Child Abuse Questions for the London borough of Richmond

Sir David Williams, former lb dem leader of Richmond Council - pic courtesy:

Sir David Williams, former lib dem leader of Richmond Council – child abuse  ” specious rumours”pic courtesy:

As the police investigation Operation Fernbank continues apace, questions are mounting over the role of the London borough of Richmond and its social services department over the scandal.

A report by David Pallister and me on the Exaro News website ( )  that the police have requested and obtained documents from the council’s records dating back to the 1980s.

The council is in the frame because  documents written about Elm House guest house, raided by the police in 1982, name boys who were at the now closed Grafton House  children’s home and were taken  there to be sexually abused by prominent people. It suggests a link between kids under the care of Richmond Council and the notorious guest house.

One of the few prominent councillors around at the time was Sir David Williams, Liberal Democrat leader of Richmond Council for 18 years from 1983 to 2001 and appointed by Eric Pickles, communities secretary, to sit on the board of the soon to be abolished Audit Commission in 2011. He has been a councillor since 1974.

This is his view of the present police investigation into the Elm House guest house.

” I knew nothing about this until some time afterwards it was a rumour. It didn’t impact on the council at the time.

…” If the police do find something, well the police will find something. It is all specious rumour as far as I am concerned until someone gives me some hard facts. It is idle speculation as far as I am aware.

 “If it did involve children I didn’t know. I doubt if it did.”
Sir David’s reaction to put it mildly is interesting. If he is right the police are wasting their time launching a criminal investigation. But it is highly unlikely in these stricken financial times that the Met Police would waste our money without any strong leads.
What do you think or if you are  in Richmond  do you know more about this than meets the eye? Contact me if you have.

9 thoughts on “Child Abuse Questions for the London borough of Richmond

    • absolutely not.That is the reason why there are no names. Much more important is where the police are going and what information, I understand, has been picked up by the police from Richmond Council.


    • hi David,

      At the moment the answer in this particular case is yes. I have been dealing directly with the Met because I provided a source on all this – and my impression is that they appear to be determined – despite past failures- to investigate this thoroughly.
      If there is a further cover up I shall be on the case!


  1. ”documents written about Elm House guest house, raided by the police in 1982, name boys who were at the now closed Grafton House children’s home and were taken there to be sexually abused by prominent people”

    David, if you really are treating the Moss documents with the caution they most definitely warrant, then a better wording for your post would have an ‘alleged’ in there somewhere. None of this, so far, is established fact.


    • My feelings exactly.I note you refer to a ‘further cover-up’,as if convinced there had been a first one.There may be a story here, but you’re getting ahead of yourself, surely.


  2. There is every need to protect the reputations of those who may be falsely accused of sexual abuse, but perhaps it is rather more important to help the victims of such experiences feel that they will be believed if they report such abuse. Children often keep quiet because they know their abusers have more power than they do: the priority surely should be to enable victims to feel they will be listened to, and their claims investigated. Remarks like ‘specious rumours’ and ‘idle speculation’ can only deter genuine victims from coming forward, and encourage any perpetrators of such abuse to imagine that they can use their positions to evade prosecution


  3. Pingback: Elm Guest House: Vigil, September 15th, 2014, and Links to Newspaper Reports | Desiring Progress

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