Scandal: Dolphin Square in Pimlico, near Westminster in London

By Mark Watts

Detectives from Scotland Yard hit a hitch during their operation to clear up claims that police had long covered up child sexual abuse by ‘VIPs’.

The team from the Metropolitan Police Service’s professional standards department (PSD) had found an incredible witness, a former detective from their own force who had worked in the paedophile unit from 1996 to 1999.

But the ex-officer, whose evidence is so sensitive that the inquiry sponsored by the Home Office into child sexual abuse has designated his name top secret and insist on calling him only “GB”, was feeling distinctly nervous with the idea of talking about what he knew to officers from ‘Operation Winter Key’, the Met PSD’s investigation into allegations of historic child abuse relating to institutions and prominent people.

He raised concerns – often voiced by former officers – that he would be breaking the Official Secrets Act by talking about what he knew.

The senior investigating officer (SIO) of Operation Winter Key, Detective Inspector Dan Setter, personally spoke to GB to re-assure him that he would not be in breach of the Official Secrets Act by talking to his team about Operation Mileshogue or about the MP caught on the “sex tape” with a teenager.

Setter backed this up with an e-mail, five days ahead of a second meeting in December 2016 between two other officers on Operation Winter Key and GB. A Met transcript of GB’s interviews with Operation Winter Key noted these re-assurances.

The two officers from Operation Winter Key, detective constable Kathleen Drummond and a trainee detective constable, settle down at GB’s home to hear his extraordinary account…

The inquiry failed to call GB or any other witness in relation to his evidence. Its report on the Westminster investigation completely ignored the former officer’s evidence.

But GB’s bombshell account is set to feature in a new book out next week, Scandal at Dolphin Square, by Simon Danczuk, the former MP, and Daniel Smith.

GB explains to the officers from Operation Winter Key that he took the allegations, as he describes them in a witness statement, of sexual abuse at various locations including Dolphin Square of “young boys within the care system” from Bermondsey to Thamesmead with him when he transferred to the Met’s paedophile unit in 1996.

He had first learnt of the allegations while at the child protection unit at Shooters Hill police station in Greenwich borough between 1991 and 1996. In a witness statement of 2017 for Operation Winter Key, GB says (as it appears in the original document):

“It was whilst in the later part of this position that I became involved with allegations that children in care or of interest to Social Services were involved in organised sexual abuse, involving individuals and sex parties involving political, government and military figures, this was later to become Operation MILESHOGUE.

“This was an intelligence led operation relating to paedophiles, the investigation did not begin until I started at the Paedophile Unit as the borough did not have the facility to investigate the matter, we were overstretched keeping up with referred matters.

“It took me a long time to start Mileshogue, eventually I opened a CR docket [a criminal file log] and submitted a report on paper to push the matter. Eventually I was given authority to begin an intelligence led operation confined to the activities of the 6 core subjects named by the children. I made applications for surveillance and specialist facilities, but these were refused.”

Operation Mileshogue centred on a Greenwich-based pimp who supplied seven or eight identified “young boys” for sexual abuse at parties at Dolphin Square, or at one of five client suspect’s homes, or on a boat, described by boys as a “little gin palace”, according to a transcript of GB’s interview with the Met’s Operation Winter Key.

The boys were from Green Lane children’s home in Greenwich, says GB. Two of the boys, given the codes WM-A118 and WM-A119 by the inquiry, were refugees. GB had interviewed them, according to the Met’s transcript (as it appears in the original document, as with all material quoted, complete with punctuation and other typing errors):

“Those boys I interviewed on tape several times. They claimed one another had been abused by other people, were taken to parties and things by [the pimp] himself he was like a modern day Fagan [sic].

“He also had them doing robberies and burglaries but he was also an informant for the police, inform on them and then turn up as their appropriate adult. These were kids all from local Children’s Home. He would befriend them and take them out.”

The pimp talked WM-A118 and WM-A119 into ‘TICs’ (or cases to be ‘taken into consideration’), GB says according to the transcript.

