What happened when police reopened an investigation into an Essex paedophile ring?

Witnesses who possessed hundreds of bombshell documents said they were never contacted by Essex Poli

Witnesses who possessed hundreds of bombshell documents said they were never contacted by Essex Police about the review. Picture: Charles Thomson. - Credit: Archant

A police force’s failure to interview key witnesses, who possessed critical evidence about alleged corruption, is explored in the latest episode of our new podcast series.

Unfinished: Shoebury’s Lost Boys investigates how Essex Police’s investigation into a paedophile ring was bungled in 1989/90.

Episode Six, from Archant Podcasts, looks at how in 2016, after Yellow Advertiser reporter Charles Thomson began investigating, police announced a new investigation.

The then Essex police commissioner Nick Alston said that the handling of the initial case would also be investigated. But in 2017, the review was closed down and police said they could not find any evidence of impropriety.

However, Mr Thomson kept investigating and tracked down several people who had been intimately involved in the original case, but who said they had not been contacted by the police and knew nothing about any review.

Two men - Brian Tanner (left) and Dennis King (right) - were prosecuted for running a Southend paedo

Two men - Brian Tanner (left) and Dennis King (right) - were prosecuted for running a Southend paedophile ring in the late 1980s - but a new podcast series investigates alleged failures in the handling of the case. Picture: Anglia Press Agency. - Credit: Anglia Press Agency


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These sources possessed hundreds of documents, including detailed records of police allegedly threatening and intimidating witnesses, and a file in which a police officer admitted that one of the paedophile ringleaders was a “registered informant” and a senior officer was blocking investigations into him.

However, Essex Police insisted it had “carried out extensive enquiries, interviewing numerous witnesses and people who came forward to tell us they had been abused.”

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The podcast also recounts how the emergence of a new victim, who possessed a wealth of information that could only be known by somebody directly involved, triggered the reopening of a police investigation into the ring in 2017.

Episode seven, out later this week, will detail how that victim’s evidence linked the Shoebury paedophile gang to some of the UK’s most notorious child killers.

In episode 6, a victim tells how Southend's seafront attractions were a key hunting ground for the p

In episode 6, a victim tells how Southend's seafront attractions were a key hunting ground for the paedophiles. Picture: YA Archive. - Credit: YA Archive

To listen and subscribe, visit www.podfollow.com/unfinished-1/

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

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

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