Report #15: Islington Chronology May 1990 – September 1992
This report (Report #15) is the fifteenth 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
This chronology focuses on the events preceding the Evening Standard exposé in October 1992. Report #16 Islington Chronology focuses on the events following publication and the successive inquiries up until the White Inquiry reports, from 1992 until 1995.
From 1990 running parallel to the multi agency investigations into organised abuse originating in the Irene Watson Neighbourhood Office area, was the prosecution of some of PIE’s most prominent advocates for sexual offences against children.
While Islington’s successive inquiries took place up until the final White Inquiry in May 1995, the arrest and conviction of Islington PIE luminaries Dr Fraser and Peter Righton would take place, triggering further investigations into their networks leading to a documentary about each of them, both broadcast in 1994, before the conviction of PIE’s Treasurer Charles Napier in 1995.
Former PIE child psychiatrist from Belfast arrested in Islington
25 January 1990: Dr Morris Fraser of PIE, a child psychiatrist and serial child abuser with convictions from involvement in paedophile networks of abuse in North America, Northern Ireland and England had chosen to move to Islington, Northchurch Terrace during the late 1970s. His arrest on Protection of Children Act (1978) charges alongside a Gloucestershire man was the first hint that a number of PIE luminaries were being watched by police. Dr Fraser was convicted, showing that he was still abusing boys while an Islington resident during the 1980s (Two face child porn charges Islington Gazette 25.01.90).
Police checks backlog for Islington staff working with children puts kids at risk
In February 1990, as Irene Watson Neighbourhood Office social workers were uncovering a picture of several local procurers and abusers of children, Islington police announced that a backlog in completed police record checks on Islington candidates meant abusers could be working with children while awaiting their police check. Chief Inspector Don McKay of Islington police, commented that this delay placed children at risk. (Crime Check delay ‘putting kids at risk’ Islington Gazette 2.2.90).
Islington police consultative group (led by Cllr Derek Sawyer) agreed to write to the Home Office and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner expressing concern.
Irene Watson Neighbourhood Office Social Workers flag concerns over ‘child sex rings’ at local forum
“In conjunction with the Child Protection Coordinator and Islington Child Protection Team we are setting up a meeting with two other neighbourhoods to examine this issue locally. We need to explore the real possibility of child sex ring(s) functioning in this area.”Liz Davies (1990) Memo to Neighbourhood Forum. 23rd April
At the time, Islington Council’s Social Services Department, Islington’s Social Services Committee, and their Case Review Sub-Committee were and should have been aware of police investigations into Bernie Bains / 3 Elwood Street and Nicholas Rabet / 114 Grosvenor Avenue.
Islington social workers at the Irene Watson Neighbourhood Office, Tollington Ward, where Margaret Hodge was one of 2 ward councillors and therefore attended the Neighbourhood Forums, were trying to engage with other Neighbourhood Offices to form a borough-wide investigation into what appeared to be a series of ‘child sex rings’, where individual abusers not employed by Islington Council were preying on numbers of vulnerable children in the local community at any one time, many in Islington’s care.
24 April 1990: Margaret Hodge’s response was a memo to the Director of Social Services, John Rea Price, complaining about the report and cc’ing in David Cofie the Neighbourhood Officer (Social Services) (known as a ‘NOSS’), the Chief Executive Eric Dear and Philip Aldis.
Hodge in her own words had been made aware of an “issue of sexual abuse among 8 to 16 year old children at the Neighbourhood Forums.” Hodge told John Rea Price she expected his management to consider reducing fieldwork staffing to release resource for a detached youth worker presence in the area.”
May 1990 election
The Committee structure for Social Services became more complex with the complete integration of Housing and Social Services into Neighbourhood Services Committee (‘NSC’). Cllr Mike Devenney took over as Vice Chair (Social Services) of the NSC. Cllr Joe Simpson was Chair.
Sandy Marks served on the Neighbourhood Services/ Social Services and Education Committees as a Member. Despite not being Chair of the Social Services Committee, Marks remained the Association of Metropolitan Authorities Social Services representative for Islington.
Bob Crossman joined the Social Services Committee from May 1990 and was on the Case Review Sub Committee.
During May 1990-April 1991 Marks was the Chief Whip for the Labour Party on the council.
Summer 1990: Hot House / Caterer / Duff Investigations and Interviews
Throughout June 1990 Irene Watson Neighbourhood Office social workers and managers continued to report on vulnerable children being sexually exploited in the area.
