I first became interested in the case of Stephen Ward while investigating the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I cam across a declassified FBI file that suggested they were investigating the visit of Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies in July, 1962. The date intrigued me as the story about Keeler and Rice-Davies being involved with the Minister of War John Profumo only became news in March, 1963. Further research showed that it was not only J. Edgar Hoover who was interested in the the Profumo Scandal. In 1963 President Kennedy was paying more than ordinary attention to the case. According to his friend, Ben Bradlee: "He had devoured every word written about the Profumo case. He ordered all further cables on that subject sent to him immediately." The reason Kennedy was concerned so much with the case was that he had been told there was a connection between the women being employed by the sex-parties run by Bobby Baker in Washington and those being organized by Stephen Ward in London. Much to his regret, Kennedy had become involved with some of the women supplied by Baker. This included Suzy Chang and Maria Novotny. By 1963 Kennedy realised that Lyndon B. Johnson was behind Baker's operation and it had been used to gather information to be used to blackmail politicians in Washington. This information was also being shared with Hoover and the FBI. It seemed that Ward was running a similar operation in London. Was it being done for the benefit of MI5? If so, why had MI5 not warned Profumo of this? Or were the intelligence services using this information in the same way as they were in Washington?
I decided to produce some material on the Profumo case. This took the form of biographies on the key figures. During my research I discovered that Keeler and Rice-Davies met Earl Felton at a 1963 New Year party. According to Rice-Davies, Fenton was a screen-writer who introduced her to Robert Mitchum. The following month Felton 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." I know from other sources that Fenton was a CIA agent.
A FBI document dated on 29th January, 1963, reveals that 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.
In March, 2009, I was contacted by Mandy Rice-Davies, who was upset by my biography of her. She was particularly angry about a quote I had used by Christine Keeler, that she considered libelous. I was invited to telephone her, which I did, and she was very generous with the amount of information she gave me on the case. The problem was that she was just a pawn in these events and was unable to see the larger picture. For example, she refused to accept that Earl Fenton was a CIA agent and that he genuinely wanted to make her a Hollywood star.
Rice-Davies did give me some really interesting information about the court-case. It was her intention to provide evidence to the court that Stephen Ward was not living on her immoral earnings. However, when she was cross-examined by Ward's defence counsel, James Burge, he never gave her the opportunity to explain this. Whereas when she was cross-examined by the prosecuting council, Mervyn Griffith-Jones, he was allowed by the judge to give the false impression that Lord Astor paid her £200 to have sex with her. Rice-Davies speculated that someone was so determined to get Ward they were even controlling his defence team. I am convinced she is right but it was not the government but the intelligence agencies who had decided on who were going to be the victims of the cover-up.
The story begins in 1952 when Stephen Ward, who worked for the Osteopathic Association Clinic in Dorset Square, became friendly with 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." Lewis had not obtained the revenge he required but he was unwilling to forget the damage that Ward had done him.
Ward continued to prosper as an osteopath and his patients included 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 patients 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. Ward was also an artist and he had a reputation for producing fine portraits of his friends. This included the Duke of Edinburgh and Madame Furtseva, the Soviet Minister of Culture.
In 1959 met Christine Keeler, when she worked as a showgirl at Murrays 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."
During this period Ward also got to know Maria Novotny, Mandy Rice-Davies and Suzy Chang. Novotny 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.
In 1960 Novotny travelled to the United States with Chang. It is believed that both girls worked at the Quorum Club in Washington, run by Bobby Baker, and became involved in relationships with leading politicians. This included both John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. Recently released FBI files claim that Stephen Ward was involved in supplying these girls. The FBI investigation also suggested that a "Hungarian madam in New York" was also involved in what was called the "Bowtie" case.
Colin Coote, the editor of the Daily Telegraph commissioned Stephen Ward to sketch pictures of participants in the trial of Adolf Eichmann. 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 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 xxxx 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 in October 1962, 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." I will return to this issue later because evidence would emerge in 1963 that Ward was working for MI6 during this political crisis.
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. (Later this lawyer was to become very involved in the cover-up of the assassination of John F. Kennedy). 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 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."
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.
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, Wards 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."