This report (Report #6) is the sixth of a series of ISN themed responses to the Sarah Morgan review. In these reports Islington Survivors Network present a challenge to the findings of Sarah Morgan QC
Morgan Review in its denial of abuse networks will not and cannot fly in the face of history.
In this report, ISN question how Morgan QC missed so much evidence that is in the public domain and which had been drawn to her attention. ISN provided her with a substantial amount of documentation.
“My whole wish is for there to be proper organised abuse investigation into the crimes against children in Islington over all the years… this [review] is only one part of a much bigger picture and that’s the picture that needs addressing….
There isn’t a police investigation.
There isn’t a council investigation.
There isn’t a LADO investigation.”
Liz Davies interview transcript with Sarah Morgan QC 7.3.18
“At the very time when Ian White says Scotland Yard said there was no evidence of networks – at that very same time I was working with that very same police team investigating all over the country, North Wales, Sussex, Hereford and so on. So I know that it was real and I know that it existed and I know that it was denied.”
“At least three men who were featured in our investigative work and the White Report were ‘networkers’ directly linked to convicted child abusers who pool victims and pornography”Fairweather E (1998) Exposing the Islington children’s homes scandal: a journalists view in Hunt G (1998) Whistleblowing in the social services. London: Hodder p21
Analysis of address lists in archive and electoral roll records of 1974-1984 reveals the Irene Watson Neighbourhood Office location of 1990 as a popular place to live with pro-paedophile activists 5-10 years earlier
Organised abuse: The Islington Hot House
Liz Davies included a summary of the network connected to the Hot House in her report to Sarah Morgan QC as an example of organised abuse in Islington in 1990. The White Inquiry found no evidence of a network had been substantiated. Vulnerable children, some missing from children’s homes and some from the locality, went to a local flat to what they described as orgies or sex parties. IWNO had received worrying reports relating to individual children which led to strategy meetings, child protection conferences and planning to protect them. IWNO held a list of 61 child victims of these local networks. White and Hart failed to note that investigations were suppressed or that no overview investigation was conducted as to the extent of the networks. They also ignored McAndrew and Cassam’s Supplementary Report in 1994 which suggested the police might review their actions in the case (see below). Liz Davies was represented by the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) and her lawyer’s submission to the 1993 Inquiries was highly critical of the management response to her concerns as being to investigate individual cases but not to see the connections and overview.
Irene Watson Neighbourhood Office was in Sussex Ward, 1 of 24 in Islington at the time of the Evening Standard exposé
- Behind Irene Watson Neighbourhood Office [large red star], the site of 3 of the Evening Standard allegations of organised abuse are located showing the close proximity of 15 Davenant Road, Fallen Angels HQ a decade earlier to the location of abusers operating towards the end of the 1980s
- A = Home of Patrick Baron Duff
- B = Peter Pan Park where Roy Caterer (convicted 1991) picked up children
- C = The Hot House
- D= Blenheim Court – alleged abuser
- E= Shaw Court = alleged procurer
- F= Wray Crescent disused garage (now demolished) site of alleged abuse
A few doors down from the Hot House lived Patrick Baron Duff, a 55 year old former minicab driver.
Duff had two convictions in 1969 and 1985, was jailed for 2 years for sexual offences against 3 teenage boys and jailed again for gross indecency and indecent assault against teenage boys aged 13 – 15. After a boy was discovered locked in his minicab overnight police raided the car, releasing the child with a crowbar and in the process finding 35 indecent images of boys in the minicab.
This discovery led to 3 boys making statements to the police about Duff’s sexual exploitation practices and he was convicted. Following release from prison for his 1985 conviction, Duff was re-housed by Islington Council during late 80s, close to the Hot House.
Some of the other Evening Standard allegations covered in October 1992 concerned sexual exploitation and physical abuse of children by adults at the Hot House. Some children were on the run from ‘care’ placements and others were from the local community.
“Next to IWNO office was a small temporary housing estate and I exposed the Hot House which was a flat behind IWNO office where a couple procured many children for sexual exploitation. I confronted the woman who organised it and told her that I knew of her exploitation of the children and that same night the flat was trashed and burnt. She was temporarily rehoused and then disappeared. No-one has investigated where she went or what happened to her.”
