View Full Version : St Leonards Childrens Home, Hornchurch, Essex

Magda Hassan
04-16-2016, 04:27 PM
St Leonards Childrens Home, Hornchurch, Essex (https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2016/04/13/st-leonards-childrens-home/) Posted on 2016, April, 13 (https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2016/04/13/st-leonards-childrens-home/) by cathy fox blog (https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/author/cathyfox/)
The purpose of this article is two fold. The first is to is shine a bit of a spotlight on the abuse at St Leonards Childrens Home. The second is to publish some more police corruption relevant to child abuse and this will come in the second half of the article.
St Leonards was a childrens home in Hornchurch Essex around 1950 until 1985, when it was closed down. It was run for part of this time by Tower Hamlets Borough of London. It was also known as Cottage Homes as it was divided into separate homes of about 30 children looked after by two house parents.
Much of the information in this post is from Paul Connolly’s first book in his autobiography Against All Odds [1] (http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00603Y6IS/ref=as_li_tf_til?tag=essetrai-21&camp=1406&creative=6394&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=B00603Y6IS&adid=1VEMV3N7N4PMJ7D9HFQJ&&ref-refURL=http%3A//www.essextraining.com/www/index.htm%20target=) from 2010. The second book Beating the Odds was published in 2014 [2] (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Beating-Odds-shocking-childhood-redemption-ebook/dp/B00KVFTADM/ref=pd_sim_351_1?ie=UTF8&dpID=51H%2BaPAa-uL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_OU02_AC_UL160_SR105%2C160_&refRID=03183MWZ3VJ2ZSCPD9P3). For reviews see Goodreads [7] (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6685881-against-all-odds). Paul is now a successful fitness trainer and has a website [3] (http://www.essextraining.com/). There are also articles on him in the press, about publishing his book despite not being able to read until the age of 25, [6] (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2080829/Against-All-Odds-Paul-Connolly-didnt-learn-read-25-tops-e-book-charts.html) and topping the amazon downloads chart [8] (http://www.standard.co.uk/news/get-london-reading/i-couldnt-read-until-i-was-25-now-im-a-best-selling-author-says-trainer-to-the-stars-7304506.html)
There is also information on St Leonards on Operation Greenlight [5] (https://webbrain.com/brainpage/brain/0FE31538-2121-8495-33A5-86073BE95DE1/thought/918#-835) Needleblog [4] (https://theneedleblog.wordpress.com/operation-greenlight/east-england/essex/st-leonards-childrens-home/). St. Leonards deserves a great deal more time than I can spend on it.
Paul Connolly was brought up from the age of 8 in St Leonards Childrens Home notorious for its abuse meted out to children. People were sent there in Pauls time mainly from Tower Hamlets London Borough, there were also children from other Councils one being Hammersmith. There was a mixture of reasons for children being sent there. Some children Paul says were “saved” from the street as rent boys in teenage years. Many were Irish or black, both out of place in the Essex countryside, as it was then.
When Paul was there, Alan Prescott was the Head. Pauls house parents were Bill Starling, and Auntie “Coral” which is a pseudonym. All these were child abusers physically, sexually and emotionally. Paul himself was not sexually assaulted, perhaps because of his aggressiveness to the people concerned, but he did suffer physical and emotional abuse.
Alan Prescott Superintendent (Head) of St Leonards Home was a JP, Labour councillor, assistant director of social services in Tower Hamlets and, later, chief executive of East end charity Toynbee Hall.
Seamus Carroll, was the man who prompted the police investigation, called Operation Mapperton, when he made a complaint to Tower Hamlets about the abuse he says he suffered from four to 15. In the court case in 2001, it showed Prescott had indecently assaulted four teenage boys at various points throughout the 1970s [4] (https://theneedleblog.wordpress.com/operation-greenlight/east-england/essex/st-leonards-childrens-home/). However he only got 2 years jail.
Bill Starling, had indecently assaulted, raped or buggered 11 victims – aged from just five to 14 – over a 20-year period. He was sentenced to 14 years.
A third social worker, Haydn Davies – who already had a 1981 conviction for buggering a teenage boy and who originally faced 37 charges of indecent assault, rape and buggery – had proceedings against him dropped after the judge ruled the loss of video [from police custody] and other evidence from an aborted investigation meant a fair trial was not possible. He was acquitted of 12 charges.
Auntie Coral was never charged.
Paul describes the Operation Mapperton case, which was the investigation into St Leonards. He claims some of the police admitted that the investigation had been messed up and that the police had lost evidence [p233]. Some parts illustrate the life in St Leonards and abuse by male and female staff.
https://cathyfox.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/connolly6.jpg?w=640 (https://cathyfox.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/connolly6.jpg) https://cathyfox.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/connolly7.jpg?w=640 (https://cathyfox.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/connolly7.jpg) https://cathyfox.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/connolly8.jpg?w=640 (https://cathyfox.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/connolly8.jpg) https://cathyfox.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/connolly9.jpg?w=640 (https://cathyfox.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/connolly9.jpg) https://cathyfox.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/connolly10.jpg?w=640 (https://cathyfox.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/connolly10.jpg)
However the abuse was obviously much more widespread. Even Daniel O’Malley, the Detective Inspector who headed the investigation, suggested there may have been as many as 70 victims – with 30 abused by Starling alone [4] (https://theneedleblog.wordpress.com/operation-greenlight/east-england/essex/st-leonards-childrens-home/), but the figures will be far higher, and as well, I have been told that the sexual abuse was happening in the 50’s and 60’s.
Prescott was the Assistant director of Tower Hamlets Social Services, a Magistrate and a Labour Councillor and was a child abuser at St Leonards. Did he visit other homes and abuse? What action did Tower Hamlets take after the court case? What did his Labour colleagues know? Why did he get such a light sentence? How did the Police lose a video tape and other evidence and what was done about this? Did the Police investigate the 50’s and 60’s abuse?
All I can recommend to the ex pupils of St Leonards is to

