Share, , Google Plus, Pinterest,








 Last month Village described how Eric Witchell, the paedophile who ran Williamson House for orphans and neglected children in Belfast, was a key figure in the Anglo-Irish Vice Ring. There is as yet no indication that he will be questioned by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse despite the fact he is one of the most important living witnesses to the existence of a vice ring which supplied children to VIPs abusers. They included Enoch Powell MP and a mysterious ‘refined’ Englishman who was a visitor to Northern Ireland (NI). The victim of the ‘refined’ Englishman is certain he was Sir Anthony Blunt, the infamous MI5 traitor, paedophile and Keeper of the Queen’s Pictures. Blunt was also a regular visitor to Ireland and active, albeit at a low level, in NI politics. He had an extensive circle of friends in Ireland, many of whom were also paedophiles.

In Part 1 of this article we will look at aspects of Blunt’s background and some of his more sinister connections to Ireland before turning to the intriguing allegation that he was the ‘refined’ Englishman.

In Part 2 we will describe the existence of a group of children who were defiled and broken by Witchell at Williamson House with the result they became sexually compliant playthings before they were sent to Kincora Boys Home where they became fodder in an MI5 blackmail operation. According to one of the victims, the operation revolved around a series of hotels including the Park Avenue and the Europa in Belfast, and the Queen’s Court in Bangor. Independent contemporaneous notes from a British Army psychological operations (PSYOPs) officer confirm the existence of a “prostitution ring supplying boys to hotels in Belfast and Bangor” at the time. The targets of the operation included working-class Loyalists from the UDA, UVF and DUP. We will refer to one of the DUP targets as “The Wife Beater”. He was a man with connections to paramilitaries and was despised by his party leader, Ian Paisley.

In Part 3 we will tell the story of ‘Charles’, another of Witchell’s Williamson House victims. In 2017 the Hart Inquiry rejected the notion that a paedophile network had operated in Northern Ireland in the 1970s with official connivance. The Hart Report is littered with factual inaccuracies and has been shredded by commentators. Charles’ account – told here for the first time – undermines it even further.


Many of the boys who were sent to the hotels to satisfy the venal appetites of the strangers who preyed upon them at them and sometimes in their homes; and those who were abused inside the walls of Williamson House and/or Kincora by familiar staff members, were consigned to a life of depression, ill health, drug and alcohol abuse, isolation and – in a number of cases – suicide. Very few of the victims went on to form stable and lasting relationships or have families. It is now too late for one of them, Clint Massey, who lived a lonely and isolated existence. Towards the end of his life, he grew into a courageous Kincora campaigner. Sadly, he succumbed to cancer earlier this year without ever achieving justice. It was Massey who recalled a lot of “suits” arriving at Kincora, often in the evening. “In those days, there were loads of people over from London. I have always assumed they were senior figures from Whitehall. I certainly heard English accents”, he once revealed.

None of the puppet masters in MI5, MI6, the Home Office, the Northern Ireland Office, the Foreign Office or Whitehall, who were responsible for this world of pain, have ever been made to answer for their egregious crimes.


Theresa May must shoulder the responsibility for the ongoing cover-up of this far-reaching scandal. When she was Home Secretary, she assigned the Kincora Boys Home probe to the Hart Inquiry which was not given the power to compel witnesses. Instead, she should have let the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse in London, which had such a power, deal with it.

MI5 then proceeded to withhold the full truth about its penetration of the DUP from Hart and much more besides.

A number of declassified files which were furnished to Hart reveal that the NIO (i.e. MI5) had informers inside the DUP. However, they raise more questions than answers. In particular, how many of MI5’s DUP informers were blackmail victims, i.e. men who were lured to the Park Avenue and the other hotels by Joe Mains, the Warden of Kincora, or his friend and fellow MI5 agent, John McKeague, to defile boys? See Village December 2017 and February 2018 for details about John McKeague’s links to MI5.


Some DUP informers who were recruited while they were in their twenties are now in their sixties and early seventies and may still be active in the DUP. It would be a scandal if a single informer – recruited as a result of underage sexual blackmail – remains in the party that is now the tail that wags the British Government dog.