“[He] would tell them they would get a better deal that way so the kids would spill their guts. They were both up on about 120 burglaries going to court. The burglaries, the guy sending them there is the police informant so it ended up going before a judge and the whole lot was quashed.

“[WM-A118] and [WM-A119] were terrors, scourge of that area. Robbing stealing everything whatever they were told. About 20 boys were involved ripping Greenwich apart.”

Met notes of Operation Winter Key’s two meetings with GB record:

“GB states that [two] boys [WM-A118 and WM-A119] alleged that [the pimp]… would take them to parties to be abused.”

“One of the subjects lived within Surrey Constabulary… the operation originally confined to the subject became an enquiry run by Surrey Constabulary.”

One suspect “was already a high-profile subject of interest in Surrey,” GB says in a statement, a former head teacher who was living in Surrey and who was previously exposed by a newspaper. This became ‘Operation Lucifer’. He says that he was also assigned to that operation.

As a result, Surrey Police ran parts of the case under ‘Operation Lucifer’.

The transcript records GB as saying:

(For those for whom reading about sexual abuse may be a ‘trigger’, you may want to skip the following, graphic section of evidence.)

“There were several named people involved, one was a former head teacher who lived in Surrey they were taken to to abuse. He ran a gay/child photography, he was a photographer and head teacher.”

“He was a named suspect. Several other people were involved. One was a guy who lived in Orpington with another fella. During the investigation we found out he worked for the government in some role. What we do know is he was at a conference for arms sales. We followed him around.”

“He was something to do with Government arms sales. Can’t remember his name or partner’s name. The pair of them were named people by the children as abusers.”

“Going back to [the modern-day Fagin] he would take kids round to various addresses, there was a core group of about 5 people’s homes, 5 suspects that were names. There were others, the boys were taken to what they call the Dolphin Place, we thought that was Dolphin Square. They used to talk about a big dolphin there. Also that they were taken out on a boat, a little gin palace, they were abused there. They knew of a network of other children who were abused. We were told that one of [the pimp]’s boys had been beaten up in Trafalgar Square, had serious brain injuries. From what the boys say this lad was going to inform police, tell them everything. [The pimp] got hold of him, beat him up, he was left brain dead.”

Asked “what info he [the beaten-up boy] was going to give”, GB is recorded in the Met transcript as saying:

(For those for whom reading about sexual abuse may be a ‘trigger’, you may also want to skip the following section of evidence.)

“Around people [the pimp] was taking them to see. More Dolphin Square, it was to do with Dolphin Square.”

“He was a young… lad at the time about 14. He started young. He was about 10 when he started to be abused. He had moments of clarity talking about being abused, talked about [name redacted] taking him places, talked about a Dolphin, the Dolphin place and going on a boat.”

GB interviewed him in a secure unit.

(For those for whom reading about sexual abuse may be a ‘trigger’, you may also want to skip the following, graphic section of evidence.)

“He had difficulties, one minute you were talking to him the next he was masturbating in the corner. It was totally sexualised behaviour. He would try and rape other boys in the secure unit.”

“I only ever saw him in the secure unit. I didn’t speak to him before he was attacked. He was in the secure unit for his mental health after being beaten up. [WM-A118] and [WM-A119] told me about their friend who was going to tell and this was what happened to him and this why [sic] [WM-A118] and [WM-A119] were afraid to talk about anything to with the guy who was running it.”

Asked how many suspects there were in Operation Mileshogue, GB says:

“5 core people named [besides the pimp], the other [sic] were just nicknames and descriptions. Only 5 names, the boys actually knew their names.”

The suspects’ names were recorded on the case file, he adds.

The Met notes of its meetings with GB record:

(For those for whom reading about sexual abuse may be a ‘trigger’, you may also want to skip the following section of evidence.)

“One of the children from Green Lane was about to go to the police to name MP’s [sic] who had been abusing him. Before he could give his information he was attacked in Trafalgar Square and left brain damaged.”