Apply for any of your records that may still exist with a Subject Data Access Request from the Data Protection Act
Form a suvivors group
Write Freedom of Information requests to Met Police about Operation Mapperton and to Tower Hamlets about what action they took after the court case to safeguard children, any reports commissioned, which is usually found in Social Services Committee and full council minutes

It is only by being part of a group that you may get the strength and recognition and representation that you deserve. Nottingham and Shirley Oaks have blazed a trail of forming survivors groups and both achieved an investigation by the Goddard inquiry. Help in forming group meetings is available from Voicing CSA [12] (http://voicingcsa.uk/) eg Voicing CSA Nottingham Meeting [13] (https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/voicing-csa-nottingham/)
Later in life, Paul Connolly worked as security in brothels. Paul contrasts the East End brothels which were at risk of being shut down, with West End brothels in which the Police either participated or were given backhanders [p147]. He describes some of the clientele of minor royals and MPs, as well as their sexual preferences [p141-6].
The following extracts from the book illustrate police corruption in the West End brothels, the inadequacy of Operation Mapperton.
https://cathyfox.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/connolly1.jpg?w=640 (https://cathyfox.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/connolly1.jpg) https://cathyfox.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/connolly2.jpg?w=640 (https://cathyfox.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/connolly2.jpg) https://cathyfox.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/connolly3.jpg?w=640 (https://cathyfox.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/connolly3.jpg) https://cathyfox.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/connolly4.jpg?w=640 (https://cathyfox.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/connolly4.jpg) https://cathyfox.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/connolly5.jpg?w=640 (https://cathyfox.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/connolly5.jpg)
The Police have alot of questions to answer about botched investigations into child abuse.
Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading this information. These links are generally UK based.

