Sir Clement Freud could have sexually abused dozens more victims

Exclusive: Former ambassador who helped uncover paedophile accusations tells The Independent that more abuse claims are emerging

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A former British ambassador has revealed he has been approached by several people making further claims of sexual abuse by Clement Freud, amid fears the MP and broadcaster could have sexually abused dozens more children.

Freud has been accused of abusing young girls between the 1940s and 1970s. The allegations have been made by two women, Sylvia Woosley and an anonymous woman, who claim he abused them as children. The second woman says he raped her when she was 18.

The Independent can now reveal that, after helping expose Freud’s paedophilia, the former British ambassador Craig Murray has been contacted by people making further claims of abuse by Freud. 

Mr Murray, who says there must now be serious questions asked over whether senior political figures knew of his behaiour, said: “I have had all kinds of people contacting me, telling me that they knew about this behaviour – not victims, but people who were told about it, people who knew victims.

“I have been contacted by seven people this morning.  I don’t have concrete intelligence, but it seems there are a lot of claims that there is more stuff out there.”

“The same as with Jimmy Savile,” he added, “This stuff comes pouring out once the gates are opened.”

Mr Murray revealed that after he posted a favourable obituary of Freud on his blog following the broadcaster's death in 2009, an anonymous comment was left underneath the article by a woman saying Freud had abused her.

The comment reads: “Writing as one of his 1000s of sexual ‘victims’, still surviving, terrified as I write for fear he is not yet quite yet dead – the man was an evil, conniving, ruthless user for his own bottomless ego of all he came into contact with.

“Our children – boys and girls are all that much safer for his demise.

“And that is just the tip of an iceberg of political and media dirty dealings that reaches into the heart of the broken Britain he has left behind him.

“His family will now, unfortunately, reap the rage and revenge of those he destroyed and their much needed justice for his many heinous – still untold – actions.”

After being contacted by ITV in 2015, Mr Murray contacted the woman and helped put her in touch with the makers of the documentary, in which she claims that Freud, whom she met in 1971, groomed her from the age of 11, abused her at 14, and violently raped her at 18.

Her testimony added to that of Ms Woosley, who said that Freud began sexually touching her in 1952, when she was 14.

Sylvia Woosley: "I would like to just return to the child I was, before I was molested physically"

On Tuesday night, Mr Murray published another blog entry, entitled ‘Clement Freud, my part in his downfall', which he says has prompted people to contact him with further claims of abuse.

Mr Murray, who lost his job as British ambassador to Uzbekistan in 2004 after speaking out about human rights abuses in the country, said: “It seems astonishing now that paedophilia seems to have been quite so rampant among senior people and plainly, as with Cyril Smith, [with whom Freud shared an office in the House of Commons], as with Greville Janner, quite a few people knew about it.”

Mr Murray’s remarks will add to anxieties that there were long-held suspicions about Freud’s activities that were not acted upon.  

Peter Saunders, chief executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, told the Daily Mail that Freud had ‘been on the radar’ of the charity.

Mr Saunders said: ‘About 12 years ago, before his death, something was said to me about an allegation of rape concerning him.  At the time, I never thought it would go anywhere because he was rich and powerful. Later I spoke to a friend at Rape Crisis, and she said his name had come up in her world too, a long time ago, but she couldn’t remember the details.’

Mr Murray, 57, also revealed that he had his own first-hand experience of Freud’s predatory behaviour towards much younger, but adult women, dating from when he was a first-year student at Dundee University and Freud was rector there. 

Mr Murray said he saw the president of the students association emerge “yelling and swearing” after a phone call from Freud. 

“He was saying that Freud had phoned him and asked him to line up female students for him and was trying to use him as ‘a pimp’.” 

At the time, Freud was about 35 years older than the students.

Mr Murray, who later became rector of Dundee University himself, said friends from his student days had also heard about Freud’s behaviour towards younger women.

“At my last birthday [in October] they told similar anecdotes, about sexually predatory behaviour towards young students, and towards students coming to him, as rector, with problems.  It wasn’t illegal, but it wasn’t pleasant.”

Mr Murray added that his 2009 online obituary of Freud had also received the comment of one reader claiming: “He was a notorious old goat and his pursuit of young women could verge on the sinister. I met one of his young ‘victims’ who told me about a job interview with him turning into a very traumatic experience.”

Mr Murray said that senior Liberals who were in charge when Freud was an MP between 1973 and 1987 must have known at least about Freud’s “aggressive sexual approaches” to much younger adult women, and they should have expelled him from the party. 

He said: “It seems to me unlikely that the senior party had no inkling.  If he was aggressively approaching people at job interviews, then it must have got back to the party leadership.  It was continual behaviour.  It can’t just have not been noticeable at all.   

“He certainly shouldn’t have been in politics. There has to be very serious questions about what people knew.”

At the time of Freud’s death, one former MP, who knew nothing about Freud’s alleged sexually aggressive behaviour towards younger women or about his alleged paedophilia, did refer to his “famed reputation as a womaniser.”  

But most obituaries made only oblique reference to Freud’s womanising.

Mr Murray said that he had “no inkling” of any paedophilia allegations when he wrote his obituary of Freud in 2009, and admitted he didn’t want to reveal what he had heard about Freud’s behaviour to much younger women.

“You just don’t feel like digging it up once someone has died,” he said.    

He added: “I am glad the woman did make those comments on my blog.  At the time she came forward the ITV researcher had only one person talking about this, and you can’t stand up a story with just one source.

“If it wasn’t for that comment appearing on my blog, I don’t think this ever would have come to light.”