Two paedophiles dubbed the “vilest men in Britain” who campaigned for legal sex with children were today (Mon) convicted of a string of sex offences against young boys.
Ex-Navy chief Douglas Slade, 74, and racing driver Christopher Skeaping, 71, were members of the notorious Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE).
The pro-paedophile activist network openly campaigned for legal sex between adults and children in the 1970s and 80s, and wanted the age of consent to be axed or lowered.
Twisted supporters of the group – which Jimmy Savile has been linked to – shared obscene material and advice with fellow deviants.
Ringleader Slade regularly bragged about his prominent position within the network and ran a helpline for “distressed” men needing advice on how to abuse “resistant” children, a court heard.
Slade, who fled Britain in 1985 after being exposed as a predator, was extradited from the Philippines in September to face 13 sex offence charges dating back 50 years.
It came after five men, now themselves in their fifties and sixties, came forward to speak about the abuse for the first time in decades.
Slade pleaded not guilty to seven counts of indecent assault and six of buggery committed against five victims between 1965 and 1980 but was convicted of all 13 following a two-week trial.
The pervert, formerly of Knowle West, Bristol, appeared in the dock alongside racing driver Skeaping who lured boys to his house in Hounslow, London, with his motorbike collection.
Skeaping was convicted of one count of indecent assault on Friday, relating to an incident allegedly involving Slade and a 15-year-old boy in 1980.
Bristol Crown Court heard that the two paedophiles became friends at a meeting for the Paedophile Action for Liberation group, which existed before the PIE, in the 1960s.
The network, which championed “children’s sexuality”, was backed by the National Council for Civil Liberties led by Patricia Hewitt – later a Cabinet minister under Tony Blair.
Both Slade and Skeaping denied any involvement with the PIE and any illegal sexual activity with children.
It took a jury of eight women and four men less than four hours to find the men – who were dubbed the “vilest men in Britain” on the front page of a national newspaper in 1975 – guilty.
Along with others – including joke shop owner Joe Devodee and welfare officer Ian Melville – they abused numerous underage boys.
Bristol Crown Court heard that their victims – troubled boys from broken families who were seeking “refuge” – were passed between “predatory” men with a sexual appetite for children.
The victims enjoyed the affection and often didn’t realise they were being “corrupted and exploited by older men for their own selfish pleasure”, it was heard.
Rupert Lowe, prosecuting, said the men, “shared an interest in sex with young boys and they each knew several other men who shared that same interest”.
He said: “They were both involved in an organisation called the Paedophile Information Exchange.
“It seems strange now that such an organisation can have existed without being shut down immediately but it did.”
He added that one “troubled” victim “remembers Douglas Slade boasting about being a founder member of the paedophile information exchange.”
The court also heard that numerous phone calls meant for Slade, from men in the company of youngsters they wanted to abuse, were picked up by another man in the 1970s, the court heard.
Giving evidence at the trial, the man, who can’t be named, said: “They phoned seeking advice about how to deal with children – to be sexually active with them. It was almost like a helpline.”
Of one particular call, he added: “He clearly had a child with him and he was saying that he wanted to have sexual relations with this child and that clearly this child was resistant.
“He was seeking to speak to someone who could counsel him what to do in order to have his way with this child.”
When the witness confronted Slade – who owned a number of properties – about the phone calls, the defendant said they were “for him”, the court heard.
Slade was convicted of 13 sexual offences against five different victims, who were aged between 10 and 15 at the time.
Nine of the offences were against a single boy, who he abused with a sense of “entitlement” up to three times a week between 1976 and 1978.
The boy was made to perform oral sex and play fight naked with another boy for Slade’s entertainment at a house in Clifton, Bristol, and have sex with him in various public places.
On another occasion in the mid 70s, Slade held down and anally raped a different child, and he also fondled the genitals of two young boys in the mid sixties.
Skeaping was convicted of one count of indecent assault relating to an occasion in 1980 against a 15-year-old boy, who went to stay with him because he couldn’t cope at home.
The then 39-year-old performed oral sex on the boy, who later began regularly visiting Slade at his home in Bristol.
Both men were questioned by UK police over the historic offences last Autumn.
Slade was extradited from the Philippines to face the charges shortly after he was arrested, but never charged, by Filipino police on suspicion of sex offences against local children.
Before deportation, Slade was living in the red light district of Angeles City in a house opposite a primary school.
He allegedly lured children inside, paying them as little as £2 to pose for lurid photos and was dubbed the ‘Pork Pie Paedophile’ because he set up a company selling food to Western expats.
Skeaping was arrested while on licence, after he was jailed in 2009 for sex offences, including buggery and indecent assault, against a 12-year-old boy in the 1980s.
When questioned, the men admitted being part of a group which existed before the PIE known as PAL – Paedophile Action for Liberation – but said they couldn’t remember what the ‘p’ stood for.
Both were remanded in custody for sentencing, which is due to take place on Friday.
An NSPCC spokesman said: “The Paedophile Information Exchange was an appalling organisation predominantly consisting of men who tried to fool the world that they cared for children when in reality they wanted to abuse them.
“Their sham protestations about caring for children have been rightly exposed yet again by this case which underlines how dangerous they were then – and still are.
“Slade and Skeaping targeted vulnerable youngsters in a predatory manner, having little regard for the consequences of their behaviour.
“Whether they believed their actions were consensual or not, they were committing a criminal offence against children who deserved to be protected from such abuse.”