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Playland Part 1: When protecting 'millionaires, titled and influential' paedophile punters became paramount

CassandraCogno Russell photo
CassandraCogno RussellWestminster
Playland Part 1: When protecting 'millionaires, titled and influential' paedophile punters became paramount
During 1970-1975 an amusement arcade in Piccadilly Circus frequented by influential people featured in several trials as a central venue for sexually exploiting child runaways. Will it now be possible to find out who wasn't prosecuted and why?

Piccadilly’s reputation as a central London red-light district for specifically male prostitution stretches back centuries but during Heath's term as prime minister, an amusement arcade called Playland took on a starring role when it became a honey-pot, unwittingly or not, to a number of well-connected and powerful clientele interested in mostly young runaway boys – 'punters' - on whose behalf an elite political backlash of pro-paedophile lobbying would be unleashed from 1975 onwards.

Across London’s West End amusement arcades had flourished, immortalised in British popular culture by The Who’s ‘Pinball Wizard’ in their innovative rock opera ‘Tommy’ of 1968. In the early 70s, prior to the founding of PIE or PAL, the word ‘paedophile’ was yet to be preferred as conceptually distinct from 'child molester' and the golden era of video arcade games was just about to bloom. 

Since 1935, the lights of Playland had drawn both the teddy boys of the late fifties and the teens of the early seventies. For runaways drifting in from the provinces arriving at national railway stations such as Victoria, Paddington and King's Cross, pinball was the game and Playland was the place to play it. During a 1977 licensing appeal for Playland it would be mentioned in court that no less than 64 pimps preying on children were known to frequent the arcade in 1974.

6 minute walk from Albany to Playland 16, Coventry Street (the star almost opposite Playland is 32 Shaftesbury Avenue, the office location for Albany Trust during 1958-1972)

Situated just off Piccadilly Circus, a brisk 5 minute walk down Regent’s Street from Albany (after which the Albany Trust had been named and one-time location of Ted Heath’s former ‘set’ at F2 while Leader of the Opposition pre 1970), or a minute across the Trocadero from the Albany Trust’s offices at No 32 Shaftesbury Avenue, the neon front of Playland amusement arcade, 16 Coventry Street, was open most, if not all hours.

In just over a year after Heath was elected, trials involving Playland began to reach the news with the Evening Standard declaring the arcade had become ' a den of vice' by March 1972. Memories of the arcade and its reputation have left their mark in fiction.  Jake Arnott chose the Piccadilly Circus arcade as a location for a bomb planted by the Angry Brigade in his novel Johnny Come Home. Published in 2007 but set in 1972, the same year as the first Playland Trial, the warning letter stated:

“Playland is not an amusement arcade, it is a slave market where runaway boys are lured with false pleasures and turned into donkeys, beasts of burden for the hidden desires of a sick society…Young bodies are not slot machines for greedy lusts that lurk in the closet, they belong to the children of the Revolution…We are in Arcadia also.”[1]

During September 1969 - October 1970, in the the run up to and after Heath’s successful election in May, a 30 year old South African student at the London School of Economics conducted a study of the male prostitution scene at Piccadilly Circus. Dr Mary McIntosh (a friend of Nettie Pollard's, here being written to by Keith Hose, PIE Chairman in 1976) reviewed his first draft.

“On weekends, many younger boys can get free games on the machines from older men who may simply get pleasure from watching the boys amuse themselves.”[2]

Harris, in observing and speaking with boys at Piccadilly Circus, was in a position to gain information on the variety of clientele boys from Playland were being procured for.

"Most boys tell each other who they have been with but not what they do in bed." [3]

"Peter told me (and I was able to verify by checking the facts on the client named) of the drives in a Rolls-Royce to the client's country mansion on weekends and all the gadgets and splendid furniture he saw there." [4]

"A frequent host was a film director who would invite a few friends over and he, or more usually his chauffeur, would notify one or more of the boys, whom they knew and a few of them would go up to the apartment for the night."

