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IICSA published its final Report in October 2022. This website was last updated in January 2023.

IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Allegations of child sexual abuse linked to Westminster Investigation Report


H.3: Sir Peter Hayman

28. Peter Hayman was born in 1914. He married in 1942 and had two children. He held a number of important roles in the Diplomatic Service. Between 1964 and 1966 he was with the British Military Government in Berlin, between 1966 and 1969 he was Assistant Under Secretary at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, between 1969 and 1970 he was Deputy Under Secretary of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, and between 1970 and 1974 he was the British High Commissioner in Canada. He was knighted in 1971.[1] He retired in 1974 and died in 1992.

29. There were allegations Hayman had been a member of PIE using an assumed name and that he had been sending and receiving through the post obscene material, for which he was not prosecuted. There has been long-standing public concern whether the decision not to prosecute Hayman either for his involvement with PIE or for sending obscene material through the post might have been politically motivated. Those concerns were first expressed in the House of Commons by Geoffrey Dickens MP in 1981 but they have continued to be aired ever since.

30. One of the investigating police officers in the Hayman and PIE cases, Bryan Collins (now retired), made a series of allegations to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) to the effect that the prosecution of Hayman was dropped inappropriately, that Hayman’s name was intentionally kept out of the trial of other PIE members which did go ahead, and that Hayman unsuccessfully attempted to bribe Bryan Collins and his fellow police officer. These allegations formed the basis of IOPC investigations.

The police investigation

31. In about 1974, Bryan Collins joined the Obscene Publications Squad at Scotland Yard as a police sergeant (PS). His role was to investigate the production and sale of pornography.

32. As a result of a News of the World article, an investigation was commenced into PIE which focussed on Tom O’Carroll, one of the group’s organisers. PS Collins and his partner, Police Constable (PC) Dave Atkins, were in possession of a list of members of PIE, from which they selected for interview a dozen or so of “probably the worst” individuals, based on their correspondence with PIE through Magpie (PIE’s publication) indicating their “desire in connection with sexual activity with children”. It was by those means PS Collins and PC Atkins put together a case against O’Carroll for conspiracy to corrupt public morals.[2] One individual selected for interview on the list was a member of PIE called ‘Peter Henderson’.

33. In a police report titled ‘Hayman & Others’, date-stamped as received by the Director of Public Prosecutions’ office on 7 December 1978, PS Collins set out the facts.[3]

34. A quantity of obscene photographs and correspondence, sent through the post to an individual named Peter Henderson at 95 Linden Gardens, London, W2, was found on a bus on 21 March 1978 by a member of the public and handed in to the police. The officers discovered Henderson was a member of PIE “which consists of people who advocate sexual acts between adult and child”.[4] They went to the address on 2 October 1978 where they were let in by the managing agents and a locked wardrobe was forced open. In it, on shelves, were 45 volumes of photographs and writings, each of about 200 pages, which contained a record of sexual activities over the previous six years. The report states:

These records contain nothing but obscenities on every conceivable sexual act, deviation and perversion … are a complete, specific record of Henderson’s sexual acts with other men and women, both pictorially and of written matter.[5]

Trophy items were pressed between the leaves of the volumes and other items were found fixed to the wardrobe.

35. When Henderson arrived at the flat that day, the officers spoke to him. He accepted all the items were his and that he had been engaged for many years in exchanging obscenities through the post with others. He made a short statement under caution. It was obvious to the officers that he was not who he claimed to be but at no time did he reveal his true identity.[6]

36. A few weeks later, a briefcase containing various obscene writings and photographs was found and handed in to police. The IOPC Operation Hesper closing report refers to this. It was found in St James’s Park by an officer of the Royal Parks Police with Metropolitan Police dog handlers. Documents inside the briefcase named Peter Hayman. Also found were envelopes containing black and white photographs of boys aged between eight and 11 dressed only in their underpants.[7] Mr Collins said he did not recall this.[8]

37. Henderson was seen again by police on 24 October 1978, when he identified himself as Peter Hayman. He identified the briefcase and its contents as his, saying it had been stolen from his car some weeks earlier.[9] In the police report, PS Collins wrote:

Many of the obscenities written in Hayman’s books referred to children and although it was reasonable to assume that much of it was fantasy, further enquiries were made in this direction.[10]

