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The German Green Party recently apologised for their part in promoting paedophilia. Read more The Green’s co-leader, Jurgen Trittin, was accused of signing off a 1981 pamphlet calling for the decriminalisation of sexual acts between adults and children “that occur without the use of threat or force”. People who promote paedophilia may not be paedophiles themselves, but they provide paedophiles with the intellectual justification to perpetrate crimes against children.

In the UK it is a crime to incite racial hatred – why doesn’t a similar law apply for inciting sexual crimes against children?

Dr Ken Plummer

Dr Ken Plummer

Dr. Ken Plummer has been associated with the University of Essex since 1975, and was once Head of the Sociology Department. In his biography he states that his main interests “have always been in the development of a humanistic method and theory to help towards a better social world where there will be less socially produced suffering”. University of Essex website

It could be said that he has done the opposite – he has helped create more suffering by promoting paedophilia and providing ‘academic’ opinions which support the views of those who sexually abuse children. In fact he openly admits his intentions:

By applying sociology to the field of paedophilia we may partially relativise it, humanise it, normalise it, and politicise it. (1)

Ken Plummer attempted to redefine the language surrounding child sexual abuse. In his world, child victims are ‘partners’, sexual abuse is ‘consensual’, a  child being sexually abused by an adult is ‘a relationship’, and long term effects of sexual abuse are mostly ‘a myth’.

…there is the stereotype that the child is “innocent”, “uninvolved” and “non-participating”: this can be so (notably in rape cases) but this is usually not the case with paedophilia. (2)

A sixth stereotype suggests that the consequences to the child of paedophilia are devastating. They can be, but frequently they are not. This is a complex issue and three crucial distinctions must be made here; the first requires distinguishing between experiences that are consensual (paedophilia) and those that are not (child rape)… (3)

His language is very similar in tone to that of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), an organisation that campaigned for the age of consent to be reduced to 4 years old, effectively legalising paedophilia. This might not be a coincidence, as it has been said that Ken Plummer was member no. 236 of PIE, and regularly corresponded with other members of PIE, including Peter Righton.

Righton was a highly respected child care expert who had helped create a network of paedophile academics and intellectuals that preyed on children in schools and children’s homes across the UK. BBC Inside Story: The Secret Life of a Paedophile

paedophile-information-exchange

Plummer and Righton both contributed to a book called Perspectives on Paedophilia. The book was a supposedly objective look at paedophilia, and was designed to be used on social work training courses. If Plummer was a member of PIE at the time, or was supportive of their views, he should have declared this interest and therefore his lack of objectivity.

He refers to paedophiles sexual abusing children under 6 years old as ‘a relationship’, and uses inverted commas around the word ‘victim’:

But again, studies suggest that relationships with children under 6 are rare – and that relationships with early adolescents are the most common. (4)

A second group of assumptions highlights the nature of childhood and “child victims”. (5)

Plummer concedes the shortcomings of research of the subject of paedophilia, but is still happy to cite outdated studies if they can be used to support the sexual abuse of children.

While there is little scientific research in this field – and what exists usually depends upon biased psychiatric and prison samples… (6)

He uses this inadequate ‘research’ to undermine the fact that sexual abuse causes devastating harm to the child, and instead lays the blame for any harm with parents, the police, and the courts:

A further image concerns the impact of paedophilia on the child: in the short run, the child is traumatized; and in the long run, seriously damaged. Perhaps surprisingly, the evidence does not support this. In the short run, studies suggest that children’s problems often flow from the reactions of parents who respond to the event with such horror that it elevates the significance of the experience in the child’s eye. The significance can be compounded by police and court action. In the long run, the “victims” are generally shown to lead “normal” lives. In Gagnon’s sample of 333 “victims”, only 5 percent had damaged adult lives – but even “damage” could have had diverse origins. (7)

Plummer goes on to deny that paedophiles are usually interested in sex with children, that it is forced upon the child, and that it is exploitative. Note his use of ‘quotes’ from members of the public in a blatant attempt to demonstrate how uneducated and vulgar the opponents of paedophilia are.

