The victim who is able to articulate the situation of the victim has ceased to be a victim. They have become a threat. – James Baldwin
This is a work in progress. It’s about two doctors who were prime suspects in an infamous Ipswich murder case in the 1960s. They escaped justice for their crimes and both are now dead. It’s only indirectly relevant to most of the accounts on this blog, so please ignore this post if your interest is primarily in remembering school days at St Joseph’s College, Ipswich. Or if you don’t want to read an incomplete story, particularly one involving murder. As it’s a work in progress, inevitably there are some conjectures in my account that may well be wrong. In fact, I would be happy if they were proved wrong and there was an innocent or less disturbing explanation of the facts.
I’ve been wanting to write about one aspect – involving R & W Paul of Ipswich – for years, long before I even knew about the doctors and their Ipswich connection, but I held off because I was hoping to find the missing pieces of the jigsaw first. They may or may not eventually fall into place.
At this time, my recollections are not of sufficient clarity and detail to take further. After all, they concerned events that took place a lifetime ago back in the 1960s. Nonetheless, they are persistent.
In the end, I decided I had no choice but to write about them. Firstly, as a personal catharsis, so I can have closure. Secondly, because it is possible that my memories may cross-reference with others and therefore be of value. It has happened before on this site. The case of Brother James, for example. One courageous testimony by a survivor led to three other Old Boys of St Josephs, myself including, making similar statements about the crimes of Brother James.
So here goes.
The two doctors in question were Dr Martin Reddington and Dr John Byles. The full story of their awful crimes, including at least two murders of children, can be found here: https://theneedleblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/
I will just highlight a few details in the Needleblog account. Firstly, the comments at the bottom of that post reveal even more about the Doctors and none of it is good. Secondly, it’s remarkable how often they were charged with child abuse crimes, found innocent or escaped justice by jumping bail and fleeing the country. They seem to have gone to Canada, South Africa and Australia and returned to the UK again and again without being apprehended. It’s reasonable to conjecture they had some useful connections to achieve this.
Although they were prime suspects in one murder, when they fled to Australia it was felt there was insufficient evidence to extradite them to the UK.
But Byles was going to be extradited for being the ringleader of the Holy Trinity paedophile ring described in the Needleblog account. He then skipped bail in Australia and committed suicide in 1975, leaving three suicide notes. The notes have not been made public. Reddington was arrested in Australia in 1977 for indecently assaulting a child. He regularly visited the UK without being apprehended by the police, and died in Surrey in 1995.
Now we come to the Ipswich connection. There’s a link on the Needleblog and the same link is here: Tattingstone suitcase murder. It describes the crime that took place in January 1967. Tattingstone is a village just outside Ipswich.
‘Detectives pinpointed the pair as suspects at an early stage. When the case was re-opened in 1977 the case became even stronger.’ Ipswich Star
The Doctors were regarded as prime suspects because in 1977, one of the suitcases used to dispose of the body was thought to have belonged to one of them. And Reddington, who was born in Colchester, had a surgery close to where the victim was last seen in Muswell Hill. Byles also lived in Muswell Hill. The murder victim, Bernard Oliver – a vulnerable 17-year-old – had been expertly dismembered by a doctor or someone with similar medical knowledge and skill. It was believed to have taken place somewhere close to where the two suitcases containing his remains were found.
Somewhere like Ipswich.
Then, astonishingly, in 2012, there was a new development: https://www.ipswichstar.co.uk/news/ipswich-new-lead-in-45-year-riddle-of-body-in-2723320. A witness, Mr Thurston, came forward to say that between 1am and 2am in early January 1967 he had seen a man wearing surgeon’s gloves standing inside the entrance to R & W Paul’s offices in Salthouse Street, Ipswich. At his feet were two suitcases. The witness and his friend were terrified by his scary appearance and escaped on his scooter.
It’s worth quoting a key section from the article:
Mr Thurston, now of St Austell, Cornwall, said he first attempted to speak to police ten years after the murder, but felt he was not being taken seriously and did not make a statement.
