Respected UK army regiment embroiled in under-age sex claims
ONE of Britain’s most respected Army regiments, which boasts Prince William as its Colonel-in-Chief, is facing embarrassment after a high-profile supporter was accused of child sexual abuse.
Ben Baker, a wealthy American, forged such close links with the Irish Guards that an annual trophy awarded to cadets was named in his honour. The Irish Guards cadet branch is known as the “Mini Micks” and recruits children aged as young as 12.
Baker often wore a distinctive Stetson bearing an Irish Guards badge and is also thought to have sponsored dinners, gifted items of silverware to the Sergeant’s Mess, and made donations to regimental associations.
He also acquired a pedigree wolfhound from a breeder in County Tipperary that became the regiment’s mascot in 2006, and has attended a string of functions, including the presenting of shamrocks by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the annual St Patrick’s Day parade. But The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the 64-year-old recently stood trial for the alleged abuse of underage boys. The jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict on the charges against Baker, a US military civilian contractor, leading to the judge declaring a mis-trial.
Police in Concord, New Hampshire, who brought the case, are now awaiting a decision from the county attorney over whether there will be a retrial.
Following Baker’s trial, the Regimental Sergeant Major of the Irish Guards, Andy Hughes – an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran – sought to dampen speculation in the regiment about the American’s alleged misdemeanours, for the sake of the Guards and their Colonel-in-Chief.
In a WhatsApp message to senior colleagues, he wrote: “There are lots of stories doing the rounds about Ben Baker. Whether or not he is guilty, we need to minimise and ensure the story doesn’t get shared on social media by anyone (from) guardsman up. Bearing in mind he (Baker) has a strong affiliation with the Sergeant’s Mess, not only do we need to protect ourselves and the regiment but also the Duke of Cambridge, as the last thing the Royal Family need now is another story in the papers.”
Kensington Palace said last night the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had not been formally introduced to Baker at any Irish Guards events.