Timeline: Sidney Cooke And Associates


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8th Apr 1961 Sidney Cooke is fined £20 for indecently assaulting a boy in a cinema. Until convicted in 1987 for the “dirty dozen” offences this was Cooke’s only conviction for a sexual offence.


Sidney Cooke

1973 Leslie Bailey is accused of the attempted murder and indecent assault of a seven year old girl but confusion over the admissability of evidence meant the charge was reduced to possessing a knife. Bailey was given probation for possessing an offensive weapon and spent three months in a mental hospital in Kent after the incident.

1977  Lennie Smith is convicted for an offence of gross indecency and serves a year in prison.

1977  Robert Oliver receives a four year prison sentence for gross indecency offences.

29th Mar 1979 Leslie Bailey’s trial for burgling a post office near his home in Brooke Road, Stoke Newington, is adjourned until today. Bailey told police he had been out job hunting when he stopped to admire a Rolls outside Harrods. An Arab in flowing robes hurried towards the car and stepped from the pavement into the path of a taxi. “I grabbed him to stop him being run down and pulled him back to safety”. The Arab, wished him a thousand thanks, and took him to the Rolls where he opened a briefcase and handed over bundles of £20 notes. Then the car sped away. The outcome of the trial and date the offence was committed is unknown.

10th Dec 1979 Leslie Bailey is jailed for five years for a serious sexual assault on a woman. On 1st March 1978 the young woman was returning to her flat at the Barbican one night when Bailey – who worked as a security guard on a building site at the Barbican at the time – assaulted her at knifepoint. Bailey was arrested for the offence on 28th June 1978. As a report was submitted by a Prison Governor at Bailey’s trial it is highly probable that Bailey was remanded into prison custody after being charged for the offence. Virtually illiterate, it was revealed at the trial that Bailey had an IQ of 67.
Bailey appealed against his conviction, however his appeal was dismissed on 25th November 1980

1981 Robert Oliver receives a one year prison sentence for a sexual offence.

Early 1980’s Lennie Smith bases himself in Birmingham, and serves a year in prison for burglary, theft and criminal damage offences.

1st June 1984 Mark Tildesley, aged 7, is abducted from the Frank Ayers’ fairground in Wokingham, Berkshire. Leslie Bailey was later to claim that Lennie Smith strangled the boy and Sidney Cooke disposed of the body. Mark’s body has never been found. Known to be present were Cooke, Bailey, Lennie Smith and a relative of Bailey known as “Oddbod”.


Mark Tildesley

7th June 1984 Mark Tildesley’s disappearance was mentioned on the first ever episode of BBC Crimewatch.

7th June 1984 Following two tip offs naming a “strange man”, fairground worker Martin Earley is questioned about Mark’s disappearance. Earley confessed and retracted his confession several times, continually changed his story and was also unable to even describe Mark then finally denied that he had ever seen him. Sent to a psychiatric unit for observation and later released, Earley was tracked by a surveillance team but did nothing to re-arouse suspicion. Forensic scientists examined Earley’s caravan but found nothing. Earley returned to work at the fair. In 1993 Earley and two other fairground workers were convicted of the 1992 buggery of another 17 year old fairground worker.

June 1984  Jason Swift makes a formal complaint to police that he has been sexually assaulted by a “well-to-do” film editor. The man was arrested but Jason later withdrew the complaint without offering a reason. Speaking to this man again after Jason’s death, police were pointed towards London’s West End.

6th July 1984 Leslie Bailey is fined £30 for handling a stolen insurance certificate, an offence for which he had been arrested on 1st June, the night Mark Tildesley disappeared.

16th Aug 1984 Following a call from a fairground worker police visit Sidney Cooke but, as a result of an alibi given by a fair owner Rosie Gray, Cooke remained on file but was eliminated as a suspect.

13th June 1985  Mark Tildesley’s disappearance is featured again on BBC Crimewatch, including a full reconstruction of his last movements. This brought a huge public response, of 1,200 calls and 2,500 potential leads, but little concrete evidence emerged.

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Jason Swift

6th July 1985 Jason Swift, aged 14, is reported missing by his sister. Jason had been living with her at 28A Edwy House on the Kingsmead estate.

15th Sept 1985 Barry Lewis, aged 6, is abducted from Walworth in South London.

Nov 1985 Hackney police raid 70 Templemead (Lennie Smith’s flat) on the Kingsmead Estate after a tip off (by Sidney Cooke) that a 13 year old was being abused there by Robert Oliver and Lennie Smith

30th Nov 1985 Jason Swift’s body is discovered by a farm worker in Stapleford Tawney, Essex. It was thought that Jason was probably killed on 27th November 1985 and asphyxia was the cause of death, probably as a result of suffocation.

2nd Dec 1985  After trying to entice a 13 year old boy into his blue Jaguar car on this date, Sidney Cooke (living on the Sherrers Wharf estate in Hackney at the time) is arrested a week later. He was released on bail to appear at Hackney Police Station on 8th January. Though his file was sent to the CPS he was never charged in connection with this incident. Questioned too about Jason Swift, Cooke’s home is searched and his car examined, but it was decided not to send the vehicle away for further tests.


Barry Lewis

5th Dec 1985 Barry Lewis’ body is discovered by a farmer in an Essex field known as Monkham’s Park (10 miles from where Jason’s body was found) The cause of death was given as probably asphyxia.

31st Dec 1985 Sidney Cooke makes an anonymous call to the police a month after Jason’s body was found saying: “I just want to say it shouldn’t have happened like that. I want you to know it was an accident.I’m the man you are all looking for”

Jan 1986 Police in Leeds are sent anonymously a tape recording of a man describing Jason Swift’s murder. The man claimed Jason had been picked up by his killer at Barclays Brothers, a cafe directly opposite the Houses of Parliament. For days officers filmed the cafe but the stake-out was abandoned without result. The man who made the tape was traced, and found to be a hoaxer.

