Paedophile ring linked to Britain's worst abuser 'still at large'
MEMBERS of a paedophile ring linked to Britain's most prolific child abuser William Goad may still be at large, police have admitted.
Devon and Cornwall Police have now launched a new investigation, nine years after Plymouth pervert Goad was jailed for life.
It follows a complaint by one of his victims that previous inquiries ignored claims made by himself and other men about other alleged abusers.
Police have admitted that the hundreds of men who have contacted police since Goad was jailed in 2004 have never been fully interviewed and could hold key information on possible associates of Goad.
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Confidential documents seen by The Herald have also revealed that as far back as 1996, police were aware of allegations that Goad was part of a paedophile "ring" which included "prominent men in society".
The same document notes how boys were "threatened to keep quiet".
An internal police investigation into the complaint concluded that the original inquiries were carried out to the standards appropriate at that time, but there was a recognition that protocols for such inquiries had since moved on.
One of the detectives on the original inquiry – former Detective Constable Shirley Thompson – has revealed to The Herald that at the time she repeatedly voiced concerns to senior officers that other paedophiles linked to Goad were still at large. However, she said she heard an investigator being told to "put a lid on it and concentrate on Goad".
The complaint made by Goad victim Paul Wyatt in November last year led to an internal investigation by the force's Professional Standards Department. As a result the force has recently begun a new investigation despite Goad's death in prison last year.
Mr Wyatt has campaigned for years for the case to be reopened and Goad's many hundreds of victims finally given the chance to give their statements to police. He, along with others whose evidence secured Goad's conviction, has repeatedly claimed there were other paedophiles linked to Goad who were never held to account.
His voice has now been joined by that of Plymouth charity Twelves Company, set up to counsel and support Goad's victims, a city MP and Ms Thompson.
Goad, a Plymouth market trader, was jailed for life in 2004 after he admitted sexually abusing more than a dozen boys. At the time, Judge William Taylor called him "a voracious, calculating and predatory paedophile over the past 40 years who has corrupted generations of boys aged between eight and 16".
Since he was jailed, hundreds of men have contacted police revealing they too were sexually abused by Goad. The Herald has learned that Goad's death of natural causes in October 2012 – and the death of paedophile DJ Jimmy Savile nine days later – prompted a sudden increase in the number of men revealing to Twelves Company they were victims of Goad.
Police sources have said the Goad re-investigation had the potential to dwarf the current Savile inquiry.
But after Goad's sentencing, a decision was made by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service that there was little chance that further charges would be brought against him. It meant that these men were not asked to make full statements about the abuse they suffered at the hands of Goad, nor whether they were abused by others.
The Professional Standards Department (PSD) investigation into Mr Wyatt's complaint found that while the force correctly followed its policy at the time, there remains the "possibility" that other victims "might have also been abused by other offenders and thus the lack of any police action has potentially meant these offenders have retained their liberty and continued their offending behaviour".
The PSD report backs the repeated complaints by Mr Wyatt, who has campaigned for years to get police to widen their investigation to include other alleged abusers who operated alongside Goad. As a result of Mr Wyatt's complaint, former detective Ms Thompson has gone public for the first time about her long-standing concerns about other potential paedophiles.
Both Mr Wyatt and Ms Thompson have also voiced their concerns that Goad was left to abuse boys despite records showing he was known to be a paedophile as far back as 1972 – more than 30 years before he was jailed for life.
Confidential records seen by The Herald show police were fully aware of allegations that Goad was working with other suspected paedophiles in 1996.
A "strategy meeting" between police, a consultant psychiatrist and a drug rehab worker in June of that year notes that boys were disclosing how Goad "and associates" were taking boys away to London and Manchester "where the boys were shared with other men in these cities". The confidential report also notes how boys said they were "threatened to keep quiet and were paid off", adding "some prominent men in society have or did have associations with this ring".
The Herald has learned that the PSD report, which was passed to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, led to Devon and Cornwall Police's Deputy Chief Constable David Zinzan asking the force's Criminal Case Review Team to "draw up a terms of reference for a new police investigation" which aimed to "address the conclusions highlighted" within the report.
