Exaro News Archive

‘Operation Fernbridge’ releases Elm co-manager without charge

Police to take no action against Harry Kasir as they continue to probe Elm Guest House

By Mark Conrad and David Hencke | 4 December 2013

Police have released without charge the former co-manager of a guest house at the centre of an investigation into a VIP paedophile ring.

It comes after Exaro disclosed on Monday that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is to drop key charges against two other men who were arrested under ‘Operation Fernbridge’.

‘Operation Fernbridge’ releases Elm co-manager without charge

Detectives arrested Haroon Kasir, known as Harry, in July at an address in west London on suspicion of possession of indecent images of children.

Kasir ran Elm Guest House with his late wife, Carole, for about four years from 1979 in Barnes. Carole died suddenly in 1990, with a coroner recording a verdict of suicide by insulin injection.

He was the third man to be arrested by the Metropolitan Police Service’s paedophile unit under Operation Fernbridge. He was released on police bail at the time.

The Met never publicly named Kasir as having been arrested, and only referred to him as “Fernbridge 3”.

It confirmed to Exaro that no charges are to be brought against “Fernbridge 3”, and that he is no longer on police bail. A spokesman said: “He has been released, with no further action. He is not still under arrest.”

The Met is investigating historical allegations of sexual abuse of boys at Grafton Close children’s home in the London borough of Richmond, south-west London, at the nearby Elm Guest House and other sites. Some of the claims are against former senior politicians and other prominent people.

As Exaro revealed on Monday, the CPS is understood to have decided to drop three out of 11 charges against John Stingemore, 71, who used to run the children’s home – including the most serious accusation that he faced.

It will drop the charge against him of conspiracy with persons unknown to commit buggery, along with two counts of indecent assault. But Stingemore, of Stonehouse Drive, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, still faces six charges of indecent assault against five boys aged between 11 and 15, and two counts of taking indecent images of a child.

The CPS is also understood to have decided to drop one charge of indecent assault against Tony McSweeney, a 66-year-old priest, of Old Brighton Road North, Pease Pottage, West Sussex. McSweeney still faces one charge of indecent assault against a boy aged between 11 and 15, three counts of making indecent images of a child, one of taking indecent images of a child and a further count of possessing indecent images of a child.

Stingemore and McSweeney are due to appear at a further remand hearing on December 19.

Detectives hand-delivered a letter from the CPS that formally informed a key witness of the decision to drop the charges.

According to the letter, the Met is still investigating Elm Guest House. It said: “The investigation into that guest house is still continuing, and it is not known if charges will eventually be authorised.”

Kasir has refused to comment about what happened at Elm Guest House. He did not return calls seeking comment about the police decision to release him without charge.

Sources close to Operation Fernbridge told Exaro that detectives were hoping that Kasir would become a key witness. However, he refused to talk to them about his time as co-manager of Elm Guest House.

After a police raid on the guest house in 1982, the Kasirs 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.

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.