Black Rod son probed over VIP sex ring
Officers quiz abuser over claims Cyril Smith took boys to his home . . . but they say they were told to back off ‘to protect Establishment’
CLAIMS about a Westminster child-sex ring took a new turn last night when it emerged that police have interviewed the paedophile son of a former Black Rod, the Queen’s envoy in the Lords. Roddam Twiss – whose father Sir Frank was Black Rod in the 1970s, responsible for security and ceremonies at the Lords – was quizzed by officers investigating the claims.
The news came as two retired policemen told The Mail on Sunday they were banned from investigating Twiss in the late 1970s after Liberal MP Sir Cyril Smith, a prolific child-sex abuser, was allegedly seen taking a rent boy to Twiss’s London home. They say Mr Twiss:
Was well known among London’s rent boys;
Was banned from the Palace of Westminster by his father;
Visited Dolphin Square, the private apartment block in Westminster where Establishment figures allegedly had wild parties.
Police say their inquiries were halted when they told their superiors Twiss could be involved in a wider racket supplying rent boys to VIPs.
Incredibly, they didn’t know former prep school teacher Twiss had been jailed in 1967 for assaulting boys as young as 11, tying them up and beating them. He was later imprisoned twice for fraud.
Nor did they know that he rented a room to Lennie Smith, one of Britain’s most vicious paedophiles.
The Mail on Sunday tracked down Twiss to a dingy flat in West London. Twiss, who changed his name to Raymond Gibson in a bid to shake off his past, strongly denied any wrongdoing – but confirmed much of what the two policemen said.
He spoke frankly of his jail terms, said he had given up ‘spanking’ boys, and bragged of his access to Parliament and Dolphin Square, calling it ‘a den of iniquity for 30 years’. He displayed an expert knowledge of London’s rent-boy scene in the 1970s and 1980s and described the ‘dangers’ faced by gay MPs and peers who picked up young men.
Twiss said he felt ‘alarmingly well’ for his 78 years. But asked if he knew the names of the politicians involved, he said: ‘No. And I wouldn’t tell you if I did.’
He said he had no idea police had investigated him at the time.
The developments come after a series of claims and counter-claims regarding allegations of a historic child sex abuse ring at Westminster.
Much-publicised claims that young boys had been raped and even murdered at Dolphin Square by VIPs turned out to have been made by a fantasist. Today’s disclosures will spark fresh speculation that not all the claims of sexual misconduct and rent boys at Westminster were groundless.
The new claims are expected to be considered by Alexis Jay, head of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse, who has reaffirmed her determination to find out if claims of a Westminster paedophile ring were covered up. In a statement on Thursday, she vowed to look into ‘concern that police investigations into possible child sexual abuse linked with Westminster may have been the subject of inappropriate interference’.
She added she would also look into the disclosure last year that MI5 and the Director of Public Prosecutions lied to cover up the Cyril Smith rent-boy scandal.
The MoS was told of the allegations about Twiss by two former vice squad officers. They investigated him after monitoring the ‘Meat Rack,’ a notorious haunt for rent boys in Piccadilly. They saw Smith pick up a youngster and followed him to an address in Cricklewood, North-West London.
When they found out that it was the home of Twiss, they investigated him and uncovered his links to the corridors of power. When they told their superiors, the investigation was abruptly scrapped.
The two former police officers, who have asked to remain anonymous, said they were deeply frustrated by the decision. One went on to hold a series of high-profile security jobs and the other worked for a well-known sports team.
One of them recalled: ‘We went to the police station in Belgravia, and found a file that said Twiss had been banned by his father from entering the Palace of Westminster. He also went to Dolphin Square late at night. We thought he could be procuring boys for bigger figures from pimps at the Meat Rack. Well-to-do people would not want to be seen somewhere like that. We also followed him to the Meat Rack. Our superiors called it off. We assumed it was to protect VIPs.’
Asked why they did not discover Twiss’s 1967 conviction for assaulting young boys, one of the former policemen said: ‘We had trouble finding out anything about him.’
As well as serving as Black Rod, Twiss’s father Sir Frank was Secretary to the Lord Great Chamberlain, whose duties include dressing the Monarch on Coronation Day. After he died in 1994, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh attended his thanksgiving service.
A former Admiral, Sir Frank had connections to Royal, military and political elites. In 1960 he was made Naval Secretary to First Sea Lord, Lord Carrington, later Defence Secretary under Edward Heath and Foreign Secretary under Margaret Thatcher. As Second Sea Lord in 1968, Sir Frank ordered a crackdown on the ‘unnatural vice’ of homosexuality in the Navy.
There have been persistent claims that Meat Rack inquiries were blocked to protect VIPs. In 2016, former Chief Inspector Howard Groves said police were warned not to investigate Establishment figures. And Norman Tebbit, a Cabinet Minister in the 1980s, has said there ‘may well’ have been a cover-up to protect ‘the system.’
With their permission, this newspaper passed details of the two officers to Wiltshire Police, which carried out Operation Conifer into claims about Sir Edward Heath. Officers interviewed both men.
Mr Twiss told us that three officers from the operation interviewed him for three hours. He denied any wrongdoing.
‘His father banned him from Westminster’ ‘Our superiors called off the investigation’
WELL CONNECTED: sir Frank Twiss, the former Black Rod