A British investigation into an alleged pedophile ring at the highest levels of government may be based on fantasy, according to a BBC report. The report found that a key witness, who says he was abused by a ring that included top politicians, generals, and intelligence chiefs in the 1970s and 1980s, appears to have invented at least one of three murders he claimed to have witnessed, while another witness claims he was pressured into falsely naming VIPs and a third has a history of hoaxes, reports the New York Times. London's Metropolitan Police force has assigned dozens of officers to investigate the alleged "Westminster" pedophile ring, which was allegedly covered up by key figures in Margaret Thatcher's government.
In recent years, Britain has been shaken by reports of cover-ups of long-running abuse, with some cases involving once-beloved entertainers like Jimmy Savile, but the BBC report suggests police are now overcompensating, the Times notes. Scotland Yard, however, says the BBC report could not only compromise its investigation into the Westminster ring, it could deter witnesses in other child sex abuse cases from coming forward. "Seeing an individual make allegations and then be targeted by the media is not going to encourage others to speak out," the force said in a statement, adding that after the Savile case, there has been a big increase in people reporting past and present abuse and they "do not want to take a backward step."