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I met Britain's spymaster Maurice Oldfield at Kincora, says abuse survivor Richard Kerr

By Liam Clarke

Published 24/07/2015

Abuse survivor Richard Kerr
Abuse survivor Richard Kerr
The notorious Kincora boys home
Sir Maurice Oldfield

Kincora whistleblower Richard Kerr has claimed that he met one of Britain's most senior spymasters in the notorious home where children were abused.

Sir Maurice Oldfield, the former Director and Controller of Intelligence in Northern Ireland, had been at the home in 1978, Mr Kerr claims.

He left Northern Ireland under a cloud of sexual innuendo two years later.

A closet homosexual, he was accused of making a pass at a man in the bar of the Old Crow Inn in Comber, but no charges were ever brought and his friends said it was black propaganda by intelligence rivals while the police denied dealing with any complaint.

Mr Kerr says he was never abused by Sir Maurice, but linking him to Kincora will add fuel to the rumours that intelligence knew of the scandal and hushed it up because the abusers were giving information to the intelligence services.

Two former military intelligence officers, Colin Wallace and Brian Gemmell, told how they had tried to expose the scandal but were warned off by a named MI5 officer.

On Wednesday Sir Maurice, the basis of the character of George Smiley in John Le Carre's classic spy novels, was named in papers handed over by Number 10 to Sir Anthony Hart's inquiry into institutional child abuse here.

The latest revelations will add to pressure for the inquiry to be combined with the Goddard probe in London, which has more powers to subpoena intelligence witnesses.

The papers deal with Mr Wallace's allegations and name other people including former ministers William van Straubenzee and Leon Brittan as well as civil servants Peter Hayman and Peter Morris.

Sir Maurice was a former head of both MI5, the Security Service and, until 1978, MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service, which organises British agents for use abroad.

He died of cancer in 1981.

His period in Northern Ireland corresponded with a turf war between the two agencies.

A former SIS officer said "it more or less ended in 1979 when Maurice handed over control of agents to MI5 and the police".

Mr Kerr was in Kincora from 1975 at the age of 14. The boys care home was the subject of a high-profile child sex abuse scandal in the 1980s.

Three senior staff were jailed in 1981 for abusing 11 boys in their care. Those convicted were the warden Joseph Mains, his assistant Raymond Semple, and Kincora's housefather William McGrath.

Earlier this year, Mr Kerr told the Belfast Telegraph that, while a resident at Kincora, he was once sent home from school early because the heating wasn't working.

When he went into the office he found Mr Mains, his principal abuser, and Semple in a meeting with other men.

It struck him that they might be government officials because some were well-dressed and spoke with English accents.

In April he told us that he had recognised one of the men as Mr Oldfield after studying photographs.

"It seemed like a meeting, they were annoyed I had walked in on it. Mr Mains sent me upstairs," he said.

It is now known that notorious paedophile McGrath was an intelligence agent and that a paramilitary group he set up, Tara, was a front for intelligence gathering on loyalism.

He had first come in contact with MI5 when smuggling bibles into the Soviet Union in the 1950s.

He also operated an Orange Lodge, now defunct, called Ireland's Heritage.

Yesterday, Secretary of State Theresa Villiers insisted the inquiry should not be moved to England despite the mounting pressure from Amnesty International and all the Executive parties.

She said: "Like everyone else we want to ensure that the truth is discovered, that these events are fully investigated and we believe that the Hart inquiry is the best forum to do that."

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