The Sanctuary for the Abused [A] (http://abusesanctuary.blogspot.co.uk/2006/07/for-survivors-coping-with-triggers-if.html) has advice on how to prevent triggers.
National Association for People Abused in Childhood [B] (http://www.napac.org.uk/) has a freephone helpline and has links to local support groups.
Other useful sites are One in Four [C] (http://www.oneinfour.org.uk/)
and Havoca [D] (http://www.havoca.org/HAVOCA_home.htm).
Useful post on Triggers [E] (http://survivorsjustice.com/2014/02/26/triggers-what-are-they-and-how-do-we-work-through-them/) from SurvivorsJustice [F] (http://survivorsjustice.com/)blog.
Jim Hoppers pages on Mindfulness [G] (http://www.jimhopper.com/mindfulness/) and Meditation [H] (http://www.jimhopper.com/mindfulness/#cultivate) may be useful.
Hwaairfan blog An Indigenous Australian Approach to Healing Trauma [J] (https://hwaairfan.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/an-indigenous-australian-approach-to-healing-trauma/)
Survivors UK for victims and survivors of male rape or the sexual abuse of men [K] (https://www.survivorsuk.org/)

For the books I provide Amazon links to show details. Personally I try and use Amazon as little as possible due to poor moral and ethical choices the company makes.
[1] (http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00603Y6IS/ref=as_li_tf_til?tag=essetrai-21&camp=1406&creative=6394&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=B00603Y6IS&adid=1VEMV3N7N4PMJ7D9HFQJ&&ref-refURL=http%3A//www.essextraining.com/www/index.htm%20target=) 2010 Paul Connolly Against All Odds ISBN 978 1 84454 905 4 http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00603Y6IS/ref=as_li_tf_til?tag=essetrai-21&camp=1406&creative=6394&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=B00603Y6IS&adid=1VEMV3N7N4PMJ7D9HFQJ&&ref-refURL=http%3A//www.essextraining.com/www/index.htm%20target=
[2] (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Beating-Odds-shocking-childhood-redemption-ebook/dp/B00KVFTADM/ref=pd_sim_351_1?ie=UTF8&dpID=51H%2BaPAa-uL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_OU02_AC_UL160_SR105%2C160_&refRID=03183MWZ3VJ2ZSCPD9P3) 2015 Paul Connolly Beating the Odds – From shocking childhood abuse to the embrace of a loving family, one man’s true story of courage and redemption http://www.amazon.co.uk/Beating-Odds-shocking-childhood-redemption-ebook/dp/B00KVFTADM/ref=pd_sim_351_1?ie=UTF8&dpID=51H%2BaPAa-uL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_OU02_AC_UL160_SR105%2C160_&refRID=03183MWZ3VJ2ZSCPD9P3
[3] (http://www.essextraining.com/) Paul Connollys website Essex Training http://www.essextraining.com/
[4] (https://theneedleblog.wordpress.com/operation-greenlight/east-england/essex/st-leonards-childrens-home/) Operation Greenlight St Leonard’s Children’s Home https://theneedleblog.wordpress.com/operation-greenlight/east-england/essex/st-leonards-childrens-home/
[5] (https://webbrain.com/brainpage/brain/0FE31538-2121-8495-33A5-86073BE95DE1/thought/918#-835) Operation Greenlight Brain https://webbrain.com/brainpage/brain/0FE31538-2121-8495-33A5-86073BE95DE1/thought/918#-835
[6] (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2080829/Against-All-Odds-Paul-Connolly-didnt-learn-read-25-tops-e-book-charts.html) 2012 Jan 9 Daily Mail Against All Odds: The debut author who didn’t learn to read until he was 25 tops e-book charts http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2080829/Against-All-Odds-Paul-Connolly-didnt-learn-read-25-tops-e-book-charts.html