However, after reading Tony Oliver’s story while back in Ipswich for Christmas, he went in to the town’s police station to report what he had seen.
Lisa Miller, a spokesman for Suffolk Constabulary, said: “We can confirm an appointment has been made to see Mr Thurston and the information will be followed up.”
I’ve found no further article, but obviously the police would have looked closely at the R & W Paul connection. Whatever conclusion they reached, they presumably decided it was of no significance and/or not appropriate to make any of it public. And the case is closed, after all.
I came across the article by accident a year or so ago and was shocked by it for two reasons. Firstly, because after the Knights of St Columba stopped paying my school fees, I had to leave St Joseph’s College at the age of fifteen, and then worked for R & W Paul as an errand boy between 1964-1965: less than two years before the Tattingstone murder took place.
As an aside: the criminal role of the Ipswich Knights of St Columba in this period, and how they covered up a paedophile ring at St Joseph’s College, has been described by another survivor. See The Shocking Truth about St Joseph’s. It’s confirmed by other survivors’ accounts. A post, incidentally, that neither the current Knights, the De La Salle Brothers, the Catholic diocese, Catholic Safeguarding, or St Joseph’s (now safely ‘under new management’) have chosen to respond to.
I knew R & W Paul’s offices in Salthouse Street very well. I worked out of the little mail sorting-house that was reached across a courtyard at the back of those offices. Riding my trade bike, I cycled in and out of the entrance that the witness described ever day for a long, boring year. So I know Mr Thurston’s account is true, because the detail is so accurate. And why would anyone make up such a bizarre story?
There was a second reason I was shocked.
My survival technique as a vulnerable kid was to block out most negative memories of my Catholic abusers. It worked incredibly well at the time, but, as is often typical for survivors, memories come back in mid-life. So I’ve spent a fair amount of time since making sense of them and piecing them together. And then taking appropriate action against abusers – with some success, I’m pleased to say.
Because, in my opinion, the most healing and satisfying therapy for survivors is for the hunted to become the hunter.
So for the last six years at least I’ve had recurring negative memories of strange ‘parties’ at R & W Paul at which I was present, aged 14-16. At first this seemed most unlikely to me, especially as I would have still been at school. And I believed that I escaped the Knights when I left school at 15, so that was the end of it. But the Knights didn’t see it that way. Just because they no longer were paying my fees did not mean they had lost interest in me. For them, it was all about power and overcoming resistance. And I resisted endlessly, I’m also pleased to say.
A survivor giving evidence at IICSA about his Catholic school explains it rather well. ‘Boys like me who resisted could look forward to having their educations derailed and wrecked… It was if these men were following an instruction manual they’d learnt by rote: grooming, accusation, persecution.’
I have a memory that one particular Knight got me the job at R & W Paul using his ‘connections’. My recollection was that he was an agricultural engineer, and he certainly dressed the part with his expensive clothes. In fact, I’ve since discovered from his death certificate that he worked for an agricultural engineers, Ransoms, Sims and Jefferies, as a paint shop foreman. Given his arrogant character, it’s likely that he told me he was an engineer to impress me, or it could be that my memory wasn’t precise in this regard.
But why I would need ‘connections’ to get such a truly crap job beats me. I had left school at 15 with no ‘O’ Levels, but this was an era of full employment and there were far better jobs available as I discovered later for myself. More likely, I was steered into the job for a reason.
Thus I remember the troubled kid who had the R & W Paul errand boy job before me. He had a posh accent, and had gone to a private grammar school, just like me. But there was some kind of problem in his life that he didn’t reveal to me during the week we spent together as he introduced me to the work. And he didn’t even live in Ipswich, like me. We were both surely over-qualified as errand boys. My feeling is that this lowly position was a placeholder for rebellious and ‘troublemaking’ teenagers after their education had been ‘derailed’. Here they could still be kept an eye on and used when required.
