by Mike Richardson
Four men who masterminded a lurid rent-a-boy vice racket in London’s West End were convicted on a series of charges last night.
An Old Bailey jury found them guilty of a total of 16 offences after a 47 day trial, thought to have cost about £250,000.
The jury heard how the vice dealers picked up runaway boys — many aged only 11 or 12 — with promises of money, meals and shelter.
Then they lured them into homosexual prostitution as “rent boys” who often earned £100 a week selling themselves to men.
Mr Michael Corkery, prosecuting said:
“The boys became, in effect male prostitutes, selling the only thing they had — their young bodies.”
During the trial Judge King-Hamilton banned the jury from watching the TV documentary Johnny Go Home which showed the perils facing penniless youngsters in London.
Two of the defendants brought a High Court action in a bid to stop the programme being screened at all.
THE RACKET was centred among the pinball machines of the Playland amusement arcade in Piccadilly.
Vice Squad detectives swooped after a two-month watch and achieved the biggest breakthrough yet against traffickers in homosexual vice.
The trail led to booming clubs catering exclusively for homosexuals. The names of some well known society figures and entertainers cropped up during interviews with more than 100 boys.
The boys were run-aways from home or on the run from approved schools or remand homes.
They were easy prey being picked up for vice in return for food and a bed for the night.
A senior detective said: “We were sickened by what we found. But it is only the tip of the iceberg.”
All four men sat motionless as the jury foreman announced the guilty verdicts. They will be sentenced on Monday.
The four guilty men, all from London are:
Andrew Novac, aged 29 of Elm Court, Harrowby Street
Malcolm Raywood, 43 of Garratt Lane, Wandsworth
Basil Andrew-Cohen, 29 of no fixed address
and David Archer, 23, a security guard of Odessa Road, Forest Gate.
Their offences ranged from gross indecency and conspiracy to living off the immoral earnings of young boys.
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