17th Jan 1986 Operation Stranger is launched. This was a joint operation between Essex police and the Met and for the first time in a murder enquiry the HOLMES computer was utilised.
Three strands fell under the operation- the Brent (baby sitting) inquiry, Jason Swift and the “dirty dozen” ring.
In the first twelve months of the inquiry nearly 3,000 questionnaires were completed, 839 statements taken, 400 reports submitted, checked and logged, 1.400 messages from the public evaluated, and countless suspects interviewed. The Jason Swift suspects became the first ever to be officially interviewed on tape in England.

10th February 1986 Having traced the 13 year old boy they had failed to find the previous November, Sidney Cooke and Lennie Smith are arrested and remanded to prison for “dirty dozen” related offences. Smith was released at the committal proceedings relating to the Jason Swift trial in February 1988. Cooke has remained in custody ever since.

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16th April 1986 Operation Stranger is made public at a press conference when, for the first time, the murders of Jason and Barry are officially linked.

21st April 1986 A special national conference was convened at Scotland Yard, which was attended by the heads of CID in all police forces in the UK. Arranged by Commander Corbett of Scotland Yard’s criminal intelligence unit, its purpose was to discuss child killings and abductions. Of all the (many) cases discussed, three cases in particular attracted the attention of the men from Operation Stranger – Mark Tildesley, Vishal Mehrotra and a Brighton boy who had been viciously assaulted in 1983.

7th May 1986 Second post-mortems are performed by Prof Austin Gresham on the bodies of Jason Swift and Barry Lewis. Prof Gresham’s findings with regards to injuries inflicted on Jason contrasted markedly with the original post-mortem findings and detectives realise they are hunting for a gang of men, not just one.

Summer 1986 Lennie Smith is interviewed in Brixton prison over a sighting of Jason Swift leaving his Templemead flat.

26th Nov 1986  David Bright (accompanied by DS Terry Cook) interviews Sidney Cooke in Brixton prison. Cooke had been bragging in the exercise yard to another prisoner called John Buckle (may not be his true name) about his exploits with children, had also talked about the death of Jason Swift and the inmate was so sickened he had got a message to the police.


Sidney Cooke

5th June 1987 The “dirty dozen” are convicted. Sidney Cooke receives a two year sentence, and Lennie Smith receives 30 months.


Robert Oliver

24th June 1987 Robert Oliver is arrested and charged with indecency charges related to the Brent baby-sitting inquiry (which had come to light Easter 1987), and Jason Swift. At some point police had been keeping a casual observation on a shoe shop in Mare Street (where Oliver worked on Fridays) and a cafe called Mungo’s in the East End. When arrested both Oliver and Leslie Bailey were staying at the home of Leslie Bailey’s mother. Whilst being interviewed Oliver claims to have known Jason Swift through Lennie Smith and Sidney Cooke, and to have also seen Jason in the shoe shop. Significantly, when Oliver’s room at a flat in Hackney was searched, four empty containers of Diazepam- the drug used to subdue both Jason and Barry- were found.

29th June 1987 Robert Oliver is remanded into custody suspected of grave offences against Jason Swift

21st July 1987 Mulling over Robert Oliver’s story, detectives remember Leslie Bailey, and Bailey and Steven Barrell (now living in Dagenham, and who Bailey was living with in 1985) are arrested and charged on suspicion of murdering Jason Swift. Bailey claims to have met Robert Oliver for the first time in November 1985 and, at the time, Oliver was lodging (along with a mini-cab driver called Dave) at 36 Ashmead with Donald Smith. Bailey names the men present on the day Jason was killed, and tells police that another boy was also present in the room when Jason was killed, and the boy left afterwards with Robert Oliver. This second boy was never traced or identified but the general belief was that he genuinely existed. Bailey is remanded into custody. Barrell, with no previous convictions, is granted bail.

22nd July 1987 Donald Smith, the tenant of 36 Ashmead (since 1980) is arrested and interviewed by Detective Constables Ken Forster and Ernie Carr.

26th July 1987 Donald Smith is charged

28th July 1987 Sidney Cooke is again questioned over two days and confesses to his involvement in the death of Jason Swift. Cooke claims he was invited to a “gang bang” by Robert Oliver, Lennie Smith brought Jason to the flat, and there were six men in total present.

3rd August 1987 Sidney Cooke, having completed his sentence for the Dirty Dozen offences, is released. Immediately arrested outside the prison gates he is charged (along with Robert Oliver) with the murder of Jason Swift and immediately remanded back into custody.

6th Aug 1987 Lennie Smith is again interviewed. he tells police he had been picked up as a rent boy by both Sidney Cooke and Donald Smith but flatly refused to discuss Jason Swift, answering each question with “no comment”.

28th Sept 1987 Robert Oliver pleads guilty to a charge arising out of the Brent inquiry and is given a three months prison sentence.

23rd Oct 1987 Lennie Smith, having completed his sentence for the “dirty dozen” offences, is released from prison. Immediately arrested outside the prison gates he is charged with the murder of Jason Swift on the following day and remanded back into custody until trial.

15th Feb 1988 Committal proceedings commence against Sidney Cooke, Robert Oliver, Leslie Bailey, Lennie Smith and Donald Smith, lasting for three days and then adjourned till April.


Leslie Bailey

April 1988 Leslie Bailey and Robert Oliver are committed for trial on charges of murder, conspiracy to bugger and gross indecency. Donald Smith, Cooke and Barrell are sent for trial on manslaughter charges. Charges against Lennie Smith have already been dropped.

20th Feb 1989 The jury is sworn in and is then immediately discharged, with several weeks of legal argument ensuing. Murder charges against Bailey and Oliver are reduced to that of manslaughter

15th March 1989 The case against Donald Smith is discharged.

12th May 1989 Sidney Cooke, Leslie Bailey, Robert Oliver and Stephen Barrell are convicted of the manslaughter of Jason Swift, receiving sentences totalling 174 years. As all sentences were to run concurrently, they were jailed for 19, 15, 15 and 13.5 years respectively.  It is said at the trial that Cooke and Oliver knew Lennie Smith well, and Bailey and Barrell knew each other well too. It was also stated that Jason had become involved with Lennie Smith, who handed Jason on to Sidney Cooke because he feared police were taking an unhealthy interest in him.

Operation Stranger is wound up.