Below are excerpts of Davies’ Working Parties Table of Meetings 1990-1992 placed in context of the time they occurred.
‘The Working Groups listed in the Morgan Review are included in bold. Entries based on records listed in Liz Davies’s BASW submission and other miscellaneous documentation are included italics. ISN is working from fragments as we did not have clarity as to exactly the documentation Morgan QC saw from these Working Groups (Appendix 7 is yet to be provided by Morgan QC) and also Liz Davies’ legal archive of evidence was lost in 2003.
8 July 1990: World Cup Final in Rome, Argentina v Germany – police raid Patrick Baron Duff’s address close to the Hot House behind Irene Watson Neighbourhood Office. The efficacy of police raids was later questioned by Cassam and McAndrew in their 1993 report. Given the information police had access to concerning Duff’s previous conviction and the discovery of child abuse images (and a child) locked in his minicab, did the police raid Duff’s car at the same time as raiding his home? [Liz Davies report to Sarah Morgan QC 18.2.2018: 6.1 and 6.2 – see Report #6 Organised Abuse – The Islington Evidence ]
During July 1990 social workers at Irene Watson Neighbourhood Office persisted in trying to work with other Neighbourhood Offices close by to build a wider picture of networks of abusers operating across artificial boundaries. Police were to place specific addresses under surveillance. Police and social work joint interviews with young people took place.
Following interviews on 20.7.90 further young people were waiting to be interviewed by the police.
27 July 1990: IWNO senior officers met with Islington Police Child Protection Team to share information and interview adults and children. No one had been charged yet.
July 1990 Caterer and Peter Pan Park: Boys aged 9-17 most likely to be at risk
By the end of July 1990 Davies was trying to find out if Roy Caterer had abused other Islington children. At a Senior Social Work Group other senior social workers from neighbourhood offices were interested to hear about Caterer and Shephall Manor School. An Assistant Director of Social Services reprimanded Davies for raising Caterer as an issue with other senior social workers.
“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.
There is a change of managerial lead to a different Assistant Director of Social Services Department within a week of Davies raising Caterer at the Senior Social Workers Meeting. New ADSS manager re-states instructions to respond at individual case level only.
August 1990: Two men associated with the Hot House are released without charge
After 3-4 months the investigation into the Hot House and Duff was closed down.
September 1990: Asking for schools to be warned where Duff was recruiting
Despite Duff being released without charge, the risk to the children was the same and Davies continued to act to try and protect them by warning schools where Duff was procuring.
Davies visited the Hot House with the police to view it after it had been trashed and abandoned. See Report #6 Organised Abuse – The Islington Evidence for further details.
During November 1990 Roy Caterer was arrested. Five children from Irene Watson Neighbourhood Office were victims.
November 1990: InterAgency Working Group established
21 November 1990: Meeting agrees to establish an Inter-Agency Working Party to liaise with police over investigation of a list of children IWNO had raised concerns about
3 December 1990 – 14 January 1991: Although the IAWP meets three times during this period it stalls because police investigation had yet to be completed.
6 December 1990: Meanwhile a Working Party Proposal to the London Boroughs Children’s Regional Planning Committee (LBCRPC) by Principal Adviser John Ogden is presented at a meeting of the LBCRPC Marks chaired. It concerned Child Sexual Abuse Rings and proposed a Working Party meet to establish a specialist service to provide a fast response to requests from local authorities, police and other agencies in investigating child sexual abuse rings. See Report #5 on The 1990s – Knowledge of Organised Abuse – and the later evolution of the Working Party into the Committee on Child Abuse Networks (COCAN).
First Inter Agency Working Party meets 3 times over 6-7 weeks and then fizzles out awaiting police investigations to be completed
14 January 1991: Morgan QC notes that the Working Group met and decided to cease meeting until police investigations at IWNO were complete
February 1991: Former PIE Chairman Steven Adrian Smith is arrested at Harwich (Evening Standard Child porn man who fled is jailed seven years later 16.12.91)
3 April 1991: Having found 5 victims of Roy Caterer from the IWNO area, Liz Davies writes to ADSS to request help for them and also resources to trace and help Caterer’s other victims. No response is received from the Assistant Directors of Social Services. Caterer received a seven and half year prison sentence. (Evening Standard Dean’s story,7.10.92)
London Borough Council Grants Committee
The London Borough Grants Committee (‘LBGC’) was set up following the abolition of the Greater London Council, to fund London-wide groups and charities. Morgan QC notes Marks as serving on the Committee as Islington representative from May 1986 onwards to at least 1995. In 1991 Marks appeared in the Guardian as the Labour leader on the Committee.
