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Bloody Sunday survivor was drugged and raped - they said they'd show my mum pictures. Soon, I was having sex with TV stars and politicians'

The astonishing story of a Londonderry man who claims he was forced into life as a rent boy in London after fleeing his home city to escape the Troubles. Ivan Little reports

Anthony Daly as a young man
Anthony Daly as a young man
Hope House
Anthony Daly as he is now
Fr Edward Daly (left), later Bishop Daly, helping to carry Jackie Duddy during Bloody Sunday

A Bloody Sunday survivor has written an explosive new book in which he claims that he was lured into a sordid web of rent boy depravity in London, where he was sexually abused by influential politicians, lawyers, businessmen and celebrities.

Anthony Daly says he tried to take his own life during three months of "hell" at sex parties where powerful VIPs openly abused young men.

He alleges he was once savagely beaten after trying to stop paedophiles torturing two vulnerable young brothers, the younger of whom was aged just eight.

Daly also claims that some of his abusers even talked to him about Kincora, the home in east Belfast where boys were abused by staff and allegedly by prominent men in society.

Daly says that when he met the late Soviet spy Sir Anthony Blunt at an art reception in the Dorchester Hotel, Blunt asked him if he was a graduate of Kincora.

Daly explains: "I didn't know what Kincora was, but I was later told it was something like 'an oasis of tranquillity in the war zone'."

Most of his alleged abusers are now dead, but he uses code names for several others who are still alive, including one man he dubs 'Lord Back Seat' because he has a proclivity for oral sex in cars.

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Daly's book is called Playland, after the notorious amusement arcade in Piccadilly where he was first recruited as a rent boy.

He'd gone to London as a 20-year-old in early 1975 to escape the Troubles several years after witnessing the horrors of Bloody Sunday.

He was a classmate at school of then teenager Jackie Duddy (below), who was one of the Parachute Regiment's 14 victims.

"I'd waved to Jackie during the civil rights march that day," says 63-year-old Daly, who adds that the death of his friend still haunts him, as does the image of Fr Edward Daly waving a white handkerchief as the young man's body was carried away from the carnage.

Daly's clerical namesake, who became Bishop Edward Daly, was to play a major role in his story decades later.

Tony Daly, who returned to Derry after three months in London, had effectively buried his painful past for nearly 40 years.

But he says: "When all the stories of historical child abuse started to emerge a few years ago, my demons began rumbling in the back of my head."

That's when he approached Bishop Daly for advice.

"The bishop put me in touch with an English-born detective in the PSNI, and he was really helpful," says Tony Daly, who ended up taking his allegations to officers from the Metropolitan Police in London in 2014.

He was interviewed for two days, but after 10 weeks of inquiries by detectives he was told the Met wouldn't be taking the case any further.

However, after having received counselling for the first time, Daly was advised to write an account of what happened to him in the 'Dilly', as he called Piccadilly.

The genie, he says, was out of the bottle and once he started putting his recollections down on paper he couldn't stop.

His book was the end result.

Daly, who'd worked in a Derry book shop, recalled how he got a job in one of London's leading book stores on Charing Cross Road.

The avid reader was in seventh heaven, little knowing that what would turn out to be his hell was just was across the road in Playland.

It was there that he says he quickly became a plaything of men who were supplied with rent boys by pimps in the arcade.

Daly says he'd gone into Playland innocently in a bid to win money after he lost £20 to conmen operating a scam in the street. Playland cleaned him out of his last few coins and he believes he was followed from the amusements by a man called Keith, who pretended to befriend him and offered to lend him money.

According to Daly, the man and a smartly dressed Lloyd's underwriter treated him to a meal and drinks before taking him in a taxi to an apartment to get the cash the Derryman needed.

Bizarrely, Daly took comfort from the address they gave the taxi driver.

"Ennismore Gardens sounded like somewhere in Derry," he explains.

"But what happened next was unlike anything that he'd known at home.

He says: "I was drugged and raped several times.

"When I complained afterwards, I was told that I knew what I was letting myself in for because I'd been peddling myself in Piccadilly Circus."

If Daly thought his ordeal was a one-off, he was sadly deluded.

He says the Lloyd's underwriter, who was later convicted of unrelated sex offences, told him that he had compromising pictures of him and wondered how his mother would react if she was to see them.

The blackmail tactics worked and Daly says his abusers mockingly compared his situation with a bad insurance policy from which there was no getting out.

Daly says he was also threatened that if he didn't do what he was told and meet other men for sex, the police would be tipped off that he was part of an IRA sleeper cell in London, where young policeman PC Stephen Tibble had been shot dead in February 1975.

"They were saying they could snap their fingers and I would be getting a confession kicked out of me by police like they'd done with the Guildford Four the year before. They also said if they could shoot people in Derry on Bloody Sunday and get away with it, they could arrange for an accident to befall my family back home," says Daly who claims he realised there was indeed no way out, forcing him to live a double life selling books by day and his body by night.

He kept a diary of his sexual experiences - his "dispatches from the edge of hell, recording my descent into self-destruction" of drug addiction.

Daly says he was soon moving regularly in high-powered, high-society circles and that there were no shortage of well-heeled takers prepared to pay good money for the well-read Irish rent boy.

He says his "clients" included Tory politicians and TV stars, many of whom had military backgrounds and who brazenly acted as if they were above the law, reckoning they weren't under threat from rent boys like him.

Daly writes: "They loved to listen to me speak, to hear me say their names with my Derry accent. My background and my accent seemed to add novelty to their encounters with me, and perhaps a heightened sense of risk too.

"Some punters considered sleeping with the enemy to be a reckless but exciting forbidden pleasure. The fantasy of the honeytrap turned them on."

Daly says he was attacked after he fought to save two brothers aged eight and 10 who were being sexually tortured at a party.

He adds: "Two groups of men descended like vultures on the boys. I sprang up and called them sick b*******s but I was beaten unconscious."

By that stage Daly says he'd been introduced to a new more upmarket ring of predators called the Mayfair set. And Daly claims the abuse got so bad that he tried to end his life after a sex session in the luxury Ritz Hotel in London.

He didn't succeed, but his health later declined dramatically and his 'friends' allowed him to return to Ireland, but urged him to come back once he felt better.

He never returned to the city, but he says he was unnerved after his Creggan home was raided in October 1976 by the Army, who told him it was a "calling card" from the people that he'd left behind in London.

Daly was married in April 1979, but he didn't tell his wife about his rent boy life for more than three decades.

"She was devastated at first, but she was very supportive of me," says Daly who burnt the diary of the "appalling" abuse.

In May 2015 he featured - under a pseudonym - in a three-day special report on a BBC radio programme.

He was called 'David' and former police officers who were interviewed about his allegations said his claims appeared credible and tallied with the experiences of other abused young men in London.

The Playland arcade was at the centre of high-profile trials and a TV documentary called Johnny Go Home in the 70s, but Daly says they only scratched the surface of the debauchery.

Daly focuses part of his book on research he carried out into the sex rings that were operating in London all those years ago.

"I don't want compensation and I don't want vengeance - just the truth," he says.

Daly, who works as a human resources manager for a charity in Derry, wants his book to "set the record straight", but it might not be the end of the Playland story. For there's speculation that a movie or TV drama might be produced from the book, which is dedicated to Jackie Duddy and Bishop Edward Daly - "two souls fused together for eternity in a moment of violence".

Playland: Secrets of a forgotten scandal, Anthony Daly, Mirror Books, £9.99

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