I have been researching the background of the Top Doctor at St George’s Hospital who treated Norman Scott and who undoubtedly knew what Jeremy Thorpe was up to (see post ‘My How Things Haven’t Changed’) and even I am gobsmacked by some of what I have discovered. The Top Doctor concerned was Dr Brian O’Connell and he certainly had some interesting practices and even more interesting colleagues.
Brian O’Connell was Irish but after graduating took up a post as a psychiatrist in Scotland. He then worked for two years at St George’s under Professor Desmond Curran.
Desmond Curran became the first Professor of Psychiatry at St George’s in 1961 and was the person who built up the academic dept of psychiatry there, in which he ‘served’ for three decades. So we have him to thank for that nest of vipers who colluded with Dafydd and the paedophile gang in the early 1990s and who oversaw a number of murders on their own glorious patch at Springfield Hospital during the following years.
Curran was born in Devon and trained at St George’s. He joined the Royal Navy in 1939 as a medic. Which is really interesting because Curran was of a similar vintage to Gwynne the lobotomist – who also served as a medic in the Royal Navy after qualifying in medicine in London. Bear with me – there are more reasons why they could have known each other…
One of Curran’s interests was ‘sexual deviation’, so I can imagine the fun that Curran and his colleagues would have had with patients like Norman Scott who had been sexually exploited by well-connected older men in politics who were denying it and declaring their victims mad. Curran was a member of the Wolfenden Commission on homosexuality – as were a number of Jeremy’s mates such as Lord Boothby. Curran was also an advisor in psychiatry to the Foreign Office and the Home Office – the Home Office that ran the approved schools like Bryn Estyn which were rife with the sexual abuse of boys.
Curran was President of the Royal Medico-Psychological Association (the forerunner to the Royal College of Psychiatrists) 1963-64.
Curran’s biography can be found online in the ‘Lives of the Fellows’ section of the Royal College of Physicians website. It is of course a glowing tribute to him and the hotbed of corruption that he established at St George’s:
‘St George’s became pre-eminent…for it’s department of psychiatry. It’s national and international renown increased steadily during the three decades in which Desmond served it’
I have found some very interesting letters that Desmond Curran wrote stored in the Wellcome Library in the Eugenics Society Archive. There is a collection of letters there written by Curran from his Wimpole Street address. One letter dated 8 May 1939 concerns a patient who is engaged – she wishes her fiance to undergo sterilisation as she does not consider him suitable to breed as a result of some of his relatives having conditions such as epilepsy or ‘psychosis’. She is requesting Curran’s help – whether her fiancé actually knows that she has approached Curran regarding this matter is unclear, it is simply mentioned that the young man is currently in South Africa. It is not impossible that the young man himself knows nothing of this plan, because Curran is involved in some almost unbelievable plans with certain patients.
One letter from Curran is dated 11 March 1938 and is addressed to a Dr C.P. Blacker at 28 Weymouth Street. It concerns a patient whom Curran describes as ‘a Jewess’ who is caring for ‘an elderly whining Jewish mother’. The patient is married to a man who is unfaithful and who contracted gonorrhoea. Curran writes that the gonorrhoea has been treated but ‘his seed is not active’. Curran explains to Dr Blacker that Elliot Slater had suggested ‘artificial impregnation’. Curran writes ‘if the King was not willing to provide active seed, she could possibly get some from a distinguished scientist or author or whatever quality she wanted’.
Yes, Curran seems to believe that there is a possibility that the FUCKING KING might be willing to donate sperm to a well-to-do patient of Curran’s whom he seems to be helping acquire elite sperm. Before I receive e mails demanding that I be thrown into the Tower for making this up, go online to the Wellcome Library, go to the archives of the Eugenics Society and see those letters for yourselves – there are photographs of them. It is there in black and white, there is no doubt about what is written, it is crystal clear – Curran was going to approach the King to see if he would be willing to donate sperm. That would have been George VI, the present Queen’s father. This really puts Charles, Diana and Camilla into perspective…
Did the King offer this sort of service regularly? It couldn’t have been completely unthinkable or Eliot Slater would never have suggested it. Hadn’t anyone thought about the ramifications? For a start the Royal Family are obsessed with breeding, blood line, hereditary principles etc – the King as sperm donor, it would cause havoc. Any potential baby might be in a position to claim to be the heir to the throne. Are we sure that HM the Queen is the right one sitting on the throne with this sort of thing going on?
So who were the other Top Doctors involved in Curran’s plan, Dr Blacker and Eliot Slater?
Blacker was Carlos Panton Blacker – war hero, psychiatrist and eugenicist. Blacker qualified in 1925, worked at Guy’s psychiatry dept for three years, then worked at the Maudsley. Between 1931-52 Blacker was the Secretary of the Eugenics Society. Blacker was pushing for the Society to promote contraception to ‘reduce the fecundity of the lower, less-able classes’. The flip side of this presumably was helping the better classes gain access to the sperm of the King or if the barrel has to be scraped, donations from distinguished scientists or authors.
