Sometimes investigating historic child sexual abuse is a bit like tugging at a loose end of a knitted jumper. You begin to pull a strand of wool and slowly, inevitably, more comes away until you’re left with the component parts of a forgotten scandal. Such was the case this weekend when, following an email from a reader (SM), the Needleteam began to look into what has become known as the ‘Tattingstone suitcase murder’ .
The case of the murder of Bernard Oliver, 17, whose dismembered body was found in two suitcases in the village of Tattingstone in Suffolk in 1967, is unsolved and because the main suspects are both now dead, it will likely remain so, but it was the identifying of those two suspects, Dr Martin Reddington and Dr John Byles, and the tracing of the history of at least some of their offending which led us to the ‘Holy Trinity Paedophile Ring’. This was a group of professionals that in 1975 stood trial at Leeds Crown Court and were found guilty of the sexual abuse of young boys including abuse within the Holy Trinity church, Huddersfield, and the trade in child sexual abuse images to Copenhagen and Amsterdam.
We uncovered further evidence that offenders will often re-offend and reveal that one member of the Holy Trinity paedophile ring has only recently avoided justice for abhorrent crimes abroad because he claims to have dementia.
There are also links to possible child murders and that is why we are sharing this with you now because we know that there are some great researchers out there and perhaps possible witnesses who might as a result contact us and help us to complete the picture, so we’ll include most of the related newspaper cuttings we have at the bottom of this post.
It is probably easiest to start with the trial at Leeds Crown Court. On the 9th June 1975 three men stood trial on charges of indecently assaulting boys aged between 9 and 14 and conspiracies to contravene the Sexual Offences Act, the Obscene Publications Act and the Post Office Act. They were the Rev John Poole, vicar at the Holy Trinity Church, Raymond Varley, a former child care worker, and Clive Wilcock, a school teacher. Two other men named during the proceedings were missing. They were Dr John Byles and a Mr Jack Nicholls. More on Dr Byles later but we need to say that we’ve not been able to identify Jack Nicholls.
The crux of the allegations was that the 5 men named above had used the vicarage as a base to abuse young boys and had taken photographs of the sexual abuse. Some of the pictures were then sold to pornographic magazines in Copenhagen and Amsterdam. Some of the sexual abuse took place in the church and in the crypt. On one occasion the Rev Poole had presided over a ‘wedding’ which resulted in acts of gross indecency taking place before the church altar. The likelihood is that these crimes were photographed.
The Rev Poole, Raymond Varley and Clive Wilcock were all found guilty of offences.
Dr John Byles, who along with Dr Martin Reddington, was identified as one of the prime suspects in the ‘suitcase murder’ of Bernard Oliver in 1967, had evaded justice. At some point during the police inquiries into the Holy Trinity paedophile ring, he had run off to Australia. On the 17th December 1974 he was arrested in Melbourne. His friend, Dr Martin Reddington, who had previously fled abroad to escape similar allegations of gross indecency against a minor, was on hand to help and posted bail for Dr Byles. On the 27th December Dr Byles failed to attend an extradition hearing and on January 19th 1975 his body was found at the Proserpine Hotel in Queensland. Dr Byles had committed suicide. Three notes were found in the hotel room, one to his family, one to Scotland Yard, and the third to Dr Martin Reddington. Frustratingly for the police, none of the notes contained a confession.
The complicity in very serious crimes, including possible child murders, by Dr Byles and Dr Reddington appears to have been suspected by British police. In 1963 Dr Byles, who is described in newspaper reports as a ‘Kensington Doctor’, had stood trial along with a marketing executive called Mr James Halsall for the sexual abuse of a boy and in 1967 it seems likely that the police believed that Dr John Byles was one of two men thought to have been seen talking to Michael John Trower, aged 14, of Hove on the day he went missing and who the police wanted to talk to following the discovery of the boy’s body. Brian Field, after his conviction in 2001 for the 1968 murder of Roy Tutill was suspected by the police of involvement in the murder of Michael Trower, however Trower’s murder remains unsolved.
What we know for sure is that Dr Byles was described in his absence at Leeds Crown Court during the ‘Holy Trinity’ trial as an “evil man” and ringleader in the network of pornography.
Dr Martin Reddington is harder to trace. According to the Ipswich Star who viewed the ‘suitcase murder’ files held by Suffolk police, Reddington had fled to South Africa in 1965 after a warrant had been issued for his arrest for buggery and indecent assault of males. In 1977 he was recognised as one of three men owning the distinctive P.V.A suitcases used in the murder of Bernard Oliver and that, along with Dr Byles, he was wanted for questioning with regards to the murder in London of a boy which took place around 1973. (We have been unable to identify this child murder in London and would be particularly grateful for any help with that.) We know also that in 1977 he was arrested in Australia for indecently assaulting an Australian boy around 1973.
