Stephen Thomas Ward, the second son of the Reverend Arthur Ward (1877) and his wife Eileen Esmée (1881–1955), was born at Lemsford, Hertfordshire, on 19th October 1912. In 1920 the family moved to Torquay when Ward's father became Vicar of St. Matthais.
Ward was sent as a boarder at Cranford, a public school in Dorset. His father wanted him to go to university but at 17 moved to London instead. He found work as a carpet salesman in Houndsditch. In 1929 he moved to Hamburg and was employed as a translator in the German branch of Shell and as a a Parisian tourist guide while studying at the Sorbonne (1930–1932).
In 1932 Ward returned to London where he sold chests of Indian tea and subscriptions to the Spectator magazine. However, in 1934 he was persuaded by his mother to study at the Kirksville College of Osteopathy and Surgery in Missouri. The journalist, Philip Knightley, has claimed that "Ward helped deliver babies at remote farms, did surgery on kitchen tables, set bones broken during tornadoes and gave typhoid shots after floods devastated the area around the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers." Ward was greatly impressed by the United States. He later commented: "I loved America and Americans, a warm-hearted, open and dynamic people. Their kindness and hospitality made me feel ashamed of the standoffish way the British treat people."
In 1940 Ward set-up as an osteopath in Torquay. Ward's biographer, Richard Davenport-Hines, has pointed out: "He qualified in osteopathy at Kirksville, Missouri (1934–9), which entitled him to practise as a physician in the USA; he henceforth used the prefix of doctor, but had no British medical qualifications." The following year he volunteered for the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) but was rejected as they did not recognise his American qualifications. He therefore joined the Royal Armoured Corps at Bovington. Ward was soon treating officers for muscle injuries and back trouble. An extremely talented osteopath, he was eventually commissioned as an officer in the RAMC.
In March 1944 Captain Ward was posted to India. Later that year he treated Gandhi for headaches and a stiff neck. Ward was impressed with Gandhi: "Although much of his policy was opposed to that of my own country. I knew that when I was with him I was in the presence of greatness, and my encounter with him was certainly the most important meeting of my life."
After the Second World War Ward worked for the Osteopathic Association Clinic in Dorset Square. His first private patient was Averell Harriman. It was not long before other famous people such as Winston Churchill, Duncan Sandys, Feliks Topolski, Ava Gardner, Mary Martin and Mel Ferrer became his patients. This enabled him to set up his own clinic in Cavendish Square, on the fringe of Harley Street.
Over the next few years he gained several other important patients. This included Lord Astor, who allowed him the use of a cottage on his Cliveden Estate. Other friends included Colin Coote, the editor of the Daily Telegraph, Roger Hollis, the head of MI5, Anthony Blunt, Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures, Geoffrey Nicholson, the Conservative MP, Peter Rachman, the famous slum landlord and the actor, Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
On 27th July 1949, Ward married Patricia Baines, a fashion model, at Marylebone Register Office. The relationship was not a success and after six weeks she moved out of Ward's flat at Cavendish Square. Ward had a series of girlfriends that included Eunice Bailey, the top Christian Dior model in the 1950s, Margaret Brown and Vickie Martin, who was killed in a car crash in 1955.
Ward was also friendly with another model, Joy Lewis. She was the wife of the successful businessman and former Labour Party MP, John Lewis. Ward introduced Joy to Frederic Mullally. It was claimed that Mullally had once said that his greatest ambition was to sleep with all the beautiful women in London. Mullally began an affair with Joy Lewis. Mullally later commented: "She (Joy) and Lewis had lots of fights, rows and walkouts. And on one occasion she went out in great distress, and didn't know what to do, and called Stephen Ward. And he put her up for the night at his place. It was a totally friendly gesture on his part." However, when Lewis heard about what happened, he became convinced that Ward was also having an affair with his wife.
Lewis also became angry with Ward over another relationship his wife had. Ward's friend, Warwick Charlton, has argued: "He (Lewis) went potty when he found Stephen had fixed her up with a Swedish beauty queen, a lesbian, with whom she had an affair. This he thought, was an assault on his manhood... He had a heart attack over it." Charlton was with Lewis when he heard the news of the affair. Lewis told Charlton "I will get Ward whatever happens". Lewis took out a revolver and said "I'll shoot myself, but not before I get Ward." Charlton claimed that "from then on, the most important thing in John's life was his burning hatred for Ward, which went on year after year."
The journalist, Logan Gourlay, remembers that in 1953 Lewis attempted to get his newspaper, The Daily Express, to publish an article discrediting Ward. Frederic Mullally explained: "Lewis got hold of an Express reporter, a young untrained boy, and gave him what purported to be an exclusive story that Stephen Ward and I were running a call-girl business in Mayfair." The editor, Arthur Christiansen, who was friendly with both Ward and Mullally, and refused to publish the story. Lewis now began to telephone the Marylebone Police Station anonymously, saying that Dr Ward was procuring girls for his wealthy patients. The police treated the calls as coming from a crank and ignored them.
MI6, who provided prostitutes for foreign visitors, became aware of the activities of Stephan Ward. One officer admitted: "We learned that Ward wasn't that interested in participating in sex. He liked to watch girls being screwed, especially adult women dressed up as underage girls. Ward would obtain girls, and a boost for us came when he met Lord Astor - and capitalised on Astor's perversion... For us, here was a thriving little London setup with all sorts of big names and diplomats and others swimming in and out... MI6 has tentacles everywhere, and someone spotted Ward and felt the setup might become useful, that some interesting people might walk into it. We could get to know them, do little deals, so that they'd be friends of ours."
According to the authors of Honeytrap (1987), MI6 became aware of the attempts by Lewis to bring an end to Ward's activities. An MI6 officer recalled: "The problem was how do we negate Lewis, and stop him spoiling this promising setup? My case officer assigned me to get in with Lewis, and I did, by pretending I wanted an interview for the paper or something. Soon I was going nightclubbing with him - we went to a place called Eve's quite a lot. He was quite open about his hatred for Ward. And I got in with him to the extent that I was helping him to plan his anti-Ward campaign, but in such a way as to make sure it didn't come off.... Ward was never actually recruited, so far as I knew, just observed and kept on ice as an available asset."
In 1954 John Lewis decided to divorce his wife. Lewis told Warwick Charlton that he was going to use the case to ruin Stephen Ward: "He's a bastard. Not only did he introduce Joy to Freddy Mullally but to some Swedish beauty queen as well. I'm going to cite seven men and one woman in my divorce case." The judge in the case noted it had "been fought with a consistent and virulent bitterness which could rarely have been excelled". The judge also questioned some of the evidence he heard. It was later claimed that "Lewis asked several witnesses to perjure themselves, and bribed some to do so."
In 1959 Ward met Christine Keeler, when she worked as a showgirl at Murray’s Cabaret Club. It was not long before she decided to go and live with him at his flat in Orme Court in Bayswater. "His flat was tiny and on the top floor but there was a lift. There was a bed-sitting room with two single beds pushed close together, and an adjoining bathroom. we would share the bed but only as brother and sister; there were never to be any sexual goings-on between us."
Ward was also an artist and he had a reputation for producing fine portraits of his friends. This included the Duke of Edinburgh. Afterwards he told Keeler: "Philip's a snob, not like the man he used to be - I used to know him before he was married to Elizabeth". He also sketched Madame Furtseva, the Soviet Minister of Culture. Colin Coote arranged for the drawing to appear in the Daily Telegraph.
During this period Ward also got to know Mandy Rice-Davies, Suzy Chang and Maria Novotny, who ran sex parties in London. So many senior politicians attended that she began referring to herself as the "government's Chief Whip". As well as British politicians such as John Profumo and Ernest Marples, foreign leaders such as Willy Brandt and Ayub Khan, attended these parties.
Colin Coote, the editor of the Daily Telegraph commissioned Stephen Ward to sketch pictures of participants in the trial of Adolf Eichmann. According to the authors of An Affair of State (1987): "Ward duly went to Israel and a series of his drawings appeared in the newspaper. Coote got many complimentary letters about the drawings and decided that when there was another opportunity to use Ward he would do so."
