The Times (London), 12th November 1988
by Mark Ellis
Six men, including a barrister and a company solicitor, sexually abused children aged as young as 10 for more than five years after recruiting their victims from special schools and from the streets of London, the Central Criminal Court was told yesterday.
The men deny a total of 18 charges, nearly all of which allege serious sexual offences against children aged under 16. Video screens have been set up in the court for what is believed to be the first use of filmed evidence from witnesses in Britain to shield the youngsters from their alleged abusers in the dock.
More than 20 alleged victims are expected to give evidence from next week from behind a screen and facing a video camera. They will be seen in person only by the judge.
Mr Michael Hill, QC, for the prosecution, said the charges against the men, of whom the youngest two allegedly became corruptors of children after having been abused themselves, were only samples of the offences it is alleged the gang committed.
He said: “No-one living in our society in this day and age can be unaware of the growing anxiety about child abuse.
“The physical and, often more, the sexual abuse of children at a time when they have little standards of their own by which to judge whether what is being done to them is right or wrong and in circumstances in which they begin to perceive that what is done to them sexually is wrong, they assume the guilt that those who abuse them should have.
“They remain silent and have nowhere to go to seek release from what has been done to them. That is a problem we all have to deal with.”
Mr Hill said the charges related to the sexual abuse of children through their pubescence and into young adulthood by a group of like-minded men who individually and collectively set out to acquire youngsters for their own sexual satisfaction.
“These young people came to believe that the abuse was normal, natural and everyday behaviour. Some were in their very early years, 10, 11 and 12 years of age, and many were subjected to sexual offences which were repeated, repeated and repeated.”
The court was told that in one alleged case, a boy aged 15, who had absconded from care in Scotland, hitchhiked to London and, within 10 minutes of arriving at Piccadilly Circus, central London, had been “snapped up” by one of those people who prowl public places seeking boys for sex.
He quickly became a male prostitute and was introduced to an alleged member of the ring, Colin Peters, aged 45, a barrister, of Chepstow Road, Bayswater, west London, who it is alleged used him for sexual favours for four years.
In another case, Alan Delaney, aged 48, a director of a cleaning company, of Hounslow, west London, seduced a boy aged 15 who he had met while acting as a trainer to a youth football team.
The court was told he gave the boy a holiday job in his office and offered massage to strengthen his muscles for football.
A number of serious sexual offences had allegedly taken place at the home of Mr Delaney’s mother.
A British Telecom engineer called to the Delaney home in April last year found a photograph album behind a bedside cabinet while he installed a telephone.
Mr Hill said: “Being a curious man, he looked through it. He was not expecting to see what he saw in it.”
The court was told that the album contained 40 photographs of boys and girls aged seven to 16 in nude poses and one of simulated sex.
The court was told that Ernest Whittington, aged 64, a Brent council estate orderly, of George Landsbury House, Harlesden, north-west London, was known to children he befriended as “the chocolate man” because of his generosity.
Also charged are Patrick Norris, aged 19, of Kilburn, north-west London, his brother, Sean, aged 18, unemployed, and Victor Burnett, aged 43, unemployed.
The case continues on Monday.