Samuel Herbert was born in 1918. He joined the Metropolitan Police and eventually reached the rank of Chief Inspector.
On 21st March, 1963, George Wigg, the Labour Party MP, asked the Home Secretary, Henry Brooke, in a debate on the John Vassall affair in the House of Commons, to deny rumours relating to Christine Keeler and the John Edgecombe case. Wigg also suggested that the Keeler case might have implications for national security.
Richard Crossman then commented that the 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.
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."
Roger Hollis then told Henry 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.
Henry Brooke then asked the Police Commissioner's view on this. Joseph Simpson agreed with Roger 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."
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 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 Mandy 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 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.
Chief Inspector 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.
Herbert needed more evidence against Stephen Ward. He therefore arrested Ronna Ricardo was arrested by the police and agreed to give evidence against Ward. Ricardo was known as "Ronna the Lash", and specialised in flagellation. Trevor Kempson, a journalist, who was working for the News of the World claimed: "She used to carry her equipment round in a leather bag. She was well known for the use of the whip, and I heard that several of Ward's friends used to like it rough."
At the Ward committal proceedings, Ronna Ricardo provided evidence that suggested that he had been living off her immoral earnings. She quoted Ward as saying that it "would be worth my while" to attend a party at Cliveden. Ricardo claimed that she visited Ward's home in London three times. On one occasion, she had sex with a man in Ward's bedroom after being given £25."
Ricardo told Ludovic Kennedy that the police interviewed her nine times in order that she gave a statement that provided evidence that suggested that Ward was living off immoral earnings. Ricardo confessed to another researcher, Anthony Summers that: "Stephen didn't have to ponce - he was dead rich, a real gentleman; a shoulder for me to cry on for me, for a long time." Ricardo also told Summers that Chief Inspector Samuel Herbert was one of her clients.
Two days before Ward's trial, Ronna Ricardo made a new statement to the police. "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."
It later emerged that Ricardo decided to tell the truth after being interviewed by Tom Mangold of the Daily Express. "There were two strands running through the thing, it seemed to me. There was some sort of intelligence connection, which I could not understand at the time. The other thing, the thing that was clear, was that Ward was being made a scapegoat for everyone else's sins. So that the public would excuse them. If the myth about Ward could be built up properly, the myth that he was a revolting fellow, a true pimp, then police would feel that other men, like Profumo and Astor, had been corrupted by him. But he wasn't a ponce. He was no more a pimp than hundreds of other men in London. But when the state wants to act against an individual, it can do it."
On 3rd July, 1963, Vickie Barrett was arrested for soliciting. While being interviewed, Barrett claimed she knew Stephen Ward. She told the police that she was picked up by Ward in Oxford Street in January 1963. Barrett was taken back to his flat where she had sex with a friend of his. Afterwards, she said, Ward told her that the man had paid him and he would save the money for her. Over the next two and a half months, according to Barrett some two or three times a week, the same thing would happen. Barrett claimed that during this time, Ward never paid her any money for these acts of prostitution.
The trial of Stephen Ward began at the Old Bailey on 22nd July 1963. Rebecca West was one of the journalists covering the case. She described Barrett looking like "a photograph from a famine relief fund appeal." Ludovic Kennedy, the author of The Trial of Stephen Ward (1964) commented: "She came into the witness-box, a little whey-faced blonde, wearing a sort of green raincoat with a white scarf round her neck; and when she turned to face the court and while she was giving the oath, one's impression was one of shock; shock that Ward, whom one had believed to be a man of some fastidiousness in his tastes, had sunk so low. For of all the whores the prosecution had paraded or were still to parade before us this one was the bottom of the barrel."
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."
Ronna Ricardo gave evidence on the second day of the trial. Ludovic Kennedy, the author of The Trial of Stephen Ward (1964) commented that unlike Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies "she made no pretensions about not being a tart." Kennedy added "She had dyed red hair and a pink jumper and a total lack of any sort of finesse".
While being cross-examined by Mervyn Griffith-Jones Ricardo claimed she had told untruths about Stephen Ward in her statement on 5th April because of threats made by the police. "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."
As Mandy Rice-Davies pointed out: "When Ronna Ricardo, who had provided strong evidence against him at the early hearing, came into court she swore under oath that her earlier evidence had been false. She had lied to satisfy the police, that they had threatened her, if she refused, with taking her baby and her young sister into care. Despite the most aggressive attack from Mr Griffith Jones, and barely concealed hostility from the judge, she stuck to her story, that this was the truth and the earlier story she had told was lies." As Ricardo later told Anthony Summers: "Stephen was a good friend of mine. But Inspector Herbert was a good friend as well, so it was complicated."
Stephen 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."
That night 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. However, he was found not guilty of the charges relating to Ronna Ricardo and Vickie Barrett. Three days later, Ward died in St Stephen's Hospital.