Coote suggested that Stephen Ward should go to the Soviet Union to sketch the leading politicians of the country. However, Ward had difficulty getting a visa from the Soviet Embassy in London. Ward told Coote about his problems and on 21st January 1961, Coote invited Ward to have lunch at the Garrick Club with Eugene Ivanov, an naval attaché at the embassy. Coote later recalled: "I remembered Stephen Ward's difficulty about a visa and thought that this link might be useful." David Floyd, the Daily Telegraph's correspondent on Soviet affairs, also attended the lunch. Ward was impressed with Ivanov's ability to discuss foreign affairs: "I listened with fascination as they argued backward and forward on issues which I had never heard discussed before in an intelligent and informal manner."
Ward and Ivanov became close friends. As Philip Knightley pointed out: "As Ward's friendship with Ivanov blossomed, the original purpose for meeting him - to get a visa to go and sketch Soviet leaders - appears to have been forgotten. The two men met often and went everywhere together. Ivanov would call at Ward's flat unannounced and the two of them would go out - either to visit a club, to play bridge, or to dine with one of Ward's friends." Anthony Summers argues that: "MI5's D branch, responsible for counter-espionage, quickly identified Ivanov as a Soviet Intelligence officer using diplomatic cover, a common practice worldwide. According to one source, part of Ivanov's mission may have been to supervise Soviet penetration of the Portland naval base in Dorset."
In February, 1961, Ward and Christine Keeler moved to 17 Wimpole Mews in Marylebone. According to Keeler's autobiography, The Truth at Last (2001), Roger Hollis and Anthony Blunt were regular visitors to the flat. "He (Lord Denning) knew that Stephen was a spy and that I knew too much. During my two sessions with him I told him all about Hollis and Blunt: how Stephen had politely introduced me and how I had said 'hello' and nodded when they visited. I told him all about Sir Godfrey's visit and how I had seen Sir Godfrey with Eugene. He asked me very precisely who had met Eugene and about the visitors to Wimpole Mews. He showed me a photograph of Hollis - it wasn't a sharp shot of him - and asked me to identify him. I told Denning this was the man who had visited Stephen. He showed me a photograph of Sir Godfrey and I also identified him. He did not show me a picture of Blunt for, I suspect, they already knew more than they wanted to know about Blunt. Denning was very gentle about it and I told him everything. This was the nice gentleman who was going to look after me. But I was ignored, side-lined - disparaged as a liar so that he could claim that there had been no security risk. It was the ultimate whitewash."
Ward also got to know Keith Wagstaffe of MI5. On 8th June 1961, the two men went out to dinner before going back to the Wimpole Mews flat. Christine Keeler made the two men coffee: "Stephen was on the couch and Wagstaffe sat on the sofa chair. He wanted to know about Stephen's friendship with Eugene. We knew that MI5 were monitoring embassy personnel so this was quite a normal interview in the circumstances." Wagstaffe asked Ward: "He's never asked you to put him in touch with anyone you know? Or for information of any kind." Ward replied: "No, he hasn't. But if he did, naturally I would get in touch with you straight away. If there's anything I can do I'd be only too pleased to."
Keith Wagstaffe reported back to MI5: "Ward asked me if it was all right for him to continue to see Ivanov. I replied that there was no reason why he should not. He then said if there was any way in which he could help he would be very ready to do so. I thanked him for his offer and asked him to get in touch with me should Ivanov at any time in the future make any propositions to him... Ward was completely open about his association with Ivanov... I do not think that he (Ward) is of security interest."
On 8th July 1961 Christine Keeler met John Profumo, the Minister of War, at a party at Cliveden. Profumo kept in contact with Keeler and they eventually began an affair. According to Keeler: "Their (Ward and Hollis) plan was simple. I was to find out, through pillow talk, from Jack Profumo when nuclear warheads were being moved to Germany." Profumo and other cabinet ministers were also attending sex parties being held by Mariella Novotny. In December 1961 Novotny held a party that became known as the "Feast of Peacocks". According to Keeler, there was "a lavish dinner in which this man wearing only... a black mask with slits for eyes and laces up the back... and a tiny apron - one like the waitresses wore in 1950s tearooms - asked to be whipped if people were not happy with his services." Although MI5 and MI6 were aware of these sex parties taking place, there is no evidence that these politicians were warned about the danger they were in.
After the Cuban Missile Crisis Ward told Keeler that he believed John F. Kennedy would be assassinated. He told her and Eugene Ivanov: "A man like John Kennedy will not be allowed to stay in such an important position of power in the world, I assure you of that."
On 28th October, 1962, Ward introduced Christine Keeler to Michael Eddowes, a lawyer who had become a rich businessman. This included owning Bistro Vino, a chain of restaurants. As Keeler later revealed: "I kept my date with Michael Eddowes but he was far too old for me. He was nearly sixty but her certainly was interested and wanted to set me up in a flat in Regent's Park."
During this period Christine Keeler became involved with two black men, Lucky Gordon and John Edgecombe. The two men became jealous of each other and this resulted in Edgecombe slashing Gordon's face with a knife. On 14th December 1962, Edgecombe, fired a gun at Stephen Ward's Wimpole Mews flat, where Keeler had been visiting with Mandy Rice-Davies.
Two days after the shooting Keeler contacted Michael Eddowes for legal advice about the Edgecombe case. During this meeting she told Eddowes: "Stephen (Ward) asked me to ask Jack Profumo what date the Germans were to get the bomb." However, she later claimed that she knew Ward was joking when he said this. Eddowes then asked Ward about this matter. Keeler later recalled: "Stephen fed him the line he had prepared with Roger Hollis for such an eventuality: it was Eugene (Ivanov) who had asked me to find out about the bomb."
On 24th December 1962, Ward's old enemy, John Lewis, met Christine Keeler at a Christmas Party. She told him about the problems she was having with two of her former lovers, Lucky Gordon and John Edgecombe. "On the surface, the man I met at Jenny's party on Christmas Eve 1962, could not have been more helpful. I didn't know he was using me as a conduit to get to Stephen Ward. He bragged about getting hundreds of thousands of pounds in legal actions against newspapers. My legal troubles involving Johnnie and Lucky were nothing. I was so grateful when he said he would get his lawyers to help and even more pleased that he actually rang, as promised, the next day." Keeler later admitted that he was "one of the most evil men of the whole affair, the vindictive John Lewis... Stephen had played a part in his bitter divorce from his wife, Joy, and Lewis was, even years later, after him."
Lewis decided he would pass this information to George Wigg, the MP for Dudley. The first meeting took place on 2nd January 1963. Wigg was interested in the story but asked Lewis to provide him with more information. Lewis now told Keeler he was willing to pay her £30,000 if her information brought the government down. Keeler responded by telling him that "Stephen (Ward) asked me to ask Jack Profumo what date the Germans were to get the bomb." Wigg's secretary remembers, "Mr Lewis constantly rang up during the day when Mr Wigg was about his parliamentary business. I frequently got the impression he wasn't completely sober. But he was insistent." On 7th January, Lewis told Wigg the story about Ward asking her to discover classified information from Profumo.
Wigg pointed out in his autobiography: "Lewis had attended a pre-Christmas party where a Miss Christine Keeler talked excitedly about a recent shooting incident, the first of several events destined to endow her with what she appeared to crave the reputation of being the most notorious woman in London. Miss Keeler, who said she had heard a Mr Stephen Ward refer to Lewis, asked if she could telephone him and, a few days later, sought his help. She then spoke about her friendship with John Profumo, Secretary of State for War, and with the Russian Naval Attaché, Captain Eugene Ivanov. Miss Keeler alleged that Ward had asked her to obtain from Profumo information about the supply of atomic weapons to the Germans... I rejected at once the idea that Profumo personally was a security risk. I had found him politically untrustworthy but I never regarded him as a fool, and I could not be persuaded that an obviously ignorant girl would be used as a go-between. It seemed to me the man to keep an eye on was Ivanov. Lewis agreed that the matter must be handled exclusively on the issue of security. I urged him to talk to the police and, at a later stage, advised him to talk to Commander Townsend at Scotland Yard. Lewis did talk to the police but, being dissatisfied with the results, returned to me again and again."
Warwick Charlton later explained. "John Lewis was an able politician. He had held pretty high office, but because of the way he was living he had lost his seat. He was desperate to get back in. He had two motives delivered to him by Christine: one, the Russian security thing, and, two, evidence that Stephen was a ponce. He'd have his revenge, and he had little presents to give Wigg to beat the Tory Party with, and he might get back and re-establish his reputation with Labour."