“There was a man involved with this network [Patrick Baron Duff] who had a long history of convictions for running ‘child brothels’. Margaret Hodge [local councillor at the time] always says this network was fully investigated but it was not and never has been. This man’s home was under observation by police who confirmed that a number of boys from IWNO neighbourhood were going into his home. The police raided on World Cup Day and found the boys happily watching TV. I had also visited with a police officer and found boys sleeping on the floor and the man in his open dressing gown. The boys he said were his ‘nephews’. IWNO had been notified about this man when he was rehoused in the area by probation but the letter had been filed without any action and we had not been aware of the police surveillance or awareness of him in the community.”Liz Davies report to Sarah Morgan QC 18.2.2018: 6.1 and 6.2
“Social workers who were aware of paedophiles active across the borough had no mechanism for comparing notes with and warning the other 23 Neighbourhood Offices. Their repeated pleas for joint meetings were rejected by both the Child Protection Co-ordinator and by Islington’s Assistant Director with responsibility for children and families. Many letters to the latter about urgent child protection issues did not even receive replies.”Fairweather E (1998) Exposing the Islington children’s home scandal; a journalists view in Hunt G (1998) Whistleblowing in the Social Services. London. Hodder.
Organised abuse: Geoffrey Dickens MP raised the alarm about organised abuse of Islington children in 1986
“I had not known at the time that only a few years before, in the late 80s, similar issues had been raised in the nearby neighbourhood by Geoffrey Dickens MP and that one girl Vivian Loki had been murdered at a ‘sex party’ in a squat. She had been missing for 6 months before her decomposed body was found in a cupboard in the flats. She was known to social services. I had notes, based on social work information, in the 90s of her name and that of Jason Swift and Tony McGrane, also both murdered. Both Jason and Tony had attended Conewood Street, an Islington children’s home. It was only later, when I was able to research the local press, that I validated these rumours. This showed me that while managers were vilifying my reports, and closing my investigations, they would have been well aware of very similar concerns close to IWNO area just shortly prior to 1990 and in the public arena.”
“Jason Swift was murdered by Sydney Cooke and his gang. John Rea Price denied to the media that Jason Swift was in an Islington children’s home (Conewood Street) when it was actually clear that Jason was placed there although he might have been in a young offender’s day scheme based on the premises. A Senior Education Welfare Officer in the 90s, told me that Islington Education Department had a file on Jason. A residential worker told me that he cared for Jason in Conewood Street.”Liz Davies report to Sarah Morgan QC 18.2.2018: 6.3 and 15.6
[For further information about the murder of Jason Swift and other boys by a criminal network of child sex offenders see – Oliver T and Smith R (1993) Lambs to the Slaughter.London. Sphere]
Survivors hold the history of so many tragedies – children who died
ISN survivors who lived in the Highbury children’s homes remember Jason Swift very well. These homes were chaotic and much neglected at the time in a context of social work strikes. The children went around unsupervised from one home to another to meet up and sometimes played football on Highbury Fields. Some survivors remember police visiting their children’s home to interview a young person after Jason was murdered.
“A Conservative MP yesterday called on the Home Secretary to prepare a full report on allegations of the existence of child brothels in Islington, north London.
Mr Geoffrey Dickens, MP for Littleborough and Saddleworth, said he had given Scotland Yard information. It was now investigating claims that such brothels were being run on an estate in the Archway district.
Mr Dickens said: ‘My informant, whose name I shall, of course, keep secret, has told me that some 40 children are involved. He has passed on to Scotland Yard tapes purporting to depict the voices of children clearly taking part in unsavoury activities. Scotland Yard has told me it is treating these allegations seriously. I hope that urgent action will be taken to stamp out this evil trade.’
MP calls for report on child brothels The Times 14.2.86
For the past five years, Mr Dickens has been leading a campaign to stamp out sexual abuse of children.”
Organised abuse: Roy Caterer – a canoe instructer from Shephall Manor boarding School in Hertfordshire
“One time he showed me a spade. He threatened to bury me alive if I told anyone. I did tell but this man was too ‘ respectable’ for anyone to believe me.”Evening Standard 7.10.92
Liz Davies in her report to Sarah Morgan QC included the case of Roy Caterer.
Morgan QC quotes the White Inquiry, agreeing that in the case of Caterer he was convicted due to the efforts of the IWNO team and the Islington Police Child Protection Team, revealing how organised his abuse of children was.