More than any other political figure in the UK, Theresa May, first as Home Secretary and now Prime Minister, has had the right to ask and be told how far MI5 managed to penetrate the fabric of the DUP, whether by surveillance or agent recruitment. MI5’s array of agents were undoubtedly recruited in the normal way, i.e. through the exploitation of internal party rivalries; bribery; and blackmail involving sexual, political and financial corruption. As with Sinn Féin, the penetration of the DUP was carried out during the Troubles against a background where the party had multiple links to Loyalist paramilitary groups including the UDA and the Red Hand Commando. The “Wife Beater”, for example, had connections to the Red Hand Commando led by John McKeague. Another DUP agent was a lover of William McGrath, the housefather at Kincora, and leader of a paramilitary group known as Tara. See Village December 2017.

In more recent times, an audit must have been conducted by MI5 and the Cabinet Office to ascertain what leverage the British Government might exercise over the DUP after Brexit; the same files must have been dusted down in the run-up to the conclusion of the confidence and supply arrangement between the DUP and the Tories in 2017.

What, if anything, was May told about the use of sexual blackmail involving children during MI5’s penetration of the DUP? Was she told anything about blackmail victims such as the “Wife Beater”?

Is it possible she knows less about the “Wife Beater’s” dark side than the Garda? On one occasion officers serving with Garda Special Branch were told about the domestic abuse he meted out to his wife by their RUC counterparts; and the number of callouts the RUC was obliged to make to his house to deal with his rages.


If May was worthy of the trust placed in her by the British public, and is the Christian she professes to be, she would come clean on what MI5 has revealed to her about the DUP members who were subjected to blackmail, whether sexual or otherwise. If MI5 has disclosed nothing to her, and she has not asked it about the issue, she should do so now, make a full and comprehensive statement in the Commons and fire those who have participated in the cover-up of this scandal.

May, of course, will do nothing of the sort because she is gullible and in thrall to the most devious elements inside Whitehall who pull her strings and really call the shots. Her predecessor David Cameron was also their minion when it came to intelligence matters. Cameron told the family of Patrick Finucane (the Belfast solicitor who had been assassinated by British agents in NI) that he could not order a public inquiry into the scandal. When Finucane’s brother Martin asked him why, he turned to Mrs Finucane and said: “Look, the last administration couldn’t deliver an inquiry in your husband’s case and neither can we”. According to Cameron this was because “there are people all around this place, [10 Downing Street], who won’t let it happen”. As he was saying this, he raised a finger and made a circular motion in the air.

Jeremy Corbyn, however, has the appearance of a man with sufficient integrity and independence of mind to force the Whitehall, MI5 and MI6 pirates to walk the plank from Britain’s Ship of State. Corbyn’s  deputy leader, Tom Watson, is one of the few politicians in Britain with proven grit: he has pursued the VIP vice ring scandal with courage and vigour for years. He is also a deft political operator.






By the 1970s, the puppet-masters who were overseeing the machinations of the paedophiles in the Anglo-Irish Vice Ring were not the aristocrats, nor the Unionist politicians who had been running it and preying on orphanages and care homes since the 1940s but rather MI5 and MI6, two organisations with an expertise in the black art of sexual blackmail. Ian Cameron led MI5 operations in Northern Ireland including the exploitation of the Anglo-Irish Vice Ring, in the mid-1970s. It is not even remotely conceivable that Cameron’s superior, Director-General, Sir Michael Hanley, who was based in London, was unaware of what he was doing in Ireland.

Peter Wright of MI5 was Hanley’s right-hand man at MI5’s HQ in London. Wright developed an extensive knowledge of the Anglo-Irish Vice Ring. His research most likely inspired the idea of exploiting the boys already ensnared by the ring for blackmail purposes if he did not instigate the sordid operation himself. The blackmail operation began while Loyalist opposition to the interests of the British State was at its height in the 1970s. The information in Wright’s files also provided potent ammunition for destabilisation purposes. In his books Wright blithely described how MI5 used prostitutes and engaged in sexual blackmail, albeit he did not go as far as to acknowledge that children had been exploited in these operations. He did, however, withhold his darkest secrets from publication and threatened to release them if MI5 did anything untoward against him during his marathon battle in Australia to get his first book, Spycatcher, published. Wright, more than most, knew full well that the British State was capable of murdering him. Emphatically, many of these secrets concerned MI5 wrongdoing in Ireland. “I spent a lot of time in Ireland”, he has written, “and it was not pleasant. We also did a lot of things there which I am never going to talk about, because it would just cause more trouble”.  See Village July 2017. Malcolm Turnbull, who acted as Wright’s lawyer, might know about the secret dossier. He later entered politics and became Prime Minister of Australia, a post he held until very recently.