38. Other parts of the police report mention children. Some of the images circulated among Peter Hayman’s correspondents were “normal snaps” of children but pages from Hayman’s records for 1975 included a photograph of an 11-year-old girl with obscene comments written about her.[11] ‘The Circle’ was Hayman’s description of those with whom he corresponded.[12] In relation to a family Hayman had become involved with, the report states:

Although the sex volumes contain references to the … children there is no evidence to suggest they have been involved in any way in this matter apart from being fantasised about by Hayman and other members of ‘The Circle’ … [13]

The report states Hayman had made contact and corresponded with a man (ciphered as WM-F24) through PIE. WM-F24 was in possession of a quantity of obscene material relating to young children. He also had two photographs of naked young girls which Hayman had sent to him.[14]

39. Robert Wardell was a bus inspector and a PIE member. He and Hayman had established contact, and exchanged obscene letters through the post. In the report, PS Collins wrote that Wardell had sexual fantasies which were:

the most horrific and sickening accounts of sexual desires that one could possibly imagine. He has a consuming passion for the activities supposedly carried out by the German SS towards Jewish children. These incredibly sadistic accounts of atrocities directed towards children he has sent to Hayman who, just as incredibly, enjoyed them.”

Wardell also sent Hayman photographs of children fully clothed.[15]

40. A retired headmaster, John Sewell, was a member of Hayman’s ‘Circle’. He had convictions for indecent assault of young boys. He was spoken to by police in relation to the PIE enquiry, when he denied association with an advert in the PIE contact sheet advertising an interest in “little girls in white pants and little boys without them”. Sewell had sent Hayman two photographs of young girls showing their underwear with obscene comments on them. Sewell had further similar material in his possession.[16]

41. Another correspondent (ciphered as WM-F25) sent letters to Hayman through the post which related to sexual activity with young boys. The report states “although they will be claimed to be fantasy, [WM-F25] admitted when seen originally that he had indecently assaulted a young boy some five years ago”.[17]

42. In light of this, Mr Collins was asked in the course of his evidence why he had felt that Hayman’s writings in relation to children were fantasy. He said it was because they were so extreme. In some instances, he said, Hayman was referring to well-known people as well as friends of his family. He added:

It was obvious that some of the stuff, or most of the stuff … no, not most; some of it was fantasy”.[18]

He said there was no evidence to charge Hayman with any offence of child sexual abuse. He was asked what “further enquiries” had been made in relation to Hayman’s writings about children.[19] He recalled visiting some addresses where there were families with children.[20]

43. In a subsequent and very lengthy police report which focussed on the activities of PIE, PS Collins noted that Hayman, using the assumed name Henderson, had corresponded with PIE “in the person of David Grove[21] seeking advice about progressing a sexual relationship with a little girl. In light of this material, and Hayman’s association with PIE, Mr Collins was asked whether, at the time, the police could have had confidence that Hayman was not in fact a paedophile. His response was:

I can’t see how anyone would say that. I think he would have grasped at any opportunity to take advantage of man, woman or child sexually.[22]

44. PS Collins concluded his first report by remarking that Hayman had a great deal to lose by reason of his position in society but:

the sheer filth spread far and wide by him, particularly its content with regard to the sexual and physical abuse of children, must place him in the category of being one of the worst offenders in relation to sending obscene material through the post”.[23]

The Director of Public Prosecutions’ decision not to prosecute Sir Peter Hayman

45. PS Collins expressed the view in his report that offences had been committed under section 11(1)(b) of the Post Office Act 1953,[24] which provided:

A person shall not send or attempt to send or procure to be sent a postal packet which  (b) encloses any indecent or obscene print, painting, photograph, lithograph, engraving, cinematograph film, book, card or written communication, or any indecent or obscene article whether similar to the above or not.

The sentence for conviction on indictment was imprisonment for not more than 12 months.

46. He told us in evidence that he recalled receiving a phone call from Sir David Napley, who was Peter Hayman’s solicitor. He asked him if he was dealing with the Hayman case and then asked him who was dealing with it at the Director of Public Prosecutions’ office. Mr Collins knew it was Jeremy Naunton, as he had been talking to him about the dates of charges. He did not wish to land Mr Naunton with a call from Sir David Napley and so he told Sir David he would find out and get back to him, to which Sir David replied “Don’t bother. I’ll talk to Hetherington”.[25] Sir Thomas Hetherington was the Director of Public Prosecutions at the time.

