Westminster paedophiles: Cyril Smith, Sidney Cooke and official secrets in Coronation Buildings, Lambeth
Westmingter paedophiles: a daily look at allegations of a VIP sex ring cover-up.
Dead Liberal MP Cyril Smith did not only paddle boy’s bottoms. In the 1980s, he was arrested in London as part of an investigation into alleged sex parties with teenage males. It is further alleged the arrest was kept secret by police, who abused the Official Secrets Act to protect the alleged pervert.
The story was broken by BBC’s Newsnight. That’s the same TV show that spiked the story that Jimmy Savile – a knight of realm, like Smith – was a paedophile on BBC time.
Retired Lancashire detective Jack Tasker told Sky News:
“Other people were rather worried that if Cyril Smith went before a court, he would open his mouth.”
Don Hale was working for the Bury Messenger at the time. In 2014, he said Barbara Castle, the veteran Labour politician for Blackburn, Lancashire, handed him a dossier of VIP paedophiles. She has since died.
Hale told BBC Radio 5 live’s Nicky Campbell:
“In 1984, I started making enquiries to get a response from various MPs I’d spoken to a number of Liberal MPs named in the document. Cyril Smith came into to see me. He came storming in, said it was all rubbish, demanded that I hand everything over to him straight away and he was really aggressive. I mean he was quite a big guy anyway. He was about six foot tall and quite heavy and he was really poking his fingers at me, threatening, spitting at me, all sorts of things. He was a real horror. In the end I refused to give it. He walked out of the office, stormed out the office. And the very next day Special Branch arrived with three plain clothes officers and about a dozen police, you know, raided the place, pushed me against the wall, were very, very aggressive again, threatened to arrest me on the spot for perverting the course of justice if I didn’t hand over the documents to them. I agreed obviously to do that, showed them what the documents were and they took them and then disappeared.”
Are they still around?
Will more police talk?
… the threat of prosecution under the Official Secrets Act would have made the officers concerned fear for their careers.
In 2010GMP Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood said:
“This has been a very complex inquiry and I hope people understand why it has taken some time before we were in a position to comment publicly.
“It was very important that both ourselves and Lancashire Police examined all our records very carefully so we could be certain what involvement we had in investigating allegations of sexual and physical abuse made against such a high-profile figure as Smith.
“We are now in a position to say that on three separate occasions, files were passed to first the DPP and then the CPS containing details of abuse committed by Smith, but on each occasion no prosecution was pursued.
“Having now reviewed those decisions, we believe that if the same evidence was presented to the CPS today there would have been a very realistic prospect that Smith would have been charged with a number of indecent assaults, and that the case would have been brought to trial.
“Clearly that is a bold statement to make but it is absolutely important for those victims who were abused by Smith that we publicly acknowledge the suffering they endured.
“Although, Smith cannot be charged or convicted posthumously, from the overwhelming evidence we have it is right and proper we should publicly recognise that young boys were sexually and physically abused and we will offer them as much support as they need should they wish to speak to us.”
A former detective who worked on the original investigation into Cooke told the Sunday Mirror that the minister was among those alleged to have been photographed in a 1986 police surveillance on premises where boys had been dropped off. Others allegedly included Jimmy Savile, MP Cyril Smith and top judges – though none of them were ever arrested.