Young Citizens’ Guild, Dagenham, Essex
‘Essex Investigator’ on bringing paedophile Harry Day, who preyed on Dagenham boys, to justice
The Post found the Essex Investigator – a name he uses for fear of reprisals – in the back of a shabby-looking van covered in builder’s branding.
But appearances can be deceptive.
The investigator was in the midst of a 16-hour surveillance session. And that “builder’s” van contains £70,000 of equipment, including seven CCTV cameras that spy on the outside world.
“A guy came to us with historic child abuse claims,” the investigator said. “He had been abused as a child and he believed others had been too.
“We spent six months chasing everyone who had ever been at this huge organisation [the Young Citizens Guild] and we managed to locate potential victims.
“I tracked down every person who’d been to the club since it was started in 1957.
“We found these people right across Europe. Some of the alleged victims had gone as far as Australia.”
The offender was Harry Day, of North Walsham, Norfolk – and in 2009, he was jailed for 13 years on child abuse charges.
The crimes related to eight boys, including some from Dagenham, who went to the Young Citizens Guild summer camps in Hemsby, Norfolk, between 1973 and 1995.
Day was convicted of 18 charges of indecent assault, two of incitement and one of perverting the course of justice after allegedly contacting a witness during the case.
He denied all the charges.
Judge Simon Barham, who presided over Day’s trial, said when passing sentence, that the offender was systematic, carefully choosing his victims. Often they were vulnerable.
After the trial the first victim to come forward spoke of how his life was ruined.
He told reporters he had alcohol and drug problems and his marriage had failed as he struggled to cope with what had been done to him.
Day started the youth group with the aim of helping children become responsible members of society, and he was courted by both police chiefs and royalty.
It’s hardly surprising the victim did not come forward sooner – but if he hadn’t the truth may never have seen the light of day.