OPERATION HEDGEROW: PART TWO
LONDON GANGS, A COVER UP & THE TRIESTE CONNECTION
“Don’t open the box, you will never get the lid back on.”
Following on from my previous blog post regarding Operation Hedgerow, Colin Peters and Alistair Laing, I’ve done further research in to some of the missing details of the case and have collated all my findings here for reference. The picture is far more complex than I originally blogged.
Colin John Meredith Peters (aka John Meredith Colin Peters) was born on 10th May 1943 in Inverness.
- Educated at Oxford University (View)
- 1966: Foreign Office Diplomat (View)
- 1967: Arrested alongside Alistair Laing in Naples for child abuse. Robin Jasper of the Foreign Office British Consul in Naples gave them legal assistance. No charges were brought. (View)
- Became Secretary General of British Chamber of Commerce in Casablanca, Morocco. (View)
- 1974: Returned to the UK to study law, then specialised in ‘indirect tax’. (View)
- 1975: Called to the bar (BA Oxon) (The Times, 26 Nov 1975)
- 1979-1986: Senior Legal Assistant, VAT Tribunal Division, Customs’ Solicitor’s Office. (View)
- 1980: Abused a 15 year old boy who had runaway from his home in Glasgow, in the sauna in his home. The boy had been picked up within 10 minutes of arriving in London and was used and abused by Peters for four years.
- 1982-1987: Operation Hedgerow
- 1987: Arrested and charged for his part in one of the biggest paedophile rings the police had ever busted, which spanned Brent and Ealing.
- 1988: Trial begins at the Central Criminal Court
- 1989: Jailed for eight years.
- 1990: Disbarred for disciplinary reasons in October.
- Joined Hugh Mainprice as a partner in Mainprice & Co. (View)
- 2004: Set up VAT Attack. (View)
- 1967: Emperor’s Gate, SW7
- Eaton Terrace, Belgravia
- 1987: Chepstow Road, Bayswater
- Holbein Place, SW1W
As you can see from his website, Peters omits to mention quite a number of key details of his depraved life:
How has this man continued to obtain work from the government despite decades of depravity?
Operation Hedgerow was overseen by two senior detectives – DCI’s John Lewis and Roger Gaspar under Commander David Stevens. It was kickstarted after a 10 year old boy told his foster parents that he had been abused by Kenneth Martin. When police began looking into the allegations, they uncovered a huge paedophile network, including at least two overlapping. Detectives believed the ring stretched across continents, but were refused funding or extra manpower in order to investigate fully. Gaspar has subsequently said that elements of the investigation were shut down after it became too close to senior officials.
This was a huge police operation and the investigation involved some staggering numbers:
- 20-23 people were eventually charged under Operation Hedgerow (there is some discrepency over the final figure);
- The operation culminated in three trials;
- 18 victims gave evidence from behind a screen during the Peters trial;
- The trial against Peters etc was the first in the UK to allow children to provide video evidence in court, so as to lessen the distress of recounting the abuse they have suffered, as well as preventing them having to face their abusers;
- It lasted three months (13 weeks);
- Police obtained 653 complaints of abuse against hundreds of children;
- It is believed the ring was international, but funds were not given to allow them to investigate fully.
Victims of the paedophile ring came from across the UK, including:
- Roger Gaspar confirmed that Grafton Close children’s home featured within the investigation.
- Youngsters were taken from Victoria Station, as well as three special needs schools (two in the West Country, and one in the South East).
The accused came mainly from London areas including:
- Stoke Newington
As well as Hastings in East Sussex and Brighton in West Sussex.
Martin was central to the Brent element of the paedophile ring. He was a depraved individual, whose offending record stretched back to 1942. He was also sentenced for abuse during the Playland trials in 1975 – at which time he was a hot chestnut seller living in Dansey Place, Soho.
As you’ll notice throughout this blog post, the names of all those convicted in the Playland investigation have – like so many others – mysteriously never been made public, but piecing together news articles and online information, I was able to collate a list:
- Basil Andrew Cohen
- David Archer, Forest Gate
- Cyril Clapp
- Theodore Raymond John Mules Brown, Kew
- Walter Richard Cowell, Knightsbridge
- Charles Hornby, Montague Square, Marylebone
- Kenneth Martin, Soho
- Andrew Novac, Marylebone
- Malcolm Raywood, Wandsworth
By 1981, Martin was living in a flat provided to him by the Paddington Churches Housing Association (based at 296 Willesden Lane, NW2), just streets away from where he had abused 11 year old children for which he was under a two year suspended sentence. (Bernard Stewart Deane of the PCHA charity claimed background checks were made on all tenants.)
At the time of Operation Hedgerow, Martin was a street trader, who ran a market stall at the Sunday Brick Lane Market selling toy trains etc, which enabled him to befriend, groom and lure boys. His home was full of items that would appeal to children – such as train sets, snooker table, sweets etc.
