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’

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Comment - Si­mon Wal­ters Paul Ca­ha­lan By and

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.