There was a small park behind Irene Watson Neighbourhood Office called Peter Pan Park (now renamed Landseer Gardens). Liz Davies realised that children who came to her office in the morning exhausted had been out all night and it emerged they were being used to distribute stolen property, steal cars, and were procured from there by child sex abusers. There was some crossover with the children targeted by the Hot House. After Davies alerted the Neighbourhood Forum in April 1990 with her report about her fears that a child sex ring was operating in the area, some members of the local community gave her more information about what was happening.
As word spread amongst the children that Davies was investigating some came forward and spoke to her social work team. Some spoke of Roy Caterer who was collecting children from the park and taking them to his home in Stevenage. He had got to know some of the local boys because they had been attending Shephall Manor Boarding school where he was a canoe instructer. He used this connection to get to know more Islington children. This was a clear case of organised abuse by one man against a number of children.
Islington police found evidence to prove Liz Davies’s fears that a number of boys were victims and he was convicted. 5 boys came from IWNO area. Liz Davies thought at this stage that Islington managers would pay more attention to her other allegations but instead she was silenced and prevented from speaking about it to other Neighbourhood Offices who may have sent children to the same school.
On the day Caterer was arrested, children from other authorities also reported abuse by him. This was strange and is not understood by ISN.
ISN has heard from former staff at Shephall Manor that the school did take action against Caterer and he had to leave. The school closed in 1989 and it seems as it became more difficult for him to abuse boys from the school he turned his attention to preying on children in Islington. This case should have led to a comprehensive organised abuse investigation conducted jointly with Hertfordshire. The extent of the abuse of children by this man will never be known though some adult survivors have come forward to ISN. Cohen cites the police saying Caterer admitted to having abused many Islington children over many years (Evening Standard 30.6.2003). On release from prison in 1999 survivors report that he committed suicide.
“Roy Caterer was Chief Fire officer in Stevenage and knew some Islington children from placements in a Hertfordshire boarding school called Shephall Manor. He came to Islington to target boys from IWNO patch amongst others who were gathered in Peter Pan park and taken at night from there in vans. A parent who was a local postman provided evidence of vehicle registration numbers”.
“A number of boys I had identified as being sexually exploited were known to have been abused by Caterer in his home where the police found a photographic studio as described. I wanted to identify other children Islington had sent to the school from the other 23 neighbourhood offices, but this was not allowed by managers. I recently learnt that there were many children said to have been abused by Caterer and survivors say that he committed suicide on the day he left prison.”Liz Davies report to Sarah Morgan QC 18.2.18: 4.1 and 4.2
“The district seniors meeting.. That’s where I raised the issue of Shephall Manor. Then I was firmly told off for doing that. I shouldn’t have mentioned it.. that was ludicrous. Now I know many, many boys were abused by that man. Some of the other seniors were very supportive and they wanted to know more about it so they probably raised it when they saw her [Lyn Cusack Assistant Director Social Services] and she got to know and then was furious.”Liz Davies interview transcript with Sarah Morgan QC 7.3.18
Organised abuse: Davenant Road – Was it the same house IGA listed as Fallen Angels HQ in 1980 ?
In an area of just a few streets between Hornsey Road and Holloway Road the same group of children, some in care and others in the local community were being targeted by a number of known and alleged child sex offenders. ISN survivors of course came from all parts of the Borough. IWNO was only one 24th patch. If the information known to IWNO had extended to the other 23 offices and been part of an organised abuse investigation far more children would have gained protection.
