Dad opens up on how he believes top royal raped him when he was a boy

‘I just want the truth to be told. I bottled it up for over 40 years’

Arthur Smyth says he was just 11 years old in 1977 when he was raped in Kincora by Lord Mountbatten

Chris Moore

Arthur and his wife Alison at their home

Lord Louis Mountbatten

The former Kincora Boys' Home in east Belfast

Chris MooreSunday World

Arthur Smyth was just 11 years old in 1977 when he says he was raped in Kincora by Lord Mountbatten.

It was the same year as the Queen visited Northern Ireland to mark her Silver Jubilee.

But now at the age of 57 from his home in Australia, Arthur has decided it’s time for him to reveal the truth about Kincora’s dark secrets that might explain why Britain has hidden away secret papers about the boys’ hostel in east Belfast until 2065 and 2085.

Arthur Smyth spent three months in Kincora after being placed in care there by a Belfast court during his parents’ divorce proceedings.

But it was a year he will never forget as it forever changed his life as his 11-year-old mind and body was filled with memories that would haunt him into adulthood.

He told me: “I just want the truth to be told. I bottled it up for over 40 years. And you know, I tell my grandkids and my kids to be honest. If something bothers ya you know to stand up for your rights.

Arthur and his wife Alison at their home

“And now I'm getting older, I want them to stand up for their rights. So I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't do what I feel is right.”

At first Kincora was a welcome sight for the young Arthur who was sent there by a judge wishing to provide him with a better way of life.

“I ended up in Kincora and obviously it wasn’t a better life,” Arthur reflected. “But the judge thought at the time it was a better place to be.”

He had a clear memory of the day he arrived at Kincora – driven there directly from the court: “We pulled up outside and I thought to myself, this is a great place to be living. Never lived in a big house that big before and I was like this is magic, trees to play around on. I used to like climbing and falling out of trees. I never had a garden before. It was like a new world.”

Even better for a boy who’d come from a poor family struggling to survive every day.

Arthur recalled: “And like getting fed every day, like, regularly. That, that was that was not something that I was used to. You know, like three meals a day. I didn't know that people have three meals a day.

“We just had one meal and that was it. And at the time, we were that poor, we never got apples. The inside of a cabbage was my apple. And it seemed strange at the time, but we couldn't afford much because dad lived at the pub a lot. I thought I’d landed in heaven.”

Within a week heaven became hell.

Lord Louis Mountbatten

Arthur broke down as he recalled how house father William McGrath betrayed his trust: “Probably about a week in, the house master McGrath came into my bedroom at night and… uh… did things.”

I asked Arthur if he could explain what McGrath did: “McGrath come into the bedroom and he got me to lie face down and told me he would take my pants off.

“But in doing that, he said I'm going to get you to see your sisters. So if you comply and do things for me, I'll make it better for you. And then because I was in the home by myself, so he was going to connect me with my sisters in a different home. And he… he sexually abused me.

“I knew what he was doing. I knew it was wrong because I felt a lot of pain. But I didn't sort of show it.”

Arthur went on tolerating the pain because he believed it was worth the promise of being re-united with his six sisters. He also had two brothers but they had not been placed in care.

McGrath’s approach to Arthur was typical of how he moved in on vulnerable children. Other residents at Kincora had been reporting McGrath to the police and social workers throughout the seventies from the moment McGrath arrived at the hostel in 1971.

But nothing had been done to stop McGrath.

McGrath knew Arthur was upset because the courts had separated him from his sisters and as part of the grooming process he blackmailed the young boy.

And it wasn’t long before McGrath wanted Arthur to provide the same sexual services to someone else… again using emotional blackmail.

Arthur recalls he was playing on the stairs at Kincora when McGrath approached to ask Arthur to help his friend. He led Arthur to the office area of Kincora. This is how Arthur remembers this first encounter with a man he’d never seen before:

“My memory of meeting him and being in the room. I was nervous. He didn't say who he was. McGrath said, This is my friend Dickie, and to look after him. McGrath left the room.

“He left me with a bloke called Dickie. I thought to myself why's he calling him Dickie? You know, to me, that's that was somebody's penis.

The former Kincora Boys' Home in east Belfast

“And Dickie asked me to stand on top of like a box or something on the floor next to a desk. And he told me to take my pants down. And he was wearing something black at the time I thought was a jacket or. And he took it off and put it over a chair.

“And then I just remember him telling me to take my pants down and off and to separate my legs and take my undies down. And he then proceeded to lean me over the desk. And then he had sex with me. And when he had finished, he told me to go and have a shower. And I went and had a shower and. I felt like sick and I was crying in the shower.

“I just wanted it all to stop. And I washed myself down. And by the time I'd wash myself down, I came out of the shower and the bloke Dickie had gone. McGrath was there to take me back to my room.

“And he took me upstairs and. Just told me that, you know, this was between us, that nothing could be said about it because if I wanted to be with my sisters, that all had to be kept secret. So I never told anybody. Up until. uh, four years ago. Well, I told my sister and my brother's funeral. Other than that, my wife didn't even know of 34 years.

Arthur revealed that ‘Dickie’ arrived at the home once more.

“ He came twice,” Arthur said. “And on the second time it was more or less the same thing over again. Did what he did. Have a shower. He left. And McGrath came down and took me back upstairs again. It was like a routine.

He said they met in a special ground-floor room. “It wasn't the front room. It was somewhere near the middle. And it had a big desk and a shower,” he said.

“And I just thought it was strange to have a shower in an office and, you know. I'd never seen a shower in my life. You know, we never had showers in our houses and. And. Yeah. I just thought it was strange to have a what you would call a bathroom inside an office.”

Arthur said Dickie didn’t say much. “He might have said, like, you know, how are you going? Or something of that nature, like just a greeting. Yeah, but not. Not, no. No casual talk. He was smiling and he seemed happy.”

And then the man disappeared from his life. “I never seen him again,” Arthur said.

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