Peter Wright debriefed Blunt after he confessed in 1964 that he had worked for the KGB while serving inside MI5. The debriefing lasted seven years during which Wright and his colleagues in MI5 poured over the lives of the Oxbridge graduates of the 1930s, and anyone else of possible interest known to Blunt, many of whom, like him, were paedophiles. “Often we drank, he gin and I Scotch; always we talked, about the 1930s, about the KGB, about espionage and friendship, love and betrayal. They remain for me among the most vivid encounters of my life”, Wright wrote in Spycatcher.

Wright also wrote about how “Blunt, too, loved to discuss the scandalous side of Cambridge life in the 1930s… I soon realised that the Ring of Five [Cambridge-educated spies and traitors] stood at the centre of a series of other connecting rings, each pledged to silence, each anxious to protect its secrets from outsiders. There was the secret ring of homosexuals, where loyalty to their kind overrode all other obligations; there was the secret world of the Apostles, where ties to fellow Apostles remained strong throughout life; and then there was the ring of those friends of Blunt and Burgess who were not themselves spies, but who knew or guessed what was going on. Each ring supported the others, and made the task of identifying the inner core that much more difficult”.

In return for betraying some  – but apparently not all – of his friends, former left-wing comrades and other miscellaneous associates, Blunt was not prosecuted for his treachery, nor for his sexual activities, all of which were concealed from public view until 1979 when Robin Bryans, an Irish writer and friend-turned-enemy, outed him with the help of Private Eye magazine.


Wright personally interviewed and re-interviewed more than 100 people over a period of seven years. By his own admission, the most ‘important’ information was about ‘who was sleeping with whom’ in the Guy Burgess and Blunt circle. Both Blunt and Burgess were paedophiles.

In Spycatcher Wright revealed that one of his interviewees, Arthur Marshall, “knew practically everyone in Cambridge in the 1930s, particularly the secret network of homosexuals at King’s and Trinity. Artie had a prodigious memory for gossip, intrigue and scandal, and most importantly of all, he knew who was sleeping with whom in the [Guy] Burgess and Blunt circles”.

By the end of his investigation Wright could boast: “I had seen into the secret heart of the present Establishment at a time when they had been young and careless. I knew their scandals and their intrigues. I knew too much, and they knew it”.


These inquiries must have enabled Wright to uncover and map out a concealed layer of Blunt’s existence: a paedophile netherworld that spanned both sides of the Irish Sea. Blunt was a regular visitor to Northern Ireland and a veteran member of the Anglo-Irish Vice Ring. Two of his closest friends in Ireland were paedophiles: Captain Peter Montgomery and Knox Cunningham.

Peter Montgomery was the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Tyrone, and a member of Ulster’s landed aristocracy. His family owned an estate at Fivemiletown, Co Tyrone. During WWII he served with British military intelligence. His second cousin was “Monty”, the famous WWII general. Peter Montgomery became Blunt’s first boyfriend and thereafter his most enduring friend. Blunt always kept a room for him at his London residence while Blunt often came to Ireland to visit him at Fivemiletown. They also enjoyed trips around Ireland to other paedophiles on the “country house” circuit.

Sir Knox Cunningham was an Ulster Unionist MP and QC. As an MP he had attended Cabinet meetings in Downing Street as the private secretary to British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.

Somewhere along the line Blunt had become a desensitised and callous abuser of young males despite his lofty pretension to care for the working class. He was particularly fond of ‘cottaging’ around seedy toilets in London for urchins, and no doubt did the same during his regular visits to Belfast.

All of Peter Wright’s MI5 files concerning Blunt and his associates should be handed over to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse.


The world Blunt was hurled into as a child was barbaric, even by the standards of that time. He attended Marlborough College in the 1920s when it was a brutal and sadistic institution. Blunt’s great friend, the Irish poet Louis MacNeice, described in his autobiography how the school bullies would “seize a boy, tear his clothes off and cover him with house paint. Then put him in a wastepaper bag filled with rubbish and push him round the hall… The masters considered this a fine tradition”.

Another Old Malburian, Sir Peter Tennant, remembered that “Marlborough was ridden with homosexuality. I suppose all public schools are full of buggery. Masters were deeply involved in it. I won’t name names but as far as I can make out they were practising homosexuals and did it with some boys… I remember the headmaster, George Turner, giving a speech, saying, we will have no more buggery”.

John Betjeman, a future poet laureate and British cultural attaché to the British Embassy in Dublin during the 1940s, was haunted throughout his adult life by the memory of a child at the school peering out through the slats of a large basket like a terrified animal as the bullies hoist him in the air.