[7] (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6685881-against-all-odds) Goodreads – reviews of “Against all Odds” http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6685881-against-all-odds
[8] (http://www.standard.co.uk/news/get-london-reading/i-couldnt-read-until-i-was-25-now-im-a-best-selling-author-says-trainer-to-the-stars-7304506.html) 2012 Jan 5 Evening Standard I couldn’t read until I was 25, now I’m a best-selling author, says trainer to the stars http://www.standard.co.uk/news/get-london-reading/i-couldnt-read-until-i-was-25-now-im-a-best-selling-author-says-trainer-to-the-stars-7304506.html
[9] (http://www.brentwoodgazette.co.uk/Dad-s-tale-turning-life-set-TV/story-27800959-detail/story.html) 2015 Sept 20 Brentwood Gazette Billericay dad’s tale of turning life around is now set for TV http://www.brentwoodgazette.co.uk/Dad-s-tale-turning-life-set-TV/story-27800959-detail/story.html
[10] @PaulConnolly11
[11] (https://www.facebook.com/hornchurch.cottagehomes?fref=ts)Hornchurch Cottage Homes https://www.facebook.com/hornchurch.cottagehomes?fref=ts
[12] (http://voicingcsa.uk/) Voicing CSA http://voicingcsa.uk/
[13] (https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/voicing-csa-nottingham/) Voicing CSA Nottingham Meeting https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/voicing-csa-nottingham/
[A] (http://abusesanctuary.blogspot.co.uk/2006/07/for-survivors-coping-with-triggers-if.html) Sanctuary for the Abused http://abusesanctuary.blogspot.co.uk/2006/07/for-survivors-coping-with-triggers-if.html
[B] (http://www.napac.org.uk/) NAPAC http://www.napac.org.uk/
[C] (http://www.oneinfour.org.uk/) One in Four http://www.oneinfour.org.uk/
[D] (http://www.havoca.org/HAVOCA_home.htm) Havoca http://www.havoca.org/HAVOCA_home.htm
[E] (http://survivorsjustice.com/2014/02/26/triggers-what-are-they-and-how-do-we-work-through-them/) SurvivorsJustice Triggers post http://survivorsjustice.com/2014/02/26/triggers-what-are-they-and-how-do-we-work-through-them/
[F] (http://survivorsjustice.com/) SurvivorsJustice Blog http://survivorsjustice.com/
[G] (http://www.jimhopper.com/mindfulness/) Jim Hopper Mindfulness http://www.jimhopper.com/mindfulness/
[H] (http://www.jimhopper.com/mindfulness/#cultivate) Jim Hopper Meditation http://www.jimhopper.com/mindfulness/#cultivate
[J] (https://hwaairfan.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/an-indigenous-australian-approach-to-healing-trauma/) 2016 Jan 5 Hwaairfan blog An Indigenous Australian Approach to Healing Trauma https://hwaairfan.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/an-indigenous-australian-approach-to-healing-trauma/
[K] (https://www.survivorsuk.org/) Survivors UK website for victims and survivors of male rape or the sexual abuse of men https://www.survivorsuk.org/ and twitter https://twitter.com/SurvivorsUK
This is all written in good faith but if there is anything that needs to be corrected please email StLeonards@cathyfox.33mail.com
cathyfox the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” – Edmund Burke
“He who does not bellow the truth when he knows the truth makes himself the accomplice of liars and forgers.” Charles Peguy
To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards out of men – Ella Wheeler Wilcox


Magda Hassan
04-16-2016, 04:30 PM
St Leonard’s Children’s Home
St Leonard’s Children’s Home, Hornchurch
Operation Mapperton
Purging of the demons For East End children, the care home in the Essex countryside could have been idyllic. But one former resident recalls an horrific regime of abuse. Sarah Hall reports
The Guardian, Wednesday 24 October 2001

