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Inside story of local press child abuse probe to be told in new podcast

Charles Thomson 1The story of an award-winning local press investigation which exposed a child abuse scandal is to be told in a regional publisher’s new podcast series.

Shoebury’s Lost Boys will expose how evidence that a major paedophile ring was operating from Southend-on-Sea was seemingly ignored by the authorities until the Yellow Advertiser started investigating it 25 years later.

The series is produced by the Archant investigations unit and hosted by journalist Charles Thomson, who ran a five-year investigation into the case while working for the Basildon-based Advertiser.

Charles, pictured, joined the Archant unit earlier this year.

He said: “This podcast will enable the story to be told with a level of depth not possible within the confines of a newspaper.

“Listeners will hear directly from the people involved about how, as they began uncovering uncomfortable information, dark forces seemed to move against them, plunging them into a living nightmare.

“Like most true crime podcasts, the subject matter is grim. But what happened in Shoebury was a disaster on many levels; childhoods were destroyed, reputations were ruined, lives were lost – and these wrongs have still not been righted.

“Unless we acknowledge and learn from the mistakes of the past, we are liable to repeat them in the future.”

The Investigation has won the Society of Editors’ Weekly Newspaper Campaign of the Year, the News Media Association’s Making A Difference Award and ITV and Channel 4’s Ray Fitzwalter Award for Investigative Journalism.

Archant investigations unit editor Tom Bristow said: “I’ve followed Charles’s work on this for several years, so when he came to work for us, the first thing I asked him to do was to turn his investigation into a podcast.

“His findings are extraordinary and this is the perfect medium to bring to a wider audience what happened in Essex and hopefully address some of the still unanswered questions.”

The podcast can be found here.