Category Archives: Fernbridge

Elm Guest House And Why The Truth Matters !

When I first started looking into historical child sexual abuse I rather naively thought that no one would possibly lie about a subject that was so serious. I was wrong and this post reveals how I came to realise that. It will also help readers to understand why The Needle has sought to navigate a course between those that believe and report everything and anything and those that believe nothing and report that no allegation is true. What I and the Needleteam have come to realise is that the greatest threats to the truth, which is certainly in the public interest to understand, are the false witnesses who appear to corroborate existing allegations of the testimony of genuine survivors. These false witnesses are like a poison which contaminates the truth. After a while the truth and the lie become so associated that once the lie is unearthed, as invariably it always is, the truth is dismissed along with it and with the truth goes any hope the genuine survivor has of justice and any chance the public have of understanding the gravity of the complex child sexual abuse issue in the UK.

What I have come to realise is that it is extremely easy to cover-up child sexual abuse but you don’t do it by testing the evidence, you do it by providing false corroborative evidence and exaggeration. You build it up then knock it down and the truth gets buried in the rubble of lies. The process of embellishing the truth with lies and exaggeration has been a cooperative effort between some elements of the Alternative Media (AM) who will often publish any unsubstantiated rumour believing that there is little consequence and some elements of the Mainstream Media (MSM) who have spotted a rich vein of stories, stories that sell newspapers. Often the relationship between the established media and the ‘new’ media is symbiotic with false stories in the MSM becoming embedded as ‘truth’ in the AM and with MSM outlets, with fewer professional journalists because of increasing financial pressures due to the emergence of online media, searching for new angles in the AM thus turning rumour into ‘truth’. It is almost an alchemical process like turning lead into gold but when the tallyman comes for payment you’ll find that the result is worthless and don’t then be too surprised if the tallyman is wary even when you offer good coin.

Anyway, those are general points, I want to write now about a specific one to help illustrate it.

In December 2012 a raft of documents suddenly appeared online posted by Mary Moss, formally of NAYPIC, which appeared to be related to the Elm Guest House which was the subject of what was then a new police investigation, Operation Fernbridge. The significance of the documents only appeared to increase when officers from Operation Fernbridge raided Mary Moss’s home and seized the documents. I had already spent a few months looking into allegations of historic child sexual abuse across the UK and, like a great many people online, I began to try to decipher and understand the documents in the public domain but, unlike most others, I very quickly found myself in a privileged position with access to many of those connected in some way to those documents. I learned from Chris Fay, a former NAYPIC advisor, that the documents were written by him circa 1990 and that they were private notes and speculations that were never intended to have been put in the public domain but as they had been put into the public domain Chris Fay was eager to help us understand them. It may interest readers to know that one of the first things that Chris Fay wanted to clarify was that he had found no evidence that a pop star mentioned in the documents had sexually abused children. Chris Fay was very generous with his time and not adverse to having long held beliefs tested and although I have come to the conclusion that the documents are at best very misleading, at worst mostly very wrong, I remain extremely grateful for the time he gave us.

Another source I talked to in the early part of 2013 was a man by the name of Clive Godden who was described in the documents as a “private investigator”. Mr Godden’s input primarily regarded the allegation that child sexual abuse at Elm Guest House was connected to a ‘child pornography’ racket run by London mobsters. At the very centre of this set up was a man called David Hamilton Grant. David Hamilton Grant was a small time film maker during the 1970s which included low budget pornography. Initially, we believed him to be dead but when we discovered that news of his death was slightly premature and he was living in Southern Europe we became intrigued to say the least. It all seemed to fit, it all seemed so plausible but we were to learn that allegations connecting David Hamilton Grant to Elm Guest House were a determined fabrication.

