Socialist Worker

Were Tories involved in Elm House nightmare?

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2340

Box with background

Police are investigating former senior Conservative figures and other prominent people over allegations of sexually abusing boys in a guest house in the early 1980s.

They arrested two people last week. One was John Stingemore, former deputy head of Grafton Close children’s home in Richmond. The other was priest Tony McSweeney.

It is alleged that children were taken from homes in Richmond to be abused in the Elm House hotel in Barnes, south west London.

Police raided the home of former child support worker Mary Moss last month. She collected evidence on the case.

Detectives seized a list of names of high profile alleged visitors to the guest house.

Police also have the names of at least 16 boys “recruited” for the guest house.

The papers identify two former Conservative cabinet ministers, as well as seven other MPs from different political parties, as having attended.

Most of the boys supplied to the guest house were from Grafton Close, but others came from Rodney Road and Teddington Park children’s homes. Richmond council ran all three homes.


Survivors have told police that abuse was carried out in what was called the “examination room” in the children’s home, but it then moved to the guest house.

The Metropolitan Police raided the guest house in 1982. But that investigation was cut short.

There are serious questions about what happened on the raid and after it—and what happened to the evidence.

In 2003, a council official raised the issue of boys from Grafton Close home in nearby Hanworth being taken to Elm House and abused.

The official complained in 2004 to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) about the Met’s handling of the case.

But the IPCC dismissed the complaint after two years.

A former care home resident has come forward to tell his story.

He was 13 years old and his brother was 12. On a number of occasion’s they were sent from their children’s home to the Elm Guest House for “a treat”.


He said boys were plied with alcohol before being told to pose for photographs wearing fairy costumes. The men at the guest house—including MPs—would then abuse them.

More than a decade after leaving care, the younger brother killed himself six days after his 28th birthday.

He had received a pay-off from Richmond council after he complained about his treatment there.

“The people responsible have blood on their hands,” the older brother told the Sunday People.

“I shouldn’t think my brother is the only one to have taken his life because of this.

“I’m speaking out now because I want justice done for me and for my brother.”

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Tue 12 Feb 2013, 16:39 GMT
Issue No. 2340
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