Those who have followed events at the Elm Guest House in Barnes, until it was closed down in a “police” raid in 1982, will know there has always been some dispute over the nature of the raid that took place. Carol Kazir (and her legal team) always insisted that this raid was carried out under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 1976. The police and government have always insisted it was under vice law legislation. All I can say is, Carol gave me the “notice to detained persons” issued under the Act, to stop her talking to a lawyer. This I gave to the coroner at Carol Kazir’s inquest in the summer of 1990.
Why has this always been so important and what did it matter which law was used to conduct the raid? Well, without benefit of counsel, Special Branch were the first to question her. They were not interested in the senior politicians or others in high places who had stayed at the guest house. They questioned her for hours, about Sir Antony Blunt, disgaced former spy and Keeper of the Queen’s Pictures; Richard Langley, a royal aide at Buckingham Palace; Commander Tresstrail, Head of the Royal Protection Squad and Paul Henry, a senior officer in Special Branch.
In an unprecedented move, Blunt had been awarded immunity from prosecution for his spy activities. What is less known, is that this immunity applied to ALL of Blunts unlawful activities, particularly in respect of his activities in Northern Ireland and his part in the abuse of boys from Kincora and other homes.
It was this connection that NAYPIC decided to look into in 1990. We believed it showed a direct connection to events in Barnes with Kincora. I spoke with Carol (and her lawyer) about this. They confirmed that Blunt had been questioned as a “witness” and was on the list of witnesses given to the defence of those who had made witness statements. His statement was never used in court, besides he had conveniently died of a heart attack before the Kazir’s trial. This was not the only event happening around this time. Very reliable sources had told us in 1990 that the Cabinet had been briefed around this time about Kincora. The recent release of cabinet documents has confirmed this DID happen. The same sources also said that the Prime Minister and senior members of the Cabinet had also been briefed on events at Elm Guest House around the 24th August 1982, about 2 weeks after the article about a “report” on Elm had been handed to Scotland Yard, carried by the Times.
We spoke to many people in the “know” about Kincora and other homes in Northern Ireland. Amongst these was the well-respected journalist, Paul Foot. He always dismissed Elm Guest House as a distraction from the real cover-up that was Kincora. In his book, he dismissed as rumour that a cabinet member had been involved at Elm. I had great respect for Paul and admired his work and his integrity as a journalist. But we at NAYPIC disagreed with him. There were victims of serious abuse, from care in both Richmond and Northern Ireland – you cannot dismiss one group as more important than the other. All deserve justice.
Blunt had made it very clear to the security services that if he was going to go down for offences in Barnes, then he was going to take everyone else involved, particularly in Kincora, down with him. Luckily for the government, Blunt died of a heart attack before the trial. So all could be covered up again.
I am acutely aware that, although these events may be seen now as history, there are still victims of Kincora and other homes still alive. They deserve answers and some justice. I saw in the presss that a new inquiry was to be carried out. The victims deserve better than yet another cover-up. There should be a full public inquiry. If any of those who carried out this horrific abuse, or those that covered it up, are still alive, then they should be held to account for their actions and brought to justice.
Now wouldn’t THAT be the best footnote of all to history?