"The clients of the boys come from the ranks of the young and the old, from the very wealthy to the poor, from the nondescript clerk or manual labourer to the famous actor, stage director or eminent professional man." [p.82]

1974 allegations from a mother that the Bishop of Stepney, Father Trevor Huddleston, had molested her two school-aged sons were later dismissed as the work of BOSS, (South Africa's security services) motivated by Huddleston’s anti-apartheid work. And Harold Wilson would also become convinced BOSS attempts to derail the Liberals and the involvement of a South African journalist Gordon Winter were behind the Norman Scott-Josiffe affair and Thorpe’s trial and public demise.

See further: The Dilly Boys by Mervyn Harris published in 1973

The risk for Heath's government was that if a place such as Playland came to the attention of one or more foreign security services as attracting ‘millionaires titled and influential people’ buying young runaway boys to sexually abuse, then as German magazine Stern would suggest in 1973:

“Under the control of a Mafia-type organisation, or an alien secret service, such a vice ring could be a most effective source of state secrets.”

PLAYLAND TRIAL No.1: Dec 1970 - 26 June 1972 Tiger Studios and the 'missing' indecency with children charges

In August 1971 Andrew Prichodsky (24) and Kenneth O’Neill (22) of North Common Road Ealing, were sentenced to 3 years for their procurement of young boys, photographing them and planning to a new business venture - Tiger Studios - producing obscene images of children to be advertised in alternative magazine Oz. Although Playland was not explicitly mentioned, luring boys from 'the middle of Piccadilly' was and:

“Referring to the boy of 14, Mr Prichodsky said: “He had left home. I met him in an amusement arcade in the West End. He had been staying with me. I have spent £80 on him mostly on clothes, and now he has …… off and left me,””

On 14 October 1970 armed with a search warrant two police officers had gone to Elm Court, Harrowby Street, in the West End, where Mr Prichodsky had a room.

Prichodsky was careful to let the police and the court know what he knew about who he knew:

'On a table they found a blue envelope containing obscene photographs of a 14-year-old boy. Mr Prichodsky said: ” Yes, I took them. You may think it funny, but I like pictures of young boys and there are a lot of influential people of the same mind. You would be surprised if I told you some of their names.”'

In total police found 1,800 photos and 13 cans of 35mm black and white film of boys, “some of whom were extremely young” in 3 searches of different locations related to Prichodsky and O’Neill.

Three searches were mentioned in court as having been made over the course of 4 months as set out below:

(1) 14 October 1970: Police search flat at 19 Elm Court Harrowby Street & seized a number of films and other articles – question over whether search warrant executed under Obscene Publications Act or under Drugs Statues

(2) 9 December 1970: Second search, this time of North Common Road, Ealing occupied at the time by Prichodsky and O’Neill, one found in bed with a boy of 14 – search warrant executed for stolen goods

(3) 20 January 1971: A third search ‘not necessary to allude in detail’ -  as per Lord Justice Roskill in Court of Appeal judgment

During the searches two documents in particular were referred to as having been seized. One, a list of boys with telephone numbers where they could be reached; the second, a mailing list which referred, among other publications, to Oz magazine. On a piece of paper found at the Ealing address was written: ” Oz for models.”

The prosecuting counsel was a Mr Kenneth Richardson and defence counsel for Prichodsky was Mr McHale. 

The prosecution's case was that ” It was clear that the defendants were hoping to enlist Oz in distributing the photographs and possibly obtain models through their advertisements.” A letter advertising Tiger Studios stated: 

"We are a new thing in photography of the modern male, new in ideas, new in photography, and new in young models selected fresh from school. We have got them round to our way of thinking. “We have spent a lot of money on them. We are offering 12 postcard-sized photographs of 11 year-old Jimmy for £5. He was a virgin. . ."

Today £5 would be worth around £73. What became clear during McHale’s plea in mitigation for his client was that Mr Justice Clarke just couldn't comprehend why the two defendants hadn't been charged with additional sexual offences against children, relating to the manner in which the boys had been procured, exploited and prostituted - all of which was apparent from the overall facts of the case as presented in court.

