‘Thirty years on, we still don’t know who abducted our son’: Parents of Martin Allen make final plea for information
The ageing parents of a teenage boy abducted 30 years ago today made a final appeal for information about his fate.
Martin Allen, 15, was last seen by a friend at King’s Cross Tube station as he made his way home from school on November 5, 1979.
His case has baffled teams of Scotland Yard detectives who have been unable to find any trace of him.
Speaking today, Tom and Eileen Allen, of Bordon, Hampshire, admitted they have lost hope of ever seeing him again and fear they may die before his body is discovered.
Mrs Allen, 81, said: ‘We just want to know what happened so we can have some final closure. But of course it will never go out of our minds.
‘My biggest wish is to have a meeting of the family and a remembrance service, not a funeral, but a service so we can put our memories away.
‘We just want to know what happened. Somebody must know something. Please tell us so we can move on.’
Mr Allen, 85, revealed he still cries on the day his son disappeared, his birthdays and when he hears music his son loved.
He said: ‘I just break down. I go out into the woods and I simply burst.
‘After that I am all right. I cannot help it.
‘I had hope until the beginning of this year. I still had lots of hope but suddenly it disappeared. I do not know why.’
Metropolitan Police officers have continued to investigate the disappearance of Martin since a review took place in 2006, but admit they have no new leads.
The teenager went missing as he travelled home from school to pick up some money to take to his older brother Bob in Holloway.
His father worked as a chauffeur and the family lived in a cottage in the grounds of the Australian High Commission in Hyde Park Gate, Kensington.
Martin left a friend at a foot tunnel leading on to the southbound Piccadilly platform at King’s Cross station at about 3.50pm.
He has not been seen since, but a passenger came forward after a television appeal and said he saw a man and a boy acting suspiciously at Earls Court.
The man was standing with his arm around a boy who looked like Martin and both appeared nervous.
He was heard to say: ‘Don’t try to run.’
Despite a huge operation, including a visit to every property in Earls Court and the publication of an artist’s impression, police have not been able to trace the man.
Investigators have ruled out 200 possible suspects, spoken to 50,000 people and collected 600 statements to the inquiry.
They have not been able to find any of Martin’s possessions, which included his school books, lunchbox and part of a model railway.
At one point detectives considered whether serial killer Dennis Nilsen could be responsible but found no evidence to substantiate this.
Mr Allen said his son would have contacted them if he was alive because he would not have wanted them to worry.
He said: ‘There must be someone out there who knows a tiny little bit but has never said anything.
‘They could be the answer we are looking for to help our family come to a bit of rest instead of always saying “I wonder what did happen?”‘
Mrs Allen, who works with disabled children, said her heart goes out to the parents of other missing children.
And she said she cannot bring herself to read coverage about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
She said: ‘It has been difficult because the other boys have grown up and they have got their own sons. It must be very hard for them.
‘Because I am still working with children that does help. I have got to keep going for the sake of the children that are left and the grandchildren.
‘Nobody wants you if you are miserable and crying all the time. I am strong and I have managed to keep my feelings to myself most of the time.’
Detective Chief Inspector Tony Nash, who is leading the inquiry, said the case is ‘truly baffling’.
He said: ‘Officers have worked tirelessly to trace Martin but despite floods of information coming in we have not been able to discover what happened to him.
‘I am convinced someone knows what happened to Martin and I would urge them to do the right thing and tell us.
‘I hope the passage of time will encourage them to come forward. Martin’s family have had an agonising 30 years not knowing what became of him.’
Anyone with information should call the incident room at Hendon on 0208 358 0100 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
POLICE HAVE found a secret shrine to a missing boy at the home of an alleged paedophile. Martin Allen, 15, vanished in 1979 on his way home from school on Guy Fawkes night. He was last seen by friends as he boarded a Tube at King’s Cross, in London.
Detectives refused to comment on reports yesterday that after a tip- off to police in Merseyside, a shrine – including an engraved headstone – was found at the house of alleged paedophile. At the time of Martin’s disappearance a man was seen holding a boy of his description against a wall near a another Underground station.
