Haut De La Garenne / Islington Connection

In 2008 when I visited Jersey, to give a presentation at a public meeting organised by Care Leavers, I met a survivor from Haut de la Garenne. This person said, when age 12, they had been on holiday to Islington children’s homes in 1976, described the home in Highbury, said 6 children went there and had photos of the holiday with trips to all the usual tourist sites. This person remembered having had a good time and from the pictures it certainly looked as if that was the case.

From the description I was not able to recognise the children’s home although the property was typical of the big houses around Highbury. However, this survivor was very concerned about the Islington children who went over to Haut de la Garenne at the same time, as they were split up between the four sections of the children’s home and not kept together. Some other Jersey survivors spoke to me of going to the New Forest for camping holidays as well as going on trips to the other Channel Islands.

In Islington ‘disadvantaged’ children were sent on holidays to a place in Suffolk called Eye. This was called the Islington/Suffolk Project and I became involved in an investigation with police when Peter Righton, already convicted of possessing abusive images of children, was living with his partner on a big country estate where the children were sent. I was told there was a sign outside the estate saying ‘28,000 Islington children have had holidays here’.

In Islington, some children made trips to Nick Rabet’s activity centre in Sussex. He was the deputy manager of one of the Islington homes and he also owned this activity centre. Groups of children were taken there. Later he was convicted in Thailand of abuse of 30 boys.

I became aware of other ‘trips’ to areas outside London – Cambridge ,Canvey Island, Blackpool and Brighton were among the destinations. As a senior social worker managing a team, I asked many questions at the time; Who sanctioned the trip? Who paid for it? Did the parents know? Where did they stay? There were clear council protocols for approving holidays and trips for children in care. Once, after I had long left Islington’s employment, I was listening to Talk Radio and heard an Islington survivor speak of being taken to children’s homes all across the country, being sexually exploited and abusive images were taken. This made me very sad as it was what I had strongly suspected was happening but had not been able to prove at the time.

I also remember that in 1992, just as I was leaving my post in Islington, a solicitor was appealing in the newspapers for help from people who went on Islington council holidays in the early 80s as he was investigating allegations of child sexual abuse.

Such ‘holidays’ provide a picture of the extent of organised networks of sexual crime against children and so are very important in assisting police investigation.

Dr Liz Davies
Reader in Child Protection
London Metropolitan University


Filed under Abuse, News, Politics

9 responses to “Haut De La Garenne / Islington Connection

  1. Pingback: New Jersey Child Abuse Inquiry | theneedleblog

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  4. dpack

    i think i put the stuff i found relating to him in the kincora related threads.
    the 8th lord henniker popped up due to him being a candidate for possibly assisting tara.

    the first reference i saw to righton living on his estate is on the needle in a press clipping from the time righton was convicted.
    dr davies has added more details.
    it seems a good idea for folk to see what they can discover about him,he may have been a decent chap but he may not.

    he ticks lots of circumstantial boxes but proof of any misdeeds requires evidence.
    being righton’s “landlord” is not a crime,being righton’s “landlord” makes him of interest.
    his charity and parole/mental health activities might have cross links to known facts

  5. dpack

    the “big country estate ” in suffolk seems a to be a node.

    iirc the chap who owned it at the time had some interesting connections.
    royalty,spooks,posh anglo-irish chaps,diplomats,many charitable organizations,righton.
    he came to my attention in relation to kincora as his soe/royal/anglo irish connections added to his fo duties in south africa 1966 to 1968 made him of possible interest in a gladio/clockwork orange context as he was well placed to have possibly facilitated arms supplies to tara/mcgrath around that time.from the open source material i found he has more unanswered questions than definite truths in relation to events related to kincora and elsewhere.
    his connection to righton added to his background makes him very interesting but he is rather hard to investigate and difficult to understand without registry access.

    some google sugestions about details of his charitable links seem to lead to server not found this morning which is interesting.

    • Bishop Brightly

      Do you intend to expand on this comment dpack? Do you have a blog. Sounds interesting, as it is evident that as you say it was a “node”. I called it a “hub”.

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