Paedophile who escaped prosecution abused boys at three NI care homes

Self-confessed child abuser Henry Clarke
Self-confessed child abuser Henry Clarke

A BBC News NI investigation has revealed how a self-confessed child abuser has escaped prosecution for more than 30 years.

BBC News NI has made a 4,000 mile journey to northern Canada to track down a man who admitted abusing three children in Northern Ireland but has never been brought to justice.

Self-confessed paedophile, Henry Clarke, 75, admitted abusing three boys at three different care homes in the early sixties and seventies.

Now retired, Mr Clarke has been living in a remote part of Canada since he made the admissions to police in Northern Ireland in 1985.

When confronted about his past actions, Mr Clarke agreed to speak to BBC NI reporter Kevin Magee. In an interview, he admitted abusing one boy after he took him out of a care home, brought him home and introduced him to his parents.

Henry Clarke said: “I remember it quite well. I saw an opportunity and I took it,” he said. He admitted this and another case of abuse when questioned by the RUC in 1985.

“It would have been in the mid-eighties, we were on holiday in Belfast and two detectives from the RUC came to talk with me and on that day I admitted to them what I had done.”

But no charges were brought against him, and Mr Clarke was allowed to return to Canada. From there he made a further admission several months later and wrote to the RUC telling them he’d abused a third boy - this time when he was at a Boys’ Brigade camp in Newcastle, County Down.

“When I was in Northern Ireland, I omitted to mention a boy that I had interfered with sexually and, I wanted to deal with everything, and so I wrote to them and admitted that there was another boy that I had missed, or omitted telling them about, and I asked them to take that into consideration. “

“I realised at that time that my behaviour was wrong and that there were consequences, and I believed that I would probably finish up going to prison or something of that nature, but that there would be consequences.”

But there were no consequences. At first the DPP and then the RUC failed to act on his confessions, and the Canadian authorities were never told about them.

BBC Northern Ireland traced one of the victims abused by Henry Clarke when he was 12 years-old.

He said: “Your life is hell. People say you’ll forget about it, but you never forget about it. I am coming 61, and I still have the nightmares.

“He was in his own mother and father’s house. And for him to get into bed beside me, and done what he done. He shouldn’t even have got to Canada. He should be in hell. Why should I be in hell on my own and I was the victim.”

Kevin Magee’s investigation appeared on BBC Newsline earlier this evening and will feature again tomorrow night when it examines how Mr Clarke has never been brought to justice.