Then there was “hot-potting”, where the Malburian bullies stripped the trousers off their victims and made them wear two pottery tooth-mugs filled with flaming paper on their buttocks.

Another ritual, known as “bum shaving” was administered by prefects. This involved stripping two small boys naked and forcing them to bend over, backsides touching as one of the prefect’s whips came down between their buttocks. The trick according to Blunt’s older brother Wilfred, was to relax at the last minute and let the other boy take the full brunt of the lash.


Blunt emerged from Marlborough homosexual and went on to Cambridge. It was there that he befriended Peter Montgomery. At Cambridge Blunt  also fell in with Guy Burgess, another future MI5 and MI6 traitor, and an occasional visitor to Ireland. (See Village May 2017.) The pair frequently trawled gay pubs and lavatories in London for working-class boys. In 1938 Burgess was arrested and charged with improperly soliciting a man in a public lavatory.

One of Blunt’s biographers, Miranda Carter, has provided a glimpse of the lifestyle of Blunt and Montgomery. She described how “Hugh Massingberd, Peter Montgomery’s great-nephew, remembered meeting Blunt, very much “off duty”, with his uncle in 1965. “It was a very hot day, and Blunt came in wearing virtually a G-string and a light sleeveless T-shirt, and said, ‘Peter’s overdressed and I’m underdressed. How do you do?’ It was a bit stagey”. His uncle also once took him to a party at Blunt’s old stomping ground, Palace Court. “There seemed to be a lot of oriental youths around, and Blunt and my uncle, one felt, had dropped their guards. It was full of opera queens and an odd mixture of seedy old faggots and oriental boys. It was very much a gay party”. (384)

Montgomery was a key figure in the Anglo-Irish Vice Ring and procured boys for its members from Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh. Lord Louis Mountbatten was one of those who enjoyed sex with pupils from Portora during his visits to Ireland.

Montgomery was also a friend of the British artist Derek Hill who lived in Ireland. Bruce Arnold’s biography of Hill provides a further glimpse of Montgomery’s lifestyle. Arnold describes a visit Montgomery made to a friend of Hill’s in Paris, a man called Geoffrey Gilmour. “Geoffrey Gilmour’s supposedly rather louche behaviour was not all fantasy. A friend of Derek’s – Peter Montgomery, who was gay – visited Geoffrey in Paris. He was taken to visit Diana Mosley at Orsay and entertained well. Geoffrey wanted to take Peter out clubbing in the city. He made him strip to his underpants and unburden himself of all possible valuables, including watch, ring, everything. Only then was it safe to go out and face gay club life in Paris. It seems it was not a lot different from the same kind of entertainment in New York and elsewhere”. (Arnold 293)


Village, The Belfast Telegraph and Channel 4 News, have all reported extensively about the stolen life of Richard Kerr, a victim of sexual abuse at Williamson House and Kincora. See, for example, Kincora Survivor in Village, November 2017; and Suffer Little Children, Village May 2018. The Channel 4 news broadcast is available on YouTube.

In the summer of either 1973 or 1974, when Richard Kerr was 12 or 13, and a resident at Williamson House, he was abused by a man who identified himself as “Andrew”. Kerr is adamant that the man was Blunt. If he is correct, Blunt would have been about 65 or 66 years of age. The man Kerr recalls was ‘about 62 to 65’. Whether he was indeed Blunt or someone who shared his distinctive appearance and build, the fact that a young boy in care in Belfast was supplied to an Englishman for sex is in itself a scandal.

Kerr’s journey to meet ‘Andrew’ began at Williamson House where he was picked up by two men in a car. En route, they stopped off at the Culloden Hotel on the Bangor Road opposite what Kerr recalls as the ‘Old Folk Museum’ which is clearly a reference to the ‘Ulster Folk and Transport Museum’. The adult front seat passenger went inside the Culloden, probably to make a telephone call and receive instructions. After he came out, they proceeded on to Bangor and reached a hotel which Kerr recalls was called the ‘King or Queen’s Arms, something like that’. This was undoubtedly the Queen’s Court Hotel. Kerr recalls the hotel was on the seafront; had an old fashioned lift and a few floors, just as the Queen’s Court had.

Significantly, it also had a large function room at its rear and was a popular venue for dance bands and discos in the 1970s, a factor which, in addition to its seafront location, made it ideal for a paedophile group because it was perfectly normal for young people to be on the premises and for adults who were total strangers to book rooms at it for short stays.