During the appeal, Lord Justice Roskill made a number of remarkable statements (my emphasis):

(a) "It is right to say that there were in the committal papers a number of statements of young men who had been allegedly involved in unlawful homosexual acts with one or other or both of the Appellants."

(b) "There was also evidence how at least one if not two boys had been persuaded, to use a neutral word, to go to the flat where these photographs were taken."

(c) "It is also right to say on that material there was evidence on which charges might have been laid either of indecent assault or procuring acts of gross indecency or of acts of gross indecency or possibly even of buggery or attempted buggery. There was also evidence which might have been the subject of charges of incitement to unlawful homosexual offences."

(d) But not a single charge of that kind was made. Mr. Richardson has given the reason and one can readily understand the prosecution may have felt that that evidence though available was not sufficiently reliable to justify the making of such charges."

For Mr Richardson to prosecute for any of the offences against boys he would have needed the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions, who at the time, was Sir Norman Skelhorn. From August 1967 when the Sexual Offences Act came into force partially decriminalising homosexuality, as DPP he'd been granted sole and absolute discretion over whether to prosecute sexual offences by men over 21 against youths and children under 21 under section 8 of the Act. 

Bearing in mind that Sir Norman, during the same time period, had declined to prosecute

(a) Cyril Smith for offences against boys in 1970; or 

(b) Victor Montagu (formerly 10th Earl of Sandwich, Conservative MP for South Dorset  and member of the Monday Club) for sexual offences against a boy in 1972

was it any wonder the victims of Prichodsky and O'Neill would be denied justice either?

Both defendants pleaded guilty to a single offence under s. 2(1) of the Obscene Publications Act 1959 as amended, a conviction for which if heard in the Crown Court (as opposed to the Magistrates' - a summary conviction) carried a maximum sentence of three years and/or a fine. A second count of conspiracy to publish obscene photographs was pleaded not guilty to by them both, which Mr Justice Clarke accepted. As would become clear at the Court of Appeal ten months later, the offence for which they were found guilty was limited very specifically to certain photos seized in the second search on 9 December 1970. A second indictment alleging drug offences was ordered to remain on the file marked not to be proceeded with.

Obscene Publications Act 1959 - F1 is the amendment - words inserted by Obscene Publications Act 1964

Curiously, not one charge was laid in relation to the 6 sacks of material (1,800 photos and 35 cans of film) the police had seized in their first search of Elm Court Harrowby Street on 14 October 1970.

On 10th August 1971 Mr Justice Clarke sentenced Prichodsky and O’Neill to 3 years’ imprisonment each - the maximum he thought he was entitled to under the Obscene Publications Act.

Playland Trial No. 1: The Appeal [2 March 1972 - 26 June 1972]

On 2 March 1972, within seven months of Prichodsky and O'Neill being sentenced they successfully lodged a right to appeal. The appeal was heard on 26 June by Lord Justice Roskill, Mr Justice Milmo and Mr Justice Bridge. Mr Kenneth Richardson appeared again for the Prosecution, which as Lord Justice Roskill would point out, was most helpful since the Court which had granted leave to appeal in March had not had the transcript of the original case to refer to, were uncertain as to the facts of the case and unclear as to "why certain statements had got into the committal documents, which, it seemed at first sight, were not relevant to the single charge against these men." Mr K. McHale appeared as defence counsel for both Prichodsky and O'Neill.

In delivering the judgment of the Court of Appeal Lord Justice Roskill also fleshed out Mr Justice Clarke's sheer incredulity that the defendants had not been charged with sexual offences against boys on the facts of the case:

“When one looks at page 25 of the transcript, one finds that at D the learned Judge said:

“When he was taking pictures of boys between the ages of 9 and 16, are you saying that your client did not appreciate that that was a wrong thing to do, that he was doing it not realising that it was wrong?”

to which counsel replied: “My Lord, I have obviously failed to convey that which I was attempting to convey. I sought to draw a distinction between the photographs which were taken at the flat which were intended to be marketed, and those which were seized at an earlier date, and are, therefore, not eligible for consideration for the offence which was committed in December. Your Lordship may think it is undesirable that such photographs should be taken, but they are not the subject matter of photographs which were in his possession on the date in question in this charge, for the purpose of publication“.

