EXCLUSIVE: Essex Police hunting for Shoebury abuse paperwork after court records were lost

By Charles Thomson in Crime

RECORDS of a court case which saw two men convicted of abusing boys in Shoebury have been lost.

Staff searched the Chelmsford Crown Court archive last month at the Yellow Advertiser’s request, but could find no trace of the prosecutions.

The YA was seeking paperwork on Dennis King and Brian Tanner, who were jailed in May 1990 for their role in what Essex Council described in official papers as a ‘sex ring’ targeting ‘adolescent boys’.

Surviving police records show King, then 55 and living in Cunningham Close, Shoebury, was jailed for four years after admitting four counts of gross indecency and three counts of attempted buggery.

Tanner, then 57 and living in Beedell Avenue, Westcliff, got a three-year term for three counts of gross indecency and three counts of attempted buggery.

Tanner has since died and King no longer lives in Essex.

The YA had sought further details from the court, but staff could not locate any records.

Court officers said it was not unusual for detailed paperwork on court cases to be destroyed after seven years.

However, brief records which are usually kept even after the main files are destroyed could not be located either.

A year-long YA investigation into historic abuse allegations culminated last month in Essex Police announcing a review of the King and Tanner case, after three whistleblowers reported ‘serious failures’ in the original investigation.

Former charity workers Rob West and Jenny Grinstead, and retired NHS manager Robin Jamieson, told police that several of the boys whose testimony formed the case against King and Tanner had actually reported abuse by far more men, who were never prosecuted.

They also claimed many alleged victims were never interviewed by police and most of those who were interviewed still did not receive proper after-care.

Their allegations are corroborated by contemporaneous records and have since been echoed by a fourth whistleblower, who was found by the YA and has agreed to cooperate with the Essex Police review.

Essex Police confirmed this week that officers conducting the review have been instructed to track down all surviving paperwork connected to the two men’s offending histories.

The YA revealed last week that police are also searching for an address book seized from King’s flat, which, according to contemporaneous paperwork, went ‘missing’.

Essex Police has called on victims and witnesses to come forward and assist with the review.

Police Commissioner Nick Alston said: “There’s an opportunity here to see whether any of those people are perhaps prepared to engage again, if not with police then a professional agency, to see whether there’s anything, even at this stage, which can be done to help them.”

Anybody with information can call Essex Police on 101.

Specialist helplines for victims:

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.