10th August 1989 The cellmate of Leslie Bailey, Ian Gabb approaches a prison officer, shows him a notebook which details further confessions by Bailey and the officer rings Roger Stoodley.


Ian Gabb

16th Aug 1989 Disguised as a vicar, DI Bob Brown visits Ian Gabb in Wandsworth prison. Police decide to take Gabb up on his offer of further assistance and he subsequently also shares a cell with Robert Oliver and, very briefly, with Sidney Cooke. At least three other prison informants were also to be utilised in the same way

16th August 1989 Operation Orchid is launched to investigate the murders of other missing boys, including Barry Lewis and Mark Tildesley as a result of the information provided by Ian Gabb. Gabb lists 20 men involved in the same gang, 11 of them he identifies by name, the others by description. Gabb also recorded 8 burial sites described to him by Bailey. Steven aged 13 and Paul aged 11 are mntioned, both buried near a slip road in the West End. The graves of 4 more unnamed boys are given as being in Walthamstow cemetery, beneath Brighton Pier, in the grounds of a disused synagogue school in Hackney and another in the Walthamstow area beside a pub. Bailey later gave another prison informant “Adale” names of boys he said he had murdered – David, Mat, Micky, George, Paul, Gerry, Johnny, Jimmy and “that gypsy kid”. “Adale” made rough sketches of where Bailey said the bodies were buried.

3rd Nov 1989 Gabb shares a cell with Robert Oliver, and until 5th January 1990. To give the Orchid squad the “quality control” that they craved, moves were made to bug the cell, however a senior officer took a different view and plans to bug were abandoned.

Late 1989 Amongst other cases the Orchid squad were checking was Vishal Mehrotra and although a meeting was held with police in Surrey it was said that nothing emerged that could shed any more light on his death. The 1983 Brighton attack was also again looked at after, time and again, Brighton was mentioned in Ian Gabb’s letters.

29th Nov 1989 Gabb alerts police to the fact that Cooke is to apply to regain his diaries. The diaries – which contained details of the fairs Cooke had worked at over a number of years- were tracked down by the Orchid squad.

15th Feb 1990 Gabb shares a cell with Sidney Cooke for 48 hours.

2nd May 1990 Under police surveillance at the time, Lennie Smith is arrested for indecent assault and given a 3 year sentence. Whilst serving the 3 year sentence for indecent assault Smith was interviewed with regards to other offences involving a six year old boy.

1990  Throughout 1990 Roger Stoodley used the tabloids to alert the gang to the extent of Bailey’s confessions, and to sow seeds of suspicion and the fear of future discovery in their minds. Various reporters were fed regular snippets of information, which were “a mixture of truths, half-truths and downright inaccuracies”, deliberately planted to alarm and confuse those suspects both inside and outside prison and press speculation and exaggerations were deliberately not corrected. This disinformation campaign also had the effect of keeping the boys deaths on the front pages many years after they had happened in the hope that some members of the public might suddenly recall a vital piece of information and come forward.

21st May 1990 Leslie Bailey is taken by detectives to a cemetery on Lea Bridge Road. One of “Adale’s” maps referred to this same cemetery that had been detailed as a site in the Ian Gabb notebook however Bailey told detectives they had the wrong site and instead identified a car park at Clapton Common which had been an old graveyard called the Satmar Cemetery. Bailey was too vague at half a dozen other places thought to match Gabb’s description of burial sites but detectives did start digging at the Lea Bridge Road car park on 24th May 1990. Fragments of bone were sent to zoology experts at the University of London but were found to be animal, not human.

5th June 1990 “Adale” tells detectives that Bailey has told him details about Barry Lewis, and Bailey is taken to Stoke Newington police station. Later that month Bailey is questioned again, confesses to the murder of Barry, demonstrates how he killed him and detectives then knew they were talking to Barry’s killer.

12th May 1990 Bailey is taken back to the Kingsmead Estate and tells detectives he knew seven or eight men present at the orgy involving Barry, “but there were more”.

21st July 1990 By then having shaved off his moustache and lightened his hair, no witnesses could pick out Bailey at an identity parade.

30th July 1990 Leslie Bailey is charged with the murder of Barry Lewis at Highbury Magistrates Court and taken straight back to Stoke Newington to be now questioned about Mark Tildesley. Detectives begin re-interviewing Barrell, Cooke and Oliver about the crimes Bailey had said they had been involved with. A man who may have attended the Ashmead parties was traced to Aberdeen but there was no firm proof that he had been there. Men in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Durham and Wales were also visited but, again, their inquiries bore them no fruit.

5th Aug 1990 Bailey is back in Wandsworth for a few days then moved to a secure unit at another police station where detectives began a series of interviews that were to last for almost a year. Gradually Bailey told the full story of Mark Tildesley’s death. Orchid and Thames Valley detectives started operating on the case as a joint squad.


Lennie Smith

May 1991 Lennie Smith is released from prison, immediately charged with offences involving the 6 year old boy and remanded back into custody pending trial.

May 1991 The first of a total of sixty four interviews with Sidney Cooke commences. During one interview Cooke describes in the most minute detail what he had done to Barry at 36 Ashmead.

14th June 1991 Leslie Bailey pleads guilty to the murder of Barry Lewis. Bailey’s conviction led to Sidney Cooke, Robert Oliver and Stephen Barrell appealing against the sentences they had received for the killing of Jason Swift.
It was revealed in court that Bailey had identified the names of seven or eight men who had participated in the orgy involving Barry, and that Bailey had been introduced to homosexual orgies by Lennie Smith and Donald Smith, meeting Robert Oliver and Sidney Cooke at a later date. Sometime after admitting to killing Barry, Bailey guided detectives to a thicket beside a cottage in Chipping Ongar where Bailey claimed he had buried another body. Describing this boy as a 13/14 year old “Paki boy” whose name was Hassan, Bailey revealed that Hassan too had been brought to 36 Ashmead for another “party” where about sixteen men were present. Again, the Orchid squad decided to dig up the area but this too proved to be fruitless. Bailey also confessed that another boy – who became known as the “unknown boy” because there was no clue as to his identity – was also killed at 36 Ashmead. His body, Bailey said, was disposed of by one of the gang in Chingford. .