The Girton Lodge and Park Avenue hotels on the Newtownards Road were also used by the ring because young people were often present unescorted.

Kerr was taken inside and left to wait for a while in the lounge area. He got the feeling that a man present in the lounge was involved in what was taking place. A while later Kerr was brought upstairs by the adult passenger from the car and introduced to the man who would abuse him, a man who called himself ‘Andrew’. Kerr would spend about three hours with him upstairs. ‘Andrew’ was tall, wore a three-piece suit and came over as a ‘very unique type of’ person; someone who ‘presented himself very well and did a lot of talking’ in a refined English accent. Kerr was struck by his penchant for secrecy.  ‘We can keep this to ourselves’ he urged. ‘I am a man of my word. I will look after you’, he promised in return for the boy’s silence.

Kerr found him ‘polite’ and ‘a little more gentle’ than some of his other abusers. Kerr was, as he puts it himself, ‘abused by sharks and dolphins and I would rather be with the dolphins.’ ‘Andrew’ was not violent with him as Enoch Powell MP had been. ‘Andrew’ had a grandfather watch and chain. ‘He pulled it out and flipped it open and entertained me with it. He let me hold it’, Kerr recalls. He also gave him a box of chocolates. ‘A lot of them gave me chocolates, Black Magic, Milk Tray and Quality Street. How did they known I liked chocolates?

Despite his pretence at kindness, the man was a perfidious and calculating pervert with only one agenda – to have sex with a child. Once he had put him at a relative ease, the older man instructed Kerr to get undressed and started kissing his ears. By now this type of behaviour had become ‘natural’ for the boy; he had become, as he puts it himself, “a boy toy”. He focussed his mind on the chocolates while ‘Andrew’ continued to talk into his ears softly; repeatedly whispering that he was “safe”. He soon made his real intention clear: he wanted the boy to penetrate him and then give him a massage. Kerr did as he was bid.

Later, in the car on the way home, one of the men stressed the importance of not talking about the man in the hotel. ‘Richie, you must not talk about this to anyone’, he stressed.

It was night by the time Kerr arrived back at Williamson House after this ordeal. He was abused on at least two further occasions by ‘Andrew’ who had obviously been promised access to the boy by the men running the ring and hence ‘Andrew’ had told him in Bangor that he ‘would look after’ him. Kerr never stayed with him overnight as he did with some of his other abusers.

Kerr recalls another incident which took place in a house with a ‘library’ with a driveway leading up to it. On this occasion, ‘Andrew’ gave him alcohol, either brandy or scotch.

One day Kerr was watching TV when Blunt came on the screen and he recognised him immediately as ‘Andrew’. This was undoubtedly the press interview Blunt gave after he had been unmasked as a traitor on 20 November 1979.


MI5 and the RUC Special Branch had a clear duty and interest in maintaining an eye on Blunt’s movements in Ireland for a number of reasons. First, he was the Keeper of the Queen’s Pictures, a former member of MI5, and, like his friend Captain Peter Montgomery, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Tyrone, a possible IRA assassination target.

Second, as a former Soviet agent, Peter Wright and others in MI5 would have felt it imperative to keep an eye on him lest he revert to his treacherous old ways. At the time they were concerned that the Soviet Union might be meddling in the affairs of Northern Ireland.

Third, Blunt remained a potent font of knowledge. Despite any lingering suspicion MI5 might have harboured about his repentance, by the early 1970s, they would have been quizzing him intently about what he knew about his political friends including those in the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) such as Knox Cunningham and his protégé James Molyneaux MP, who rose to become leader of the UUP. Suffice it to say, they would have had a particularly keen interest in any of the paedophiles and pederasts in his circle who were now influential in Loyalist circles.

Bearing the foregoing in mind, and assuming for the moment that Blunt was indeed ‘Andrew’, it is difficult to conceive how he could have gained access to a child from Williamson House without MI5’s knowledge. While it is possible that Peter Montgomery could have arranged the assignations for him, it is unlikely that Eric Witchell would have released Kerr from the home on three occasions to him or anyone else without permission from his handlers. The odds are high that Blunt had wormed his way so deeply back into MI5’s good books they were prepared to let him enjoy this perk as a reward.