Eliot Slater was a pioneer in the field of the ‘genetics of mental disorders’. He held senior posts at the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases and the Institute of Psychiatry which was then at the Maudsley. Slater co-edited ‘Clinical Psychiatry’, a leading textbook for psychiatry trainees.
Slater read Natural Sciences at Cambridge and got a third class degree. He then trained as a doctor at St George’s, qualifying in 1928. In 1931 he became a medical officer at the Maudsley. In 1934 he received a travelling fellowship from the Rockerfeller Foundation, which he used to study psychiatric genetics under Bruno Schulz at Forschungsanstalf fur Psychiatrie in Munich. He visited that institution again in 1937.
Bruno Schulz supported the Nazi regime’s early racial hygiene measures and forced sterilisation. In 1934 he published in a journal edited by senior Nazis such as Heinrich Himmler. The Director of the Genetics Dept was Ernst Rudin, the architect of Hitler’s eugenic sterilization policies which were implicated in Action T4.
Whilst he was at the Munich institution, Slater met Lydia Pasternak, sister of the poet Boris, who returned with him to the Maudsley – they later married.
Although Slater later distanced himself from and denounced the Nazi’s ‘unspeakable men’ and their ‘detestable ideology’, after doing this he gained Rudin’s support for two lengthy articles in a German journal and contributed to an academic celebration in Munich in 1939 for Rudin’s 65th birthday, contributing to the festschrift that was published in his honour. Slater also frequently quoted the work of the Munich contingent.
In 1939 the Maudsley was evacuated and Slater became Clinical Director of Sutton Emergency Hospital, where he was responsible for 20,000 psychiatric casualties.
In 1944 Slater co-authored ‘An Introduction To Physical Methods Of Treatment In Psychiatry’ with the appalling William Sargant, Dr David Owen’s old mentor (see post ‘Dr Death’ for details of Sargant, his butchery and the lives that he ruined).
In 1959 Slater helped establish the MRC Psychiatric Genetics Unit at the Maudsley Medical School/Institute of Psychiatry – he directed this until 1969.
Slater was famous for advocating the monogenetic theory of schizophrenia, ie. the notion that schizophrenia is caused by a single partially dominant gene.
Slater edited the British Journal of Psychiatry 1961-72.
He was an enthusiastic proponent of lobotomy even into the 70s – I told you there were Gwynne links. Slater will still have been involved with the Maudsley when Dafydd ‘trained’ there. Slater remained a close associate of William Sargant and like Sargant clung onto discredited dangerous treatments such as insulin shock therapy long after most rational people had left them behind.
After his retirement Slater was a campaigner for euthanasia and a member of the Euthanasia Society.
Slater died in 1983 – one of his four children became a psychiatrist.
Kings College London now has the Institute of Psychiatry under it’s umbrella and it continues to honour the memory of Eliot Slater – it has offered an ‘Eliot Slater Prize In Psychiatry’ since 1983.
Lest readers dismiss the excesses of Curran (who died in 1985), Blacker and Slater as irrelevant bits of an unsavoury past, I will argue that they are not. These men – and men like them such as Sargant – trained psychiatrists who are the ‘towering figures’ in today’s profession, the people who are training present day psychiatrists. It is psychiatry’s desperate desire to keep their madnesses, their inhumanity and indeed their frank abuses under wraps that leads everyone to cover-up for Dafydd and his ilk. Because of the way that medicine works, these doctors are not ‘in the past’. Norman Scott is still alive – despite the best efforts of Jeremy Thorpe – and he will be living with the stupidities of Desmond Curran, the man who sought to procure the King’s sperm, because it was Curran who supervised and mentored the man who treated Norman. Of course as the psychiatric establishment will be quick to point out, Curran’s legacy is also the glorious dept of psychiatry of St Georges. A dept that has obviously been concealing serious wrongdoing in high places for decades – whose staff advise Gov’ts and give ‘expert’ evidence in murder trials…
Desmond Curran co-authored with a man called Martin Roth in the 70s. Martin Roth became Professor Sir Martin Roth, leading figure in psychiatry and President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists 1971-75.
And so it goes on, one crazed generation bequeathing their insanity and cruelty to patients to the following generation…
So what became of Brian O’Connell, Curran’s protégé, who treated Norman?
