PADDINGTON AND THE VICE RING(S)
Paddington seems to crop up time and again whenever I read in to London vice rings, so I’ve collated a number of stories connected with the area.
The most interesting is that during the 1970s at least three vice rings were operating in the same road. Were they connected or simply the same one taken over time and again?
1974: The Maltese Syndicate
In 1974, a syndicate headed by Bernard Silver was jailed and fined for their involvement in a vice ring that centred around Bernie Silver’s club in Sussex Gardens, Paddington.
1975: Victor Roachford
In 1975 Victor Roachford was jailed for running a vice ring in which he entrapped young runaway girls and forcing them in to a life of sexual exploitation by pimping them out to rich Arabs in London. He ran his ‘business’ from his home in Sussex Gardens, Paddington.
1977: Vice baron, David Calderhead
In 1977 a Scottish businessman, David Calderhead, was jailed for running a ‘meat rack’ vice ring from his Soho cafe, The Coffee Pot. Appearing alongside him were four other men: Anthony Cramb, David Woodhouse, Gerald Kirby, Fachton O’Sullivan (from Paddington) and Harold Bidney.
Even in 2005, the Metropolitan Police were still fighting the issue of prostitution in Sussex Gardens.
Elgin Avenue was an address associated with the Paedophile Information Exchange (c/o Release, 1 Elgin Avenue, London W9). Release just happened to be a group of lawyers. Elgin Avenue was effectively a row of dilapidated slums full, in the most part, by squatters – one of whom happened to be Piers Corbyn, brother of Jeremy.
1962: Norman Edward Rickard
In 1962 the body of a 38 year old Admiralty ‘official’ was found bound and upside down inside a cupboard in his basement flat in Elgin Avenue after being missing from duty for a week. Just days after, another man named Alan John Vigar, aged 23 and a television studio wardrobe boy, was found dead in similar circumstances in his home in Pimlico. Details of these cases were sent over to Derbyshire Police, who were investigating two similar deaths in their area. Rickard’s death was also raised during the Vassall inquiry in 1963.
1966: Donald Charles Davis & Maria Jesus Bellenger
In 1966 a 14 year old girl appeared at the Central Criminal Court to give evidence against Maria Jesus Bellenger of Earls Court and Donald Charles Davis, a freelance photographer of Elgin Avenue. The girl alleged that Bellenger (who claimed to be Spanish) approached her outside the Houses of Parliament and she agreed to have her photograph taken but was eventually bound and abused by Bellenger and Davis at his photographic studio in Pilgrim Street. They were found not guilty.
Bellenger and Davis wrote a book ‘Belly Dancer Who Became a Lady’ in the same year on Shirin Roshan Berry Quereshi, a belly dancer who went on to become the wife of Antony Moynihan, 3rd Baronet of Carr Manor. Moynihan had worked as a driver for notorious London landlord, Peter Rachman, who was caught up in the Profumo Scandal.
1974: Marsden, Mahati & Saunders
In 1974, the Central Criminal Court heard how young pregnant girls from around Europe had travelled to Victoria Station to look for the ‘Red Cross’ sign, where they found Valerie Elizabeth Saunders of Mitcham who worked in the medical centre. Saunders pleaded guilty as she referred the girls to the practice of GP, Manek Marsden, who undertook abortions over a seven year period. Marion Margaret Mahati from Elgin Avenue (who also pleaded guilty), worked as Marsden’s receptionist at his practice in Porchester Road, Bayswater, and was referred to in court as ‘his first lieutenant’. Marsden was orignally named Manek Metha but had changed his name in 1952. He died just before the trial began.
1976: Playland Vice Ring
In 1975, a number of men were found guilty at the Old Bailey for their part in the Playland vice ring. They were Charles Hornby, who pleaded guilty, David Archer of Forest Gate, Andrew Novac of Marylebone, Basil John Andrew-Cohen of no fixed address, and finally Malcolm Jack Raywood of Elgin Avenue. All (apart from Hornby) eventually had their convictions quashed. Cathy Fox has written five excellent in-depth blogs on Playland and Piccadilly meat rack.
1986-88: Victor Noicely & Anthony Cassel Chambers
Noicely (whose street name was ‘Viscious’) was jailed for 16 years (reduced to 12 on appeal) for running a vice ring in Paddington after a young girl walked in to a police station and showed scars running down the length of both of her arms that Noicely had allegedly inflicted with a stanley knife. Noicely was from Huddersfield and together with four other men in Yorkshire, were running a vice ring of eight girls within the Paddington area. The girl managed to encourage other girls to come forward but even after being charged, the gang had found out the hotel in which one of the girls was staying and her room was burned out. Even at the trial – which was transferred to Leeds – during a lunch break, a member of the prosecuting counsel and a policeman were ambushed and assaulted in the corridor outside the court. (They were eventually arrested after returning to the public gallery after lunch!).
According to the case file that is held at The National Archives, Noicely was charged alongside Chambers.
A few years later, the girl again contacted the police to say that one of the witnesses in the case – Maria Christina Requena – had been found murdered in the Manchester area. Her body had been cut up and put in to a black bin bags. Her murderer has never been caught.
The Dirty Squad, Michael Hames