Darren tells of terror under paedophile’s brutal regime at Thornham Magna estate
By Tim Wood | 10 January 2015
Darren’s first encounter aged 15 with urbane Peter Righton in a country estate in Suffolk left him truly terrified.
Righton is with his old friend, an erudite teacher by the name of Charles Napier. Righton, former government advisor on child care and one of Britain’s leading specialists on the subject at the time, tells Darren to give Napier oral sex.
So Righton beats him mercilessly, punching and kicking the bewildered 15-year-old until he does precisely as he was told.
Darren (not his real name) gave to Exaro this extraordinary account of his first meeting with Righton and Napier as he became the third witness to come forward to testify to being sexually abused as a boy by a former Conservative cabinet minister and other VIPs at Dolphin Square, the apartment complex favoured by MPs near Parliament.
“Peter also sexually abused me repeatedly when I was 15, as well as forcing me to have sex with other men and VIPs” – Darren, on Peter Righton
As a 15-year-old, Darren was in care when he was sent to do work experience at Thornham Magna estate in Suffolk.
The 2,500-acre estate was the ancestral home of Lord Henniker, a former UK ambassador. Henniker, who died in 2004 at the age of 88, created an educational and recreational centre for children there. Righton was renting a cottage on the estate.
Darren said: “Peter had the run of the place. If he wanted something done, he could order it. I was delivering wood to his cottage, and he beckoned me in. A man I now know to be Napier was standing in the lounge. I was given a soft drink, and then Peter brazenly ordered me to give Napier oral sex.
“I refused, and Righton then attacked me. He knew how to hurt you without leaving marks. He was very, very good at what he did. I was kicked and punched in front of Napier, who stood there smirking.
“I had no choice, and did as I was told. That was the first time he struck me, and it left me terrified of Righton, who carried an air of menace about him. I was ordered to have sex with Napier on two other occasions when he visited Peter on the estate. They were obviously friends.”
Unknown to Darren, Righton was a founder of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), which promoted sex with children, and Napier had been its treasurer. Last month, Napier was jailed for 13 years as a result of Scotland Yard’s wide-ranging investigation into paedophile MPs and VIPs, ‘Operation Fairbank’, for a series of sexual assaults on boys.
On a daily basis, the 15-year-old Darren was driven into Thornham Magna on a special bus that also transported Down’s syndrome sufferers from a residential home. They all worked on the estate, and were subject to brutal discipline that was meted out by Righton.
“I and the Down’s syndrome residents were regularly beaten for the slightest indiscretion,” Darren said.
“I remember once when someone took an apple from the orchard, the beating that was handed out was truly frightening. The regime was brutal. You did as you were told. We were all scared.”
Darren recalled overhearing as Righton talked to a visiting senior figure from the London borough council of Islington. “She kept calling Righton, ‘Peter’, which I found odd, as he was using the name, ‘Paul’ on the estate.”
Righton was using the estate as a bolthole because he had fled his home in Evesham, Worcestershire after being charged with possessing obscene images of children, for which he was convicted in September 1992.
Darren continued: “Peter also sexually abused me repeatedly when I was 15, as well as forcing me to have sex with other men and VIPs.
“By the age of 16, I was no longer to his taste. He liked younger boys, but he still trafficked me around to other men.
“Peter was a formidable man, highly educated and articulate with a ferocious temper. But at the same time he became a father figure to me, and could be kind. He often kept a bottle of cherry coke in his fridge for me, which was a real treat.”
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