47. It was, said Mr Collins, the next day that he and his partner were called into Chief Inspector Shepherd’s office to be told that Hayman was not to be prosecuted but cautioned instead. Mr Collins said he was never told why. (It was not until he read material in advance of giving his evidence to the Inquiry that he learned that Hayman had been claiming to be suicidal. Mr Collins remarked that being suicidal had not prevented Hayman from appearing on Mastermind or subsequently importuning a lorry driver in a public toilet.[26]) Hayman subsequently accepted the caution, so he admitted the offending.[27]

48. Jeremy Naunton was a solicitor who began working in the Director of Public Prosecutions’ office in around 1971. Following the submission by PS Collins of his police report on the investigation into Hayman and its receipt by the Director of Public Prosecutions’ office on 7 December 1978, an interim advice note was written within the office.[28] Mr Naunton told us he thought the advice note was “probably my note”; he recognised the handwriting at the end of the note as his. The note was addressed “A/D Met” which was an abbreviated reference to the Assistant Director of the Met Division, who was Mr Naunton’s line manager.[29] The note stated that, like most of Scotland Yard’s investigations under section 11 of the Post Office Act 1953, this case left “a lot to be desired and it is difficult to make a decision without seeing the original photos or the latest letters”.[30] Mr Naunton said he had not seen any of the original exhibits and therefore no decision could be made until they were available, though the idea had been to progress the case towards a prosecution.[31]

49. He wrote that despite the theme of PIE running through the papers, there was “no evidence to suggest that any of them have committed offences with children”. He added:

Whilst we are shortly to receive a full report on the activities of PIE I am told by the police that this is an independent offshoot that can be dealt with separately. I hope that any decision we make here will not be a rod for our own backs when the PIE case arrives.[32]

50. This cautionary note was rather prescient in light of PS Collins’ later report on PIE which noted Hayman’s correspondence with a ‘David Grove’ about his sexual desires involving a little girl.[33] Mr McGill remarked this was:

a salutary reminder to all prosecutors that, before making a decision, you need to have all the facts at your disposal … Because if you do it too quickly, there could be material that may materially affect the decision you’ve made.[34]

51. In his advice note, Mr Naunton recorded that:

  • The police were anxious that proceedings were taken against those named and possibly for conspiracy to contravene section 11 of the Post Office Act 1953.
  • The articles found in Hayman’s flat were obscene and indecent and must have been sent through the post.
  • There was no organised general postal distribution of obscene articles.
  • While Hayman’s articles were obscene, they did not appear to fall within the usual categories under the Obscene Publications Act, because although money did pass there was no real arrangement for a financial gain to be made.

He added the activities described were for the personal and private sexual benefit of the individuals, some of whom had been known to each other for years, and not for indiscriminate circulation. Thus, he noted, the case fell into a lower category than others they saw and could possibly be dealt with by individual substantive charges under section 11 of the Post Office Act 1953.[35]

52. Mr Naunton told us there had been no policy in the Director of Public Prosecutions’ office when considering Post Office Act offences or Obscene Publications Act offences. Obscene Publications Act offences required the person to publish or have an obscene article for publication for gain, whereas the Post Office Act was, he said, aimed at the protection of Post Office employees and was “slightly obsolete”.[36]

53. In the view of Mr McGill, the decision not to prosecute Hayman under the Post Office Act 1953 was reasonable given the offence was considered to be outdated. It was aimed at protecting Post Office employees and so the circulation of the material had not harmed those it was designed to protect; the material was circulated among like-minded adults and there was no intention to make any financial gain from it.[37]

54. Mr Naunton’s advice note went on to consider each of the suspects, beginning with Hayman. Mr Naunton noted that Hayman had admitted being a member of PIE “for a while about a year ago” and in his statement under caution he had said he “disagreed totally with PIE’s views”. When later questioned about his relationship with PIE, Hayman had said:

I wish you to believe that I have never interfered with children, all I have written about is pure fantasy, I suppose I know I should never have sent those things through the post but I never really thought about it”.[38]

The advice note concludes with Mr Naunton observing:

“No one can really support what the ‘defendants’ have been doing but I consider that the police are making a storm in a tea cup – as far as I can see (subject to [WM-F25] … ) no child has been affected by their group activities and no one has been offended by seeing any obscene writing through the post.”[39]

