News of the World, 24th October 1982
THE BOGUS BISHOP IS BACK IN BUSINESS (News of the World, 24th October 1982)
Roger Gleaves, the self-styled bishop branded as a menace to young boys, is up to his tricks again. Only months after being freed from his latest jail sentence, he is recruiting youngsters for a private security squad.
His firm, GB Security Services, is identical to a company he owned last year before being sentenced to 18 months for social security frauds.
Running it under an assumed name, he has hoodwinked local authorities and businessmen into hiring his services when he had previously been banned.
Gleaves—exposed in the TV documentary Johnny Go Home, about runaway boys lured into homosexuality—was convicted in August last year of falsely claiming social security.
The News of the World revealed at the time how he had been trying to entice his young employees into bed and sending them out to draw dole money.
Some of 50-year-old Gleaves’ security boys have been recruited from a YMCA hostel for problem youngsters in Tottenham, London.
Eighteen-year-old Kerry Connor, was approached by him at a hostel for newly-released offenders in Enfield, Middlesex.
Connor, who had been in prison for carrying an offensive weapon, said: “He told me that if I moved into his flat, did the cleaning, washing, shopping and ironing and slept with him once or twice a week, he’d buy the food, pay the rent, and all my money from the security firm and the dole would be mine.
“I said I’d never been with a bloke and didn’t intend to. But I didn’t mind guarding gay clubs, as he’d suggested, if the money was right.”
Gleaves set up his firm under the name Adam Smith—the latest in a series of aliases which has even included the names of News of the World reporters.
His first customers were the British Red Cross Society, who wanted security men for a lavish fancy dress function at Theobalds College, near Waltham Cross, Herts.
His young guards checked invitations and kept an eye on the bar while Gleaves watched over the VIP guests, including the Mayor of Enfield Miss Phyllis Oborn, and MPs Tim Eggar and Ted Graham.
Later Gleaves won a lucrative contract with boxing promoter Frank Warren, the man planning to stage former heavyweight champion Joe Bugner’s comeback fight.
But his chances of being Bugner’s bodyguard were dashed after we told the fight boss who he was.
Mr Warren said: “A man called Smith approached me and offered very cheap rates. I hired ten of his men for a boxing show in a Bloomsbury hotel.
“Had I known who Smith really was I’d have been tempted to put him in the ring.”
A spokesman for Brent Council, where Gleaves provided guards for a music festival said: “We’ve banned this man before. Thank you for letting us know.”
Gleaves still keeps up his connection with his breakaway Old Catholic Church, in which he gave himself the title Bishop of Medway.
We traced him to the home of one of his “priests” – a council flat in King’s Cross.
The priest, 83-year-old William Winley, told me: “Roger says you’ll be lucky to get away alive if you call on him. He says he’s got a surprise for you.”
Gleaves has been excommunicated from the Episcopal Apostolic Church, which he founded with “Archbishop” Illtyd Thomas in 1977.
Mr Thomas held the excommunication ceremony in the front room of his home in Muswell Hill, London ,and said: “He had made a mockery of the church.
“He called here recently and spent the night in an upstairs room with one of his guards. The following morning he was boasting about his conquest.
“We want nothing more to do with him.”
We finally met Gleaves at an indoor market in The Archway, Islington, where he has an office.
When we asked him about the youths he recruited he hurled obscenities and shut himself in his office, sending out a young man who made threats to us.