Elm Guest House investigation: Former senior cabinet minister faces rape investigation

CPS considers charges as police looking into guesthouse paedophile ring broaden their inquiry

A former senior cabinet minister is now the subject of a rape allegation currently being considered by the Crown Prosecution Service. Police investigating possible child abuse at the Elm Guest House in West London have submitted a file on the former minister, and the CPS is expected to come to a decision over the matter during the summer. The claims are not believed to relate to the abuse of minors at the guesthouse, and the alleged victim was over the age of consent.

The allegation follows evidence given to the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Fernbridge, which is investigating claims that a well-connected paedophile ring was operating from a guesthouse in Rocks Lane, Barnes, south-west London, in the early 1980s. The inquiry has been examining hundreds of leads submitted to it after a politician claimed that a historic paedophile ring with connections to Downing Street had been in operation there. The extent, breadth and wide timeframe of the claims led police to look beyond the Elm Guest House’s allegedly dark epoch and beyond the abuse of children.

Police have been looking into claims that young boys from the Grafton Close care home, run by Richmond council, were sexually assaulted at the guesthouse – now a block of respectable flats. It is alleged that the boys were taken to organised parties at the house attended by prominent people, where they were made to dress up. The parties were often “Kings and Queens” themed, a practice begun around the time of the Silver Jubilee in 1977.

The lack of charges relating to the guest house has given rise to counter-claims of “conspiracy theories” and cover-ups. But in January, The Independent on Sunday revealed that the disgraced Liberal Democrat politician Sir Cyril Smith, who for decades abused children without ever facing justice, was a regular visitor to the Elm Guest House.

The revelation came after police raided the house of one childcare worker and seized documents said to contain the names of some of those who stayed at the guesthouse. Those on the list also included prominent politicians, judges and celebrities.

The Fernbridge investigation came in the wake of the allegations surrounding the TV presenter and DJ Jimmy Savile.

In October last year, Tom Watson MP told Parliament that an evidence file on Peter Righton, a former child care worker convicted of importing illegal homosexual pornography in 1992, contained “clear intelligence of a widespread paedophile ring”. At Prime Minister’s Questions, he said: “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.”

Scotland Yard is still investigating those claims, as well as suggestions that its officers failed to carry out a proper examination of child abuse claims in Richmond in 2003, when the Independent Police Complaints Commission received allegations from a concerned council worker.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'