The learned Judge then went on: “Is this not right: that on the 8th of December, 9th of December 1970, were not photographs found in his possession of boys between the ages of 9 and 16, which he had taken himself?” to which Counsel replied: “Yes, my Lord, there were some such photographs”.

It is right to say that from beginning to end of the case there was never any evidence that any boy involved was of such tender years as 9 years of age; one boy was of the age of about 14. The learned Judge went on: “That is all I am concerned with here. That is what I have to deal with, and the evidence of the other photographs is evidence which shows that he has been doing the same thing on previous occasions”, to which counsel replied “Not marketing”. The learned Judge then said “But having for the purpose possibly, in the future, of gain, and that is a habit that he has been doing”.”

Astonishingly Playland Trial No 1 concluded as follows:

(1) Prichodsky and O'Neill were released immediately with a substituted prison sentence amounting to time already served;

(2) the 6 sacks of material seized by the police, due to not having been seized under a warrant executed under the Obscene Publications Act were legally required to be returned to the pair. Their defence counsel conveniently waived this right, which was good news for any influential people Prichodsky had boasted of knowing who appeared on the mailing list giving names and addresses of people who liked obscene photos of children.

(3) One Appellant asked for 'certain personal photographs' to be retrieved and handed back to him which the court agreed to.

R v Prichodsky and O'Neill (10 August 1971) The Times, 11 August 1971

R v O'Neill and Prichodsky [1972] EWCA Crim J0626-5

Playland Trial No. 2 (February 1972): Archer and Andrew-Cohen

Just before Prichodsky and O'Neill lodged their successful appeal, a second Playland trial took place at the Old Bailey. Five men appeared in court charged with sexual offences involving nine boys, all aged between thirteen and fifteen. As with the trial of Prichodsky and O'Neill, Mervyn Harris was aware of this second Playland Trial and included reference to both trials taking place in The Dilly Boys.

To Detective Sergeant Michael Keenan, defining the clientele of Playland was clearcut. The arcade was “a pretty unpleasant place frequented by homosexuals”. Yet men who were sexually interested in other men were not to be found at Playland. Playland's punters were specifically attracted to the age of boys who liked arcade games, fifteen and under. For those in the know, amongst the flashing lights, clacking flippers and lightening reverb of the pinball machines, Arnott’s fiction reflected facts, and Playland was known as a place where runaway boys could be bought from lurking pimps, for a few hours or a night or a party or a photo shoot, one, two, three at a time. Some of these pimps had once been young boys themselves, arriving at a railway station.

The central and convenient location of the arcade attracted pederasts and pedophiles that Playland Trial No 2. defendant David Archer, in an echo of Prichodsky's 1971 threat, would five years later describe as ‘millionaires, titled and influential people’. 

Evening Standard, Wednesday 1 March 1972

Aged 23 and 24, David Ernest Archer and Basil John Andrew Cohen had been living together at Hartham Road, Holloway, when they and three other men were convicted for sexual offences involving nine boys aged between 13 and 15  procured and traded at Playland. Archer received a sentence of 3 1/2 years and Cohen 4 years. Ian Henry Ashby of Denzil Road, Brent was jailed for 3 years. Geoffrey Storey, Cavell Street, Stepney pleaded guilty to soliciting and was jailed for 12 months

Of the five Leroy Peter Jones, an American living at a St John’s Wood address, (Aberdeen Place, close to Malcolm Raywood’s address given in Playland Trial No 2 as Elgin Avenue, Maida Vale), received the longest sentence of six years and was recommended for deportation. The five appearing at the Old Bailey in front of Recorder Sir Carl Aarvold were told (in a speech highlighting why an unequal age of consent provided scope for homophobia, although Aarvold did at least place children’s protection as paramount):