Despite the fact that the police wanted to talk to him regarding very serious sexual crimes and even murder, Dr Reddington seems to have flitted back and forth between Australia and the UK where he died in Surrey in 1995.
Of the original three men convicted in 1975 for their part in the ‘Holy Trinity paedophile ring’ one name, Raymond Varley, might seem familiar. Varley, who was described during the Holy Trinity trial as having already had a previous conviction for indecency with a boy, had pleaded guilty in 1975 and was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment. He appears to have offended and been convicted once again in the early 1980s before becoming an English tutor in Albania, Serbia, and then Thailand.
Raymond Varley is wanted by the Indian authorities in connection with his involvement in child abuse in Goa. For information on Varley’s involvement with Dr Freddie Peats and that sickening child abuse and exploitation episode read HERE
An extradition application by the Indians failed because poor Mr Raymond Varley at the tender age of just 63 has ‘dementia’ and it would be “unjust” and “oppressive” to return him to India for trial. (Sound familiar ?)
No wonder the Indian authorities are pissed off.
The Times 17th September 1963
The Times 11th November 1963
‘Suitcase Murder’ 1967
Michael John Trower Murder January 1967
Roy Tutill Murder November 2001
A 65-year-old farm labourer from the Midlands has been jailed for life for the murder, 33 years ago, of schoolboy Roy Tutill.
The 14-year-old was abducted, raped and strangled in 1968 as he hitch-hiked to his Surrey home from school so he could save his bus fare to pay for a new bicycle.
Divorced Brian Field, from Solihull, West Midlands, pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to the 33-year-old murder – thought to be the longest period between a crime being committed and solved.
The Holy Trinity paedophile ring 1975
Dr John Byles’s death in Australia from The Age, January 1975
Dr Martin Reddington in Australia 1977
18 responses to “The ‘Holy Trinity’ Paedophile Ring”
I was a pupil at Central Kayes College during this time and Rev Poole was our resident preacher who used to visit the school on a morning – possibly Thursdays and come out with sermons that sometimes bordered on the banal and ludicrous. Trinity Church was the main church used by the school for events and Christmas services. What should be revealed now is the extent of child abuse at Kayes College itself involving senior teachers and girls, Not sure how to go about it from a legal point of view which is why to date it is being alluded to in a script of mine.
My Father Died in feb 1969 age 59 the doctor that treated Him on that day was Dr John Byles , i am 1 of 11 and was only 5 at the time, amongst my siblings the rumour was always that he had got rid of dad after injecting him with something from a syringe they remember him coming back to house take the syringe away after forgetting it . I wonder if this Dr could have killed more than is just known by these clippings there’s nothing about the patients he treated.
John Wooldridge was jailed in May 2015 for sexual assaulting three girls several years ago.
It’s worth studying the case, including the defence which didn’t carry any weight with the judge.
Wooldridge who was involved with the church, carried out the horrific assaults of the girls when he lived at Ash near Aldershot, before he moved to Somerset.
Rolf Harris has links with Guildford and Ash where his art work was on regular exhibition and Savile used to regularly spend time there.
Wednesday 22 January 1975 – The Canberra Times
BRISBANE, Tuesday. — Police today identified the body of a man found dead in a hotel in northern Queensland as that of Dr John Byles, a 38-year-old London physician wanted by Scotland Yard for his alleged involvement in a British pornography ring and on more than 20 charges of indecent assault.
Queensland’s acting Police Commissioner, Mr A. R. Martens said today that the body had been identified as Dr Byles’s by fingerprints on record in Sydney. The body had been found in a room of the Prince of Wales Hotel in Proserpine, 880 kilometres north of Brisbane.
Dr Byles was arrested last month and granted bail pending an extradition order to return him to Britain. He fled the city while on bail.
Saturday 18 January 1975 – The Canberra Times
Police seek doctor
SYDNEY, Friday. — Police throughout Australia are searching for Dr John Byles, who is wanted for his alleged part in an English pornography ring allegedly run by himself, a vicar and a photographer.
Dr Byles absconded on $2.000 bail after being arrested on December 17 in Sydney where he had been living for some weeks after arriving from England.
He was charged by provisional warrant in relation to an alleged indecent assault on a boy.
Last week Leeds Crown Court in England was told that the Reverend John Poole had allowed his vicarage in Huddersfield to be used as a base for dealing with indecent photographs.
