Shirley Oaks and Lambeth Council

Looking for a Place Called Home – Report of Shirley Oaks Survivors

(copyright) cathy fox blog on Child Abuse

This blog is based on a Report by Shirley Oaks Survivors Association [13]. Although this report ‘Looking for a Place Called Home’ is not yet publically available, there are some details of testimonies and abusers on their website, which is worth a visit. [13]

Looking for a Place Called Home

For many at Shirley Oaks a home was all they had ever wanted.

In just 2 years survivors of child abuse from Shirley Oaks have formed a group 700 strong, and researched, written and released a hard hitting 130 page interim report. The report authoritatively tells for the first time, the truth about what happened in and around Shirley Oaks 1950 to 1983.

The group, Shirley Oaks Survivors Association (SOSA) are a shining example of what can be achieved and what adversity can be overcome when people join together. If survivors in other areas could copy them, even in a small way, we would be near getting the truth about child abuse across the whole country.

What is of prime importance is that SOSA have shown that for the truth to be told, the authorities, the courts, the police, the councils or IICSA are not needed.

What is needed is for survivors and whistleblowers to come forward and join together to tell their stories, and cross reference this with some information in care records and in reports made by authorities.

Yes, other methods and routes (IICSA, Courts, Police and Council) can be used in conjunction, but they are not necessary to get to the bulk of the truth, nor for the authority concerned to accept their role and blame.

To demonstrate to the authorities the extent of their failure, it is also necessary to cross check what actually happened in these homes with what should have happened by their own rules and the laws of the country.

The aim of the SOSA report released to the press on December 16 2016 was to

“expedite Lambeth Council’s understanding and acceptance that its failure as a corporate body to effectively oversee and manage Shirley Oaks Children’s Home contributed to it becoming a hedonistic paradise for paedophiles and other abusers. Whether this was an intentional action by Lambeth Council or the result of a vile paedophile ring which had membership from across the Council and beyond or merely mis-management – it is our view that Lambeth Council is vicariously liable for the actions of its staff.”

Further “Our key aim in preparing this report is to seek reparations and redress for the collective injuries whether long term or short term e.g. physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, psychological abuse, and racial abuse that our members and others have suffered. This will be discussed further later in the report.”

The Council were given 4 weeks from Dec 16 to challenge the report, which does not appear to have happened.

In response the leader of the council Councillor Peck quickly replied

“This is an incredibly powerful report. It is very, very distressing to hear about their suffering, which continues today. The report shines a light on a very, very dark period in Lambeth’s history which I feel ashamed to be in any way associated with. As the leader of the council it falls to me to apologise to all of you for the abuse you suffered because of the failings of the care system.”

They have also have said they will compensate all ex residents and a figure of £40 million mentioned. No details are yet available. £40 million however is not a lot for so many survivors.

It seems unlikely that the Council will challenge the report directly or openly. However going on all past peformance, I have little doubt though that lawyers and insurance companies, if they are involved, will seek to intervene on many occasions to earn a fee and do what they claim is representing their client to the fullest extent. This will often be to the detriment of the abused.

Difficulties faced in compiling the report were

  • the sheer scale of the abuse and numbers of abusers and abused
  • the death of a number of abused
  • the 100 year secrecy rule that some documents were classified under
  • council officers who were implicated in the abuse had removed files relating to the children who were being investigated
  • 140 boxes of documents, connected to Lambeth Council’s own investigations into child abuse had been destroyed. This set off our alarm bells because it was incongruent with the 70-year rule, for which all files related to children in care were meant to be kept. The biggest shock was learning it happened six years after the Middleton investigation had closed, in the late 2000’s and five years before we started our investigation [5.6w]
  • many adults abused as children still needed healing
  • a year into the programme, the independent counsellor said the people she was seeing were “so damaged they could never be fixed” and that all she could do was “try and make the rest of their lives more bearable”

The investigation and report thus required an innovative approach

  • As many people as possible were contacted and first, second and third hand stories of abuse were documented. Case studies are used in the Report
  • Abuse was cross referenced with information on over 100 social services care files
  • Information from previous related Inquiries and Reports was incorporated
  • The reality of life was compared with the various rules, laws and procedures that were in operation at the time and which should have been followed
  • Survivors accounts were compiled and anonymised

Many of the children’s experiences of Shirley Oaks, were in direct contrast to home’s original remit and purpose.