“He was also told that a male called [name redacted] who’s [sic] surname he cannot remember but who he describes as a ‘Fagan’ type character, was taking children to parties to be abused and also getting the children from Green Lane and other Children’s Homes, to commit burglaries and then report them to the police for committing the offence.”

No one was caught for savagely beating the boy.

The Met’s meeting notes continue:

“When attempting to get the boys [WM-A118 and WM-A119] to give more details of the offences committed against them, they would only describe what had happened to the other boy and not what had happened to them. They would not admit that they themselves had been abused.”

Asked what WM-A118 and WM-A119 said about Dolphin Square, the transcript records GB as saying:

(For those for whom reading about sexual abuse may be a ‘trigger’, you may also want to skip the following section of evidence.)

“There was someone in the Navy that they had met there. Supposed to be a politician involved that they had met but no name. Things they were told by [name redacted]. Half the time they were taken to these places they were drunk out of their brains. They would top them up with more alcohol and they would be abused.”

“Q- How did you identify the venue as Dolphin Square?”

“Didn’t particularly, they said there were Dolphins and it was near Westminster Bridge. They used to call it the place with Dolphins.”

“Q- Ever take them for a drive round to identify the place?”

“No they mentioned Dolphins and Westminster Bridge. I went to see [the Fagin-type pimp] a guy can’t recall name, he uses four different names, he was running the boys, he had been a rent boy and got the lads to work for him. He also mentioned Dolphin Square he had been there as a child himself, been abused.”

“I saw him in prison, [name redacted] the Fagan type.”

“Q- Who else in the office knew about Dolphin Square?”

“Everyone I suppose, we had briefings, every now and again we get an operation. It was there that GP [the late DC Graham Passingham] would tell me that he had interviewed before and there was a load of prominent people living in Dolphin Square that was all part of his enquiry. When I mentioned the boys mentioned Dolphins it moved onto Dolphin Square.”

“Q- Did you put in for more resources help to assist you, who did you send that to?”

“Yes to Commander C1.”

“We thought that a good hit on these people would have been telephone intercepts because we could see they were talking to each other every two or three days. I put in a request for the intercepts and it goes on a first come first served basis no priorities we weren’t regarded as a priority so that’s why I went to Surrey and Surrey decided it was a priority.”

“When I tried to get MH off the ground it took a year for the docket to be accepted. I wrote the report and it was about a year later.

“It bounced back and forwards, you can’t put that, [sic] in you can’t put that in it went back and forward. It took nearly a year for authority just to go and interview. It was so slow.”

“WM-A118 I think was about 8, with him aged 8 through to about 14. He was 13 or 14 when I was interviewing him.”

GB expanded on the “gin palace”, according to the Met’s transcript of its interview with him:

(For those for whom reading about sexual abuse may be a ‘trigger’, you may also want to skip the following section of evidence.)

“Gin Palace is a boat, a certain type of boat, they often used to go off shore people they met on the boat, it was basically an orgy on the boat, the boat would sail outside of British territorial waters because there were people on there that wouldn’t do it in the UK, didn’t want to be seen in the UK.”

“Q- Who was taking them there?”

“[The pimp] or any of the 5 main core people. [The pimp] would take them to them and they would take them on, the kids would stop with him for the weekend and do whatever he told them. That person would take them somewhere else and swopsies [sic] of boys when they go there basically the way paedophiles were working meet up, meet up in a hotel in a room or something like that each would bring their own boy, swop boys and be there for the weekend or that night.”

A police doctor examined the boys, says GB. The doctor described WM-A118 as have been abused to the point, says GB in an especially graphic part of his account (which you may also want to skip if reading about sexual abuse may be a “trigger”), “where he was going to have to use a tampon just to keep his bum closed.”

Asked how long he was “dealing with MH”, the transcript records GB as saying:

“3 years, all the time not a 100%. It sat in the background. If I got some time I dealt with it.”