Christine Keeler met Earl Felton, a CIA agent, at a New Year party. The following month Fenton contacted Keeler. According to her account: "Stephen had been telling him lies, feeding him false information and indicating that I was spying for the Russians because of my love for Eugene. The message was to leave the country, say nothing about anything I might have seen or heard." Keeler was also told at this time that Eugene Ivanov had fled back to Moscow.
A FBI document reveals that on 29th January, 1963, Thomas Corbally, an American businessman who was a close friend of Stephen Ward, told Alfred Wells, the secretary to David Bruce, the ambassador, that Christine Keeler was having a sexual relationship with John Profumo and Eugene Ivanov. The document also stated that Harold Macmillan had been informed about this scandal.
On 10th March, 1963, Wigg attended a party with Harold Wilson, the leader of the Labour Party, Richard Crossman and Barbara Castle. Crossman later recalled: "When we arrived at the party George outlined the story to us and we emphatically and unanimously repudiated it. We all felt that even if it was true and Profumo was having an affair with a call girl and that some Russian diplomat had been mixed up in it, the Labour Party simply should not touch it. I remember that we all advised Harold very strongly against it and in a way rather squashed George."
George Wigg got up in the House of Commons on 21st March and asked Home Secretary Henry Brooke, during a debate on the John Vassall affair: "I rightly use the Privilege of the House of Commons - that is what it is given me for - to ask the Home Secretary who is the senior member of the Government on the Treasury Bench now, to go to the Dispatch Box - he knows that the rumour to which I refer relates to Miss Christine Keeler and Miss Davies and a shooting by a West Indian - and, on behalf of the Government, categorically deny the truth of these rumours.... It is not good for a democratic State that rumours of this kind should spread and be inflated, and go on. Everyone knows what I am referring to, but up to now nobody has brought the matter into the open. I believe that the Vassall Tribunal need never have been set up had the nettle been firmly grasped much earlier on. We have lost some time and I plead with the Home Secretary to use that Dispatch Box to clear up all the mystery and speculation over this particular case." Richard Crossman then commented that Paris Match magazine intended to publish a full account of Keeler's relationship with John Profumo, the Minister of War, in the government. Barbara Castle also asked questions if Keeler's disappearance had anything to do with Profumo.
The following day John Profumo issued a statement: "I understand that in the debate on the Consolidated Fund Bill last night, under the protection of parliamentary privilege, the Hon. Gentlemen the Members for Dudley (George Wigg) ... spoke of rumours connecting a Minister with a Miss Keeler and a recent trial at the Central Criminal Court. It was alleged that people in high places might have been responsible for concealing information concerning the disappearance of a witness and the perversion of justice. I understand that my name has been connected with the rumours about the disappearance of Miss Keeler. I would like to take this opportunity of making a personal statement about these matters. I last saw Miss Keeler in December 1961, and I have not seen her since. I have no idea where she is now. Any suggestion that I was in any way connected with or responsible for her absence from the trial at the Old Bailey is wholly and completely untrue. My wife and I first met Miss Keeler at a house party in July 1961, at Cliveden. Among a number of people there was Doctor Stephen Ward whom we already knew slightly, and a Mr Ivanov, who was an attaché at the Russian Embassy.... Between July and December, 1961, I met Miss Keeler on about half a dozen occasions at Doctor Ward's flat, when I called to see him and his friends. Miss Keeler and, I were on friendly terms. There was no impropriety whatsoever in my acquaintanceship with Miss Keeler."
Ward now decided to contact George Wigg. On the afternoon of 26th March Wigg received a phone call from Ward and a meeting was arranged for that evening. At the meeting Ward told Wigg about his relationship with Eugene Ivanov: "Ward said he first met Ivanov some time in 1961 at a Garrick Club lunch where, with a journalist specializing in Soviet affairs, they were guests of a Fleet Street editor. Ward found Ivanov a charming man. He taught him to play bridge and, soon, was seeing him two or three times a fortnight. They had fun with girls, although nothing improper ever took place, and they played bridge. They had visited only one night club, The Satyr, together, and then only for ten minutes. Ward said Ivanov never spoke critically about the British people. His one desire, which Ward shared, was to foster Anglo-Soviet friendship.... The Security Service, Ward asserted, knew all about his association with Ivanov. Representatives of the Security Service had enquired about his various meetings and Ward had promised to keep them informed and had kept that promise. He cited two occasions on which he thought friendship with Ivanov had been of value to Britain. At the time of the Berlin crisis in 1962 he, acting for Ivanov, had informed Sir Harold Caccia and other Foreign Office officials that the Soviet Union would adopt a conciliatory policy in return for Western guarantees about the integrity of the Oder-Neisse Line."
The second occasion he had provided information to the intelligence services was during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. "His second venture in Ivanov - directed diplomacy - again as a go between - occurred during the Cuban crisis. This time, according to Ward, he was the link between Ivanov as peacemaker and the British Government, represented by the Foreign Secretary, Lord Home, and the Prime Minister. Ivanov told Ward the Russians would respond to a British initiative calling a conference in London by halting the delivery of arms and stopping all shipments of war equipment to Cuba. I pressed even harder on this subject for the obvious reason that I did not believe that Ward, personally, had been in touch with the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister Ward became cagey again. He was not prepared to say because too many important people were involved."
However, Ward did say that he had written to Harold Wilson at the time to explain what he had been doing. "I told Harold Wilson that my visitor claimed to have written both to him and to the Prime Minister towards the end of the Cuban crisis. The letter was immediately extracted from the files and Wilson at once recalled a phrase about an approach made by Ward on behalf of Ivanov to the Foreign Office: 'I was the intermediary', Ward had written. Next day, Wilson handed Ward's letter to the Prime Minister and expressed his now acute anxiety about the implication that Ward was a contact between Ivanov and people of influence in this country."
On 27th March, 1963, Henry Brooke summoned Roger Hollis, the head of MI5, and Joseph Simpson, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, to a meeting in his office. Philip Knightley pointed out in An Affair of State (1987): "All these people are now dead and the only account of what took place is a semi-official one leaked in 1982 by MI5. According to this account, when Brooke tackled Hollis on the rumour that MI5 had been sending anonymous letters to Mrs Profumo, Hollis vigorously denied it."
Hollis then told Brooke that Christine Keeler had been having a sexual relationship with John Profumo. At the same time Keeler was believed to be having an affair with Eugene Ivanov, a Soviet spy. According to Keeler, Stephen Ward had asked her "to find out, through pillow talk, from Jack Profumo when nuclear warheads were being moved to Germany." Hollis added that "in any court case that might be brought against Ward over the accusation all the witnesses would be completely unreliable" and therefore he rejected the idea of using the Official Secrets Act against Ward. Brooke then asked the Police Commissioner's view on this. Joseph Simpson agreed with Hollis about the unreliable witnesses but added that it might be possible to get a conviction against Ward with a charge of living off immoral earnings. However, he added, that given the evidence available, a conviction was unlikely. Despite this response, Brooke urged Simpson to carry out a full investigation into Ward's activities.
Commander Fred C. Pennington was ordered to assemble a team to investigate Ward. The team was headed by Chief Inspector Samuel Herbert and included John Burrows, Arthur Eustace and Mike Glasse. Pennington told Herbert and his colleagues: "we've received this tip-off, but there'll be nothing in it." Glasse later told Philip Knightley that he thought that this was "a hint not to try too hard."
It emerged later that Herbert installed a spy in Ward's home during the investigation. They recruited Wendy Davies, a twenty-year old barmaid at the Duke of Marlborough pub, near Ward's flat. Davies knew Ward who had sketched her several times in the past. Davies later recalled: "I went to Stephen's flat practically every night up to his arrest. Each time I tried to listen in to telephone conversations, and to what Stephen was saying to friends who called. When I got back to my flat I wrote everything down in an exercise book, and rang the police the next day. I gave them a lot of information."
Chief Inspector Samuel Herbert interviewed Christine Keeler at her home on 1st April 1963. Four days later she was taken to Marylebone Police Station. Herbert told her that the police would need a complete list of men with whom she had sex or who had given her money during the time she knew Ward. This list included the names of John Profumo, Charles Clore and Jim Eynan.
On 23rd April Mandy Rice-Davies was arrested at Heathrow Airport on the way to Spain for a holiday, and formerly charged her with "possessing a document so closely resembling a driving licence as to be calculated to deceive." The magistrate fixed bail at £2,000. She later commented that "not only did I not have that much money, but the policeman in charge made it very clear to me that I would be wasting my energy trying to rustle it up." Rice-Davies spent the next nine days in Holloway Prison.