55. As for the suggestion that Hayman’s writings about children were pure fantasy, Mr McGill told the Inquiry that, today, in such circumstances, he would expect prosecutors to consider the offence under section 1 of the Obscene Publications Act 1959 of publishing obscene material. In particular, where there did not appear to be any evidence of contact abuse offences against children, fantasy discussion of abusing children can fall within the definition of obscenity and can also be captured by the offence.[40]

56. Mr Naunton denied knowledge of PS Collins’ later report on PIE, and said the decision to caution had not been his but, had it been, he said he would have taken into account the information in the PIE report in deciding on charge.[41] He added even though Hayman had been cautioned, there was no reason why he should not have been prosecuted for any other offences disclosed in the later report.[42] Mr McGill agreed.[43]

57. Mr Naunton had questioned in the advice note whether there was any useful purpose in prosecuting any of the possible defendants, as no harm had been done to anyone, but if proceedings were to be instituted he advised substantive charges under section 11 of the Post Office Act 1953. He made clear that his opinion was based on the papers and what he had been told by the police.[44]

58. In evidence he said that he had not been considering the public interest but the evidential test only, ie whether there was a reasonable prospect of conviction (which was the test before the Code for Crown Prosecutors). He said that consideration of public interest factors would probably have “gone up higher” because of Hayman’s background.[45]

59. Mr Collins gave evidence that, before the decision was made to caution him, Hayman had turned up at Scotland Yard to speak to him and PC Atkins, and had tried bribing them with £25,000 each. Mr Collins recalled telling him not to be so stupid as he was in enough trouble already. However, neither officer reported the bribe because, said Mr Collins in evidence, Hayman did not actually try giving them any money. Mr Collins recalled but rejected the criticism in the Operation Magnolia report that they did not follow Metropolitan Police policy.

60. Mr Collins told us that he had not considered that Hayman’s approach had amounted to perverting the course of justice, which might have strengthened the case against Hayman on the other offences.[46] Mr Collins said Hayman was in a terrible state, by which he said he meant “his whole family, his future … it was diabolical for the man and his family that it should come to light”. He said he was sympathetic towards him in that sense.[47]

61. In Mr Naunton’s view, if the bribe had been a genuine offer it ought to have been reported. He agreed it would have been taken seriously but said he had no idea if it would have led to a further investigation or charge. He was not prepared to be drawn on whether a substantial sentence of imprisonment would have followed a conviction for perverting the course of justice in such circumstances.[48]

62. Mr Naunton told us he had later become aware that a meeting had in fact taken place between Sir David Napley and the Director of Public Prosecutions, but had known nothing about it at the time and was not invited to attend. Mr Naunton would not say whether a meeting between a suspect’s solicitor and the Director of Public Prosecutions was normal but asserted that the Director of Public Prosecutions had control over his office and could decide whether to meet Sir David Napley. Mr Naunton said he had no idea if anyone else had been in attendance or if minutes of the meeting had been taken. He did however accept that, in all his time as a solicitor in the Director of Public Prosecutions’ office and then the Crown Prosecution Service, he had no experience of the Director of Public Prosecutions entertaining a suspect’s solicitor and coming to a resolution of a case.[49] The impression we are left with is this was an exceptional if not unique occurrence.

63. Mr Naunton said he had never discovered the reason why Hayman was cautioned. He was asked why at the end of his advice note he had written “I am told by Sir David Napley that Hayman has suicidal tendencies because of the case”.[50] He claimed Sir David Napley might have rung him and it was merely his “assumption” that his suicidal tendencies was the point that was raised with the Director of Public Prosecutions. He thought he annotated the advice note before Sir David Napley had seen the Director of Public Prosecutions. He could not recall PS Collins ever tipping him off that Sir David Napley might call. He accepted the possibility that Sir David Napley had discovered his name and had spoken to him about Hayman. He did not accept participating in the decision to caution. He said he might not have taken an enormous amount of notice of what he had been told about Hayman’s suicidal tendencies, unless he had received some psychiatric evidence because, as he put it, those who claim to be suicidal tend not to act on it.[51] He did not know if the Director of Public Prosecutions had been provided with any psychiatric evidence to support the claim that Hayman was suicidal. He was not prepared to agree that the decision that was taken was highly charitable.[52]

