Government papers show police seized a diary, which contained names and addresses of individuals in London, from the home of a convicted paedophile in the late 1980s – but it later reportedly went ‘missing’.
The book was taken from the home of a man jailed a year later for his role in what Essex Council described as a ‘sex ring’ targeting ‘adolescent boys’.
He and one other man were convicted in 1990 of child sex offences, but four whistleblowers have now come forward to report that several young victims disclosed abuse by far more men.
Two sources – both former charity workers who helped prepare the victims for court – have separately told the YA that boys reported abuse by gangs of men in Essex and London.
Essex Police announced in early March that it was conducting a formal review of the original investigation after the whistleblowers – whose accounts were described by Police Commissioner Nick Alston as ‘credible’ – said multiple victims were never interviewed, other alleged perpetrators were not prosecuted and most victims never received appropriate after-care.
The force confirmed last week that it was searching for the ‘missing’ diary as part of the review.
Essex Council records from 1989 describe a meeting where police officers discussed the alleged paedophile ring with Social Services, charity workers and staff from a local school.
The papers state that one of the officers – from Leigh CID – told the meeting that police were ‘following up’ names and addresses of individuals in London, found in the diary.
But the Yellow Advertiser has seen typewritten notes, dated six months later, of a meeting between charity workers, where it was reported that the book had since gone ‘missing’.
Multiple whistleblowers have told the YA they recall being told at the time, by people involved in the case, that the diary had been lost.
Essex Police confirmed last week that it was investigating what happened to the evidence.
A spokesman said: “Police are aware of the existence of a notebook from an investigation into abuse by two convicted offenders in the 1980s, which may contain information relevant to our current review.
“We are now examining our records to establish what happened to the notebook and what investigations took place at the time as a result of the information it contained.”
Officers have urged anybody with information about the alleged paedophile ring, or anybody who was a victim, to contact them by dialling 101.
Alternatively victims can call one of these specialist helplines:
National Association for People Abused in Childhood – 0808 801 0331.
SERICC (south and west Essex) – 01375 380609.
CARA (mid and north Essex) – 01206 769795.
SoSRC (Southend) – 01702 667590.
National Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse – 0808 800 5000.