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John Imrie, MI5’s Flasher-General

Why didn’t Andrew Parker, the present D-G of MI5 oblige John Imrie to fly across the Irish Sea and appear before Hart?

Village has learnt that John L.L. Imrie, formerly of MI5 and the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), died last summer without a whisper of his passing reaching the ears of the press. Imrie had the unique distinction of being the only British official ever linked to the Kincora Boys’ Home sex abuse scandal by name in the press during his lifetime. Imrie had served as an Assistant Secretary at the NIO in the early 1970s while the sexual abuse of boys at a number of homes in Northern Ireland including Kincora was rampant.

Imrie did not provide evidence to the Hart Inquiry in 2016.

Judge Hart, whose 2017 report is littered with factual inaccuracies, determined that MI5 had known nothing about the Kincora scandal until it was exposed by the media in January 1980.

Imrie was one of many who – had he told the truth – could have put Hart straight.

Privates on parade at victoria station

Imrie was a convicted sex pest. In 1979 he went ‘cottaging’ in London, that is to say, looking for sex with random strangers in gentlemen’s lavatories. He was arrested at the gents at Victoria Station when, after an attempt to attract a sexual partner by displaying his genitals, he was charged with indecent exposure.

Sir Howard Smith
Andrew Parker

The last thing MI5 needed in 1979 was a sordid scandal involving an MI5 officer who had served in Belfast. At this time the Kincora scandal was bubbling under the surface ready to erupt across National headlines. Howard Smith was D-G of MI5. He appreciated the full potential of the scandal because he had served as intelligence supremo in NI in the early 1970s when Imrie had been stationed in Belfast and the Kincora ‘honey trap’ operation was up and running. Two social workers had already provided details of the scandal to Peter McKenna of the Irish Independent. They had learnt about it from Richard Kerr, a resident at Kincora for whom they were responsible. Hence, Establishment pressure was exerted to drop the charges against Imrie for his performance at Victoria Station. The endeavour failed, proving yet again that MI5 is not always top dog when confronted by honest police officers and lawyers. Indeed, only last year we witnessed another example of this when the incorruptible Chief Constable of Wiltshire, Michael Veale, his Assistant Chief Constable Paul Mills, and their Operation Confier team reported that former British PM Edward Heath was a paedophile. (See Village October 2017.)

The fact that Imrie was a figure whom Whitehall wanted to protect became public knowledge thanks to Private Eye magazine. On 17 August 1979 it reported that: “Up until the trial strong pressure was brought to bear by a variety of authorities to drop the charges in the national interest”.

Ken Livingstone noticed a discrepancy in the way Imrie had been treated compared to the mauling Sir Maurice Oldfield had received after the exposure of his sexual predilections in 1980

Imrie was brought before the Magistrates’ Court at 70 Horseferry road, London, (now the City of Westminster Magistrates Court) where he pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against him and submitted a preposterous defence maintaining that he had been caught short with a weak bladder and, fearing disastrous consequences on the train he intended to take at 11.10 to Sydneyham – which had no toilet – he had been compelled to display him- self to the gentlemen in the vicinity of the urinals. The presiding magistrate – another honourable individual who was prepared to do his job without fear or favour – concluded Imrie was lying since he had been arrested at 11.25, i.e. 15 minutes after the bladder-bursting train had departed. Imrie was convicted, conditionally discharged and ordered to pay £50 costs.

Imrie was not the only senior intelligence officer arrested for misbehaviour in a public lavatory in London during this era. In 1984 Sir Peter Hayman, the reputed Deputy Chief of MI6, was also arrested for gross indecency, and convicted. Hayman was an abuser of Richard Kerr, details of which will be revealed in a later edition of Village. Sir Anthony Blunt and Guy Burgess, another pair of paedophiles from the ranks of both MI5 and the Anglo-Irish Vice Ring, were also members in good standing of MI5’s cottaging circuit.

Imrie’s conviction did not deflect the upward trajectory of his career.

After Kincora was exposed in January 1980, the RUC set out to track down the child molesters involved, or at least some honest officers in the RUC tried to do so before they were stifled. At least they managed to question Imrie before the vice grip of the cover-up took a hold.