The reports also highlighted concerns around record keeping central to the original investigation's remit, revealing how a key "policy book" – which contained decisions about why no action was taken against alleged paedophiles – could no longer be found.
It noted that of six names given by Mr Wyatt during a video interview on April 5, 2005, only one – Eddie Pratt – was subsequently investigated. The report found there was "no paperwork, policy book or any other documentation... to comprehend the rationale for this." Pratt took his own life the following month and was believed to have left a note reading "Ha ha".
The report admitted that "as no account was ever obtained from these victims [who have come forward in the intervening years] it is not known if they were abused by anyone else other than Goad."
Mr Wyatt told The Herald: "Of the 17 witnesses who originally were part of the trial which led to Goad's eventual conviction, some had named other paedophiles connected to Goad who had also abused them. This information eventually led to the convictions of other paedophiles in the last few years.
"What if these other hundreds of victims, that came forward but were never allowed to make statements, were abused by others as well? They [Goad's victims] were just given crime reference numbers and a telephone helpline to ring. It means their offenders have been active in Plymouth for all this time without ever being brought to book. I want other victims to be listened to and given the opportunity to make a statement. The terms of reference for this new investigation need to be transparent and open, rather than hidden and lost. Only then will justice be done and this case properly laid to rest."
EXPERIENCED TEAM WILL LEAD INVESTIGATION
DEVON and Cornwall Police say they have put together a “very experienced team of specially trained officers” to investigate allegations made “during and since previous inquiries” into Goad.
Det Sgt Mark Metherell from the Professional Standards Department told The Herald Mr Wyatt’s complaint against police raised “number of concerns surrounding the investigations Devon and Cornwall Police undertook in 1987, 1995 and 2005 into the paedophile William Goad”.
He said: “The issues raised by Mr Wyatt were investigated by the Professional Standards Department. Their investigation concluded that police had acted lawfully and proportionately and that no misconduct issues had been identified.
“A voluntary referral, however, was made to the Independent Police Complaints Commission in respect to some of the key policy decisions that had been made during the police investigations into the criminal activities of Mr Goad.
“Following consultation with the IPCC Commissioner, Rachel Cerfontyne, Deputy Chief Constable David Zinzan has asked for the Devon and Cornwall Criminal Case Review Team to draw up a terms of reference for a new police investigation which will seek to address the conclusions highlighted within the Professional Standards Department investigation.”
Det Insp Mike Cooper has now been appointed as the Senior Investigating Officer to “investigate allegations made during and since the previous enquiries.”
He said: “I will be managing a very experienced team of specially trained officers seconded from the Plymouth Sexual Offence Investigation Unit, the Public Protection Unit and the Major Crime Investigation Team.
“I can confirm the team will be working closely with Mr Wyatt throughout this complex and sensitive investigation.”
FORMER DETECTIVE: WE MUST FIND THE OTHERS
A FORMER detective who helped bring predatory paedophile William Goad to justice has criticised Devon and Cornwall Police for failing to investigate other potential suspects.
Former Detective Constable Shirley Thompson has gone public for the first time and spoken exclusively to The Herald about her long-standing concerns about the Goad inquiry. She highlighted what she believes are a number of failures by Devon and Cornwall Police, including how hundreds of Goad’s victims have been effectively ignored after the force chose not to fully investigate their complaints.
In 2008 The Herald reported how support group Twelve’s Company admitted they had received around one Goad-related referral a week since he was jailed in 2004. Goad died of natural causes at HMP Albany in October 2012.
Ms Thompson remains convinced there is a “massive potential” that there are still other suspects out there who were not investigated because police chose not to interview the men who came forward.
Ms Thompson, who with Det Con John Livingstone helped secure the 2004 conviction against Goad, left the force in February 2012 after fighting breast cancer since 2006. However, she said the case has never left her.
She said she repeatedly raised concerns with senior officers about how the investigation was not going far enough. She had re-visited the six original complainants in 2003 after Goad was arrested. He was nabbed on his return to the UK on a false passport, having fled to Thailand several years earlier to evade charges.
As the names of more potential victims emerged the two detectives set about interviewing them. Before long, they had interviewed around 50 alleged victims, with 17 prepared to go to court to give evidence.
