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New true crime podcast to investigate Essex paedophile ring ‘cover-up’

PUBLISHED: 16:00 24 June 2020 | UPDATED: 18:03 24 June 2020

A new podcast series from Archant, titled Shoebury's Lost Boys, will investigate the alleged cover-up of a 1980s paedophile ring in Southend-on-Sea.

A new podcast series from Archant, titled Shoebury's Lost Boys, will investigate the alleged cover-up of a 1980s paedophile ring in Southend-on-Sea.

Archant

Why did Essex police fail to properly investigate a large paedophile ring despite having a wealth of evidence?

Why were the charities who exposed the ring harassed? And why were those who were convicted let off with light sentences?

A new podcast series from Archant will look at those questions and recount a local journalist’s five-year quest to uncover the truth.

The series, titled Shoebury’s Lost Boys, will tell the story of how a group of charity workers were subjected to a campaign of threats and intimidation after they uncovered a child abuse network operating from Southend in the 1980s. The authorities dubbed it the “Shoebury Sex Ring”.

In the late 1980s, a group of charity workers uncovered a sprawling paedophile ring being run from Southend on Sea, Essex.In the late 1980s, a group of charity workers uncovered a sprawling paedophile ring being run from Southend on Sea, Essex.

The episodes will be hosted by Charles Thomson, from the Archant Investigations Unit, who has spent more than five years researching and writing about the case, and uncovering a series of shocking revelations.

They will be released under the banner of Archant’s true crime podcast Unfinished, which has previously investigated the unsolved killings of three young women.

Charles began investigating the ring in 2015, whilst working at the Yellow Advertiser newspaper series in Essex, when a whistleblower approached him with concerns over the way the case was handled.

He spent the following years tracking down others involved in the case, including youth workers, health professionals and victims.

Two men - Dennis King and Brian Tanner - were named in court as running the Essex paedophile ring. But then a generous plea bargain knocked their potential life sentences down to almost nothing. Charles Thomson investigated why - and uncovered a shocking secret.Two men - Dennis King and Brian Tanner - were named in court as running the Essex paedophile ring. But then a generous plea bargain knocked their potential life sentences down to almost nothing. Charles Thomson investigated why - and uncovered a shocking secret.

His work provoked a formal review of the original case, which in turn led to two new police investigations.

The Yellow Advertiser investigation has won a string of national journalism awards. In the last month, it has won the Society of Editors’ Weekly Newspaper Campaign of the Year and was shortlisted for the Paul Foot Award.

Charles said: “The podcast format provides time and space to tell the story in a way I couldn’t do in the newspaper. Using clips from my recorded interviews and excerpts from surviving records, listeners will be able to hear the story being told by the people who lived it – as well as hearing how I went about investigating the case and dug up some disturbing secrets.”

Tom Bristow, head of the investigations unit, said: “The previous cases we’ve looked at in Unfinished have tried to shine a light on lesser known cold cases in the east of England.

During his investigation into the so-called 'Shoebury Sex Ring', Charles Thomson met sources who had retained hundreds of original documents from the case - long after all paperwork held by official bodies had either mysteriously vanished or been deliberately destroyed.During his investigation into the so-called 'Shoebury Sex Ring', Charles Thomson met sources who had retained hundreds of original documents from the case - long after all paperwork held by official bodies had either mysteriously vanished or been deliberately destroyed.

“Charles’ work on the Shoebury paedophile ring has been exceptional and we hope that this podcast will bring it to new audiences.”

To subscribe, in order to receive each new episode as it is released, visit: https://podfollow.com/unfinished-1/


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