“I slowly realised that whilst I was placing children in children’s homes to be safe, in fact I was passing children into the hands of further abusers and my reports were alerting them to more vulnerable children. It seemed that every single children’s home was infiltrated by child sex offenders. I had no knowledge at that time of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) or how established it was in the area. For instance, I reported to police some of the Hot House children visiting a man in Davenant Road which is close to IWNO. I now know that a house in that short street was the HQ of the … [Fallen Angels] an international paedophile group. I do not know if this is the exact address where the children were going but would suggest it is likely. It has not been investigated. One man who the same children had spoken of and who I reported to police at the time, I later discovered had been convicted in 2004 of multiple crimes against children. I was right to have been worried about the children’s safety.”Liz Davies report to Sarah Morgan QC 18.2.2018
Organised abuse: Ritual abuse of children
Morgan did not seem to be familiar with the relevant statutory definition of ritual abuse
“I heard from individuals and organisations of strongly held belief that there had been within the London Borough of Islington organised network and/or ritual abuse. It seemed to me in my reading for and in interviewing contributors to this Review that ‘organised’, ‘network’ and even ‘ritual’ are on occasion used interchangeably but intending to convey something which was of a widespread and coordinated character.Sarah Morgan QC Review 2018:17.2
Sarah Morgan did not reference her comments on ritual abuse to the statutory definition of the time. Michael Salter in his book Organised sexual abuse (2014 p13) confirmed that ritual abuse occurs alongside other forms of organised abuse. He found no reason to separate out a group that uses religious reasons to abuse children from those that are non-religious which is a contemporary academic opinion which chimes with the 1991 statutory guidance. It is one form of organised abuse but quite distinct.
Morgan referred to one contributor on interview mentioning ‘a belief’ about the ritual abuse. However, what Liz Davies told her on interview was that a thorough, professional investigation in 1991-2 conducted with senior police officers was closed down. The investigation was examining the evidence. To refer to it as a ‘belief’ belittles the status of months of well evidenced multi agency work.
“Some organised groups may use bizarre or ritualised behaviour, sometimes associated with particular ‘belief’ systems. This can be a powerful mechanism to frighten the abused children into not telling of their experiences.”Home Office et al (1991) Working Together: A guide to arrangements for inter agency protection of children. 5.26.2
“One person I interviewed made reference to a belief that there had been abuse which included torture and killings”Sarah Morgan QC Review 2018: 17.2
“I’ve got so much documentation which I was not able to give you which proves there were networks of abuse. Until there’s a proper investigation I’m stuck with that documentation. I’ve no way of doing anything about it other than referring to it in the most general terms. The most serious is the ritual abuse and murders. I was informed about multiple murders of children and I’ve never been able to progress that at all.”Liz Davies interview transcript with Sarah Morgan QC 7.3.18
In her Report Liz Davies had explained to Morgan QC the national context to this investigation working with the Ritual Abuse Investigation Team at Scotland Yard. Detective Superintendent Hames who led the team stated in his autobiography ‘it would be wrong to dismiss all allegations of ritual abuse as fantasy’ and suggested that in such cases professionals must listen, retain objectivity and examine each piece of evidence patiently working towards a conclusion. ‘An investigator has to remember that at the heart of an allegation there may be acts that did take place but they may be rendered distorted or unbelievable by misinformation’ (Hames 2000 p184)
“He (Det.Supt. Hames) also managed the Ritual Abuse Investigation team and the DCI I was working with had already informed them of the IWNO case. The Islington ritual abuse case became one of 40 such cases across the country listed in a research document now kept in the Scotland Yard library. I understand this file is only accessible to senior officers. On 10.2.94 a written parliamentary question (no 178) was asked by David Alton MP as to when this police research would be made public and the Ministerial response on 15.2.94 was that it would be at the discretion of the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. This response at least proved the research existed and Hames referred to it in his autobiography (Hames M (2000) The Dirty Squad. London. Little Brown)”.Liz Davies report to Sarah Morgan Review 18.2.2018: 8.1.
This evidence is not presented in the Review but what Morgan QC does present is a letter from an Islington Police Chief Inspector to the Assistant Director of Social Services, Lyn Cusack, stating that there was no evidence to support the allegations. A strange letter indeed in the light of the fact that the investigation was brought to a sudden halt before the proper analysis Hames recommends could be concluded.
“Chief Inspector Jarrett wrote to Lyn Cusack to set out ‘The allegations made to Golders Green Police are of rape, assault and murder. The matters relating to the rape await the result of analysis by the Forensic Laboratory and may lead to charges. There is NO evidence to support any of the other allegations made.'”Sarah Morgan Review 17.2 and 17.16
Liz Davies was working with police from Golders Green police station who were leading this complex investigation which included a number of Islington families and networks and also extended beyond Islington. Although there were allegations of physical and sexual abuse these were in a specific context of a belief system. It has never been investigated since it was closed down in January 1992. Liz Davies resigned in May 1992 after this. A note by McAndrew and Cassam made in a record of an interview with Liz Davies mentions a file in Islington’s legal department concerning this case of organised abuse. However, when White and Hart stated there was no evidence they also failed to state that the police and social work investigation was closed down abruptly for no known reason.
