Guest house 'abuse' men bailed

Police made two arrests on Wednesday in the investigation into historic child abuse at Elm Guest House in south west London. Following questioning they were released on bail to return in April.

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Diocese 'co-operating fully' after Reverend arrest

Reverend Tony McSweeney, who is a priest of the Diocese of East Anglia, is one of two men who have been arrested over allegations of historical child abuse at the Elm guest house.

Father David Bagstaff, Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of East Anglia, said: “The safeguarding of children and vulnerable people is of paramount importance to the Catholic Church and the Diocese is co-operating fully with the police in this investigation.”

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Former youth worker 'certain of guest house abuse'

Two men were arrested over allegations of child abuse in the 1980's at the Elm Guest House and nearby Grafton Close Children’s Home in London.

The police are investigating allegations that boys were taken from the home and abused at the guest house.

Mary Moss, a former youth protection worker who was in contact with the boys at the time, told ITV News she was certain child abuse happened at the guest house.

NSPCC assisting police in Elm Guest House investigation

Director of the NSPCC helpline Peter Watt said:

We are assisting the police on Operation Fernbridge and are asking anyone with information to come forward.

We will assist the police in gathering evidence and supporting those who come forward.

It's important we recognise the massive impact abuse has on children and young people, often well into their adult life.

– Peter Watt
  • The NSPCC's 24-hour helpline, which is staffed by trained counsellors, is available by emailing help@nspcc.org.uk or via text message to 88858.

Care home council taking allegations 'very seriously'

A spokesman for Richmond Council, which ran the care home, said:

Richmond Council considers the safeguarding of all children and young people as an utmost priority and we take any allegations of abuse very seriously.

As such we are offering our full support and co-operation to the police during their investigation.

As the investigation is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.

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Operation Fernbridge is 'complex multi-agency investigation'

The Metropolitan Police confirmed the two men arrested as part of Operation Fernbridge on suspicion of sexual offences are currently in police custody.

The men are (a) aged 66 from Norfolk, and (b) aged 70 from East Sussex.

Both are in police custody at this time.

– Metropolitan Police statement

Commander Peter Spindler, head of the MPS Specialist Crime Investigations, said:

This is a complex multi-agency investigation supported by the NSPCC, CEOP and Richmond Social Services involving non recent allegations of sexual assault against children.

It is vital that anyone who has been affected by or has information about activity in the early 1980s at the Elm Guest House, or the Grafton Close care home, in Barnes speaks to the NSPCC on their Helpline on 0808 800 5000, or their local police.

– Commander Peter Spindler
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