As evidence against Freemasonry, this account is difficult to assess. Sceptics would stress that the alleged incidents took place more than fifty years ago, might have been much exaggerated in the original telling and are recollected here by a son who might be spicing up his father’s account. No documents have survived and we have no proof the ‘villans’ were Masons. A lawyer would dismiss it all as ‘triple hearsay’. However, Ivor Morrish is a respected author of numerous teaching textbooks and a lifelong educationalist. He is unlikely to have invented so much detail. His father was a man of unquestioned integrity, and outstanding instructor, and deeply trusted by Lord Trenchard who was this century’s greatest police reformer. As such, Reg Morrish’s perceptions of Freemasonry should not be lightly discarded. What is more, they marry only too convincingly with the incontrovertible evidence revealed when scores of corrupt detectives were investigated in the 1970’s. The full story of Metropolitan Police corruption at the time is told in The Fall of Scotland Yard, a book which I co-authored in 1977 with Barry Cox and John Shirley.(4) Here I isolate the Masonic aspects of the scandal.
In 1977 three Old Bailey trials revealed the tip of an iceberg of corruption in London’s CID. Thirteen detectives were jailed, including two commanders, one chief superintendent and five inspectors. In the course of the investigation it emerged that most were Freemasons. The probablility is that they were all ‘on the square’.
One trial focused on the Flying Squad, once legendary for its detective brilliance but now notorious for having a commander, Ken Drury, who was ‘on the take’ (cash, gifts, entertainments and holidays) from a professional criminal and pornographer, Jimmy Humphreys. The other trials revolved around the Obscene Publications Squad. It emerged that Craft membership was a prerequisite for any detective who wanted a share of the rich pickings to be extorted from London’s profiteering pornographers.
The ‘Porn Squad’ was at that time a unit within the CID’s central office, known as C1. Getting into this team was a prestigious step up for any detective, but selection was largely in the gift of the C1 commander or the superintendent heading the squad. From 1964 until 1972 it’s eminence grise was Det. Chief Supt. Bill Moody who has a unique claim to infamy in the history of Scotland Yard. While heading one of the biggest-ever investigations into police corruption he was simultaneously collecting huge bribes from the dirty booksellers of Soho, London’s notorious vice district.
Moody’s extraordinary double life is revealed in The Fall of Scotland Yard. The essential details are that in 1977 he was convicted of conspiring to take money from pornographers over an eight-year period. Moody was convicted on sample charges, one of which involved a payment of 14,000 Pounds. The trial showed that for some years he had been pocketing annual kickbacks worth 40,000 Pounds. His pay-off at the Old Bailey was twelve years’ imprisonment.
Bill Moody was an ardent Freemason, so ardent that he took some of his pornographer friends to his Masonic gatherings. One was Ron ‘the Dustman’ Davey whom he had met at another pornographer’s birthday party in Trader Vic’s Restaurant in the Hilton Hotel. In 1975 Davey was questioned by officers who had been appointed to investigate the porn squad’s corruption. He told them he came to know Det. Sgt Cyril Jones (later sentenced to seven years in jail) through Moody’s Masonic functions.
I have been to numerous of these and in fact Bill introducted me into his lodge. It has been put to me that I booked a coach on the following dates – 6.11.69 to Derry and Toms (10 people); 17.11.69 to Top Rank Suite, Croydon (12 people); 25.9.71 Regent Street. All were masonic functions at which I was a guest. Normally present were Bill Moody, Cyril Jones, 2 other police officers [whom Davey names] and our wives. I am quite sure there were many more outings.
It was part of Bill Moody’s discredited defence that he had no idea Ron Davey was a pornographer. If so, he had overlooked Ron’s conviction and a six-month jail term in 1960 for publishing 744 improper photographs of men and 105 of women. This fact was available to Moody not simply as head of the Obscene Publications Squad; he would have read about it inNews of the World, for the newspaper had revealed how Davey was arrested in his darkroom with 2,486 dirty photographs. At another of his premises, police discovered 15,000 pornographic negatives and 15,000 snaps. Ron’s home was an Aladdin’s cave of naked lads. As the magistrate packed him off to prison, he told Davey he did not suppose anyone had ever before seen ‘such a vast volume of absolute filth’.
Davey had been a pornographer for three years, after eight years working as a dustman. In 1975 when giving evidence against Bill Moody, he described himself as a ‘maintenance engineer’. I have been unable to discover which of these three occupations he disclosed when applying for membership of the Craft.
Masonic activities in the dirty book trade went far beyond coach parties of pornographers, policemen and their wives living it up on the town. When Scotland Yard’s anti-corruption squad went digging into the porn squad’s later years, all sorts of Masonic connections emerged. One prosecution witness was Frank R. Andrews, who spent three years in the porn squad as a detective constable. When Moody recruited him in 1965, he already knew that everybody posted there immediately bought new cars or expensive houses. In short, he said, they ‘sprouted wealth’.
Andrews was introduced to the system of another witness, D.C. Ernie Culver, himself later convicted of a cheque fraud. Culver explained how bribe moneys were shared out. Andrews recalled one chat with him about a forthcoming Masonic Ladies’ Night.
He said words to the effect, ‘Have you got enough money for the new dress for your wife?’ I indicated that I didn’t want any help but he then handed me a brown envelope aned said, ‘Put that towards the cost of a new dress for your wife.’ I did not want the money and decided to ditch it in a nearby waste-paper bin. We attended the ladies’ evening as planned. Bill Moody was there with his wife and another sergeant.