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Missing Children / Murders

The Australian, 31st January 2015

by Jaquelin Magnay

 

EVERY Saturday in the school holidays two English brothers, Kevin and Martin Allen, would make their way to Canberra House, just down from the Australia House embassy on London’s Strand to wash the cars of the Australian high commissioner’s fleet.

For five quid each the teenagers would wash and polish, and occasionally squirt each other with a blast of the hose. Kevin Allen remembers how Martin, 18 months his junior, would often break out of his quiet shell and spontaneously grin as they removed the grime of London’s streets from the specially imported Ford Fairlanes in the underground basement.

Those memories are particularly poignant because 35 years ago, on Guy Fawkes night in 1979, Martin Allen vanished without trace. The 15-year-old was last seen at Kings Cross tube station en route to visit his older brother Bob, who had a new baby.

The mystery of what happened to Martin, the son of the Australian high commissioner’s head chauffeur, Tom Allen, has been reignited in recent months after a man, identified only as Nick, says he was the victim of a VIP pedophile ring that included high-ranking politicians, business leaders, intelligence agents and even a royal connection. Nick has linked this pedophile ring directly to the murders of three boys.

Kevin Allen, and the London Metropolitan police, believe Nick’s account that Martin may have been one of three boys killed in the late 1970s and early 80s. One boy is claimed to have been strangled by a sitting Conservative MP; another boy was murdered at an orgy at which a Conservative MP was present; and another abuser struck a boy aged about 10 with his car as a way to intimidate other victims.

No bodies have been found.

The police are taking the claims of Nick, now a middle-aged man, so seriously they have launched an appeal for anyone with knowledge to come forward. The murders are linked to the notorious pedophile hangouts in London at the time: in Elm House, Barnes, another in Dolphin Square, Pimlico — just a short walk from Westminster — and a little-publicised address in Kensington.

For Kevin, who was 16 at the time, the fresh link between his brother’s abduction and an Establishment network has raised questions about how Martin was identified and groomed. Kevin believes he may have been targeted by members of the VIP gang, perhaps after being spotted at his house inside the elegant grounds of the Australian high commissioner’s residence, Stoke Lodge in Kensington, or when cleaning the cars at Canberra House.

The police are now reconsidering the long-held view that it was a chance encounter on London’s transport system that led to Martin’s disappearance, presumably at the hands of a pedophile gang involved in trafficking and the production of pornographic videos.

Diplomats, royals, government ministers, business executives and Margaret Thatcher were frequent visitors to Stoke Lodge in the late 1970s when the former Liberal politician Gordon Freeth was the Australian high commissioner. The Allen family lived in the caretaker’s five-bedroom cottage in the grounds, separated from Stoke Lodge by just a few metres across a wrought-iron low-level fence about one metre high.

“It was quite secluded where we were; people didn’t have any reason to come down there unless they lived there, really,’’ Kevin tells Inquirer. The well-heeled jewellery family, the De Beers, were neighbours, so, too, the Showerings, who owned Allied Breweries, and there was an Arab king to the right. The street, Hyde Park Gate, is particularly famed as Sir Winston Churchill lived and died there.

“We would often go into the garden and speak to visitors at Stoke Lodge,” says Kevin. “My mum and I even stood at the fence and chatted to Prince Charles and Princess Diana once when they visited.” Martin took a photograph of Margaret Thatcher and her husband Denis when they were leaving one of the receptions at Stoke Lodge.

Tom Allen, had been promoted to head chauffeur in about 1974 and with the position came the privileged address near Hyde Park, not far from the West End. Kevin’s bedroom was at the far end of the cottage, but Martin’s was halfway along the hallway, directly overlooking the ambassadorial residence.

Since November last year, when police started fresh inquiries into the historical abuse of children by the VIP pedophile gang, Kevin has started his own digging.

What has shocked him, apart from what he believes is an apparent disinterest of the police in re-examining Martin’s disappearance, are the staggering links the Australian high commission had to men who would later be revealed as some of the country’s most vile pedophiles.

Kevin says it was standard practice for the high commission to supplement its regular drivers with stand-in and casual drivers from a particular chauffeur firm located just across the Thames.

His research has revealed that this chauffeur firm had, at various times, employed Sidney Cooke, whose gang the “Dirty Dozen’’ would later be convicted and jailed for the torture and murder of three young boys in the 80s. Jimmy Savile’s chauffeur, David Smith, who killed himself last year before standing trial on sex charges, is believed to have had links to the same car company in the late 70s. Cooke and his pedophile cohort are understood to have been some of the drivers who would pick up young care-home boys and rent boys in the expensive cars and deliver them to organised ­orgies in Barnes, Pimlico and ­Kensington.