“Sandy Marks, the Islington Labour lead on the committee, warns that unless an agreement is reached, the grants unit may have to close by the end of the month, dragging down hundreds of charities with it that rely on its support.”Bunting M (1991) Churchmen urge solution to charity grants crisis. The Guardian. 8.5.1991:2
May 1991: Paedophile rights activist reveals he was employed as a youth worker in Islington
23 May 1991: Islington pro-paedophile rights activist and self-identified paedophile (1978, Editor of Peace News) Roger Moody revealed to the Islington Gazette he had lost his job due to council cuts “as a youth worker who until recently worked in a school-based youth project.” Which school in Islington did Moody work for? Islington Gazette, Bunking off is not a crime, 23.5.91)
- For how long did Roger Moody work for Islington Council as a youth worker employed in a school?
- Which Islington school did he work in?
- Were there further complaints from boys beyond his acquittal of March 1979?
- If Roger Moody attended the CAPM meeting with Sandy Marks, was Marks aware of his job as a youth worker in Islington?
- Was Sandy Marks aware during 1979-80 of one or more self-identified paedophiles working with children at that time employed by Islington Council?
June 1991: Marks stepped down as Chair of the Adoption and Custodianship Panel
May-June 1991: Child Protection at Highbury children’s home
Summer 1991: Talk of establishing another inter agency working group
With the first Inter Agency Party Working Group ceasing activity while awaiting the outcome of police investigations (December 1990 – January 1991) and never re-starting, a second IAPWG was discussed as necessary but not established for almost 9 months after the first one had vanished without conclusion. Cassam and McAndrew would later make specific suggestions concerning reviewing the efficacy of the police investigation.
16 August 1991: Neighbourhood & Social Services meeting to discuss IWNO allegations of organised abuse. Three meetings were held by this policy sub group between 16.8.91 and 31.10.1991 to discuss allegations.
October 1991: Inter Agency Working Party established to examine the network of abuse issues relating to IWNO
31 October 1991: A second IAWP is established 10 months after the first one fizzled out awaiting further police investigation – Terms of Reference were para 5.19.4 of the Child Protection Manual. The IAWP should have been established within the guidance and structure of an Area Child Protection Committee (ACPC).
November 1991: First meeting of the Second Inter Agency Working Party on ‘Networks of Abuse’
29 November 1991: First meeting of the Inter Agency Working Party (‘IAWP’) on ‘Networks of Abuse’ meets, as reported by Morgan QC below. Interestingly the group identified two meanings of ‘networks of abuse’ without reference to the Statutory Guidance (seeReport #1 on Terms of Reference).
“The group identified two meaning of ‘networks of abuse’: ‘(i) an adult abuser involving a network of children … (ii) A network of adults in contact with each other and with a degree of organisation, involving abuse of children.”Morgan QC Report 7.11.18: 17.11
December 1991: Former PIE Chairman Steven Adrian Smith jailed for 18 months
January 1992 Ritual Abuse investigation shut down
“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
12 March 1992: The Case Review Sub Committee hears about one children’s home with rotten window frames and unsecured doors being accessed by ‘several young men’ with a violent incident occurring when once refused to leave; police are ‘reluctant to take any action unless a crime has been committed.’
9 April 1992: John Major and the Conservative party voted in at the General Election.
23rd April 1992: PIE member and friend of Peter Righton, Dr Roderick Morris Fraser (Northchurch Terrace, Islington) was convicted. (Islington Gazette (1992) ‘Wicked’ doctor took dirty pictures of young boys. 23rd April).
