Exaro News Archive

Detectives investigate use of ‘staging post’ for Elm Guest House

Witness tells how he was taken to ‘holding house’ before brothel for ‘VIP paedophiles’

By Mark Conrad and David Hencke | 3 February 2014

Detectives investigate use of ‘staging post’ for Elm Guest HousePolice are investigating claims that boys were taken to a “holding” property before being driven to the notorious Elm Guest House to be sexually abused.

A witness has given details of the “holding house” to the Metropolitan Police Service’s paedophile unit, as it investigates a paedophile ring – linked to politicians and other VIPs – centred on the guest house in Barnes, south-west London.

The witness told police that he was sexually abused at the guest house three decades ago when he was around 10 years old and in care in the London borough of Richmond. He told them that, on at least two occasions, he was first taken to a separate property in nearby Mortlake.

So bad was the abuse and pain, he told Exaro, that he “wanted to die.”

He said that officers drove him to Mortlake, and asked him to direct them to the ‘staging post’. It could be a crucial clue to unlock some of the dark secrets that surround Elm Guest House.

But the property has since changed ownership. And it is understood that the police do not know how it was connected with Elm Guest House.

With Exaro’s help, police in 2012 launched an investigation into historical allegations of child sex abuse at Elm Guest House under what became ‘Operation Fernbridge’.

The victim says that, on the way to Elm Guest House, he was twice taken to a flat on the ground floor of a house one mile away on Avondale Road, Mortlake.

He identified the property to Exaro, and said that another boy in care with him was also taken there en route to Elm Guest House.

At the flat, he recalls, he was given a soft drink. “It felt like a holding area,” he told Exaro. “The next time we went there, I just felt like cattle.”

According to his account, he was driven on to Elm Guest House, where he was sexually abused by two unidentified men.

He said: “Elm Guest House was a horrible place – the fear, the pain. Being told that you are going there, and knowing that you were going there again. I felt like I wanted to die.”

“I was brought up to respect and trust adults as a child, and look what happened.”

He described one time when the man who trafficked him stood outside the guest house, counting the cash that he was paid for supplying boys to abusers.

Meanwhile, a former care worker at the children’s home where the witness lived told Exaro of one troubling occasion when two other boys returned in distress, smelling of alcohol.

The two pre-teen boys were upset, and “immediately ran upstairs and locked themselves in their rooms.”

Both boys refused to discuss what had happened, said the care worker, but staff feared that it was “serious”.

Exaro revealed in December that the Crown Prosecution Service did not know at that stage whether there would be any charges relating to Elm Guest House.

A CPS letter to one witness said: “The investigation into that guest house is still continuing, and it is not known if charges will eventually be authorised.”

Scotland Yard has established that at least four children were sexually abused at Elm Guest House, although there is evidence of many more victims.

The Met has confirmed that among the guests who visited the place was Sir Cyril Smith, the late Liberal MP and paedophile.

However, sources close to the police investigation suggest that none of the people who suffered sexual abuse at Elm Guest House has so far been able to name a perpetrator. And, according to the sources, other victims are refusing to co-operate with ‘Operation Fernbridge’ because they do not trust the police.

Detectives also released without charge the former co-manager of the guest house, Haroon Kasir, known as Harry. He had been on bail after being arrested last July on suspicion of possession of indecent images of children.

Meanwhile, the Met paedophile unit has seen its investigation into historical allegations of child sex abuse by VIP paedophiles and others – some of it under ‘Operation Fairbank’ – spread to a wide array of areas.

Related Stories : Child sex abuse, ‘Fernbridge’ and ‘Fairbank’: Exaro story thread

By Exaro News

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