64. For his part, Mr McGill thought that any suggestion that a person arrested for crime is suicidal had to be treated with some scepticism. Faced with such a claim today, the Crown Prosecution Service would expect to see some medical evidence in support and, for a serious offence, would ask that the suspect be examined independently by a psychiatrist instructed for the prosecution. It would not be accepted at face value.[53]

Wardell and Norris

65. On 2 October 1980, Robert Wardell and a co-accused John Norris pleaded guilty at St Albans Crown Court to an offence of conspiracy to infringe the provisions of section 11(1)(b) of the Post Office Act 1953. The particulars of the offence in the indictment were that, between 1 January 1975 and 18 April 1979:

they conspired together unlawfully to send packets to each other containing obscene written communications namely sadistic accounts of the sexual torture and killing of children”.

They were conditionally discharged for three years and ordered to pay costs.[54]

66. John Sewell was not charged with Wardell and Norris but he became a witness in Tom O’Carroll’s trial.[55] Following a retrial at the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey), on 13 March 1981, O’Carroll was convicted of conspiracy to corrupt public morals in the PIE case and was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.[56]

67. Mr Collins distinguished the way Peter Hayman and Robert Wardell were treated. Hayman, he said, had the services of Sir David Napley and was not prosecuted, yet Robert Wardell, a bus inspector, was prosecuted on exactly the same material. The IOPC Operation Magnolia report noted that Wardell had been charged due to the serious and extreme nature of the content.[57] Mr Collins said he thought there was “one law for Wardell and another for Hayman”.[58] It was obvious that Mr Collins remained greatly affected by the decision in the Hayman case.

68. Mr Naunton did not know whether Hayman and Wardell had received differential treatment or whether the outcome in Hayman’s case could be explained by him being shown undue deference. He said “I wasn’t responsible, as far as I know, for the prosecutions of those two people”. Mr Naunton then remarked:

The taller they are, the harder they fall, and Hayman was fairly tall in respect of the diplomatic side of it. Therefore … he had a lot to lose. I’m not saying the others didn’t but he had a lot to lose if he was prosecuted.[59]

Mr Naunton told us he did not think that the decision in Hayman’s case had anything to do with showing him undue deference; he thought that the decision was made due to the serious risk that Hayman might commit suicide “because of his position in society”.[60]

The political fallout

69. On 24 October 1980, Private Eye exposed the Hayman case in an article entitled ‘The Beast of Berlin’. It reported that his role had emerged:

after two men were conditionally discharged for three years after pleading guilty to sending obscene material through the post. The decision not to prosecute Hayman, who was certainly as guilty as these two unfortunates, came from high up, much to the disgust of DPP Tony Hetherington’s aides and also the policemen involved in the case”.[61]

The “two unfortunates” were Wardell and Norris.

70. Lord Armstong told us that neither the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the Cabinet Office nor the Security Service knew anything about the matters in the article until it was published.[62] In a minute of 27 October 1980 from Lord Armstrong (then Cabinet Secretary, Sir Robert Armstrong) to the Prime Minister, he drew attention to the Private Eye article and made reference to the Collins 1978 police report, including the fact Hayman was a member of PIE. He observed that the only sexual activity that could be shown to have occurred was with consenting adults and there was “no evidence for actual activities with children”.[63]

71. Private Eye published a second article on 7 January 1981 claiming there had been a “flaming row” between the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney General.[64] On the same day, the Director of Public Prosecutions produced a memo saying that he was not aware of any disagreement between the Attorney General and himself.[65] Lord Armstrong told us that assertion related to the Hayman case.[66] He said that he had been wrong to say in his witness statement that the Director of Public Prosecutions had been minded to authorise a prosecution but had been overruled by a higher authority and that the Attorney General had in fact accepted the Director of Public Prosecutions’ advice not to prosecute.[67]

72. In another memo to the Prime Minister, dated 9 January 1981, Lord Armstrong discussed Security Service enquiries thus far and the need once they were over for the Security Service to speak to Hayman himself. Those enquiries involving colleagues had revealed two instances of concern when Hayman had been in Baghdad and Ottawa but “Hayman gave his colleagues no cause to suspect that he might be engaged in irregular sexual activities”.[68] Lord Armstrong said he could not recall if, by the use of that term, Hayman’s colleagues were aware he was engaged in “irregular sexual activities”. Lord Armstrong said he thought he had been referring to Hayman’s general activities as described in his diaries and the term did not mean sexual activity with children but “irregular sexual activities” outside marriage.[69]

