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Baroness Butler-Sloss to head sex abuse inquiry

A PANICKED Home Office has drafted a retired High Court judge for an independent inquiry over its handling of child sex abuse allegations.

Home Secretary Theresa May said yesterday her Permanent Secretary Mark Sedwill had appointed cross-bench peer Baroness Butler-Sloss to investigate her department’s missing files and mounting questions stemming from an eyes-only report filed last year.

Baroness Butler-Sloss, a former president of the High Court’s family division and chairwoman of the Cleveland child abuse inquiry, will join chief executive Mark Wanless of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in scrutinising the Home Office’s papertrail.

Mr Sedwill is to appear before MPs on the home affairs select committee in order to defend the initial review and his department’s response.

The 2013 report, commissioned after a string of recently deceased high-profile figures including TV presenter Jimmy Savile and Lib Dem MP Cyril Smith were outed as serial child abusers, has not been released to the public.

But it is understood the HMRC officer charged with the investigation found around 114 relevant files missing, presumed “destroyed, missing or not found.”

The missing papers are said to span a period of 20 years and include a dossier from the late MP Geoffrey Dickens said to name the high-profile individuals of an paedophile ring active in alleged abuse at south-west London’s Elm Guest House.

The Tory MP acquired a reputation in the House of Commons as a crusader against what he believed to be organised paedophile rings operating in state services, on several occasions using speaking time to attribute such organisations to “the spread of satanism and devil worship in the United Kingdom.”

In a 1988 debate the member for Littleborough and Saddleworth described his fears in detail: “Disgusting ceremonies are held, in which children are sexually abused by Satanists.

“Paedophiles are joining such groups because they have found yet another way to get their hands on children whom they know will be too terrified to talk.

“It is within my knowledge that children who have escaped are under treatment and are still receiving psychiatric care and help from their local priests,” he said, going on to suggest a reinstatement of the Witchcraft Act of 1735.

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