Nestling in the Essex countryside, the St Leonard’s children’s home should by rights have been a mini Utopia for the 300-odd youngsters in its care. With its 13 “cottages”, each housing up to 30 children, its own hospital, church, school, swimming pool and gymnasium, and generous avenues set amid 86 acres, the late Victorian “village” appeared a world away from the squalid council blocks where many of its residents had previously lived in the east London borough of Tower Hamlets.
“It was potentially idyllic,” says Seamus Carroll, who lived there with his brothers from the age of four, in the mid-1960s, until age 17. “We always said, when we were growing up, it would be a wonderful place to be – if it weren’t for the staff, that is.”
For St Leonard’s, which saw 3,000 children pass through its doors between 1965 and its closure in 1984, was a haven not for children, but for paedophiles who meted out abuse while purportedly providing the children’s care.
Earlier this month, the lifting of reporting restrictions at the Old Bailey meant the full scale of the abuse could be, if not exposed, then at least hinted at. In a revelation largely banished from the news by the start of the bombing of Afghanistan, it emerged that one former house parent, Bill Starling, had indecently assaulted, raped or buggered 11 victims – aged from just five to 14 – over a 20-year period. Another defendant, the home’s superintendent, Alan Prescott, a former JP, Labour councillor, assistant director of social services in Tower Hamlets and, later, chief executive of east end charity Toynbee Hall, had indecently assaulted four teenage boys at various points throughout the 1970s.
A third social worker, Haydn Davies – who already has a 1981 conviction for buggering a teenage boy and who originally faced 37 charges of indecent assault, rape and buggery – had proceedings against him dropped after the judge ruled the loss of video and other evidence from an aborted investigation meant a fair trial was not possible. He was acquitted of 12 charges.
Police believe that figures for the numbers of victims – 12 on the original indictment for Starling and seven for Prescott – may not be the full extent of the abuse, however. Daniel O’Malley, the detective inspector heading the continuing investigation, suggests there may have been as many as 70 victims – with 30 abused by Starling alone.
Nor do the figures adequately convey the legacy of the abuse, nor the culture of despair and secrecy that enabled the supposed carers to perpetuate the abuse with impunity.
“There was a complete conspiracy of silence,” says Carroll, now 40, the man who prompted the police investigation when he finally made a complaint to Tower Hamlets about the abuse he says he suffered from four to 15. “As kids, we never spoke about it to one another because of the sense of shame, the guilt, and the feeling of helplessness, and the staff who weren’t involved turned a blind eye and pretended not to notice. The few children who tried to challenge them were threatened with Borstal, and when I did finally tell someone, he did nothing about it, because he was involved with teenage girls at the home himself.”
One of the original charges against Prescott – again dropped because of the loss of video evidence – also alleged that he indecently assaulted a boy who went to him for help against another abuser.
For Carroll – now a builder, with a partner and two young children – the abuse began almost from the moment he entered Myrtle Cottage, in 1965, with his three brothers, following the suspected suicide of their mother – a death he was not to be told about until he was 16.
At first, the abuse came from a perhaps unexpected quarter – his house mother, who died before police began investigating in 1995 and so evaded prosecution. “It was almost instantaneous,” says Carroll. “It started with her fondling us, and she was very persistent – waking us in the night and touching our genitals under the ruse of putting us on the potty.
“She would do it to the girls as well as the boys, and she picked on the most vulnerable. We were so young that any affection seemed better than no affection. There was a sense that it was better to be touched than not touched at all.”
With his perceptions of adult/child relationships already distorted, it was perhaps inevitable that the nine-year-old Carroll should be preyed on by a male social worker, who cannot be named for legal reasons, but whom he alleges raped him as he shared a bunk bed with him when the house was taken caravanning, and as his brothers lay next door. Afterwards, he says, his house mother saw there was blood on his underpants but washed them without saying anything. “She knew I’d been raped and said nothing about it – and that, for me, was the last betrayal.”
From that point, Carroll says, “the lights went out – I was plunged into darkness”. Until age 15, when, prompted by self-disgust, he sought escape via the home’s Christian group, he claims he was subjected to every kind of sex by his alleged abuser. “He nurtured me to want sex and I used to go to him for it – and I wasn’t the only one. He used to groom people; that was his way of securing his position with you. After he’d raped you, he partially lost interest – hence having so many victims.”
And, all the time, the abuse was being secretly meted out elsewhere – at Wallis Cottage, opposite Myrtle, where Starling would bribe his female victims with money and cigarettes for sex and brutally rape the boys while telling them no one would believe the tales of such “problem children”. Prescott, as head of St Leonard’s, had the power to root out the abuse but instead did nothing.
Carroll says: “We were all suffering, but suffering alone because each house was a world unto itself. We lived in an atmosphere in which we were just like meat. When I searched for my files, I kept seeing notes like “he’s a pretty child” or “he’s an ugly child”.
Judge Martin Roberts, who presided at the Old Bailey case, said that although the defendants did not act together, each must have known what the other was doing.
Carroll says that the legacy of such an upbringing has “devastated” his family. One brother flung himself in front of a high-speed train two years ago after being haunted for five years by rape flashbacks. “I’ve one dead brother, one very ill brother, and one brother who’s always struggled,” he says. “Our family paid an incalculable price. We were just four boys with the world at our feet – but sometimes I can’t believe I’m alive.”
He is pleased with the trial’s outcome – despite Prescott’s guilty plea meaning he could not testify against him – and suggests that the case has been cathartic. “The most important thing is that we’ve been acknowledged,” he smiles sadly. “We’ve claimed back a little bit of our humanity from these demons. Finally, we’ve gained the recognition that we were innocent, all of us, and the guilt and the shame isn’t ours – it’s theirs.”

