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Claims of child sex abuse haunted Richmond boss for 30 years

Terry Earland: no doubt in my mind that children were being used at Elm Guest House

By Mark Conrad | 14 February 2013

Claims of child sex abuse haunted Richmond boss for 30 yearsRichmond’s former head of children’s services says that he has “no doubt” that boys were sexually abused at Elm Guest House in the London borough.

Terry Earland, who occupied the senior role at Richmond council for 22 years from 1981, gave an explosive interview to Exaro about how he has been troubled for three decades about allegations of a VIP paedophile ring centred on the borough in south-west London.

“There was never any doubt in my mind that children were being used at Elm Guest House,” he said.

“It has always bothered me. It was something that happened in my career that I was never fully satisfied had been resolved.”

“Of the more obscene child-protection cases that I have been involved in,” he continued, “you remember them. And this is one of them.”

The Metropolitan Police Service’s ‘Operation Fernbridge’ is investigating allegations that boys in care were sexually abused at Grafton Close children’s home, which was run by Richmond council, and at nearby Elm Guest House. Police are investigating alleged child sex abuse by MPs and other VIPs at the guest house.

As part of the investigation, detectives are examining the circumstances surrounding the sacking in 1984 of Louis Minster, as director of social services at the London borough of Richmond-upon-Thames. Minster says that it was a political move made after the Liberal-SDP alliance took control of the council from the Conservatives.

Earland said: “My recollection is that Louis’s face did not fit with the new Liberal administration.”

Earland continued to work in the field of child protection after leaving Richmond in 2003, but has since retired abroad. He said that police from Operation Fernbridge have contacted him by telephone this month.

He told Exaro: “In the course of my career, the Elm Guest House issue and the use of children in care was never satisfactorily resolved.

“Now, I do not mean that as a criticism of the police because I am sure that this was incredibly difficult. But it was always there.”

“When I got the call from the police, my initial response was, ‘Thank goodness. Let us hope that we get to the bottom of this.’”

“I would like to make very clear that I am very pleased that Elm Guest House is being investigated again. It was never resolved satisfactorily in my own mind.”

“It stuck in my mind as an unresolved issue. I never felt that it was satisfactorily finalised.”

He said that he was “shocked” by the revelation about the link between the guest house and Spartacus, and advertisements in the gay Press that signalled the venue as a place for homosexuals who wanted to have sex with boys.

A newsletter sent by the Conservative Group for Homosexual Equality to members “strongly recommended” the guest house. It said that facilities included “a sauna, solarium and video studio”.

Earland said: “What do you need a video suite for in a guest house?”

“Anybody who went there, I would say, yes, they are in the frame – almost certainly.”

He continued: “The more that you can do to expose it, the better.”

“If there has been a big cover up, then bloody well nail them.”

He revealed that he also has suspicions about the death in 1990 of Carole Kasir, who ran Elm Guest House with her husband, Haroon, or Harry. At the inquest, which heard sensational evidence about prominent people who sexually abused boys at the guest house, a coroner recorded a verdict of suicide from an insulin overdose.

Earland said: “You may find it useful to look into her death as well.”

“This has niggled me for 20-odd years now. And I remember at the time of her death, there being question marks of, ‘Is this really an overdose of insulin?’

“But, you know, that is how it sticks in your mind. Not at the forefront, but it has never gone away from me.”

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Exaro News investigates matters of public interest and seeks to uncover the truth.