“This Playland arcade must be a very unsavoury place. No doubt some of the boys were willing participants and were prepared perhaps for money to indulge in unpleasant activities that went on. But even debauched youth is entitled to protection from further debauchery. Homosexuality may well be a disease, an illness or a weaknes of character, but when it involves the use of children in sexual display or sexual gratification then their protection must be of paramount importance. It is not only of concern to the boys mentioned in this case but to others who might become victims of other men. It is therefore necessary to impose sentences that reflect the public view of such activities and might act as a deterrent to others.”

Playland Trial No.2 Leave to Appeal

On 23 November 1972, three defendants – David Archer, Ian Ashby and Leroy Jones were given leave to appeal. Only Archer was represented by Mr J.O'Connor - Ashby and Jones were also appealing but did not appear and weren't legally represented.

It's unknown as yet whether the three were successful in their appeal or why  Andrew Cohen didn’t appeal. 

The management company of Playland, Trafalgar Novelties Ltd, had assured Sir Carl Aarvold of their intentions to take steps to “keep undesirables out” during the 1972 trial. When a second trial involving Playland hit the headlines three and a half years later, the reason behind Bruce Wayne Eckert’s decision to wind-up the company on 17 February 1975 became clear. 

Inside shots of Playland were soon to feature in that July's shock TV documentary 'Johnny Go Home' about the sinister self-styled Bishop of Medway, Roger Gleaves, his multiplicity of charities and hostels established to prey on young runaways and and the murder of Billy McPhee. Combined with the fact that both David Archer and Basil Andrew Cohen were co-defendants in another forthcoming Playland trial, the writing was on the wall for the Arcade before the third trial had even begun in June 1975. For about 6 weeks undercover police had observed Cohen with Malcolm Raywood and Andrew Novac at Playland between 13 May - 24th July in 1974 which meant that Cohen must have been released from prison mid-way through his 4 year sentence, if not earlier. The February 1975 timing of Playland’s proprietors’ decision to wind up Trafalgar Novelties Ltd suggests that knowledge of police activity around Playland and Piccadilly Circus was building throughout 1974, just as the three main champions for paedophiles' liberation and their legal defence - PIE, PAL and the NCCL Gay Rights Committee - were all forming in September the same year. 

However, before the third Playland trial took place, May 1973 saw The Sun report an international top people's vice ring involving young boys.  

May 1973: Magnetic Memories

While throughout May President Nixon and Watergate dominated headlines, the last ten days of the month promised a breaking UK scandal with the potential to overshadow Watergate and place Heath under direct pressure to at least be seen to act decisively in the interests of national security. 

Across the Atlantic the month had started with Dr Morris Fraser, a child psychiatrist from Belfast, flying to New York to face charges for sexual offences against boys as one of eight professional men involved in a Long Island international vice ring. 

For the relevance of Dr Morris Fraser to current investigations today: Northern Ireland authorities refuse to reveal details of paedophile with links to former government adviser on national security grounds [Independent on Sunday, 12 July 2015]

Charged alongside Fraser was a prominent Yale University Divinity School lecturer, the Dean of the Ecumenical Continuing Education Center, George Parker Rossman. Rossman was exceptionally well-connected, travelling the world as a Protestant minister of the Church of Disciples concerned with further education of the clergy while personally researching the availability of boys to sexually exploit. His globe-trotting exploits formed the substance of his first book on the subject 'Boys for Sale: A Study of the Prostitution of Young Boys for Sexual Purposes' in 1969. 

Financed by a wealthy Columbia University football coach, George Brehm, the Long Island international network bought a house with boats and served as a venue for hosting abusers and their often trafficked abusees , welcoming visitors from Canada, Mexico and as far away as Belfast, like Dr Fraser. During 1970 and 1971 Rossman had produced a newsletter for the group keeping them updated on pederasty news, before a film left to be developed at a drugstore revealed abuse and the Long Island activities started to unravel when police trailed the person who collected the developed film.