Rabet/114 Grosvenor Avenue: 1992 Sussex Police Investigation
Sussex Detective Chief Superintendent states Islington Council ‘actively thwarted’ a Sussex police investigation into allegations of organised abuse by former Deputy Manager of Grosvenor Avenue children’s home from Jersey preying on Islington children in care – (See also Report#6)
“In May 1992 we learnt that another former Islington children’s home worker was under arrest, following a boy’s allegation of abuse and that Islington had again witheld vital file material from the police. Nick Rabet age 47 worked in an Islington children’s home for 15 years until 1989. As deputy superintendent he opened an expensively equipped private children’s activity centre on a friend’s country estate in Sussex. He was arrested in 1991 after police had raided the home of his friends Neil Hocquart aged 40 and Walter Clack aged 73 in Cambridgeshire. They found hundreds of obscene photos of children and videos. They also discovered that Hocquart had invested £13,000 in Rabet’s centre, abused one of his boy helpers and regularly visited with Clack. Hocquart took a fatal overdose whilst in police custody and Clack was fined £5000 for possession of child pornography. Police believed they were looking at a child sex ring raided Rabet’s home and found hundreds of suggestive photos including one of Rabet with a boy who had formerly been in his care. When traced by police the boy alleged abuse by Rabet over many years. While working for Islington Rabet had showered the boy with gifts and regularly taken him for weekends to his Sussex home. A concerned manager tried to ban this. A psychiatrist and the boy’s mother had registered acute concerns. All of this was documented. Yet when Sussex police asked Islington’s management for any relevant material none could be found and his personnel file had also supposedly disappeared”.Fairweather E (1998) Fairweather E (1998) Exposing the Islington children’s homes scandal: a journalists view in Hunt G (1998) Whistleblowing in the social services. London: Hodder p27
“I was asked by Scotland Yard to meet Sussex police to assist their enquiries into Rabet because of my knowledge of the context of the abuse allegations and the connectionsbetween the abusers”.Liz Davies 2019
In 2009, almost a decade after the White Inquiry declared allegations of organised abuse had been fully investigated but unsubstantiated, Detective Chief Superintendent Kevin Moore of the Sussex Police force accused Islington Council of an abuse of trust between professionals working together for the protection of children.
DCS Moore spoke out about Islington’s lack of co-operation in his effort to investigate a former Deputy Superintendent of Grosvenor Avenue, Nicholas Rabet.
Rabet was suspected of being a supplier of boy victims to Neil Hocquart’s clergy friends as well as his connections in the business and art world.
Sussex police had a number of specific questions which a certain young boy’s care file would have given answers to. Someone had made a complaint about the boy attending Rabet’s home, The Stables in Heathfield, East Sussex for weekends and on individual days. Sussex police wanted to inspect the child’s care file, as well as request council records on Rabet’s travel expense claims between Sussex and Islington and ascertain the precise dates of his employment with Islington Council. DCS Moore believed that Islington Council’s lack of cooperation denied Rabet’s victims justice. (Fairweather E (2009) Top OFSTED job for council official embroiled in council child sex scandal . 3rd October).
Sussex police’s enquires highlighted that certain sections of children’s files, in particular a missing file from ‘Shane’ whose story was told in the Evening Standard, went missing.
Morgan QC does not address DCS Moore’s dispute with White’s Inquiry when speaking to Kate Hart or at all in her review. Islington Council have never responded publicly to this allegation or promised to investigate further as to why Rabet was protected. (Proof that Islington Council ignored request to help with police investigation of Nick Rabet in April 1992)
“Detective Chief Superintendent Kevin Moore, of Sussex Police, which investigated Rabet, said Islington actively thwarted attempts in the early Nineties to bring Rabet and his cohorts to justice. DCS Moore made a strong statement to the press stating;
(Fairweather E (2009) Top OFSTED job for council official embroiled in council child sex scandal . 3rd October)
“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.”
(Fairweather E (2009) Top OFSTED job for council official embroiled in council child sex scandal . 3rd October)
DCS Moore said:
“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.’
29 April 1992: Case Review Sub-Committee chaired by Marks considers an inspection report containing details of two men working together to access a children’s home in order to terrorise a female child resident into signing a ‘prostitutes contract’. Despite clearly falling within the statutory guidance definition of organised abuse Morgan QC does not recognise this as
From May 1992 Peter Righton is being investigated by the police
May 1992: Peter Righton’s post from Holland is intercepted by Customs & Excise and he is arrested at home in Evesham first by Customs Officers and then by police. A raid discovers magazines such as Stud Boy and indecent photographs and magazines of boys under the age of 16. West Mercia police place Righton on inspector’s bail while “investigations by the police have proceeded into other more serious areas.”
No Islington inquiry has ever addressed Righton’s confession to an Islington senior social worker, Anne Goldie, of his sexual interest in boys in Islington’s care.
