he award-winning journalist
who exposed terrible abuse in
Islington children's homes now
reveals horrifying links to sinister
discoveries at Jersey's Haut de la
I met the frightened policeman at an
isolated country restaurant, many
miles from his home and station.
Detective Constable Peter Cook had
finally despaired, and decided to
blow the whistle to a reporter.
He was risking his career, so made
me scribble my notes into a tiny pad
beneath the tablecloth.
He had uncovered a vicious child sex
ring, with victims in both Britain
and the Channel Islands, and he
wanted me to get his information to
police abuse specialists in London.
Tragic truth: Eileen Fairweather's
of abuse revealed links to Jersey
Incredibly, he claimed that his
superiors had barred him from
He feared a cover-up: many ring
members were powerful and wealthy.
But I did not think him paranoid: I
specialised in exposing child abuse
scandals and knew, from separate
sources, of men apparently linked to
They included an aristocrat, clerics
and a social services chief. Their
friends included senior police
Repeatedly, inquiries by junior
detectives were closed down, so I, a
journalist, was asked to convey
confidential information from one
police officer to others. It seemed
House of Horror: Forensic experts
search the area of the Haut de la
where a child's remains were found
I duly met trusted contacts at the
Squad. That was more than 12 years
ago, and little happened - until
Last weekend, a child's remains were
found at a former children's home on
Jersey amid claims of a paedophile
More than 200 children who lived at
Haut de la Garenne have described
horrific sexual and physical torture
dating back to the Sixties.
When I heard the news, my eyes
filled with tears. I felt
heartbroken, not least at my own
powerlessness. I have known for more
than 15 years about Channel Islands
paedophiles victimising children in
the British care system.
I was relieved that the truth was
finally emerging. But I felt
devastated. Children had probably
been murdered. I had so not wanted
to be right.
I stood outside the forbidding
Victorian building of Haut de la
Garenne this week and watched
grim-faced police in blue plastic
forensic suits hunt its bricked-up
secret basements for children's
Outside, a large cross commemorates
the 35 former residents who died
fighting for their country: "Their
names liveth forever." Oh yes?
What are the names of the children
whose bodies may now be dug up - and
why did no one miss and search for
them earlier? Jersey's residents and
political class must ask these
Disturbing allegations about the
murder of children in care have
characterised other scandals I
investigated in Britain, but today I
can reveal for the first time the
links between the abuse I uncovered
at care homes in Islington, North
London, and the horrifying
discoveries on Jersey.
I have never before written that
14-year-old Jason Swift, killed in
1985 by a paedophile gang, is
believed to have lived in Islington
council's Conewood Street home.
Two sources claimed this when I
investigated Islington's 12 care
homes for The Mail on Sunday's
sister paper, the London Evening
Standard, in the early Nineties.
But hundreds of children's files
mysteriously disappeared in
Islington and, without
documentation, this was not evidence
Haut de la Garenne children's home,
pictured in 1905, in Jersey
was formerly a centre for children
in care or with behaviour problems
We did, however, prove that every
home included staff who were
paedophiles, child pornographers or
pimps. Concerned police secretly
confirmed that several Islington
workers were believed "networkers",
major operators in the supply of
children for abuse and pornography.
Some of these were from the Channel
Islands or regularly took Islington
children there on unofficial visits.
In light of the grisly discoveries
at Haut de la Garenne, the link now
seems significant, but at the time
we were so overwhelmed by abuse
allegations nearer home that this
connection never emerged.
What we did report prompted the sort
of vehement official denials that
have come to characterise child
abuse claims. Margaret Hodge, then
council leader, denounced us as
Right-wing "gutter journalists" who
supposedly bribed children to lie.
Our findings were eventually
vindicated by Government-ordered
inquiries, and two British Press
Awards. Yet I knew we had only
scraped the surface of Islington's
Now Jersey police under deputy chief
Lenny Harper - a 'new broom'
outsider - have been secretly
investigating a paedophile ring
linked to the island's care homes
for months, I have been struck by
common factors with the British
abuse scandals: innocent-sounding
sailing trips, where children can be
isolated and abused, away from
prying eyes, then delivered to other
abusers; the familiar smearing of
whistle-blowers; and the suppression
of damning reports.
Jersey social worker Simon Bellwood
was sacked early last year after
speaking out, and popular health
minister Stuart Syvret, 42, was
fired in November after publicising
the suppressed Sharp Report into
"The smears on me are water off a
duck's back," this brave man told me
yesterday in a St Helier cafe. But
his hands shook.
I have never assumed that the
officials, politicians and police
who cover up abuse scandals are all
paedophiles, nor does Syvret.
"They just want a quiet life and
their competency unquestioned. I'm
angrier with them than the abusers,
and want several prosecuted for
obstructing the course of justice.
The police are considering charges,"
Traditionally, police fear
paedophile ring inquiries as
expensive and unproductive.