The newspaper report said Merseyside detectives received an anonymous last month which suggested a 62-year-old Liverpool man had knowledge of the boy’s fate.
Officers reportedly visited his house and found a makeshift shrine including newspaper cuttings, pictures and a headstone engraved “In Memory of Martin Allen”. At the time of his disappearance a man was seen holding a boy fitting his description against a wall outside Gloucester Road underground station.
In 2012, British Police initiated a number of new investigations into child abuse allegations dating back over the previous 20–30 years. This included a reinvestigation of the notorious Elm Guest House child abuse scandal. Elm House was a London guest house where it was known that exploitation and abuse of children had taken place repeatedly over a prolonged period of time during the 1970s and 1980s. The location of Elm Guest House, along the known predatory activities of the individuals involved there have led to media speculation that Martin could have been abducted (and later murdered) by paedophiles active at the guest house around that time
Sunday Express, 27th December 1981
15 year-old Martin Allen went missing on Guy Fawke’s Night in 1979. He was on his way home from school, and was last seen “being gripped tightly, by a man aged between 30 and 40, about 6ft tall with blond hair, at Gloucester Road tube station in London.”
A detailed artist’s impression of both Martin and his alleged abductor was left at every address in the Earls Court area, police visited over 40,000 people, but Martin was never found.
Another boy, 8 year-old Vishal Mehrotra, went missing near his home in Putney on the night of the Royal Wedding in 1981. His body was discovered in Sussex woodland the following year. His murder is still unsolved.
In August 1982, detectives from Scotland Yard were investigating connections between the disappearance or murder of the two boys and the Elm Guest House paedophile ring. This was reported in both the Daily Express and the Daily Star on 10th August 1982. These were the only news reports to link the two boys to Elm Guest House. The national newspapers were stopped from reporting on the scandal after 16th August 1982. It’s still a mystery exactly how they were stopped, but it involved legal threats from the Attorney General, Sir Michael Havers, and lawyers purportedly acting for Elm Guest House.
Was the police investigation into the missing boys shut down at the same time as the main Elm Guest House investigation?
The two boys disappeared within a couple of miles of Rocks Lane in Barnes, where Elm Guest House was located. But it turns out it wasn’t the geographical location alone that had prompted Scotland Yard to reopen their files on Vishal Mehrotra and Martin Allen.
In an interview with the Sunday Express from December 1981, just over 2 years after his son went missing, Thomas Allen said:
“I think our son was kidnapped by a gang of child pornographers. I think he was spirited away to some overseas country and forced to take part in films.”
This was an unusual conclusion to come to in 1981, when there was less public awareness of paedophiles, child trafficking, and the trade in images and films of child abuse. But it seems Mr Allen’s information had come from Scotland Yard, because the article goes on to say:
Police have sent European and other overseas police forces photographs of Martin so these can be compared with seized child pornography films.
This was years before Scotland Yard had a dedicated paedophile unit, and it must have been one of the first times Scotland Yard had liaised with overseas police forces in this way. They must have had strong information to go on, or this line of inquiry wouldn’t have been pursued.
When the Elm Guest House was raided in June 1982, police discovered a ‘video suite’ which was used to make films of boys being sexually abused. The door had a sticker on it saying ‘Spartacus Members Welcome’, and this was also mentioned in advertisements. Spartacus was an international paedophile network based in Holland, which traded child pornography to members around the world.
Detectives who had been working on the Martin Allen and Vishal Mehrotra cases must have been convinced that they were on to the abductor(s) of Martin Allen, and the murderer(s) of Vishal Mehrotra. There were too many similarities to put down to coincidence.
– Both boys disappeared within 2 miles of Rocks Lane, Barnes.
– Elm Guest House had a ‘video suite’ for commercial production of child pornography.
– The guest house had strong links to paedophiles in Holland, which was notorious for being the European hub for both child trafficking and child pornography.
It seems impossible that there was another ‘child pornography gang’ with links to Holland and beyond, operating from the leafy suburbs of South-West London in the early 1980s.
So, when the British Establishment covered up the Elm Guest House paedophile network, were they also covering up child trafficking and murder?