Cover-up: Sir Michael Havers, right, warned Geoffrey Dickens over Peter Hayman

22.03.19
By Mark Watts

Paedophile spy Sir Peter Hayman escaped prosecution in 1978 after his solicitor lobbied the then director of public prosecutions in person, new evidence reveals.

The DPP at the time, Sir Thomas Hetherington, agreed not to prosecute Hayman, the late senior diplomat and MI6 officer, at a private meeting with his solicitor, Sir David Napley, who pleaded with the country’s top prosecutor to let his client off being charged with distributing obscene material through the post.

The disclosures are contained in a statement by Jeremy Naunton, a solicitor who worked on the case in the DPP’s office, for the inquiry into child sexual abuse. The statement is set to be presented to the inquiry panel next Wednesday when Naunton is due to be called to testify during the third week of hearings in its Westminster investigation.

Naunton recorded in a file note of 1978: “I am told by Sir David Napley that Hayman has suicidal tendencies because of the case.”

In his statement to the inquiry, Naunton says: “I probably received a telephone call from Sir David Napley to suggest that if the matter against Hayman were to continue he may commit suicide.”

“The prosecuting decision was made by Sir Thomas Hetherington, director of public prosecutions, at a meeting with Sir David Napley at which I did not attend,” he says.

“I was not asked to be present, and knew nothing about it until it had taken place.”

“At some point following the meeting I must have heard that it had been decided that Hayman would not be prosecuted. Although I cannot recall a reason not to prosecute, I always believed that it was because of the concern that Hayman might commit suicide.”

Hayman was cautioned instead.

Naunton notes: “I believe that Hayman was later prosecuted for importuning in a public lavatory and convicted, but still did not commit suicide.”

Hayman was convicted of gross indecency in 1984, and died in 1992. .

Napley was a solicitor and fixer notorious for acting for prominent men embroiled in “sex scandals” besides Peter Hayman, the UK’s former high commissioner to Canada and a long-time senior officer of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), better known as MI6. Napley also acted for Jeremy Thorpe, leader of the Liberal party, and Greville, later Lord, Janner, the Labour MP.

Naunton will tell the inquiry that he was unaware that Sir Michael, later Lord, Havers, then attorney general, may have discussed the case with Hetherington.

Scotland Yard investigated Hayman after a package of “obscene literature” was found, reportedly on a bus in London. It was addressed to him under an assumed name, “Peter Henderson”.

Police traced it to him, and found 45 volumes of obscene diaries in which he described paedophile acts. They discovered that he was a member of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), which promoted sex with children.

Officers also found a stack of correspondence with other PIE members, exchanging their desires and images of child sexual abuse.

A note in Hayman’s DPP file records: “It seems no harm has been done to anyone.”

Naunton tells the inquiry that this note “is at risk of being read out of context,” saying that it “has to be read in the light of the laws, public interests and their applications as they existed in 1978.”

The potential breach was of the Post Office Act, he says, which sought to protect Post Office employees. “As the package was left on a bus in a brief-case it could be suggested no harm, per se, was done to which the act was aimed.”

The case dates from before the creation of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Naunton adds: “Had the later code for crown prosecutors applied, it may be that there was sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction to prosecute but that the public interest would not justify proceedings. This could have been based on degree of seriousness of the alleged offence(s) and the perceived genuineness of the threat of suicide.”

In Parliament in 1981, the backbench Conservative MP, Geoffrey Dickens, named Hayman as a paedophile despite warnings from Havers.

But the detective who sent the file to the DPP on Hayman reveals that he expected a prosecution.

Mark Watts (@MarkWatts_1) is the co-ordinator of the FOIA Centre.

Comment on this article

Revealed: detectives devastated after DPP let off dangerous paedophile Peter Hayman

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Peter Hayman avoided obscenity charge after David Napley personally pleaded with DPP