But that’s all speculation, of course, and finding difficult teenagers such work seems like a huge and pointless waste of time and energy to me – but then I don’t think like criminals who see vulnerable children as property.
So let’s look at the hard facts instead. I’d always thought the idea of parties at R & W Paul, Salthouse Street, was absolutely nuts. It’s an office block, after all. It’s the most unsuitable place for a conventional party, never mind deviant parties. Why not have their party using Paul’s Social Club near St Joseph’s? So I dismissed the idea even though, year in and year out, I’d get constant subconscious reminders about going to ‘weird parties at Pauls’.
Similarly, when I read the 2012 newspaper account, I thought once again that it was also nuts. Carrying out an operation to dismember a corpse in the Salthouse Street offices seems so unlikely. No one in their right mind would consider it.
It seems to be the weakness in the 2012 account. It’s simply not feasible for such a crime to be committed on the office premises. Once again, I dismissed it from my mind. Or tried to.
Finally, I studied the site on Google maps a week ago and realised it’s not impossible after all.
The impressive office building is still there – there’s possibly a preservation order on it – but there are substantial buildings directly behind it. They now belong to Hypercars and the company name and building style indicates they are of recent origin. They could have replaced earlier similar buildings.
The R & W Paul offices follow the curve of Salthouse Street before ending a short distance from Fore Street. In the 1960s, there would have been a substantial space behind the visible office frontage. It may have just been a wide expanse of courtyard or – more likely – it also contained further buildings, extensions or outhouses not visible from the street. Ordnance survey maps of the period represent it all as a simplistic solid block. All I can remember as an errand boy is taking letters from a little mailroom outbuilding, in which three of us worked, down through the open air courtyard, and into the main offices.
So yes, it is possible a building projecting into or even partly filling the courtyard could have been used for illicit purposes. It’s also possible I blocked the memory of it out for that very reason.
Suffolk had a bad reputation at this time. The Krays – who abused children –had strong connections with the county. Other crimes against children have been noted and collated here: https://angirfana.blogspot.com/2015/04/suffolk-centre-of-child-prostitution.html. And the Ipswich red light district around London Road was notorious back in the 60s, long before the serial murders in 2006.
I have a strong sense – and it’s more than a feeling – that I have come across one or both of these doctors in the criminal circles that surrounded me.
Byles had first stood trial for offences against children back in 1963, so he was active at that time. Catholic and non-secular groups overlapped and shared a common perverted interest in children, something that is rarely acknowledged or discussed today. So we sometimes have the false impression that there was something ‘separate’ or ‘limited’ about Catholic abusers. In reality, Catholic and non-Catholic, teachers, priests, vicars, laity and De La Salle brothers like Solomon, James and Kevin, were all exactly the same low life filth and many undoubtedly ‘socialised’ with each other and shared victims. Sexual abuse of children inevitably leads perpetrators into related criminal activities. In particular, drug abuse, trafficking and worse.
Thus, these two doctors were members of the Holy Trinity Church of England paedophile ring, using the church premises to take pornographic photos which they sold commercially, and commit sexual assaults and carry out abusive rituals, according to evidence at the trial. Their fellow criminal, Raymond Varley, was wanted for other crimes connected with the even more notorious Dr Freddy Peats. Peats was also a medical doctor and a social worker with the Catholic Church, and part of an international child abuse and trafficking ring. He was eventually caught, and died in a Goa prison.
This kind of overlap between Catholic, Church of England and non-secular criminals may well be the reason I keep being prompted to think back to R & W Pauls and what may have happened there.
That said, I’d hate to conflate memories of these doctors with Ipswich abusers. I’d be so happy if I discovered I had in fact conflated the two. If it is true, I’m lucky to be alive.
There is undoubtedly a connection. My memory progressively provides me with further details, so I’m optimistic I will find more pieces of the puzzle in due course.
This is more than an account of just two rotten apples. It’s a whole rotten orchard.