Three further ‘myths’ focus upon the kinds of relationship between paedophile and child. It is usually seen as a coital relationship (interestingly, the press convert “paedophilia” (literally “love of children”) into “child-sex”, so people could remark: “They’re after fucking little kids, ain’t they”); as a forced relationship (“It’s an open door to rape”; “If you’ve got a little child 4 years old and you think one of these bastards is gonna rape the child, and it’s gonna be legal…”); and as an exploitative one. (8)

Despite his admission about the shortcomings of research on paedophilia, Plummer cites an obscure 1964 study by Mohr to challenge the idea that paedophiles use force and to lay blame on the child for inviting the abuse:

Indeed, in some cases the child can be seen as “inviting” the relationship, and – according to Mohr – “most children could have avoided the experience if they wanted to”. The Kinsey study also noted: “In our total of 18,000 interviews, no man or woman reported being victimised by a child.” (9) See also Kinsey’s Paedophiles

Plummer also frequently cites Mohr in ‘Constructing a Sociological Baseline’ to peddle the lie that victims of child abuse are ‘willing partners’:

A third stereotype suggests that the sex act is forced on the child and is uncontrolled. It is not. Again Mohr (1968)…observes that paedophilia occurs in part with the cooperation of the child either out of sexual curiosity or out of emotional need. It is comparatively rare that the sex act is forced upon the child. (10)

Plummer refers to “many case histories” which he claims prove that “children have been greatly assisted in their development” by being sexually abused by an adult (11), and denies that the abused child is exploited by the adult:

It is difficult, then, within a paedophile relationship to be very clear about the balance of power. Certainly if one just studies existing relationships, the power balance can be very ambiguous – for maybe as Tom O’Carroll suggests “Power in a consensual relationship resides with the party that needs the relationship less”, and very often that is the child. Sometimes, then, it is possible for the child to “exploit” the adult – financially and emotionally. (12)

Please note that Tom O’Carroll was Chairman of the Paedophile Information Exchange and in 2006 was convicted for distributing a collection of 50,000 images of child abuse. He was arrested after undercover police infiltrated a group known as the International Paedophile Child Emancipation Group and its subsidiary, Gentlemen with an Interesting Name.According to police O’Carroll saw the groups as a base for an “international secret society” of “academic” child abusers…Children, mainly boys and some as young as six, had been filmed and photographed being raped and tortured.BBC News

o'carroll

Tom O’Carroll

In University contracts there is usually a clause about ‘not bringing the University into any disrepute’.

The University also has a duty of care to the students.

It is time that the University of Essex’s Vice Chancellor and Governors addressed these issues with Dr Plummer who should surely, like the German Green Party, be asked to apologise for the pro-paedophile views he expressed so forcefully in the above writings.

The essays quoted above are dated and it’s possible that Dr Plummer may have altered his views since then, as there is much more academic material available now, as well as many first hand accounts from survivors which explain the hugely damaging long term effects of child sexual abuse.

Questions for the Vice Chancellor of University of Essex

– Do you understand that Dr Plummer’s views as expressed in the above texts could be said to bring the University into disrepute?

– If thse same views have been presented to students at your University through Dr Plummer’s teaching and writing, do you consider that this has demonstrated a breach of the University’s duty of care towards its students?

– Will you facilitate Dr Plummer in making a formal apology to victims and survivors of child sexual crime for the views he expressed in his writings as cited above?

– Will you provide a statement that Dr Plummer’s teaching, writing and research does not in any way currently promote pro-paedophile perspectives?

– I will publish the Vice Chancellor’s response on this website.

Questions for Dr Ken Plummer

– Do you still hold the same views on paedophilia that are expressed in your essays Paedophilia: Constructing a Sociological Baseline and Images of Paedophilia?

– If you do still hold these views, does your teaching reflect these views?

– If your views have changed, have you written anything which clarifies your position? I’ll happily publish it on this blog.