While she was in custody Rice-Davies was visited by Chief Inspector Samuel Herbert. His first words were: "Mandy, you don't like it in here very much, do you? Then you help us, and we'll help you." Herbert made it clear that Christine Keeler was helping them into their investigation into Stephen Ward. When she provided the information required she would be released from prison. At first Rice-Davies refused to cooperate but as she later pointed out: "I was ready to kick the system any way I could. But ten days of being locked up alters the perspective. Anger was replaced by fear. I was ready to do anything to get out." Rice-Davies added: "Although I was certain nothing I could say about Stephen could damage him any way... I felt I was being coerced into something, being pointed in a predetermined direction." Herbert asked Rice-Davies for a list of men with whom she had sex or who had given her money during the time she knew Ward. This list included the names of Peter Rachman and Emil Savundra.
Herbert personally interviewed Christine Keeler twenty-four times during the investigation. Other senior detectives had interrogated her on fourteen other occasions. Herbert told Keeler that unless her evidence in court matched her statements "you might well find yourself standing beside Stephen Ward in the dock."
Mandy Rice-Davies appeared in court on 1st May 1963. She was found guilty and fined £42. Rice-Davies immediately took a plane to Majorca. A few days later Samuel Herbert telephoned her and said: "They would be sending out my ticket, they wanted me back in London, and if I didn't go voluntarily they would issue a warrant for extradition." Despite the fact that there was no extradition arrangement between the two countries, Rice-Davies decided to return to England.
On her arrival at Heathrow Airport she was arrested and charged with stealing a television set valued at £82. This was the set that Peter Rachman had hired for her flat. According to Rice-Davies: "I had signed the hire papers, and after he'd died I had never been allowed to remove the set." Chief Inspector Herbert arranged for Rice-Davies passport to be taken from her. She was released on the understanding that she would give evidence in court against Stephen Ward.
On 19th May, 1963, Stephan Ward wrote a letter to the Home Secretary Henry Brooke, the leader of the Labour Party, Harold Wilson, and his local M.P., William Wavell Wakefield. "I have placed before the Home Secretary certain facts of the relationship between Miss Keeler and Mr Profumo since it is obvious now that my efforts to conceal these facts in the interests of Mr Profumo and the Government have made it appear that I myself have something to hide - which I have not. The result has been that I have been persecuted in a variety of ways, causing damage not only to myself but to my friends and patients-a state of affairs which I propose to tolerate no longer."
As a result of his earlier statement the newspapers decided not to print anything about John Profumo and Christine Keeler for fear of being sued for libel. However, George Wigg refused to let the matter drop and on 25th May, 1963, once again raised the issue of Keeler, saying this was not an attack on Profumo's private life but a matter of national security. On 5th June, John Profumo resigned as War Minister. His statement said that he had lied to the House of Commons about his relationship with Christine Keeler. The next day the Daily Mirror said: "What the hell is going on in this country? All power corrupts and the Tories have been in power for nearly twelve years."
Some newspapers called for Harold Macmillan to resign as prime minister. This he refused to do but he did ask Lord Denning to investigate the security aspects of the Profumo affair. Some of the prostitutes who worked for Stephen Ward began to sell their stories to the national press. Mandy Rice-Davies told the Daily Sketch that Christine Keeler had sexual relationships with John Profumo and Eugene Ivanov, an naval attaché at the Soviet embassy.
On 7th June, Christine Keeler told the Daily Express of her secret "dates" with Profumo. She also admitted that she had been seeing Eugene Ivanov at the same time, sometimes on the same day, as Profumo. In a television interview Ward told Desmond Wilcox that he had warned the security services about Keeler's relationship with Profumo. The following day Ward was arrested and charged with living off immoral earnings between 1961 and 1963. He was initially refused bail because it was feared that he might try to influence witnesses. Another concern was that he might provide information on the case to the media.
On 14th June, the London solicitor, Michael Eddowes, claimed that Christine Keeler told him that Eugene Ivanov had asked her to get information about nuclear weapons from Profumo. Eddowes added that he had written to Harold Macmillan to ask why no action had been taken on information he had given to Special Branch about this on 29th March. Soon afterwards Keeler told the News of the World that "I'm no spy, I just couldn't ask Jack for secrets."
In a FBI classified memo dated 20th June, 1963, from Alan Belmont to Clyde Tolson referred to the concerns of Defence Secretary Robert McNamara about the John Profumo case. It stated "Mr. McNamara referred to a memorandum from the FBI dated June 14, 1963, advising that Air Force personnel may have had relationships with Christine Keeler." The next section is blacked out but it goes onto say: "McNamara said he felt like he was sitting on a bomb in this matter as he could not tell what would come out of it and he wanted to be sure that every effort was being made to get information from the British particularly as it affected U.S. personnel."
Chief Inspector Samuel Herbert also interviewed Vasco Lazzolo, who was one of Ward's friends who agreed to testify for the defence. Herbert told Lazzolo that if he was determined to give evidence on Ward's behalf, then he might have to be discredited. Herbert warned that the police might have to "find" some pornographic material in his studio and prosecute him.
Ward asked James Burge, one of his patients, to represent him when he appeared at the the Magistrate's Court. Although he was not a Q.C., Ward decided to retain him for the trial. The trial of Ward began at the Old Bailey on 22nd July 1963. Christine Keeler admitted in court that she had sex with John Profumo, Charles Clore and Jim Eynan. In all three cases the men gave her money and gifts. During cross-examination she confessed that some of this money was paid to Ward as she owed him money for rent, electricity and food while she was living at his flat.
Mandy Rice-Davies also admitted receiving money and gifts from Peter Rachman and Emil Savundra. As she was living with Ward at the time she gave him some of this money for unpaid rent. As Rice-Davies pointed out: "Much was made of the fact that I was paying him a few pounds a week whilst I was living in Wimpole Mews. But I said before and say it again - Stephen never did anything for nothing and we agreed on the rent the day I arrived. He most certainly never influenced me to sleep with anyone, nor ever asked me to do so." She added: "Stephen was never a blue-and-white diamond, but a pimp? Ridiculous.... As for Christine, she was always borrowing money (from Stephen Ward)."
Ronna Ricardo had said that she had sex for money and then gave it to Ward at a preliminary hearing. However, she retracted this information at the trial and claimed that Chief Inspector Samuel Herbert had forced the statement from her by threats against the Ricardo family. According to Philip Knightley: "Ricardo said that Herbert told her that if she did not agree to help them then the police would take action against her family. Her younger sister, on probation and living with her, would be taken into care. They might even make application to take her baby away from her because she had been an unfit mother."
At the trial Vickie Barrett claimed that Ward had picked her up in Oxford Street and had taken her home to have sex with his friends. Barrett was unable to name any of these men. She added that Ward was paid by these friends and he kept some of the money for her in a little drawer. Ward admitted knowing Barrett and having sex with her. However, he denied arranging for her to have sex with other men or taking money from her. Sylvia Parker, who had been staying at Ward's flat at the time Barrett claimed she was brought there to have sex with other men. She called Barrett's statements "untrue, a complete load of rubbish".
Christine Keeler claims that she had never seen Barrett before: "She (Barrett) described Stephen handing out horsewhips, canes, contraceptives and coffee and how, having collected her weapons, she had treated the waiting clients. It sounded, and was, nonsense. I had lived with Stephen and never seen any evidence of anything like that." Mandy Rice-Davies agreed with Keeler: "Much of what she (Barrett) said was discredited. It was obvious to anyone that Stephen, with the police breathing down his neck and the press on his doorstep, would hardly have the opportunity or the inclination for this sort of thing."