“All about at the same time as Martin’s disappearance, all of these pedophiles were linked to the (known pedophile) houses and a couple of them worked for the one car company that Australia House used as subbies if they didn’t have enough drivers,’’ says Kevin, blinking back tears.

“Cooke and a few other infamous multi-murdering people worked for this car company.”

Kevin leans back in his chair in the small canteen of his Middlesex workplace and stresses that such a link could be critical.

“It is more than a link,” he insists. “This was a time when kids were sold and traded; there was one gang selling kids to Amsterdam. These guys were trafficking kids, someone wanted something specific and they found it and if they didn’t fit bill at the end of the day, they abused them and disposed of them.’’

Kevin said Martin could easily have been spotted by one of the stand-in drivers while they were washing the high commissioner’s fleet of cars or outside Stoke Lodge and noted his brother’s quiet ­nature and young appearance.

“Just thinking about it …’’ Kevin trails off and shakes his head.

Cooke, known as Hissing Sid, would lure young boys from fairgrounds to be gang raped. Police are continuing to look into any links he or his associates may have had with the VIP pedophile network.

Cooke, now serving two life sentences, was certainly in the frame at the very beginning of the police investigation into Martin’s disappearance because they asked Kevin if the boys had been to any fairgrounds.

One now-retired lead detective believes Cooke is behind the disappearance of at least 17 boys and the Dutch police believe he was involved in trafficking young boys for the lucrative young boy trade in Europe.

Kevin says his instinct has ­always been that Martin was the victim of someone in authority.

“The detective in charge sat in our house one Sunday lunchtime and asked me, ‘What do you think happened, Kev?’. I told him I thought Martin had been taken by a higher or elite person and he sat there, pointed his finger at me and said, ‘You shouldn’t be saying things like that, you could get hurt’.” Kevin still remembers how ­rattled he was at the response. “At 17 you don’t expect that,’’ he says. “I wasn’t wrong, was I? Thirty-five years down the line and now it is front page.’’

For more than 30 years, the activities of this incredibly well-connected pedophile network was apparently protected from scrutiny through the issuing of government D-notices, which prevent media publication of anything deemed to affect national security. It is believed this stymied police ­investigations. Hundreds of files relating to the disclosures and evidence about the VIP pedophile ring have since gone missing. Kevin says the files relating to Martin’s disappearance have been destroyed twice.

Only now, under parliamentary privilege, some politicians are speaking about the network to which, incredibly, some serving politicians are linked.

One serving Labour peer is under investigation for sexually assaulting young boys in the 70s. Last week, former Home Secretary Leon Brittan, who was publicly accused of covering up investigations of the pedophile network in the 1980s after being handed an explosive dossier from a fellow politician, died of cancer. Within days of his death evidence emerged that Brittan had been photographed attending a rent boy orgy back in 1986.

London’s Sunday Mirror has reported the young boys were picked up at Kings Cross and dropped off at a north London building to be repeatedly raped, but the day before the planned arrests of Brittan and 16 high-profile figures who had been observed entering the under-age sex den, including another politician, the late Cyril Smith, and some judges, the 1986 investigation was inexplicably disbanded.

One of the boys abused told police before Brittan died that the politician was “nasty, cruel, sadistic and hateful’’. Brittan’s name also appears on lists of visitors to the notorious Elm Guest House in Barnes, southwest London. This was an Edwardian house where well-connected political figures would exploit and abuse orphans from nearby Richmond in the 70s and 80s. It is alleged the partygoers would select boys for the “party’’ from pictorial records of the various care homes.

Police started looking at the possibility of Martin’s abduction and abuse at Elm Guest House soon after he went missing, and it intensified when another boy, Vishal Mehrotra, 8, the son of a magistrate, disappeared less than 3km from Barnes on the night of the 1981 royal wedding. Mehrotra’s body was found a year later, but his murder is still unsolved.

Last year, Home Secretary Theresa May announced a public inquiry into all of the allegations of cover-ups surrounding historic child sexual abuse. Yet there is still no inquiry head after the first two chairmen were revealed to have family and friendship links to some of the people under investigation. Meanwhile, public confidence in the political system to investigate its own has nose-dived.

Scotland Yard would not comment on its investigations. “Detectives from the Child Abuse Investigation Command are working closely with colleagues from the Homicide and Major Crime Command under the name of Operation Midland,’’ a statement from Scotland Yard says.

For Kevin and the extended Allen family, the heartache, now in its fourth decade, continues without resolution.

Martin Allen in 1979, the year he vanished

Martin Allen in 1979, the year he vanished

Kevin and Martin Allen at Tuffnell Park primary school.