– If you do still hold these views, what do you say to child victims and survivors who may have been abused by those students influenced by your teachings? I’ll happily publish an apology on this website to the victims, survivors and students.

References

(1) p.244, Paedophilia: Constructing a Sociological Baseline by Kenneth Plummer, from Adult Sexual Interest in Children, edited by Mark Cook and Kevin Howells, University Press, 1981

(2) p.226, Paedophilia: Constructing a Sociological Baseline by Kenneth Plummer, from Adult Sexual Interest in Children, edited by Mark Cook and Kevin Howells, University Press, 1981

(3) p.226, Paedophilia: Constructing a Sociological Baseline by Kenneth Plummer, from Adult Sexual Interest in Children, edited by Mark Cook and Kevin Howells, University Press, 1981

(4) p.539, Images of Paedophilia by Ken Plummer, from Love and Attraction: An International Conference, edited by Mark Cook and Glenn Wilson, Pergamon Press, 1979

(5) p.538, Images of Paedophilia by Ken Plummer, from Love and Attraction: An International Conference, edited by Mark Cook and Glenn Wilson, Pergamon Press, 1979

(6) p.537, Images of Paedophilia by Ken Plummer, from Love and Attraction: An International Conference, edited by Mark Cook and Glenn Wilson, Pergamon Press, 1979

(7) p.539, Images of Paedophilia by Ken Plummer, from Love and Attraction: An International Conference, edited by Mark Cook and Glenn Wilson, Pergamon Press, 1979

(8) p.539, Images of Paedophilia by Ken Plummer, from Love and Attraction: An International Conference, edited by Mark Cook and Glenn Wilson, Pergamon Press, 1979

(9) p.539, Images of Paedophilia by Ken Plummer, from Love and Attraction: An International Conference, edited by Mark Cook and Glenn Wilson, Pergamon Press, 1979

(10) p.225, Paedophilia: Constructing a Sociological Baseline by Kenneth Plummer, from Adult Sexual Interest in Children, edited by Mark Cook and Kevin Howells, University Press, 1981

(11) p.539, Images of Paedophilia by Ken Plummer, from Love and Attraction: An International Conference, edited by Mark Cook and Glenn Wilson, Pergamon Press, 1979

(12) p.243, Paedophilia: Constructing a Sociological Baseline by Kenneth Plummer, from Adult Sexual Interest in Children, edited by Mark Cook and Kevin Howells, University Press, 1981

Social Work Today was the in-house journal of the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) and the Residential Care Association (RCA).

Social Work Today published dozens of columns, letters and articles by ‘child care specialist’ Peter Righton throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Righton was later exposed as being part of a network of paedophiles who abused boys in children’s homes and schools across the UK.

In 1992, when the magazine reported on Righton’s trial for illegally importing child abuse material (Boy Photo Number One and Die Sammlungej), they failed to mention his long association with Social Work Today.

SWT060892

The only comment they published on the case was a letter which supports Righton, attacks the trial itself as being ‘obscene’, defends the right of adults to be ‘stimulated’ by child abuse, and asserts that the trade in images of child abuse is ‘a crime without a victim’.

Why would a serious and influential social work journal print this sickening letter without any opposing views? Was Righton the only paedophile that wrote for Social Work Today, or were his views shared by members of the editorial team?

SWT270892The author of the letter, Dudley Cave, was a well known ‘gay rights activist’, or more accurately judging by his letter, a ‘gay and paedophile rights activist’. Peter Tatchell wrote his obituary for the Independent in 1999 .

Tatchell also wrote an obituary for another supposed ‘gay rights activist’, Ian Campbell Dunn, who was in reality also the co-founder of the Paedophile Information Exchange. The obituary fails to mention his long career as a paedophile activist.

See also: ‘Gay rights activist’ Ian Campbell Dunn and the Paedophile Information Exchange’

See also Four Elms children’s home, Suffolk

Sunday Mirror, 12th April 1998

DEE Washington raised the 12-bore shotgun to her shoulder and fired. Both barrels. She aimed between her target’s legs, and there was a reason for that.