73. The Security Service (MI5) had indeed been involved in making enquiries. They had first become involved within days as a result of the first Private Eye article.[70] The MI5 witness told us about MI5’s interviews with Hayman, in which he denied reports that local boys had visited his house in Baghdad, saying “I am not interested in boys”. Hayman said he had been given “immunity from prosecution” by the Director of Public Prosecutions on the ground that his offence did not warrant such punishment, adding “I have been punished by the press.” The MI5 witness was unable to interpret Hayman’s use of the word “immunity” other than to say that it normally meant an assurance not to prosecute a person if they do something.[71] (Mr McGill agreed, saying that there was nothing in the material he had seen to suggest Hayman was given any immunity and that the word is sometimes used by suspects to mean that because a decision has been taken that they will not be prosecuted on particular facts, that is usually an end to that matter and they are unlikely to be prosecuted on the same facts in the future.[72]) The MI5 witness told us that the outcome of the investigation was, while Hayman had rendered himself vulnerable to pressure by a foreign intelligence service, there had been no actual prejudice to security.[73]

74. Peter Hayman’s name had been inadvertently mentioned during the O’Carroll retrial. The Director of Public Prosecutions’ memo of 7 January 1981 noted that the first O’Carroll trial was to commence on 14 January 1981, adding that:

Hayman was never considered to be an organiser, and is not involved in the prosecution, although the possibility that his name will be mentioned cannot be excluded.[74]

75. A background note of 17 March 1981 from the Law Officers’ Department (now the Attorney General’s Office) stated there had been no policy that Hayman’s name should not be mentioned in the PIE case, or, if mentioned, only under his assumed pseudonym. The note added that Hayman’s name had cropped up at the committal proceedings and he was then referred to by the name under which the witness being examined knew him, which was “normal practice”; Hayman was not called as a witness and it was understood that he was not referred to by the prosecution at the Crown Court; and the defence had only made reference to a “senior civil servant”.[75]

76. Mr McGill understood from the material he had read that during the O’Carroll trial Hayman had been referred to as Peter Henderson. He had seen nothing to suggest there had been any positive decision not to name Hayman. The parties only knew Hayman by his alias and it was likely they referred to him that way for the sake of consistency.[76]

77. Newspaper articles in The Guardian and The Times on 7 April 1981 show that Sir Michael Havers, the Attorney General, denied Hayman had received special treatment and explained that Hayman’s name had not been mentioned in the O’Carroll trial because witnesses only knew him as Henderson, and because he was not directly involved in the case.[77]

78. There is no evidence of the existence of any arrangement not to name Hayman during the O’Carroll trial, and it is implicit from the sentence quoted from the Director of Public Prosecutions’ memo of 7 January 1981 that there was none.

79. Fearing an establishment cover-up and using parliamentary privilege, on 18 March 1981, Geoffrey Dickens MP publicly named Sir Peter Hayman in written Commons questions as being the diplomat referred to in O’Carroll’s Old Bailey trial. He asked about the security implications Hayman’s activities might have posed, and if the Attorney General would prosecute Hayman for sending and receiving pornographic material through the Royal Mail.[78]

80. The Attorney General’s written answer provided on 19 March 1981 was that the Director of Public Prosecutions had advised against prosecuting any of the persons under the Post Office Act 1953 or for any other offence and that among the considerations he took into account were the factors that the correspondence had been in sealed envelopes passing between adults in a non-commercial context and that none of it was unsolicited. A further report had shown that two others had shared an obsession about the systemic killing and torture of young people and children, and the Director of Public Prosecutions had decided to prosecute them for conspiracy to contravene section 11 of the Post Office Act 1953 (a clear reference to Wardell and Norris). The Attorney General added Hayman had never sent or received that kind of material through the post (yet PS Collins’ police report said Hayman had in fact received “sadistic accounts of atrocities directed towards children” and that he “enjoyed them[79]). Insofar as PIE was concerned, the Attorney General said Hayman had never been involved in PIE’s management. The Attorney General said he was in agreement with the Director of Public Prosecutions not to prosecute Hayman and the other persons with whom he had carried on an obscene correspondence.[80]