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."Ward's defence team found suicide notes addressed to Vickie Barrett, Ronna Ricardo, Melvyn Griffith-Jones, James Burge and Lord Denning: Barrett's letter said: "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 Ricardo. 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 later recalled: "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."
O'Brien claimed that Vickie Barrett responded with the following words: "It was all lies. But I never thought he would die. I didn't want him to die. 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." Barrett admitted that she had been coerced into giving her evidence by the police. According to O'Brien she told him that Herbert had threatened that if she did not do what he wanted she would never be able to show her face in Notting Hill again. Barrett agreed to go to see Ward's solicitor, then went to another room to get her coat. According to O'Brien, an older women who was living in the house came out, and said: "Miss Barrett was not going anywhere." Barrett later retracted her retraction.
According to Sergeant Mike Glasse, all the police officers had been told before Ward's trial that if the prosecution was successful they would receive promotions, "but not immediately, because it would not look good." Samuel Herbert was promoted to the rank of Superintendent.
Samuel Herbert died of a heart attack on 16th April 1966. 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."
Interview number twelve with Burrows and Herbert came around. Burrows sat in his pinstripes, absorbing the questions and answers in silence. I felt that he was on my side, probably the only person in the world who was, but I hated Herbert with his full face, fair hair and darting eyes. He was always dressed in tweeds. Whatever, I knew I had to keep answering the questions. Now they wanted to know what I was going to do with my money - cash they supposed I had been paid by Eugene for spying. What they called "large sums". Herbert said: "We know all about it."
It was a bluff - I had not been paid. I was confident then, confident that I could get through these interrogations without letting anything go that I didn't want to. I could see their hand. Finally, they threw it in and there were a couple of days of just sleeping and thinking. When they came back I knew that the investigation had changed from Herbert's first question: "When did you meet Bill Astor?"
I told him the truth about meeting Bill at Cliveden. He wanted to know if I had sex with Bill. Again, I told the truth and said no. Then they brought Mandy into it. I said I could not talk for her and they dropped a bombshell. They said they had been after Stephen for eleven years for using women. They wanted to know all about the men in my life since I had lived with Stephen. I did not lie but my answers were pretty much waffle. The next day these two, who by now I thought of as Laurel and Hardy, took me to see Commander Townsend of MIS.
The two policemen stayed in the room while I answered questions about having sex with Jack and Eugene. Townsend asked me about Stephen wanting me to find out about the bomb from Jack. Townsend then asked Burrows and Herbert to leave the room and said, "I have some important questions to ask you, but it is very important that you never tell anyone what I have to say next. Not even the police. Nobody. Do you understand?"
He said they believed me when I said I had taken nothing from Jack's house and that it was Stephen who had asked me to get the bomb information from Jack. But his people had a report from Michael Eddowes about me being a Russian spy and also a report from the CIA about what Stephen had told them. The CIA were flapping, realizing that Stephen had put the blame on to me. They were terrified of security leaks and a sex scandal involving America. Stephen had sketched David Bruce, the American ambassador, and Bruce's assistant, Alfred Wells. When Douglas Fairbanks junior was interviewed by the FBI he said half the House of Lords would be implicated by Stephen.
I told Townsend that Stephen had said that there was money to be made in spying. I also told him that I had not asked Jack about the bomb and that I would not have done so. He then asked if I thought Stephen was a spy and I said he was. So the security people knew the truth.
As contact with the outside world weakened, I was more susceptible. The repeated remarks, "We'll soon have you in here for sentence," began to make an impression, and though logically I could see the idea was ridiculous, I started to believe that perhaps I would be sent to prison.
A solicitor came in to see me, and to prepare my case for court. I wasn't sure who had sent him, and oddly, I suppose, I didn't ask. I was so relieved. I told him everything I could and he said he would plead mitigating circumstances, that because of my being so young when the car and licence were given to me, I behaved foolishly rather than criminally.
The following day, as I was beginning to feel some degree of hope, I was visited by the two senior policemen - Detective Chief Inspector Herbert and Detective Sergeant Burrows.
Chief Inspector Herbert's first words were: "Mandy, you don't like it in here very much, do you?" "No."
"Then you help us, and we'll help you."
All they wanted of me was a little chat. I was to answer their questions and everything would be all right. the questions were of a general nature; who I knew in London, where I went, what I did, who paid for what. Then every so often a question about Dr Ward. Although I was certain nothing I could say about Stephen could damage him in any way - he was peculiar, certainly, but that doesn't mean criminally so - I felt I was being coerced into something, being pointed in a predetermined direction. Rumours that the police were investigating a call-girl racket for VIPs had been reported, but by no stretch of the imagination could this involve Stephen. Certainly he made introductions, he enjoyed manipulating people, and possibly his motives weren't entirely pure, but financial gain never came into it.