As Victor Copperman crawled in agony across the floor with two shots in his groin, the 41-year-old mother calmly re-loaded the gun and fired a third shot into the back of his head. Then she turned the gun on Copperman’s assistant, Anthea Trevelyan, and emptied it into her chest.

Surely an appalling double killing, by any standards. But there was a great deal more to it than that.

Until that awful day in November 1987, Dee Washington had never shot anything other than clay pigeons. Now, lying at her feet in pools of blood, were the bodies of the man and woman who had systematically abused her daughter Joanna for five years.

And to this day Dee believes that what she dispensed that bloody afternoon was justice. Justice from the barrel of a gun, but justice nevertheless.

She says: “If the law was as it should be and paedophiles were detained for life, I wouldn’t have taken those two lives.

“Yet despite all the pain and suffering over the last 10 years I can still put my hand on my heart and say, I’m glad they are dead and I am not sorry.

“I am only sorry that it had to come to that stage. Why did it have to come to the point where I did what I did?

“If they were still alive I am almost certain I would feel worse than I do today. It eats me up knowing what they did to Jo, but it would eat me up more knowing that they would probably have served their time in prison by now and would be out doing it again.”

It had taken Dee two weeks of anguish to decide on her fatal course of action, after she found out the dreadful truth about what had been going on at Four Elms, the special needs children’s home  in Suffolk where Jo was a resident.

She put the shotgun in her car and drove for two hours to the home, unaware that Copperman and Trevelyan had already been arrested and then released back to Four Elms on bail.

Dee joined them for a cup of coffee in the kitchen – then retrieved the gun from the car.

After the shootings Copperman, 45, was found in the street outside, where he was mistaken for a road accident victim. He died in hospital a month later. Trevelyan was found dead, lying face down in the front room of the home with gunshot wounds to her hands and chest.

Dee managed to drive home, but she had to stop on the way and was violently sick at the roadside. A few hours later armed police surrounded her home in St Osyth, Essex, and she was arrested.

Dee told detectives: “I didn’t feel anything when I did it. I just shot them as many times as I could.

“Then I just went. It was like a dream. I felt disgusted and hated them and I wanted to hurt them as much as I could. I couldn’t believe what had happened to Joanna.”

Dee spent eight months on remand at Holloway prison then admitted manslaughter at her trial. She was detained for five months in a secure unit at a mental hospital. Both before and after the shootings she has not been in any trouble with the police.

The mother-of-three did what every parent only imagines they would want to do in such a situation, but 10 years on her act of revenge has not eased the pain of either mother or daughter.

Joanna is 28 now, yet she has the unmistakable voice of a little girl of 12. Physically she looks her age but emotionally she prefers to remain a child, because for most of her teenage life she was at the mercy of paedophiles.

After experiencing every horror imaginable at their hands she cannot accept that she is an adult because she never wants to be one. Jo, who is in a rehabilitation unit for people with mental problems, blames herself for her mother’s crime.

Dee, meanwhile, has counselling to help her come to terms with the killings. “People say ‘Well done, good for you, I would have done the same if I had been in your shoes.’ But it’s not well done, it’s wrong that I had to go that far,” says Dee, who has written a 400-page manuscript describing their experiences.

“I try to get through my days without thinking about what I’ve done, but it’s very difficult because it’s too big a thing to simply forget.

“I’ve had lots of traumas in my life but this is different, it’s too enormous to just gloss over. I suffered with post traumatic stress after the killings which are there in my mind every day and will be for ever.

“Jo’s life is still hell. She has scars all over her body where she harms herself and she is on medication. She has been in and out of mental institutions ever since my arrest.”

Mother and daughter’s torment has been made worse by the release from prison last week of child-killer Sidney Cooke. He was freed after serving just nine years of a 16-year sentence for the manslaughter of teenage runaway Jason Swift.

Dee says: “Please, please, stop releasing these diseased perverts to share the world with our children.