Undue deference

81. In his oral closing submissions on behalf of the complainant core participants, Mr Richard Scorer submitted that the Director of Public Prosecutions had “dismissive attitudes towards child sex offending” as illustrated by the Montagu and the Hayman cases.[81] It was, Ms Johnson QC argued, an age of deference and an age when victims were not placed at the forefront of the criminal justice system. She suggests we cannot safely conclude that the decisions were taken because the accused were members of the establishment rather than because as defendants their interests were placed above those of their victims.[82] Indeed, at the end of his evidence, the Chair asked Mr Collins if there was a general sense at the time that possessing indecent images was a victimless crime. Mr Collins said there were different attitudes then and children did not take precedence.[83]

82. A newspaper article written by Ronald Butt appeared in The Times of 26 March 1981 in which Sir David Napley was quoted as justifying the decision in Hayman’s case not to prosecute:

on the quite different grounds that a customary factor taken into account when deciding whether to prosecute was ‘whether the indirect punishment and hardship which a defendant may suffer is likely to be so disproportionate to the severity of the alleged offence and to any penalty imposed by a court that it would be unjust to prosecute. This’, Sir David asserted, ‘was overwhelmingly the situation in Sir Peter’s case and manifestly justifies the director’s decision’. On the contrary, far from justifying the DPP’s decision, the excuse condemns it. If a man is to be excused the due process of law, other things being equal, because he is well known, then we are indeed in a two nations society.[84]

83. The 17 March 1981 background note from the Law Officers’ Department, which was written in anticipation of Mr Dickens publicly naming Hayman, also states:

The first decision not to prosecute Sir Peter Hayman was based on policy and his eight potential co-accused were also not prosecuted under the same policy. He was never seriously under consideration as a potential defendant in the second case. His former position was not a factor taken into consideration in reaching these decisions and no attempt was made to cover up the facts to save either him or the Government embarrassment.[85]

84. There is no mention in the background note of Hayman’s claimed suicidal tendencies or that “the first decision” resulted in a caution. This is a surprising omission if Hayman’s suicidal tendencies played a part in the Director of Public Prosecutions’ decision not to prosecute but only to caution him. If the risk of suicide played no part in the decision, the question arises why Hayman was not prosecuted and only cautioned following a private meeting between Hayman’s solicitor and the Director of Public Prosecutions. Was the disposal in his case due to some prosecution policy as suggested in the Law Officers’ note? Mr Naunton told us there was no prosecutorial policy under the Post Office Act 1953.[86] It suggests that no faith can be had in the accuracy of the Law Officers’ note of 17 March 1981 when it claimed that Hayman’s former position was not a factor taken into consideration and that no attempt was made to cover up the facts to save him or the government embarrassment.

85. Moreover, the quotation in The Times from Sir David Napley did not seek to justify the decision in Hayman’s case as based on the risk of suicide. In fact, Sir David was not quoted as making any mention of Hayman’s alleged mental state at all. The implication of his justification of the Director of Public Prosecutions’ decision is that Hayman was a special case because he had suffered a very public fall from grace.

86. The evidence leads to the firm impression that Hayman was indeed the beneficiary of preferential, differential and unduly deferential treatment as a person of public prominence. We sympathise with Mr Collins’ view that Wardell, who was a bus inspector, was prosecuted for sending the most seriously obscene material to Hayman, while Hayman, who was the recipient of it from Wardell, was only cautioned. If PS Collins’ 1978 report about Hayman having received that material from Wardell is accurate (and there is no reason to think otherwise) then the Attorney General’s answer to Mr Dickens on 19 March 1981 that Hayman had never received that kind of material through the post was incorrect and misleading.

87. Ms Johnson was right to decry the access Sir David Napley had to the Director of Public Prosecutions. It is difficult to imagine less-well-known solicitors for less-well-known clients being given the same level of access. She argued that it did not mean there had been a cover-up but that it was more indicative of the “old boys’ network”.[87] It is now clear that Wardell was prosecuted for sending through the post the very kind of seriously obscene material Hayman had received from him.

88. Based on all the evidence it is clear that, because of his prominent position, Hayman was able to engage in special pleading for which he received special treatment, to which he referred in his later interview with MI5 as “immunity from prosecution”.[88]


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