A letter from Scottish police expressing that they had found no truth in the allegations during their 2004 investigation and that, after repeated requests, the investigation was still closed.
Over the past ten years or so, Britain has been fairly preoccupied with paedophiles; finding out who they are, naming and shaming them, even – in a highly embarrassing set-back for the credibility of vigilantes everywhere – beating up paediatricians because it sounds a bit like paedophile. But, in previous years, it seems like paedophiles were everywhere – running the country, inventing dance music, touring the world in successful rock bands – and no one gave two hoots. In fact, shagging 13-year-old girls was mythologised as something glamorous in itself.
However, times change (the "wandering hand" is now known as a grope) – something you probably noticed after this year's media witch hunt. A hunt that hit its peak when Phillip Schofield assumed the role of a mum-friendly Guevara – an everyman freedom fighter who handed the Prime Minister a list of names the internet said were paedophiles on live TV, gave the camera a glimpse and ended up getting sued by a Tory peer. Adding weight to the old adage that daytime television presenters probably shouldn't accuse people of being child molesters.
Although Schofield's mistake and subsequent suing was high-profile enough, and the subject rich enough that his name was effectively cleared, not everyone branded a paedophile in public has had such a clear-cut opportunity to escape the allegations. Likewise, in such a difficult act to prove, not every victim receives justice.
A perfect example is Scotland's Hollie Greig, a girl with Down's Syndrome alleged to have been abused by a Masonic cabal at the very highest levels of Scottish society. As is usually the case with coverage of anything Masonic, you probably won't have seen the case anywhere other than on the pages of badly formatted Blogspot accounts. Attempts to bring it to the mainstream have always failed, which – of course – strengthen campaigners' feelings that Masons are involved in covering up the abuse.
In a desperate attempt to provide some kind of justice, Robert Green, a leading campaigner, was jailed for distributing leaflets containing the names of nearly two dozen Aberdeenshire residents Hollie accused of abusing her. Since then, Green has become a martyred Bobby Sands to Schofield's cack-handed Guevara, drawing the support of the 'Truth Movement', people who believe there weren't any planes involved in 9/11 and that there are a bunch of shady, hooded men running the world from a cave in Cumbria.
I recently visited the home of Belinda McKenzie – a place the New Statesman called the 'Highgate Hub', in reference to its importance to the UK's Truth Movement. The house is home to a rotating cast of various campaigners, who either stay in one of the five bedrooms or in the bunker buried beneath the garden. Such luminaries as David Shayler and Annie Machon have stayed there in the past, and I was lucky enough to bump into 'Spacecowboy1954', who showed me a lot of photos of "orbs" he had taken the night before. He also showed me this video of a light. I was unclear of what exactly the light was, but, thankfully, the cowboy quickly explained with the certainty of a man 100 percent secure in his thoughts that it could only be one of two things: an alien entity or a spiritual presence.
Belinda has supported the Hollie Greig campaign for years and is readying for a new push (videoed by Spacecowboy1954) in light of the public's renewed appetite for paedophiles. The case, like the campaign itself, is massively long and complicated. The campaign slogan is "Google Hollie Greig", and if you do just that, you'll uncover over half a million pages of claims and counter-claims that broadly fit into two main camps: those who are campaigning on behalf of Hollie, attempting to prosecute her abusers; and those who believe that Hollie is a liar and the entire story is fabricated.
Hollie's alleged abuse was first brought to light after her parents – Anne Greig and Denis Mackie – had a row. Hollie told her mother that she was scared her father would kill the family's dogs, and when her mother asked why, Hollie explained that Denis had molested her for the past 14 years, ensuring her silence by threatening her's and the dogs' safety. Although it was determined she had lost her virginity, Hollie had no physical evidence of mass abuse, which lead to Denis trying to have Anne sectioned and taking Hollie back into his care. An independent investigation found Anne sane and she fled to England with Hollie to start a new life.
