The death has occurred of Sir Anthony Hart, the retired judge who oversaw the Hart Inquiry into child sex abuse in NI. Village has written extensively about the findings of the Hart Inquiry since it was published in 2017. In the main we were critical of Hart’s findings, especially in so far as they related to Kincora Boys’ Home in Belfast. Kincora was exploited by MI5 and MI6 for a variety of reasons. Hart believed that there was no interference or knowledge on the part of the intelligence services into what had happened.
Regrettably, Hart was 100% wrong. Two stories we published in 2017, ‘Hart Attack’ and ‘NItrigue’ contained our initial response to the Hart Report. They were not put up on this website but will now be added to it shortly
What was it we believe Hart got wrong?
First, Kincora was not an isolated abberation as Hart believed. A large paedophile network did surround it and it was allowed to continue to prey on children throughout the 1970s by the intelligence services. This occurred not just at Kincora but also at Williamson House, Shore House, Portora Royal school and elsewhere. One of the main perpetrators of the abuse was Eric Witchell who is still alive and living in London. Unfortunately, Hart never spoke to him. Many other witnesses refused to co-operate with him for a variety of reasons.
Second, Kincora was used to gather information about some of the high-profile abusers who were involved in Unionist politics. They were placed under surveillance at the Park Avenue hotel and elsewhere in NI. Some of the dirt gathered by MI5, MI6 and the RUC Special Branch (SB) was intended for release to undermine Unionist opposition to the Sunningdale Agreement in the 1970s. The name applied to this event was Operation Clockwork Orange. However, when Harold Wilson of the British Labour Party returned to power in the UK, MI5 decided to shelve Clockwork Orange because it was felt if the Sunningdale-inspired Power Sharing Government of NI failed, it would reflect badly on Wilson. The extremists in MI5 actually believed Wilson was a KGB stooge. The infamous Peter Wright of MI5 was deeply involved in the plot against Wilson and almost certainly knew about Kincora. In all probability, Wright was one of the most senior MI5 officers in charge of the scandal. Interested readers should search this website for further details about Wright and Kincora.
Third, MI5 allowed the exploitation of the children to continue so that they could record and then blackmail some of the abusers including John McKeague, perhaps the most significant Unionist terrorist of the late 1960s and early 1970s. There were undoubtedly others. Again, readers are invited to explore this website for further details.
Fourth, the boys at places such as Kincora were exploited by paedophiles and pederasts who worked at the NIO. They included Peter England. Another suspect was John Imrie, also of the NIO. Imrie was later convicted of flashing at men in a toilet at a train station in London. While he worked at the NIO, he was in fact an MI5 officer. See MI5’s Flasher-General on this website.
Northern Ireland Paedophile Gallery: Eric Witchell, William McGrath, Joe Mains, Raymond Semple, Dr Morris Frazer, Pastor Billy Mullan, John McKeague, Alan Campbell, Joss Cardwell, Knox Cunningham MP, Peter Montgomery and Enoch Powell MP.
After the Kincora scandal broke in the early 1980s, a massive cover-up began. It continues to this day. The latest development is the forthcoming book by Lyra McKee, Angels With Blue Faces. All the signs are that McKee was not taken in by the dismissive findings of the Hart Report. Her book is expected to shine further light on this murky subject.
The cover-up involved the manipulation of statements by the residents at Kincora. MI5 and the RUC Special Branch were behind this aspect of the cover-up. They ensured that statements were only taken from boys who said that they had been abused by the staff members. There was also forgery of statements, a story Village will be returning to the near future. At least one boy who was abused by non-staff members was told to stay away from Belfast during the trial of the three Kincora staff members. He was physically assaulted by an RUC officer who administered this warning to him.
There have been numerous inquiries at various levels into Kincora but three of particular note. The first was the utterly corrupt one conducted by Sir George Terry, a senior English police officer. The second one was conducted by Judge Hughes in the 1980s. It was not corrupt. Initially Hughes was asked to look at the allegations of intelligence involvement in the scandal but his terms of reference were changed secretly and the cover-up continued as he was not allowed look at MI5 and MI6 complicity in the network which swirled around Kincora. He was also fed the manipulated statements by the former residents which hid the existence of the wider network.
The scandal never went away. Witnesses kept coming forward including Brian Gemmell, a former military intelligence officer, and Richard Kerr, a former resident who had been abused by non-staff members. Pressure built up behind the scandal again and helped the Hart Inquiry come into existence. Inevitably, Hart was fed the manipulated statements which he relied upon them to a great extent to rule out the existence of the wider network. His report was also littered with mistakes. However, it must be stated – and we did state while he was alive – that there was never any question mark over Hart’s personal integrity. He was simply outmanoeuvred by MI5 and MI6 who told him series of blatant lies and fed him fraudulent documents.
The picture is not all black. Hart did obtain a number of useful records which he did not bury, opting instead to release them to the world via the website overseen by his inquiry. Those documents have been of great use in digging up further aspects of the truth and for this Hart is to be commended.
The truth about Kincora was probably just too awful for a man of integrity and naiveite like Hart to comprehend.