Exaro News Archive

Found: co-manager of guest house at centre of police probe

Detectives investigating VIP paedophile ring raid second home in Operation Fernbridge

By David Pallister and David Hencke | 19 January 2013

Found: co-manager of guest house at centre of police probe
Raid: Haroon Kasir, former co-manager of Elm Guest House in Barnes

Found: co-manager of guest house at centre of police probeExaro has tracked down the surviving co-manager of the guest house at the centre of a police investigation into sexual abuse of boys.

Haroon Kasir, known as Harry, ran Elm Guest House with his late wife, Carole, for about four years from 1979 in Barnes, south-west London.

Exaro understands that detectives have raided his current home close to where the guest house used to operate. Kasir was not arrested.

Elm Guest House openly advertised as a gay haunt. But the Metropolitan Police Service’s paedophile unit on Thursday turned what was a “scoping exercise” into a full criminal investigation, called ‘Operation Fernbridge’, into allegations that many prominent people, including MPs, abused boys brought to the guest house from a nearby children’s home.

After a police raid on the premises in 1982, Kasir and his wife, who died suddenly in 1990, were convicted at the Old Bailey of running a disorderly house – meaning a brothel – and fined £1,000 each. They were given nine-month prison sentences, suspended for two years.

Kasir, now aged 69, went on to become a driving instructor with the British School of Motoring, and is working as a driver for a charity that helps disabled people. The charity is based in Kingston, close to Barnes.

He was reluctant to talk to Exaro, saying: “I have nothing to say to you,” adding, “Will you leave me alone?”

“Harry”, a British citizen of Pakistani origin, was the contact for the guest house in advertisements placed in London’s Capital Gay newspaper.

The guest house advertised itself as a “lively” place, with a sauna, solarium and video facilities. It claimed to be “close” to Kensington, although that is in west London.

After an elaborate surveillance exercise, four police officers infiltrated the Edwardian house by posing as homosexuals one Saturday night when a party of 30 men was expected.

One officer pretended to have a broken arm, and a radio transmitter was concealed in the plaster cast to call in the raid.

At the trial in 1983, the court heard that nine men were arrested, five of them naked watching a “thoroughly obscene” video.

David Paget, prosecuting, told the jury: “Whatever one’s feelings may be, either in favour of homosexuality or against it, there is nothing against the law in advertising what I have just outlined, and in conducting a guest house offering those facilities. But the allegation is that in reality this guest house was being run as a disorderly house.”

The couple denied all the charges.

The jury acquitted the couple of living off the earnings of a male prostitute who acted as a masseur in the solarium.

It was unable to agree on a charge of ill-treatment of a boy found at the house. The prosecution did not seek a re-trial on that charge.

The judge directed the jury to find the couple not guilty of possessing “for gain” five obscene videos because the accusation was covered by the charge of running a disorderly house.

Judge Tudor-Price, delivering the sentence, referred to “unwholesome activities” at the guest house. “Those disgusting films were harmful to the people who saw them and led to the acts of gross indecency.”

He said that his sentence took into account Carole Kasir’s ill health caused by diabetes, and the strain that this and the trial had put on the couple.

The Kasirs are understood to have sold the guest house to pay the fines, and court costs of £500 each.

The coroner at Carole Kasir’s inquest in 1990 recorded a verdict of suicide by insulin injection.

He heard evidence that MPs, judges and other prominent people frequented the guest house from Christopher Fay and Mary Moss, two representatives of a campaign group, the National Association for Young People in Care.

Carole had approached the organisation in 1988 for help in seeking the return of her children after they were put into care, claiming that she had been duped about illicit activities at the guest house.

Fay and Moss collated evidence from several sources about the guests. MPs from the three main political parties were identified, including two former Conservative cabinet ministers, two pop stars and senior council officials. Police seized the files in a raid last week on Moss’s flat.

Additional reporting by Fiona O’Cleirigh.

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