"And we want to know. Who were the children in this home. Where are they now. What did they go through. And we’d like to hear from them, because we want to help them get justice and we want to help them get healing."
DR LIZ DAVIES: I am here today to talk about this building because that’s why we are here today. This place 114 Grosvenor Avenue, which was a children’s home, one of the 12 children’s homes in Islington and there were abusers in every single one of them. This one is of specific note. It was managed by someone called Dave Burridge. The Deputy Manager was a man called Nicholas John Rabet. When I was in Islington in 1991 a very brave Whistleblowing member of staff [Neville Mighty] here came to see me and said that he’d had a phone call from Cambridge Police and they said they had done a raid and they had numerous images of a boy from this home and they have got letters from Rabet, and Rabet was implicated in some of the images and with some of the abusers from Cambridge. Neville Mighty was arrested, criticized, prevented from working with children. But he stuck it through; got his right to work back again. An amazing man. A very very brave man. He said that this was a complete cover up and nothing was being done to investigate it. And the DCI in charge later said that the investigation was closed down. The main perpetrator in Cambridge committed suicide.
Nicholas Rabet had a mansion house in Sussex, which was run as a children’s activity center. Children were taken from this house in groups to that activity center. We know plenty of procedures would not have allowed that, but that didn’t seem to matter. A very wonderful woman called Ivy, I remember her very well, came to see me and said that she had reported this and had got nowhere. She was then sacked and she ended up going abroad.
There have been a lot of brave people along the way who’ve tried to do something. And what went on in that activity center, who knows. They had go-karts and all sorts of things but it was obviously a front. Then later Sussex Police investigated Rabet and that activity center and approached Islington Council for assistance. I had left by then and I was asked by Scotland Yard to assist the Sussex Police, because they were having difficulty getting cooperation from Islington. So I did that. I met with them. They were very good police. They were doing their best, but they couldn’t proceed to any kind of prosecution.
In 1995 Nicholas Rabet went to Thailand, where he was with Bernie Bains, who was the manager of Elwood Street Children’s Home, which is where he was a torturer and a sexual abuser of children. Bains joined Rabet in Thailand. He committed suicide. Nicholas Rabet committed suicide after being arrested and charged by the Thai Police for the abuse of 30 children, but known to have been in contact with over 300.
It was thanks to the Thai Police in the end that there was a prosecution, because it never happened in the UK because it was shut down at every level.
And we want to know. Who were the children in this home [114 Grosvenor Avenue, Islington, London]. Where are they now. What did they go through. And we’d like to hear from them, because we want to help them get justice and we want to help them get healing. This building is going to be redeveloped into posh flats. We want Islington Council to give us access to the building, so we can hold the hands of the children, now adults, the adult survivors who had lived there and talk them through the building to heal and to get some memories of what happened. There is awful difficulty with the trauma. The effect of the trauma is so severe in these victims that they need help.
We are working with fragments of information. Files have gone missing. Most of them haven’t got any files. Those that have like Richard, who put out his postcards from Jersey online recently. He sent his father some postcards from Jersey when he was seven. He was sent from here to Jersey to Haut de la Garenne Children’s Home, which was the scene of much torture. So there was trafficking between Jersey and this Islington Children's Home. Nick Rabet took children to Jersey. I have spoken to Jersey survivors and they have talked to me about coming here. So there was definitely movement between the two, but nobody has ever investigated that. And until we had these precious postcards, thanks to Richard’s father, we didn’t actually have any kind of proof in that kind of evidential way that these children went to Jersey, though we’d heard about it. So they can’t deny it now.
They absolutely can’t deny it and there must be a police investigation by independent police, separate from Islington, to look into investigating what happened here.
I am speaking for the boy called Shane, who was in this Children's Home. Shane was the one in the Evening Standard with the link to Cambridge. Shane was severely abused by a huge network. Everyone aspect of this, everybody we know about was linked to a huge network. And then I am also speaking for Richard. And I am also speaking for a boy called Liam, who came out in the Evening Standard when Margaret Hodge was made Minister for Children. Liam was a very very brave young man who was also in this home. Liam was taken by Nick Rabet to New Barns School in Gloucestershire, where Peter Righton, who some of you may have heard of, was the Governor of that school. So we know that Liam was the link between here, Islington, in this home and what went on in New Barnes School and the whole ring that involved Peter Righton. I won’t say anymore about that as police are currently investigating that whole part of all these abuse networks.
So it is really important today that we get some access to this building. That we get an independent police investigation.
But also we need to set up some kind of charity. I don’t know if anyone here is willing to help. The charity will help survivors regain their forgotten childhoods, or their stolen childhoods, because we are working from small fragments of information and we have to start putting that together in order to be able to see them through to healing. So we need something like the child migrants trust that was set up for the children who were sent to Australia. That’s a good model of practice. We need to set up a charity that has people working for it that victims can go to start that healing process. Thank you.
MESSAGE READ ON BEHALF OF EILEEN FAIRWEATHER: I have thought of something I would like to say. I think it would be empowering and comforting for survivors to know that there were adults who cared for and stood up for them, or tried to. i would like the victimized good Whistle-Blowers staff backed, for example Ivy Gale who worked at 114 Grosvenor Avenue and was sacked after raising her concerns about the children who were taken away for week ends by Rabet. And of course, Neville Mighty, who was not just sacked but was framed, and was himself maliciously, papally, falsely accused by management of inappropriate behavior. While the real perpetrators were free to rape children, an innocent man was hounded for allegedly stroking a girl’s knee, which she herself denied to The Standard that he ever did. He had only, she admitted, ever been caring and protective and had always gone the further mile to help the children here.