Other suspected paedophiles who abused them were being named – including a man called Peter Norsworthy and Eddie Pratt.
However, Shirley explained “the CPS said we couldn’t run with any more.
“The interviews and statements showed there were more victims and more offenders out there.”
However, she said: “A senior officer said to my boss ‘put a lid on it and concentrate on Goad’.
“When I asked ‘when are we going to do Norsworthy and the others named?’ They said ‘we’re not’.”
Allegations about victims being forced to ‘snatch’ other victims in different parts of the country as they were driven about by Goad were also left un-investigated.
A Professional Standards Department investigation has found that a “policy book” entry for Sept 3, 2004 states “all new victims making contact with the police post the plea and direction hearing [of Goad] will have their crimes recorded and will be provided support through the Plymouth Victim support services. All details to be held on the file post the trial”.
The internal investigation has also found the CPS was consulted and it was agreed that “to subject the victims to a full probing interview by the police would not be in the interests of the victim or the public”.
Ms Thompson said she repeatedly argued with senior officers that the victims’ voices should be heard and would inevitably lead them to more suspects.
She has now revealed that her growing frustration at the force’s refusal to investigate potential suspects named by witnesses saw her break ranks and contact the BBC’s Panorama in the hope of shaming Devon and Cornwall Police into action.
After the programme was broadcast in February 2005, the force took action – and gave Ms Thompson three months off from her new post in Cornwall to assist Det Con Livingstone to investigate the claims, under the banner Operation Faber.
As they conducted a series of video interviews the names of both other victims and abusers were revealed. But again, she said she was told not to go beyond the boundaries of the investigation and stick with a small group of suspects.
She said she ignored the expectation she should take details over the phone, and would instead visit alleged victims face to face, to continue making video interviews.
As a result of the work by Ms Thompson and Det Con Livingstone, Peter Norsworthy was convicted at Plymouth Crown Court in 2006 and jailed for 15 years for a series of vile sexual assaults, including nine rapes. Eddie Pratt – who was named in the programme but denied the offence – committed suicide in May 2005 at his home in France, reportedly leaving a note saying “Ha Ha”.
Ms Thompson said much of the information given by victims was left uninvestigated. Locations where boys were abused, such as a venue in Blackpool, were ignored. Allegations he had taken boys on trips to America were also ignored.
She said Goad’s background was also not considered relevant, including his own claims that he had been abused while at Forde Park approved school in Newton Abbot. In the late 1990s the force conducted its biggest ever child abuse investigation. More than 300 people made allegations against 190 people from 41 residential care homes. Four former Forde Park staff were convicted after trials and sentenced to a total of 22 years in jail.
However, Ms Thompson said there was no cross referencing between the investigations.
She said: “Someone should have gone to Thailand and got his computer. There’s an immense possibility and probability that there was communication between him and other paedophile offenders in Britain.
“I could work to the end of my days just linking one interview to another. Cases which have been out there for at least 30 years have just been left.”
Ms Thompson’s greatest concern is why there appeared to be such difficulties in bringing Goad to justice. In 2008, Det Con Livingstone told The Herald there had been previous investigations into Goad but “they didn’t go anywhere. Why that is I can’t say.” Ms Thompson revealed she and Det Con Livingstone had met with a high ranking officer who congratulated them on their work after Goad’s arrest in 2003. “He told us – ‘watch your back – you will come across brick walls’.”
She admits there was a sense that Goad was untouchable and protected by people who had “sold their soul to the Devil”.
She added “I got the sense I wasn’t going to be a popular person in the police. I was told they [Goad’s victims] were all ‘loose cannons’. They were said to be discredited because of their pasts. Yet their behaviour was absolutely indicative of what they went through.”
Her words echo those of Det Con Livingstone who in 2004 told The Herald that during investigations “[we found] some kids were told by police that they were ‘lying little queers’.”
He added; “I heard stories about boys being held down, of parties of men turning up, paedophile rings. Some [of the men] were older, older than Goad. They would’ve been in charge at the time. He learned from them, learned tactics and contacts.”