Mr Godden had talked to Operation Fernbridge, he maintained that he had spoken to Carole Kasir, had seen compromising photographs in her possession  of VIPs, including Leon Brittan, with young boys, and that he, Clive Godden, had in his possession Carole Kasir’s notebook, which he described as his “insurance policy”. Then one day he told me that he had evidence of a police raid during the late 1980s on a boat house used by David Hamilton Grant as storage in which the police at the time had seized ‘child pornography’ including some produced at Elm Guest House. He even gave me the date, the names of the police officers involved and the search warrant reference number. I explained to Clive Godden that if true I could not publish anything without first having talked to Operation Fernbridge. After all, if physical evidence of child sexual abuse at Elm Guest House implicating VIPs existed somewhere in a police warehouse then it was extremely important that they had the opportunity of retrieving it. Clive Godden eagerly agreed and I called Operation Fernbridge and gave them the details and they promised to get back to me. When they did a few days later they explained that they were already aware of the information and seemed remarkably unperturbed by the prospect of the details being published.

Ah! What a great story it would have been. Imagine, the police had seized evidence of child sexual abuse involving VIPs and done nothing !!

There was just one problem with it. It was complete crap.

If it had not been for the advice of Exaro’s Mark Conrad who was investigating the very same issues at the time, and who cautioned that I should be careful and dig further, I might have published then and I’m very grateful to Mark for that.

Clive Godden had promised to send me a copy of the search warrant and other documents by post and impatiently I waited for them to fall through my letterbox and then I could write my big story. When several days later a thick A4 manilla envelope arrived I sat down and started to go through the documentation. Slowly it began to dawn on me that something was very wrong. I found the copy of the search warrant and found to my disbelief that Mr Godden had filled out half of it himself and his account of how he became interested in David Hamilton Grant which he had recounted on the phone on several occasions looked even flakier now that it was written in black and white before me. Yet still the notion that anyone would lie about an issue as important as child sexual abuse was so alien to me that I refused to immediately accept it. I first decided that Clive Godden had only slightly embellished his account but slowly any veneer of plausibility to Mr Godden’s story fell away.

The boat house had been used by David Hamilton Grant as storage and the police had indeed raided it but far from seizing ‘child pornography’ produced at Elm Guest House involving VIPs, the police instead seized a cache of counterfeit VHS videos. Nothing but a van load of ‘knock off’ pirated tapes of Convoy, ET, or something similar.  No wonder Operation Fernbridge were so laid back. Oh, what a fool I’d been !

Mr Godden’s tale started to unravel and the truth began to emerge. The inconvenient fact the Clive Godden’s wife had run off with David Hamilton Grant, which had always left me uncomfortable, now became a motive for a remarkable campaign of vindictiveness which has stretched back three decades. Somehow, Mr Godden was able get David Hamilton Grant deported from Cyprus and a local newspaper reported the departure of this ‘evil child pornographer’. He fled to Turkey pursued by Mr Godden who, using the evidence from the Cypriot newspaper story, was able to get a Turkish newspaper to run something similar and then, astonishingly, by producing both the Cypriot and Turkish newspaper stories and other evidence he had cobbled together he managed to get stories printed in the UK including even The Sun. Creating  in the process a false canon of media stories which appeared to corroborate his tale.

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At a stroke I had to re-evaluate everything in the documents but more importantly I had learned a crucial lesson and luckily for myself it was one I learnt at a very early stage of my investigations and that is that people lie and their reasons for doing so aren’t always immediately apparent. By no means does everyone lie but a minority do and my starting point that nobody would lie where child sexual abuse was concerned was both naive and deeply flawed.

Now, here is my main point. There are many untrue elaborations and false witness testimonies in the Alternative Media and in the Mainstream Media regarding Elm Guest House but regardless of all of them and after two years of critical investigation I would still maintain that there was child sexual abuse there, that VIPs were involved, and that, as evidenced by the recent IPCC investigation, there are serious questions to be answered regarding why the police did not adequately investigate at the time.

