Operation Fairbank was set up following claims by Labour Party politician Tom Watson in the House of Commons that the police should look afresh at claims of a “powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and No 10”.
Watson raised the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions on 24 October 2012. The information was passed to him by a journalist from the investigative news website Exaro. He suggested that such a network may have existed in the past at a high level, protected by connections to Parliament and involving a close aide to a former Prime Minister; neither the aide nor the former Prime Minister were named.
Watson referred to Peter Righton, a former consultant to the National Children’s Bureau, who was convicted of importing and possessing illegal pornographic material in 1992. Watson said that files on Righton contained “clear intelligence of a widespread paedophile ring…One of its members boasts of a link to a senior aide of a former Prime Minister, who says he could smuggle indecent images of children from abroad.”
Reported scope of Operation Fairbank
The police investigation known as Operation Fairbank was first set up under conditions of secrecy. The Independent on Sunday reported that it focused on claims of sexual abuse and the grooming of children, involving parties for men at the former Elm Guest House in Rocks Lane, close to Barnes Common in south-west London, during the late 1970s and 1980s.
The guest house was managed at the time by Carole Kasir, who died in 1990 at the age of 47; an inquest found that the cause was an overdose of insulin. A party was raided by the police in 1982, following which 12 boys gave evidence that they had been abused by men at the house. Kasir was convicted of the charge of running a disorderly house, but allegations of abuse against children, and a subsequent reported investigation in 2003, were apparently not pursued.
In January 2013, The Independent on Sunday reported that police were investigating claims that Cyril Smith, a former Liberal MP who died in 2010, sexually abused young boys at Elm Guest House, which the article claimed “was allegedly used by a powerful paedophile network whose members are said to have included former leading Conservative politicians.” Smith is reported to have been a regular visitor to Elm Guest House. A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “We can confirm Cyril Smith visited the premises.”
In February 2013, it was reported that police were investigating allegations that in the early 1980s a “paedophile ring of VIPs” abused boys from the Grafton Close Children’s Home in Richmond, south-west London. It also claimed that Kasir had photographs or video of many establishment figures at Elm Guest House, one photograph allegedly showing a former cabinet minister in a sauna with a naked boy.
In February 2013, one alleged victim of abuse at Elm Guest House said that at the age of 13 he and his 12-year-old brother, both orphans, were sent there for parties when they were residents at Grafton Close Children’s home. He said boys were plied with alcohol before being abused by men at the guesthouse. In March 2013, The Independent on Sunday reported that at least three men named in documents as visitors to the Elm Guest House were later convicted of multiple sexual offences against children.
Criminal investigation – Operation Fernbridge
A full criminal investigation, Operation Fernbridge, was launched as a result of allegations that arose from Operation Fairbank. Two men, a Catholic priest from Norwich, and a man understood to be connected to the Grafton Close children’s home in Richmond, were arrested on suspicion of sexual offences and questioned by child investigation officers from Operation Fernbridge in February 2013. A third arrest, of a 69-year-old man, took place in July 2013.
The investigation is being supported by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre and Richmond Social Services. In June 2013 it was reported that seven police officers were working on the case and were following more than 300 leads.
In July 2014, after it emerged that a dossier of claims made by former MP Geoffrey Dickens had apparently disappeared, Simon Danczuk MP referred to the police investigation into events at Elm Guest House, when he called for former Home Secretary Leon Brittan to clarify what he knew about allegations made in the 1980s of paedophiles operating in Westminster. It was reported by The Guardian that events at the guest house were at “the heart” of the “long-simmering sex scandal”.
Leon Brittan denied all knowledge of a dossier and referred to it as: “…a bundle of papers.” He then had a change of mind and issued a statement and claiming his memory had failed him:
“During my time as Home Secretary (1983 to 1985), Geoff Dickens MP arranged to see me at the Home Office. I invariably agreed to see any MP who requested a meeting with me. As I recall, he came to my room at the Home Office with a substantial bundle of papers. As is normal practice, my Private Secretary would have been present at the meeting. I told Mr Dickens that I would ensure that the papers were looked at carefully by the Home Office and acted on as necessary. Following the meeting, I asked my officials to look carefully at the material contained in the papers provided and report back to me if they considered that any action needed to be taken by the Home Office. In addition I asked my officials to consider a referral to another Government Department, such as the Attorney General’s Department, if that was appropriate. This was the normal procedure for handling material presented to the Home Secretary. I do not recall being contacted further about these matters by Home Office officials or by Mr Dickens or by anyone else.” – Max Farquar
Brittan has been questioned by the Metropolitan Police on suspicion of having sex with children but has yet to be arrested. It was reported that an ex-cabinet minister had been caught on camera at the Elm Guest House where one little boy was gang raped and tortured until he died.
It has long been known that a Paedophile ring operated with close links to Downing Street and that the ex-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher covered up their crimes. These paedophile perverts were in her government and had jobs supporting the Conservative Party (Tories). Thatcher’s Premiership replace Prime Minister Edward Heath who did torture and kill boys from the Jersey children’s home Haut de la Garenne. Thatcher hated him, and Brittan was his friend. – The Duck Shoot
UK MP Tom Watson bringing intelligence gathered through the conviction of a paedophile, which linked a senior aide to a former british prime minister to a powerful paedophile ring, to the attention of the PM and parliament, seeking further investigation and pursuit of truth.
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