Ms Thompson said that although the original investigation into Goad – Operation Emotion – began in 1994, it appeared to take years to take a handful of statements. Yet she later found that in 1998 there was intelligence on the police system that Goad was living under a false name in a flat in Ivybridge. Ms Thompson said Goad knew full well he was being investigated and was able to flee the country in 1999 to Thailand. During the intervening years, he had transferred the vast bulk of his business empire to another person.
COUNSELLOR JOINED CALLS FOR ALLEGATIONS TO BE HEARD
DETAILS of meetings held about Goad reveal long standing suspicions that he was linked with other paedophiles – including “prominent men in society”.
In June of 1996, Community Drug Service worker Phil Wilson, who died in a car crash on the A38 near Liskeard in April 2009, attended a strategy meeting, the minutes of which were “strictly confidential and should be locked in a safe place away from other people”.
Mr Wilson counselled many of Goad’s victims who came to him suffering substance abuse. Hearing their testimony led him to be a vigorous supporter of their campaign for Goad and others to be brought to justice.
Revelations by a victim of Goad were shared at that meeting by a consultant psychiatrist with two CID officers and a child protection officer, noting how the young man revealed that Goad’s house was “kitted out like a boys’ club”.
Boys were given payment of BMX bikes for the abuse they suffered and some boys’ parents had their debts paid or overlooked. Other boys were taken away for weekends by Goad “and associates”.
The minutes state: “The weekends away were spent in other large cities such as London and Manchester where the boys were shared with other men in these cities. The boys were threatened to keep quiet and were paid off. It appears some prominent men in society have or did have associations with this ring.”
The minutes warn that: “Given the nature of this ring and the prominence of some of its members confidentiality was vital.”
In November 2004, Ms Thompson attended an Adult Protection Case Discussion with a senior police officer, Community Drug Service worker Phil Wilson and a senior Primary Care Trust lead.
During that meeting, Mr Wilson “mentioned that the names of other men that have been brought up by the Goad victims as being involved in abuse.” He asked: “Are these people going to be investigated? Do the victims need to make new statements?”
GOAD: THE TIMELINE
July 12, 1944 – William Goad born. 1957-1961 – Goad attends Forde Park Approved School where he says he was abused.
1964 – Goad abuses a boy who worked for him selling rosettes at Plymouth Argyle.
October 1972 – Goad convicted of indecency with child and indecent assault on male. Made subject of probation order for three years.
June 30, 1980 – Goad convicted of two counts of indecent assault, two counts of procuring an act of gross indecency and one count of indecency with children
1987 – Paul Wyatt alleges he was abused by Goad aged 13-16, but not the full extent.
April 23, 1987 – Goad convicted of three counts of indecent assault on Mr Wyatt. Sentenced to six months imprisonment, suspended for two years.
1991 – Goad and business partner open Cornish Market World in St Austell.
1994 – Mr Wyatt makes full disclosure of sexual assault by Goad.
January 1995 – Goad arrested. CPS say further charges would be an “abuse of process” and case dropped.
June 6, 1996 – Confidential meeting regarding allegations against Goad and “prominent men in society” who “have or did have associations with this ring”.
1996 to 1997 – Further allegations against Goad formally made by two victims to police.
October 1998 – Operation Emotion 2 launched to investigate abuse and rape claims.
Late 1998 – Goad flees to Thailand on false passport.
June 4, 2003 – Goad arrested on train in UK on false passport. After Herald reports he has been charged 10 more victims come forward.
September, 2004 – Goad jailed for life
February 6, 2005 – BBC Panorama programme claims there are more abusers, including Eddie Pratt.
April 2005 – Operation Faber launched to investigate Pratt, Peter Norsworthy and three others.
April 2005 – Pratt contacts police saying he will return to UK to be interviewed.
May 4, 2005 – Mr Wyatt gives video interview to police, of abuse by seven men, including Eddie Pratt.
May 22, 2005 – Pratt commits suicide.
October 17, 2006 – Norsworthy jailed for 15 years for nine rapes and three indecent assaults.
October 20, 2012 – Goad dies in prison
GOAD VICTIM CALLS FOR FULL JUDICIAL INQUIRY
A VICTIM of William Goad has called for a full judicial inquiry into why police decided not to go after other suspected paedophiles.
