VIP Sex Abuse Charity Stripped of NHS Funding

VIP Sex Abuse Charity Stripped of NHS Funding

A very interesting development, and one I believe should be applied to other NHS funded organisations that encourage the development of false memories in patients.

A charity which has helped two key witnesses in the VIP child sex abuse investigation has lost NHS funding amid concerns over its use of a controversial therapy which can generate false memories.


The Lantern Project was stripped of financial support after fears were raised over its governance, counselling techniques and use of unqualified staff.

The move raises further questions about the judgment of Labour deputy leader Tom Watson, who championed two alleged victims of VIP abuse helped by the charity.

And it is another blow to Operation Midland, the beleaguered Scotland Yard probe into alleged abuse and murder by a gang of senior Establishment figures.


Two of its patients were Esther Baker and ‘Darren’ . Each had disturbing stories to tell:


In May, after widespread publicity about VIP sex abuse, she waived her right to anonymity and claimed that when she was aged from six to 11 she had been repeatedly raped by a former MP and others in a forest at Cannock Chase, Staffordshire, as police stood guard.

Miss Baker, who has had close dealings with the disgraced ‘investigative’ news website Exaro, also alleged she was trafficked to a flat in Dolphin Square in Westminster for sex parties which included a former cabinet minister. Mr Watson [Tom Watson – the Labour MP] then called for a full investigation into her case.

…. Darren claimed he had been abused on an estate in Suffolk, had witnessed the murder of a man and had been trafficked to Dolphin Square. He named a former cabinet minister as a child rapist and said he knew of a girl who had died during one sex party.

In September Suffolk police concluded there was no substance to Darren’s claims.

That month, it emerged he had been previously sentenced to two years in jail for making hoax bomb calls, nuisance and threatening calls about neighbours and criminal damage, had falsely confessed to the murder of a prostitute in the midst of a high profile police manhunt, and a judge had once accused of him of telling “some pretty whopping lies” at the conclusion of a court case.

According to reports in October, Darren has not had UTD therapy, but the Lantern Project has been supporting him in some of his dealings with police.


We all know by now if there is real evidence that can lead to a conviction the CPS will prosecute. Anyone who followed these stories will see that the publicity around them, and around a ‘VIP sex ring’, drove the police to investigate with the serious intent of producing concrete results. They weren’t playing games. However, extreme claims require extreme evidence. There was absolutely no evidence to be found.


As with Carol Felstead’s case, rape and murder were essential aspects of the claims. The memories retrieved under therapy were vivid, dramatic and frightening. But not a shred of evidence has ever been found that supports them. It’s far too easy to become blasé about mass rape and murder when they arise time and time again in the narratives of those with false memories – one has to step back, and examine them with the earnestness that the ‘victims’ desire. As soon as one does that, everything falls apart. There are no forensics, basic facts are wrong or impossible, and even the most minute corroborative details are lacking. So what is actually going on?


Quite simply, the therapists are transferring to the patients their own fantasies, and encouraging the latter to imaginatively ‘recreate’ events that never happened. This is profoundly damaging to disturbed and vulnerable individuals, who are causing harm to themselves by participating in therapeutic treatment that is funded by the NHS, and can never heal them.


A short statement was released by Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group:


The Lantern Project

Following a review of The Lantern Project, a decision has been made by NHS Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to cease the funding to this service.

Wirral CCG has previously commissioned The Lantern Project to provide counselling and psychotherapy to victims of sexual assault, sexual abuse and domestic violence. Recently, however, the CCG has been made aware of, and continues to have concerns regarding, the governance of the service, the therapeutic model used and the use of unqualified staff. Unfortunately, following the review, and as the CCG were not assured in these areas, a decision has been made to cease funding the service.

Wirral CCG will endeavour to work with the Lantern Project to support existing patients to the end of their treatment or transfer them to suitable alternative services.


I think it’s fair to say that as far as the Justice for Carol Campaign is concerned, whenever an NHS funded organisation is discovered to have systematically cultivated false memories in patients we want that funding removed, and appropriate action taken against the therapists.


This is an issue we will be returning to, because the costs of misguided therapeutic treatment that generates false memories are phenomenal – to the general public, to the NHS, and to the police, who will often have to spend valuable resources investigating crimes that never happened, by people plagued by fictitious memories that are not their own.

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