Met notes of meetings with GB say:

“GB worked on this operation on his own and was not given the resources to help him. He took Mileshogue with him when he moved to the Paedophile Unit at NSY [New Scotland Yard] in around 1996.”

“One of the subjects lived within Surrey Constabulary… the operation originally confined to the subject became an enquiry run by Surrey Constabulary.”

Asked how many people were on Operation Mileshogue, the transcript quotes GB as saying:

“Just one, me. It was difficult to get help, get anything started and in the end Surrey took over the one aspect which related to the guy who was a former Head Master. They put him under surveillance. They did come into London to have a look at other people’s habits but it was really just me.”

“Yes it went to Surrey they got what I could never get they got telephone intercept for the main suspects. The core group of 5 would talk to each other virtually every other day. We put the intercept on and from that day for the two months they were on, I think, the guy that lived with the man who worked for the Government in Orpington never phoned anyone during that whole period. He didn’t receive phone calls from anyone during that period.”

He adds that the operation evaporated when he left the paedophile unit in 1999. He says that suspects in Operation Mileshogue cropped up in a separate investigation into the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE):

“One of my roles at the Yard was Operation HATTON which again was an intelligence led operation into the workings of Paedophile Information Exchange (P.I.E.), the subjects of Operation Mileshogue had strong links to Hatton but no longer attended the meetings. I worked on this enquiry until I left the paedophile Unit.”

GB, according to the Met transcript, recalls a troubling episode that raises further questions about how the suspects may have been tipped off about surveillance of them:

(For those for whom reading about sexual abuse may be a ‘trigger’, you may also want to skip the following section of evidence.)

“Surrey were investigating this one person, it was the Crime Squad that did it.

The Squad that were doing the surveillance and observation, one of their members was getting married, so for that weekend they were not going to work on it. It was only because I was passing by that I changed the tape. The guy in Surreys [sic] house was a permanent video feed from a house in a back garden opposite. I was passing by going to relatives nearby and went in and changed the tape. So the tape went from Friday to Saturday, 24 hour tape so I changed it on Saturday or Sunday, could have been Sunday, anyway I changed the tape and the guy from Orpington and his partner turned up at the house with a boy aged about 9 or 10 and went into the house. The kid was in there for about half an hour or so and came out.

There was no one doing a live active surveillance that weekend so all of a sudden you have this child going into the house brought from the other end from our ground.

That was it, they decided all the 5 core suspects would have their houses raided the same morning, look for stuff and low and behold there wasn’t much there.”

Surveillance officers of Surrey Police on ‘Operation Lucifer’ had an even bigger shock while watching another suspect near Kensington Palace Gardens, GB says in a witness statement to Operation Winter Key:

“The Surrey surveillance team who whilst following one of the subjects of Operation Mileshogue who had become prominent in Operation LUCIFER, were challenged by armed plain clothed officers who told them to stop the surveillance as the subject was a government official engaged in an arms conference. Whilst I did not witness this incident I believe that it took place near Kensington Palace Gardens in Central London.”

The Met’s meeting notes add:

“GB remembers an occasion when [a suspect] was being followed by Surrey officers and they were stopped by Special Branch officers who held a gun to them warning them to stop following [the suspect] as he was involved with arms dealing. [GB] did not witness this but was told this information. He also remembers there were telephone taps on his [the suspect’s] house and as soon as the tapes went on there were no calls to the house. He believed that the suspect et al were being warned that they were being looked at by surveillance officers.”

In a separate investigation, GB says that a mystery senior officer from a regional crime squad warned him off an investigation into organised crime that had caught an MP on tape engaging in sexual activity with a teenager.

Mark Watts (@MarkWatts_1), co-ordinator of the FOIA Centre, is the former Editor-in-Chief of Exaro.

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Ex-detective reveals police probe into VIP paedophiles’ abuse parties at Dolphin Square

Pic: Paul Hudson