Kevin and Martin Allen at Tuffnell Park primary school.

Chauffeurs for the Australian high commission in London in the 1970s, including the boys’ father, Thomas Allen, fourth from left, who has since died.

Chauffeurs for the Australian high commission in London in the 1970s, including the boys’ father, Thomas Allen, fourth from left, who has since died.

Stoke Lodge, the Australian high commissioner’s residence in London. The Allen family lived in a cottage in the grounds.

Stoke Lodge, the Australian high commissioner’s residence in London. The Allen family lived in a cottage in the grounds.

Kevin Allen in London

Kevin Allen in London

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Sunday Express, 20th September 1981

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Transcript:
MISSING BOY’S MOTHER FLIES 4,000 MILES TO PRAY AT A HINDU TEMPLE (Sunday Express, 20th September 1981)

On Wednesday morning, 31-year-old Mrs Aruna Mehrotra will leave her home in England on a long journey of sadness and faith. She will fly more than 4,000 miles to New Delhi. Relatives and friends will meet her and comfort her, and then Mrs Mehrotra will prepare for a solemn ritual a few days later.
For next Sunday morning, at 4 o’clock, well before the sun rises, Mrs Mehrotra will put on a specially-made saffron-coloured sari and travel 20 miles by car north along a bumpy road to an ancient stone Hindu temple.
Inside the temple, she will light the wicks of candles which she will have prepared the night before, in containers of dried mud filled with a wax of clarified Indian buffalo milk.
Then she will kneel at an altar which has a gold statue of the mother goddess Durga, and she will pray to her gods for just one thing—the safe return of her son, Vishal.
It was on July 29 that eight-year-old Vishal vanished near his home in Holmbush Road, Putney, south-west London after returning from St. Paul’s where, with his father, he had watched the Royal procession for the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.
A massive police search which is still going on has revealed nothing, and for Vishal’s parents there has been only the torment and agony, the wondering and the worry of waiting.
Mrs Mehrotra’s trip has been carefully planned. Next Sunday is Vishal’s ninth birthday.
And the temple of Durga is the family temple—and the same one which Vishal visited in 1979 on his birthday, during a holiday to India.
To Hindus, the mother goddess Durga protects against all violence and it is to her that Mrs Mehrotra will be praying that nothing violent has happened to Vishal.
Despite fading chances that her son is safe, Mrs Mehrotra maintains a mother’s hope that Vishal is well and will return one day soon.
Last Tuesday morning, Mrs Mehrotra went to St James’ School in Queen’s Gate, London—just in case Vishal had turned up for the resumption of his classes after the school holidays.
It was a forlorn hope, unfulfilled.
But she said: “I am keeping his bed ready, waiting for him. His clothes, his schoolbooks and a few toys are just as he left them.
“This trip to the temple is a journey I feel I must make. I must pray to our gods, in our temple, for Vishal’s safe return.
“It should be done on our son’s birthday—and it is on that day I will visit the temple.”
The boy’s father, 36-year-old solicitor Mr Vishambar Mehrotra, said: “I am quite certain that Vishal did not run away.
“There was no reason for him to do that. He was happy at home.
“And he is very clever. If he did want to run away, he would have planned it carefully. He would have taken extra clothes and his important possessions.
“But there was nothing missing, not even his folder of letters and birthday cards which he treasured so much. He would not have left those behind.
“Sometimes we take out the folder and we look at the birthday cards he received last year. We feel so sad and we pray for one thing—that Vishal will be back with us soon.”
A huge police team is still operating full-time on the search and at the special investigation headquarters, Detective Chief Superintendent Donald Bremner said: “We are faced with these main possibilities:
“That Vishal has had a serious accident, that he has been murdered, that he has run away, that he has been abducted or that he has been kidnapped.”
It has also been learned that police are looking into three other, more bizarre possibilities.
It is emphasised that NO evidence has been found to support any of these possibilities—but it is known that all are being examined by senior detectives. The three questions on their mind are:
* Could Vishal be back in India? The police have caused inquiries to be made in India.
* Could Vishal have been abducted by an individual or a gang with racial prejudices? There have been isolated attacks in the area on Asians.
* Could there be a link between Vishal’s disappearance and that of Martin Allen, who was 15 when he vanished on Guy Fawkes day, 1979, probably near Gloucester Road Tube station, London?
Det Chief Inspector James Begg, engaged on the Mehrotra case, has closely studied the files on Martin Allen. He and fellow officers have had a series of meetings with Det Chief Inspector David Venness, in charge of the Allen case and his senior officers.
Police have received and believe reports that Martin was seen with a man, at Gloucester Road. And, true or not, six of the 50 “sightings” of Vishal Mehrotra say he was with a man.
But Mrs Mehrotra said: “We just do not know the truth. The worrying thing is that there has been no note, no message, no telephone call.
“If only somebody would tell us what has happened….”