Ludovic Kennedy, the author of The Trial of Stephen Ward (1964) has argued that James Burge was unable to compete with the prosecuting counsel Mervyn Griffith-Jones: "In short, Mr. Burge was a very nice man; indeed, as the trial went on, I began to think that alongside Mr. Griffith-Jones, he was almost too nice a man. He was a civilised being, a person of wit and humour. I had been told by one of his colleagues that he was one of the few men at the Bar who could laugh a case out of court. The atmosphere here, as I think he realised, was not conducive to this sort of approach, but I was told he had tried it once or twice at the Magistrate's Court with some success. In addition to his quip about Mr. Griffith-Jones making a honeymoon sound obscene, he had also said that he had no objection to some of Mr Griffith-Jones's leading questions, as they were not leading very far. Mr. Griffith-Jones himself would have been incapable of either of these two remarks. But equally Mr. Burge could not match Mr. Griffith-Jones's cold relentless plodding, his battering away at the walls until, by sheer persistence, they began to crack. It was this, in the last analysis, that made one admire Mr. Griffith-Jones as much as one deplored him. Because his own attitude to the case was committed, one became committed in one's attitude towards him. It was this outward lack of commitment, not in matter but in manner, that at times led one to feel that Mr. Burge was doing himself literally less than justice. They say that the days of the committed lawyer are over: yet one would have liked to see Ward's defence accompanied by some passion, with his counsel as contemptuous of the charges laid against him as the prosecution were contemptuous of Ward himself. As it was, while I had no doubts which of the two counsel was the more intelligent, urbane and congenial, equally I had no doubts, where the jury was concerned, which was the more effective advocate."
In his cross-examination of Stephan Ward, Burge asked him about his annual income. Ward replied that he was earning about £4,000 from his practice and another £1,500 or so from his drawings - a total of between £5,000 and £6,000 a year. Burge then asked: "If the prosecution's picture of a man procuring, and the picture of people in high places and very wealthy men was true, would you have needed to carry on your practice and work as an osteopath?" Ward replied: "If that were true, evidently not."
Philip Knightley, the author of An Affair of State (1987) pointed out: "That ended the prosecution case. How strong was it? Griffith-Jones had succeeded in establishing that Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies took money for sex. He had shown that both girls gave money to Ward. Even though, given that in law the dividing line between living with a prostitute and living on a prostitute is very thin, the prosecution's weak point was that both girls owed Ward - one way or another - far more money than they ever paid him."
Ward told his defence counsel, James Burge: "One of my great perils is that at least half a dozen of the (witnesses) are lying and their motives vary from malice to cupidity and fear... In the case of both Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies there is absolutely no doubt that they are committed to stories which are already sold or could be sold to newspapers and that my conviction would free these newspapers to print stories which they would otherwise be quite unable to print (for libel reasons)."
Stephen Ward was very upset by the judge's summing-up that included the following: "If Stephen Ward was telling the truth in the witness box, there are in this city many witnesses of high estate and low who could have come and testified in support of his evidence." Several people present in the court claimed that Judge Archie Pellow Marshall was clearly biased against Ward. France Soir reported: "However impartial he tried to appear, Judge Marshall was betrayed by his voice."
After the day's court proceedings, Ward contacted Tom Critchley, a Home Office official working with Lord Denning on the official investigation. Later, Critchley refused to comment what was said in that telephone conversation. That night Ward met the journalist Tom Mangold: "Stephen was very relaxed... He wasn't walking around in a froth. He was very calm and collected, just writing his letters and putting them in envelopes. I wanted to pretend that I hadn't seen what I'd seen. My excuse, which was not a good excuse, was that I was on a yellow card from my wife. I reckoned I could risk being home two hours late. But I knew the marriage wouldn't survive if I showed up any later. So all I did was to bleat at Stephen not to do anything foolish."
After Mangold left Ward wrote to his friend, Noel Howard-Jones: "It is really more than I can stand - the horror, day after day at the court and in the streets. It is not only fear, it is a wish not to let them get me. I would rather get myself. I do hope I have not let people down too much. I tried to do my stuff but after Marshall's summing-up, I've given up all hope." Ward then took an overdose of sleeping tablets. He was in a coma when the jury reached their verdict of guilty of the charge of living on the immoral earnings of Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies on Wednesday 31st July. Three days later, Ward died in St Stephen's Hospital. According to Warwick Charlton, Ward's old enemy, John Lewis, was delighted at the news of his death: "He was celebrating. He made no bones about it."
Ward's defence team found a letter that he had written to Vickie Barrett: "I don't know what it was or who it was that made you do what you did. But if you have any decency left, you should tell the truth like Ronna Riccardo. You owe this not to me, but to everyone who may be treated like you or like me in the future." The letter was passed to Barry O'Brien, a journalist who worked for the Daily Telegraph. He gave the letter to Barrett. He later reported she read the note and began to cry. "It was all lies but I never thought he would die." Barrett said she had been coerced into giving her evidence by the police and agreed to go to see Ward's solicitor, then went to another room to get her coat. According to O'Brien, an older women came out, and said: "Miss Barrett was not going anywhere." Barrett later retracted her retraction.
In his book, The Trial of Stephen Ward (1964), Ludovic Kennedy considers the guilty verdict of Ward to be a miscarriage of justice. In An Affair of State (1987), the journalist, Philip Knightley argues: "Witnesses were pressured by the police into giving false evidence. Those who had anything favourable to say were silenced. And when it looked as though Ward might still survive, the Lord Chief Justice shocked the legal profession with an unprecedented intervention to ensure Ward would be found guilty."
The entertainer Michael Bentine, who worked as an intelligence officer for MI9 under Airey Neave during the Second World War and had known Ward for sometime, kept up his contacts after the war, later commented: "A Special Branch friend of mine told me Ward was assisted in his dying. I think he was murdered." Paul Mann, a close friend of Stephen Ward, says he was told shortly after his death, that "Ward was injected with an air bubble, by hypodermic, with the intention of causing a fatal embolism. The needle broke, and the assassins left in a hurry. It was enough, though, to send the drugged Ward on his way. It was a botched affair."
Chief Inspector Samuel Herbert died of a heart attack on 16th April 1966 at the age of 48. In his will he left only £300, which was commensurate with the police salaries at that time. However, after his death his bank account was discovered to contain no less than £30,000 (660,000 by today's values). According to Philip Knightley: "By coincidence, in the tape recordings which Christine Keeler made with her manager, Robin Drury, Keeler says that John Lewis, Ward's bitter enemy, had offered her £30,000 for information leading to Ward's conviction and the bringing down of the Conservative Government."
In 1987 Anthony Summers and Stephen Dorril published their book on the Stephen Ward case, Honeytrap. During their research they managed to speak to several members of MI5, including Keith Wagstaffe, Ward’s case-officer. The book confirms that Ward had been involved in an operation that was attempting to persuade Eugene Ivanov to become a double-agent.
As a result of the book being published the authors were contacted by a former MI6 officer who claimed that Ward was murdered by a contract agent called Stanley Rytter, whose cover was as a freelance journalist and photographer. Rytter had died in 1984 but Summers and Dorril investigate the allegation and got the story confirmed by one of his associates, Serge Paplinski.
The intelligence officer then went on to say: "It was decided that Ward had to die.... He admitted (Rytter) that Ward was killed on the instructions of his department. He convinced Ward that he ought to have a good night's sleep and take some sleeping pills. The agent said he let Ward doze off and then woke him again and told him to take his tablets. Another half an hour later or two, he woke Ward again, and told him he'd forgotten to take his sleeping pills. So it went on - till Ward had overdosed. It might sound far-fetched, but it's the easiest thing in the world to do. Once the victim is drowsy he will agree to almost anything."
Serge Paplinski told Anthony Summers and Stephen Dorril "Stanley (Rytter) was there with Ward on the last night... he always said that Ward was poisoned." His daughter, Yvonne Rytter recalled being taken to St Stephen's Hospital as Ward was dying. She recalls someone coming up and saying; "That's it. He's dead."
She said that Doctor Ward was a procurer of young women for gentlemen in high places and was sexually perverted: that he had a country cottage at Cliveden to which some of these women were taken to meet important men - the cottage was on the estate of Lord Astor; that he had introduced her to Mr John Profumo and that she had an association with him; that Mr Profumo had written a number of letters to her on War Office notepaper and that she was still in possession of one of these letters which were being considered for publication in the Sunday Pictorial to whom she had sold her life story for £1,000. She also said that on one occasion when she was going to meet Mr Profumo, Ward had asked her to discover from him the date on which certain atomic secrets were to be handed over to West Germany by the Americans, and that this was at the time of the Cuban crisis. She also said she had been introduced by Ward to the Naval Attache of the Soviet Embassy and had met him on a number of occasions.
I understand that in the debate on the Consolidated Fund Bill last night, under the protection of parliamentary privilege, the Hon. Gentlemen the Members for Dudley (George Wigg) and for Coventry, East (Richard Crossman), and the Hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn (Barbara Castle), opposite, spoke of rumours connecting a Minister with a Miss Keeler and a recent trial at the Central Criminal Court. It was alleged that people in high places might have been responsible for concealing information concerning the disappearance of a witness and the perversion of justice.
