|Police say the homicide investigation, Operation Midland, is at an early stage.|
Westminster Bridge - Photograph: Julian Elliott Photography/Getty Images
Detectives were already investigating allegations of historic child sexual abuse from more than 30 years ago. But officers said in recent weeks they had received fresh allegations of a possible homicide which they have decided to fully investigate, despite the passage of decades since the alleged death.
The Guardian understands the claim involves the alleged killing of a child during the alleged activities carried out by members of the ring.
The report comes from a man who says he was also abused by the group. Now middle-aged, he has been deemed to be sufficiently credible for his allegations to warrant a full murder investigation, with officers from Scotland Yard’s homicide unit being drafted in.
Detectives will be looking to see if it is possible to corroborate the witness’s claims about the homicide some three decades after the alleged killing.
Police stress the homicide investigation, Operation Midland, is at an early stage. It is not thought that the alleged incident involved any of the senior politicians of three decades ago claimed to have been part of the paedophile ring.
Officers continue to investigate claims of a VIP paedophile ring. That inquiry, Operation Fairbank, was launched after the Labour MP Tom Watson made claims in parliament about a sex abuse gang with establishment connections.
The Metropolitan police said: “Detectives from the child abuse investigation command are working closely with colleagues from the homicide and major crime command concerning this information, which is being looked at under the name of Operation Midland.
“We will not comment upon speculation as to the identity of any person or locations that may or may not feature in this inquiry. We have taken the decision to release this statement today following a number of media inquiries requesting an update on Operation Midland.”
Also on Friday an alleged victim broke his silence to tell of the suffering he endured and to encourage others to come forward so the abusers can be brought to justice. The man, named only as Nick, told the BBC he had been abused by the paedophile ring with VIP connections for nine years.
He said he had been interviewed on camera for three days by Met detectives, a claim he first made to Exaro News. He said of his abusers: “They were very powerful people and they controlled my life for the next nine years. They created fear that penetrated every part of me, day in day out. You didn’t question what they wanted, you did as they asked without question and the punishments were very severe.”
He said the alleged abusers were “very organised” and got chauffeur-driven cars to collect boys from locations such as schools, and drive them to the places they would be attacked, such as hotels or flats in London and other cities.
Nick said the abusers showed little concern about being identified or caught: “They had no hesitation in doing what they wanted to do. Some of them were quite open about who they were. They had no fear at all of being caught, it didn’t cross their mind.”
He claimed the abusers would inflict brutal punishments on any child who did not obey orders. He told of the long-lasting effects of the attacks: “[The abuse] destroyed my ability to trust. It’s pretty much wrecked any relationships I have had. Intimacy for me is a pretty much a no-go area.”
The alleged victim said there were many people who may have witnessed the abuse and its surrounding activities, as well as those who were attacked, and they should come forward. He said: “They need to find the strength that we as survivors have done."
“People who drove us around could come forward. Staff in some of the locations could come forward. There are so many people who must have had suspicions. We weren’t smuggled in under a blanket through the back door. It was done openly and people must have questioned that and they need to come forward.”