UPDATE: Since this article was published a fresh source has come forward to my colleague Mark Conrad, who also wrote about Elm Guest House, showing that Carol Kasir was born Carol Ann Jones in the West Riding of Yorkshire on 4 July 1942 and was never born in Germany. She and her family grew up in south London. Carol moved to the USA with her mother when she was a teenager, but did not like the States and soon returned.There is no direct family link to the name Weichmann – Carol’s relatives think she made up the name, or adopted it to cover her background, before she married Harry Kasir. Harry would have thought her maiden name was Weichmann as it was declared on her marriage certificate.
Coroner’s papers covering the controversial inquest of Carole Kasir, the madam who ran with her husband, the notorious Elm Guest House in Barnes, south London. have been discovered after the police said they had been destroyed.
They revive the whole business of whether the brothel was a haunt for paedophiles as well as consenting gay adults. I have written today with Keir Mudie, the Mirror’s deputy political editor, an article about it in the Sunday People and it is also on the Mirror website here.
The verdict by the Hammersmith coroner way back in 1990 was that she committed suicide – and given two suicide notes were found – so it should have been a slam dunk case.
But other people who gave evidence thought she might have been killed because she was alleged to have kept records and photographs of some of the visitors who came there – one of whom the Met police confirmed was Sir Cyril Smith, whom even the biggest naysayers about VIP paedophilia, would have difficulty today making a case that he was innocent.
What is extraordinary is that the Met Police did a recent investigation – Operation Fernbridge- into Elm Guest House and a Richmond Council children’s home Grafton Close – that led to the conviction of a Roman Catholic priest Tony McSweeney and the arrest and charging of the deputy manager of the home, John Stingmore on child sexual abuse. Yet they told an MP Tom Watson, now Labour’s deputy leader, who raised questions about the case, that all the papers relating to Kasir at the inquest had been destroyed.
That is plainly not the case as these redacted documents show. I understand that more recently the police may have checked back though there is no evidence that they are re-opening the Richmond investigation.
McSweeney was not charged with anything about Elm Guest House only in connection with the children’s home and abuse at Stingemore’s flat in Bexhill. Stingemore was charged with one count involving Elm Guest House but he died just before the case was due to come to court. So it was never tested in court.
What the documents do show illustrates how difficult it is to investigate historical child sexual abuse and the mass of contradictions -surrounding the story.
They even go down to Carole Kasir’s name in the document. The official record gives her name as Weichman and born on 4 July 1942 in Germany. Her marriage certificate I have recently learnt has Weichman as her father and her estranged husband at the time said her name was Weichman. But a close relative who should know said her maiden name was Carole Anne Jones and she was born in London.
The documents also raise questions about her suicide and here even the accounts are contradictory. Her GP, David Walker, who she had been a patient at his practice for 14 years, reveals she did have a history earlier of suicide, was diabetic and had a drink problem. But he concludes that she was NOT the type of person he expected to commit suicide.
The toxicology report from New Cross Hospital confirms she died from hypoglycemia and an overdose of insulin. But the examination did not bother to check the syringes or phials or the contents of her stomach. No alcohol was discovered.
But the most contentious and sensational evidence came from other witnesesses One insisted that he had seen a pile of photographs of prominent people and documents naming which VIPs came there at her home and another claimed she was being pursued by the security services and the police.
One piece of evidence from the inquest does chime with the Metropolitan Police’s answer to Channel 4 Dispatches is the involvement of Sir Cyril Smith. The detailed evidence to the inquest included a story that the overweight MP broke her toilet and wouldn’t pay for the repair which added a further dispute. between him and her.
The inquest also took evidence from Richmond Council where Mr Jeffries, director of social services, admitted that Stingemore was a paedophile convicted in 1983 -a year after he left Richmond Council.
But Terry Earland, the head of children’s services, suspected that boys were being taken to Elm Guest House from Grafton Close earlier under Stingemore’s care This appeared not to be taken up by the then director of social services, Louis Minster who later suddenly resigned from the council.
Now you might say as many naysayers do, why should we be bothered. It is all in the past and we should move on. But I bet none of these people have looked into the eyes of people who have been abused and seen the havoc and destruction they have faced years after the event. They would prefer to just call them fantasists and say none of this probably happened anyway.
That is why we have an independent inquiry at the moment looking into historic child sexual abuse and certainly looking at the evidence it has already dredged out of the sexual abuse of children at Knowl View School in Rochdale by Cyril Smith there was a cover up as well as abuse.
That is why painstakingly we need to get the nearest we can to the truth and pretending document’s don’t exist is not a way to get there.