Many of our readers will no doubt have read yesterday’s Mail on Sunday article about Mark Williams-Thomas, described as a “self-promoting TV detective” who seems to take delight in “exposing” VIP sex abusers, most of whom have never been charged, let alone convicted.
Following the success of the 2012 ITV documentary in which Williams-Thomas revealed that formerly beloved presenter Jimmy Savile had in fact been a sexual predator and child sexual abuser, he has made a career out of “paedophile exposure”. Among his victims have been Sir Cliff Richard, Jim Davidson, Freddie Starr, and Leon Brittan.
Chris Fay and ‘David/Andrew’
According to the MoS article’s authors, David Rose and Rosie Waterhouse,
AT THE end of February 2013, Williams-Thomas told a newspaper he was investigating sexual abuse by a ‘very significant individual’ at Elm Guest House in Barnes, South-West London. By this time, claims had been circulating on the internet that in the 1980s this had been a ‘gay brothel’ where children were abused, and that among those who stayed there were Sir Cliff and Leon Brittan, the former Tory Home Secretary.
One of their sources was a former social worker and convicted fraudster called Chris Fay. He had been trying to spread claims about Elm Guest House and ‘VIP paedophiles’ for many years. In 1990 he introduced ‘David’ – the fantasist who went on to accuse Sir Cliff – to a journalist called Gill Priestly, now deceased. In a series of taped interviews with her, David made astonishing claims: that he had been sexually assaulted by Lord Brittan, and ‘trafficked’ to Amsterdam, where he was forced to watch as children were raped and murdered to make ‘snuff’ porn movies.
We’ve discussed “David” (also known as “Andrew”) here in the past, in relation to Chris Fay and Bill Maloney, who have been caught on camera very obviously coaching this vulnerable individual to name names on demand.
In his interview on BBC’s October 2015 edition of Panorama, Andrew (dubbed “David” for the show) made the following statements:
Narrator: David started making claims about VIP paedophile abuse in 1990. He’d met Chris Fay at a support group, and he says he was encouraged to name names.
Andrew: I don’t know how Chris got me into saying names…it was done over a period of weeks, you know, it were done as a joke suggesting to start with, but that suggestion became reality.
Narrator: David told me he’d described a distinctive birthmark on one of his abusers.
Andrew: I described a birthmark and a first name, and described the person, and they says the surname and everything, and says that can only be one person. Why should I doubt them?
Narrator: The man who ended up being named was Leon Brittan.
As regards the alleged “snuff porn movies”, contemporaneous coverage in the Sunday Times reveals a degree of scepticism, even then, about David/Andrew’s early claims:
Detectives are to study tape recordings of a teenager who has ‘confessed’ that he helped film a ‘snuff’ movie.
The tapes could provide some of the most revealing clues yet for police investigating reports that up to 10 boys have been murdered during the making of such films by paedophile rings from London and Kent.
Andrew, 19, disappeared earlier this year after giving evidence to welfare workers from the National Association for Young People in Care (Naypic)
He claimed he was taken to Amsterdam in 1988 by a group of men from London, and forced to film in a warehouse where a 12-year-old boy was raped successively by 12 men, beaten with chains, run over by a motor cycle and his body dumped in a canal.
‘Andrew said that the men who had done this then sat around drinking champagne’, said Mary Moss, the association’s London development officer.
A few days before his confession, Andrew was drugged by two men, who bundled him into a van outside Moss’s home. ‘At first we took what he said with a pinch of salt, but when he began to be followed and was then kidnapped from my house we took him seriously’, she said.
We published a dissection of this story in August, noting Chris Fay’s claim that he had watched a snuff film involving a 13-year-old girl being murdered by three men wearing leather masks and wielding flick knives. Did he immediately report this film to police? He does not say.
David/Andrew and Sir Cliff Richard
Despite the unreliability of his allegations, David/Andrew would not only play a role in identifying Brittan, but even after his allegations were discredited, would go on to name Sir Cliff Richard as another of his alleged abusers.
Rose and Waterhouse write:
This newspaper has established that one of Sir Cliff’s accusers, a man known as ‘David’, had already been exhaustively investigated by [then DCI Paul] Settle and his team, and found to be a suggestible, vulnerable fantasist. David, who had learning difficulties and had been in care, told them he was raped as a boy by both Sir Cliff and Elton John at a sex party, at which media baron Rupert Murdoch and former Labour deputy leader Lord Prescott were also guests.
‘Needless to say, this didn’t happen,’ Mr Settle said.
Inexplicably, the South Yorkshire police took David/Andrew’s fantastical claims about Sir Cliff seriously, interviewing him several times and asking him to give evidence. Ultimately, the case against Sir Cliff would be dropped, and he has won his case against the BBC, for which he received record damages.
The links from Williams-Thomas to Fay, who along with Maloney pressured David/Andrew into making allegations against whomever they wished, are disturbing indeed.
It’s like some sort of mad rumour factory, with opportunistic hoax-mongers turning the raw material of a vulnerable adult’s coached/coerced allegations into weapons, used to destroy reputations and ruin lives at will. Gosh, does that sound familiar?