Lewis, Gaspar and their team undertook surveillance on Kenneth Martin’s house, and at the same time they worked closely alongside members of the social services department at Brent Council – in particular David Divine, the director, who designated a team of social workers to assist the police. They then took on the mammoth task of collating information about who was visiting the property, as well as interviewing over 150 children, whilst ensuring no children were put at risk at any point during the investigation. Many of the children had been terrified by Martin, and so a lot of time was spent gaining their trust, with interviews taking place in more relaxed atmospheres, such as McDonald’s. The police continued their surveillance on Martin’s home, tailing visitors to see where they went, but two months into the surveillance it was clear a boy was staying the night at Martin’s home and they were forced to raid it. There they found Martin and the boy naked in Martin’s bedroom.
A designated telephone hotline was set up by Brent Council for children to report abuse which was manned by social workers.
In one single raid, 20 arrests were made and by December 1987, 21 men and two youths had been arrested. Fourteen adults and one youth from Brighton had been questioned, three adults and three youths had been released without charge, and three men had already appeared in court. Police envisaged further arrests were likely.
Due to concerns about the disappearance of one boy named ‘Mark’, Martin’s flat (provided for him by the Paddington Churches Housing Association – a charity funded by government and local councils) was searched more rigorously after police received information that a new ornamental fountain had recently been installed in the grounds.
Operation Hedgerow ran at the same time as police were investigating other major paedophile rings within London, so Gaspar and Lewis’s team liaised with other detectives who were working on some of the most depraved paedophile rings, including:
Dirty Dozen: Croydon, South London
- John Thornton, 36, New Addington
- Edward Talbot, 47, Luton
- John Stead, 23, New Addington
- Lennie Smith, 33
- Daniel Paine, 33, Kentish Town
- Roy Alan Morris, 21
- Simon Haeems, 35, Stoke Newington
- Alfred Leslie Goddard, 58, Victoria
- Sidney Charles Cooke, Hackney
- Colin Byrne, 18, Islington
- Walter Ballantyne, 46, Islington
- Brian Turner, 50,
Alan Brent Babysitting Ring: East London
- Roy Becker, 72, Clapton
- Alan John Brent, 46, Clapton
- Bryan Owen, 62, Du Beavoir
Operation Stranger: (murders of Jason Swift and Barry Lewis) Hackney, East London
- Stephen Barrell, Hackney
- Sidney Charles Cooke, Hackney
- Robert Oliver, Hackney
- Leslie Bailey, Hackney
Victor Noicely Ring: Paddington, Central London
- Anthony Cassel Chambers
- Victor Noicely
Operation Circus: Piccadilly, Central London
- Samuel Bolger, Ash
- Abraham Jacob, Islington
- Andrew Prichodsky, Paddington
- Malcolm Raywood, Wandsworth
OPERATION HEDGEROW: PERPETRATORS
Of the 20-23 perpetrators finally bought to justice, the full list of names is not publicly known. However, using newspaper reports and online information, I have collated as much information as I can.
(Ages given as of 1988/89)
- Colin John Meredith Peters, 43 – Barrister – Chepstow Road, Bayswater, London – Known as ‘Mother Hen‘.
- Ernest Frank Whittington, 63 – Caretaker – George Lansbury House, Harlesden, London – Known as ‘the Chocolate man‘.
- Alan Herbert Delaney, 47 – Company director – Shirley Drive, Hounslow, London and Kilburn Park Road, Willesden – where he was a trainer of a North London youth football team.
- Victor James Burnett, 42 – Trainee cab driver – Hanbury Road, Acton, London – Known as ‘Mother Hen‘.
- John Elwin Williams, 45 – Builder – St Mary’s Road, Harlesden, London
- Patrick Joseph Norris, 55 – Holly Close, Willesden, London
- Patrick David Norris, 19 – Holly Close, Willesden, London
- Sean Norris, 18 – Holly Close, Willesden, London
- Brian Peter Howard-Edmunds, 59 – Fortunegate Road, Harlesden, London
- Charles Arthur Wellings, 54 – Hugh Gaiskall House, Stamford Hill, Hackney, London
- Kenneth Martin, 64 – Market trader – Glengall Road, London
- Unnamed, 64 – Clerk – Hastings, East Sussex
- Unnamed – Senior House of Lords official, London (was arrested at a Central London clinic)
- Unnamed – Vicar – West London
- Unnamed, 59 – Unemployed, Harlesden, London
- Unnamed, 64 – Shoemaker – Kilburn, London
- Unnamed, top level MP (alleged)
- Unnamed, Member of high society (alleged)
- Unnamed, Senior official at Buckingham Palace (The Times, 3/2/1989)
Martin, it was said, was a particularly nasty, violent individual.
