Abuse inquiry ‘must probe Bay City
As Tam Paton linked to care homes, victims call for action
HE was jailed for ‘gross indecency’ with two teenage boys and has been accused of using his fame and influence to prey on vulnerable youngsters, some as young as 13.
Now there have been calls for Tam Paton, the shamed former manager of the Bay City Rollers who died in 2009, to be investigated as part of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI).
A new book by one of the band’s founders, Alan Longmuir, warns the pop impresario will be exposed in the future as ‘a far darker force’ because his ‘depravity ran deeper than we currently know’.
The claim by Longmuir, who died in July this year shortly after writing the book, has prompted survivors’ representatives – as well as people aware of Paton’s past as a sexual predator – to urge the SCAI to look at links between him and residential care establishments for children around Edinburgh.
Chaired by High Court judge Lady Smith, the inquiry is examining allegations of physical and sexual abuse at 86 institutions across Scotland.
In his book, I Ran With The Gang, being published on November 26, Longmuir describes a trip to see Paton – who was sacked by the band in 1979 after rows over touring – at his ranch-like house, Little Kellerstain, on the outskirts of Edinburgh.
He went with the intention of asking for money but recalls: ‘I could not help noticing boys drifting around the house. They could have been 14. They could have been 18. I don’t reckon shaving foam was a major item on the Little Kellerstain shopping list.
“‘Who are all these boys, Tam?” I asked. “They’re Edinburgh’s waifs and strays.” My brow furrowed. “Alan, the police bring them here. It’s all above board. The police find them on the streets and to keep them out of trouble they bring them here. They know I will give them food and shelter. They know I will put them on the straight and narrow. If they go into care, they run away. If they come here, they stay. They get jobs.”.’
He adds: ‘When people ask for my opinion on him I say he was a good man, gone bad.
‘As the years have gone by I have gradually begun to realise how bad he had gone. He was a powerful and vindictive man not to be taken lightly.
‘He had friends in high and low places. The friends in high places included politicians and senior members of the police and judiciary. The friends in low places included scum that would slash your face for a bag of Tam’s finest
Colombian cocaine. A dangerous combination.’ Music industry sources close to Paton claim the worrying scenario painted by Longmuir is only the ‘tip of the iceberg’, and that the activities at Little Kellerstain should be examined fully by the SCAI.
There were rumours that many of the boys at Paton’s property in Gogarburn were actually from care homes in the area, brought there to entertain older men.
There is no suggestion the institutions themselves were aware of Paton’s nefarious activities but among the establishments whose names have been mentioned to MoS are Donaldson’s School for Deaf Children, now in Linlithgow, West Lothian, but previously based in Edinburgh.
It was announced in September that allegations about the school, some historical in nature, would be investigated by the SCAI – with hearings likely early in the New Year – although it is unclear if they will involve Paton.
It also emerged earlier this year that Paton had been a regular visitor in the 1960s and 1970s to the Nazareth House children’s home in Lasswade, Midlothian – sometimes accompanied by acquaintance Jimmy Savile.
Last night, Helen Holland, chairman of In Care Abuse Survivors (Incas) – who has already told the SCAI about her abuse by priests and nuns at Nazareth House in Kilmarnock – urged any potential victims of Paton to come forward.
She said: ‘It definitely needs investigated. It is not uncommon for children in care homes not to know the names of their abusers, so I’m not surprised Paton’s name has not come up so far.
‘Jigsaw identification can help get justice and the more that give evidence, the more likely the perpetrators will answer for their crimes.
‘Many of the abusers are still alive. Now is the time to come forward and call the inquiry team.’
‘Rollermania’ attracted a worldwide following and the band sold 120 million records, among them hits Shang-A-Lang, Bye Bye Baby and Give A Little Love.
The band’s line-up, under Paton, changed a number of times but mainly featured Stuart ‘Woody’ Wood, Eric Faulkner, Les McKeown, Alan Longmuir and Alan’s brother, Derek. They split in 1979 but bitter legal battles about money dragged on for years.
Three years later, Paton found himself in court for gross indecency with teenage boys. He served one year of a three-year prison term and defended his lifestyle, claiming he was a victim of homophobia and insisting all his sexual encounters were consensual.
Yesterday, one insider told MoS: ‘It was well-known that a lot of music celebrities went to Paton’s house for the parties and there were boys there who were young and good-looking from care homes.
‘They were lured there by older boys and men with promises of meeting a big impresario. Paton had the trappings of a rich man and this was going on the whole time. He was worse than Jimmy Savile.’
Author Simon Spence, who interviewed more than 100 people for his 2016 book, When the Screaming Stops: The Dark History of the Bay City Rollers, believes there is ‘firm evidence’ that by the early 1980s youngsters from care homes around Edinburgh were being taken to Paton’s parties.
He said: ‘A few individuals talked about how they were groomed and abused by Paton. At least one of them was just 13 and he told me he woke up with Tam on top of him.
‘When he said how old he was, Tam jumped off and an associate bundled the lad into a car boot and dropped him in the centre of town. He thought he was going to be killed.
‘So there was a pattern of behaviour where boys from care homes are being abused by Tam Paton and his circle.’
Spence said he had also been told about a 13-year-old boy, seen often at Paton’s house and known as DD – for deaf and dumb.
Yesterday, the group’s original singer until 1973, Gordon ‘Nobby’ Clark, said he had ‘heard the rumours’ about boys from Donaldson’s School being at Paton’s house.
He added: ‘A proper investigation would uncover further evidence. If people have something to say, they should come forward to expose it.’
Yesterday, a spokesman for the SCAI said: ‘We continue to actively encourage anyone who has relevant information to get in touch.’
No one was available for comment at Donaldson’s School.
But following the announcement two months ago that the SCAI would investigate the school, Laura Battles, chief executive officer of the Donaldson Trust, said: ‘We support the aims of the inquiry in uncovering any historical cases of abuse.’
‘Young boys from care homes at Paton’s parties’
HEARINGS: The inquiry chaired by Lady Smith, left, will hear allegations about Donaldson’s School for Deaf Children, below
REVELATIONS:A new book by Alan Longmuir, left – with Bay City Rollers Les McKeown, Eric Faulkner, Stuart Wood and Derek Longmuir, seated – warns Paton’s ‘depravity ran deeper than we know’