In the midst of being prosecuted Rossman as an academic went one better than Prichodsky by making it clear how he knew what he knew about who he knew in an article, 'The Pederasts' in a journal 'Society'. [Society, March 1973, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 29-35]

In the early sixties Rossman claimed to have come into contact with several professional men being blackmailed by a pimp prostituting children. Despite no official pederast associations like PIE, PAL or NAMBLA existing at the time, Rossman asserted that each pederast knows another and therefore,  "across a decade one can therefore be led from person to person." Before sending unsolicited pornography adverts had become illegal European firms selling child abuse images and literature had gleaned a lot of information on who were potential and actual customers. "There are now (in Europe) coded mailing lists of as many as 50,000 Americans who have purchased such materials." 

Having access to a mailing list of Book Explorers Inc (also the publisher of photographic books published by the British co-founder of the North American Boy Lovers' Association, Martin Swithinbank) which he'd used to market his 1969 book, Rossman had selected 1000 names to correspond with writing letters and producing his newsletter using an IBM MT/ST word processor. Crucially, as the earliest word processor the MT/ST had two magnetic tape drives which committed each keystroke to memory allowing it to reproduce copies of letters - perfect for producing 500+ mailshots as Rossman had, but more importantly perfect for retaining in its memory the names and addresses of all those Rossman had been corresponding with.

He developed "round-robin newsletter" including "information on pederast books, films, articles - the equivalent of nearly 5000 double-spaced type-written pages, which drew together nearly all of the available data on pederasty from all sources, for extensive comments from pederasts themselves."

"Those who received and commented on this material included pediatricians... psychiatrists, social scientists, politicians, policemen, parole officers, clergy - including a bishop - social workers, scholars of various disciplines. Many of these persons, of course, were not pederasts but were sex researchers and scholars of other disciplines."

Rossman had in effect spent the sixties creating the blue-print for three essential tools which were to move pro-paedophile lobbyists forward during the seventies:

- an international travel guide indicating where to find young boys to exploit and connect with pederasts globally, a concept which would be developed by John D. Stamford and his publication Spartacus

- a pre-PIE notion of publishing newsletters to create a community of abusers sharing their sexual interests in children "This project continued across five years, involving several hundred persons."

- a pre-PIE notion of creating face to face meetings for abusers under the pretence of providing group counselling "for pederasts who needed and wanted the help and support of others to keep from yielding to temptation" while allowing them to share "anonymously of their sexual fantasies, dreams and experiences."

Anonymous except for the most part to Rossman, who'd initiated all of the letter-writing through using commercial mailing lists for supplying child abuse literature and images and saved all those names and addresses to magnetic tape.

News of the international Long Island child abuse network didn't make headlines in the UK - or did it?

May was already a maelstrom of 'scandal' for Heath, all filling the news with headlines of their own.

David Anderson QC, Heath's Chief Reporter for Public Inquiries was on trial for approaching two 14 year old girls with a masochistic sexual request and Lord Lambton, Heath's Under-Secretary of State for the Air Force and Lord Jellicoe, (Lord Privy Seal, Monday Club member and Leader of the House of Lords) were  both forced to resign when revealed as customers of call-girls, calling their commitment to the UK’s national security interests publicly into question.

On Monday 21 May 1973, 56 year old Anderson, under oath in court testified that someone could have impersonated him. Although he did not deny he was on business in Troon in his first job in his new appointment for Public Inquiries,

"He added: I have actual official warning of this kind of exercise having taken place against public men. I have a letter from the Prime Minister warning men in public life as to the serious possibility of this." [3]

However, before resuming the trial on the second day Anderson’s defence counsel, Mr JPH Mackay QC, vice-dean of the Faculty of Advocates, went to the trouble of addressing the lack of clarity around which Prime Minister Anderson had intended to refer to. The Guardian [5] corrected the Daily Mirror report that ‘the Prime Minister’ referred to by Anderson was a former Prime Minister, namely Harold Macmillan under whom Anderson,  had served as a Solicitor-General between 1960-1964.