Traumatised witnesses can be hazy
and collapse under
Convictions are rare. Police
therefore raid suspected abusers for
paedophile pornography, which more
easily yields convictions.
Well - in theory. In June 1991,
police in Cambridgeshire raided the
home of Neil Hocquart who abused
children in Britain and Guernsey
and, with a social worker from
Jersey, supplied child pornography
for a huge sex ring.
It should have been a major
breakthrough. But, as DC Cook told
me, it went horribly wrong.
A handful of child sex-ring victims
become "recruiters". They are not
beaten but rewarded with gifts,
money and 'love'. In return, their
job is to procure other victims.
Such a man, my whistle-blower
believed, was Neil Frederick
Hocquart, original surname Foster,
was abused while in care in Norfolk
and was eventually 'befriended' by
an older man, merchant seaman
Captain H. Hocquart of Vale, in
Guernsey, whose surname he adopted.
Captain Hocquart was not the only
Channel Islands man with an interest
in children in care. Satan
worshipper Edward Paisnel, "The
Beast of Jersey", was given a
30-year sentence in 1971 on 13
counts of raping girls and boys. The
building contractor fostered
children and played Father Christmas
at Haut de la Garenne in the
Cambridgeshire police, in a joint
operation with Scotland Yard's
Obscene Publications Squad (now the
Paedophile Unit), raided Neil
Hocquart's Swaffham Manor home in
They found more than 100 child-sex
videos and 300 photographs of
children. At nearby Ely they found
his friend, Walter Clack, trying to
dispose of a sick home video of a
middle-aged man abusing a boy.
Who were the children in these films
and photos? Police needed properly
to question these men. But they
never got the chance.
Hocquart secretly took an overdose
of anti-depressant dothiepin and
died at Addenbrooke's Hospital soon
after his arrest. Was his suicide a
last act of loyalty?
DC Cook told me incredulously that a
senior officer broke with normal
procedure and informed Clack, before
he was questioned, that the other
suspect was dead. Clack then blamed
the dead man for everything, and
escaped with a £5,000 fine - and
inherited one third of Hocquart's
wealth, at his bequest.
Wills featured strongly in the
fortunesof the Islington and Channel
Islands paedophiles. Police
discovered that Neil Hocquart
inherited his wealth from the
Guernsey sea captain.
But Captain Hocquart possibly paid
dearly for befriending orphans: he
died soon after making out his will
in the younger man's favour.
Scotland Yard detectives told me
they found at least "two or three"
wills of older men who died of
apparent heart attacks shortly after
leaving everything to Neil Hocquart.
The officers cheerfully called him a
"murderer". These deaths were never
investigated: the suspect, after
all, was now also dead.
Hocquart wasn't the only person in
his circle to become rich this way.
A Jersey-born friend of Hocquart's,
who started his childcare career on
the island before becoming a key
supplier of children from
Islington's care homes to paedophile
rings, similarly inherited a
Nicholas John Rabet was for many
years deputy superintendent of
Islington council's home at 114
He and a colleague, another single
man later barred from social work by
the Department of Health, both took
children on unauthorised trips to
Jersey. Allegations mounted but
nothing was done.
Rabet's opportunities to obtain
victims massively increased after he
befriended the widow of an American
oil millionaire. She died after
rewriting her will in his favour.
He inherited her manor house at
Cross in Hand near Heathfield,
Sussex, where he opened a children's
activity centre, and regularly
invited children in Islington's care
Hocquart spent £13,000 on quad bikes
for the centre, called The Stables,
and he and Walter Clack became
Hocquart befriended one young boy
and took him on a sailing trip,
where there would be little risk of
being spotted. Police found
disturbing film from the trip of men
spraying the naked child with water.
But Hocquart left the boy another
third of his money, and he denied
abuse when questioned.
Police also found at Hocquart's home
naked photos of a boy of about ten,
whom they learned was in the care of
Islington social services. I shall
call him Shane.
Sussex police raided Rabet's
children's centre. But he had plenty
of warning and, they believed,
emptied it of child pornography.
However officers still found a
"shrine to boys", with suggestive
photographs everywhere, including
pictures of Shane.
They approached Shane, at his
Islington children's home. He
tearfully confirmed months of abuse.
But their attempts to investigate
further were thwarted by Islington
Many professionals had, for years,
expressed grave fears about Rabet,
and put their concerns in writing.
But Islington falsely told Sussex
officers it had no file material on
Rabet or his alleged victim.
Staff had in fact been ordered to
find the complaints and deliver them
to the office of Lyn Cusack,
Islington's assistant director of
social services - but they were
handed over to Sussex police only
when I revealed their existence.
Islington's appalling mishandling of
vital records was highlighted by the
independent White inquiry into the
abuse in Islington children's homes,
which found that "at assistant
director level . . . many
confidential files were destroyed by
mistake, although there is no
evidence of conspiracy."