Paul Wyatt, who was abused by Goad over a number of years, has campaigned for the case to be reinvestigated.
Following news that police are returning to the case, Paul said: “I want a full judicial inquiry into how the police investigated Goad, who made the
decisions to not further investigate the others names and why they came to that decision.
“I want other victims to be listened to and given the opportunity to make a statement. I want a forensic accountant to be installed as part of that
inquiry to trace Goad’s assets and to investigate those who enabled him to hide his fortune. Only then will justice be done and this case properly laid to rest.”
At 12, when Paul was looking for a Saturday job, the offer from market trader Goad seemed like manna from heaven. He once claimed he and other boys “idolised” Goad. He said the businessman would take boys who worked for him to top restaurants and buy them meals, buy them clothes.
However, the price paid by Paul and some others who worked for Goad was higher than they ever expected to pay.
At 16, Paul finally plucked up enough courage to make his allegations after another boy named him to police as a victim of Goad. It was 1987 and police officers weren't as understanding as those Paul met years later.
Paul had just started a youth training course in the building trade. He remembers two officers coming to his course centre and saying they wanted to speak to him about Goad.
“They said ‘we know you’ve been taking money from Goad in exchange for sex’ and they took me to Charles Cross police station.
“In the car, a detective constable [now deceased] turned around to me and said: ‘We heard Billy Goad’s popped your cherry.’”
Former Det Con Shirley Thompson, who investigated Goad, said she recalled a number of other victims claiming the same detective constable had repeated similar phrases to them.
Paul said: “There was no sense that I was a victim. At that stage I had about one conviction, taking tennis balls from a school. I was a normal kid, mischievous. But Goad was still seeing me at that point.
“Because of what they said, because I felt instantly ashamed and scared,I only disclosed a small amount of abuse – only the sexual assaults which started when I was 12 – not the rapes, the procurement or the other victims.”
By the time of the trial, Paul had started six weeks basic training at the Whittingdon barracks in Lichfield with the Prince of Wales division. He gave evidence wearing his army uniform. But it was a bitter experience.
“I was due to go into the army but due to the pressure of the court case...” Paul attempted suicide by driving his motorbike head-on into an oncoming car.
Paul gave evidence at Goad’s trial at Plymouth Crown Court in November 1987 along with a handful of other victims.
Goad was convicted of three charges of indecent assault on Paul, receiving a six month prison sentence, but it was suspended for two years.
After watching Goad walk free from court, Paul, by his own admission, went on a “destructive cycle of committing more crimes than I could remember and become a drug addict.”
However, in 1994 and now in his early 20s he saw Goad in the city centre, accompanied by a “young blond-haired boy, no older than eight years.”
He said: “It dawned on me that Goad was still abusing young boys and I felt strongly that I had to stop no matter what the cost to me, so I made a full statement to another CID officer.”
This statement fully disclosed the abuse he suffered, how Goad had raped him and others, how Goad had made friends with Paul’s friends, lent Paul’s father money to start up a business venture, had supported the Scout group Paul was in before blackmailing Paul in procuring his own friends into starting working for him.
“He told me that my father’s business was failing and if I did this for him he would stop the bank from taking my family’s home and all our possessions. I gave the police names of other victims.”
Goad was arrested in January 1995, but the CPS chose not to prosecute Goad, saying another prosecution based on the same 1987 case would be an “abuse of process”.
However, during 1996 and 1997 two more boys came forward with allegations they had been abused by Goad. Operation Emotion 2 was launched with the aim of tracing and interviewing all of Goad’s victims.
But the statements took time.
Examination by legal experts has found that between 1996 and his final arrest in 2003 Goad resigned his directorships from a number of his businesses and transferred many of them to other business partners. This is still a major sticking point for Goad's victims as they are unable to sue Goad's estate for compensation, because by the time he was finally jailed in 2004, he appeared almost penniless.