I understand that my name has been connected with the rumours about the disappearance of Miss Keeler. I would like to take this opportunity of making a personal statement about these matters. I last saw Miss Keeler in December 1961, and I have not seen her since. I have no idea where she is now. Any suggestion that I was in any way connected with or responsible for her absence from the trial at the Old Bailey is wholly and completely untrue.
My wife and I first met Miss Keeler at a house party in July 1961, at Cliveden. Among a number of people there was Doctor Stephen Ward whom we already knew slightly, and a Mr Ivanov, who was an attache at the Russian Embassy.
The only other occasion that my wife or I met Mr Ivanov was for a moment at the official reception for Major Gagarin at the Soviet Embassy.
My wife and I had a standing invitation to visit Doctor Ward.
Between July and December, 1961, I met Miss Keeler on about half a dozen occasions at Doctor Ward's flat, when I called to see him and his friends. Miss Keeler and, I were on friendly terms. There was no impropriety whatsoever in my acquaintanceship with Miss Keeler.
Mr Speaker, I have made this personal statement because of what was said in the House last evening by the three Hon. Members, and which, of course, was protected by privilege. I shall not hesitate to issue writs for libel and slander if scandalous allegations are made or repeated outside of the House.
Britain's Minister of War John Profumo, husband of refined movie star Valerie Hobson, has been sharing the sexual favors of teen tart Christine Keeler with Soviet spy Eugene Ivanov . . . Keeler's blond pal Mandy Rice-Davies, 18, declared in court that she had bedded Lord Astor and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. . . . Mariella Novotny, who claims John F. Kennedy among her lovers, hosted an all-star orgy where a naked gent, thought to be film director and Prime Minister's son Anthony Asquith, implored guests to beat him . . . Osteopath and artist Stephen Ward, whose portrait subjects include eight members of the Royal Family, has been charged with pimping Keeler and Rice-Davies to his posh friends. Part of Ward's bail was reportedly posted by young financier Claus von Bulow.
Christine knew nothing of "cheque book journalism", but she had friends who did: Paul Mann, the racing driver/journalist and Nina Gadd, a freelance writer. Together they convinced her that, if she listened to them, she could make a small fortune. They reminded her that she was constantly broke and that Lucky Gordon was still making her life miserable. They told her they had been in touch with certain newspapers in Fleet Street which were prepared to offer her a great deal of money. This was true. Several newspapers were interested in Christine Keeler, especially when her appearance at the committal hearings of the Edgecombe shooting case at Marlborough Street Court reminded editors of the rumour floating around Fleet Street about her: that she was having an affair with Profumo.
There were problems, of course. The first was the English contempt law. No newspapers could publish anything about Christine's relationship with Edgecombe until his trial was over because the details of it were central to the charge. Next, there were the libel laws. If Christine's memoirs named other lovers, unless there was solid proof that what she said was true, they might sue for defamation. On the other hand most of the news at that time was bad, and a light sexy story of an English suburban girl who could arouse such passions - "I love the girl," Edgecombe had said, "I was sick in the stomach over her" - would certainly appeal to the readers of the Sunday sensational press.
Nina Gadd knew a reporter on the Sunday Pictorial, so on 22 January, with Mandy along to steady her resolve, Christine walked into the newspaper office carrying Profumo's farewell letter in her handbag. The newspaper's executives heard her out, looked at the letter, photographed it and offered her £1,000 for the right to publish it. Christine said she would think it over. She left the offices of the Sunday Pictorial and went straight to those of the News of the World, off Fleet Street. There she saw the paper's crime reporter, Peter Earle. Earle was desperate to have the story - for reasons that will emerge - but Christine made the mistake of telling him that his offer would have to be better than £1,000 because she had been offered that by another newspaper. Earle, who had had long experience of cheque book journalism, told Christine bluntly that she could go to the devil; he was not joining any auction.
So Christine went back to the Sunday Pictorial, accepted its offer and was paid £200 in advance. Over the next two days she told her entire life story to two Sunday Pictorial reporters. They soon saw that the nub of any newspaper article was her relationship with Profumo and Ivanov. It is easy to imagine how the story emerged. Christine was being paid £1,000 for her memoirs. The second slice, £800, was due only on publication. If the story did not reach the newspaper's expectations, Christine would not get it. She was anxious therefore to please the Sunday Pictorial reporters and dredged her memory for items that interested them. The trend of their questions would soon have indicated what items these were.
On 22 January 1963 came the logical outcome of Christine Keeler's contacts with the Sunday Pictorial, the newspaper that had infiltrated Keeler's circle through her friend Nina Gadd. For a down payment of £200 - and the promise of £800 to come - Keeler told, the Pictorial everything. With the deft help of professional, an accurate draft story was assembled. The truth was told better in this first draft than it ever would be when Fleet Street finally broke into print. Speaking of her relations with Profumo and Ivanov, Keeler said: "If that Russian ... had placed a tape-recorder or cine camera or both in some hidden place in my bedroom it would have been very embarrassing for the Minister, to say the least. In fact it would have left him open to the worst possible kind of blackmail - the blackmail of a spy... This Minister had such knowledge of the military affairs of the Western world that he would be one of the most valuable men in the world for the Russians to have had in their power..."
The article referred to the request that Keeler ask Profumo about nuclear-armed weapons for Germany. Finally, as proof that there really had been an affair, Keeler gave the journalists Profumo's letter of 9 August 1961, addressing her as "Darling". A copy was placed in the safe at the office of the Pictorial. The story was dynamite, but, as is the way with Sunday newspapers, the editors did not rush into print. What with cross-checking, and the need to have Keeler authenticate the final version, nearly three weeks slipped by - time for much skulduggery.
Four days after telling all to the Pictorial, on Saturday 26 January, Keeler had a tiff with Stephen Ward. It happened when Ward, not knowing that Keeler was listening in, had a telephone conversation with Keeler's current flatmate. The Edgecombe shooting incident was proving a nuisance, and he burst out: "I'm absolutely furious with her ... she's ruining my business. I never know what she'll do next, the silly girl..."
Keeler was angry. What she did next was to tell the Profumo story all over again, this time with Ward as the villain of the piece, the man who had made all the introductions. She told the story to the next person who came to the door, who by unhappy chance was an officer in the Metropolitan Police calling to say that Keeler and Rice-Davies would have to appear at John Edgecombe's trial. The detective listened to Keeler, then went back to the office and filed a report. It included all the main elements of the story, along with the allegation that "Dr Ward was a procurer for gentlemen in high places, and was sexually perverted," and the fact that the Pictorial already had the story. The detective's report went to his Inspector, and - given the content - he passed it on to Special Branch, the police unit which liaises with M15.
That same Saturday, Stephen Ward learned from a reporter of the impending story in the Sunday Pictorial. He was the first of the principal male characters to learn of impending disaster. Ward at once demonstrated a loyalty to his friends that none of them would ever show towards him. "I was anxious," he said in his memoir, "to save Profumo and Astor from the consequences..."
Next morning, Monday the 28th, Ward called Lord Astor. The two men met, Astor also took legal advice, then personally took the bad news to the Minister for War. The time was 5.30 p.m.
Profumo's immediate response was remarkable - he urgently contacted the Director-General of M15, Sir Roger Hollis. It was an unusual procedure for a minister of Profumo's rank to call in the head of M15. Yet Hollis was sitting in Profumo's office in just over an hour. Both men, of course, remembered the occasion in 1961 when MI5, through the Cabinet Secretary, asked Profumo to take part in the Honeytrap operation to make Ivanov defect. Now, so far as Hollis could tell, Profumo wanted help in getting a "D Notice" - a Government gag - slapped on the Sunday Pictorial. Hollis failed to oblige.
I have come here this evening to make a statement about the Ward case. I want to say that most of the evidence I gave at Marylebone Court was untrue. I want to say I never met a man in Stephen Ward's flat except my friend 'Silky' Hawkins. He is the only man I have ever had intercourse with in Ward's flat.
It is true that I never paid Ward any money received from men with whom I have had intercourse. I have only been in Ward's flat once and that was with 'Silky'. Ward was there and Michelle. The statements which I have made to the police were untrue.
I made them because I did not want my young sister to go to a remand home or my baby taken away from me. Mr. Herbert told me they would take my sister away and take my baby if I didn't make the statements.