I don’t tell you the story of Clive Godden seeking to undermine the truth regarding Elm Guest House, I tell you it to demonstrate that the truth can and will withstand false evidence and this is not a point specific to Elm Guest House it is a more general one. The danger for the campaign to expose historical child sexual abuse does not lie in the exposure of untruths, it only becomes damaging when ‘campaigners’ continue to maintain that what can be demonstrated to be false is true because when this is done the truth is buried in the rubble of the lies.

 

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New information on Carole Kasir via Exaro

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Three new pieces of journalism by Mark Conrad and David Pallister have been published today which give very good background information on Carole Kasir, who with her husband Harry owned and ran Elm Guest House from 1979 to 1982.  Much of the information has been put into the public domain for the first time.

Carole Kasir’s past: fractious family life and failed relationships

Meanwhile, following failure of her first marriage, Carole began to use the surname, “Weichmann”. The Press often wrongly reports that Carole was German by origin, but Exaro has uncovered the roots of this mistaken belief.
Carole became convinced that she was not the daughter of the man who was widely recognised as her father. Instead, she claimed to friends, her mother had an affair with a German man, and she was the result of this liaison.
It is unclear whether Carole identified “Weichmann” as her real father or simply adopted a Germanic name that she liked.
In any event, Carole saw the change in her personal identity as her chance for a fresh start.

Carole “Weichmann” had another daughter with a Chinese man known as “George”. However the relationship between Carole and “George” also failed. Their daughter would stay with Carole, and ended up living at Elm Guest House.
By 1971, Carole met and married Haroon Kasir, known as “Harry”. He was born in India, although he was from the part of the country that later became Pakistan after partition.
Carole and Harry, the year after their wedding, had a son.

Exaro News 01/04/15

Carole Kasir and her squalid life at Elm Guest House

Police arrested Harry and Carole Kasir and charged them with keeping a “disorderly house”, or a brothel.  They also arrested a 17-year-old boy who worked as a masseur at the guest house, but he was later released without charge.

And they arrested nine men.  Five of them had been watching, naked, what would later be called in court a “thoroughly obscene” video but they also were not charged…Judge Tudor-Price, delivering the sentence, talked of “unwholesome activities” at the guest house.  ‘Those disgusting films were harmful to the people who saw them and led to the acts of gross indecency.’

Exaro News 01/04/15

Carole Kasir ‘boasted about VIPs who visited Elm Guest House

Up to her sudden death at the age of 47 in 1990, Carole claimed to be unaware that her guest house was used by paedophiles.

But acquaintances told Exaro that Carole was ‘manipulative’ and ‘promiscuous’, accusing her of abandoning her original family.

Once source who visited Carole as she held forth at her large kitchen table at Elm Guest House told Exaro: “She always denied that young boys went there, or that she knew about abuse.”

“We used to say to her, ‘There is only one door into the guest house, and one door out of it, Carole.  It is not Buckingham Palace.’ ”

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, added “She would not say anything in response.”

Exaro News 01/04/15

The latter passage effectively states that neighbouring witnesses saw boys arriving at, and departing from, Elm Guest House.

All three articles are well worth a read by anyone with an interest in Elm Guest House.

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Tony McSweeney Guilty

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Father Tony McSweeney has been found guilty on 4 charges . One count indecent assault and three counts of making indecent images of a child.

He was found not guilty on four other charges.

That might be the end of Operation Fernbridge and it will be interesting to see if the police or CPS comment. I’ll wait and see if they do before commenting myself in more detail about Grafton Close and Elm Guest House.

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Tory Mandarins ‘Close Ranks’ Following Leon Brittan’s Death

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You’d have thought that these senior Tories who when asked to comment on an embarrassing development are the first to hide behind the need to not jeopardise ongoing police investigations when it suits them, would refrain from pressuring others to go public with information which might still be part of an important police investigation into VIP paedophiles.

I’ve a message for them;

The police will not be cowed by establishment pressure from political has-beens. The police will not be given the bum’s rush because friends of a person who has come under police investigation think that he will be exonerated if more information is made public prematurely.

