Westminster child abuse claims: what do we know?
Police are investigating possible murders linked to Elm Guest House in south-west London after claims of a cover-up
Matthew Weaver Wednesday 19 November 2014
What do we know about politicians and child abuse at Westminster?
A number of allegations have been made. So far the only politician to have been implicated is the Liberal MP Cyril Smith, who died in 2010, but other unnamed politicians were also alleged to have been involved in a Westminster paedophile ring. Smith is alleged to have abused boys at Knowl View residential school in Rochdale and at Elm Guest House, in Barnes in south-west London, in the 1970s and 80s. Greater Manchester police are investigating allegations of abuse by Smith at Knowl View, where Smith was a governor. Other MPs were said to have attended the Elm Guest House. After claims made by the Labour MP Tom Watson in 2012, the Metropolitan police launched Operation Fairbank into child abuse at the guesthouse. Watson said there was “clear intelligence suggesting a powerful paedophile network linked to parliament and No 10”.
A dossier of evidence of an alleged paedophile ring, involving several MPs, including Smith, and other public figures, was handed to the Home Office in 1983, by the Conservative MP Geoffrey Dickens, who died in 1995. The 40-page dossier has since been destroyed or lost, according to a Home Office review. The Crown Prosecution Service has conceded that Smith should have been prosecuted after rejecting claims against him in 1970, 1998 and 1999.
What happened at Elm Guest House?
At least three MPs were reported to have been questioned in 1982 after a police raid on the guesthouse. It was reported at the time that it was being used as a brothel where children as young as 10 were abused. Two children living in the house were taken into care. The guesthouse was reported to have been used as a brothel for two years before it was raided. Officers found whips, chains and ropes. “They catered for every kind of perversion,” an officer told the News of World at the time. The owners of Elm Guest House, Haroon and Carol Kasir, were subsequently convicted of running a brothel....
Sasha Wass QC, prosecutor in Rolf Harris trial, to lead island sex abuse inquiry
Sasha Wass QC, has been brought into to head an investigation into an alleged cover-up on St Helena and Ascension Paul Peachey crime correspondent Thursday 20 November 2014
....Sasha Wass QC, has been brought in after a review of child safety on St Helena and Ascension – two tiny and remote islands in the South Atlantic with a combined population of some 5,500 – revealed that a number of paedophiles had escaped prosecution amid claims of police incompetence and corruption.
The Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, said yesterday that Ms Wass would travel to the island to investigate a series of claims by whistleblowers against senior police, some brought over from Britain to run the tiny force.
Social workers said they raised concerns about a paedophile officer but were snubbed and told not to rock the boat and “enjoy the view” on St Helena, famous as the island prison of Napoleon.
The announcement by Mr Hammond came a week before the start of what could be a protracted employment tribunal starting in London brought by two of the whistleblowers who say they were hounded off the island. One of them had her home searched by police and was threatened with prosecution for perjury.
They have said that entrenched abuse on the island was worse than the scandal on Pitcairn, another isolated and tiny British territory, where six men jailed for child sex abuse in 2004.
....Experts from the child protection charity, the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, said in a report there had been a “malaise” in the upper ranks of the police force. It criticised its handling of child sex abuse allegations and highlighted how victims were often castigated when coming forward to make claims. It said there were “a number of ‘serial’ offenders, a number of ‘serial’ victims, and a number of women whose children were very much at risk of repeat victimisation.”