In 1997 – three years prior to this – Anne's brother Roy had died in an apparent suicide attempt in his burning car. Official records show he died of smoke inhalation, with cracked ribs and head injuries due to resuscitation efforts. Now in England, Hollie told her mother that Roy had caught Denis abusing her and he had told her uncle that he would kill him if he ever exposed the abuse, causing Anne to query if the suicide was in fact a murder and ask for official documents, but her requests were declined.
Hollie began naming more of her abusers, which ultimately totalled 22 people. These names included a Sheriff (Scottish equivalent of a High Court Judge), a forensic policeman, a lawyer and Hollie's own social worker. Sensing that a powerful Scottish elite had been abusing her daughter, Anne made several attempts to encourage Aberdeen police to investigate. On each occasion, police found no evidence of such a paedophile ring, which only riled her fears of a cover-up.
In the meantime, Hollie's brother and Denis both moved to Portugal to escape the allegations. When Madeleine McCann went missing, Anne feared Denis and her son could have been involved and advised police they should contact Denis. UK police didn't act on the advice, nor did they inform Portuguese police, again adding beans to the cover-up pot.
Lacking any concrete evidence of abuse beyond Hollie's words and considering the police refuse to recognise them as truth, it's reasonable to question the veracity of the claims. However, the campaign are adamant that, as a sufferer of Down's Syndrome, Hollie always speaks the truth. That seemed almost laughable to me if it wasn't so condescending, something confirmed by a spokesman for the Down's Syndrome Association: "It would be unwise and incorrect to make broad statements like that, and I would disagree with the idea that people with Down's Syndrome can't lie."
Hollie also received a sum of around £4,000 from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), which is seen – at best – as an admission of guilt from the government and – at worst – hush money. The problem there is that £4,000 really isn't much when it comes to buying someone's silence in a child abuse case, but the CICA works on very different rules of guilt to the law courts. Kind of how the FA work very differently to the courts, as John Terry found out when the law found him not guilty, but the FA gave him a match ban anyway.
It was in 2009 that Robert Green started supporting Hollie's cause, and in 2010 he ran for a seat as an independent MP in Aberdeen in an attempt to publicise Hollie's case. It was then that he distributed the leaflets exposing Hollie's alleged abusers and was arrested under a breach of the peace. At his trial in early 2012, he began each day asking the prosecution if they were Freemasons, suggesting that they were also part of the cover-up. He was found guilty, sentenced to a year in jail and ultimately released three months later.
Two of the accused from the list – Sylvia Major and Wyn Dragon-Smith – have taken it upon themselves to defend their reputations, showing up at Green's court case (where they were cast as evil incarnate by the Hollie Greig campaign, obviously) and releasing a video protesting their innocence.
The BBC looked into the case in 2009, with investigative journalist Mark Daly getting in touch with the family and uncovering Roy Greig's official death certificate. Hollie's campaign insist they helped journalists with their investigation into the late stages of production, before it was suddenly pulled, seemingly under duress from management. However, Mark Daly tells me they didn't even shoot a single frame of film and that the investigation didn't get past the first couple of weeks of research. He also spoke on the record with the Sunday Herald this summer, insisting "The truth is that the claims of the paedophile ring were based on a tissue of false assertions."
Meeting a brick wall every time the campaign has tried to prosecute the abusers through the police, the courts, and the media has only made them more convinced they've uncovered some dark conspiracy. The police refuse to prosecute? They must be complicit in the abuse. The media refuse to report it? Oh, they must be complicit in the abuse, too.
The truth here will probably never emerge, which is deeply unsatisfying for everyone involved and will only continue to make the case one giant cluster of headfucks. But so long as stories surface about light entertainers molesting hundreds of girls while spending Christmas with the Prime Minister and receiving honours from royalty, the embers of the conspiracy theory bonfire will carry on burning, ready to be poked into life any time something new transpires.
Follow Chris on Twitter: @chrisoreal