The Tories claim to be the party of law and order. That espoused respect for the law seems to be distinctly absent as they use the power of the Tory media to put pressure on the police with these juvenile responses.

“Put up or ‘shut up'” a playground response to a grown up issue.

Politicians fuelling rumours about Leon Brittan’s involvement in a Westminster cover up of child abuse were this morning ordered to come clean about what they know or ‘shut up’.

Former Cabinet colleague John Gummer, now Lord Deben, said MPs were ‘making innuendos and insinuations in order to make themselves look as if they know something when they don’t’. He said it was ‘wicked’ to make allegations without any evidence.

The Tory peer’s outburst comes after campaigning MP Simon Danczuk said Lord Brittan’s death was a ‘sad day’ for the victims of child abuse who wanted to question the former home secretary about the missing ‘Dickens dossier’ of paedophile allegations handed to him in the 1980s.

Daily Mail

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Leon Brittan Accused Of Attempting To Smuggle Child Abuse Images Into UK.

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I’m very grateful to journalist Tim Tate for leaving this comment, quoted below, which has confirmed my suspicions about the provenance of The Daily Telegraph story, also quoted below, which alleges that Leon Brittan had been caught trying to smuggle indecent images of children into Dover while he had been an EU Commissioner in the late 1980s.

Tim Tate is on the byline of the original Daily Telegraph story

“Almost a year ago I interviewed a very senior detective who was handling the Brittan investigation. He was very clear that the Customs Officer (referred to above) had made a clear and credible statement about stopping Brittan at Dover, and seizing child pornography video tapes from him. The Customs Officer stated that he viewed the tapes and was able to describe what was on them.

That statement is – or should be – still held at the Metropolitan Police station from which the investigation was conducted.

I believe that it is essential that the historic child abuse enquiry – assuming it survives – is given a copy of the statement.” – Tim Tate

A senior Tory politician said to be part of a child sex ring was allegedly stopped by a customs officer with child pornography videos but got off scot-free, police have been told.

The former MP was driving back to the UK via Dover when a customs officer pulled him over because he was “acting suspiciously”. The border guard, who is now retired, has told detectives that when he searched the MP’s car he found videotapes of children “clearly under the age of 12” taking part in sex acts.

He passed the material on to his superiors, but the MP was never arrested or charged.

The Telegraph

 

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Was Leon Brittan A Paedophile ?

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Leon Brittan has died, he was aged 75.

You’ll find fulsome obituaries elsewhere and perhaps even praise but I want to focus on the truth, or not, of the allegations that Leon Brittan was a paedophile.

Over the last two years there have been many rumours and news stories alleging that Leon Brittan was a paedophile, though you may not have realised as he has invariably been euphemistically alluded to as “a former senior Tory cabinet minister” or something similar. There had been some concern among journalists, and even this blogger, that the continued and ubiquitous use of this term might itself have become so synonymous with Leon Brittan that its use might itself have precipitated legal action if Lord Brittan decided to take that route.

The allegations are not new they go back to the early 1980s at least, as Bernhard Ingham, former press secretary to Margaret Thatcher, has confirmed recently to Sky News, he was aware of the allegations at the time and even asked him about them at the time. I’ve also talked to journalists who investigated these rumours in the late 1980s.

Clearly now that Leon Brittan is dead, I’m free from legal constraints and I can say exactly as I wish but just because I can write what I wish, doesn’t mean that I should. Ultimately, I’m only interested in the truth and not rumours.

About 15 months ago I discussed the allegations with a source close to an investigation looking into these and other similar allegations. I asked the source directly whether he thought that Leon Brittan was a paedophile. After a pause he replied that in his view 80% of the allegations were false but that the remaining 20% of allegations left him with the view that Leon Brittan did indeed have an unhealthy sexual interest in children.

