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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

Daily Mirror, 3rd April 1980

Mirror030480Mirror030480a

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?

Illustrated London News, 29th November 1980

IllustratedLondonNews291180

A BOY WHO DISAPPEARED (Illustrated London News, 29th November 1980)

November 5—Guy Fawkes Night—is this year the firs anniversary of the disappearance in London of a 15-year-old boy in circumstances which have touched a sensitive nerve with both police and public.
The boy, Martin Allen, was raised in the Holloway Road area of North London. His father Tom has worked for many years as a driver with the Australian High Commission and, on his promotion to become the High Commissioner’s personal chauffeur, was given a cottage near the official residence in Hyde Park Gate. Martin was attending the Central Foundation, a respected school near Old Street, and it was decided that he should continue to do so, travelling across London from Gloucester Road Underground station to Old Street, changing at King’s Cross.
November 5 last year was a Monday and on Mondays that boy would not return home immediately after school but would visit the home of an older, married brother in Holloway, usually staying overnight. This was the plan on November 5. In his bright yellow Astral bag he carried a woollen balaclava his mother was sending for her grandchild, a transformer to use with a toy train, and other items reflecting his intention to visit his relatives. He had, however, left at home a £1 note he owed his sister-in-law. He told schoolfriends he intended to travel home and pick it up and then return to Holloway Road. (This seems a lot of trouble to go to but the police say it was only a 25 minute journey, and he had a travel pass so it would coast no more.) Thus it was that at about 3.50 pm he parted from a friend at King’s Cross station and walked into the short and usually crowded passage to the west-bound trains. This was the last definite sighting of Martin Allen. He then vanished.
A hue and cry should have been raised that evening but unfortunately his disappearance was not noted for over 24 hours. His parents thought he was staying overnight with his brother. His brother, who was not on the telephone, assumed that because it was Guy Fawkes Night the boy had gone to a bonfire party instead and would not be coming. Martin was not missed by his family until he failed to arrive home on the Tuesday evening.
Over 3,500 boys and girls are reported missing in London every year. They nearly all turn up within a few days. A high proportion are in the care of local authorities or in trouble with one authority or another and have run away. The first instinct of police investigators, therefore, is to look for reasons why a boy such as Martin might have absconded. Was there trouble in the family? At school? With a girlfriend? With the police themselves? Extensive inquiries, including interviews with every member of the family, every known friend of the boy or the family, teachers, schoolchildren and everyone who could possibly have known Martin revealed, however, that he did not fit the pattern for missing children. On the contrary, it became clear that he was a happy, home-centred, well liked boy without a problem in the world. The police began to feel very uneasy.
From the start the man in charge of the investigation has been David Veness, a father of two children and as highly regarded as his promotion to Detective Chief Inspector at 33 would suggest. Veness, a policeman with 15 years’ experience, says that while missing children are not unusual, abducted children are. “Our inquiries were initially intended to answer three questions: had he run away because of some trouble? Had he run away to seek adventure? Or had he had an accident? There is not a fraction of evidence that he ran away from a problem, and we looked into his background and life with immense care. Nor by all accounts was he an adventurer, a boy with dreams of stowing away on Concorde or the QE2. We conducted detailed searches of the North London area round Holloway and King’s Cross and in the area of the school, every piece of vacant land, derelict property. We also searched the open spaces round Gloucester Road. If he had had an accident he would have been found.”
By now Veness and his colleagues were treating Martin’s disappearance in almost every respect as if it were a murder inquiry. The next step was to seek publicity and in this respect the police had bad luck. The Anthony Blunt affair broke in the newspapers, devouring the column inches that might have been available to tell the story. The BBC television programme Nationwide prepared a programme but could not screen it because of the technicians’ strike. A full three weeks went by before the Nationwide item finally appeared and Veness got his first breakthrough.
“From that programme we got a group of six sightings which described an incident on Gloucester Road station that day. A man was seen forcefully guiding a small boy, his hand on the back of the boy’s neck, on to a train travelling on the Piccadilly line to Earls Court. They were seen to leave the train at Earls Court station and as they walked down the platform the man was heard to say ‘Don’t try to run.’ They then vanished. Now six people had obviously not all seen the whole of that incident but they saw bits and it came together like a jigsaw.”
Up to this point the investigation had been concentrated largely in North London. Now it moved to West London and a massive search took place of the Gloucester Road-Earls Court area. The homes of 40,000 people were visited. The area was inundated with leaflets. A year later there has been no advance. Martin Allen has been seen or heard of no more.
But was the boy seen being led away from Earls Court station Martin Allen? Chief Inspector Veness says that while he cannot be definite, “I had enough evidence to mount a major police operation on the basis that it was. For a start, the timing fits. They were seen at about 4.20pm, just the time when Martin could have been expected to arrive at Gloucester Road. The description fits: the witnesses describe a boy who could be Martin, slim, 5 feet tall, wearing school uniform and carrying a bag. Despite all the publicity no man or boy has come forward to identify himself as one of that couple. Either that boy was Martin, or a boy with a remarkable resemblance to him was abducted on that train at that time, and that is a considerable coincidence.”
If it was Martin, why did he not appeal to others on the train or on the platform at Earls Court? He was, after all, 15 years old, intelligent, aware. It could be that the man had a powerful personality and had engendered such fear in the boy that he dare not call for help. Or it could be that he persuaded Martin that he was someone in authority, a London Transport security officer or a policeman, and that he was taking him to an office near the station to explain some misdemeanour. These are not questions anyone can answer.
Certainly it would have required remarkable nerve to abduct a boy of 15 in broad daylight in front of other travellers, but given the lack of any evidence, the police are having to work on the basis that this is what happened.
The size of the police operation has been almost unprecedented. There is no question that the case has got under the skin of Veness and his colleagues, almost to the point of obsession. Why? It is not, says Veness, because of the diplomatic connexions, for no special pressure has been applied. It is a combination of factors: the mystery itself, the warm picture that has emerged of Martin, and perhaps the fact that Veness and others working on the case, together with the public, have been increasingly disturbed by the evidence that a schoolboy could travel on the Underground at a busy time, be seen by scores of people but be remembered by hardly any, be forcibly abducted before their eyes, and vanish beyond the powers of Scotland Yard and a considerable force of policemen to find him.

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?

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

NOTW111179FEARS IN HUNT FOR MISSING BOY, 15
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.
Switch
“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

NOTW091279PHOTOFIT CLUE AS POLICE FEAR LOST BOY IS PRISONER
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.
Prodded
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

SExp271281THE SADNESS BEHIND A SANTA’S SMILE
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.
Gripped
“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.
Kidnap
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

SExp070382FAMILY WAIT AND FEAR FOR NEWS OF SCHOOLBOY SON
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.
Linked
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

 

Related:

Was the Scotland Yard investigation into missing boys stopped?

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