News of the World, 10th June 1979
Peter McKelvie writes:
“If anyone hasn’t heard Bishop Paul Butler of Durham’s speech in the House of Lords Child Protection debate please try and catch it. (full text below)
I have the pleasure of working with Bishop Paul at present in rooting out some of the most influential alleged abusers of the last 40 years.
There is not an institution in this country, including my own social work profession, which hasn’t been infiltrated by Paedophiles and then covered up or colluded with the abuse.
Paul Butler now has the Safeguarding responsibility for the Church of England and is totally committed to making amends for the failings of the Church of England in the past.
It is to their shame that the key social work agencies haven’t appointed a spokesperson at the most senior level possible to apologise for the same failings we made with the lives of tens of thousands of children in local authority care who were subjected to abuse by individuals but of even more concern networking Paedophiles throughout the care system right across the country
However the greatest shame has to be with the political hierarchies who have taken extraordinary measures for decades to cover up or collude with the abuse of so many vulnerable children by their own at national and local level.
David Cameron had the opportunity 18 months ago to like Bishop Paul be the spokesman and champion for this and previous governments’ roles in the cover ups of abuse by in particular MPs.
If he eventually tries to jump on the bandwagon and join, or worse, try to speak for the growing number of MPs committing themselves to an Independent Inquiry, then the public and especially survivors will see such a move for exactly what it would be now, political expediency and self preservation.
Could I respectfully suggest to survivors, who should have the greatest say as to who should be on an Independent Inquiry panel, that Paul Butler be one of the first names they consider.”
House of Lords debate, 26th June 2014. Children and Vulnerable Adults: Abuse – Motion to Take Note (full transcript of debate here)
The Bishop of Durham
My Lords, I also thank the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, very warmly for raising this matter. In my role as co-chair of the Church of England and Methodist Church Joint Safeguarding Liaison Group and the lead bishop for safeguarding, I daily have issues regarding the abuse of children and adults at risk brought to my attention. Clergy and other church leaders across the nation lead churches in which those who have been abused seek comfort, strength and healing. The staff of church schools daily hear from the children whom they serve stories of abuse of all kinds. In my maiden speech during the debate on the gracious Speech, I welcomed the Government’s courageous decision to strengthen the law on psychological and emotional abuse in the Serious Crimes Bill. This adds to other areas where the law has been improved over recent years. The Care Act 2014 has moved us from “vulnerable adults” to “adults at risk”, helping to recognise that while some adults are permanently vulnerable—because of, for instance, age, illness or disability—others become at risk for a period of time. This recognition is undoubtedly helpful. So, too, will be the statutory duty to have local safeguarding adult boards.
Improvements have therefore already been made. The Private Member’s Bill of the noble Baroness, Lady Howe, on online safety offers a further opportunity to help tackle the extremely serious issue of online abuse. I hope that the Government will support that Bill. Indeed, the extension of the offence of extreme pornography to include possession of pornographic images of rape and assault by penetration in the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill will continue to send a message to the public that such abuse is unacceptable. The situation becomes ever more concerning with the use of the dark net, too. CEOP must be supported adequately to stay ahead of the game, so that it can discover innovative ways to unmask the users of paedophile sites and not be allowed continually to fall further behind.
I will focus particularly on the voice of survivors. This has been the deepest lesson for me, and for the church as a whole, over recent years. We have previously failed to listen adequately to the survivor’s voice. We must do so if we are to continue to improve the prevention of abuse of both children and adults at risk. Survivors have been calling for some years for the introduction of mandatory reporting by professionals. Far too many cases of abuse could have been prevented if professional people who had serious suspicions of abuse were required to report it to a relevant authority. There remains too much fear of whistleblowing or of being thought of as interfering. Mandatory reporting for professional staff would alleviate any doubts and prevent people from asking themselves, “Should I or shouldn’t I?”. Suspicions should not be brushed aside or left unheeded. The time for mandatory reporting has arrived.
Survivors also note the need for really good safe spaces, where those who have been abused can go to report their case and find the kind of support that they need. The Church of England and the Methodist Church are currently exploring how we might create such safe spaces. We are working with projects such as the Lantern Project on the Wirral and small, locally based survivor groups in Sussex, which have developed outstanding work. Work like this for survivors of abuse needs to be encouraged and supported more openly.
