See no evil,Hear no evil, Speak no evil: Richmond’s amnesia on child abuse

Top Liberal Democrat politicians and the most senior official in charge  of social services  in the London borough of Richmond appear to have been struck dumb by an extraordinary outbreak of amnesia over the rapidly enfolding child abuse scandal 30 years ago.

Contacted by myself and my colleagues at Exaro News  prominent Lib SDP councillors at the time  Lord Razzall, Baroness  Tonge, Sir David Williams, and former social services director Louis Minster, traced by Exaro colleague Mark Conrad to retirement in Malta, don’t seem to remember a thing about it.

His interview by Mark and Alison Winward is at http://bit.ly/Y2xnzk  81 year old Mr Minster – who is following the police investigation on the internet – told Mark:” There no inquiries[into suspected child abuse] at all.”

In a piece by me, Mark, Nick Fielding and David Pallister on Exaro News(http://bit.ly/YQVguO) it is revealed that Richmond Council held a rare extraordinary general meeting in private session to discuss the premature retirement of Louis Minster. This came a year after the then Liberal  SDP coalition came into office and two years after the police raid on Elm Guest House in Barnes.

Exatraorinarily Lord Razzall, who went  on to be the Liberal Democrat treasurer and is business spokesman for the party in the Lords, can’t remember anything about it.

Sir David Williams, former lb dem leader of Richmond Council - pic courtesy: richmond.gov.uk

Sir David Williams, former lb dem leader of Richmond Council – pic courtesy: richmond.gov.uk

Yet the minutes of that meeting  show that he and Sir David Williams, then leader of the council, proposed a motion both to end the career of Louis Minster, and for the meeting to be held in private.

Lord Razzall:  Picture: courtesy Wikipedia

Lord Razzall: Picture: courtesy Wikipedia

Lord Razzall said: “I have no recollection. All I know is that he left shortly after we took control of the council.”

He was unable to say why the council held an emergency meeting to sack a senior officer who had clashed with political leaders.

He said: “The only recollection I have, as is so often the case when a new political party takes over, the senior executives leave if the relationship with the new management is not working.

“I have no recollection of extraordinary meetings, or indeed why there was an extraordinary meeting.”

Sir David who doubts there was any child abuse in Richmond thought they had discovered Louis Minster did not have the right qualifications.

Louis Minster himself has disclosed he was paid off with a £10,000 golden handshake and is still bitter about it all.

While Baroness Tonge,who chaired the social services committee at the time and is  known for her ability

Baroness Tonge; Silent,pic courtesy:http://2009fpconference.files.wordpress.com

Baroness Tonge; Silent,pic courtesy:http://2009fpconference.files.wordpress.com

to speak her mind, is totally silent.

One has to ask how such a prominent police raid in 1982 – it made the front page of the News of the World- appears to have passed without comment in Richmond .

If as they say they knew nothing about it and the police prove there was child abuse, Richmond Council  will have a lot of questions to explain why they knew nothing about this.

The case for an inquiry into the running of Richmond Council at the time  will be  compelling if people  are prosecuted by the Met Police. Particularly as I have now had confirmation from a source that a payout was made to a child abused under Richmond’s care for compensation after the event.

27 thoughts on “See no evil,Hear no evil, Speak no evil: Richmond’s amnesia on child abuse

  1. It’s hard, actually impossible, to believe a councillor would ever forget (a) instances of child abuse allegations and (b) getting rid of a chief officer. My first involvement as a Labour Group leader involved both those issues in the early 1990s. It left an indelible mark on me. Lord Razzall is not credible if he says he can’t recall.

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    • nothin’ more nothin’ less, clear as day – filthy spineless liars. what a shit gutter stuffed worthless life they will all leave behind them. No honour, no nothing.

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      • all this smoke coming from different places. Lets hope the fire is discovered soon. Still covering up?, then its probably still going on.

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  2. Pingback: NEWS BLOG 24-7. com » Blog Archive » See no evil,Hear no evil, Speak no evil: Richmond’s amnesia on child abuse

  3. I wouldn’t necessarily expect them to remember details of a meeting from 30 years ago. And it is true that when councils change hands there is often an exodus, willing or not. But they MUST have known there were allegations made about boys from care homes being abused at Elm. Denial of that is not credible.

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  4. I have been interviewed by the police and have refused to speak to the press or media until they have finished their inquiries. Surely that is the right thing to do?

    Jenny Tonge
    House of Lords

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      • Because I did not know about it. I became Chair of Soc Services nearly two years after it happened. Lib dems were the opposition until Nov 1983.

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      • But do you not see, that if you did not know about it when you chaired Soc Services, why would you think that you might have information that would be of interest to Fernbridge now ?

        I’m not interested in details, I’m interested in why it appears you didn’t contact the police when you first became aware of issues rather than almost 30 years later ?

        It’s a little harsh on you, as you seem to have accepted that you have information, whereas your colleagues, the Conservative members, and senior officers have not.

        But they’ll be plenty of time to ask them searching questions.

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    • He says Labour ‘Group’ Leader, not Council Leader, but I do see that he was once a Labour Councillor in Bedfordshire. I have just read the above article and note that Tom Watson was also involved in the affair.

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  5. None of these people was in charge when the scandal took place. Richmond was Conservative-controlled in 1982, as it is now. Why not ask them about it?

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  6. “Razzell was unable to say why the council held an emergency meeting to sack a senior officer who had clashed with political leaders”

    “Sir David … thought they had discovered Louis Minster did not have the right qualifications.

    Louis Minster himself has disclosed he was paid off with a £10,000 golden handshake and is still bitter about it all.”

    Therefore on one hand Razzell is implying Minster was sacked & Williams is saying that he thought this was because Minster had commited fraud by being a ‘senior appointee’ within the council without the right qualifications; but on the other hand this ‘sacking’ resulted in a pay-out of £10,000, which the recipient was ‘bitter’ about (that was a sizeable sum in 1984!). So what exactly was this pay-off ? insufficient ‘golden handshake’ to a loyal council worker’, ‘hush money’ to go quietly’ or ‘bribe’ to not say anything about what had been going on ?

    All I know is that having worked in a few government institutions, if anyone had been found to be in a senior position without the right qualifications to do the job, there would have been a stringent internal inquiry leading to disciplinary action, not a ‘golden handshake’.

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

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