Blunt was also active in Northern Ireland politics. In one of his books, the Irish author and journalist, Robin Bryans, described how Blunt – whom he had known extremely well – had once tried to inveigle him into a scheme to undermine Ian Paisley. Unfortunately, Bryans did not reveal the details of this plot; in particular he failed to disclose the date. Nonetheless, it is abundantly clear that MI5 schemed and plotted against Paisley during the early and mid-1970s by attempting to link him with a homosexual netherworld, precisely the terrain about which Blunt was so familiar. See Village December 2017.  If the plot Bryans wrote about falls into this timeframe, it raises the possibility Blunt was a cog in it, a further indication of his return to the MI5 fold.

If it was earlier, in the mid to late 1960s, MI5 would have been keen to learn the minutiae of the plot as part of its efforts to build up a picture of Paisley’s life and associations. Ultimately, it recruited William McGrath, the housefather at Kincora, who knew about Paisley’s involvement in a string of UVF explosions in the late 1960s. See ‘Blackmailed’ in Village December 2017.

Either way Blunt would have been of enormous potential to MI5 as a source in the very early 1970s when they were desperate for information about the men directing the Loyalist opposition to London. A man like Blunt would have been invaluable to them because he would have helped break their reliance on the RUC Special Branch which was loyal to the Stormont Government and, in their eyes, neither reliable nor competent.

It has been common knowledge for decades that Blunt cooperated with MI5 after it discovered his treachery but the depth of that cooperation has never been fully fathomed. If he gave them information which they used to ensnare Loyalist paedophiles, it would make sense of the strenuous efforts that a string of senior officials in Whitehall exerted to dissuade Margaret Thatcher from naming him as the traitor referred to obliquely in Private Eye. The magazine had stopped just short of naming him. One of their concerns must have been that he would blow the whistle on their dirty trick operations in Ireland.






Ultimately, whether Blunt was ‘Andrew’ and back in the MI5 fold or not, it is crucial not to lose sight of the real essence of this scandal: the existence of the Anglo-Irish Vice Ring and its exploitation by MI5 and MI6 to recruit Loyalists including DUP members.

The links between the key suppliers of children to the ring such as Eric Witchell at Williamson House and the trio of abusers at Kincora were strong. The Kincora trio consisted of Joe Mains (an MI6 and later MI5 agent); William McGrath (also an MI6 and MI5 agent); and Raymond Semple (who did what Mains told him). All of them were visitors to Williamson House. Mains sometimes stayed overnight. At one stage Mains ran Williamson House for a few weeks, presumably because Witchell or some other member of staff was on holiday or ill.

In 1975 a group of 14-year olds under the care of Witchell at Williamson House was transferred to Kincora. Up to this point, Kincora had normally housed 16 –18 year olds. Some, if not all, of the new influx from Williamson House had already been crushed and remoulded to the point where they were fearful and compliant sex drones; probably the very reason for their transfer. They were now earmarked as bait for an MI5 ‘honey trap’ operation based at a series of hotels in Belfast and at least one in Bangor. Over time, some of the boys, especially Richard Kerr, would begin to resist, but not at this stage.

Most, but not all, of the new boys installed at Kincora hailed from Williamson House. They included Richard Kerr who arrived in August 1975; ‘F’, who is still alive; ‘B’, who later shot himself, and ‘S’.

Steven Waring, who had not been in Williamson House, joined a few months after. He committed suicide in 1977.

The reinvigorated Belfast and Bangor hotel ‘honey trap’ operation recommenced in September 1975, a few weeks after Kerr’s arrival at Kincora.

Another young boy, ‘D’, would be consigned to the hell of this existence the following year.  He is still alive. Collectively, these boys will be referred to as the Hotel Victim Group.

Kerr, who has described what took place to Village, was the first of the Hotel Victim Group to arrive at Kincora. On the surface, there was no logical reason for the transfer of the new residents. Ian Cameron and MI5, however, were the beneficiaries of the new arrangement because it allowed them to replenish their ongoing “honey trap” blackmail operations in Belfast and Bangor with a fresh batch of younger teenagers who were sexually compliant. In addition, MI5 was in complete control of Kincora, a detached house which was smaller and more manageable from their perspective than Williamson House which consisted of two buildings. Kincora was also controlled by three men, all of whom were paedophiles. Witchell – as a paedophile – was very much on his own at Williamson House, at least at that point in time. In a nutshell, MI5 could remove the members of the Hotel Victim Group from Kincora at will.

Members of the Hotel Victim Group were also shipped to England and Scotland by Mains on the orders of Joss Cardwell, an influential Loyalist politician. (See Village February 2018.)