Summer 1991 A man related to Leslie Bailey is interviewed in prison to see if he knows anything about Bailey’s associates, and detectives also visit the man’s family. The man  was to claim that he had seen both Cooke and Lennie Smith carry Jason’s body into the back of Cooke’s Jaguar and had confronted them both in a pub several days later. His evidence was regarded as vital, particularly with regards to Lennie Smith’s involvement, but had to be treated with extreme caution because he too was a convicted sex offender.
Donald Smith admits to detectives that he was present at the Jason Swift orgy and, as well as naming Cooke, Bailey and Oliver – all already in prison for the crime- he also named Lennie Smith and another man who had not been convicted. He also then described the Barry Lewis orgy. Eddie Gough’s name frequently cropping up, Roget Stoodley turned to the CPS for advice on charging him.

3rd Aug 1991 A witness who claimed to have seen Sidney Cooke in a candy shop with Mark Tildesley picks him out in an ID parade. A lorry driver who gave Cooke a lift that day and another witness also pick him out.

31st August 1991 Edward Gough is charged with the manslaughter of Jason Swift. The charge was later amended by the CPS to conspiracy to seriously sexually assault and indecently assault Jason Swift immediately prior to his death in 1985.

10th Oct 1991 Leslie Bailey is formally accused of murdering Mark Tildesley.

1st Nov 1991  Donald Smith, who had previously refused to elaborate, tells police that he wants to talk about Jason Swift because, now dying of cancer, he wants to tell the truth. He is then interviewed over a three day period.

21st Feb 1992  On the basis of Bailey admitting his involvement in the deaths of Barry Lewis and Mark Tildesley, coupled with claims that he was the ringleader of the gang, the Court of Appeal reduces the sentences of Sidney Cooke and Stephen Barrell. Robert Oliver’s appeal is dismissed.

7th Oct 1992 Papers outlining cases against Lennie Smith with regards to Jason Swift, and Sidney Cooke with regards to Mark Tildesley having previously been submitted to the CPS, it decided that, whilst evidence existed, a prosecution against Smith and Cooke would fail because it relied too heavily on Leslie Bailey’s evidence, and Bailey’s confession was not enough to prosecute them. It advised that no more charges were to be brought against them, or anyone else.

22nd October 1992 Leslie Bailey pleads guilty at Reading Crown Court to the manslaughter and buggery of Mark Tildesley and, after instructing his defence counsel to seek the maximum sentence possiible, is given two terms of life imprisonment. Bailey’s counsel went on to say that Bailey could not understand why Lennie Smith and Sidney Cooke were not in the dock with him. Mark was killed during a homosexual orgy in a caravan in Evendens Lane, Wokingham. Police believed the caravan (but not Mark) had been later taken to Hackney. It was said in court that in 1984 when Mark Tildesley was abducted and killed, that Bailey had been having a homosexual relationship with Lennie Smith who, in turn, knew Cooke, and the first time that Bailey met Cooke was on the day that Mark was killed.

October 1992 Following the conviction of Leslie Bailey Operation Orchid was wound down

9th Dec 1992, Lennie Smith is sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for a string of vicious sexual assaults eight years earlier against the six year old boy who he had been baby-sitting.

26th/27th Mar 1993 Edward Gough is given two years’ probation for a series of lesser offences. Judge Lawrence Verney ruled that police interviewing Gough when he confessed to being present during the killing of Jason Swift had breached guidelines in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act.
He said that Gough, who was found to have an IQ of about 76, should have been accompanied by an ”appropriate adult” during questioning

Oct 1993 Leslie Bailey is found strangled to death in his cell in Whitemoor Prison. On 5th July 1995 inmates John Brooks (formerly Cairns) and Michael Cain were convicted of his murder.


Robert Oliver [AKA Robert Lee]

 Sept 1997 Robert Oliver is released from prison and changes his name to Robert Lee.

24th Mar 1998 David Bright and DCI Dick Madden visit Sidney Cooke unannounced in Wandsworth prison. David Bright’s retirement looming, and Cooke indicating he may move to Southend upon his imminent release, he wanted to find out where Cooke did intend to relocate and for Dick Madden to get a good look at him incase it was indeed to Southend. David Bright was also hopeful of engineering the conversation round to talk about missing children, Mark Tildesley and Mark’s burial site, however David got nothing in the way of information from him.

30th Mar 1998 It was reported that Stephen Barrell was living in Abingdon, Northamptonshire. His current whereabouts are not known.

6th Apr 1998 Sidney Cooke is released from prison and changes his name to Sidney Lomas. Cooke lives in a police station for 9 months at his own request.

29th Jan 1999 Sidney Cooke appears before Newbury Magistrates Court, charged with 14 serious sexual offences. which were said to have taken place in Battersea and Stockwell in south London; Twyford, Berks; Canterbury, Kent; Washington, Tyne and Wear and Hatfield, Berkhamsted and Tring in Herts. Cooke’s arrest was after a Dispatches programme which sought to find links between Cooke and Mark Tildesley’s disappearance led to a man who had been a friend of a man whose family Cooke had once lived with in the 1970’s to tell his friend. This resulted in Thames Valley Police (commanded by Trevor Davies) launching an investigation into Cooke’s offences against this family.

20th Apr 1999 Sidney Cooke is charged with serious sexual offences committed between 1972 and 1980 and remanded into custody.

17th June 1999 Lennie Smith is released from prison, but into a prison housing unit for former sex offenders at his own request

5th Oct 1999 Sidney Cooke’s trial commences at Manchester Crown Court and he pleads guilty to 18 specimen charges involving offences against two brothers, admitting to five counts of indecent assault and five counts of buggery, committed between 1972 and 1978..
David Bright attends the trial in the faint hope Cooke would make a dramatic statement admitting to other crimes.


Sidney Cooke

17th Dec 1999 This time at Wolverhampton Crown Court (where the sentencing judge, Judge Poole, was then sitting) Sidney Cooke receives two life sentences. Now retired, David Bright attends, and speaks with Thames Valley Police about Cooke.

Cooke is currently in HMP Wakefield.