“I became aware of a ritual abuse network which overlapped with the sexual exploitation network. This involved allegations of child murders, sexual assaults and of children bought and sold. Every week I was told by someone in the network about the next child to be targeted…. Sometimes I got there in time and sometimes I did not. The DCI who led this investigation worked together with me for some months identifying perpetrators and gathering much evidence. On one specific day he organised an armed response between my office and a flat nearby so that I could collect a teenage girl and take her to safety.”Dr Liz Davies report to Sarah Morgan QC 18.2.2018:5.1
“Lyn Cusack, [Assistant Director Children’s Services] told me in January 1992 that the police would no longer work on the case and the DCI was told the same by his senior officer. From that day on I had no police to work with. I applied for wardship proceedings to protect as many child victims as I could. My colleagues from education, health, probation, child psychiatry and police were in agreement with me on this case and the Divisional Manager Childrens Services convened an Area Child Protection Committee group to examine the evidence. After a few meetings, the committee decided there was no evidence. I still have some records of these meetings [and my reports to them].”Dr Liz Davies report to Sarah Morgan QC 18.2.2018: 5.2
A ritual abuse investigation conducted in Essex was raising concerns about an Islington connection two years before Liz Davies was investigating allegations in Islington.
On 5th December 1989 a child abuse strategy meeting in Shoeburyness, Essex referred to a child sex ring in Islington involving professionals. It connected with a child sex ring on Canvey Island. It was 2 years before Liz Davies became aware of a network in Islington which had connections with Canvey Island campsites. Essex social workers and psychologists from that time continue to raise these issues and a recently established police historic abuse team was closed down. The Essex case has been reported in the Yellow Advertiser during 2017-18.
Father Eugene Fitzpatrick was sentenced to 22 years imprisonment for sexual crimes against boys in 2017. Liz Davies and the journalist Eileen Fairweather had both reported a ‘Father Eugene’ to Scotland Yard in 1992. If it was the same man, then Islington had made some efforts to investigate but this was after Liz Davies left the authority and it is unclear if the investigation was continued.
Organised abuse: A residential worker
“A residential worker kept in contact with a boy after he left employment and was then given unlimited access to him in an [Islington] children’s home. … I refused to let him foster this boy and he took me to the Ombudsman alleging that I was homophobic – and the council won this case. I had to take the boy into a residential home outside London for safety. He disclosed to police the extensive sexual abuse he had been subjected to and spoke ..about ‘the group’ and being taken ‘all over the country to care homes’… The case went to trial. However, the judge stopped the trial saying that as Islington had not investigated the wider implications of the abuse network described by the boy especially within the children’s home, he could not reasonably ask the jury to make a decision about the man concerned. … The tapes of the boy’s lengthy interviews with police disappeared from my desk drawer. ..Dr Liz Davies report to Sarah Morgan QC 18.2.18: 7.2
“When allegations did arise in Islington against ‘ gay’ men those making them, including traumatised children, were written off as ‘homophobes’. The ‘ pro-gay’ lobby achieved influence in key areas e.g. in Islington’s fostering panel, within training, policy advice and an agency which supplied a high proportion of staff. The politically naive unwillingly assisted those with a more sinister agenda as Islington gradually became a ‘classic case study’ said White of ‘an organisation lacking the culture, philosophy and managerial infrastructure to work in and intervene in highly sensitive child care matters.” (White and Hart 1995 p37)Fairweather E (1998) Exposing the Islington children’s home scandal in Hunt G (1998) Whistleblowing in the social services. London. Hodder.
Organised abuse: Girl attacked in Highbury children’s home
“Another case involved a Highbury children’s home where a girl was knifed by an abuser. She came into the office with her mother and I photographed the wound. I sent her on holiday for a week to keep her safe as I had no alternative provision in the circumstances. Abusers were coming into the home at night and children from a number of homes were sent there as young as 9 years old. When I went to the McAndrew/Cassam inquiry not a single one of my files was there on any case and they said that, when interviewed, the girl and her mother both had said nothing had happened. Cassam, however, I am told said he had seen a mark on the girl’s neck. I showed Cassam and McAndrew the photograph and I still have a copy.”Dr Liz Davies report to Sarah Morgan QC 18.2.18: 7.3
The photo was shown to McAndrew and Cassam by Liz Davies but this fact escaped Ian White.
