Papers seized by police link guest house to paedophiles, pimps and pornographers
By David Pallister | 7 May 2013
Evidence uncovered by Exaro, and also obtained by the Metropolitan Police Service’s ‘Operation Fernbridge’, suggests that the notorious guest house that operated three decades ago in south-west London was part of loosely-connected rings of paedophiles, pimps and pornographers throughout the capital and beyond.
The trail of evidence began with a large batch of papers compiled by campaigners against child abuse who talked to several boys in care in nearby Grafton Close children’s home, which was run by the London borough of Richmond-upon-Thames.
The boys told the campaigners that they were sexually abused at the guest house and other locations.
Evidence obtained by Exaro and the police shows that visitors to the guest house came from all over the UK, including Northern Ireland.
Exaro has established that some of the people named in the campaigners’ notes as associated with the guest house are themselves notorious for their roles in other paedophile rings.
Witnesses have told Exaro that boys were taken from Grafton Close to men’s homes to be sexually abused. The boys were typically recorded as having gone missing from the children’s home.
The evidence even links the guest house to what became known as Britain’s “biggest child sex racket”. That link is in the form of a former Foreign Office official and tax barrister, Colin Peters, who prosecuted VAT cases for HM Customs & Excise.
In 1989, Peters, then 43, was one of four men convicted at the Old Bailey of abusing boys. He was jailed for eight years for conspiracy to commit buggery, buggery and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
He lured boys to his luxury flat in Bayswater, central London, and plied them with drugs and alcohol before abusing them in his private sauna.
Judge Henry Pownall told Peters: “By your own efforts, you found boys to satisfy your lust.”
The judge continued: “You were prepared to encourage drugs, and to lace drinks. You have made matters worse by trying to get witnesses not to attend court or to lie to save your own skin. That was disgraceful and you, of all people, must have known it.”
The group abused boys as young as ten over a five-year period. The court heard that up to 150 boys had been corrupted, with some becoming male prostitutes while others became abusers themselves.
The police believed, the court heard, that the network stretched into Westminster and Whitehall.
Following his conviction, the Bar Standards Board expelled Peters as a barrister in 1990.
But Peters has turned up again in documents gathered by the Met’s paedophile unit in its investigation into Elm Guest House.
The campaigners who talked to alleged victims at the guest house recorded a note dating from 1989 that Peters “knows of our interest, do not know how. Alerting his friends to ‘take care of us.’ Warned to be careful of this guy.”
Other papers seized by police record that a pimp, also linked to the guest house, supplied Peters with porn and boys for sex. The pimp, according to the notes, was “part of a large sex and porn ring operating in south-west London.”
In an interview with three boys, one social worker who helped compile the notes revealed that one of the pimps “used to ring and tell them where to go, or pick them up and take them to men’s homes.” The boys were “too frightened to complain.”
The notes added that the boys had seen the pimp recently, saying: “Warned they would be killed if they talked. Said they had visit from two ‘security’ men who also threatened them.”
Another man, according to the papers, “took boys to Amsterdam”.
Some boys were trafficked to Amsterdam, capital of Holland, to work as male prostitutes, and threatened with violence if they talked, the papers add.
Amsterdam was becoming known as the gay capital of Europe and the place to which several English paedophiles fled to escape the attentions of the British police.
The city was the base for an underground paedophile network called ‘Spartacus’. Peter Glencross, a leading figure in the Spartacus network, helped turn Elm Guest House into a paedophile brothel.