2006 Lennie Smith dies from AIDS.

12th June 2013  Robert Oliver (who has changed his name to Karl Curtis) pleads guilty before Maidstone magistrates to two breaches of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO).and is remanded in custody to await sentencing.


Robert Oliver

13th July 2013  Robert Oliver receives a three year prison sentence for the above offences, and is released a year later. He was last known to be residing in a bail hostel in Guildford.

Sources: Lambs to the Slaughter by Ted Oliver and Ramsey Smith, Catching Monsters by David Bright, Court of Appeal judgments, available documentary footage, and various press clippings.


Filed under Abuse, Police Operations

72 responses to “Timeline: Sidney Cooke And Associates

  1. David

    Kevin was seen by someone who knew him, ‘heading in the general direction of home’ at 10 pm that night. He left home at 8-30. He went out at dusk, with one pound to buy eggs. If he went to a local cruising area, and there were a few near there, he would have known most of the people in the area. It depends on which direction he was heading at 10 pm? If the shop where he was going had closed he may have called at a friends house to borrow eggs. Someone may have followed him and offered to give him a lift.

  2. Clay

    I wonder about the March 1986 disappearance of Kevin Hicks. Two of the four mentions here were not in custody at the time.

    • Chris Clark

      Clay, yes: Two of them lived within 4 miles of Addiscombe at New Addington. I have passed these on to the Investigation Team.

  3. Pingback: John Coatman MBE – Crusaders/ Urban Saints Youth Group Leader charged with buggery of a 14-yr old. | goodnessandharmony

  4. Brian

    I was one of three detectives (of junior rank) who investigated, arrested, charged and convicted the so called ‘Dirty Dozen’ and all. It was following our case that Cooke and the rest were further arrested and investigated regarding the rape. torture and murder of young boys. Be assured that these individuals were nothing more than maggots, a waste of air. Cooke pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the offence of buggery of a young boy ( I will not reveal his name) merely to escape attention from his other ‘activities’. We were not fooled and passed his, and other defendant’s details, to the various squads investigating the abduction, rape and murder of young boys.
    If Cooke, the most evil individual I have ever dealt with as a police detective, is still alive then there must be no God! All three of us were commended by the Commissioner but it is only recently that I have looked at the Net regarding this case as I have been contacted by the Press and the police regarding ‘VIP abuse’. It was there, but not to the extent of the lurid allegations by the so called ‘Nigel’.There simply was no evidence to put before a Court and jury.Cooke and his compatriots were disgusting creatures, living in squalid circumstances, who used their ‘connections’ through former victims to lure young boys, mostly disturbed runaways, to satisfy their perverted sexual desires.
    To not be fooled by compassionate platitudes or the statements of senior detectives who had nothing to do with the ‘footwork’ to bring these vermin to justice. Cooke and the rest really do no deserve to be on this planet any longer.

  5. Claims of police cover-up over nine unsolved murders of young boys linked to evil paedophile Sidney Cooke are to be investigated.


  6. David

    Sidney Cooke had a double and they worked together, providing alibis for each other. The ‘double’ was a former actor and dancer and they looked like twins. Don’t know whether they were related. The double died some years ago.

  7. And sorry – lastly – I remember hearing this interview live. It gives a first hand account of a young woman being attacked in the 70s, having ended up in a café in central London, vulnerable and alone.


  8. Great work, thank you. I need to read this a couple of times to fully understand all of the information, and I thank you for sharing all of this. My heart cries for the victims. I hope for answers for the relatives – though justice is impossible. Nothing can balance the evil that Cooke et al have perpetrated.

  9. Yes plausible, but if just released from Wandsworth Prison, where was he living? Did he have to report to a probation officer etc. I think the sighting was at 8-30 pm.
    I really think that Cooke was the only murderer out of that lot, the others were easily led.

  10. Redondo

    Agreed, Andrew. It seems like a truly appalling coincidence that he could fall foul of two discrete groups or individuals – of course coincidences do happen, but rarely. I’m assuming the Friday thing is genuine – there was no correction to the date published later, though I bear in mind that these were local papers with their own local news agendas, rather than investigative journals. The story disappeared quite quickly.

    Battersea Bus Garage at that time was north of Hester Road, ie the most immediate stop south of Battersea Bridge.

    • The car… There is one (easily googled) serial paedophile who lured children with his red Lancia, but unless I’m mistaken he’s not one of the A3 users you’re talking about.

      I don’t think Bailey without Cooke would have been a murderer either, at least not a very skilful one. I don’t know who his connections may have been in 1981, beyond anything in this very thorough piece by Topaz.

      • Andrew

        Red Lancia is very interesting though, not many of those, and one seen in Rogate parked near where Vishal was found?

      • topaz

        I’m not too sure about that Redondo. When Barry revived, as Bailey (alone) was taking what he thought was Barry’s body to be buried somewhere, he suffocated him. He alone was involved with the attempted murder of the little girl years earlier too so, though he was considered to be the scapegoat and led by others, he could commit terrible crimes on his own too. The assault on the woman was a vicious attack as well.

    • Andrew

      Thaks, I am in Chelsea, so will be there tommorrow to look around again.
      Maybe Leslie Baily kept Vishal for a while, then let him go. He was not the murderer of the group, more like a boy himself.
      Vishal’s school mate said he was streetwise, and must have known the 49 bus which went past his school.

      • One of the articles said he was streetwise too. As I was at that age – and I wonder if I’d escaped/been released from something, whether I might also have attempted a route home under my own steam. Obviously speculating though.

        Bailey… I’ve worked with people (in SW London) with what are now called learning difficulties. They can be deeply incompetent in many areas of life but also very cunning and manipulative too. It helps me to realise how Bailey could be plausible despite his childishness.

  11. Yes but the very positive sight was at 4pm, of Vishal in Deodar Road. He must have seen some celebrations from the train, in Wandsworth Park, while on his way home with his father?
    He must have headed towards Wandsworth Park, which lleads into Deodar Road?

    • Redondo

      Here’s the article’s text – I have a copy of this (plus another one I’ll post shortly) but no way I can see to post the photo on here.

