29th November 1994
Operation Hedgerow: “Back in 1986, two senior detectives, John Lewis and Roger Gaspar, completed an inquiry into child pornography and child abuse in Kilburn. They dealt with 653 complaints, charged 20 different adults including a barrister, and ran three trials. But what really struck them was that the whole investigation had been triggered by one complaint from one social worker and, for once, instead of limiting themselves to dealing with the single complaint, they had followed all of its leads. They could only begin to imagine the scale of offences which would emerge if it were ever investigated systematically across the country.”
Operation Hedgerow trial 1:: 7 men – Colin Peters, Ernest Whittington, Alan Delaney, Victor Burnett, John Williams, Patrick David Norris, Patrick Joseph Norris (Daily Express 04.02.89), (Willesden & Brent Chronicle 10.12.87)
I don’t have any details of the other two trials and out of the other 13 men who were charged, the only other names I have are:
Kenneth Martin, Brian Howard-Edmunds, and “another man from Hastings”. (Willesden & Brent Chronicle 03.12.87)
More articles on Operation Hedgerow here.
Thanks to Daniel for finding this article.
Sunday Times, 13th September 1987
Thanks to Daniel for finding this article.
This letter has been redacted to remove the name/address of the sender and the name of a local authority.
.Dear Oliver Heald
I am writing to suggest that you add your name to the growing list of MPs from all parties who are asking Teresa May to set up a National Enquiry into organised child abuse.
Before retiring from the NHS and moving into your constituency I was the Head of Psychology for a large authority. I had worked with offenders, including Paedophiles, and contributed over many years to staff training within health, social services, magistrates and the police. I also liaised with the Obscene Publications Squad at Scotland Yard which at that time was attempting to take on a national role in looking at paedophile networks. My role as I saw it was to develop an understanding of the psychology of child sexual abuse and to advise police as to whether accounts by witnesses, could be regarded as delusional or whether it was necessary to suspend disbelief and make further enquiries.
The victims of child abuse were often damaged individuals with various mental health problems. I am sure you would appreciate, as a barrister, that they were not reliable witnesses and would not perform well under cross examination. The number of possible victims in the Jimmy Saville case has now grown to more than 500 but that was not the case in his lifetime as many felt intimidated and thought they would not be believed. The scale of child abuse in North Wales childcare, in Rochdale and elsewhere is coming to light and there seems to be some progress in dealing with historical abuse networks.
What is not so well known is that a comparable experience was shared by the professionals who became uneasy about child protection or were aware of abuse networks. Like the child victims, they were on the whole not believed over decades, and many were subjected to disciplinary procedures or other forms of intimidation.
Abuse of power often takes the form of sexual violence or opportunism and abusive networks at times can appear in power wielding hierarchies. I was pleased to see that you supported Angelina Jolie and William Hague in their campaign to end sexual violence in war. Sexual abuse by authority figures in childcare has more in common with this campaign than you might realise but unless it can be acknowledged and understood as a historical problem there will be no way of protecting children from such abuse in the future.
Historical abuse has probably taken place within all the main parties under successive governments so no party would benefit from making this a party political issue. The issue was raised at PMs question time by Labour MP Tom Watson but has cross party support . Your Colleague Zac Goldsmith has co-ordinated the letter to Theresa May and the campaign is much indebted to the late Conservative MP Geofrey Dickens.
As Solicitor General you would I assume, be in a position to discuss the matter directly with Theresa May , and seek her agreement in a non-confrontational context. Your support would be much appreciated, and I am sure Zac Goldsmith would be happy to explain the background.
BSc. C. Psychol
Daily Mirror, 18th July 1984
The Telegraph, 31st August 1983