The Crown prosecutor, Mr R. Hutchinson, said that Mr Poole had first claim on photographs which took his fancy before they were sold to pornographic magazines in Amsterdam and Copenhagen.
Evidence was given in a case against Mr Raymond Varley, 27, a photographer and former child-care officer, who admitted
seven charges of indecent assault on boys aged between nine and 14 and was jailed for four years.
The odd thing about the dementia defence is that it’s not uncommon for people with dementia to be arrested and even charged for crimes committed DURING their time of dementia.
In the case of Janner and Varley, their crimes were committed when of sound mind and with full legal responsibility so I can’t see how their dementia “get out of jail free card” appears to be working.
I guess it’s possibly simply down to them having expensive, forceful and “well-connected” lawyers and/or a pocketful of secrets about others?!
Does Raymond Varley look like he’s suffering from dementia here after his release?
Definitely being protected.
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These bastards should be hung with piano wire.
Re Tattingstone suitcase murder……am I right in thinking that I read somewhere that the Krays had a property in the area where they held sex parties and that Jimmy Saville was a visitor there ?
Winnipeg Free Press: March 24, 1975
LEEDS, England (Reuter)
A homosexual former vicar who allowed his church to be used for “the serious debauching of young boys was sentenced Friday to three years in prison.
Rev. John Fairburn Poole, 53, who was vicar of Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield, until he resigned in February, pleaded guilty to three charges if indecency.
Prosecutor Harry Ognall said that for about three years, Poole had “defiled his calling by lending himself to a scheme involving the serious debauching of young boys, who were photographed in the nude.”
Sir Harry Ognall
Strange that this article names Harry Ognall as prosecutor, and other articles say it was Arthur Hutchinson [not the triple-murderer I’m assuming] or R Hutchison.
We’ve got more cuttings which I’ll add later.
Thanks for uncovering this. I hit a brick wall in my research long ago.
Dr Martin Bruce Reddington probated a pensioner’s estate in Australia 1987
The Sydney Morning Herald – May 4, 1987
[2nd column from right]
After 14 days from publication of this notice an application for
Probate of the will dated 12th March 1986 of KATHLEEN VERA
FRANCIS (also known as Vera Francis) late of Pen-y-craig Nursing
Home, Rae St Randwick N.S.W. 2031 pensioner will be made by
Dr Martin Bruce Reddington. Creditors are required to send
particulars of their claims upon her Estate to Comino Prassas
& CO 1/25 Waratah Ave Randwick N.S.W. 2031
Dr Byles was a marksman who visited Canada often
August 15, 1967
SOUTH MARCH, Ont. (CP) – A British obstetrician defeated
a beardless Ottawa youth in a shoot-off for first place in the
Macdonald Match at Connaught Ranges Monday.
Dr. John Byles of Bickley, Kent, England, shot four bullseyes
and one inner for 24 of 25 to beat 20-year-old Terry Spencer
with 23 in Dominion of Canada Rifle Association competition
20 miles west of Ottawa.
Byles and Spencer, who shaved off a full red beard earlier
Monday, led a field of 564 riflemen with 123 out of 125 in
25 rounds at distances of 300 and 600 yards.
The sun in the 7 p.m. shootoff was almost behind the targets.
Byles said it’s “a bit dazzling.”
Pressure does not bother him, the 34-year-old doctor said,
“I tried to shut everything else out of my mind, pretend I’m
all alone. It seemed to work.”
Spencer said earlier he shaved his beard “because I was
having rotten luck shooting.”
A left-hander, the youth is already a veteran marksman,
having competed at Connault since 1962. When he was 16,
he was a member of the Canadian Cadet team in competition
at Bisley, England.
The clean-shaven Byles has shot at Connault four times
since 1958 taking the major City of Ottawa match last year.
We did find some of your earlier stuff while searching over the last few days.
Still plenty to find, including that boy murder in London circa 1973.
Reblogged this on Floating-voter.
i vaguely remember the case from the huddersfield examiner newspaper,their archives and/or ex staff might be of help.
although beat meier’s huddersfield related conviction was in the 1980s i wonder if there might have been an earlier link to these men.
something a little puzzling is why the poor chap in the suitcase was left where he was as ipswich has a tidal estuary near by and the sea is a short drive away and i would think that either would give a better chance of the deceased not being found.
the same applies to the other unfortunates found on land but near the coast.
Vishal Mehrotra and Michael John Trower both of whose partial remains found in graves in West Sussex.
A bit of a stretch but possible similar fact evidence?