Paedophile orgies in luxury flats and claims three boys were murdered by VIPs: Special report into the growing stench of a cover-up by the Establishment.
The claim was as clear as it was chilling: behind the genteel façade of one of London’s most famous apartment blocks, children faced abuse on an industrial scale.
Every weekend, groups of vulnerable boys from local care homes were being smuggled to an address in Dolphin Square, Pimlico. There, after being plied with alcohol, they suffered sickening sexual assaults.
The paedophile ring orchestrating these crimes had, over time, come to believe it enjoyed immunity, a whistle-blower told police at the time. After all, members were said to include a cross-section of Britain’s most influential politicians.
I had been specifically told that we were dealing with Conservative MPs,’ that whistle-blower, John Mann, recalled to me this week. ‘That’s one of the things which stood out for me.
‘Another was how violent it sounded. There was talk of dogs being involved and beatings. I would describe it as quite awful; the sort of thing you don’t easily forget.’
Mann, who is now a prominent Labour MP, originally stumbled across claims of abuse at Dolphin Square in 1988, when he was an ambitious young councillor in the South London borough of Lambeth.
At the time, he was leading an inquiry into endemic corruption in the Left-wing council’s housing department, where millions of pounds of taxpayer money was being syphoned to crooked building contractors.
‘The whole place was rotten to the core,’ he recalls. ‘I was leading a team of three or four employees looking into it. The scale of corruption was enormous. It involved criminal gangs. Two of our sources were drivers for [the Krays’ gangster rival] Charlie Richardson.’
During the course of this 18-month investigation, Mann had, however, uncovered evidence of a very different sort of organised crime: that a shady group linked to the building fraud was also running child sex rackets.
‘My team was getting tip-offs about all sorts of things,’ he says. ‘But this particular one was very precise. We were told that young boys from Lambeth care homes were being recruited as rent boys. Many went to Dolphin Square.
‘We were told this by several sources. It was very specific: there were sex parties there, and they involved Tory MPs.’
Initially, Mann says he ‘couldn’t work out what to do’ with this information, since ‘sex crimes weren’t something we were supposed to be investigating’.
But soon, realising the gravity of the situation, he decided to call a meeting with two officers from Streatham police station in South London.
‘I told them everything, and they promised to look closely into it,’ he says.
So far, so straightforward. But three months later, Mann heard a knock on the door of his office on South Lambeth Road. It was the two policemen. They apologised, but told me they had been forced to close their entire investigation,’ Mann recalls.
‘They’d been forced to drop it. Pressure had come from on high in the police service. There was nothing they could do about it. They were very unhappy.’
With that, the Dolphin Square child sex scandal of 1988 was brushed under the carpet.