Tag Archives: Islington

Tales of toilet used for homosexual meetings prompts council action

Islington Gazette, 11 June 1982

“Complaints about the misuse of a public toilet may have the spin-off of helping gay groups in the borough.”

Islington Gazette, 11 June 1982

A few weeks after the election in May 1982 with Margaret Hodge newly appointed as Council leader, complaints her neighbours and fellow residents of Richmond Avenue had made to her about cottaging activity at their nearby public toilet, had been referred to the police.  

In June the Public Services Committee discussed closing Richmond Avenue public toilets. 

Borough Cleansing Officer, Tom Bartlett, said there were worries “concerning the safety of children and for that matter, other persons using the toilets for legitimate purposes.”

Islington Gazette, 11 June 1982, Public Services Committee

New Labour councillor, Bob Crossman, “Called on the council to fulfil its duty to the 17,000 gay people in Islington” and “help them to live full lives as citizens of the borough.”

He added: “One reason why gay men go into lavatories and wave their penises at each other is that it is the only way some people in the population have of meeting the people and making friends.”

Islington Gazette, 11 June 1982, Public Services Committee

Vice-Chair David Aitchison objected strongly to Bartlett’s statement, considering it a conflation of issues between gay adult men cottaging to meet one another with gay child abusers seeking to molest boys in toilets. He did not appear to consider that the toilet, being close to a gay pub and a children’s playground, could attract both groups of men seeking sexual activity or that showing concern for the safety of children and a wish to see more local social and support options for gay male residents did not have to be mutually exclusive.

Instead the discussion of how to deal with the persistent problems at the Richmond Avenue public toilets was closed down with an accusation of bigotry.

Aitchison said there was no connection between homosexuals and the safety of children and added: “This is another slight minority group of people who have suffered enough under the last administration.”

“Councillor Crossman’s recommendation that the toilet should remain open and that positive action should be taken to help gay groups was easily passed.”

Islington Gazette, 11 June 1982, Public Services Committee

The Sun, 16 May 1986 p.11


A judge slammed the scandal of ‘rentboy’ vice rings in London’s West End yesterday as he jailed a gay social worker for four years.

Judge John Hazan QC, said at the Old Bailey: ‘This evil trade must stop.

“One can only hope that the realisation by punters of the dangers of sexual transmission of diseases such as AIDS will give them cause for thought.”

His attack came after Abraham Jacob, 45, was convicted of living off the earnings of teenaged male prostitutes.

The judge told him: “You must learn that young men are not pieces of meat on display on a rack to be sold like merchandise in the market.”

Jacob who cared for the elderly was found guilty by [  ] majority after the jury retired for 14 hours.

The court heard that Jacob, a senior care officer with London’s Islington council worked a gay vice ring called ‘The Meat Rack’ in Piccadilly Circus.

Runaway boys were displayed in Wimpy bar windows for clients to select for sex.

The judge told Jacob: “You are a menace to young men. They are human beings entitled to be treated with dignity.” The judge also praised the police for mounting ‘Operation Circus’ to smash the rings.

article-1237974-07AFFF8E000005DC-952_224x356News of the World, 11th November 1979

Police last night launched a hunt for a schoolboy missing from his home for nearly a week.
Fifteen-year-old Martin Allen, whose father is chauffeur to the Australian High Commissioner, was last seen going up an escalator at Kings Cross Tube station, London, on Monday.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “We are very concerned for his safety.
Martin, who looks four or five years younger than his age left the Central Foundation School, Old Street, City, to go to his married brother’s home in Holloway, North London.
At Kings Cross he told a school friend he was going first to his home at Hyde Park Gate, South Kensington, to get some money.
But he has not been seen since.
“I’m absolutely frantic,” said his 51-year-old mother Eileen. “If he does not want to come home, that’s all right—but we want to now he is OK.
Scotland Yard described Martin as 4ft 10on [sic] tall, slim with shortish brown hair, wearing a brace on his teeth and school uniform.