During the investigation into Rabet,
Islington also refused to interview
any other children in care, or,
scandalously, help Sussex police
identify other children in Rabet's
With only Shane's evidence to rely
on, police decided not to prosecute.
I traced Shane. He was furious that
Rabet was never prosecuted, but not
surprised. "This goes right to the
top," he said, "You have no idea how
big this is."
He showed me photos of another
victim, a young Turkish boy with a
sweet shy smile whom Rabet also
regularly took from the Islington
home to spend weekends at his manor
Shane didn't know where the boy was
now, he just disappeared. I was
never able to find the boy, either.
Many children in care are missed by
I retraced Shane two years ago to
tell him that justice had finally
caught up with Rabet. Third World
police had succeeded where Britain's
finest in Cambridgeshire, Sussex,
London and Jersey had failed.
Rabet fled to Thailand's notorious
child sex resort of Pattaya after
the White inquiry. He was arrested
there in spring 2006 and charged
with abusing 30 boys, some as young
Thai police believed he had abused
at least 300. But he was never
tried: on May 12, 2006, Rabet died
of an overdose at the age of 57.
Two other Jersey-born social
workers, who for legal reasons I
cannot name, also worked in
Islington and later with young
One arranged more of those
mysterious sailing trips to
Guernsey, the other sent children to
Rabet's centre. Both were accused of
In 1995, we reinvestigated Rabet and
met DC Cook at the restaurant. He
had gone through Hocquart's papers,
investigated other members of the
paedophile ring and met their
victims. He was horrified at what he
One man, for example, married a
single mother purely so he could
abuse her two young sons.
"He told these poor children to keep
quiet, that their mother had been
lonely so long they would ruin her
life if they said anything," the
officer told me.
The vicar who married them knew the
groom was a paedophile but did not
care: he was one too, and got his
victims from a British care home.
DC Cook travelled to Guernsey, which
Hocquart regularly visited. There
local CID officers drove him round,
and he met two brothers whom
Hocquart abused, then delivered them
to a high-ranking, respected local
man to rape.
DC Cook traced another distraught
victim in England who provided
invaluable information about the
man, based in Wales, who copied the
ring's child pornography for
This man clearly needed his door
kicked in by police, as did
Hocquart's other contacts in Britain
and the Channel Islands. But no
action was taken.
Then word came from on high to drop
his inquiries. DC Cook accepted that
there might be an innocent
explanation - that his local force
might not want the financial burden
of a national investigation.
But he became deeply troubled when
told not to forward his vital
intelligence to specialist officers
Britain's new National Criminal
Intelligence Squad (NCIS) had the
job of disseminating intelligence on
paedophiles across the country.
Would I, asked the troubled officer,
take his information to the squad's
Paedophile Unit for him?
And so we pretended to share a meal
while I secretly scribbled down the
names, addresses, dates of birth and
believed victims of dozens of
My diary records that I met NCIS on
January 4, 1996, at 10.30am, and I
also channelled the intelligence to
Scotland Yard. Neither,
unfortunately, had the power to make
local forces take action, so I was
This was not the first time I had
acted as a go-between. In 1994,
another police officer was barred
from investigating a paedophile
ring, which included an Islington
social worker of Channel Islands
We alerted Scotland Yard. This man
was, I learned, involved with five
overlapping paedophile rings - but
he has never been convicted.
Peter Cook has now retired and
agreed to go on the record. He told
me the partner of Hocquart's video
producer was eventually imprisoned
for abusing his own sons. "But we
could have stopped so much else, so
much earlier," he said.
"The news from Jersey is horrifying.
I've thought of Rabet all week. The
hierarchy does not like these
inquiries, they're expensive and
produce embarrassment, so people
shove it all under the carpet, they
don't want to know even when
children are dying.
"There will be people now crawling
out claiming they were always
worried. What cowards, what
Jersey police confirmed this week it
was aware of Nick Rabet and keen to
learn more about his friends. Peter
Cook told me: "I will help all I
Michael Hames, the former head of
Scotland Yard's Obscene Publications
Squad, once told me that he never
doubted paedophiles were killing
children in care.
But the climate of disbelief was
fierce, and he asked sadly: "What
police chief will dare risk his
career by hiring JCBs [to search for
Courageous Ulsterman Lenny Harper
has. Deposed Jersey health minister
Stuart Syvret told me: "My family
has lived here since William the
Conqueror. But if an indigenous
police officer were in charge, this
investigation would never have
happened. Jersey is an oligarchy,
where the elite look after each
When I flew home late last night, in
time for Mother's Day, I felt utter
This tiny island with its
high-hedged lanes looked so pretty
when the police series Bergerac was
filmed here, but to me said just one
thing: that there is no escape from
here for a terrified child.
If witnesses who want, finally, to
help these tragically un-mothered
children, now is the time to speak