'No paedophile ring or prominent figures' in Kincora abuse, inquiry told
There was no evidence of paedophile or prostitution rings involving members of the establishment at Kincora boys' home in Northern Ireland, a retired detective has said.
The east Belfast home has long been at the centre of allegations about a group of abusers involving high-profile political and military figures in the 1970s.
There are also claims that security services covered up the abuse in order to use the perpetrators for intelligence purposes.
Retired Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) detective chief superintendent George Caskey said: "There was no paedophile ring or prominent figures involved in abusing boys at Kincora."
However children were often legitimately moved between homes as part of normal care arrangements and an individual working at another premises may have advised a paedophile convicted of abuse about his targets, the former senior officer told retired judge Sir Anthony Hart's Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry.
He traced half the residents at the notorious establishment over a 22-year period from 1958. Three workers were convicted.
Mr Caskey said none of the residents or former residents he interviewed made allegations involving a high-profile sex ring to him.
William McGrath, Raymond Semple and Joseph Mains were senior care staff at Kincora. They were jailed in 1981 for abusing 11 boys.
The detective added: "We gained the impression that they operated as individuals.
"They knew what each of them were doing but there was no question of running a party in the home and ending up with boys being sexually abused."
Mains worked at the home for many years. He seemed to be a competent social worker, the social service had every confidence in him and he exuded confidence to people, Mr Caskey told the public inquiry.
Semple was the "weak link" amongst the criminals who spoke to officers when they investigated.
McGrath was the most recent arrival at the home.
Mr Caskey said he found no evidence of sex offences being facilitated for intelligence purposes.
"No boy or man ever claimed anything like that.
"There was no evidence of an individual or organisation trying to cover up that," he said.
Mr Caskey was unable to complete his investigation because he wanted to interview a liaison between the secret services and the army about Kincora.
He submitted 30 questions he wanted to answers to. Former RUC chief constable Sir Jack Hermon, reviewer Sir George Terry and the legal adviser to the security service were all at different times involved.
The detective never received a response to his questions.
He also dealt with Colin Wallace, a former Army captain who claimed to have information that MI5 was blocking attempts to expose child abuse.
Mr Caskey said: "I formed the opinion that he was not going to cooperate in any way."
Mr Caskey said the then chief constable Sir Jack Hermon told him to leave "no stone unturned".
He led the Kincora inquiries from 1980-1985.
Six people were imprisoned for sexual abuse as a result of his team's work, including three at other homes.
The HIA is examining allegations of child abuse in children's homes and other residential institutions in Northern Ireland from 1922 to 1995.