“Anne Goldie came forward to me in 1990 when she heard that I was trying to expose the child abuse scandal. She had retired from her post of Area Team Leader and offered to assist me. She went to see Chris Smith MP to tell him what was happening. When she died in 2007, I wrote her Guardian obituary with Celia Stubbs who was also an Islington social worker who acted to protect the children.”Liz Davies 2019
May 1992, Senior Social Worker Liz Davies resigns. Assistant Director, Lyn Cusack instructed her to do something which for Liz Davies would have breached her professional standards.
Morgan QC misses Marks return to Chair of Social Services Policy Sub-Committee for the next 3 years from May 1992
The list provided by Morgan QC’s Review in Chapter 9 is missing several positions for this crucial year, as per Council Minutes of 7th May 1992, which show Sandy Marks, in addition to the committee roles identified by Morgan QC as:
- Chair of Social Services & Health Policy Sub-Committee: (Vice-Chair: Joan Herbert)
- Member of the Police & Crime Prevention Sub-Committee / Chair: Derek Sawyer
- (Ex-Officio) Housing Sub-Committee (Chair: Sheila Camp)
This is a particularly important omission due to the fact that it is during March – September 1992 that Morgan QC quotes events from inspection reports that both she and the Case Review Sub-Committee chaired by Marks failed to recognise as organised abuse.
Cllr Bob Crossman gets involved with Social Services and sits on the Case Review Sub-Committee with Marks
Carrying on from 1988 when Crossman joined the Social Services Committee, from May 1990, Bob Crossman, served on the Social Services & Health Policy Sub-Committee and the smaller Case Review Sub-Committee with Sandy Marks.
Further to Report #12 on Bob Crossman’s knowledge of pro-paedophile rights activism in Islington, ISN now need details of Crossman’s career, particularly his ILEA representation, his membership of Social Services and Case Review Sub-Committee and the Adoption and Custodianship Panel to ascertain if and how he exercised his influence, whether in concert with Marks or alone, for the promotion of paedophile rights in Islington Council.
25 June 1992: Case Review Sub-Committee meeting – of Sandy Marks, Bob Crossman, Joan Herbert and Joe Simpson – who attends? Do co-opted members attend? Without Appendix 7 ISN cannot know this information.
2 of the 3 concerning reports made mention of concerns over conduct of Islington residential staff:
- the disciplinary investigation of a female residential staff member amid rumours and speculation concerning her relationship with an ex-resident
- a child resident (in a children’s home with two homeless young men squatting in an empty room) disclosure of concerns about a particular worker
- a child resident currently being interviewed by the Child Protection Team having made allegations of sexual abuse
August 1992: The council’s Child Protection Co-ordinator, Sara Noakes, remarked that she would consider a joint meeting with police “when enough information has been gathered” – as per Emlyn Cassam’s Report on Individual Child A. Evening Standard (1994) Children abused by pimps in Islington. 1st August
“Finally police promised surveillance of suspects’ addresses but nothing happened.”
“The report graphically highlights the plight of a 13-year-old boy who absconded 90 times and was feared to be involved in a paedophile ring. Yet it took the council 30 months to investigate his case, including holding meetings which no one attended. In the end nothing was done because “the trail had gone cold”.
Pointedly Mr Cassam would later state in his 1994 report:
“For six months staff in the neighbourhood services department believed that the police were pursuing enquires. They were not”.Cassam E (1994) Report Child A
Cassam’s 1994 report would also reveal that for 6 months during 1992 Social Services failed to chase up police “shows a surprising lack of urgency”. Instead memos were flying around requesting “a sharing of information” and a meeting was set up at which “nobody turned up or sent apologies – including the police”.”
(Evening Standard (1994) Children abused by pimps in Islington. 1st August).
8 September 1992: Case Review Sub-Committee meeting
“I have noted over a period of time an absence of any concern regarding possible issues of child protection. This is an area where staff are not experienced and indeed does not seem to fall within the remit of any staff job description.”Case Review Sub-Committee Meeting Minutes, 8.9.92
Social Services Committee meeting of September 1992 minutes record that Mike Betts, an Islington employee, would submit a progress report in November 1992. Betts had been instructed to start his report in anticipation of the Evening Standard going to press.
Who gave Mike Betts his instructions?
What were Betts’ Terms of Reference?
On 16 September 1992, a few weeks before the Evening Standard reported, Peter Righton appeared at Evesham Magistrates court and was fined £900. (The Independent (1995) Child care expert fined over photos of naked boys. 17th September).