The Guardian, 15th June 1991 (ocr)

Operation Orchid chief promises more arrests
Sarah Boseley-reports on police attempts to trace suspected victims of paedophiles
YESTERDAY'S conviction of Leslie Bailey marks only the first phase of an inquiry In which other charges, likely to Involve murder and abduction, are expected within weeks, the head of the investigation said yesterday.
Detective Chief Superintendent Roger Stoodley, who has led Operation Orchid, an investigation into the fate of a number of missing children going back to 1980. said four other men were questioned in the Barry Lewis inquiry.
He said: "Today we see the end of phase one of the inquiry which has taken 18 months. It will continue until all those concerned in the death and abuse of Barry Lewis are brought to justice.
"With our colleagues from Thames Valley Pollce, we are also determined to ensure that those involved in the disappearance of Mark Tildesley are brought to justice." Mark. seven, disappeared in 1984 from a funfair in Wokingham, Berkshire.
Operation Orchid was set up after the jailing of four men, including Bailey, for the man-slaughter of Jason Swift. Jason had run away from his sister's home In Hackney in 1985 and turned to prostitution to survive. He was paid £5 each by the four men to submit to sexual acts, and died from strangulation during the orgy.
Bailey was found guilty of attempting to choke the boy. He and Sidney Cooke, a 62-year-old fairground worker, were also convicted of committing acts tending to pervert the course of Justice by disposing his body winch had been washed to get rid off any forensic evidence and dumped in a copse In Essex.
The bodies of Jason and Barry were found five days apart in November 1985. Both had been tranquillised with Valium, violently sexually assaulted, and dumped from a car. They were both lying naked, In foetal positions.
One of the men jailed for Jason's killing was sald to have told police that Bailey was responsible for Barry's death.
Police were also helped by a cellmate of Bailey, disgusted at his talk of child murders, who wrote to Scotland Yard and kept copious notes of conversations to help detectives.
After being moved to a secure police station where he was questioned with Ms solicitor and a counsellor because of concern over his mental state, Bailey confessed he had killed Barry.
Operation Orchid's operations have only just begun to illuminate the murky and savage world of paedophilia. Last June police began digging In a synagogue ear park in Clapton, east London, following Information from one of the men behind bars that an adolescent boy was buried there. The car park turned up some crushed bone fragments, but they were found not to be human.
In July, Chief Supt Stoodley spoke of two paedophile rings in east London and Kent, and said on television: "My information at the moment Is that nine boys have been murdered in cases of child sex abuse."
Police appealed for information about "snuff movies", suggesting that children may have been lured to parties where they were abused and killed in front of the camera. The telephone hotline number they issued was jammed, though no genuine snuff movie has yet been found by Scotland Yard.
Information obtained during the interrogation of the four men convicted of Jason Swift's manslaughter also led to the reopening of the file on Mark Tildesley who went alone to a fairground in Wokingham Berkshire in 1984 at the age of seven and was last seen with a man in a raincoat.
Police with sniffer dogs recently searched a nearby field, and Detective Superintendent Mick Short at Thames Valley suggested that progress had been made. "I am hopeful that at the end of the day charges will be brought," he said.
Mr Stoodley called yesterday for better pooling of information. "That paedophile ring had been operating in Hackney for five years before we caught them. It is an indictment of all of us, the police, agencies and the public, that we didn't pick it up earlier.
"The people living on Kings-mead estate where this paedophile ring operated, in the flats next door, by didn't they call us? Social services have children referred to them, are given information. Why didn't, they call us?"
A national register of missing People, due to come into operation next year was also needed urgently to replace the existing "haphazard" system, he said. At present, each of the 52 mainland police forces keeps its own index.
He welcomed the Home Secretary's announcement last week that people serving four years or more for sex crimes would undergo a treatment regime, but added: "1 don't think prison is necessarily the answer. Sex offenders tend to be segregated under Rule 93 where their record can make them something of a celebrity and they can trade stories. What is needed is some intervention to break the cycle."



Orchid chief promises more arrests (15.6.91)