was a convicted paedophile and murderer who was involved
along with Sidney Cooke and Robert Oliver, in the murders
and sexual abuse of at least three young boys in and
around the London area in the 1980's.
Bailey was sent to trial, along with Cooke and Oliver, for
the 1984 murder of seven year old Mark Tildesley. Bailey
was already in prison for the 1985 killing of Jason Swift
but was also jailed for Mark's murder in 1992. He seemed
to be the only one of the gang who would admit to his
Bailey was murdered in
October 1993 after being attacked in his prison cell by
two other prisoners.
Nicknamed "Hissing Sid" by friends, travelled around
the country working fairgrounds he often worked on a test
Your Strength machine, where he would meet innocent
youngsters that he would go on to abuse and sometimes
Cooke's first known victims were two teenage brothers
who'd spent part of their childhoods in care. Groomed and
manipulated by Cooke, in the 1970s and early 80s they
wound up travelling with him around with him and the fair.
They were so relentlessly abused they believed that abuse
was part of a normal relationship between an adult and a
1st June 1984,
7 year old Mark Tildesley was at a funfair and was lured
away with the promise of a bag of sweets by Cooke.
Mark's bicycle was found
chained to railings nearby. Taken from the fair to a
caravan, Bailey claimed the boy was drugged by Cooke
and Lennie Smith, before they strangled him during an orgy
of sexual violence involving all three men. Mark's body
has never been found.
Mark is believed to be the first victim killed by the
The involvement of
Cooke, Bailey and Smith in Mark Tildesley disappearance
did not come to light until two of the three men were
serving life sentences for killing Jason Swift.
Bailey was the only one
convicted of a crime in relation to Mark's death, after he
pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 1992. The CPS decided
that prosecutions against Cooke and Smith, who had never
admitted to being involved in the boy's death, would fail
because they relied too heavily on Bailey's testimony.
Jason's body was found dumped in a field in Essex. He had
been drugged, sexually assaulted and asphyxiated.
The attention of police
was drawn to Sidney Cooke's gang, which operated out
of a squalid council flat on Kingsmead Estate in Hackney,
Investigations revealed that the flat had been the scene
of Jason's death, where it's thought members of the gang
had sex with the teenager.
When the case came to
trial in 1989, the members of Cooke's gang all blamed each
other for causing Jason's death, and there was only enough
evidence to convict four of them on the basis of
Oliver changed his name
to Francis Lee in prison and was released in 1997 after
serving 10 years of his 15-year sentence.
Implicated in the deaths of Mark Tildesley and Jason
Swift, but never charged in connection with them, Smith
was finally jailed in 1992 for a string of sex attacks on
a 6-year-old boy he'd been left to baby-sit. He was
released into a prison housing unit for former sex
offenders in 1999, and died of an AIDS-related illness in
During his time behind bars for his involvement in Jason
Swift's death, Cooke refused to participate in treatment
programmes for sex offenders. It's claimed he became a
centre of attention for other paedophile convicts, who
were in awe of the depths of his depravity and the
fearless way he pursued children.
Cooke was eventually released on parole in 1998, causing a
In 1999, a year after he was paroled, Cooke was arrested
on 18 sex charges occurring from 1972-1981, many of which
had come to public attention after they were reported on
in the Channel 4 documentary Dispatches. He admitted
ten sex attacks against two brothers over several months
in 1972-73, but denied the remaining eight charges, which
were abandoned by the judge. He blamed sexual abuse he had
suffered as a child. He received two life sentences, with
only a five year parole period Police continued to
investigate the killing of Tildesley.
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