Against this background, it is hardly unfair to ask if Imrie was a pederast (i.e. an abuser of teenage males), if not an outright paedophile himself. Why else would the RUC have made inquiries about him? The answers to these questions may be found lurking in the pages of Imrie’s personnel file which gathers dust somewhere in the vaults of MI5.

During the 1970s the RUC Special Branch officers who helped Joseph Mains, the Warden of Kincora, run the operation on the ground, are rumoured to have maintained a secret library of files as insurance in case anyone ever tried to prosecute them for trafficking the children involved to their abusers. The RUC Special Branch library may still be in existence and, if so, undoubtedly has bulging files on Imrie and others such as Peter England, also formerly of the NIO.

The Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse in London still has an opportunity to demand sight of Imrie’s personnel file and that of england but time is running out fast.

MI5’s interview rooms at Victoria Train Station

a career shrouded in mystery

Inevitably, a cloud of mystery hangs over Imrie’s career. A little speculation must be forgiven. Despite claims to the contrary, he probably never worked for the Ministry of Defence (MoD). References to him in the Civil Service Yearbooks during the 1980s as an MoD employee were probably nothing more than a cover for his true role inside MI5, a department that was not officially acknowledged as part of the British Government at that time. Countless MI5 officers were held out as MoD officials for decades to perpetrate the myth MI5 did not exist.

Imrie definitely worked in Germany during an earlier phase of his career, perhaps with Ian Cameron at the British Services Security Organisation, which was based in Berlin and responsible for the security of British forces in Germany in the 1960s. Cameron later headed up MI5 in NI in the 1970s and was Central to the Kincora operation. (See Village March 2017).

What did Imrie do in NI? We are on more solid ground here. Village has obtained a ‘confidential’ NIO file which was circulated to Imrie and provides an indication of the type of work he undertook: it was political in nature. The file is dated 19 December 1972 and concerns a meeting between Ian Paisley and others and the NI Secretary of State William Whitelaw. The file was also circulated to Franke Steele of MI6, the Chief Constable of the RUC and the General Officer in Command of the British Army.

Scraping beneath the bottom of the barrel

By the late 1980s, Imrie was working inside MI5’s ‘B’ Branch as a recruitment officer while being listed in the Civil Service Year Book for 1988 as a Grade 5 officer in the MoD Civil Administration Department. Just how a convicted sex pest rose to become a Grade 5 officer with responsibility for MI5 recruitment is staggering – even by the weird standards of that unorthodox organisation.

Or is it ? If we have learnt anything about MI5, it is that anything is possible once you drop down the MI5 rabbit hole. Imrie’s conviction may have been something that commended him to the Mad Hatters at the top table at MI5.

MI5 and MI6 recruiters are the only people who are briefed to scrape beneath the sludge at the bottom of the barrel. At that time both organisations needed people with the stomach to oversee and direct torture, murder and blackmail operations.

They also needed psychologically and emotionally stunted agents who could photograph and record paedophiles in the act of abusing children. MI5’s surveillance targets in this underworld included an array of degenerates ranging from lowly knuckle-dragging Loyalist paramilitaries to elevated Knights and Lords at Westminster such as Sir Edward Heath, Lord Greville Janner, Sir Cyril Smith, Sir William Van Straubenzee and Sir Peter Morrison, all of whom they hoped to blackmail, control and, if necessary, destroy. And who better than a lavatory-creeper like Imrie to recognise the type of rat capable of performing this sort of work in return for a miserable salary? Who better than Imrie to know when to inch open the secret side doors at MI5’s hQ when the type of creep who would get a kick out of this sort of work was loitering nearby ?

imrie and Peter england are exposed in the Sunday World

Imrie enjoyed a number of years of quiet anonymity after his conviction as a asher. Then, on 7 February 1988, the late Liam Clarke published a story in the Sunday World which named him as one of a group of four senior NIO officials who had been interviewed by the RUC about Kincora. One of the others was Peter England, who had been a Deputy Undersecretary with overall responsibility for the intelligence services in NI and a friend of Sir Anthony Blunt. (See Village november 2017.)