What made the evidence of the prosecution at Ward's trial of such unflagging interest was the variety of the women who had been associated with him. The four on the bench could hardly have been more different: now a new star came to grace this milky cluster in the night sky. Her name was Margaret (Ronna) Ricardo and unlike Christine and Mandy she made no pretensions about not being a tart. It would be untrue to say she was not ashamed to admit it, for clearly she was ashamed or at least unhappy about it, but admit it she did. This honesty made a welcome change. She had dyed red hair and a pink jumper and a total lack of any sort of finesse; but after the genteel caperings of Christine and Mandy and the deadly respectability of Miss R, this also was welcome.
We had heard of Miss Ricardo before. She had given evidence at the Magistrate's Court proceedings three weeks earlier. There, among other things, she had said that she had visited Ward two or three times at his Bryanston Mews flat (we were on to Count 3 now) and on each occasion she was asked to stay behind to meet somebody. Men had arrived and she had gone to bed with them. Since then, however, she had gone to Scotland Yard to make a statement denying this. At the moment nobody knew for certain what she was going to say.
She took the oath and in answer to Mr. Griffith-Jones said that she had visited Ward at his flat in Bryanston Mews earlier this year. This, of course, was the flat where Rachman and Mandy had lived for two years. Ward had shown her the hole in the wall where the two-way mirror used to be and which Mandy in her evidence admitted to having broken. Miss Ricardo had said to Ward that she had had a two-way mirror herself. Ward had told her, she said, that he would "either cover the hole up or else get a new mirror", and she had said she had got an ordinary piece of mirror at home that would cover the gap. Now Mr. Griffith-Jones had said of the two-way mirror in his opening speech that when Ward moved into the Bryanston Mews flat "it was proposed to have it put in order again". This reply of Miss Ricardo's was the nearest he ever got to substantiating the assertion. The reader will have noticed that far from a categorical assertion of proposing to repair the mirror, Ward was undecided as to whether to cover the hole up or get a new mirror-a new mirror, note, nothing about a new two-way mirror. But how could the jury be expected to notice this?
The trial lasted over a week. On Tuesday of the second week, 30th July, the judge began his summing up. We knew there was no hope. Much was made of the fact that in his hour of need none of Stephen's good friends came forward as a character witness. They didn't because Stephen asked them not to. He was embarrassed at involving them needlessly, he believed. When the investigations began he couldn't believe they would lead anywhere, and he insisted his friends stay out of it. Bill Astor certainly volunteered, and probably others did, too. By the time he knew he needed help, the fat was in the fire. My father always said he regretted not coming forward. That would have made news - father appearing for the defence, his daughter for the prosecution.
That evening Stephen went back to the flat in Chelsea where he was a guest during the trial. He wrote several letters - including one to Vickie Barrett - to be delivered "only if I am convicted and sent to prison". He cooked a meal for himself and his girlfriend, Julie Gulliver, then drove her home. He drove around for a while, possibly thinking things over, then, his mind made up, went back to the flat. He wrote another letter, to his friend and host Noel Howard Jones, and swallowed an overdose of nembutal.
Having arrived at the address I telephoned the office and was told that Dr. Ward had died. I then returned to the adjoining house, No. 35, and saw Vickie Barrett in a room on the upper floor about 4.30 p.m. We were alone in the room. I told her that Dr. Ward had died and that on the night he had taken the overdose he had written her a letter. I told her that I had a photograph copy of the letter with me and gave it to her. She was greatly shocked at learning Dr. Ward was dead. She sat down and read the letter and remained for some moments silently crying. She looked at me and said: "It was not lies". After a few more moments of silence I told her that Dr. Ward had consistently maintained that she was lying in her evidence against him. She told me that her evidence was the truth.
After another silence I asked her how she came to be a witness in the case. She told me she had been interviewed by two police officers after she appeared at Marylebone Magistrate's Court on a soliciting charge on July 3rd. I would add that it was I who mentioned the date by asking her if it was the day when Dr. Ward was committed for trial. She said she had heard Dr. Ward was in another court on the same day. I asked her why they had interviewed her. She said she had been arrested for soliciting in Notting Hill late the previous night and police at Notting Hill had taken possession of her handbag and its contents including a diary. She said Dr. Ward's telephone number was in the diary. She said that the handbag and its contents had been returned to her after her appearance in the court. I asked her how the police officers had known about the diary. She said she assumed Notting Hill Police station had told them about it. I asked her if she still had the diary. She said that a week after her appearance at Marylebone the police officers had asked her if they could have her diary and she had handed it to them. She said that it had not yet been returned to her though she had seen it when she appeared at the Old Bailey.
At this point in our conversation her landlady came into the room and gave us each a cup of tea. The landlady asked if we would like her to stay. I asked Vickie Barrett if she would like her to stay. She declined the offer and the landlady left. After another silence Vickie Barrett began sobbing violently. She suddenly looked up at me and said: "It was all lies. But I never thought he would die. I didn't want him to die." At this point her whole body was shaking and convulsed with sobbing. She then said: "It was not all lies. I did go to the flat but it was only to do business with Stephen Ward. It was not true I went with other men." I reminded her she had said that she had whipped men there and that Dr. Ward had been handing out contraceptives. She said that it was not true that he had done this. I asked her why she had given evidence that was untrue. She said she had told one of the police officers when he had asked her what she had known about Dr. Ward, that she was a friend of his and had visited the flat two or three times a week to do business with him. She said: "I told him that I had whipped Dr. Ward at the flat. He said: `Wouldn't it be better if you said you whipped other men at the flat?' I said : Why should I say that? He told me that if I didn't say that, I will never be able to show my face in Notting Hill again. He said that girls could get very heavy sentences for soliciting." I asked her if the police officer had mentioned how long a sentence. Miss Barrett said "He said I could get nine months or more".
All this time she was crying and clutching the photograph copy of the letter in her hand with a cigarette burning between her fingers. As it was burning close to her fingers I took it away from her and stubbed it out. She began sobbing violently again and said "I didn't want him to die. I never thought he would die." As she seemed so upset I put my hand on her arm and told her to drink some tea. After another silence I asked her if she was telling me the truth. She said that she was. I repeated this question several times and each time she said she was telling the truth. I told her that if she was now telling me the truth it was a very wicked thing to have done. She said: "Yes, and I did it". I told her that what she had just told me was a very serious accusation against two police officers. She said she knew that but she had told the truth.
She said: "I will now get into trouble won't I?" I said : "Perhaps but you are only 20 and if what you say is true the fault was only partly yours". She said: "They will send me to prison". I said: "I don't think they will do that. Ronna Ricardo also said that she had lied in her evidence and she has not been sent to prison." I asked Miss Barrett if she knew Miss Ricardo. She said she had never seen her before they were both at the Old Bailey.
I then told Miss Barrett that I would take her to Dr. Ward's solicitor, Mr. Wheatley, and she agreed to come with me. I told her that if she had lied at the Old Bailey she must now tell the truth. She said she realised that. I told her that I did not think that any harm would come to her because she had told the truth. She said she would go to her room to powder her face, which she did. While she was away I telephoned Mr. Wheatley and told him I would be bringing her round if he was agreeable. He said that he was. While I was telling him on the telephone that Miss Barrett had lied at the Old Bailey the landlady came out of her room and went to the room next door where Miss Barrett was. A few moments later the landlady came out and said that Miss Barrett was not going anywhere with me and was very upset and was not seeing anybody. The landlady said: "I told her I had just heard you telling someone on the telephone that she had said she had told lies. She (Barrett) said he is telling lies" (meaning me, O'Brien).
I then telephoned Mr. Wheatley and he said he would come round. When he did so the landlady said Miss Barrett would not see him. The landlady said that Miss Barrett had telephoned one of the police officers and he was coming round. The landlady said: "I hope we are not going to have another suicide". I told her that she should stay with Miss Barrett and impressed on her the importance of doing so if she was ~ worried about her. Mr. Wheatley and I then left and he told me that I ought to make a statement to Superintendent Axon at Scotland Yard. We called at my office on the way to Scotland Yard and the News Editor of the Sunday Telegraph asked a colleague of mine to accompany me. I did not make any record of my conversation with Vickie Barrett while it was in progress. I have given an account of her conversation to my office and she signed no (repeat no) statement. I did not tell Vickie Barrett I would be going to the police or tell her to do so.