A further matter survivors have been calling for is the extension of the definition of “positions of trust” in the Sexual Offences Act 2003; the current definition is too limited in scope. Continued work is also required within the operation of the criminal justice system so that survivors and victims are enabled to share their stories in a supportive environment. There have been many good advances, but vigilance and continued improvement is required.
Finally, in listening to the voice of survivors one very strong message keeps being shared: “You can do all you like to improve your legislation, your procedures and practices to ensure the present and the future are better at prevention and in dealing with both survivors and abusers than in the past; but unless and until you face up to the reality of what has previously happened, you will never really change the culture of abuse within which we live”. In short, if we do not face up to past failures, we will never really improve the future. This is a lesson we in the church are slowly learning and seeking to tackle. We have a very long way to go.
The lessons of cases like Savile and Rochdale have highlighted that, in our nation, we have a long history of abuse within institutions. Schools, residential care homes, hospitals, the police force, churches and local and national political institutions have all been used by abusers to hide their wicked activities. Powerful people have engaged in serious abuse and have worked with each other to create opportunities and share their vices and victims. As a nation we have to face up to the seriousness of institutionally based abuse against the most vulnerable in our society, both children and adults, which has gone on in the past and, sadly, continues today.
The survivors are right when they say that if we want the future to be truly different and better we have to confront the past. I believe, as do many of my colleagues, that we need a fully independent inquiry that will fully examine the reality of institutionally
based abuse in our nation over the past possibly as much as 50 years. This is needed so that we can understand why this happens, where responsibilities lie and what cultural, societal and institutional discourses and dynamics lie at the heart of these ongoing failings.
I know it will take time and will be costly to undertake, and I know that for both those reasons it will be argued against. However, I firmly believe that the true cost of child abuse and the abuse of adults at risk is far higher than any of us have ever been prepared to acknowledge in terms of the mental, emotional, social and physical health and well-being of very large numbers of our population. Justice, fairness and the very health of our society demands that we no longer hide away from this dark part of our story. We need an independent public inquiry and we need it very soon.
The Times, 6th September 1996
by Stephen Farrell
A SENIOR British diplomat who smuggled paedophile videos into the country was in jail last night, facing a sentence of up to seven years. Robert Coghlan, 54, will be sentenced today after a jury at Southwark Crown Court found him guilty of importing 109 obscene tapes, 70 containing child pornography, in March this year.
Customs investigators said he was part of a secret international paedophile network. They described the videos as among the worst they had seen. Coghlan showed no emotion when the seven men and five women took less than an hour to reach a verdict after a three-day trial.
After the case James McGregor, deputy chief investigation officer for HM Customs, said there was little doubt that Coghlan belonged to a paedophile ring. “It is a secretive network in which people work by making, exchanging and selling this sort of material. I have no reason to suppose that Coghlan was any different.”
Coghlan, a fluent linguist with 33 years in the Diplomatic Service, accompanied Diana, Princess of Wales on her visit to Japan in February last year. He has been suspended on normal pay since his arrest and last night the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it would decide on disciplinary action after sentencing.
He was arrested on March 26 at a friend’s house in Islington, north London, after customs officers made a routine search of a warehouse in Barking, east London. Events began in August last year when Coghlan learnt he was to be posted to Spain. As his belongings were packed by a shipping agency in Yokohama, Japan, he went on a tour of the Far East and Australia, including two trips to Bangkok. He then returned to London.
The goods were sent to Southampton to go into storage in Barking before being sent on to Madrid. Coghlan signed a Customs and Excise form saying he had no prohibited goods to declare.
He denied being a paedophile and pleaded not guilty to a charge of fraudulent evasion of the prohibition on importing obscene material under the 1979 Customs and Excise Management Act. When interviewed, he admitted knowing the tapes were indecent but claimed he did not know they contained paedophile material and insisted that he always fast- forwarded past scenes involving juveniles.