The account Richard Kerr has provided about the defilement of boys – including himself – at hotels in Belfast and Bangor is independently confirmed by contemporaneous British Army notes.

One of MI5’s darkest projects in Northern Ireland was entitled Operation Clockwork Orange. It went through a number of phases. It was primarily designed to counter Loyalist anti-State activities. It involved, inter alia, the collection of damaging information about DUP and other Loyalist politicians as well as paramilitaries.

Colin Wallace, a British Army PSYOPS officer, was asked by MI5 to assist Clockwork Orange. Towards this end, he was provided with information which he recorded in his notebook. Forensic examination has proven that his notes are authentic. In December 1974 Wallace recorded the following: “Joseph Mains may be extensively involved in a prostitution ring supplying boys to hotels in Belfast and Bangor. The hotels include: Girton Lodge, Park Avenue; Stormont; Europa and the Queen’s Court in Bangor. [John] McKeague is said to use the Royal Avenue Hotel for the same purposes. Bearing in mind that the East Belfast UDA leadership use the Girton Lodge and the Park Avenue for their meetings, it is simply [not] credible that they did not know what is going on there. Note: Mains has a brother in the RUC. He also has a questionable relationship with Belfast Corporation Welfare Chairman (Cardwell) and Legal Adviser (Young)”.

In September 1975 Wallace wrote a letter to his former boss at British Army HQ in Northern Ireland which referred to “homosexual prostitution at a children’s home in Belfast”.  The relevant extract reads as follows: “My concern now is that there may be an attempt by the Ministry [of Defence] to deny any form of official ‘dirty tricks’ organisation existed within the Security Forces. For example, in the Ministry’s summary of my oral representations made [at an employment tribunal] to John Groves and Mr Fairbairn on 10 May reference is made in paragraph 3 to ‘actions’ which I was asked to launch during the [Ulster Workers Council anti-power-sharing] strike. The word “actions” appears to have been used by MOD to conceal the fact that I referred to the attempts made by the Security Service [i.e. MI5] to discredit various Loyalist politicians, including the Rev Ian Paisley [of the DUP], by the use of forged documents and by linking the MPs with loyalist paramilitary figures involved in homosexual prostitution at a children’s home in Belfast”.

Wallace’s Clockwork Orange notes and his September 1975 letter were furnished to the Hart Inquiry which clearly did not appreciate the significance of either. On their own – and at a minimum – they confirm that MI5 knew about the existence of a paedophile network involving Joseph Mains and John McKeague in Belfast and Bangor five years before it was exposed in the Irish Independent, yet did nothing to interfere with it.


When Kerr’s social worker rang Kincora looking for him while he was out of the home being defiled, Joe Mains would brush her off by saying he had gone on some sort of an outing. She was not fooled and would eventually expose the scandal through the Irish Independent in the Republic of Ireland.

Others, beguiled by State lies, have not demonstrated the same penetrating insight as Kerr’s social worker. To cover his tracks, Joe Mains would enter false destinations for the boys into the Kincora logbook, or make no entry at all.  While Kerr refused to appear in person before the Hart Inquiry in 2016, it examined a written account he had provided concerning his trips to England. Hart ultimately decided to {i} accept the veracity of the Kincora logs maintained by Joe Mains at face value and {ii} use them to dismiss Kerr’s account of his trips to England and {iii} dispute his credibility.  Does it need to be stressed that the organisers of paedophile rings have never been known to {i} make accurate and incriminating records of their crimes, {ii} preserve them and {iii} ultimately furnish them to the police?






After the departure of Kerr and the others from Williamson House in 1975, Witchell found a set of new victims to torment. ‘Charles’ (not his real name) was a few years younger than Kerr. His ordeal began in 1975.

Last month Village outlined some of the activities Witchell engaged in while at Williamson House. Charles’ account adds further detail to our knowledge of him. He recalls how Witchell presented himself as “plausible”, and how he ‘hoodwinked people into thinking that he was a man of God”; how he “wore a cloak, portraying himself as a man of God but was a paedophile”. Witchell, an Anglican Franciscan, should not have worn the habit of his Order as it was a condition of his employment that he would not.

Witchell’s horrific abuse of Charles lasted five years, only ending when he left Williamson House at the age of 18.

Charles had been abandoned by his parents at Brefne Residential Nursery in Belfast as an infant. He was transferred to Williamson House at the age of 4 at the end of the 1960s.

Charles’ motive for talking to Village is to tell the story of what happened at Williamson House on behalf of the victims who took their own lives. Richard Kerr shares this identical motive, as does his brother Alan Kerr, whose story will be told in the next edition of Village.