Organised abuse: Grosvenor Avenue and Jersey connections
“I was barely 14 years old, and a child resident of Grosvenor Avenue children’s home, and the first day I entered this home, I noticed, one of the child residents being touched, and groped in the most unnatural way by a member of staff. This inappropriate touching and groping occurred every time this member of staff was on duty and continued for all the many months that I lived in Grosvenor Avenue Children’s home. And what was really shocking is that, all the other members of staff witnessed this abuse on almost a daily basis, and did not say a word. Isn’t it strange how all the children in the home, spoke of how wrong this member of staff was behaving, and yet all the members of staff carried on as if this was normal? We were children, and they were adults, so how was it that we knew better than them? They knew what was going on, but they consciously chose to turn a blind eye. I mean what do you expect, when the head of the home himself had a stash of many pornographic magazines and other materials, in the drawers of his office desk, and when many of us children brought this matter to the attention of other members of staff, they just laughed it off, and brushed it aside, they even mentioned that they knew about it, and constantly joked about it amongst themselves?Islington Survivor 2018
Isn’t it ironic that years later, this staff member that everybody in Grosvenor Avenue’s Children’s home, witnessed abusing a child resident, later went on to abuse many other innocent children, and was consequently charged with many counts of PAEDOPHILIA by the police? So had other members of staff reported him all those many years ago, wouldn’t that had stopped him from abusing many many more other innocent children? But no instead, other members of staff didn’t stop him, they colluded with him. How is it right that as children, we knew that what was taking place was wrong, and we were years later vindicated, and yet members of staff, who were adults couldn’t see it. Can anyone make any sense of that?”
ISN survivors speak of ‘holidays’ to Jersey from Grosvenor Avenue childrens home and from Gisburne House. Some report camping and others say they slept in dormitories within Haut de la Garenne children’s home. Some were abused on the holidays and others were not.
“In 2007, I went to meet Jersey survivors and heard of their visits in the mid to late 70s to an Islington children’s home which corroborate Islington survivors’ accounts of what they describe as ‘swaps’ from Grosvenor Avenue children’s home when Islington children were sent on holiday to Haut de la Garenne children’s home in Jersey. I wrote about this in the media but there has been no investigation.”Liz Davies report to Sarah Morgan QC 18.2.18:13.5
Nicholas John Rabet was deputy superintendent of 114 Grosvenor Avenune and Islington childrens home. He and his manager Dave Burrage took children on trips to Jersey. Rabet inherited a manor house in Sussex and opened a children’s activity centre. Children from Grosvenor Avenue were regularly taken there where they went go-karting and other activities.
Cambridge police with Scotland Yard investigated a network of abuse and abusive images of children some of which traced back to a child age 10 years old in Islington’s care. Later Sussex police investigated Rabet but did not manage to convict him. The boy told journalist Eileen Fairweather ‘ This goes right to the top.. You have no idea how big this is’.
Nicholas Rabet fled to Pattaya in Thailand and was arrested in 2006 and charged with abuse of 30 boys some as young as six. He committed suicide in May 2006 before the trial. Dave Burrage manager of Grosvenor Avenue also moved to Pattaya where he had joined Rabet.
In 2009 Detective Chief Superintendent Kevin Moore, of Sussex Police, which investigated Nicholas Rabet, a Deputy Superintendent of 114 Grosvenor Avenue, said Islington Council had actively thwarted attempts in the early Nineties to bring Rabet and his cohorts to justice. DCS Moore said:
“If we’d had the usual co-operation that you expect and deserve from other agencies, it’s a very strong likelihood we would have got a conviction. Clearly, if you don’t get that co-operation – and in this case we didn’t – you cannot get a case to put before the court, and justice was denied. We are all in a position of trust and of trusting each other to do what’s right, but in this case that trust was abused.”Top Ofsted job for official embroiled in council child sex scandal (4.10.09) Mail On Sunday
“Islington lost incriminating files, denied there were concerns about other children Rabet took away, and sacked concerned staff. Rabet was never prosecuted.” Superintendent Moore says now: ‘Tragically, none of us can say why Islington did what they did.’
