MP claims former Downing Street aide linked to paedophile ring

Thu, Oct 25, 2012, 01:00

A PAEDOPHILE ring existed at the highest echelons of the British establishment in the 1970s and 1980s involving a senior aide to a prime minister, Labour MP Tom Watson has alleged.

Meanwhile, the British director of prosecutions is to review a decision taken by the crown prosecution service three years ago not to prosecute Jimmy Savile on sex abuse charges.

In the House of Commons yesterday, Mr Watson told British prime minister David Cameron that documents seized from convicted paedophile Peter Righton, who was jailed in 1992, were never properly investigated by police.

The allegations, he said, had come from a former child protection specialist, but they have been supported by information given to him over recent days by a number of other people involved at the time, said the Birmingham MP.

Letters had been seized from Righton’s home “from known and convicted paedophiles”, he said, adding that one of his contacts claims that one paedophile boasted in a letter that “a key aide to a former PM who could help get hold of indecent images of children”.

Before his prosecution for importing and possession of illegal pornographic photographs, Righton was a former consultant to the National Children’s Bureau and a lecturer at the National Institute for Social Work.Earlier, he had worked in the same care homes as Peter Howarth, who later abused scores of boys in north Wales, and another paedophile Jack Bennett. All of them claimed that their actions were carried out independently.

In the Commons, Mr Watson said: “The evidence file used to convict paedophile Peter Righton, if it still exists, contains clear intelligence of a widespread paedophile ring. One of its members boasts of his links to a senior aide of a former prime minister, who says he could smuggle indecent images of children from abroad.

“The leads were not followed up, but if the file still exists I want to ensure that the Metropolitan police secure the evidence, re-examine it and investigate clear intelligence suggesting a powerful paedophile network linked to parliament and No 10,” he said.

In 1984, Bennett, who had brought boys to a home and gave them bogus medical examinations before abusing them, pleaded guilty to indecent assaults. Later, Mr Watson said numerous people had come forward with information about the Righton allegations after his speech. Meanwhile, director of prosecutions Kier Starmer is to review decisions not to prosecute Savile in 2009 over four sex abuse claims dating back to the 1970s. The crown prosecution service has said charges investigated by Surrey Police were not brought against him because the victims were unwilling to support the investigation.