Charles has many happy memories of Williamson House but they all pre-date 1975. For a start, the children were always well fed and clothed, and the home boasted a full complement of staff to mind the children. Charles remembers games of tennis and football; playing in a recreation room which had a television; visits from well-wishers. Christmases were memorable too for all the right reasons: Charles and his friends spent time with kindly families who welcomed them into their homes over the festive season. There was also a string of Christmas celebrations around Belfast to which they were taken.

The children were integrated into the wider community by being enrolled at various primary and secondary schools nearby. Some of the Catholic boys, for example, went to a Christian Brothers school.

Charles recalls how the Catholic and Protestant children got along perfectly well with each other. ‘The Catholics were like my family”, Charles, a Protestant, recalls.

Charles got to spend time with two other families in the community who treated him kindly. He went with one of them to the Martyrs Memorial Church on Sundays where Ian Paisley gave his sermons. Charles recalls having chatted to Paisley, something that occurred a few times as the family he accompanied to Paisley’s church often turned up half an hour before the sermons began, when Paisley came out to mix with them.

Charles enjoyed Paisley’s captivating style of preaching. “He was charismatic”, he recalls. Paisley would quote scripture and make the occasional reference to Catholics but, insofar as Charles recalls, he didn’t really dwell on the issue. “The implication was that the Catholics were going to go to hell. He didn’t say so in so many words”  but that was what he meant. Charles, who clearly had a mind of his own from a young age, took no heed of Paisley’s bigotry and continued to get on perfectly well with his Catholic “family” at the home.

What Charles did not know was that Paisley knew what was going on at Kincora from at least 1973 (see Village December 2017). Paisley – one of the best informed men in Ireland about the seedy underbelly of Loyalist politics and paramilitarism – must have learnt or at least suspected that Kincora was not an isolated aberration and that similar violations were being perpetrated at other homes. Yet, while he occasionally visited care homes and orphanages in Northern Ireland  – including Williamson House – he never once lifted a finger to end the suffering of a single victim at any of them.


Eric Witchell used the existence of Kincora to intimidate and control the children he abused at Williamson House. “He threatened us with Kincora,’ Charles has explained. “If you are a bad boy, you’ll end up in Kincora”, he would warn.

William McGrath, the Housefather at Kincora, was a familiar face to the children at Williamson House. Witchell introduced him to them as “Master McGrath”, his idea of a joke as Master McGrath was then a popular dog food.

He described McGrath as “his friend, someone who worked in another home” but he did not tell them it was Kincora. To the best of Charles’ recollection, Witchell never once mentioned that McGrath worked at Kincora. “They were often together having cups of tea and biscuits. [McGrath] would chat with Eric in a room”. He saw them together “many, many times”.

Richard Kerr confirms what Charles has to say about McGrath’s regular visits to Williamson House.

Raymond Semple, the third abusive staff member at Kincora, also visited Williamson House. However, he may have been visiting a relative who worked there, a ‘lovely’ person who was not involved in any abuse’, according to Charles.

Mains, McGrath and Semple were all convicted of child abuse in December 1981.

How and when did Witchell first become acquainted with Mains and McGrath and what did they discuss? Some of their deliberations must have involved the selection of suitable candidates for the transfers from Williamson House to Kincora. These are questions Witchell will have to answer if he is brought before the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in London. Professor Alexis Jay, who is now in charge of it, can hardly be expected to understand the full extent of the sexual abuse which took place in England, Scotland and Wales – much of which was successfully concealed by the Special Branch on orders from MI5 – if she chooses to ignore the research and evidence available about the modus operandi of MI5 in Ireland. Unfortunately, she cannot rely upon the Hart Report as an accurate account of what happened in NI. At the very least, she should conduct interviews with the many witnesses – whether victims or perpetrators  – who did not contribute to the Hart Inquiry, especially Eric Witchell.

Witchell, if he chooses to tell the truth, will be able to provide details about the trafficking of Richard Kerr to Enoch Powell MP, something that is definitely within her remit. See Village May 2018. Witchell should also be asked about what he knows about Anthony Blunt, again something within Professor Jay’s remit.

Colin Wallace, whose life was derailed because he tried to tell the truth about Kincora, is another witness who should be interviewed.

In addition, MI5 should be required to furnish Professor Jay with the list of the agents it recruited inside the DUP. It should not be limited to those who attained elected public office.