      POLICE SEARCH GOES ON FOR MISSING BOY -Wandsworth Borough News, 14th August 1981

      The detective leading the hunt for the eight-year-old Indian boy, Vishal Mehrotra, who went missing on the royal wedding day, has appealed to people in Putney and Wandsworth to “look in their gardens and surrounding areas” and report any strange behaviour by neighbours.

      Det. Chief-Insp. Jim Begg is in charge of the 100-strong investigating team based at Putney police station, who are carrying out house-to-house investigations in the Putney area and sifting through the 170 alleged sightings of the boy, some reported as far away as South Wales and Southend.

      About 20 policemen and 40 police cadets have combed Wimbledon Common, Putney Heath, Wandsworth Park and Cannizaro Park, Wimbledon. They have also used a helicopter equipped with a thermal imaging scanner for detecting recently turned over earth which could be the boy’s grave, on all open spaces from Hammersmith Bridge to Wandsworth Park.

      Officers have walked the Thames foreshore and police frogmen are searching all of the lakes and ponds.

      A police spokesman said, “We are in the process of visiting every house in the area and this takes a terribly long time. The public response has been magnificent.

      “People wonder why we are coming to them now, but the plain fact is that we do not have the men to have come earlier.”

      Three people claim to have seen Vishal board a 49 bus by Battersea Bridge two days after the wedding and then get off in Beaufort Street, on the other side of the bridge, and walk towards King’s Road.

      Vishal was certainly seen in Upper Richmond Road, Carlton Drive area of Putney after the family had returned from watching the royal wedding procession in Fleet Street.

      He left his seven year old sister and their nanny to walk the short distance to their home in Holmbush Road, because he “was tired.”

      Mr. Begg said, “He vanished into thin air and we have no good information as to where he is. We have had plenty of sightings but nothing concrete to go on. If he has just run off, every day diminishes his chances.”

      Vishal is described as extremely bright and independent and was regularly allowed to travel by Tube from East Putney to and from his prep school, St James’s Independent in Queensgate.

      His parents are separated. His father, who is a solicitor completing his articles, lives in Putney while his mother lives in India. She flew over to Britain when Vishal went missing.

    • Redondo

      This has more detail and also says Friday for the bus sighting.

      South Western Star, Fri August 7, 1981

      BUS CLUE TO MISSING BOY – By John Mason

      Missing Indian boy Vishal Mehrotra, who mysteriously disappeared on Royal Wedding Day, was last seen boarding a bus in Battersea.

      Eight-year-old Vishal was spotted at 9pm on Friday evening getting on a number 49 bus opposite Battersea bus garage in Battersea Bridge Road.

      He wore the same clothes he was wearing when he disappeared – a navy blue and white T-shirt and black corduroy trousers.

      Witnesses noticed him boarding the bus on Friday because he was wearing the light clothing despite the heavy rain.

      He paid a 10p fare to Beaufort Street, Chelsea, after he told the conductor he wanted to reach The World’s End.

      Vishal went missing at 2pm on Wednesday as he was making his way home from watching the wedding procession with sister Mamta and nanny Janita Carvallo.

      He left them outside a sweet shop in Putney’s Upper Richmond Road to walk the few yards back to his home in Holmbush Road, but he never appeared.

      Police are stepping up their search for the boy. On Monday they held a reconstruction of his last known steps from the sweet shop and tracker dogs have been used to search open spaces and empty houses nearby.

      They are anxious to hear from anyone who may have seen Vishal at any time after 2pm Wednesday 29th. Contact Putney police on 788 1113 if you can help.

      • Thalk you very much, this is a realy good clue.
        That sounds very interesting. I do not believe that Leslie Bailey, ‘without Cooke’, was a murderer. Maybe Leslie Bailey had been released, picked up Vishal, then let him go in Clapham. He got on a bus asking for Worlds End, a 49, which he had probably been on before. It passed by his school.

        From Worlds End he could walk to Fulham Broadway, and get the train home. People who were going to Elm Guest House were in that area.
        They were using the London to Portsmouth Road regularly., passing by where Vishal was found. Now we need to know about the car?

      • Sorry, two days later. Just wonder how he got to Hester Road, maybe on another bus?

  12. dpack

    i cant remember if there was a fair at tibbet’s ride(putney common) on that day (i did my best to avoid the sycophantic chas n di themed day and stayed in with the telly off ) but if there was the 93 bus would have gone past it.

    the wandsworth borough news archive might have details of which fairs were in the area that day should it still exist,the paper was a weekly and part of the surrey comet group.things like fairs usually advertised themselves in it.

    • Redondo

      That’s why I started to trawl the archives, looking for ads that might indicate where fairs would have been. Not found anything yet but am at an early stage.

  13. Redondo

    I can hopefully get a scan within a couple of days. I think it was the 3rd edition after the wedding, which would have been Friday 14th August. Regarding the Northern Line, if they were still on the train when it left Balham, the only stops after that are 2 in Tooting, then Colliers Wood, S Wimbledon (Merton) and Morden. What connections might Bailey have had around there, I wonder?

    • It would be good to see the Wandsworth Guardian August 1981 saying it was 2 days after the Royal Weddingthe Wandsworth Guardian August 1981 saying it was 2 days after the Royal Wedding.
      There was someone along that line who was, at that time abusing boys in a swimming pool. I will find that reference. Then there was Leslie Baileys relative called oddball who was sectioned.

  14. Prisoners had to be back by 8pm usually.

  15. Veshal Mehrotra,- It sounds to me as if Jill Exelby was right about seeing Vishal, with Leslie Bailey, on the Northern Line Train. He daughter, Leanne Exelby, said that Vishal was laughing, and smiling, which is how Vishal’s best friend at school described him.

    She said the other woman who was in the carriage, got off one stop before Balham, so after Jill got out there was only Vishal, and Leslie Bailey left. The only logical explanation, that fits in with all the facts, was that Leslie Bailey was on day release from Wandsworth Prison. Walked down to the river, and met Vishal in Wansworth Park. Leslie Bailey was 27 then, with a very low IQ, and mentally a boy himself.

    He may have taken Vishal to visit a friend, somewhere past Balham, on the Northern line. Then, as he had to be back in Wandsworth, to Battersea Funfair.