Organised abuse: Andrew Davis: Islington childrens home manager
ISN have heard of Andrew Davis being manager of Conewood Street Children’s home in the mid-70s as well as the mid 80s. He also worked as a court officer in Youth Justice. ISN do not know the exact dates of Davis’s employment with Islington as a residential worker and manager.
Now deceased, Davis was cited as believing children were able to consent to sexual activity with adults and was exposed in Today newspaper (9.8.95) whilst working for Westminster council as Youth Justice Manager from 1993. Westminster said all the appropriate checks had been carried out.
The media raised concerns with Westminster council in 1995 following an allegation by an agency residential worker who said he was abused by Davis while working in a Highbury home that Davis managed. The former agency worker said he had reported this alleged assault to the Assistant Director Childrens Services but no-one listened.
In agreement with Westminster Council, Davis was interviewed and risk assessed by a vetting company. He spoke about children of 8 years old possibly being of a level of maturity to provide consent to sex with an adult. ‘I don’t think it is a question of age, it is a question of consent’.. any age with consent and any consenting relationship as far as I am concerned is acceptable‘. Davis then took special leave and was one of the adults listed in the White Inquiry confidential annexe as unsuitable to work with children.
ISN consider that there should have been a full investigation into Davis and his role in Islington Childrens Services. It is likely that Davis was manager at Conewood Street childrens home when Jason Swift attended there shortly before he was murdered in 1985.
Organised abuse: Gisburne House Deputy was PIE member
Gisburne House was a long stay children’s home in Watford open from the mid 60s until the 90s. It was the last one of Islington’s out of London homes to be closed and the building was demolished. The Islington Gazette reported some survivor’s and former staff views about abuse at Gisburne (3.11.2017).
In 2000 at the trial of Michael Taylor, a former residential care worker at one of Islington’s out of borough children’s home, Gisburne House in Watford, it was revealed that after working at Gisburne House during 1973, he had become a Paedophile Information Exchange member. Taylor admitted guilt and was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment for 7 counts of indecent assault against 2 boys at Gisburne House. Two other staff were arrested and charged with abuse of boys at Gisburne between 1966 and 1973 but the case, due to be heard in Snaresbrook court in 1999, did not proceed.
In 1998, Islington Police Child Protection Team wrote to survivors about an investigation into Gisburne House. A former staff member remembers going to the Town Hall to give evidence at an investigation about Gisburne House. ISN are unclear what these investigations were investigating.
In 2003, a survivor spoke to the Evening Standard about sexual abuse by the manager of Gisburne House in the late 70s. In 1972 he had worked in 11-12 Highbury Crescent children’s home and in 1974 was Deputy Superintendent at Gisburne House. By 1977 he was Superintendent until he resigned in 1984. He died in Norfolk in 1986. ISN has been told about staff who had reported him.
“In cases such as Castle Hill and the Beeches, the main perpetrators Morris and Beck were seen as powerful, charismatic and knowledgeable ‘experts'”(Doran C and Brannan C (1996) Institutional abuse in Bibby P (1996) Organised Abuse. Hants. Ashgate Publishing)
Geoff Wylde Jones was one such manager. He appeared in a World in Action programme in 1977 speaking about the pioneering work of Gisburne House with young offenders. This was bizarre as it was a children’s home not a secure unit and even had very young disabled children living there.
1-3 Elwood Street
Bernard Leo Bain was the Superintendent of 1 and 3 Elwood Street in the late 70s and early 80s. Following allegations of sexual abuse being reported, Bain told Islington Social Services that his sexual activity with the child was ‘consensual’. Bain moved to Morocco, where he was subsequently jailed for 8 months for abusive images of children, in the Nineties. He was deported to Amsterdam and in 1996 he fled to Pattaya to join Nicholas Rabet just as police were about to arrest Bain for abuse of boys in care. He committed suicide in Thailand in 2000. He was very wealthy, ran a business trip and corporate entertainment business.
Morgan (17.16) cited a letter from DI John Sweeney, Islington police child protection team, sent to Hannah Miller Director of Social Services on 22nd November 1996 stating that there was no need for an Islington Inquiry into paedophile activity. Morgan cited this letter as supporting the conclusions reached by White and Hart that there was insufficient evidence to support allegations of organised abuse.
