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Police probe child abuse 'murders'

Three young boys have been murdered by members of a Westminster paedophile ring who systematically abused children for nearly a decade, according to allegations being investigated by Scotland Yard.

An alleged abuse victim - known only as Nick - has claimed MPs and other high-profile figures were linked to the murder of the children aged seven to 16 between the mid-1970s and mid-1980s, including a child who was run down by a car.

He has given a "harrowing account" to detectives of how he and several other boys were picked up in cars and taken to locations in London and the Home Counties, including military bases, where they abused by groups of men at sex "parties".

Nick also claims he was abused between the age of seven to 16 at a flat in Dolphin Square, a plush residential development of 1,250 flats in Pimlico, south west London, popular with politicians.

Metropolitan Police officers, investigating the claims as part of Operation Midland, have appealed for further abuse victims, as well as any residents or visitors to Dolphin Square at the time in question, to come forward.

Detective Superintendent Kenny McDonald, who heads up Op Midland, said: "Today I want to appeal directly to those other young boys, now men, who were also subject to abuse at the hands of these men.

"I believe that there were other boys who were abused, or who were present while the abuse took place.

"I would ask you to trust me. I will support you, and do everything in my power to find those responsible and bring them to justice. I need your accounts to help me do that."

Mr McDonald said he could not rule out that more than one flat in Dolphin Square was used to abuse Nick.

"Nick has described how a car would be sent to collect him, and he would be driven to Dolphin Square," he said.

"The abuse he has detailed that he was subjected to was carried out by a man on his own, a group of men or during what have been described as parties.

"There will be people who lived at, or visited, Dolphin Square from the early 1970s onwards who will have seen or heard something that they only now understand the significance of."

The detective also revealed that he was working closely with military police in connection with the investigation.

He said: "My team is also investigating the possible murder of three young boys. Our work is ongoing and we are examining reports of missing people from that time.

"To date, we have not recovered any bodies."

Scotland Yard revealed they had spoken to the family of Martin Allen, who disappeared in 1979 at the age of 15 - but said at this stage it is not possible to say whether his disappearance is linked.

Similarly, Sussex Police are carrying out a review into the disappearance and murder of eight-year-old Vishal Mehotra in 1981. The Met said at this stage it is not possible to decide whether Vishal's murder is linked to this investigation.

Op Midland falls under a wider umbrella of investigations, dubbed Operation Fairbank, into allegations of abuse involving senior politicians and high-profile figures. It was set up in response to allegations made by Labour MP Tom Watson in the House of Commons.

Tom Watson MP said: "It will come as a great relief to Nick that his allegations are being fully investigated and taken seriously.

"I can only amplify his views and that is now is the time for any victims to speak to the police."

Operation Fairbank has received more than 600 emails and pieces of information about child abuse concerning individuals both dead and alive.

There are 18 strands of allegations under Fairbank, including Operation Midland. They are not all linked and some involve alleged child abuse in care homes and do not all relate to MPs and high-profile figures.

Five people have been arrested and charged under Fairbank operations.

Officers interviewed more than 1,000 people as victims and witnesses under the operation, seized 300 exhibits and created more than 900 documents.

Operation Fernbridge, which falls under Fairbank, focuses on allegations of abuse at Elm Guest House in London.

Two people have been charged in connection to Fernbridge - Father Anthony McSweeney and John Stingemore.

However, detectives said they do not have evidence to support claims that there was widespread abuse by prominent, high-profile figures at the guest house.

Scotland Yard as a result reiterated an appeal for any victims of abuse to come forward.

At a press conference, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Rodhouse discussed allegations that police officers had acted inappropriately in relation to child abuse investigations. This follows reports that police overlooked activity by high-profile suspects.

Professional Standards are investigating those allegations, he said, which cover a period from the mid-1970s up to 2005.

Cover-up allegations have been made related to different strands of Op Fairbank and in some cases completely unrelated information. They include allegations made by former Detective Chief Inspector Clive Driscoll, who worked in the Lambeth borough.

Mr Driscoll has told reporters he prepared a list of suspect names he wanted to investigate, which he then discussed at a meeting outside of his investigation team. He then claims he was subsequently moved from the investigation team.

Mr Rodhouse said: "We take any allegations of impropriety by police officers very seriously.

"Police from the Department of Professional Standards have spoken to Clive and are now following up on those inquiries."

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