Unusually Anderson had not been an MP for most of the time he served as Solicitor-General under Macmillan and when he'd won a December 1963 by-election in Dumfries, he became one of the shortest-serving MPs by resigning at the next General Election in 1964. At the time he’d claimed ill-health as the reason for his resignation and no mention of a Prime Minister’s warning letter had been made. Post conviction Anderson maintained that his heroic actions in Norway during WWII, which had prevented the Soviet army from taking it over, had made him a target of the KGB, hence ‘impersonators’ Macmillan had warned of. Despite the support of MPs Malcolm Rifkind and Robin Cook who were convinced of Anderson’s innocence, in a bizarre twist David Steel’s wife, while watching a play based on Anderson’s trial, recognised the words a man had used to approach her when a fresher at University of Edinburgh in 1959. Lady Steel wrote about her realisation in her 2010 autobiography following an inquiry held almost a decade after Anderson’s death in 1995 failed to pardon him.

Scotland’s Profumo: Shocking story of the war hero who fell from grace, Daily Record, 22 November 2008

Anderson’s assertion of a Prime Minister's warning did not save him from a conviction for a 'breach of the peace', a £50 fine and the loss of his job. Neither did it save Lambton or Jellicoe from resigning their jobs.

And the 'scandalous' headlines failed to let up.

The day after Anderson was sentenced and towards the tail-end of the press coverage of the Lords' downfall, another vice-ring, this time international and involving young men and boys under the age of 21, was briefly reported before being bounced off the front pages by the announcement of Princess Anne’s engagement. The Sun declared 'Vice Probe Sensation: Action soon in 'Top People' Sex scandal':

"Dramatic action is believed to be imminent following a top-secret Scotland Yard and MI5 probe into allegations that public figures have been involved in an international vice racket." [6]

The vice racket 'may involve Government officials' and 'leading members of the aristocracy'. Fears were that the call-girl ring had been infiltrated by Soviet secret police and in Germany, Stern magazine published an article on 'a top British diplomat' as being a regular client at an exclusive brothel. Heading the inquiry were Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ernest Bond, deputy boss of CIF and Detective Chief Superintendent Bert 'Gang-Buster' Wickstead.

The Sun / Saturday 26 May 1973
News of the World / Sunday 27 May 1973

Staff from Stern magazine, declared themselves uninterested in the sex lives of British aristocracy:

“We are only concerned with the possible leakage of Nato secrets and the German branch of the vice ring, which might benefit from indiscretions of German diplomats and leakages of secrets through ‘blackmail’. Our main concern is the people behind this ring. Under the control of a Mafia-type organisation, or an alien secret service, such a vice ring could be a most effective source of state secrets.”[5]

Had Rossman's extensive international correspondence (his first 500 letters spanned addresses from five continents) and central co-ordinating role in the Long Island network led to discoveries about child abuse enthusiasts in Britain and Germany as well as Northern Ireland?

Rossman's article The Pederasts certainly had the desired effect. In February 1974, following a reduction in charges negotiated during 1973, he pleaded guilty to one charge of attempted sodomy with a 16 year old. He received 3 months' probation and an order to continue psychiatric treatment. In summer 1979 Rossman published a second book on his favourite topic 'Sexual Experience between Men and Boys' and travelled to the UK, meeting Antony Grey of Albany Trust and NCCL. In correspondence with Grey, Rossman hoped they might meet again and took the opportunity to propose a

‘circle of correspondents who might like to exchange some serious views — perhaps even small papers — on this topic. You might let me know if you find some people who might be interested.’

Some things, for Rossman at least, never changed.

Tim Fortescue was one of Heath’s Senior Conservative whips (1970-September 1973) during Playland Trials No. 1, 2, their appeals and the events of May 1973, a period of time when the risk to national security represented by Playland and its punters was at a sharp increase. However, in a 1995 BBC interview Fortescue didn't give his reason for helping out an MP in a jam involving ‘small boys’ as being in the interests of national security – only that it would give whips 'brownie points', thereby providing political parties with additional leverage over MPs and their votes in Parliament.

