Evil trade of child sex ring corrupted 150 boys (3.2.89)

The Times (London), 3rd February 1989

Evil trade of child sex ring corrupted 150 boys


An Oxford-educated barrister and three other men will be sentenced at the Central Criminal Court today for their part in Britain’s biggest child sex ring.

The evil influence of the paedophile service corrupted more than 150 boys. Many are now male prostitutes. One is so psychologically scarred he is detained indefinitely at Broadmoor.

The men preyed on children from boarding schools for the emotionally disturbed or educationally sub-normal and plied their victims with gifts of toys, trips to the seaside, money, drink and drugs. Other victims were recruited off the streets of London.

The boys would be passed from man to man as ‘sexual playthings’ and in the year-long police investigation a vicar and a senior official at the Palace of Westminster were questioned.

The prosecution said children as young as 10 were among those subjected to abuse over a five-year period, and that the charges were only specimens. Some became male prostitutes while others turned from being victims into corrupters themselves.

One aged 15 was picked up within 10 minutes of arriving at Piccadilly Circus after hitch-hiking from Glasgow. Police said some of the ‘rent boys’ were earning Pounds 600 a night and staying in West End hotels.

Senior detectives believe Operation Hedgerow, which uncovered 643 offences against boys, has only scraped the surface of the paedophile menace in Britain. They want a special squad to investigate child sex.

A 13-week trial in which filmed evidence was used for the first time in a British court to shield boys from their abusers in the dock ended yesterday with convictions for serious sexual offences for two men, Alan Delaney, aged 48, a company director, and Victor Burnett, aged 43.

Colin Peters, aged 45, a barrister and tax adviser, of Chepstow Road, Bayswater, west London, was a key figure in the ring.

The former Foreign Office lawyer took young victims into the sauna in his luxury flat and gave them cash for sexual favours and described himself to boys as ‘mother hen’.

At first he protested his innocence, but during the trial he changed his plea and admitted conspiracy to commit sexual offences with boys under 16, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and to an act of enforced gross indecency with a boy over the age of 16.

Det Supt John Lewis, who led the investigation, said: ‘There is no way we could deal with everything we came across as the group’s tentacles reached out into the Home Counties. We definitely have not solved the paedophile problem.’

Judge Pownall, QC, will sentence Peters, Delaney, of Shirley Drive, Hounslow, west London, Burnett, a mini cab driver, of Meredith Tower, Hanbsury Road, Acton, west London, and Ernest Whittington, aged 64, a Brent Council caretaker, of George Lansbury House, Harlesden, north-west London.

Delaney was found guilty of conspiracy to commit a sexual offence, indecent assault, taking indecent photographs, indecency with a child and an attempted sexual offence. He was said to have used his cleaning firm in Twickenham, west London, to recruit boys. Burnett was convicted of conspiracy to commit a sexual offence. He used used a Citizens Band radio to attract young people. Both men claimed the charges were fabricated.

Whittington pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit indecent assault and to three sexual offences. Eighteen young witnesses gave evidence from behind a screen during the trial.

Patrick Norris, aged 19, and his brother Sean, aged 18, of Holly Close, Kilburn, north west London, admitted conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Patrick was sentenced to 18 months detention and his brother put on probation for two years.

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