The Guardian, 9th December 1979

artists1News of the World, 9th December 1979

Police searching for a 15-year-old boy they fear is being held prisoner have issued a photofit of a man they wish to question.
And last night Detective Chief Inspector Dave Veness, who is leading the hunt, said : “I believe I am dealing with an abduction of a boy by a man with a violent or sexual motive.”
The missing boy is Martin Allen, son of the chauffeur to the Australian High Commissioner.
Now a special squad of detectives is searching houses and flats in Earl’s Court, London after a fresh sighting of the boy.
A 20-year-old man who lives in West London has told the police that at 4.15 p.m. on November 5 he saw a man standing with his arm around a boy’s shoulders at Gloucester Road Tube station.
The boy, who strongly resembled Martin, looked anxious.
The man took the youngster on to a Piccadilly Line train and got off at the next stop, Earls Court.
The boy appeared reluctant to leave the train until the man prodded him in the back and said: “Don’t try to run”.
The witness described the man as 6ft tall in his 30s, well built, with very blonde hair and moustache.
He was wearing a denim jacket and trousers.
The last know sighting of Martin was at 3.30 p.m. on that day at King’s Cross.
A school pal left him heading for the Piccadilly Line which would have taken him to Gloucester Road Station, a five-minute walk from his home in Hyde Park Gate.
Martin who is slim, 5ft tall with dark brown hair, was wearing a black school uniform blazer with badge and a navy and yellow tie. He carried a bright yellow bag, marked “Astral.”

Sunday Express, 27th December 1981

Five hundred children at two Christmas parties enjoyed the good will and gifts of a traditional Santa Claus. Not one guessed the secret sadness behind the white beard and seasonal smile.
For dressed in the red cloak was 56-year-old Mr Thomas Allen, whose teenage son, Martin, was apparently kidnapped more than two years ago.
Despite his sadness, Mr Allen played Father Christmas for an annual party at Australia House, where he works as a chauffeur, and at a North London primary school in Tufnell Park where his wife, Eileen, is as secretary.
“Martin is in my mind all the time and it is on occasions like Christmas that the memories are most vivid,” said Mr Allen.
“How could I not be sad at those parties when I see so many other happy children?
“II thought of Martin … and there was a tear or two.
“But I am convinced of one thing. Not one of those children thought that I was anything but happy.
“My one hope is that Martin will be found and will be able to attend one of the Christmas parties.”
Martin, then 15, was last see on Guy Fawkes Night in 1979 being gripped tightly by a man aged between 30 and 40, about 6ft tall, and with blond hair, at Gloucester Road Tube station in London. He was on his way home from school.
Several people have told police they heard the man tell the boy “Don’t try to run.”
Martin was carrying a yellow sports bag with the trade name Astral on the side.
Intensive police investigations in Britain and other countries have failed to find any trace of Martin, but Mr and Mrs Allen, their family and friends have not given up hope.
Mr Allen said : “I think our son was kidnapped by a gang of child pornographers.
“I think he was spirited away to some overseas country and forced to take part in films.”
Police have sent European and other overseas police forces photographs of Martin so these can be compared with seized child pornography films.
Officers on the case have not ruled out a link between Martin’s disappearance and that of eight-year-old Vishal Mehrotra who went missing near his home in Putney after returning from watching the Royal Wedding near St Paul’s. Vishal is still lost.