It took him seven years to prove his innocence and to be cleared again to practice as a social worker. The managers who framed him and ignored the plight of the children in this building have never been questioned or brought to justice.
There were others who took great risks to get out the truth and who still can’t be named, both social services and police officers, specially about this home and the cruel men in charge.
One former Detective Constable Peter Cook of the Cambridgeshire Police, who investigated the powerful pedophile ring that led to this building was also barred from investigating further and was forcibly shut up. He bravely blew the whistle to The Standard and finally went on the record about this in 2008.
The ring that he has identified has still not properly been investigated either.
And of course, Liz Davies who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to encourage all the other whistleblowers and to liaise with the media. It may seem now that Liz has been out from the start, but no she did not reveal her identity until 2003 when outraged at the appointment of Margaret Hodge as Britain’s first Children’s Minister she finally spoke up publicly.
Others who risked their careers and secretly helped the Children here, will now be retired. Now we hope that they too will dare to come forward and finally be heard. The children were less alone than they felt and feared, though even the adults who genuinely fought for them and cared for them were side-lined, sacked, threatened and silenced. Now at last we can all come together and be heard. I have written this from the heart.
Working With Eileen Fairweather, by Dr Liz Davies
Eileen and I met in 1991 when she began to investigate the Islington child abuse scandal.
Our first meeting was memorable because although she came from outside London to meet me at Kings Cross station I didn’t show up because I was so frightened.
Social workers of course can be dismissed for having any contact with the media that is not approved by their employer. At the time the police were working with me to expose the child abuse scandal and Eileen played an important role in that process.
While social workers avoid all contact with the media, the police know how to work with particular journalists in a positive way. Eileen and Stewart Payne (senior reporter on the Evening Standard) investigated the abuse of children in Islington for many months until the story broke in the Evening Standard in October 1992. Stewart and Eileen presented a comprehensive dossier of evidence to the police and the Social Services Inspectorate and won the Reporting Team of the Year award for the Islington investigation in the 1993 British Press Awards. Because I was working as a child protection manager in a different authority, my name was kept out of the media until Margaret Hodge was appointed Minister for Children in 2003.
The Editor of the Evening Standard then asked me if I would support the Islington survivors who were opposing the appointment of Margaret Hodge to this post. I agreed to do this because I was then working at London Metropolitan University and I was in a better position to speak with the media.
Eileen and I have since worked together on over 200 stories about the protection of children. These are listed on this website http://lizdavies.net.
Interview with Dr Liz Davies
**Please note: some of the speeches & testimonies & images from the Islington WhiteFlowers Vigil have not been published here, due to issues of confidentiality & ongoing investigations.
Peter McKelvie's Message (read by Brian Douieb):
I am Brian and one of the people organizing the event. I’ve got a message here from Peter McKelvie. For those of you who do not know, he was a Child Protection Manager in Hereford & Worstershire, and was involved with Liz Davies and with me from another authority trying to investigate networks of abuse that involved Peter Righton. Peter McKelvie's team and the investigation he was involved with was shut down by the Social Services Department and by the Police. So he couldn’t progress the situation. But he later took the information to Tom Watson MP and it was that information that sparked off the Prime Ministers Questions and has led to the whole debate about a National Inquiry and the setting up of a National Inquiry.
I am going to read this message from Peter McKevie:
I very much regret not being at today’s vigil. I would have liked to have paid my respects to all the children who never made it to adulthood and give my support to all the survivors of childhood sexual abuse in Islington, who suffered at the hands of those who should have been protecting them while they were in Local Authority Care.
I would like to pay tribute to the Social Workers in the early 1990s who tried everything they could to expose the full horror and extent of abuse throughout Islington’s entire Residential Children’s Homes network.
I still hold out hope that the survivors of this abuse will get justice and that the perpetrators who have never been investigated will be pursued this time around.
A full and truly independent inquiry is needed in Islington alone. It is obvious that senior managers and councillors were fully and properly informed of the allegations and it is equally obvious that many of them chose not to believe them or for a number of reasons tried to block the disclosure of what was really happening to the most vulnerable children in the borough.
It is now becoming obvious that alongside the abuse of children in the care of Islington Council, Islington itself as an area had from the late 60s onwards and right through the 70s and late 80s and early 90s had become the epicenter of one of the most sinister, powerful and well-connected pedophile networks that this country has ever seen, the Pedophile Information Exchange (P.I.E.).
Many leading figures from P.I.E. based themselves in Islington at one time or another and used their connections to not only infiltrate and abuse within Children’s Homes, but also many children in the local community.
I trust that this is just the beginning of the fight for justice for Islington Survivors. They must not be denied in the way they were during the previous inquiry that is The White Report, now recognized by many as The White-Wash Report. Survivors must not tolerate another Whitewash.
Thinking of all the Children who were abused, tortured & killed.
Boys were trafficked to Amsterdam. Some disappeared. Some Survived.