Former schoolteacher Charles Napier today entered guilty pleas to more than twenty paedophile offences, admitting abuse of 21 boys under 16 between September 1967 and April 1972. For most of this period he was teaching at Copthorne Prep School in Sussex.
Charles Scott Napier was born into the very heart of the British Empire’s military and intelligence establishment. Ironically at the time of his paedophile offences one of Napier’s distant cousins was married to Sir Peter Hayman, a senior MI6 officer who was later himself exposed as a paedophile though never prosecuted. (Further information about Sir Peter’s MI6 career will be published here later this week.)
The Napier and Hayman families had a long record of imperial service at the highest level. As was common in such circles, many members of the family were senior Freemasons: Sir Peter’s grandfather Canon Henry Hayman was Provincial Grand Master of Nottinghamshire and a Past Grand Chaplain of England; while Charles Napier’s ancestors included a Grand Master Mason of Scotland.
The paedophile schoolmaster’s father Alexander Napier served in the Indian Political Service of the crumbling British Raj, stationed at the strategically vital port of Khorramshahr on Iran’s border with Iraq, until the Empire was forced to abandon the area during the Abadan crisis of 1951. MI6 officers then planned the overthrow of Iran’s prime minister Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953 – Alexander Napier died a year later aged only 49.
Charles Napier’s parents were cousins: his maternal grandfather Brigadier Arthur Napier had top level intelligence connections as military adviser to the Ministry of Supply. During the winter of 1943-44 he was sent to Washington for secret discussions with the American government about German rocket developments and the potential threat of germ warfare.
The future paedophile was named after his father’s brother Charles Scott Napier, who had played an important planning role in the D-Day landings as chief of movements and transportation at Allied Headquarters, before dying aged only 47, a year before his namesake’s birth.
Present enquiries into paedophile cover-ups are likely to examine how Charles Napier managed to continue teaching even after his first conviction for indecent assault in 1972. He was banned from teaching in the UK, but emigrated and by the late 1970s (already an active member of the Paedophile Information Exchange) was employed at a school in Sweden.
Around the same time that Napier emigrated, his cousin’s husband – fellow paedophile Sir Peter Hayman – had returned from a stint as High Commissioner in Canada to become deputy director of MI6.
Incredibly Napier later became an assistant head of studies with the British Council in Cairo, and then taught in Istanbul. A police raid on the home of fellow PIE activist Peter Righton in 1992 led police to Napier, who was convicted in 1995 of abusing a 14-year-old boy a decade earlier.
Sir Peter Hayman had died three years before Napier’s second conviction. The former MI6 officer was never convicted of paedophile offences, though his diaries recording sexual fantasies about children featured in the 1981 trial of PIE founder Tom O’Carroll, and Sir Peter’s identity was disclosed in the House of Commons in March 1981 by Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens.
In 1984 Sir Peter was fined £100 after being convicted of an act of gross indecency with a lorry driver in a Reading public lavatory.
© Thames House Books, 2014
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