Exclusive: Lambeth council and Met accused of covering up child sexual abuse scandal

Lambeth council and the Met have been accused of withholding information about their involvement and alleged cover-up of one of England’s worst child abuse scandals.

The claims have been made by the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association (SOSA), which works with victims of the sexual abuse that took place in Lambeth council’s children’s homes between the 1950s and 1980s. 

In August 2023, the Met reopened an investigation into claims of a cover-up made by Marina Narayan, 58, who was abused by a serving police officer as a child in care.

Ms Narayan, who has waived her anonymity to speak to the South London Press, said: “I first spoke out when I was 13, but I knew that I wouldn’t get justice because he was a copper so everything would be covered up.

“I’ve never been able to put this behind me. When I close my eyes it’s in my thoughts.”

Detective Sergeant John Hudson, then a member of the Vice Squad, abused Ms Narayan from the age of six, after he and his wife, June, fostered her as a baby in 1966. 

Marina Narayan has accused the Met police of covering up the abuse she suffered as a child at the hands of a serving officer (Picture: Marina Narayan)

Ms Narayan reported the abuse to the authorities in 1979, but the allegations were not investigated.

In 1999, she made another complaint. In 2016, June Entecott – who had remarried – was found guilty of covering up the abuse and sentenced to four years in prison. Hudson died in 2008.

Human Rights Lawyer Imran Khan KC filed a legal action for damages on Ms Narayan’s behalf in August 2023, but the claim was denied by the Met on the grounds that the abuse took place too long ago.

The Met referred itself to the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) over Ms Narayan’s claims. The case was passed back to the force in mid-January this year.

Mr Khan said: “We have commenced the legal process against the Met on Marina’s behalf. Given that she was abused in a Lambeth Children’s Home, the claim will include Lambeth’s role in the case.”

SOSA’s founder, Dr Raymond Stevenson, 60, of Brixton, said he hopes the investigation will “finally reveal the truth” of the scandal. 

When Ms Narayan first reported Hudson’s abuse – in 1979 – she told a former senior Lambeth social worker, ​​Charlie Elliot.

In 2017, one of SOSA’s clients claimed Mr Elliot had sexually abused her as a child. SOSA asked Lambeth for information regarding Mr Elliot’s involvement in the abuse, but the council claimed it had no information on the former social worker.

In 2019 – during a separate investigation – Lambeth council provided a SOSA lawyer with a document from 1996, which included details of an investigation into Mr Elliot, who died in the early 2000s, over child abuse and covering up paedophilia in the care homes. 

Angell Road, one of the Lambeth council care homes where children were abused (Picture: Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse)

Dr Stevenson said: “It was only after we told them we had a copy that they admitted it, but said it ‘wasn’t relevant’.”

Dr Stevenson said Ms Narayan’s case reveals a relationship between Lambeth senior officers and Met officers who he believes are “equally complicit” in covering up the abuse.

When Ms Narayan found out about the investigation into Mr Elliot she was “devastated”.

She said: “Police and social services are there to look after people but they didn’t.

“Lambeth is withholding information because they are deep in all of this.”

Withholding information about Mr Elliot has had serious ramifications for previous court hearings and investigations into the abuse, Dr Stevenson said.

He said: “All the redress clients affected by Elliot should have received that information and been compensated.”

A spokesman for the Met said: “We have been engaged with SOSA in relation to a number of concerns raised around historic child abuse and the Met’s involvement in that investigation.

“A report sent by SOSA to the Met was reviewed and a public complaint recorded. We are in contact with SOSA and will take some time to consider our next steps.”

A Lambeth council spokesman said: “Lambeth has made a sincere and heartfelt apology to all victims and survivors of abuse and neglect while in Lambeth’s care at the borough’s former children’s homes.

“The council of today is unable to say why actions were not taken in the past, but we have endeavoured to uncover and share as much as possible.

“To help right the wrongs of the past we have also fully cooperated with the national Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse’s investigation’s “Children in the care of Lambeth council” strand, sharing more than 300,000 pages of historical documents.

“Lambeth council has run the Lambeth Children’s Home Redress Scheme to provide compensation and support to abuse survivors. The scheme received more than 2,200 applications and paid out almost £100million to survivors.

“The vast majority of applications have been completed and survivors compensated.”

Pictured top: SOSA’s founder, Dr Raymond Stevenson (Picture: Raymond Stevenson)

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