Clarke also described how Peter England had tried to force his sexual attentions on a male civil servant at the NIO; and had been recognised in a photograph by a boy he had abused. The boy was undoubtedly John Louis Baird. According to a report broadcast by BBC NI and supplemented by an article in Phoenix magazine, John Louis Baird was abused by England at a house on the Old Hollywood Road in Belfast which had been used as the pick-up point for Provisional IRA leaders during peace talks with the NIO and MI6 in the 1970s. The boy spoke to Chris Moore who broadcast an interview with him on the BBC in 1982. He was shown in silhouette and described how signals were exchanged via flashing headlights with England’s car before he was transferred to it. Moreover, a briefing document on personal security which was found in Kincora was linked to England. Several phone numbers appeared in the margins of pages 5, 7, 11 and 13 in England’s hand-writing.

Ken livingstone questions Thatcher about imrie’s failure to sue The Sunday World

Ken Livingstone MP (and future Mayor of London) was one of those who pursued the Imrie affair back in 1988. He noticed a discrepancy in the way Imrie had been treated compared to the mauling Sir Maurice Oldfield had received after the exposure of his sexual predilections in 1980. Oldfield had served as Chief of MI6 1973-78, and Security Coordinator NI, 1979 1980. He was pushed to the side-lines by Margaret Thatcher after she discovered he had confessed to what he had described as his homosexual “tendencies”. how could the mere admission of such “tendencies” have cost him his “positive vetting” i.e. his licence to operate within the intelligence community ? It was not homophobia since Imrie, a convicted flasher who opportuned men in toilets, and had been quizzed about Kincora, managed to retain his job and achieve promotion. Perhaps the explanation is that Oldfield had become an enemy of the ultra-right-wing faction that controlled MI5 and held Thatcher in their thrall whereas Imrie was presumably well got with them, especially after his service for them in Northern Ireland. Oldfield had enraged the Mad Hatters at MI5 by interfering with their plots against Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson.

Ken Livingstone holding Margaret Thatcher to account

Livingstone brought the Oldfield-Imrie discrepancy up in the house of Commons on 8 March 1988.

“Will the Prime Minister take time in her busy day to reconsider the statement that she made to the house last year about Sir Maurice Oldfield ?”, Livingstone asked her. “Will she consider the inconsistency of the withdrawal of his positive vetting while no action was taken against Mr Peter England, a deputy secretary in the Northern Ireland Office, and Mr JL Imrie, an assistant secretary at the Northern Ireland office, following investigations into the buggery of young children at the Kincora boys’ home ? Is she not disturbed that Mr Imrie has taken no action against the newspaper that named him and his activities four weeks ago, although he continues to work for the government in the Ministry of Defence ? Can she assure the house that she is convinced of Mr Imrie’s innocence?

“If not, will she now finally concede a genuinely independent enquiry into what went on in the home in Kincora, irrespective of the damage that may do to MI5 when its role is exposed ?”.

Thatcher replied: “I have nothing further to add to the statement that I made on Sir Maurice Oldfield in the house. I note that the honourable Gentleman uses the privilege of the house to name people who are unable to answer back”.

Thatcher’s answer was patently absurd. In the first instance, Peter England was dead and could not sue so parliamentary privilege was a red herring. Secondly, the whole point of Livingstone’s question about Imrie was to highlight the fact that Imrie’s name had appeared in the Sunday World yet he had not sued the paper. Thatcher, who had practised as a barrister, surely knew that newspapers did not enjoy parliamentary privilege for stories that did not arise from an exchange in parliament.

Imrie was also named twice by Private Eye in 1988 in connection with Kincora.

Will the london inquiry call the two RUC whistle-blowers ?

On 23 January 2015 the late Liam Clarke reported in the Belfast Telegraph that two RUC officers had told him that a tory MP had “visited Kincora during the 1970s”. Both officers, he reported, were “willing to help any inquiry into Kincora either here or in England. They revealed that the MP died before they could arrange to interview him”. There are only a tiny number of MPs who match this description. One of the officers revealed that the MP had visited NI “quite regularly…We were told by criminal records in Scotland Yard, London, that he had a conviction many years ago for indecent behaviour or something in a gents’ loo against another boy but his death meant we never got a chance to question him”.

The chances are stratospherically high that these two RUC officers were also the source of Clarke’s 1988 Sunday World story about Imrie and England. It is statistically unlikely that both RUC men have died since 2015. Since they know at least something about the Westminster MP, they should be asked to testify at the Independent Inquiry Into Child Sex Abuse (IICAS) in London. Their evidence about Imrie and the MP must surely be of some relevance to IICAS which is due to commence its probe into VIP-child-sex abuse this month.

