Elm Guest House child abuse scandal


The Elm Guest House child abuse scandal arose from claims of sexual abuse and grooming of children at parties held at the former Elm Guest House in Rocks Lane, near Barnes Common in south-west London during the late 1970s and 1980s. Prominent British men alleged to have attended the Guest House include former government ministers, senior MPs, top police officers, judges, pop music stars, and people with links to the Royal Households.[1] Since 2012, the allegations of an establishment paedophile ring have been part of a complex multi-agency investigation.[2]

Elm Guest House was alleged to have been used by a Westminster paedophile ring.[3] Prominent people who attended parties at Elm Guest House are alleged to have included the Liberal MP Sir Cyril Smith, the Conservative MP Sir Nicholas Fairbairn,[4] the Soviet spy Anthony Blunt, the former British diplomat Sir Peter Hayman, and the Foreign Office barrister Colin Peters, who was later jailed in 1989 for being part of a network which abused over a hundred boys.[2][5][6] According to The Independent, other alleged visitors to the guesthouse include a Sinn Féin politician, a Labour MP and several Conservative politicians.[1][7] During 2014 and 2015, allegations against several other leading politicians of the period, mostly now deceased, were made public in the British press.

An investigation, Operation Fairbank, which was led by the Metropolitan Police Service, started in late 2012. The investigation was a “scoping exercise” aimed at a “preliminary assessment of the evidence rather than a formal inquiry”,[8] and the existence of the “assessment” operation was confirmed only on 12 December 2012 after operating in secret for several weeks.[8] As a result of allegations arising from Operation Fairbank, a full criminal investigation, Operation Fernbridge, was launched in February 2013.[9] In November 2014, another operation—Operation Midland—was set up to examine claims of a possible homicide,[10] later extended to cover allegations of three murders and activities at the Dolphin Square development in Pimlico and elsewhere;[11] on 21 March 2016, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that Operation Midland had been closed without any charges being brought.[12] In 2015, the Independent Police Complaints Commission began investigating claims that the Metropolitan Police had suppressed evidence of child sexual abuse and prevented the investigation of some allegations between 1970 and 2005, because of the alleged involvement of police officers and MPs.[13]

In addition to eight guest rooms, facilities at the three-storey Elm Guest House included a sauna, solarium and video studio.[5][14] The Edwardian house is now a private residence, and the current occupants are not connected to the allegations.[15]