Belfast Telegraph

Sex assault Tory MP visited Kincora boys' home, claim retired detectives

The former Kincora boys’ home on the Upper Newtownards Road in east Belfast
The former Kincora boys’ home on the Upper Newtownards Road in east Belfast

By Liam Clarke

At least one Tory MP visited Kincora during the 1970s when it was riven with sexual abuse by staff of boys in their care, it has been claimed.

The allegation was made by two retired detectives who were part of a team which investigated the east Belfast boys' home in the 1980s and successfully prosecuted three members of staff for sexual abuse.

The names of the police officers are being withheld for security reasons. They are instead referred to as officers Smith and Jones.

Both are known to the Belfast Telegraph and we have established that they conducted the inquiry. Both are also willing to help any inquiry into Kincora either here or in England. They revealed that the MP died before they could arrange to interview him.

Officer Jones was the more senior of the two and did most of the interviews, while Officer Smith prepared files and conducted some interviews. They both said that none of the former Kincora residents they interviewed were taken out of the home for sex parties as has sometimes been claimed.

Officer Jones revealed that he had also interviewed Joshua "Joss" Cardwell, a unionist politician who was chairman of the committee responsible for children's homes.

The former detective said: "Mr Cardwell answered the door a happy man. 'Well Inspector, how can I help you?' he asked and I told him I was here about the Kincora investigation because he had visited the home. He said it was something to do with his work and he was entitled to inspect it. He turned from a happy man to an absolute nervous wreck and I was arranging for him to come to the station."

Mr Cardwell took his own life before this could take place.

The officer added: "A Conservative MP was coming over to the Northern Ireland Office quite regularly and has since died. We were told by criminal records in Scotland Yard London that he had a conviction many years ago for indecent behaviour or something in a gents' loo against another boy but his death meant we never got a chance to question him."

Both men also interviewed Colin Wallace, the army whistleblower who raised the alarm about Kincora when he worked here in the 70s. The RUC officers said he had been unwilling to tell them anything.

Mr Wallace produced papers to show that he had been threatened with prosecution if he said too much.

Judge Anthony Hart, who is conducting an inquiry into Historical and Institutional Abuse here, has requested all relevant government documents on Kincora by the end of this month.


In the 80s three staff at Kincora Boys home in east Belfast were jailed for a catalogue of sex abuse. Colin Wallace, an army information officer with access to intelligence, tried to make this public in the 70s but was subsequently wrongly imprisoned. He alleged that MI5 warned him off. The suspicion is that an intelligence agency was using the scandal to recruit and protect agents. Abuse at the home is to be investigated by the Historical and Institutional Abuse Inquiry.

Further reading

Operation DeathEaters: Anonymous calls for activists to help expose international paedophile networks 

Case must be included in UK probe, says lawyer

Kincora: Amnesty welcomes move not to prosecute witnesses

Kincora: Let the inquiry chairman do his job

Kincora Boy's Home: Inquiry is a betrayal of the abused

MI5 officers 'won't give evidence' in Kincora sex abuse probe

Kincora probe detectives had to ask Ian Paisley if he was gay

Kincora: MP Keith Vaz backs call for east Belfast home to be included in UK-wide inquiry

Kincora: MI5 knew about it but did nothing, that much is certain 

Full story of Kincora Boys' Home in east Belfast yet to be told, says child sex abuse victim

Kincora: Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt joins calls for inquiry into abuse at boys' home

Baroness's brother 'tried to limit probe into Kincora'

Kincora: MI5 'must hand over files on abuse at east Belfast boys' home' 

Editor's viewpoint: We must know truth of Kincora

Child abuse inquiry must look at Kincora Boys' Home, says Amnesty International

MI5 'blocked exposure of Kincora sex abuse scandal'

Kincora Boy's Home scandal: South African intelligence 'secretly backed loyalist paramilitary group Tara'

Kincora Boys' Home scandal: journalist Peter McKenna dies

State papers: The perjury that allowed Kincora suspect preacher to walk

Westminster’s dark secret: abuse of children, adultery, homosexuality and sadomasochism were all seemingly lumped together

Civil servant Mark Sedwill admits Home Office ‘probably’ destroyed paedophile dossiers 

Westminster child abuse dossier: Geoffrey Dickens also gave copy of file to top prosecutor Sir Thomas Hetherington - so why did DPP fail to act on evidence of paedophile ring? 

Historic child abuse files missing

Tory peer Lord Brittan defends handling of 1980s sex abuse dossier

Abuse claims police matter - Clegg

Abuse probe 'into soul of society'

From the archives

Kincora: Sex racket at children's home (Irish Independent, 1980)

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