Daily Mirror, 3rd April 1980

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WHY THE ALLENS REMEMBER THE FIFTH OF NOVEMBER
Hundreds of children, fed up with home or school, or torn by puppy love, run away. Most come home again within forty-eight hours. One who didn’t was Martin Allen a quiet boy who, like thousands of other kids, travelled on his own to and from school …and met danger on the way.
Just five months ago chauffeur Tom Allen and his family were just amazed at their good luck.
Their modernised cottage-style house in the smartest part of London was one of the perks of Tom’s new job as head driver to the Australian High Commissioner.
Their neighbours in Kensington, W. London, were a posh lot of people with titles and tiaras.
But today the Allens’ dreams have crumbled.
Martin, 15, the youngest of their four sons, disappeared on his way home from school last Guy Fawkes’ Day. He has not been seen since.
That morning he picked up his yellow sports bag and set off for school with a cheerful: “Cheerio, Mum. Hope you have a good day.”
They were the last words his mother heard him say.
If you could see the awful sadness in Eileen Allen’s face as she talks about her missing son, you’d never forget it.
You’d go home, look gratefully at your own children, and then thank God that what has happened to Eileen’s family hasn’t happened to yours.
In the terrible months since, she has lost a stone-and-a-half. In the first weeks she couldn’t eat for thinking of Martin lying somewhere, hurt and uncared for, perhaps without any food.
Now Eileen, 51, says: “We are trying to pick up and go on where we left off on November 5.
“It’s as though the world and time have been standing still. Although Christmas has gone, it seems we are still waiting for it.
“In the beginning, I couldn’t talk about Martin without crying. Now I’ve got used to it—until something happens like an incident today.
“I went into the back room to put away a sleeping bag someone had used. I opened the cupboard and there were Martin’s Christmas presents, still all wrapped up.
“It brought everything back, just when I thought I had come to some sort of terms with it.”
In the hunt for Martin, which still goes on, the police conducted London’s biggest ever house-to-house search.
A team of forty detectives questioned 40,000 residents in London’s bedsit land around Earl’s Court underground station where passengers saw a boy believed to be Martin on the afternoon he went missing.
A man was holding a lad by the scruff of the neck, saying: “Don’t try to run”.
Martin was a shy boy, young for his age. He wasn’t a stay-out teenager or an angry adolescent who might rebel by running away.
The police, like his parents, fear the worst—that he was abducted by a man with violent or sexual intentions.
Says Eileen: “Knowing Martin, that would be one of the worst things that could have happened. He was a sensitive, home-loving kid.
“Even if he comes back, what sort of state physically, let alone mentally, is he going to be in?”
“He’ll never be the same Martin who walked out of that door. He wouldn’t even go round to the corner shop on his own to buy a packet of sweets after dark. He’d get Kevin, his older brother, to go with him, or take his dog Lady.
It’s been a very traumatic experience for us, but at least we’ve had each other. He’s had nobody.
“If we hadn’t come to live here, it probably would never have happened.
“But we’ve been through all the ifs. We can’t go on like that and drive ourselves slowly mad. To keep our sanity we have to accept the fact that he has gone, and try to look ahead, not back.”
Except for the fingerprint powder, Martin’s bedroom is as he left it, with his pyjamas tucked neatly under his pillow.
Says Eileen: “I keep saying I must go up there to take off the sheets and clear it out. But how can I, until I really know?”
It took a television programme to bring forward the first witnesses. By then Martin had missing for five weeks.
“Where the public fell down was minding their own business,” says Eileen.
Had somebody asked ‘Are you all right, son?’ when they saw he was frightened, it would have been enough to make the man run away.
“People are so busy, so frightened of doing the wrong thing. But its not being nosey, it’s being careful.”
Warnings every child should heed
The mystery surrounding Martin Allen highlights the daily danger facing thousands of schoolchildren who travel to and from school on their own.
Inquiries stemming from the search for Martin have led to the arrest of four people suspected of molesting children. They have been charged with indecent assault and more serious offences against youngsters.
Det. Chief Insp. David Veness, who has been leading the hunt for Martin, says: “This case has been an eye-opener to the great dangers facing children who use the London Underground.
The Inspector warns:
– never get into a conversation with a stranger.
– always ask to see the identity card of anyone who says he is an official.

See also:

Martin Allen: Missing since 5th November 1979

In 1981 police were already investigating London ‘child pornography gang’ linked to trafficking and murder

Was the Scotland Yard investigation into missing boys closed down?