Hunt for members of abuse ring linked to William Goad
A confidential police report said "prominent men in society" may have been members of a paedophile ring linked to Britain's most prolific child abuser, William Goad.
Devon and Cornwall Police have launched a fresh investigation into the allegations, nine years after market trader Goad was jailed for life.
It follows a complaint by one of his victims that previous inquiries ignored claims made by himself and other men about other alleged abusers.
Police have admitted that the hundreds of men who have contacted police since Goad was jailed in 2004 have never been fully interviewed and could hold key information on possible associates of Goad. Confidential documents have also revealed that as far back as 1996, police were aware of allegations that Goad was part of a paedophile "ring" which included "prominent men in society".
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An internal police investigation into the complaint concluded that the original inquiries were carried out to the standards appropriate at that time, but there was a recognition that protocols had since moved on.
Goad, from Plymouth, was jailed for life in 2004 after he admitted sexually abusing more than a dozen boys. He died in prison last year.
One of the detectives on the original inquiry – former Detective Constable Shirley Thompson – has revealed that at the time she repeatedly voiced concerns to senior officers that other paedophiles linked to Goad were still at large. However, she said she heard an investigator being told to "put a lid on it and concentrate on Goad".
The complaint made by Paul Wyatt, one of Goad's victims, in November last year led to an internal investigation by the force's Professional Standards Department.
It found that while the force correctly followed its policy at the time, there remains the "possibility" that other victims "might have also been abused by other offenders and thus the lack of any police action has potentially meant these offenders have retained their liberty and continued their offending behaviour".
Mr Wyatt said: "I want other victims to be listened to and given the opportunity to make a statement. The terms of reference for this new investigation need to be transparent and open, rather than hidden and lost. Only then will justice be done and this case properly laid to rest."
Det Insp Mike Cooper said: "I will be managing a very experienced team of specially trained officers seconded from the Plymouth Sexual Offence Investigation Unit, the Public Protection Unit and the Major Crime Investigation Team.
"I can confirm the team will be working closely with Mr Wyatt throughout this complex and sensitive investigation."