SpotlightOnAbuse: The Dirt Book - How the sexual abuse of children is used for political gain

Under Goddard's own work stream 'Allegations of child abuse against People of Prominence in Public Life' the England and Wales Inquiry will now have the opportunity to examine allegations of child abuse against members of Heath's government. It's to be hoped the Inquiry doesn't view the consequences for national security which Heath failed to confront in 1973 (despite much posturing for the press) as a barrier to justice for those alleging exploitation and abuse linked to Piccadilly Circus and Playland.

In July 2015 one of Heath's junior Ministers for Education under Thatcher as Secretary of State, Sir William Van Straubenzee, was named in files relating to child abuse recently passed to the Inquiry. Van Straubenzee had moved to become a Minister for Northern Ireland under Secretary of State Willie Whitelaw months before the mutilated and burnt body of 10 year old Brian McDermott had been found in East Belfast's Ormeau Park, now suspected as linked to the abuse taking place at Kincora. Although opposed to Thatcher, Van Straubenzee was a devoted defender of the Church of England whom she appointed Second Church Estates Commissioner in 1979, representing the Church in the House of Commons. 

In July 2014 the brother of the judge Baroness Butler-Schloss nominated as the first Chair of the Child Sexual Abuse Inquiry, Sir Michael Havers, Heath's Solicitor General (and later Thatcher's Attorney-General) was alleged as an attendee at Conservative conference parties during the early 1980s where boys under the age of 16 were prostituted. Speaking to BBC's World at One, Zac Goldsmith MP had already expressed concern over Haver's role in drafting the Kincora Inquiry Terms of Reference which "were rewritten just before it began with a view to excluding investigations into visitors to the care home so it would only focus on social workers or the staff".

The exclusion of Kincora from Goddard's remit - an inquiry with statutory powers to compel disclosure of evidence and attendance of witnesses unlike Antony Hart's Northern Ireland inquiry - is currently subject to a challenge under judicial review.

Whatever the outcome, as Patrick Corrigan, Programme Director of NI Amnesty International has stated "It is not too late for the government to reconsider its position.” Depending on the contents of Van Straubenzee's file, in asserting jurisdiction over allegations against Van Straubenzee the Goddard inquiry may yet have made the inclusion of Kincora an irresistible inevitability.

For the majority of newspapers during May 1973 the only sense of a US-born scandal was the era-defining scandal of Watergate as headline by headline it stripped Nixon bare of his nation's confidence. Within 12 months of the events of Heath's scandal-filled May, he went to the electorate and asked them, as a campaign slogan, 'Who governs Britain?" 

The political upheaval of two general elections in one year would mark 1974 as a year of opportunity for the fightback to begin, driven by none other than the former director of the National Association of Youth Clubs, Harold Haywood O.B.E. In the months prior to his appointment as the founding Director of the Prince's Trust for Young People Haywood's concern as Chair of Albany Trust was to present paedophiles as a positive benefit to society and ask of the runaway boys at Piccadilly Circus 'Who is exploiting whom?' If blackmail was a concern for Heath's government, unlike Stern magazine it wouldn't be criminal organisations, foreign or national security services who were subject to suspicions of exerting control over 'millionaires, titled and influential people', it would be children.

Part 2 to follow: 1975 & Playland Trial No 3 - 'Johnny-Go-Home', Charles Hornby and the Albany Trust's rallying cry 'Who's exploiting whom?'


[1] Johnny Come Home, Jake Arnott, 2007

[2] The Dilly Boys, p.64 – Chapter ‘Sexual Encounters’

[3] ibid. p.71

[4] ibid. p.78

[5] Fined QC says:’ I am innocent’ The Guardian 23 May 1973: 8.

[6] Vice Probe Sensation, The Sun, Wednesday 23 May 1973

#Piccadilly Circus, #Albany Trust, #Playland