- Wellings, Martin and Howard-Edmunds appeared in court together as part of the Brent ring.
- Peters, Whittington, Delaney, Burnett, Williams and the Norris’s appeared in court together as part of the Ealing ring.
- Kenneth Martin – 13 years
- Alan Herbert Delaney – 11 years
- Victor James Burnett – 9 years
- Charles Arthur Wellings – 9 years
- Colin John Meredith Peters – 8 years
- Brian Peter Howard-Edmunds – 7 years
- Ernest Frank Whittington – 6 years
- Patrick David Norris – 18mths detention
- Patrick Joseph Norris – 11 months (for attempting to pervert the course of justice)
- Sean Norris – 2 years probation
Many of the children abused by the ring were subsequently trafficked into prostitution, some became procurers themselves (like Patrick and Sean Norris), whilst one was so psychologically damaged he was detained in Broadmoor indefinitely.
Comment left on a blog from someone who had the misfortune to encounter Peters:
As for the perpetrators, further details of what became of some of them can be found in Part one but this is too extensive a post to include further details here.
FOLLOWING ON FROM THE TRIAL
Roger Gaspar and John Lewis wrote an internal report entitled ‘People Not Property‘, which highlighted the need for a specialist unit to investigate crimes against children as there were many different elements that they couldn’t investigate – namely, connections to people in high places. It was presented to the Association of Chief Police Officers, but, surprise surprise, was shelved.
Despite evidence and concerns the tentacles of the ring also stretched internationally (one article claimed boys were trafficked from the Far East), the team were refused further funding or officers, so another important element of this case was never investigated.
THE MONCINI NETWORK – SATANIC RITUAL ABUSE
One of those elements was a link to the Alessandro Moncini network in Trieste, Italy, which was uncovered by US law enforcement in 1988. This network involved satanic ritual abuse.
In a scenario similar to that of Operation Ore, where extensive investigations weren’t carried out following information provided by US officials, a tip off in 1988 about the Moncini connection couldn’t be investigated due to lack of funds and manpower.
Interestingly, a Freedom of Information request regarding Operation Hedgerow in 2013 was refused by the Met Police of a number of grounds – one of them under Section 23(5): Information Supplied by or concerning certain Security Bodies being a security issue.
Article by Mark Burdman – E I R – 17th Feb 1989
Pedophiles arrested ‘more powerful than the mafia’
On Feb. 2 , in London’s Old Bailey court, four men were convicted for running a ring of pedophiles – adults who sexually use children which had recruited at least 150 young boys, some as young as nine, for repeated sodomic abuse. It is the biggest ring of pedophiles yet uncovered in Britain.
British newspapers Feb. 3 said it had been run as a “Mafia like conspiracy.” One man arrested was too frightened to testify, declaring that the ring was “more powerful than the Mafia.”
According to experts on child abuse in Britain, this case is only the beginning. Interviewed on British television Feb. 3 , Dianne Core, head of the Childwatch organization, stated that “people in high places” were involved in pedophiliac activities, and that the whole matter would “explode” during the coming months. The London Daily Telegraph’s crime correspondent reported Feb. 3 : “Despite the convictions, police believe there is still a flourishing pedophile network in Britain, with a sophistication said to resemble the Mafia.”
The most prominent figure in the ring, Colin Peters , was trained at Oxford, and was formerly a senior adviser in the British Foreign Office. Following his Foreign Office work, he prosecuted cases for the British Customs and Excise. Investigators working on the case had interrogated at least one senior member of the House of Lords, one vicar in West London, and officials in Whitehall , “but the police did not have sufficient evidence or manpower to pursue their suspicions,” the Telegraph reported.
Alan Delaney, the official head of the ring, is a cleaning company director. Delaney would procure young boys for pedophiles by putting job advertisements in the press. The ring would also procure boys who were members of a junior soccer team. Many of the youngsters had been at special boarding schools for educationally below-normal children. Others were runaways, who were caught up by members of the Delaney-Peters ring, who would roam the streets of London scouting for boys .
According to the Feb. 3 Telegraph account, the young boys were “passed around its members for sexual degradation and, when the attraction faded, abandoned to a life of prostitution, drugs , and petty crime . . . . The boys were tempted off the unfamiliar London streets with promises of food, accommodation, money, and a sympathetic ear. Some were plied with drugs , including cocaine, and sexually assaulted while under their influence.”
When he was brought before presiding Judge Pownall for sentencing Feb. 3, Colin Peters was told: “On your own admission, you found boys to satisfy your lust. You were prepared to encourage them to drugs or to lace their drinks and you have made matters worse by trying to get witnesses not to attend court. You did that to save your own skin. That was disgraceful. You of all people should have known that.”
