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True crime podcast series investigates allegations police covered up Essex paedophile ring

PUBLISHED: 16:00 06 July 2020

Two men - Brian Tanner (left) and Dennis King (right), pictured arriving at Chelmsford Crown Court - were arrested for running the Southend paedophile ring - but their prosecution ended in devastation for the victims and their representatives. Picture: Anglia Press Agency.

Two men - Brian Tanner (left) and Dennis King (right), pictured arriving at Chelmsford Crown Court - were arrested for running the Southend paedophile ring - but their prosecution ended in devastation for the victims and their representatives. Picture: Anglia Press Agency.

Anglia Press Agency

A podcast series investigating the alleged cover-up of a historic paedophile ring in Essex has launched today.

The true crime series from Archant’s investigations unit, called Unfinished, reveals how the authorities were handed evidence that a large abuse network was operating from Southend, Essex, in the late 1980s, but the evidence was seemingly never acted on.

When local newspaper the Yellow Advertiser looked into the case 25 years later, it uncovered a series of disturbing secrets. Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye, described the Advertiser’s findings as “astonishing” when the investigation was shortlisted this year for the Paul Foot Award.

The first three episodes are available to download now, with more to follow in the coming weeks. Here’s a taster of what listeners can expect.

Episode 1 – An explosion of bizarre offending in Shoebury attracts the attention of a pioneering youth justice organisation. As it tries to figure out what is sending the town’s teenage boys crazy, it stumbles upon Shoebury’s dark secret.

Shoebury's East Beach, pictured in January 1989, months before the ring was discovered. Picture: YA Archive.Shoebury's East Beach, pictured in January 1989, months before the ring was discovered. Picture: YA Archive.

Episode 2 – Charity workers are tasked with providing therapy to a number of abused boys. During the sessions, the boys start disclosing detailed information about a large network of child abusers. When the charity workers pass this information to the authorities, they don’t get the reaction they were expecting.

Episode 3 – The charity workers are plunged into a living nightmare, subjected to a campaign of threats and intimidation. The planned trial of the two abuse ringleaders takes an astonishing turn – one the charity workers are unable to comprehend. But the Yellow Advertiser makes a shocking discovery almost 30 years later which may explain it.

As the series continues, it will explore how inaction by social services may have cost several victims’ lives, how the Yellow Advertiser’s work forced police to reopen the case, and how it uncovered a link between the Shoebury case and one of the most infamous child murders in UK history.

Listeners can subscribe to Unfinished via most major podcast platforms. To listen visit: https://podfollow.com/unfinished-1/.


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