“When I see pictures of Sidney Cooke and look into his dark, sinister eyes, I feel sick. When I look at his crooked, twisted mouth, I wish that not one more breath would pass his lips.

“He has committed the most vile and disgusting act anyone could imagine on the innocent.

“Quadruple the intense feelings of anger and disgust that most people feel now about his premature release into the community, then you know what I feel about him.

“There are many Mr and Mrs Sidney Cookes. Most of them are on the outside calculating their next move, circulating among and defiling our young children.

“Knowing that this vile creature will more than likely re-offend when he is released, and he has admitted to this fact, it was ludicrous to ever have considered releasing him

“Those who have allowed his release form detention with this knowledge are guilty of aiding and abetting his next heinous crime.

“Why shouldn’t paedophiles remain in jail for life? It’s a known fact they re-offend, because they just don’t think they do anything wrong.

“Why is the Government so afraid of keeping them where they belong – locked up and away from kids?

“Many paedophiles must be clapping their hands with glee – one of their kind has been let off the hook yet again.

“They all believe there is no sin or abuse in what they do to children and feel they are innocent of any crime.

“Their life-long ambition is to abuse as many children as they can and recruit them as tomorrow’s abusers.

“The crime of taking a life is answerable with a life sentence in prison. Every child who has been abused has had their life taken from them just as surely as if a dagger was plunged through their heart. So the paedophiles should get a life sentence.

“Victims are deprived of their childhood as soon as the abuse begins. No one can undo the wrong that has been done to them. Their lives become a terrifying round of filth, alcohol and violence.

“Thoughts of suicide and guilt accompany them forever. And some in their adulthood have to fight off the desire to become abusers themselves.

“The only way to stop this is, when we catch them, we must never let them go.”

Joanna Washington’s nightmare began when she was 12. She had developed behavioural problems and learning difficulties at the age of eight, becoming involved in fights, and spent four years moving from home to home until she arrived at Four Elms, where Copperman was principal. There she was plied with whiskey and subjected to vile orgies of drunken debauchery.

At weekends Joanna became the victim of other paedophiles who visited the converted Georgian farmhouse in the Suffolk countryside.

Pornographic videos were taken of the children, and black magic rituals and vicious beatings occurred regularly. Eventually Jo blurted out her story while on holiday with her grandmother. She took Jo to be examined by a doctor, who confirmed that sexual abuse had taken place.

Later Jo gave Suffolk police a 60-page statement of her experiences at Four Elms, and when Dee’s solicitor visited her in Holloway she was told that police had a file eight inches thick of statements taken from former pupils at the home, supporting Jo’s allegations.

Dee says: “For six years the calculating fiends managed to separate Jo and me by poisoning her mind against me to give them the freedom to commit every conceivable disgusting act.

“It wasn’t just Jo who suffered this treatment, they singled out dozens of the most vulnerable children who lived as virtual prisoners in their supposed care.

“The paedophile sanctuary was under the guise of a school for children with personality disorders.”

Now Dee, who was herself sexually abused by her father when she was 11, wants to open a haven for children where they can recover from such ordeals.

She says: “These kids need space and someone who understands. You can’t learn out of a book how an abused child feels. They need to relate to someone who feels their pain.

“I’m not sure if the authorities would allow me to do it, but I will try.”

“I felt Jo’s pain because I experienced it too. That was partly the reason I reacted as strongly as I did to Jo’s abusers, because I understood exactly how my daughter felt and the emotion inside me was very strong.

“I didn’t speak out about it until after Jo’s abuse. It was just easier to get on with my life. My father is dead now – I was released from Holloway, while on remand, to attend his funeral.

“My mum was not aware of what went on. I was one of three children, two daughters and a son, and it only happened to me. It affected me badly throughout my life – I had two broken marriages and a nervous breakdown.”

Jo has been diagnosed as schizophrenic, and recently moved to a rehabilitation unit for people with mental problems. Her mother says: “I want to feel that Jo is safe but the only place of true safety for her is here, at home.

