Margaret Thatcher, the former prime minister, was kept fully informed about an investigation into a senior diplomat who was embroiled in a paedophile scandal, newly-released secret documents show.
Mrs Thatcher received a stream of memos from officials about the “unnatural sexual proclivities” of Sir Peter Hayman.
The prime minister was carefully coached on how to deflect difficult questions about the affair after it was finally exposed by Private Eye magazine in 1980.
The documents disclosed for the first time that Hayman had been engaged in “sexual perversion” since at least 1966, when he was a minister in the British military government in West Berlin.
The 37-page dossier set out how the then Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) decided not to prosecute the diplomat after he was caught with a collection of paedophile material in 1978.
It also shows the DPP never informed the government or the security services about Hayman’s proclivities, despite concerns enemy spies could have been blackmailing him for sensitive information during his time abroad.
The new information appeared to undermine claims that the decision not to prosecute Hayman was part of an Establishment conspiracy to cover up child abuse.
It said the decision was not referred to the security services at all, either because Hayman was already retired or because there was a communications breakdown between DPP and MI5.
“An attempt was made to contact Security Services [by the DPP] when the first police report was under consideration,” the dossier said.
“The contact was unavailable and his secretary said he would ring back – he did not do so.
“Later, the final decision not to prosecute was reached and the need to chase the unreturned telephone call was overlooked.”
Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet in 1980
The documents also said Hayman’s offence was not serious enough to merit charges, according to policies then in force.
The papers demonstrate Whitehall’s shock at its failure to detect Hayman’s activities earlier, and concerns that vetting procedures may need to be stepped up to prevent a repeat of the mistake.
However, it remains unexplained why Hayman’s arrest for possessing paedophile material was hushed up between 1978 and the publication of the Private Eye story two years later.
The file contains a memo in Mrs Thatcher’s handwriting to Sir Michael Havers, the then Attorney General.
A handwritten memo from Margaret Thatcher to Sir Michael Havers
On 10 Downing Street notepaper, and dated March 20, 1981, it says: “So that there be no doubt, I leave to your judgment whether or not you are interviewed on media or TV about the Hayman matter.”
Signed “Margaret”, the memo is the final chronological entry in the file which has been released to the National Archives, titled “PREM 19/588 SECURITY. Sir Peter Hayman: allegations against former public official of unnatural sexual proclivities; security aspects.”
Robert Armstrong, the Cabinet Office Permanent Secretary, said in a memo to the prime minister marked “Secret” that it was a “difficult question” why no-one in government was told by Sir Thomas Hetherington, the DPP, about the police investigation into Hayman.
“It would be better not to be drawn on this aspect in a way which could lead to the need for a further statement,” he wrote.
In the event, no questions on the Hayman affair were asked during prime minister’s questions in the Commons that week.
Another significant disclosure in the dossier is a memo from the Attorney General’s office which refers to Hayman’s diaries.
“It is understood that they were recovered from the police by the Director [of Public Prosecutions] for the undisclosed purpose of being made available to the Security Services,” it says.
The diaries were said to be “explicit and detailed records of his sexual activities and fantasies”.
The dossier does not explain what happened to the diaries, how they were examined by the security services or the outcome of their analysis.
Geoffrey Dickens MP who used parliamentary privilege to name Sir Peter Hayman as a paedophile in 1981
Hayman, who died in 1992, was named as an abuser of children by Geoffrey Dickens MP and had links to the controversial Paedophile Information Exchange.
The case has been cited by campaigners as evidence of how paedophiles in the highest levels of government had their activities covered up.
Widespread concern about institutional abuse has led Theresa May, the Home Secretary, to set up a major new inquiry into how government handled the issue over decades.
The files show Hayman was discovered to be corresponding with an unknown person who had “an obsession about the systematic killing by sexual torture of young people and children”.
But no evidence was found that Hayman ever sent material relating to sexual torture.
Last December Scotland Yard announced it was investigating the alleged murder of three young boys linked to a Westminster paedophile ring active in the late Seventies and early Eighties.
The papers said: “It is clear that Sir Peter Hayman was already engaging in sexual perversion in 1966 when he returned from Berlin to the Foreign Office, and it must be presumed that he was doing so before that time.”
While Hayman was posted to Canada, obscene correspondence began arriving at the High Commission in Ottawa, they said, “apparently as a result of advertisements placed in a pornographic magazine”.
A member of the domestic staff was blamed at the time, it said, but “the latest report raises the question whether it should have been laid at Sir Peter’s door”.
It has previously been claimed that Hayman worked for MI6 and even that he was deputy chief of the Secret Intelligence Service.
The dossier makes clear that he was a career diplomat and not a spy.
The secret memo from Sir Robert says: “It was not the case that he ‘had an intelligence background’.”
Another document in the file – also marked ‘Secret’ – says: “Sir Peter Hayman was a member of the Diplomatic Service.”
John Mann MP, who has been instrumental in the campaign on behalf of abuse victims, welcomed the file’s release.
“It is important that these secret files are opened up, so this is potentially a significant development,” he said.
“We need to see more of them being released – in fact, we need to see all of them.”
Source : Telegraph.