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'Masons Paid Me to Flee Country' - Accused Policeman

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'Masons Paid Me to Flee Country' - Accused Policeman
Press Association Newsfile
Home News
October 11, 1989

An ex-policeman claims he was paid 2,000 pounds by brother Freemasons to help him leave the country after he was accused of corruption.

Former Metropolitan detective-sergeant John Symonds alleges that the money came from other masons in the police who feared exposure of a racket involving payments from pornographers.

In an interview for Granada TV documentary series, Inside the Brotherhood, Mr. Symonds says he went into hiding after being given the cash. He vanished six weeks before he was due to stand trial.

"I was escorted from the country. I received advice and money from my colleagues. I received 2,000 pounds which was a lot of money at the time," he says. He returned to Britain from Africa seven years later and in 1980 was sentenced to two years' imprisonment.

While he was abroad his former chief was jailed for 10 years in the "Porn Squad trials". He was said to have entertained pornographers at masonic functions.

My Symonds claims masonic influence is "rife" in Britain's prisons. "I spent some time in an open prison where contact was made between masonic prisoners and wardens who would leave parcels at the gate for them."

Inside the Brotherhood is a six-part documentary investigating activities of the Freemasons. Based on a bestseller of the same title by Martin Short, it looks at what kind of men join the movement and why and at Freemasonry's secret rituals. The series claims to lift the lid on the secret society which has 500,000 members in Britain.

Fresh allegations on local council corruption will be made in the 30-minute programmes - the first of which will be screened on ITV on Tuesday, October 17, at 7:30 p.m. The other programmes investigate Freemasonry in the police, masonic charities, Freemasonry in local government, the "Italian connection" and ex-CID man Brian Woolard, who claims he was passed over for promotion by other people less qualified but with masonic connections. Inside the Brotherhood has been made for Granada by independent production company Twenty Twenty Television.

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