“I would like her to be stable at home but she’s tried it and so far she can’t cope. I have let her settle into her new place and will start visiting her again after Easter. Hopefully she will visit me here from time to time.

“We speak on the phone a couple of times a week and we write to each other. When she is not too disturbed she goes out

“Jo is doing very well but, like me, the pain of all this will never leave her.

“She blames herself for all that has happened and wishes that instead of speaking up, she had remained silent and just put up with the abuse.

“When Jo talks to me about how she suffered at their hands it’s hard to be in the same room as her. It’s almost as if Copperman and Trevelyan are still around, driving a wedge between us.

“It’s bad enough knowing what happened without hearing it from her mouth. And the people she talks about are those I was responsible for killing. It’s all too much to bear.”

“Yet Jo is just amazing. After all her indescribable torment she has so much love to give and in a way she is still innocent.

“She’s such a gentle person with goodness in her. She was abused but not corrupted, which doesn’t happen very often.

“She wants to cuddle me and when she’s at home we walk along together and she holds me by the hand.

“She says things like ‘Thanks, Mum, for being so understanding. I know you love me.'”

East Anglian Daily Times, 11th September 2013

by Colin Adwent

The former headteacher of a Suffolk school has been charged in relation to what is believed to be county’s largest child abuse investigation.

Eric De Smith, of Danes Close, Stowmarket, is accused of gross indecency and indecent assault following a long-running investigation prompted by allegations from former pupils of Oakwood School in Stowmarket.

Richard Jones, a spokesman for Suffolk Constabulary, said: “Suffolk Police have charged a man in relation to historic abuse at a school in Stowmarket.

“The investigation relates to alleged offences carried out between 1975 and 1999 at Oakwood School and officers have spoken with over 100 people since it began in 2011.

“As a result of the investigation a 74-year-old man was arrested in March 2013. Eric De Smith, of Danes Close, has subsequently been charged with gross indecency and indecent assault.

“He is now due to appear in Bury St Edmunds Magistrates Court on October 1.”

Suffolk Constabulary previously said it had received allegations of abuse from 95 former Oakwood pupils relating to staff at the school.

A special team working under a detective inspector was set up in the Newmarket area to work on the inquiry, which is codenamed Operation Oxenton.

Oakwood opened in 1974 as a school for pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties.

The school closed temporarily in December 1999 after serious concerns were expressed. Although it was re-opened, it shut permanently in 2000.

In addition to the criminal investigation a separate civil claim in relation to Oakwood is currently being pursued against Suffolk County Council by Cambridge-based solicitors Andrew Grove and Co.

The firm has said it working on behalf of 100 ex-pupils alleging abuse. The county council is facing claims for a compensation payout which could run into millions of pounds.

The Sunday Times, 27th October 2013

by James Gillespie

Jimmy Savile was given “the keys to Broadmoor” by politicians and civil servants despite high-level concerns about his “extraordinary” role and “strange” personality.

Savile, one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders, was appointed to a taskforce to run Broadmoor in 1988 — five years after fears had first been expressed in Whitehall about his “sexual promiscuity”.

One manager, who had close links to Broadmoor at the time, said: “Savile was a national entertainer and was in charge of this psychiatric unit. I thought it was extraordinary, but the civil servants and the politicians apparently thought he was the bee’s knees.”

A Sunday Times investigation has discovered that Savile’s influence extended far further than previously thought and included him being given a role choosing managers to run the hospital after the taskforce had finished its work. Civil servants also put Savile in charge of a committee which examined the welfare of patients, with the new management being given no say in his appointment.

A female civil servant at the health department had complained to her boss that Savile had kissed her on the mouth before a meeting between him and Edwina Currie, then a junior health minister, yet nothing was done.

Savile’s position at Broadmoor increased his opportunities to carry out his campaign of sexual abuse across as many as 30 hospitals in the UK.

The Broadmoor taskforce, replacing the previous suspended management, was set up in August 1988. It included Savile, who was “devoting his considerable talents to ensuring that the hospital functions smoothly,” the Earl of Dundee told the House of Lords.

