Abuse victims 'trafficked abroad'

Seventies paedophile ring in Barnes extended to Amsterdam, say two men who claim they were abused in brothels

Two alleged victims of a sophisticated paedophile ring at the centre of a police investigation claim they were taken on trips to Amsterdam where they were sexually abused in brothels in the 1980s.

One male victim had been taken from the Grafton Close care home in Richmond, south-west London, it is claimed, and, as well as being trafficked in Amsterdam, was rented out to customers at the Elm Guest House, a bed and breakfast nearby. Another man has claimed he was taken to Amsterdam on a different trip.

Police are understood to be looking into the men's claims as part of Operation Fernbridge, an investigation into historic child abuse set up in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal. Detectives are building a picture of the reach of the network – which allegedly used the property – and have seized a number of files from local authorities.

The Elm Guest House in Rocks Lane, Barnes, said to have been frequented in the Seventies and Eighties by prominent peoples including former Tory politicians, is at the centre of the investigation.

An Independent on Sunday investigation last week revealed the disgraced former MP Cyril Smith was a frequent visitor to the property, and it is understood detectives have also looked at the role of Carole Kasir, the guest house manager who died in suspicious circumstances.

To some, German-born Kasir's liberal-minded attitudes prompted her, in the mid-1970s, to offer a meeting place for gay men embarrassed by their sexual orientation just a decade after it was made legal. To others it was the starting place that ultimately led her to accumulate substantial sums of money by letting rooms where child porn videos were shot and exploitative men could abuse underage boys brought in from a local care homes.

Kasir – who ran the guest house with her husband Haroon Kasir, died on 17 June 1990, aged 47, eight years after a specialist police team raided the guest house, which has since been turned into flats.

At the inquest into her death, the court heard Kasir, a diabetic, was found by a friend about 11am with "numerous injections and phials of insulin" next to her body, but that did little to stem a series of outlandish allegations. The inquest was shown suicide notes allegedly written by Kasir to her lover, but three witnesses – two child protection workers and a private detective – queried the provenance of the notes, telling the court Kasir feared for her life because of what she knew. She had been receiving threatening phone calls, was being harassed by police and told them she was being followed by an unmarked car, they said.

After adjourning the case several times, the coroner ruled she had "taken her own life" and that she died from hypoglycaemia caused by an insulin overdose. Friends claimed there were questions that were not adequatelyanswered, such as why Kasir was injected several times in the bottom, when she always took her injections in the arm. One witness at the inquest said he was shown photos of illustrious public figures in compromising poses, an allegation recently backed up by another witness.

Those friendly with Kasir said that, in the months before her death, she spoke about lifting the lid on the guest house, including listing those who visited, in a book.

In October last year, the Labour MP Tom Watson alleged in the Commons that there was evidence of child abuse in senior Tory circles. During the current investigation, Downing Street has been anxious to keep abreast of developments, but police have sought to maintain strict confidentiality. They are now pursuing a number of leads resulting from witness statements and documents seized after detectives raided the home of a former child protection worker last month. Anyone with information should contact Operation Fernbridge on 020 7161 0500.

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