Earlier this month on February 6th, Operation Fernbridge arrested two men, hopefully the first of many. They were John Stingemore who up until 1981 was the Officer in Charge of Grafton Close children’s home and Father Tony McSweeney, a Roman Catholic priest of St George’s parish in Norwich. Both men have been bailed pending further inquiries until April.
Operation Fernbridge is investigating allegations that children in the care of Richmond council and other local authorities were taken to Elm Guest House and sexually abused by men including VIPs. Grafton Close is believed to be one of the children’s homes involved. It is understandable therefore that the Fernbridge police would wish to ask John Stingemore some questions as he was the head of Grafton Close during part of the period they are investigating.
But what of Father Tony McSweeney ?
Tony McSweeney was, during the time in question, training to be a priest at Guildford. He was very good friends with John Stingemore and during school holidays he used to stay at Grafton Close children’s home and help out. I know that many readers will have been unaware of this connection to Grafton Close but I think you’ll agree that it’s reasonable, given that connection, that the Fernbridge police would want to ask him some questions about events around that time.
Also, I’m sure you’ll all be interested to know that Father Tony McSweeney is a published author. He co-authored the rather snappily named ‘The Scout Fire and Folk Song Book: A Collection of Songs for Use at Camp Fires and Folk Concerts’, published by the Scout Association in 1977. I think this is a picture of it.
Available on Amazon 99p+P&P,
There weren’t that many copies left when I looked. So, hurry while stocks last.