No one questioned why the “considerable talents” of a disc jockey and presenter of the BBC’s Top of the Pops should equip him to run a secure psychiatric institution.

Alan Franey, a taskforce member and later Broadmoor’s general manager, said: “Savile was appointed to the taskforce by Edwina Currie, but it would have been on the recommendation of civil servants. It was a bit odd.”

Currie disagrees. “It did not seem odd at all. You can compare it with Lord Longford swanning around making friends with prisoners like Myra Hindley [the Moors murderer] and Princess Di going into these places,” she said.

The recommendation that Savile sit on the taskforce came from Cliff Graham, undersecretary at the Department of Health and an advocate for NHS change. He wanted the secure psychiatric hospitals — Broadmoor, Rampton, Park Lane and Moss Side — brought under the control of a new Special Hospitals Service Authority (SHSA).

Franey was approached about joining the taskforce. “I had an unusual meeting in the Athenaeum Club in London [Jimmy Savile and Cliff Graham were present] . . . and I was persuaded that a move to Broadmoor would be a good career step,” he said.

Franey, now a Conservative councillor on Welwyn Hatfield borough council, had met Savile previously at Leeds General Infirmary but said the London meeting, also attended by a trustee of Savile’s Stoke Mandeville Hospital trust, seemed to be an opportunity for Savile to approve his selection for the taskforce.

Another who would play a role at Broadmoor was also “run past” Savile. The late David Edmond, the first chairman of the SHSA, recalled in a book: “I [was] asked to a strange meeting at Stoke Mandeville Hospital with Cliff Graham, Jimmy Savile, a retired Department of Health senior civil servant and other department officials . . . I suspect Cliff Graham was using it to check out relationships.”

Managers at Broadmoor were left in no doubt that Savile’s role was not to be questioned. One said: “We were told he was a valuable asset, that he was well thought of in high circles in the Department of Health and it was important we got on good terms and that we cultivated what he had to offer. Cliff Graham quite explicitly told me those things and said much the same to David Edmond.”

Franey agrees that Graham was a strong advocate of Savile. “Savile’s connections were significant. Everyone knew of the close friendship between Margaret Thatcher, then prime minister, and Savile, whom she regularly invited to Chequers,” Franey said.

There is no suggestion that Graham, who died in 1994 aged 57, nor any of the civil servants or politicians had any knowledge of Savile’s criminal activities. But some people did know, or at least suspected what was going on. Broadmoor staff were incredulous when they heard Savile had been put in charge.

“The lunatics have taken over the asylum” was the feeling among staff, said Richard Harrison, a psychiatric nurse at Broadmoor for 30 years from 1974: “I considered him, as many of my colleagues did, as a man with a severe personality disorder and a liking for children.”

Bob Allen, a former nurse, said he saw Savile take a girl who looked 14 or 15 years old into his house. When he reported it, his supervisor said: “No one appears to be interested.”

Currie believes Savile blackmailed staff to persuade the Prison Officers’ Association, which represented most of the Broadmoor nurses, to call off a strike. His methods had included “going into the office, checking employment records of staff he was targeting and establishing that some of them were up to no good, such as claiming overtime to the tune of £800 a week,” she said.

“He checked accommodation records and found some people occupying them were nothing to do with the hospital but were relatives of staff. So I have not the least doubt that he used a degree of arm-twisting and blackmail to get the staff to do what he wanted. That also suggests to my suspicious mind a modus operandi for other places.”

Whitehall was already aware of unsavoury aspects of Savile’s character. Robert Armstrong, chairman of the honours committee, first vetoed Thatcher’s request that Savile be knighted in 1983, expressing doubts about the “strange and complex” man. “Fears have been expressed that Mr Savile might not be able to refrain from exploiting a knighthood in a way which brought the honours system into disrepute,” Armstrong told Thatcher.

When the taskforce was wound down and the SHSA took control, civil servants pushed Savile into another position as chairman of the new hospital advisory committee, Franey recalled: “The SHSA was not given an option.”