Message from DR LIZ DAVIES at the White Flowers Vigil, 4th October 2014
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 GrosvenorAvenue, 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 Rabettook 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 Barnes 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.