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Former Malta university lecturer investigated on Richmond child abuse

Former Surrey Comet news editor gagged over reporting of alleged paedophile ring

Louis Minster was in charge of the council’s social services at the time it is alleged boys from Grafton Close children’s home were taken to  Elm Guest House near Barnes and sexually abused by a number of prominent people

Malta Today reports:- “Louis Minster, under investigation in the UK over his alleged involvement in a paedophilia ring, lectured at the University of Malta for nine years.

In reply to questions sent by this newspaper, a University spokesperson said “Louis Minster had a mainly part-time lecturing post, broadly covering Social Work topics from 1988 to 1997. After this he occasionally gave lectures on a casual basis up until 2002.”

However, the spokesperson clarified that at that time the University was not informed about the investigations, which came to light in 2013.

Documents seen by MaltaToday show that since moving to Malta, Minster represented the University of Malta at a number of international conferences and also trained health assistants on drug abuse.

Last month, Minster, a former director of social services in the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames admitted with MaltaToday that he was aware of reports of an alleged paedophilia ring during his term in office in the late seventies and early eighties.

Minster was in charge of the council’s social services at the time it is alleged boys from Grafton Close children’s home were taken to Elm Guest House in Barnes and sexually abused by a number of prominent people, including former UK government ministers, senior MPs, senior police officers and people with links to the royal family.

To date, Louis Minster, who now lives in retirement in Malta, has always denied that he was aware of the alleged sex abuse on boys in care at the Grafton Close, Teddington Park and Rodney Road children’s homes, which were run by the Richmond council.

However, in a brief comment to this newspaper, the 82-year-old insisted that while he had absolutely no involvement in the ring, he admitted for the first time that he was aware of the alleged abuse.

“No…well, yes, through one of my staff,” he said.

Contacted for further comment, Minster offered to meet in the presence of his solicitor, however he later explained over the phone that “the Metropolitan Police have told me to refrain from commentating in the press since I am a key witness.” Further attempts to contact him by phone have proved futile.

Investigations show that while in charge of social services Minster was briefed by one of his employees, Terry Earland, head of children’s services, while documentation shows that Minster oddly pulled the file of a 14-year-old boy in care who had knowledge of child abuse at the time.

Earland claims he received complaints of sexual abuse from children and referred them to both police and council staff, but no investigation were made.

Minster was Director of the Social Services Department of the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames from 1975 to 1984 and was the boss of John Stingemore, the head of the home, who was arrested by the police last year.

In 2013, the Metropolitan Police Services’ paedophile unit made a number of arrests under ‘Operation Fernbridge’, which is investigating the alleged child abuse.

The Metropolitan Police Services’ paedophile unit has evidence that boys from Grafton Close and two other children’s homes run by the Richmond council were abused at the guest house during Minster’s nine years as head of the borough’s social services.

Prominent people who attended parties at Elm Guest House are reported to have included the Liberal MP Cyril Smith and the Soviet spy Anthony Blunt.

According to the UK daily The Independent, other alleged visitors to the guesthouse included the former British diplomat, Sir Peter Hayman, as well as a Sinn Féin politician, a Labour MP, several Conservative politicians, judges and pop stars.

In addition to eight guest rooms, facilities at Elm Guest House included a sauna, solarium and video studio.

The council terminated Minster’s employment in October 1984 and he claims the reasons for his dismissal were entirely political.

He is believed to have received a £10,000 pay-off and a generous pension and took up a new position in Glasgow training social workers.

Following Minster’s dismissal, the Richmond council secretly paid compensation to a person who was in care at Grafton Lodge, and who was abused at Elm Guest House.”