He told the jury that he considered disposing of the tapes but feared he was being followed by Japanese police whenever he left the embassy. He never thought to erase the tapes.
The prosecution dismissed his claim not to have known what he was buying, pointing out that he was a trained linguist who spoke Japanese, French, German, Portuguese and Serbo-Croat.
Nigel Lithman, for the prosecution, said Coghlan spent four years painstakingly building up his collection at the expense of young children exploited and abused by the film-makers. “In Japan it would seem that Coghlan had something of a dual existence. He was something of a Jekyll and Hyde character.”
Coghlan, who was born in Aberdeen, started work in the Passport Office and married his wife, Maureen, in 1963 when both were Foreign Office clerical workers. They divorced 20 years ago. His sons, Andrew and Steven, accompanied him to court, but made no comment afterwards.
See also: Diplomat ‘had child sex tapes’
The Times, 10th December 1999
by Stewart Tendler
THREE police forces faced an investigation yesterday after an elderly church organist was allegedly abducted and died before armed officers could free him.
The Police Complaints Authority is to examine the way Sussex, Surrey and the Metropolitan Police investigated the alleged kidnapping of John Smith, a 72-year-old from St Leonards on Sea in East Sussex.
His body was found in a house in Islington, North London, on Wednesday evening, three days after he was reported kidnapped and more than 100 miles from his home.
Police were first alerted early on Monday morning, when a motorist saw a man trying to escape from a car on the M25 in Surrey. He tried to jump from the car, screaming and urging passing motorists to call the police. The motorist came from Sussex and the call was made to the local force. Sussex passed the details of the call to the Surrey force, which then took control of the investigation.
Mr Smith was tentatively identified, possibly from the registration number of his Jaguar car, and police went to his home in Magdalen Road, St Leonards, on Tuesday. They carried out house-to-house inquiries and provided intelligence for the Surrey team, including information about a London address.
Scotland Yard was alerted on Wednesday and a raid by officers from SO19, specialist firearms unit, was carried out on Wednesday night.
Mr Smith’s body was found in the Islington house. No explanation of the cause of death has yet been given.
Yesterday police were interviewing four males, including a juvenile, over the abduction and death. Two were arrested at the house in Islington where Mr Smith was found, and the others were held later.
During the alleged abduction no demands were made. One police source suggested that the dead man may have been linked to paedophile activity.
Mr Smith, who had no wife or children, had lived in St Leonards for 30 years, and was considered by his neighbours to be a gentleman.
One neighbour said: “The police came down our road doing door-to-door inquiries about Mr Smith being reported missing.
“I knew him as a close neighbour and used to say good morning and evening to him.
“He has lived in Magdalen Road for many years and did not appear to have any gangland-style connections.”
The neighbour said: “He was always polite and he treated everyone like a gentleman. He was liked by most people round here because he was so polite. I have no knowledge of anyone who might have had a grudge against him.”
The Police Complaints Authority (PCA) said that the case had been referred to it by the three forces and would be investigated by Paul Blewitt, an assistant chief constable from the West Midlands force.
Molly Meacher, deputy chairman of the PCA, said the investigation would examine the entire handling of the case.
The inquiry would look at the way the three forces followed police procedures for joint investigations and whether their response was sufficiently timely.
Between 1978 and 1984, the Home Office was located at 50 Queen Anne’s Gate, next to St James’s Park in central London. During this period, it was also the unofficial headquarters of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), an organisation that campaigned for the age of consent to be lowered to 4 years old. PIE’s chairman, Steven Adrian, worked at the Home Office (officially as a security contractor), but used his office to contact PIE members and organise meetings using a Home Office telephone extension, and print PIE magazines. PIE’s Secretary and Treasurer, Barry Cutler, was also employed at the Home Office at this time. The Home Office’s Voluntary Services Unit (headed by a PIE-supporting senior civil servant called Clifford Hindley) provided £70,000 worth of funding for PIE between 1977-1980.
50 Queen Anne’s Gate is approximately 100 metres from New Scotland Yard, the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police, who were supposedly investigating the Paedophile Information Exchange during this period.
50 Queen Anne’s Gate is now called 102 Petty France and is home to the Ministry of Justice.