    It was said that Vishal was coming from Battersea on the bus. Leslie Bailey left Vishal at about 8 to 8-30, to go back to Wandsworth Prison, and Vishal got on the 49 bus from Battersea, asking for Worlds End, where he walked to Fulham Broadway?

    The chances of Vishal, then running into Sidney Cooke, on his way home must be nil? Leslie Bailey didn’t even know Cooke at that time?

    Matin Allen was also last seen walking towards Fulham.

    • topaz

      If out on day release, Bailey (or anyone else) would have to be back in prison before lock up (which is usually at 8pm).

    • Redondo

      I’m still a little confused about the 49 bus sighting. The Wandsworth Guardian in August 1981 said it was 2 days after the Royal Wedding, whereas I’ve read elsewhere that it was the same day. Do we have a definitive source?

      The Northern Line sighting continues to nag at me too. As a former Wandsworth resident I’m aware that East Putney and the Northern Line are awkward to travel between. Mrs Exelby did seem quite sure of the sighting though.

      • Andrew

        I used the same system I used to trace Martin Allen’s abduction. I went to Deodar Road. From there to Clapham North took me 25 minutes. If you used Wandsworth Town Station it would be even quicker.
        Because of the 4pm sighting at deodar Road, it rules out the sighting near Rogate, of a tall man, with a boy, on the same day at 3-30.
        I am doing further research into that, and the Lancia car, which may also be wrong on that day, but may still hold a clue.
        I will look further into the 49 bus sighting. However, I believe the link to Elm Guest House to be real, but not in way that it may have been seen before.
        I believe that Martin Allen, and Vishal Mehrotra were abducted by the same people.
        Leslie Bailey did not know Sidney Cooke in 1981. I am still working on this, but as far as Martin Allen, I know beyond doubt. There is a 39 bus that goes to Clapham junction from Putney as well, it took me 20 minutes.
        There was a funfare at Clapham Common and Battersea. The sighting on the 49 bus was so positive that 100 police searched Chelsea. I am still researching that.

      • Do you still have the reference to the Wandsworth Guardian August 1981 saying it was 2 days after the Royal Wedding?

      • dpack

        iirc there was a direct bus from very near south wimbledon (northern line) having started from morden (northern line)and passing within 200 m of east putney(district line) in the 1980’s .

        (the 93 still does the route) from clapham common to east putney via south wimbledon could take maybe about 40 mins on a quiet traffic day with no visits and a couple of swift short walks.

        the other cross town options mentioned are also plausible routes in a limited time scale

      • From Putney Station, to Clapham Common, then to two stops to Clapham North.Wandsworth Town Station, one stop from Clapham Junction?

        Yes and Leslie Bailey was not at that time involved with Sidney Cooke.

  16. beetroot

    ‘It was discovered that the car park at Clapton Common had been an old graveyard called the Satmar Cemetery but it had been bulldozed to make way for the car park since the time Bailey supposedly buried a body there. Detectives spent hours in the local library and old photographs were finally found that showed “the house on the hill” as it had been – exactly as Bailey had described it.'(Lambs to the Slaughter p.201.)

    The Satmar Cemetery was/is a Jewish Cemetery and according to a report about the death of a Rabbi in 2013, who lived in Stamford Hill, one still exists today, but I’m unable to find any details. “Tragedy in London: today (Friday) evening Shabbat Parashat Shelah, the avrech Rabbi Yosef Shlomo Berger z”l was accompanied by hundreds at his funeral. The deceased was 27 years old at his death. The funeral left today (Friday) from his home at 16:00, on its way to the Satmar cemetery in London. ”

    There is a Satmar Beth Synagogue in Cazenove Road, Stamford Hill, London N16 (Stamford Hill borders Clapton). The Kray twins owned two flats in the same Cazenove Road …. Cedra Court. Isn’t Lord Boothby pictured with the Krays in Cedra Court?

    • beetroot

      I’ve never heard of the Jewish Satmar community, but digging a little deeper, in 2014 this was posted on Facebook “A jewish paedophiles group in Stamfold Hill in North London are using friends in America to enlist sattelite tracking contacts in abusing and endangering the life of a father who has brought a complaint of sexual abuse of his children into the Jewish main court in Stamford Hill. The group exists inside a hasidic sect called Satmar based in 86 Cazenove Road and 26 Clapton Common in stamford hill north london. The sattelite tracking also involves using heat punishments into buildings and on the street using a sattelite beam burning heat causing radiation exposure symptoms and burns. Basically after summoning them to court they began a cruel campaign of punishments by sattelite and locally. to prevent justice and evidence of sexual abuse being brought to the attention of the civil court. its clear both from radiation detectors and infra red heat detectors that the beam of heat is coming from sources of heavy radiative sources and directional detectors confirm is coming from sky located sources.” Bloody hell. I do remember the Channel 4 Dispatches programme “Britain’s hidden child abuse” about the Jewish community in Stamford Hill.

      And in the US there are allegations of “rampant pedophilia” within the Satmar “Another whistleblower is Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg, who once was a leading member of Brooklyn’s Satmar community (a particularly backward-looking, anti-Israeli, patriarchal strain of Hasidim), but has since been exiled because of his activism against what he describes as rampant pedophilia within the Satmar community. (In 2012, he was attacked outside of a fish store by a fellow Hasidic community member, with a glassful of what he believes was bleach.”

      What’s this got to do with Bailey and the others, I don’t know, but there could be a connection, what with Bailey saying the body was buried in the Satmar Cemetery.

  17. I see Exaro are at it again,patting themselves on the back as they chase awards. It’s an insult to all abuse victims the way they revoltingly gloat and the sycophantic messages which i suspect aren’t genuine anyway. I’m highly suspicious of the way they offer themselves as a first port of call for victims. I wouldn’t trust them as far as i could throw them.

  18. Anonymous upon request

    Invaluable work, GoJam and team.

    Keep it up.

  19. Redondo

    This is a superb and detailed overview – thanks very much.

    One query – re 21st May 1990, should the Satmar cemetery be at Clapton rather than Clapham Common? There is a Satmar centre there whereas I can’t find any record of one around Clapham Common. Also, the Clapton location’s a short distance from the other locations Bailey mentioned, and street view shows something very much like what’s described.

