Paedophile gets life for killing boy, 7, at orgy: Homosexual ring abducted children and drugged them for group sex

A CONVICTED paedophile was yesterday given two life sentences for the killing of seven-year-old Mark Tildesley, who died after being dragged off to a homosexual orgy.

At Reading Crown Court Leslie Bailey, 39, admitted manslaughter and buggery. The judge, Mr Justice Hidden, said the hour or so before Mark's death was 'the most harrowing and horrifying circumstances this court can imagine'.

Mark vanished in June 1984 after he visited a fairground near his home in Wokingham, Berkshire. His parents searched for him but only found his bicycle chained to a fence but despite a national publicity campaign, his body has never been found.

The judge told Bailey, who showed no emotion in the dock: 'What you and the others did to that poor, defenceless little boy . . . was totally horrifying, wicked and inhuman. The cruelty that was inflicted on him just before he died was despicable.'

The court was told that Bailey, of Frampton Park Estate, Hackney, north-east London, was already serving sentences for the killing of two other young boys in homosexual orgies. He was jailed for life for the murder of six-year- old Barry Lewis in June 1991, and is also serving a 15-year term for his part in the death of 14-year-old Jason Swift.

John Nutting, for the prosecution, said Bailey went with his lover, Lennie Smith, to an 'orgy' at a caravan owned by a man called Sidney Cooke, a mile from the fairground. When Bailey met Cooke at the fairground he was dragging a small boy by the hand. The three men then went to the caravan, where a fourth man was waiting.

Mr Nutting said Bailey told police in 1990 that Mark was given a glass of milk 'adulterated' with a muscle relaxant used by homosexuals. The three men then stripped and buggered him in turn before more muscle relaxant was forced down the boy's throat.

During the assaults on Mark he was held by the throat. Bailey became worried because he could see the boy was no longer breathing and he could not find a pulse. Cooke reassured the men by saying he would take the boy home. Mr Nutting said that as Bailey returned home he knew in his heart that the boy was dead.

Mark's parents, Lavinia and John Tildesley, raised the alarm the night of his disappearance. A massive police investigation followed but it was not until 1989, when Bailey asked to see police about offences involving other boys, that any clue was discovered about Mark's fate.

Mr Nutting told the court Bailey, a man 'on the borderline of being mentally retarded', who had been sexually abused himself as a child at special school, was not 'the prime mover' in the abduction and killing. He was the only one of the paedophile ring who had confessed. The court heard that Bailey, who denied murder, was the weakest character involved. Mr Nutting accepted his plea of guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of lack of intent.

Stephen Batten QC, for the defence, recommended a life sentence, saying Mark's abduction had been Bailey's introduction to the paedophile ring.

Mr Justice Hidden, in passing the two concurrent life sentences, left it to the Home Secretary to decide the term Bailey should serve. He paid tribute to the police inquiry which had resulted in the conviction.

The case came at the closing stages of Operation Orchid, a massive police investigation which uncovered an underworld of homosexual orgies in which children as young as six and seven were drugged and subjected to violent sexual abuse before being murdered or left for dead.

Based in Hackney, north-east London, the ring of paedophiles, dubbed 'The Dirty Dozen', would either hire rent boys or snatch children off the streets.

Three children are known to have died as a result of the group's activities and charges have followed. Two more trials are to be heard this year.

The final toll in children's lives will probably never be known, but officers remain convinced that others died - figures vary widely up to possibly as many as 25.

(Photograph omitted)

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