Whenever I hesitated, Chief Inspector Herbert would say reassuringly: "Well, Christine says..." He told me they had interviewed Christine numerous times, and Christine had been most co-operative. All I had to do was confirm what Christine had said.
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.
Two days before the Ward trial, Ricardo made a new statement to the police. "The evidence I gave at the Stephen Ward hearing earlier this month," she said, "was largely untrue. I visited Ward at his flat at Bryanston Mews on one occasion. No one received any money. At no time have I received any money on Stephen Ward's premises, or given money to him. The reason the earlier statement was divergent from the truth was my apprehension that my baby daughter and younger sister might be taken out of my care following certain statements made to me by Chief Inspector Samuel Herbert."
"Are you suggesting," asked Judge Marshall at the Old Bailey, "that the police had just put words into your mouth?" "Yes," Ricardo replied "... I wanted the police to leave me alone..."
"Ricardo," Ludovic Kennedy wrote, "was clearly in a state of terror at what the police might do to her for having gone back on her original evidence. After the trial she seldom stayed at one address for more than a few nights for fear the police were looking for her..."
Lord Denning did not mention Ricardo in his Report. Ludovic Kennedy did contact her, and she revealed that, before she testified, the police interviewed her no fewer than nine times. An observation car sat outside her home for days at a time. She ended up testifying against Stephen Ward.
Today, traced during research for this book, Ricardo was even more forthright. She said flatly, "Stephen didn't have to ponce - he was dead rich, a real gentleman; a shoulder to cry on for me, for a long time. Some of my clients were friends of Stephen's. But it wasn't business, like, more like friends. I was really into costumes then. These blokes would turn up with a costume inside their little briefcases, and I'd dress up as a nanny or a nurse, and smack their bottoms for them."
Ricardo confirms the police pressure, and explains the quandary she was in. "The police knew I hung around with Stephen," she says. "They said they would do me on immoral earnings, but Chief Inspector Herbert, who was running the investigation, was a punter of mine himself. I didn't know he was a policeman for ages. I used to wear a wig, and he always wanted me to take it off and shake my hair around. I was going with another copper, too, who was involved in the enquiry. I couldn't take this pressure by the coppers, and Stephen was a good friend of mine. But Inspector Herbert was a good friend as well, so it was complicated." At the time of the enquiry, Ricardo was caring for her two sisters as well as her own baby daughter - her parents had recently separated. She said she feared her daughter and sisters would be placed in a home, unless she did as she was told.
A Member of Parliament since 1938, Henry Brooke had represented Hampstead for twelve years. A large man, not easily flustered, he held very conservative political views and since he had become Home Secretary only the previous year he was fresh to the ways of M15. When he heard, therefore, a rumour that the service had been sending anonymous letters to Mrs Profumo - to what supposed end the rumour did not say - he was upset and annoyed. On 27 March, he summoned the head of M15, Roger Hollis, to see him and asked the Permanent Under-Secretary at the Home Office, Sir Charles Cunningham, and the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Joseph Simpson, to attend the meeting. All these people are now dead and the only account of what took place is a semi-official one leaked in 1982 by M15.
According to this account, when Brooke tackled Hollis on the rumour that MIS had been sending anonymous letters to Mrs Profumo, Hollis vigorously denied it. He said his service had ceased to take any interest in the affair once Ivanov had left Britain. The question of Ward's role then came up, but the M15 account fails to explain why Ward's name was mentioned at all. Hollis then explained to Brooke the allegations that had been made against Ward. The only one that might have concerned M15 was Christine Keeler's statement to the police that Ward had asked her to find out from Profumo when Germany would receive nuclear warheads. But, said Hollis, in any court case that might be brought against Ward over this accusation all the witnesses would be completely unreliable.
According to the M15 account, Brooke then asked the Police Commissioner's view on this. Simpson agreed with Hollis but then gratuitously added that it might be possible to get a conviction against Ward with a charge of living off immoral earnings. But, he said, even this seemed unlikely. The M15 account says nothing of Brooke's reaction to this but he must have shown his dissatisfaction in some way because the meeting ended with Hollis agreeing to have a second look at the possibility of prosecuting Ward under the Official Secrets Act.
What are we to make of this amazing meeting? Brooke called it with one express purpose - to discover whether M15 officers had been harassing the Profumos and to put a stop to it if they had. But the meeting quickly moved on to Ward, and the Home Secretary and his three distinguished civil servants began to hunt about for some crime with which to prosecute him. The initiative clearly came from Brooke; the two service heads, Hollis and Simpson, were pessimistic about successfully prosecuting Ward for anything. They went away reluctantly agreeing to see if they could come up with a charge that might stick.