November 1998

‘Chickenmaster’ gets 12 years

Brian Turner

A sex abuser has been has been jailed for 12 years for his part in what police believe is one of the biggest paedophile rings ever uncovered in the UK.

Brian Turner, 60, who was nicknamed The Chickenmaster for his ability to lure vulnerable youngsters into his clutches, indecently assaulted one of them “thousands of times”.

The ring may have abused up to 300 youngsters over the past 30 years.

The boy was 10 years old when he joined one of the self-styled scouting groups, which was run by scoutmaster Douglas Braithwaite, who died last year.

Douglas Braithwaite

Turner, who is a friend of child sex killer Sidney Cooke, met one of his victims through his links with a child sex gang that had infiltrated a breakaway scouts organisation.

Snaresbrook Crown Court in London heard how Turner was part of the “Dirty Dozen” child sex gang that included Sidney Cooke (pic below) and others convicted of the 1985 killing of Jason Swift.

‘Money tree’

Turner meticulously “groomed” three of his four most recent victims and in one case, he assaulted a child “thousands of times”.

He tempted children with meals out, trips to the cinema and zoo, and even a so-called “money tree” in a park where he buried £1 coins under mounds of leaves.

Turner, whose child molesting career stretches back 31 years, showed no emotion as Judge David Radford branded him a serious and long-term danger to youngsters.

“The facts of the crimes which I have to sentence you for, your previous criminal career and the documents which I have read make it abundantly clear you are a dangerous paedophile who preys on adolescent boys to satisfy your sexual perversions,” he said.

Dual assaults

The judge told Turner that a particularly aggravating feature of the case was the way one of the three boys had had to suffer joint assaults by him and another paedophile, Keith Spratt.

Spratt, 49, a scoutmaster with the UK Baden-Powell Scout Association which broke away from the main scout movement in 1970. Spratt 49, of Bracknell, Berks will be back on the streets within weeks after a judge suspended half his 12-month sentence

Keith Spratt and Dennis Ward

Turner, of Cherry Road, Enfield, Middlesex, admitted 10 charges – seven of indecent assault, two of conspiracy to commit indecency and other serious sex offences. He was the third paedophile linked to the gang to be jailed so far.

Baden-Powell Scout leaders Dennis Ward, (pic above) 66, and Robert Kearns, (pic below) 50, got four years and 15 months respectively last month for the abuse of the 13-year-old Turner had targeted. 

They say they have discovered thousands of pictures and videos hidden in Kearns’ home and are desperate to trace the children in the pornographic images.

Some of these films were recovered abroad and showed some of the men violently assaulting young children.

Robert Kearns

Mark Gadsden, prosecuting, said Turner, believed by police to have introduced Jason Swift to recently-released Cooke months before the youngster was killed, was first in court for molesting children in 1967.

History of abuse

In 1987 he was jailed for four years but within a year of his release in 1989 he had met the first of his latest victims in a park.

The youngster was just 10 years old. Not long afterwards he met the child’s older brother.

“There was plainly a period of grooming or courtship, gaining their trust, taking them out and buying them meals,” said Mr Gadsden.

Trips to the cinema and zoo followed, he said. His carefully crafted campaign to win them over also featured the so-called “money tree”.

“He would place a £1 coin by the tree and cover it up with leaves. The boys would find the money and then come to him.”

One of the brothers told officers how he was indecently assaulted five times a week every week until a day before Turner’s arrest earlier this year.

Link to Sidney Cooke

Judge David Radford lifted a publication ban, which had kept secret details of the police investigation, at the end of the week-long trial.

The four men are to be sentenced on October in Snaresbrook Crown Court.

Turner, who was not a leader in the scouting organisation, was jailed for five years in 1987 for conspiracy to bugger and indecently assault boys.

Police say he may have may have introduced child sex killer Sidney Cooke to Jason Swift, a 14-year-old rent boy who was killed during a sex orgy in 1985.

Link to Warwick spinks

February 1998


TWO scoutmasters who were jailed yesterday for corrupting dozens of boys to feed an international paedophile ring will be free in less than a year. 

Investigators reacted with fury when it was announced that ringleader Robert Kearns, 49, who left a scout scarred for life after four years of abuse, will only have to spend ten of his 30-month sentence in prison. 

His accomplice Keith Spratt, also 49, of Bracknell, Berks will be back on the streets within weeks after a judge suspended half his 12-month sentence yesterday. 

The move dismayed officers from Scotland Yard’s paedophile squad who found a child porn library of more than 14,000 negatives and 350 videos when they raided Kearns’ west London home. 

\One officer said: “It’s a disgrace they are not behind bars for years.” 

The Mirror can reveal that the Yard’s paedophile unit has widened its investigation to trap British perverts linked to the pair who are in hiding abroad. 

Some of the scout films were traced to Amsterdam where they were in the hands of a notorious paedophile called Warwick Spinks who is wanted for child sex offences in the UK.” 

Earlier police took the unusual step of showing a video of the corruption suffered by a scout over four years during a hearing”at Southwark Crown Court a fortnight ago. 

Kearns was seen forcing his sobbing 12-year-old victim into pornographic poses. 

He tied the terrified child to a chair, gagged him and attached electrodes to his body. 

A Scout Association spokesman said: “Everyone seemed surprised at the sentences. It’s upsetting for parents.”