affect the inquiry into abuse which is being overseen by Justice Lowell Goddard.
Scotland Yard would not confirm that officers had found no evidence to support Nick’s claims. Nor did it comment on whether Detective Superintendent Kenny McDonald stands by his claim that Nick is a ‘credible and true’ witness.
BBC CIVIL WAR OVER PANORAMA PROBE CASTING DOUBT ON WITNESS
By KATHERINE RUSHTON, Media and Technology Correspondent
BBC executives are at loggerheads over an explosive documentary which threatens to cast doubt over ‘Nick’ and his claims.
Dubbed an ‘attack on victims’ by some in the BBC, the Panorama investigation was ‘anticipated’ to air in April, but sources claim senior figures have delayed its broadcast amid fears it could ignite another scandal at the Corporation.
The ‘open and legitimate’ programme was commissioned around the end of last year and set out to establish what is actually known about the supposed sex ring.
However the project has sparked a civil war with BBC News, which has given enormous weight to Nick, the witness at the centre of the abuse claims against a group of prominent paedophiles. BBC News executives are now concerned the investigation will discredit their earlier reports, and reopen old wounds about the way the Corporation reports stories about sexual abuse.
BBC’s Newsnight infamously dropped an investigation into sexual abuse claims against former BBC host Jimmy Savile, amid concerns his accusers were unreliable, sparking one of the biggest scandals in its history.
The show is now expected to air in October, but insiders predict it could be pushed back even further. A BBC spokesman said: ‘At any one time the BBC is working on a number of investigations and we don’t comment on these.’
The next case has been added for a comparison
Portuguese police reveal British investigation into disappearance of Madeleine McCann is still live after Scotland Yard makes fresh request for information
- British officers wrote to Portuguese in July making an unknown request
- Comes after it was revealed probe has cost Scotland Yard £11million
- Former head of Flying Squad said they ‘can’t keep chasing shadows’
- Portuguese source says it proves investigation is ‘very much alive’
Search: The hunt for Madeleine McCann is said to be ‘very much alive’ after British officers investigationg the case sent a new request for information
Portuguese police have revealed the British investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann is still ‘very much alive’ after Scotland Yard made a fresh request for information.
Prosecutors said they received the written appeal over the summer holidays and it would now be passed on to the detectives leading the investigation in Portugal.
The revelation comes days after it was reported the Met had spent £11million pursuing the case, called Operation Grange, but haven’t made a single arrest – sparking criticism from the former head of the Flying Squad.
John O’Connor said earlier this week: ‘You can’t keep chasing shadows.
‘If there are no firm leads, and by that I mean no substantial operational things like active surveillance on suspects, then I’d have thought they should be considering winding it down now.’
However, there is no indication Operation Grange will ‘wind down’ any time soon.
A spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s office in Lisbon said the letter was received in July and will be acted on by the Policia Judiciaria, which is running the Portuguese investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance in Praia da Luz, on the Algarve, on May 3, 2007.
A source on the Portuguese investigation said: ‘This letter shows the investigation is still very much alive and that both British and Portuguese police are still working together to try to find out what happened to Madeleine.
‘The case is not about to be shelved.’
The statement from the Attorney General’s office said confirmed they had received the letter in July, and said the request will be sent to the Criminal Investigation Police (PJ) for them to look in to.
The spokeswoman would not comment on the nature of the request.
Disappeared: Madeleine went missing while in an apartment at the Ocean Club holiday resort with her siblings, while her parents Kate and Gerry (pictured in 2014) ate dinner nearby, on May 3, 2007
The request is the second made since DCI Nicola Wall took over Operation Grange from former boss Andy Redwood at the end of last year, but the first letter she will have been involved in preparing.
Regular meetings DCI Redwood held with his Portuguese counterparts in the Algarve city of Faro have been put on hold since DCI Wall took over.
The British authorities have now made six official requests for international co-operation to the Portuguese over the Madeleine investigation. The previous one was in January this year.
According to the Sun, officers have stayed at the £180-a-night Ria Park resort, while quizzing suspects at Faro Police Station, which is a 20 minute drive away.
They are also said to have used the £200-a-night Hotel Dona Filipa, which is close to some of Portugal’s best golf courses.
No results: Despite continuing the search for the girl, who would now be 12, neither British nor Portuguese police have made any arrests. The Met was revealed to have spent £11million on its four year investigation
The Scotland Yard inquiry is running separately to a Portuguese probe into Madeleine’s disappearance, which was reopened in May 2014 at the request of the Policia Judiciaria – more than five years after their original probe had been shelved.
The investigation was reopened after a former employee at the Ocean Club holiday resort where Madeleine disappeared was identified as a suspect.
Recovering heroin addict Euclides Monteiro, a convicted burglar, died in a tractor accident in 2009.
His widow Luisa Rodrigues was interviewed by Portuguese detectives but insisted he was an innocent man and has been fighting to get authorities to confirm they have now ruled him out as a suspect.
Scotland Yard launched their investigation in 2011 after Madeleine’s parents Gerry and Kate McCann, both doctors from Rothley, Leics, made a personal plea to prime minister David Cameron.
A source close to the McCanns was quoted as saying: ‘Kate and Gerry are eternally grateful to the Metropolitan Police for making Operation Grange possible.
‘They are pleased so many officers are still looking for Madeleine.’
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