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Kincora children trafficked throughout UK, claims former resident Richard Kerr

By Liam Clarke

A notorious care home in east Belfast where young boys were sexually abused was at the centre of a sinister paedophile network that stretched across the UK, it has been claimed.

Richard Kerr, a former resident of Kincora Boys' Home, claimed a well-organised child prostitution ring trafficked him to Britain when he became a problem for it. There, he was passed around a wider paedophile network until he was 20.

Mr Kerr, who now lives in Dallas, Texas, returned to his native Belfast this week to prepare an affidavit for his solicitor Kevin Winters to be used in court today.

Three senior care staff at the home - housemaster William McGrath, Joseph Mains and Raymond Semple - were jailed in 1981 for sexually abusing 11 boys. However, there have been constant claims that MI5 allowed the abuse to continue, as it allowed the security service to blackmail powerful political and establishment figures who were paedophiles.

Mr Kerr claims in his affidavit "the abuse was extreme and degrading". Now 48, he said he was brought from Williamson House, another home where he said he was abused, to Kincora by Mains.

Mains abused him in his bedroom shortly after he arrived.

"Sometimes he would offer me sherry and I remember thinking it was very sweet. He asked me to lie on the bed and to take my clothes off," Mr Kerr said.

Mains arranged for other men to have sex with Mr Kerr - in a hotel, guesthouse, or in a shed at the back of Kincora. His affidavit states that after his school closed early because of snow one day, he returned to Kincora and walked in on a meeting involving Mains, Semple and three other men.

"They stopped talking as soon as I came in and I got the strong feeling that I had interrupted something important. I would describe them as being shocked to see me," he stated. He also said he was abused by UVF men and was taken to hotels and guesthouses in Larne, Belfast and Ballyclare to meet men, some of them English.

The abuse at Kincora stopped when he was charged with theft and threatened to reveal all. After that he was given a ticket to Liverpool. There he met a cleric who had abused him in Belfast and who fed him into the English network.

Mr Kerr was moved to Manchester, then London. "Kincora was like the head office for all the other homes used for abuse. These people were well organised and they had cover," he said. ​

Mr Kerr said he was also taken to the Philbeach Hotel in Earl's Court, one of the largest gay hotels in Europe. "I was kept there by two men. I had nothing after I left Kincora. These people trained me to be a prostitute, they trained me. It is the only life I knew. There were lots of people involved because I met lots of people. It wasn't just one a day - I was meeting about three a day."

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Richard Kerr's solicitor, Kevin Winters, is also taking a case for Gary Hoy, another ex-Kincora boy. Today at the High Court in Belfast, Mr Hoy will challenge the decision by Theresa Villiers to leave the Kincora investigation under the control of the Historical and Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA) in Northern Ireland led by Sir Anthony Hart. Mr Hoy wants Kincora included in Justice Lowell Goddard's London-based inquiry into institutional abuse in Britain.

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