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domenica 23 agosto 2015
Scottish lawyer part of a VIP paedophile ring
A TOP Scottish lawyer accused of being part of a VIP paedophile ring was branded a danger to children in court documents, yet no investigation was ever launched.
Robert Henderson QC is alleged to have sexually abused his daughter, Susie, over a period of many years and also allowed her to be raped by his friend, Sir Nicholas Fairbairn.
Ms Henderson first reported her claims to the police in 2000 and then again last year, with detectives now investigating the pair as part of the wider probe into historic child abuse.
However, research by the Sunday Express reveals the authorities were made aware of suspicions about Henderson decades earlier in the wake of his divorce from his first wife, Olga.
It is the first contemporary evidence that has ever emerged to support Miss Henderson's allegations against her father and his powerful friends.
A report prepared for a custody hearing before Lord Maxwell at the Court of Session in November 1976 states: "The pursuer [Olga Henderson] claimed that the defender was quite unsuitable as a custodian of [his eldest daughter] or any of the children in that he regularly drank to excess, that he was extremely sexually promiscuous, that he was involved in pornography, that he was generally 'immoral' and that he associated with people of a type who it was most undesirable should come into contact with the children of the marriage.
"In particular she alleged that [Miss X] who is in the defender's house almost every day, is a well known Edinburgh prostitute. She also alleged that on at least one occasion in the past the defender had violently assaulted her in front of the children."
The Reporter adds that the allegations were supported by Mrs Henderson's parents and by two family friends, "all of whom claimed they were not merely repeating what the pursuer had told them".
In reply, Henderson claimed his ex-wife was "behaving somewhat hysterically", adding that "even if he had been inclined to engage in such activities, which he never had been, he was certainly at present in no financial position to do so".
The papers stored at the National Archives of Scotland also reveal a bitter and long-running legal dispute between Robert and Olga Henderson, who married in 1958.
After the divorce, he frequently failed to pay the aliment set by the courts and once emptied Miss Henderson's National Savings account in order to buy his ex-wife a Morris Mini.
He kept the family mansion in the New Town while his ex-wife and three children shuffled around various temporary homes, on one occasion even having them evicted from a "dilapidated" flat he owned.
The papers state: "On September 12, 1979 the defendant called without warning at said flat, behaved in a threatening and aggressive manner towards the pursuer, smashed furniture and placed the pursuer and children in a state of fear and alarm."
The documents even chart a worrying change in Miss Henderson's personality, from a "bright, charming and intelligent child" at 10 to concerns over a "lack of attainment, lack of interest and frequent unexplained absences from school" four years later.
The 48-year-old, who now lives near Inverness, said last night: "Because there is an ongoing police investigation I don't think it would be right for me to make any comment."
However, friends have told the Scottish Sunday Express that she is "relieved and delighted" to discover that contemporary evidence exists to support her claims about her abusive father.
Police Scotland has also been made aware of our findings and it is understood that officers have already spoken to Miss Henderson about the new information.
The divorce papers further reveal that Henderson was visited at the family home by a private investigator who found him engaged in a tryst with a "girl" wearing only a negligee.
The investigator wrote: "Henderson said the girl had on one occasion previously stayed overnight at the house and it was their intention to stay overnight together that evening.
"The bedclothes were in disarray and it appeared to have been recently occupied. There were articles of female clothing lying about the room. This was identified as clothing belonging to the young lady in the house."
Henderson was 38 years old at the time and the incident was used to support his wife's application for divorce on grounds of adultery.
The custody battle was also settled in Mrs Henderson's favour, although her ex-husband was allowed to remain in regular contact with his children.
However, despite their serious nature, Mrs Henderson's extraordinary allegations were put down to the "personal bitterness" between the couple.
The report, by Angus JE Foster, concludes: "If the allegations made about the defendant and his girlfriend by the pursuer and others are true, Your Lordship's Reporter would accept that they throw considerable doubt on the defendant's suitability as a custodian."
Despite the reporter's findings, Henderson went on to take silk in 1982 and acted in some of the country's biggest court cases.
He was also a key player in the 'Magic Circle' affair involving claims of a secret list of gay judges and other senior establishment figures.
The lawyer went into semi-retirement in 2001 and later lived in Dubai and France, where he died in December 2012.
The National Archives also holds records from Henderson's divorce from his second wife, Carol Black, although they are not yet available to the public.
Susan O'Brien QC, the lawyer who will head the Scottish Government's inquiry into historic child abuse, is understood to have acted as "junior counsel" in this case.
In her declaration of impartiality, she said: "You have asked me whether I knew two former members of the legal profession. I knew them a little after I called to the Bar in 1987, and I acted for one of the individual’s wives in a routine divorce.
"I doubt that my acquaintance as a young junior counsel with these individuals of another generation would place the inquiry at risk."