The Guardian 24/10/01 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2001/oct/24/childrensservices.guardiansocietysupplement) Abuse victim’s compensation cut
https://i0.wp.com/news.bbc.co.uk/media/images/38208000/jpg/_38208246_thomas_worrall.jpg Thomas Worrall outside the former St Leonard’s home

A man who was sexually abused as a child by a worker in a care home has been told he will not be allowed full compensation because of his criminal record.Thomas Worrall, 36, served four months 10 years ago for handling stolen goods.That followed a string of probation orders and community service orders for breach of the peace.He will now receive only £3,000 – £10,000 less than expected – after being abused over an eight-year period at St Leonard’s home in Hornchurch, Essex.

https://i2.wp.com/news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/startquote.gif I don’t understand why they should punish you twice for a crime you’ve done many years ago

Thomas Worrall

Last year William Starling was sentenced to 14 years in prison after being found guilty of 19 counts of indecent abuse at the home, which was run by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
His boss Alan Prescott, a senior magistrate and Labour councillor, was also convicted of abuse at the home and served two years.
Mr Worrall applied for compensation to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) after last October’s trial.
He was told by letter that he would have received £13,000 but that it was being reduced by 75% because of his criminal conviction.
“I am stunned,” he told BBC London. “I don’t understand why they should punish you twice for a crime you’ve done many years ago.”
Name change
He says the reasons he got into trouble with the law was because of his quick temper, which was the result of years of abuse at the St Leonard’s home.
Clinical psychologist Simon Meyerson agrees with him.
“I’m actually stunned by this because the cause of someone going into prison is influenced very strongly by their experiences of abuse in care homes.”
Mr Worrall has already campaigned successfully to have the name of a road in Hornchurch, named after one of his abusers, changed.
Now he has been told he can appeal against the CICA’s decision.
A spokeswoman for the CICA said: “When taking into account people’s criminal convictions we look at their cost on society.
“For example, the cost of keeping them in custody and court costs.

“If people are unhappy with the original decision and can produce further evidence, such as a psychiatric report or medical records to support their argument, the appeal panel would be happy to consider this.”

BBC News 21/08/02 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2206268.stm)