Part 5……..

Within this carapace crooked cops could get away, if not with murder, then with almost everything else. There was the classic case of Det. Sgt Harry Challenor, a West End Central officer who planted knives, hatchets and iron bars on dozens of innocent citizens. On one occasion he even ‘found’ detonators for explosives. His undoing came in 1963 when he framed a cluster of young men who had been demonstrating against a visit of Queen Frederika of Greece. He claimed that pieces of brick had been found in their pockets, presumably to throw at the Queen or at the policemen guarding her hotel. The accused were all cleared, eventually, because no brick dust couuld be traced in their pockets. Challenor himself was now put on trial for conspiring to pervert the course of justice. Three young constables who worked with him were convicted and jailed for three years, but Challenor was found unfit to plead and detaiined in a mental hospital at Her Majesty’s pleasure.
According to a psychiatrist, he must have been ‘very mad indeed’ – clinically insane – for over a year.(5) Yet throughout this time his colleagues were apparently unaware of his lunacy. It had passed unnoticed while, with their connivance, he planted offenseive weapons on at least twenty-six men. These same officers could not see he was crazy even as they held down some of his victims so he could beat them up with unimpeded brutality.
Harry Challenor was a Freemason. So were several of his very close CID colleagues. So, too, was one recently retired high-ranking London detective who told me how in the 1960’s he was appalled by the way other policemen used to exploit the Craft.

I became a Mason at the suggestion of an officer who is now deputy assistant commissioner. He wanted me to join his lodge but most of the members weren’t policemen. Indeed he asked a non-policeman to propose me, so that other members did not think the police were trying to take over the lodge, as sometimes happens.I soon realized that not all police Masons were as honourable as my sponsor. At the time I was a junior detective in Scotland Yard. One day a senior colleague came in crowing that he had been selected for a place on the intermediate command course at Bramshill. I was taken aback and asked him how he did it.
He said, ‘It cost me 300 Pounds. I put it about in the right place.’
‘You mean you bribed someone?’
‘No. I took out “X” [a Commander] for a few lunches and invited him and his wife to my lodge ladies night. I bought her a little present, paid for the meal and the drinks. And what do you know? I’m off to Bramshill next month!’
He then told me that he’d realized the Commander could get anyone from our squad on the course. Now the Commander clearly wasn’t someone you could bung fifty quid or take to a nightclub and get laid. You couldn’t bribe or compromise him because he was straight. However, he was also naive so it was fairly easy to buy your way into his good books by lunching him or inviting him and his lady to your annual lodge shindig. He may have guessed what was in my colleague’s mind but, even so, he felt able to accept as a fraternal Masonic gesture what in any other circumstances would have consitute an ‘inducement’. You appreciate that a non-Mason would have no such opportunity.
My colleague was exceptionally unpleasant: a real crawler. Transparently obsequious, he’d do anything to get on. Most Masons are all right, so it would be unfair to damn them all because of him, but I have seen how such men manipulate Masonic connections to perpetrate acts of evil.
Some years earlier this same man worked on the same team as me. He found two villains in possession of stolen goods. They offered him a substantial bribe and he devised a way to get them out of trouble. Two fall guys were to be arrested and charged in their place. He went on holiday and our governor, a chief inspector, put me temporarily in charge of the case. However, at this stage I knew nothing of the crooked dealings which had already taken place.
I soon had to attend court because two men who had been charged with the crime were being remanded in custody. At the court one of them came up to me and said, ‘You needn’t think we’re going to prison to save the skin of your Masonic friend’ – meaning my police colleague. I asked him what he meant, and he convinced me that they had both been framed so the two villians who had committed the crime could get off.
My colleague always used Masonic phrases when speaking to anyone. He would ask people whether they were ‘taught to be cautious’, ‘regular attenders’, ‘on the level’ and the like. These two prisoners were not stupid and they knew from his talk that he was ‘on the square’, even though they were not.
I was in a quandary. I had not been involved in the arrests and I did not with to see the wrong men go to jail. I went back to Scotland Yard and reported the affair to a senior officer: a detective superintendent who was also a Mason and whom I trusted to sort it out. When my colleague came back from holiday he admitted to the superintendent that he had framed the two men on behalf of his villainous friends, and that he had taken a bribe. The superintendent was wild, but my colleague appealed to him as a brother for help.
I dreaded what might now happen. Would my colleague be put on trial for corruption? Would I be fitted up for betraying him? Or would the trial go ahead, with the defendents squealing in open court that they had been the victims of a frame-up?
To my relief at the time, the matter was sorted out – but in an extraordinary way. The defendents were given a Masonic solicitor whose brother was a barrister. The solicitor persuaded them to plead guilty to the crime which they had not committed. The barrister then did a deal with the judge who let them off with a suspended sentence and a fine. That fine and all their legal fees were paid by the villains who had committed the crime! No action was taken against the crooked officer, but I was moved to another job because he said he could not work on the same team as me!

I asked this former detective why he had done nothing about this gross perversion of justice and why, twenty years later, he was still not prepared to be named in this account.

I cannot go public even now because, although I was only the junior officer, I was implicated in the conspiracy as deeply as anyone. I had been involved in a trial when two men pleaded guilty to crimes which, I knew at the time, they had not committed. The rest of the team were as angry as I at our colleague’s actions. They were equally innocent of any crimanlity, but we all became ‘guilty’ by being caught up in the web of protection woven around a crooked Masonic brother who had appealed for help.Remember! This happened in the 1960s when many detectives were bent. I had reported this matter once and the powers-that-be had made their decision. If I had opened my mouth again I might have ended up on trial on my own admissions, not the villain who put me into this mess. Besides, my only evidence against him was the world of the two defendants who later pleaded guilty and were paid off.

My informant has told me this crooked Mason’s name but I cannot name him for legal reasons. To be fair to Freemasonry, however, these horror stories have to be weighed against the fact that in the Porn Squad trials of 1977, three Crown witneses (Kilkerr, Andrews and Culver) were themselves ‘on the square’. When it came to the crunch they were ready to tell the truth, even though it would send their Masonic brothers to jail.

Simiilarly, the officer who spearheaded Scotland Yard’s anti-corruption drive in the 1970s, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Gilbert Kelland, was a Freemason. At his right hand was another Mason, DAC Ron Steventon, later head of A 10. Neither spared their brethren from the anti-corruption knife. This can be explained partly by the existence of two distinct Masonic traditions in the Metropolitan Police at this time. Gilbert Kelland, for example had spent the first twenty-five years of his service in uniform. He was not a ‘carerr detective’ and he never allowed his Freemasonry to intrude into, or overlap with, his police work. In contrast Freemasonry in much of the CID had become a cover for crookery and corruption.
Towering above all such distinctions, however, is the fact that no major corruption trials would have taken place at all if it had not been for the heroic if much-hated figure of Robert Mark, who was neither a detective nor a Freemason. It was Mark who created the climate in which, for the first time in a century, corruption – Masonic or otherwise – was no longer fashionable among London detectives. It was he who gave Kelland and Steventon orders to clean up the CID
It would be difficult to argue that Freemasonry had much beneficial effect on the Metropolitan CID between 1877 and 1977. Yet in the years since Brother Moody and his clan were purged, the Craft’s reputation in the force has sunk even lower. This is partly because Masonic abuse in the 1970s propelled many honest and honourable policemen out of the Craft. One such man now holds a very high rank in Scotland Yard.

1 thought on “Part 5……..”

  1. The first part of this section regarding Challenor and the Bricks is cetainly true. The PC's who purjured them selves at his instruction were friends of mine.

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