Whilst not recommending the need for an Inquiry, Sweeney was not saying that there was no organised abuse. It would have been quite extraordinary if he had said this as in the April prior to this letter, Sweeney was investigating Bernie Bains and hearing evidence from a number of alleged victims. This was an international investigation.
Morgan should have read the letter in context of DI Sweeney’s work at the time related to multiple victims of one former children’s home manager and how Sweeney had become aware of Bains’s associates and business connections.
Detective Inspector John Sweeney was head of of Islington police child protection team between 1995 and 1998. He investigated a number of boys who were victims of Bernard Bain. In 2006, he stated:
“When I first learned about the homes, I thought it couldn’t possibly be that bad. But it was worse. Does Islington share responsibility? Any opportunity to intervene that was lost is an absolute tragedy…I was deeply affected by how much pain and trauma these men inflicted on really young children. They were brutal”Detective Superintendent John Sweeney cited by Eileen Fairweather: Mail on Sunday 11.06.06
Martin Ashley Saville Residential Worker – 1 Elwood Street
pleaded guilty to charges of gross indecency and indecent assault on a 13 year old child in 1981 and received a 3 months sentence. That child was Demetrious Panton who in November 2003 wrote about what happened .
75A Mildmay Park
Abraham Jacob had a conviction for indecency with a boy but had not declared this to Islington Council. He worked in Islington from 1970 and was at Mildmay in 1976-7 according to ISN survivors. He had previously worked in a children’s home in Lambeth. He got 4 years imprisonment in 1986 for ‘running a boy prostitution racket’. He was arrested as part of the police Operation Circus which focussed on Piccadilly and what was known as the Meat Rack. ISN survivors describe his brutal regime of physical violence.
14 Conewood Street
Conewood Street residential worker John Picton abducted a boy from care in 1983 and took him to France for several months. He received a 6 months suspended sentence for unlawfully taking a 13 year old boy. In May 1984, an article in Minor Problems, a UK paedophile magazine, criticised Islington Council for separating the boy from Picton and defined it as ‘a human wrong’. Picton agreeing to an interview in this magazine is indicative of him having a connection with PIE.
ISN survivors have said that Picton was seeing children from the home after he had been sentenced. Picton died just a few years ago.
The Baby Bandits documentary 14th May 1996
In 1996, The Roger Cook Report investigated the illegal adoption trade between Guatemala and the UK. The programme highlighted the role of an Islington social worker who worked on the Emergency Duty Team and conducted an assessment of prospective adopters. The programme alleged that he found the parents fit to adopt despite lack of criminal record checks and being given some false details. Cook is reported as saying, ‘we got a known sex offender who had been in prison for abusing children to apply and within 2 days for a £500 fee the social worker gave him a report which would let him adopt a baby’ (Daily Mirror 13.5.96). The article stated that the social worker worked for Islington Council assessing couples who wished to adopt. In response the social worker said he had acted in good faith.
Whilst the Observer (28.7.96) criticised the programme, the head of Carlton TV defended the quality of the documentary (Observer 1.9.96) and accused the Observer of defending baby traffickers named in the programme – one accused in Guatemala of dealing with a stolen baby and the other banned in 2 US states for her part in the international trade ‘in human flesh from the third world which seeks to satisfy the sometimes unquestioning demands of childless couples in more prosperous countries.’
The illegal adoption trade is by its very nature organised abuse. How this matter was progressed with regard to the allegations made about the Islington social worker is not known to ISN and, although the social worker worked for the council prior to 1995, the programme was outside the time of Marks’ involvement as a councillor.
Recruitment agency concerns
“One boy in a children’s home kept a knife under the mattress which was on the floor – he told me it was for when the agency workers came in at night”.Liz Davies 2019
“The use of agency staff to cover vacancies/ emergencies is variable across the country. In Islington it was very high. .. The dossiers allege that one agency in particular lied about doing police checks on agency staff. At that time it is said to have been run by an ex-Islington staff member who was a personal friend of one staff member with suspected paedophile links. There was suspicion therefore that the agency itself could have been infiltrated by paedophiles but more importantly that the systems were not in place to ensure that any staff employed by an agency were free of convictions or that the agency was required to work to specific standards in this regard”.
” Agency staff were used in residential units. 4 agency staff were the subject of some of the abuse allegations”.White I and Hart K (1995) Report of the Inquiry into the management of child care in the London borough of Islington .p5 and p30