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.