Sunday Express, 7th March 1982

A shiver of fear ran through members of the Allen family when they heard the news. The bones of a young boy had been found on a lonely stretch of farm land.
And as they read the story in their newspapers it brought to the surface the agony of uncertainty that has haunted them for more than two years.
For since Guy Fawkes night of 1979 Mr and Mrs Thomas Allen have had to endure the suspense of waiting to know the fate of their youngest son, Martin.
The quiet, intelligent 15-year-old vanished on his way home from school, and although he was carrying a yellow sports bag crammed with books and belongings, not a single trace of him has ever been found.
But the police do have details of a sinister last sighting of Martin.
Several witnesses reported seeing a boy of his description being led with a hand on the back of his neck by a tall, blond man who told the youngster : “Don’t try to run.”
That was at Earl’s Court Underground station in London.
So when, on Royal Wedding day last summer, an eight-year-old Indian boy disappeared near the tube station in Putney, just a few stops further down the District Line, the two cases were inevitably linked.
Then last week some pigeon shooters stumbled across human remains in a marshy wood in Sussex. They have been identified as those of the missing Vishal Mehrotra from Putney.
And now police working on the Allen mystery are keeping in close touch with their Sussex colleagues in case their investigations into the boy’s death throw new light on the search for Martin.
“How can you possibly describe how you feel at times like this?” said Mrs Eileen Allen at her home in Kensington, London.
“We are still waiting, wondering if Martin is still alive. My husband tortures himself thinking about the awful things that could have happened to him.
“Then we wonder what we would do if he did come back. He was a child of 15 when he went, now he would be a young man of 17. Would he be the same Martin that we knew? Would we able to cope?”
Upstairs in the cottage which goes with Mr Allen’s job as a chauffeur with the Australian High Commission, Martin’s bedroom remains exactly as he left it … posters on the wall and model trains in place.
Mrs Allen, who says her work as a school secretary has helped keep her sane during the months of torment, admitted : “ I am a realist.
“I am more or less resigned to the fact that we will probably never see him again.
“Martin was a quiet boy, the cleverest of the family. He liked to draw and write, he filled exercise books with stories.”
“If it had been my other son who had been grabbed he probably would have struggled. But Martin would freeze with fear.”
But despite the misery Mrs Allen says that good has come from their ordeal.
There is the friendship which has grown up between the police and the family—in particular their relationship with Superintendent David Veness, who has led an exhausting and painstakingly thorough hunt for the missing boy.
Said Mrs Allen : “Without this awful thing we would never have known some wonderful people. Superintendent Veness still calls here regularly and as soon as he heard about finding the little Indian boy he came round because he thought we might be upset.
“After Marin disappeared his brother was at a loss and obviously missing him. So the police took him down to their gym for regular work-outs to help him keep busy. They have been marvellous.
“And it has brought the family much closer together. We now appreciate the real things in life.
Superintendent Veness said : “The only link between the two cases is the District Line tube, but obviously I am keeping in very close touch with colleagues both at Putney and in Sussex.”
Does he think the police will soon find a clue to Martin’s disappearance.
“If we do not” said the superintendent, “it will not be for want of trying.”

Daily Express, 10th August 1982

DExp_1982_08_10_009vicepolice_1detailBirmingham Post, 9th November 1998

‘Missing boy shrine found with man’

Police have discovered a secret shrine to a missing schoolboy at the home of an alleged paedophile, it was reported yesterday. Martin Allen, aged 15, vanished in 1979 on his way home from school on Guy Fawkes Night. He was last seen waving goodbye to school friends as he boarded a tube at King’s Cross station in London. Yesterday detectives refused to comment on reports in a Sunday newspaper that after a tip-off to police in Merseyside, a shrine – including an engraved headstone – was found at the house of an alleged local paedophile. But officers at the Area Major Incident Investigation Pool at Kensington, West London, confirmed they were investigating new information passed on to them in connection with the boy’s disappearance. A spokesman said no arrests had been made and inquiries are continuing. Martin, the son of the Australian High Commissioner’s chauffeur, has never been seen since the evening of his disappearance, despite a worldwide search. It is understood that a month ago police on Merseyside received an anonymous letter suggesting that the 62-year-old man had knowledge of the disappearance.


Daily Mail, 23rd December 2009

‘Thirty years on, we still don’t know who abducted our son’: Parents of Martin Allen make final plea for information



Was the Scotland Yard investigation into missing boys stopped?

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


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’

Jailed paedophile diplomat sacked by the Foreign Office