‘A permanent conspiracy’
British deputy police superintendent John Lewis , who oversaw the investigations , is calling on Scotland Yard to create a special squad to deal with pedophile rings. Lewis declared Feb. 2 that “these people are as organized and sophisticated as any other criminals, and are involved in a permanent conspiracy which is renewed daily as they hunt for new boys. They need to be targeted like bank robbers. It is important that we should not feel complacent. Positive policing should be continued.”
British police investigators were reportedly angered by the light sentence meted out to Peters , Delaney, and their two collaborators. The four received, in total, only 34 years of sentences. Peters received only 8 years, for combined charges of conspiracy to commit buggery (sodomy), buggery and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Delaney was jailed for 1 1 years , on conspiracy to commit buggery, indecent assault, taking indecent photographs , indecency with a child, and attempted buggery. One of the four was given only 6 years.
A senior British police officer told the Daily Express Feb.4: “It should have been more. The damage these people have done to young lives is very severe.” In an editorial entitled, “Is This Justice?” the Express Feb. 4 called the sentences “woefully inadequate . . . weighed against the enormity of their crimes and the emotional and physical damage they did to their victims , some of whom were only nine years old.”
Moncini and the Satanist track
The London case has refocused attention on another recent case, in Trieste, Italy, involving one Alessandro Moncini, a businessman nabbed by law enforcement in the United States and convicted in 1988 for importing child pornography (although he received a paltry one-year sentence and was released “on good behavior” after serving less than three months in jail).
Investigators in Trieste working on the Moncini case have recently been to the United States, attempting to accumulate more information on what they believe to be a “most exclusive ring of international pedophiles.”
Informed sources in Britain believe that the Delaney/Peters ring and the Moncini-linked networks are connected, and that both are part of an international pedophile conspiracy. U. S. law enforcement officials have in their possession tapes of Moncini attempting to procure a young girl, for Satanic-ritual abuse purposes. Experts on ritual abuse stress that pedophile rings , as horrifying as they are in and of themselves , are actually fronts for, or extensions of, hard-core Satanist cults, for whom the pedophiles provide young boys.
In Britain, however, the Home Office has repeatedly indicated its opposition to allowing the matter of satanism to be pursued by police and in the courts. Should this attitude continue, it will be impossible to crack the command-structure controlling powerful pedophile rings.
Experts in pedophilia and Satanism report to EIR, that that the dossiers on previously publicized cases of European based pedophile rings have never been fully closed, and may now be reopened. These involve pedophile rings that were either cracked or exposed in the 1986-87 period. Three of them are worth noting:
• On June 18 , 1987, the head of the Belgian national office of UNICEF was arrested for involvement in a large scale child pornography and pedophilia ring. Ring leader Jozef Verbeeck had used his influential position in UNICEF to procure children, often from broken homes, some as young as eight months old, for some 400 wealthy clients across Europe. The basement of UNICEF in Brussels was used to store pornographic pictures of children.
• In spring-summer 1987, Dutch authorities uncovered one of the worst cases of collective child sex abuse in recorded history. In a small town called Oode Pekala, during the Easter holidays, a gang of pedophiles dressed as clowns, lured more than 70 children into taking part in pornographic movies.
• On Aug. 3, 1986, the Sunday Times of London “Insight Team” exposed the activities of a secretive organization called the Spartacus Club, based near Amsterdam in Holland, which sent pedophile literature to 25 ,000 subscribers in Great Britain, and which specialized in procuring boys from the Philippines for pedophile activity. Headed by one John Stamford, the club was part of Spartacus International, which published homosexual literature and the Paedo Alert News, “a magazine about boy love.”
PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING BOOK EXCERPT COMES WITH A TRIGGER WARNING.
CHILD SLAVES, By Peter Lee-Wright
An interesting annotation was left under the above FoI request giving an insight in to Howard-Edmund on 27th August 2015:
Bryan Howard Edmunds was described as a market trader. I knew him in the early 80’s.
He was employed by a firm building motorways definitely on the M11 and others, and lived in a touring caravan parked on the motorway site, which was devoid of electricity and running water. He was known as ‘Gummy’ due to having no teeth, and his personal hygeine was deplorable. He was filthy.
I can remember at least one young boy staying in his caravan. This boy was passed off as his nephew. We could not understand how anyone would allow their child to stay with such a dirty individual. We thought Howard Edmunds to be the perfect model of a pervert, with his thick-lensed spectacles, but in those days paedophilia was not really suspected nor reported on in such a scale as to arouse any suspicion.
- SNP activist, Willie McRae, killed over child sexual abuse files, Daily Express 2014
- VIP Paedophiles – The Daily Mirror, 2015
- MI5 knew prosecutors lied to press about Cyril Smith, The Guardian, 2017
- Spotlight on Abuse blog – Operation Hedgerow
- Cathy Fox Blog – Paedophilia Around Piccadilly