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A PAEDOPHILE murder suspect has been definitively linked to a Southend address given to police last year by a known victim of the “Shoebury Sex Ring”.
The property in Westcliff has been linked through public records to Lennie Smith, a member of the “Dirty Dozen” paedophile gang which killed at least three schoolboys, Jason Swift, Barry Lewis and Mark Tildesley.
Smith, who died in prison in 2006, was implicated in all three killings but evaded prosecution by arguing that the only witnesses against him were unreliable paedophiles.
However, he was convicted and jailed for other serious child sex offences.
In November 2018, as part of a series of interviews with sex crimes officers in Rayleigh, a man in his late 40s gave detectives a list of addresses connected with his childhood abuse.
The man was approached by police in 2017, who said they had reason to believe he was a victim of a Southend paedophile ring in the 1980s. He is named as suspected a victim of the ’Shoebury Sex Ring’ in multiple social services documents from 1990 and 1991.
Among the addresses he gave police was a house in San Remo Parade, Westcliff.
There is no suggestion that anybody living at that address now is linked to any abuse.
He told police he would visit the property in the 1980s as a teenager to buy marijuana. He said that on one occasion when he did so, a man who lived there led him to a property in nearby Finchley Road, where the boy was then sexually abused by another man.
The YA has now viewed Smith’s prison records, released under the Freedom of Information Act. They include two documents from 1983 which list his address as the house in San Remo Parade, Westcliff.
The discovery follows the YA’s revelation last year, after unearthing an almost 30-year-old document recounting a police interview with a charity worker, that police who probed the Shoebury ring were questioning witnesses about a mysterious figure known as ’Lennie’.
The new complainant, who completed his final on-camera interview with police in November, told officers he did not believe he had ever met Smith, but that one of the paedophile ring’s leaders had often threatened boys that if they were not compliant, they would be taken to a man called Lennie Smith.
He told police the remarks had left the boys baffled, as they had no idea who Smith was or why they should be frightened of him.
The alleged Southend abuse predated Smith’s later tabloid infamy by several years.
In fact, the witness still had no idea who Smith was when he gave police his name last year. Smith’s notoriety was revealed to the witness by a counsellor after his interviews had ended.
It was already known that Smith had lived in Westcliff in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
A list of Smith’s convictions, released under Freedom of Information, places him in the area in June 1980, as he was convicted of theft at Southend Magistrates’ Court.
According to a now out-of-print book about the “Dirty Dozen” gang, called Lambs to the Slaughter, Smith moved to Westcliff from London and entered into a relationship with an older paedophile called Jack Parsons, who ran an amusement arcade.
The men used the arcade to lure and abuse children, then sell them as rent boys, as well as to deal drugs.
Investigation by the YA has found that while Smith never appeared on the electoral register at the property in San Remo Parade, Parsons did, from 1979 until the late 1980s.
By the mid-1980s, Smith had moved to the Kingsmead estate in Hackney.
He was living there when police first visited and questioned him over the disappearance of Jason Swift. After they left, Smith attempted suicide and then fled to Southend, although it is not known exactly where he stayed.