Unfortunately the auguries that the truth will emerge at IICAS are not favourable. Thus far ICCSA has shown a disconcerting lack of interest in credible witnesses such as Richard Kerr while granting frauds such as ‘Nick’ “core participation” at their hearings (i.e. access to documents, legal representation and the right to question witnesses.) As Village readers may appreciate, ‘Nick’ is a ventriloquist’s dummy controlled by those protecting the Westminster VIP vice ring. His role is to discredit the existence of the VIP ring by blabbering out his far-fetched and ludicrous claims. At least one pederast connected to the Tory Party is fond of pooh-poohing the existence of the Westminster VIP vice ring in the media by reference to ‘Nick’s’ crazy allegations. This is like the Pope denying the existence of the Roman Catholic Church. This pederast abused at least one Kincora boy – richard Kerr – who was trafficked to London for his grotesque entertainment.

St Stephen’s where Imrie held himself out as a devout member of the Church of England

Graduating from flashing at strangers in toilets to greeting worshippers at church

Imrie never sued Liam Clarke, the Sunday World or Private Eye, and maintained a very low profile until his death. After his resignation from MI5, he lived in Dulwich, South London where he died last June. The only clue as to what he did in retirement is to be gleaned from a death notice which appeared on the website for St Stephen’s Church, Dulwich. Imrie, it reported, had been a devout member of the Church of England and attended St Stephen’s on a regular basis. The death notice read as follows:

“It is with sadness that we share in the news of the death of John Imrie. For many years he was a sidesperson at the 8am Sunday service as well as a regular at our mid-week Holy Eucharist on Wednesdays. During his working life he was a senior civil servant in the Ministry of Defence, serving both in Germany and Northern Ireland before reaching the highest level of the Ministry in London. His funeral will be here at St Stephen’s on Tuesday 11 July at 12 noon. May he rest in peace and rise in glory”.

There is no mention of Imrie having had a wife or children in his death notice, something that indicates he remained a bachelor throughout his life.

another Hart failure

As someone who was able to attend St Stephen’s Church as a ‘sidesperson’ on such a ‘regular’ basis, Imrie was hardly suffering from dementia or physical infirmity. A ‘sidesperson’ acts as an usher, greeter of worshippers and collector of donations at church ceremonies.

Clearly, Imrie was hale and hearty and could have testified at the Hart Inquiry in 2016. Equally clearly, this would have been the last thing he would have countenanced. It is inconceivable that he could have told the truth about Kincora without being sidestepped at St Stephen’s upon his return and shunned by every parent in Dulwich and beyond.

The man without eyes at the back of his head

More to the point: why didn’t Andrew Parker, the present D-G of MI5, or any of his staff, oblige Imrie to fly across the Irish Sea and appear before hart ? Ex-MI5 officers on a pension must obey such directives.

Parker, as Village readers will know, is more than happy to sermonising to others about their ‘ethical responsibilities’. What could have been more ethical and responsible than turning over every slimy stone at MI5 to uncover the truth about Kincora. By any calculation, Imrie’s file was an obvious one to submit to hart: Imrie was the only man ever mentioned by name in the press during his lifetime in connection with Kincora; moreover, one who was named in the house of Commons.

Hart, Parker and MI5 should also have made every effort to identify the RUC officers who spoke to Imrie during the Kincora probe to establish precisely why he had been of interest to the RUC’s early inquiries, and what they discovered about him. Yet not a single sheet of paper of any consequence concerning Imrie featured in the allegedly comprehensive compendium of documentation furnished to hart by MI5, the MoD and the RUC.

Of course, there is no mystery as to why the file on Imrie was withheld from Hart. The immoral majority who really control MI5 (home Office) and MI6 (Foreign Office) lied to the Hart Inquiry as Village has demonstrated over the previous year. It goes without saying that Parker – as an ‘ethically responsible’ individual – could have had no part in any of this, nor indeed any inkling that his subordinates were subverting the Inquiry behind his back. He’s only head of MI5, after all.

If the unexpurgated files relating to Imrie had been handed over to Hart, the floodgates would have buckled and the truth about Kincora would have burst forth. The public would have learnt that MI5 not only used it to blackmail Loyalist paramilitaries and senior Loyalist politicians, but that it was exploited by perverts like Peter England for their own sick personal gratification.