He had fled to Thailand and resided there for many years. When he returned and was arrested on the Plymouth-bound train, Goad possessed a Pattaya country club membership card, a Pattaya International Hospital Card under a false name, a Krung Thai bank card using the same false name, and information suggesting a link to an address in an area of Thailand. Police also found that he had been booked into the Holland Inn hotel in Saltash as under the same false name. Study of e-mails uncovered in the UK suggested one of his businesses was transferring around £3,000 a month to Goad during 2004 and 2005. Former Det Con Thompson said there was no police investigation into Goad's activities in Thailand.
In 2009 Paul was able to get a law firm to look into the details of Goad's finances. They noted that Goad had nine previous directorships and was linked to two addresses, one in Ford Park Road and one in Ladysmith Road.
However, while he was in Thailand, he resigned these directorships, signing them over to others.
The legal firm firmly believed Goad did not have as much as £25m reported in court and in the press and by comparison lived by modest means. Paul’s compensation bids failed. He was also refused criminal injuries compensation due to his own criminal record.
He said: “I feel the system has not supported me in all of this and is set up to actually force victims into submission and drop claims for compensation due to the constant hurdles put in their way.”
After Goad's conviction, Paul founded the Operation Emotion support group which he said heard from hundreds of Goad’s victims.
Paul said: “These men were refused the opportunity of making a statement. They were given crime reference numbers and a telephone helpline number to ring. Of the 17 men who originally were part of the trial which led to his eventual conviction, some had named other paedophiles connected to Goad who had also abused them. This information eventually led to the convictions of many other paedophiles in the last few years.
Paul said: “I was abused by at least two men who weren’t connected to Goad. Other boys who were being abused by Goad frequented these two men’s addresses and Goad would go to pick them up there. I was as well. I was abused at their homes in St Budeaux in the 1990s. In April 2005 I gave those names to police.
“What if these other hundreds of victims, that never made statements, were abused by others as well? It means their offenders have been active in Plymouth for all this time without ever being brought to book.”
PAUL WYATT: GOAD KEPT HIS VICTIMS QUIET THROUGH FEAR
GOAD kept his victims quiet through fear, claiming he was well-connected.
Investigators learned he had told the young boys he could have them got rid of and get people to hurt their families.
Victim Paul Wyatt believes this is what made many victims remain silent, even after he was jailed, and could explain why some have only come forward after his death.
Paul is adamant he survived four attempts on his life after making statements to police.
The first was shortly after Paul made his first statement to police. He heard that Goad had sent boys who worked for him to attack him.
He said: “One had a big bowie knife and lunged at me as the others held me. I was able to kick the knife out of his hand and crash through the doors of the Fellowship Inn in St Budeaux. The publican ran to my rescue and the locals ran them off. They [the boys who attacked Paul] were other victims of Goad, but they were so scared of him, they did what he told them.”
The next was in around 1997. Living in a flat in Stonehouse, Paul saw Goad from his bedroom window, staring at him.
“I could see him smile at me. I lost the plot, ran outside, ran over to his car. He rolled up the window and I punched it. He reversed the car 50 yards up the road and then drove at me. I dived over his bonnet, got some grazes. I called the police but nothing came of it.”
The third attack came shortly after Goad was arrested in 2003 re-entering the UK.
“Two blokes attacked me, knocked me to the floor, started jumping up and down on my head. One said ‘you’re a ******** nonce, a dirty little
queer’. I’d rolled up into a ball as they stamped on my head. I thought ‘I'm going to die here’. Something told me to lay still, pretend I was dead and hopefully they will stop. That’s what I think saved my life.”
He later made it to Derriford Hospital, but was so frightened and confused he quickly signed himself out.
Paul feels the last attempt showed how far Goad would go to keep his victims quiet.
He was to be a key witness in Goad's final trial and on the first day he left his bed and breakfast accommodation early.
“The police had told the warden who I was and that I was involved in a high profile case as a witness.
“I found out later some guy had come calling - about 6ft 2ins or 6ft 3ins wearing a zip-up jacket. He asked the warden if I was in, asked for me by name saying ‘I want to speak to Paul Wyatt’. The warden said I wasn’t there but as this guy turned away his jacket opened and the warden saw a machete in his belt. The warden called the police and they came and got me. I was told to pack my bags immediately and they moonlighted me out of there.
“He really wanted me silenced.”