After his two years at St George’s under Curran, although O’Connell remained associated with St George’s for the next twenty years, he moved to work at the Maudsley. He was Consultant Psychiatrist at the Maudsley 1961-67 and whilst he was there he was seconded to Broadmoor. He got on so well with Jimmy Savile’s mate Pat McGrath, the Top Doctor at Broadmoor (please see additional comments in response to post ‘Wheels Within Wheels Or Flies Drawn To The Same Incestuously Corrupt Shithouse?’), that Pat’s son the novelist Patrick McGrath dedicated his novel ‘Asylum’ to O’Connell. O’Connell then landed a World Health Organisation Fellowship and went to the US, where he toured institutions for the criminally insane no less in 1960-61.
In 1968 O’Connell founded and became the Medical Director of the Northgate Clinic, Edgware, North London, an ‘unconventional holistic and extremely successful centre with teenagers mental health problems’ – now I wonder what that translates as… We will see shortly.
O’Connell didn’t make friends with other Top Doctors, he hung out with people from the literary scene, journos, artists and folk from the world of theatre. O’Connell married Finnuala O’Shannon, an actress and the sister of a broadcaster. After he was widowed in 1992, O’Connell got back together with a former girlfriend, a high profile US journo, Ann Geracimes.
So there’s a few reasons why the wider world never got to hear all about Jeremy Thorpe.
O’Connell was also keen on poker and getting pissed.
He was also a consultant to the Stamford House Remand Centre for Adolescents. This was a Council care institution. In Lords Hansard Feb 1961, there is a question and answer session concerning the very high rate of kids ‘absconding’ from Stamford House. There were many ‘absconders’ from the children’s homes in north Wales – the kids kept running away because they were being beaten and raped.
The National Archives record that in 1963 there was a ‘complaint about indecency by staff’ at Stamford House. I cannot access further details because the file is closed until 2057.
O’Connell sat on Mental Health Review Tribunals. Of course he did.
According to the BMJ’s obituary of him, O’Connell’s life and career was a roaring success from the day that he was born.
O’ Connell’s Guardian obituary stated that he ‘concentrated on boys in trouble with the law’ – just like Dafydd and the Paedophiles’ Friends did – although the Northgate Clinic soon opened it’s doors to girls as well. That always helps, you never know what Girls In Trouble might know about who.
The Guardian noted that O’Connell ‘could be caustic in his putdowns of the pretentious, the promiscuous and the wilful’. So he’s going to be just great with young people who’ve been sexually abused and passed around then isn’t he. It was also noticed that O’Connell could give a ‘flinty glare’. Yeh, that always helps when you want to make a suicidal teenager feel even worse about themselves.
Not that O’ Connell always conducted himself too well. It was remembered that ‘as a young man aerated by champagne….he shinned up the narrow pillar in the middle of a Soho fish restaurant to bombard his feasting friends with soft bread rolls’. A Bullingdon Boy! Furthermore when O’Connell was young, Soho had not yet been cleaned up – so O’Connell was probably hanging out with some very seedy company when he got pissed and conducted a food fight. If I know anything about Top Doctors’ anecdotes in obituaries, that story will have been highly sanitised. I imagine that O’Connell actually did something pretty gross whilst ‘aerated by champagne’. One wonders what he did when he was pissed as an older Top Doctor whom people would be afraid to challenge.
The Guardian also mentioned that although O’Connell was the most articulate cultured man on the planet he preferred to call things ‘shite’. As I do – particularly the practices of Top Doctors like O’Connell.
O’Connell died not long ago but as is the tendency with Top Doctors, his glorious work continues. In Oct 2009 the Guardian ran an article about the Northgate Clinic, now a residential therapeutic unit run by Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust. Kids with ‘serious’ mental health problems who are ‘not safe’ to be cared for in the community live there during the week but return to ‘stable homes’ at the weekend – it is mentioned in passing that the ‘stable home’ at the weekend for many is a children’s home or foster care.
The Guardian explains that no-one is sectioned at the Northgate, everyone signs a contract. Yes that’s a very popular con these days, it was pioneered by St George’s and Springfield. What it involves is ordering the patient to sign a contract stating that if they display whichever problem has deemed them to be in need of care, they will be discharged with no further care. It’s really great – Springfield discharged clinically depressed people for trying to commit suicide and patients with anorexia for refusing to eat. The outcomes are grim but the deaths don’t happen on the hospital premises so it’s not a problem and the mental health facility concerned boasts an excellent recovery rate. It also means that the Northgate can pretend that they provide a liberal non-oppressive environment in interviews with Guardian journos.
The Guardian mentioned that a bed at the Northgate Clinic costs £598/day (that was at 2009 prices), so some NHS organisations are ‘hesitant’ to send patients there. I bet they are – particularly as the Northgate just ensures that anybody with real problems is kicked out for breaking their ‘contract’. The Northgate was probably finding itself rather short of customers which might have been why they were given a free plug in the Guardian by a tame journo. It’ll have been the fault of the Tory cuts. Those Tory cuts under the New Labour Gov’t in 2009. That and the Angels not being paid enough and thus having to root around in skips and food banks for their dinner.