It is with this in mind that I will refrain from repeating every allegation that has been swirling around the internet over the last two years because I agree with that source, there are many allegations that are false, as an example, there has been a suggestion that the police have a video of Lord Brittan at a “sex party”. This story is untrue.

So, I’m going to lay to one side all of the stories that I believe make up the 80% of false allegations and look instead at the allegations that I believe make up the 20% of allegations that have substance, or at the least raise questions that need answering.

I’ll touch briefly on the allegation that he raped a 19 year old female student, who is referred to in the press as ‘Jane’, in 1967. My view is that this allegation is credible but it is also my belief that after such a long time, and with no evidence beyond the victim’s word against Lord Brittan’s, a successful prosecution would have been very unlikely and that if the CPS had decided to proceed it would have put a great deal of pressure on the victim ‘Jane’ with little result. But for clarity, I believe her.

The second allegation I wish to mention is the one related to Elm Guest House.

It is my belief that the Daily Mail story, extract quoted below, refers to Leon Brittan. I say this because I had heard very similar accounts from other sources before this story had been published, some close to events at the time. I just didn’t have the first hand source/sources that The Mail had and so I couldn’t publish.

I’d recommend that readers, read this story once again.

The man recalled that during the boy’s testimony at Richmond Police Station, he had spoken of an abuser whom he called ‘Uncle XXXXX’. This abuser worked ‘at the big houses’, the boy said.

As the boy talked, at least two of those officials present came to independent realisations of his testimony’s significance.

If ‘Uncle XXXXX’ had done what was alleged, this was not just a sordid suburban scandal, but one of national importance.

The Daily Mail

I should note here that the victim in that Elm Guest House story has not felt able to co-operate with the police, hence no action could realistically be taken.

Another credible allegation is that Leon Brittan was stopped by British Customs trying to enter Dover with indecent images of children in the late 1980s while he was with the European Commission. This story, below, refers to that allegation.

A senior Tory politician said to be part of a child sex ring was allegedly stopped by a customs officer with child pornography videos but got off scot-free, police have been told.

The former MP was driving back to the UK via Dover when a customs officer pulled him over because he was “acting suspiciously”. The border guard, who is now retired, has told detectives that when he searched the MP’s car he found videotapes of children “clearly under the age of 12” taking part in sex acts.

He passed the material on to his superiors, but the MP was never arrested or charged.

The Telegraph

I am very aware that there will be many who will be disappointed that I’ve not related other allegations. As I’ve tried to make clear I want to stick only to those that I believe can be substantiated. If the victim at Elm Guest House speaks out then that allegation can be substantiated, if documentation exists, as it should, that Leon Brittan was stopped by a customs officer trying to enter the UK with indecent images, that too can be substantiated.

 

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Food for thought?

The first effect of broadcasting Nick’s detailed allegations is that anybody wishing to make a false allegation has now been given not just rumours, which in truth have been flying around on the internet for years, but a detailed and apparently first-hand description of exactly how another witness says the abuse took place. This, of course, flies in the face of good policing practice in which the account of one witness is never given to other potential witnesses precisely because of the danger of contamination. It is true that neither Exaro nor the BBC has actually given the names of the alleged abusers but 5 minutes on the internet would supply a selection of Tory MPs and cabinet ministers about whom rumours have swirled. Most of those who were cabinet ministers in Mrs Thatcher’s first administration are now dead, so the tidbit that the Minister in question is still alive narrows the field to about 10 suspects.

In any case involving multiple complainants the defence always strives hard to show that the complainants may have colluded with each other, or at least that later complainants knew of the substance of an earlier complaint, while the prosecution tries to show that such collusion or awareness is unlikely. Well, Exaro and the BBC together have comprehensively ensured that any future complainant will be aware of the detail of Nick’s complaint and his evidence will for that reason be devalued. In a nutshell, if a future witness relates similar details to Nick’s he will be accused of having learnt them from the BBC and Exaro interviews. It is on such issues that cases turn.

Barrister Blogger 16/11/14

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