We have been watching with some interest as the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) began its Westminster hearings on so-called VIP child sexual abuse this week. In particular, yesterday’s topics—which included the Elm Guest House, Chris Fay, and the “Mary Moss List”—have all been long-time favourite discussion points for those who would like to see paedophiles behind every door.
We have talked about Chris Fay in relation to his and Bill Maloney’s coaching of Andrew Ash, a vulnerable adult who subsequently made allegations about birthmarks on the private areas of Leon Brittan. In the hands of Maloney, and then of Abraham Christie, those birthmarks transmogrified into tattoos, which eventually would become a major talking point for those who promote the Hampstead SRA hoax.
While many who read this blog are already familiar with the story of Fay’s involvement with the Elm Guest House, the IICSA’s opening statement offers a good overview:
Interestingly, starting on page 140 of yesterday’s hearing transcript, Commander Neil Jerome of the Metropolitan Police Service describes the 1982 raid on the Elm Guest House.
He states that an anonymous member of the public had reported the presence of a child on the premises, and that following police observation of the house, which came to nothing, two undercover officers posing as members of the public went inside.
They determined that a 10-year-old boy was indeed on the premises, and were concerned enough for his well-being that the raid was conducted and 20 individuals arrested. Following the raid, it was determined that none of those arrested were prominent or well known, and that no victims, apart from the 10-year-old boy, were found.
This runs counter to the later narrative, in which it has been stated that 10 boys and one three-year-old girl were taken away.
‘Uncle Leon and the big house’
The boy, known as WM-A9, made allegations of “having suffered extensive sexual abuse at the hands of a number of men” over a number of months. The list of men who had abused WM-A9, Jerome said, contained no prominent or famous people.
However, during WM-A9’s police interview, a Social Services worker named Andrew Keir was present.
Jerome stated yesterday,
Whilst Mr Keir and the police officers are taking the statement from the child, Mr Keir mentions something that the child said about an ‘Uncle Leon’, and Mr Keir said that that had stuck in his mind, and that it was used as one of the people who had abused him.
When Keir was interviewed in 2012, he claimed that WM-A9 had actually uttered the phrase “Uncle Leon of the big house”. In that interview, said Jerome, Keir said he recalled looking at the police officer taking the statement and they’d given each other what he called 30 years later a “raised eyebrow look”—presumably acknowledging that they both knew who the child was referring to.
However, the typed record of the longhand statement which WM-A9 made in 1982 contains no trace of any such comment. And Keir had not only signed off on the 1982 interview record, but had stated again in 1986 that it was a true record of the interview.
Somehow, the phrase “Uncle Leon and the big house” made its way into a revised narrative, 30 years after the fact.
The Elm Guest House list
In yesterday’s proceedings, Jerome confirmed that the Elm Guest House list had originated with Fay and his colleague Mary Moss.
Fay claimed that two or three days after the 1982 police raid, he had met with Carol Kasir and she had provided him with extensive detailed journals and notes, as well as photographs. Amongst those who Fay alleged had attended the guest house were Leon Brittan, Harvey Proctor, Cyril Smith, Anthony Blunt, and Nicholas Fairbairn.
However, Fay has never been able to offer any evidence to back up his claims, Jerome said.
Despite offering detailed, incendiary descriptions of at least one such photo—in Fay’s words, “Leon Brittan with a 12-year-old prepubescent boy on his lap, wearing a French maid’s apron, frilly hat and nothing else”—he was not able to show police any of the actual pictures.
Noting Fay’s 2011 conviction for money laundering, Jerome stated that there is good reason to approach any of Fay’s statements with extreme caution.
In 2015, Jerome confirmed, Fay had made two statements to police about an alleged incident which had taken place 30 years earlier.
In the first, he stated that he had been approached by two large white men who had guns. He said he had a brief conversation with them and one of the men placed his hands around Fay’s throat and told him to stay away from the Elm Guest House.
Three months later, he told the story again, elaborating on the details.
This time, the men were wearing dark grey suits and had black guns in brown holsters under their left arms. In a major departure from his first description, Fay stated that one of the men had removed his gun, held it against Fay’s temple, and said, “Keep your nose out of Elm Guest House”, before tapping him on the cheek and saying, “Be a good boy”.
In this second version of the story, Fay claimed that he had followed these Special Branch men—as he claimed they were—and had watched them climb into a sky-blue Ford Capri. Fay was even able to report part of the number on the registration plate. Police were never able to identify such a vehicle registered to anything connected with law enforcement.
In another claim, Fay said that in 1988 a boy, WM-A28, had alleged that he’d been abused by Brittan at Elm Guest House. He claimed that Special Branch officers had visited this boy at his home and warned him to be quiet about Elm Guest House.
He alleged that Special Branch officers had warned the boy off again on the day that Fay had reported on his case to NAYPIC, the organisation he was associated with. He stated that WM-A28 had gone to Richmond police station to make a statement about this, and had been “fobbed off” there.
WM-A28, however, told quite a different story: he said he had no knowledge at all of what Fay had claimed, had never been to Elm Guest House, never been abused by Leon Brittan, and in fact didn’t even know Fay and had “never knowingly communicated with him to any degree”.
Asked to summarise his conclusions regarding Fay, Jerome said,
The conclusions are that the credibility of Chris Fay is called into question; that there is evidence that does not prove his claims, and in fact prove that some of the claims have—there’s absolutely no substance to those at all, and the overall conclusion is that there is no evidence to substantiate any of Mr Fay’s claims.
Jerome also described Mary Moss, Fay’s colleague who claimed to have evidence regarding the Elm Guest House list. He noted that as part of Operation Winter Key, the police had asked Moss for access to the documents she claimed to hold, but she had refused. She did provide some of them to the BBC, who also refused to share them with police, as they had not received Moss’ permission to do so.
In the end, the police obtained a warrant and raided Moss’ home, where they recovered “a sauna appointments book and an appointments desk diary” in addition to 40 boxes or so of various material” including hand-written notes, press clippings, and other material.
However, police were unable to determine the provenance of any of the material they found, and were unable to link any of it to the raid on the guest house.
When the documents were reviewed by officers…there were suggestions that multiple people had attended the Elm Guest House at one time or another—but often without specific dates having been provided—and there were no specific allegations.
The documents, Jerome agreed, had no evidential value.
Given that stories about the Elm Guest House and its infamous list have underlain so much of the general hysteria regarding VIP child sexual abuse in recent years, we’re finding it fascinating to watch the fabric of Fay’s lies unravel before our eyes.