Before the beginning of one of the greatest miscarriages of British justice ever, in early July 1963 I had to go to see Lord Denning at the government offices near Leicester Square. Denning had started hearing evidence on 24 June 1963, and interviewed Stephen three times and talked to Jack Profumo twice. He talked to lots of people - from the prime minister to newspaper owners and reporters, to six girls who knew Stephen.
I was not included in that half-dozen. I found myself a major player in the inquiry and had two interviews with Denning. I was allowed to have a legal representative and Walter Lyons went with me to the polished-wood-panelled offices Denning used. Denning was quietly spoken and asked me all the relevant questions, the ones I had expected. Questions like who had been present with Eugene and Stephen and where and when, and if I knew of any missiles. I answered him honestly. Denning had all the - well, all the ones they had given him - police, M15 and CIA reports before him. He also had Sir Godfrey Nicholson's and Lord Arran's statements.
He knew that Stephen was a spy and that I knew too much. During my two sessions with him I told him all about Hollis and Blunt: how Stephen had politely introduced me and how I had said "hello" and nodded when they visited. I told him all about Sir Godfrey's visit and how I had seen Sir Godfrey with Eugene. He asked me very precisely who had met Eugene and about the visitors to Wimpole Mews. He showed me a photograph of Hollis - it wasn't a sharp shot of him - and asked me to identify him. I told Denning this was the man who had visited Stephen. He showed me a photograph of Sir Godfrey and I also identified him. He did not show me a picture of Blunt for, I suspect, they already knew more than they wanted to know about Blunt. Denning was very gentle about it and I told him everything. This was the nice gentleman who was going to look after me. But I was ignored, side-lined - disparaged as a liar so that he could claim that there had been no security risk. It was the ultimate whitewash.
I told Denning that Stephen had wanted me dead because I could have betrayed them all. I told him I had been entrapped in Stephen's spy ring and had witnessed his meetings with double agents and Soviet spies. I told him I had taken sensitive material to the Russian Embassy. He ignored my evidence that Stephen Ward was a Russian spy and that one of the top men in British intelligence was a Moscow man.
I was a young girl when I met Stephen Ward and not much more than a teenager when I was interviewed by Lord Denning. Like Stephen, he seemed a father figure.
I told him all about Stephen's spying activities and about high society decadence. Denning chose - as with everything in his flawed report - to ignore me for the national interest. I told him about Stephen saying John Kennedy was "too dangerous" and would have to be "put out of the picture". That Kennedy was the main threat to world peace. A few months later Kennedy was killed in Dallas. I was told to be quiet or else. I was terrified.
Fearful about what secrets Stephen had sent to Moscow Centre, when he produced his report Denning had Eugene being introduced to Cliveden with Arran on 28 October 1962, and to Lord Ednam's home on 26 December 1962. He used dates and places to cover up all that happened and denied all the evidence he had from me and others. He wrote his report to have Mandy take over my life and had her living at Wimpole Mews on 31 October 1962. It was rubbish and it introduced her to people and events she knew nothing about. And Mandy made as much capital as she could from that.
Read as fiction, Christine Keeler's The Truth at Last makes for quite a gripping thriller, and provides more than enough new angles on the familiar story of the 1960s Profumo scandal to make it just worth reading. "New angles" is an understatement: Keeler's story turns the familiar one on its head, and transforms the artist-osteopath Stephen Ward from a charming, persecuted pimp into a sinister and murderous Soviet spymaster controlling not only Anthony Blunt, but also Sir Roger Hollis, then head of MI5.
Other sensational novelties include a walk-on part for Oswald Mosley, the prewar fascist leader, who is numbered among her many famous clients, and the suggestion that my first editor at the Daily Telegraph, Sir Colin Coote, much decorated as a First World War hero, was not quite the silken-haired patriot he seemed. Apparently, it was not only at the Garrick Club that he used to wine and dine Ward, who treated his back. Those innocent meetings, it seems, were merely a cover for hitherto unknown, more conspiratorial encounters.
Nothing is impossible these days. After all, if a Master of the Queen's Pictures can turn out to be a spy, then surely it cannot be ruled out that an editor of the Daily Telegraph could also be one. In any case, now that I come to think of it, there was always something a bit hairy-heeled about Coote - his friendship with Lord Boothby, for example, and the mysterious way he had walked out, quite literally, on his first wife. Rumour had always had it that the two of them, in the 1930s, were having afternoon tea in Brown's - then as now the country set's favourite London hotel - when a glamorous, foreign-looking lady passed by. Coote took one glance and, without saying another word to his wife (whom he never saw again), followed the woman out of the hotel. She became his second wife. I remember her well. She was a Dutch girl whom Coote had not seen since falling in love with her years earlier while he was serving in Flanders during the First World War.
All a bit James Bondish, one has to admit. So perhaps, after all, Keeler's suspicions have some substance. Then, as happens so often in this book, a small detail in the narrative sets alarm bells ringing - in this case, the news that those conspiratorial meetings between Coote and Ward took place in, of all places, a Kenco coffee shop. The thought of Sir Colin Coote, DSO, an archetypal six-foot Edwardian boulevardier, epicure and wine buff, conducting any type of business in a London coffee bar well and truly beggars belief.
Unfortunately, there is much else in Keeler's "truth" that also beggars belief. Take the following passage describing her life with Ward during the Cuban missile crisis. "I spent 48 hours worrying before going back to Wimpole Mews [Ward's consulting rooms] on what was to be a turbulent, landmark day. Eugene [Ivanov, the Soviet military attache] was there. He and Stephen were just off to lunch with Lord Arran, the permanent under-secretary, [with a view to setting up] a summit conference." Lord Arran, known to us all as Boofie, was a delightfully scatty alcoholic peer, and occasional journalist, who later played a central role in the legalisation of homosexuality. He is no more to be confused - except, possibly, in a TV serial - with a permanent under-secretary, the highest rank in the Civil Service, than is the equally eccentric and delightful Earl of Onslow today. As for the summit conference that Boofie was expected to call, it is easier to imagine its location - the bar at White's Club - than its participants, who could not have included Keeler herself.
But I am digressing, because the kernel of the book is the claim that Ward was a (possibly the) senior Soviet spy in London during the late 1950s and 1960s, at the height of the cold war. Keeler portrays him as not just a master spy, but a particularly ruthless one - to the extent that he tried to drown her in the stretch of the Thames that flows beside the famous Cliveden Cottage, lent to Ward by Lord Astor. The reason why he wanted to drown her, it seems, was that she knew too much, having been allowed to listen into all his lengthy conversations about defence matters with Ivanov, Hollis and the Tory MP Sir Godfrey Nicholson. Not that Keeler allowed the attempted murder to worry her overmuch: her life with Ward, and indeed her love (strictly platonic, we are told), seem to have continued without interruption.
Keeler makes no attempt to disguise her life's hedonistic irresponsibility. According to her, she had no choice. What she calls the "diktat" of the Sixties zeitgeist, to which she was powerless to say nay, was "to do anything you wanted" and "to think only of yourself". No regrets on that front. What irks her is the jury's verdict that Ward was guilty of living off immoral earnings; and what she wants to make clear in her book is that the official "establishment" version of the Profumo scandal, drawn up by Lord Denning in the famous report of that name, which damned him as a pimp and her as a tart, did them less than justice.
And, in a way, that is true. Keeler's book does convince one that neither of them were in the sex business for money. But while the alternative role in which she prefers to cast herself - that of a good-time girl out only for kicks - is entirely plausible, the one in which she tries to cast Ward - that of murderous Soviet spymaster - is not. And even if it were, why is she so sure that he would prefer to be remembered as a traitor, rather than a pimp? But Keeler is sure. She writes that she has "never cried so deeply" as when they found Stephen "guilty of living off immoral earnings", and that when later she heard complete strangers in the street "putting Stephen down, calling him dirty names", her hatred of them was "violent and complete". How could the wicked establishment have done him such dirt? She owed it to him to put the record straight; to wipe those naughty words off the slate; to make sure that posterity is never allowed to forget that Stephen Ward was nothing as naughty as a pimp, just a mere traitor.
Can that really be Keeler's motive? A part of me wants to believe in her sincerity; that, on her scale of criminal values, pimping is worse than treason. But there again, a certain scepticism persists, for one can't help remembering her understandably hateful feelings towards Ward after his botched attempt on her life. It is just possible that her book aims not to clear his name, but to blacken it still further.