    • greenlight

      Well spotted! The text has been corrected – ‘Bailey was taken out of Wandsworth on 21 May and driven by car to the Lea Bridge Road cemetery. But as he emerged handcuffed from the car, he looked blankly at the overgrown graveyard. “What have you brought me here for? This ain’t it” Unprepared for this setback, the detectives took Bailey on a drive around his old stamping ground and finally stopped off at a road in the Clapton Common area. “This is it, over there by the hole in the fence”, the prisoner announced.

      ‘It was discovered that the car park at Clapton Common had been an old graveyard called the Satmar Cemetery but it had been bulldozed to make way for the car park since the time Bailey supposedly buried a body there. Detectives spent hours in the local library and old photographs were finally found that showed “the house on the hill” as it had been – exactly as Bailey had described it.'(Lambs to the Slaughter p.201.)

      • gw

        Which is the Lea Bridge cemetery?

        Sabre – are you referring to the St Pats Cemetery, Leytonstone?

      • Sabre

        @gw Leytonstone is a bit of a walk from Kingsmead Estate, I was referring to Clapton Common which is very close to Kingsmead.

    • Sabre

      It’s a short walk from the Kingsmead Estate in Hackney.

  20. dpack

    good work

  21. gw

    Great article – I enjoyed reading it, subject matter aside. Puts things into place easily.

    Best wishes.

  22. So Leslie Baily was probably in prison when Vishal Mehrotra was abducted?

    • We can’t say 100% for sure. If he’d been remanded in custody and served the minimum of his sentence he’d have been out in Nov 1981. This would on the face of it be the earliest he could have been out but, as I said, we can’t be 100% sure. That is why that term changes colour from certainly in prison to probably in prison at the time of Vishal’s death.

      From above:

      10th Dec 1979 Leslie Bailey is jailed for five years for a serious sexual assault on a woman. On 1st March 1978 the young woman was returning to her flat at the Barbican one night when Bailey – who worked as a security guard on a building site at the Barbican at the time – assaulted her at knifepoint. Bailey was arrested for the offence on 28th June 1978. As a report was submitted by a Prison Governor at Bailey’s trial it is highly probable that Bailey was remanded into prison custody after being charged for the offence. Virtually illiterate, it was revealed at the trial that Bailey had an IQ of 67.
      Bailey appealed against his conviction, however his appeal was dismissed on 25th November 1980

      • So do you know when these four got together. Did Leslie Bailey know Sidney Cooke before. Leslie Bailey would have been 27 when Vishal was abducted.

          • Thanks. I know that Sidney Cooke, and Leslie Baily were able to drive, but it was accepted by the police officers, and prison professionals that Bailey was backward and easily led, and was not a prime mover.

        • topaz

          Leslie Bailey, if he was telling the truth, claimed to have met Sidney Cooke through Lennie Smith (and possibly not until 1984) and not to have known Robert Oliver either until November 1985.

          • Thanks, that is very interesting. He had a relative nicknamed oddball I think. There seems to be very little known about Leslie Baileys life.

            • Oddbod is very interesting, a relative of Bailey he was involved in the assault and murder of Mark Tildesley. He had previous convictions for sexual assaults on children earlier in the 1980s but he was sectioned prior to the charging of the others (probably why he avoided charges himself)

              Despite all of these revealing ‘markers’ we’ve been unable to ascertain Oddbod’s real identity.

      • Sabre

        If Bailey got 5yrs and he had been remanded since 28th June 1978 he would have been due for release 40 months later provided he hadn’t lost any of his 20months remission, however, he could have been released anytime between 20 months and 40 months after his sentence began had he successfully applied for parole.

        He could have been out as early as Christmas ’79

        • topaz

          We don’t know for sure that he was remanded, though, with previous, mention of a prison governor report in the appeal judgment, and the other burglary trial he faced around the same time (outcome of that unknown), think he probably was.
          Looking at how long Cooke and Smith served for the “dirty dozen” related offences, both were released after serving two thirds of theirs. Unrelated but also noted, was that Charles Hornby was released after serving half of his 30 month sentence so Hornby, with no previous, no financial worries and a home and family to return to didn’t even get full remission.
          It’s such a shame that “Lambs to the Slaughter” didn’t give any clues as to when Bailey was released.

      • Sabre

        That should be Feb/March ’80

      • Sabre

        If he appealed conviction in Nov 80 it wouldn’t have helped chances of parole, acceptance of your conviction is one of the criteria for granting parole.

        Perhaps he was still inside.

  23. Sabre

    Aberrant apostrophe alert!

  24. Sabre

    If you want to write a ‘big story’ you could try and run this one down.
    Searching the Internet, MSM, FOI, Public Records etc, I suspect that better than all the aforementioned would be to hold your nose, suppress you’re gag reflex and try to talk to some of the miscreants.

    If you do follow this line, I’d pay close attention to your surroundings on your adventure.

    • gw

      Care to share more of your tale about your observing being observed?

      • Sabre

        I and a colleague went to the police station that Cooke was being housed (not detained) in. We knew that a women’s group were mounting a 24 hr vigil there. I’m not especially proud of the fact that our aim was to ‘get alongside’ the women’s group, I was very active at the time with a far right group and we were politically motivated in our actions.

        We arrived in the early hours of the morning on our way to running security for a canvassing operation later in the morning.
        We arrived at police station, placards littering the street but no women’s group activists.

        We drove around to the back of the police station, our aims ill defined and given that they involved another person I think it unwise to elaborate.

        We started recceing the nick, we noticed the car parallel to us parked on the other side of the street contained two white males, they were watching us intently when we noticed them they didn’t break their gaze, they didn’t say anything, they didn’t do anything, they weren’t press, they didn’t take any pictures.

        They wanted us to know that they were watching us recceing the nick.
        They seem to have gone to considerable trouble and expense to protect him, they could hardly claim public protection. They release countless threats to public safety every day.

  25. Fantastic! Wow.
    Thank you, Topaz and Gojam.

  26. Pingback: Timeline: Sidney Cooke And Associates | Alternative News Network