The Report finds that over 60 child abusers and child rapists operated in Shirley Oaks on boys, girls and even infants from 1950-1983 [4.5k]

Factors involved in child abuse

  • When Ted Knight was Leader of the Council, the Council senior management were a group of white men known as ‘The Untouchables’. This leadership led to financial bankruptcy annd perhaps moral bankruptcy.
  • The Shirley Oaks management were mostly from a military back ground had influential friends including judges, senior Police officers, Croydon Round Table and Freemasons. [4.3k]
  • Lambeth failed to carry out regular inspections of children’s homes in line with its duty of care. Clare Wheelan, a Lambeth Councillor was refused access to the children’s homes which was part of her lawful duty. This is clearly set out in the Barratt Report (1999-2000) [4.4f], an intentional tactic to facilitate people access to the most vulnerable [4.4g]
  • Celebrity and politicians Savile, Cyril Smith, Ron Davies and Paul Boateng visited childrens homes or areas known for child abuse in Lambeth Council area
  • Many professions – including teachers at the in-house primary school, headmaster, swimming teachers, resident doctors, clergy, photography instructors, drama teachers, football coaches and scout masters, House Fathers, House Mothers, Social services, volunteers and Lambeth Council staff were all abusing the children or failing to protect them. youth clubs
  • Paedophile Information exchange PIE / PAL was set up in Brixton [4.4]

Shirley Oaks Cottages

Shirley Cottages comprised 42 Houses/Cottages and Ancillary Buildings: Farm House, Staff House, Staff Training Cottage, Stores, Office, Lodge House Residence, Sick Bay, Lodge House, Redwood House, Second House, Swimming Pool, Shirley Oaks Primary School.

Abuse could come anywhere – homes / cottages, the school, the nursery, the sports /games, the police. Foster parents were also a source of abuse.

Abuse was prevalent [4.7c] in

  • House 42
  • House 1
  • House 35
  • Shirley Oaks Nursery
  • Allegations in Monkton Street Children’s Home run by Pat Salter and Don Thomas who also ran House 42
  • Chevington Children’s Home
  • South Vale Children’s Home- an Assessment Centre
  • Specialist establishments, with highly qualified staff, for children presenting acute difficulties of behavior

Child on child abuse was encouraged. The report states that “children who sexually abuse other children have often suffered abuse and trauma themselves”

Even foster parents were sometimes the abusive social aunts and uncles.


Despite Lambeth Council’s exemplary policies on race that had been developed in the mid-seventies, these were not applied. Numerous staff making claims of racial discrimination over the years, all aimed at the stark hierarchy that ran Lambeth Council. Race was used another means to abuse, and was an extra burden that children had to bear.

Physical Abuse

  • Miss Osbourne
  • Miss Cartwright was the Senior Cottage Mother and made strict rules but Miss Shepherd implemented the rules and did the beatings.
  • Peter and Doris Graham were house parents. The father and two sons regularly used to physically abuse.
  • Don Thomas as stealing food and other benefits from the children. He went on to be a group manager of various children’s homes which enabled him to continue his activity when Shirley Oaks closed.
  • Mr Wyatt was sacked for physically abusing children in his care
  • Derek Lamden, the housefather of House 19, was a violent man who would physically abuse the children under his care.

Sexual Abusers

From 1950 to 1980, at least sixty paedophiles operated in the Shirley Oaks cottages or the ancillary buildings. About 30 child sexual abusers are actually named in the Report

      • Superintendent Clifford Heap, employed from 1952-1965 was when sexual abuse started on an industrial scale [4.5c]
      • Fred Cummings the deputy Superintendent, employed from 1957-1973.
      • After 1965 Holman became Superintendent. He physically abused children whilst a Justice of the Peace. He had previously run another children’s home where girls and boys were sexually abused [4.5.b]
      • Don Thomas maintained the dysfunctional management structure.
      • John Butcher, a football scout and convicted paedophile. He had connections to Crystal Palace, Chelsea, Fulham and Millwall football clubs as a football scout. Numerous children were taken from Shirley Oaks to Crystal Palace FC for special treats. Butcher took children from Lambeth Homes to take part in child porn movies and to be abused by other paedophiles in Holland [4.6c] Disturbing is his connection to St Matthew Church West Norwood which opens up another Pandoras Box of Police officer and former Lambeth employees [4.6e]
      • Geoff Clark a Lambeth employee, football coach and volunteer Uncle to some Shirley Oaks’ children this highlights how football was used by paedophiles to target children [4.6a]
      • Michael John Carroll and John Butcher abused at Shirley Oaks and then both were in the Association of Combined Youth Clubs (ACYC) partly run by Carroll. This led to the Kent Football League which was eventually closed down because of the activity of Mark Harwood another paedophile [4.6f]
      • Dutch Man – an abuser who worked at Shirley Oaks who the children knew as ‘Touch man’ as in Dutch man, who was also from Holland.
      • “Mr Mark” William Hook at several cottages at Shirley Oaks

Every child who was sent to Shirley Oaks was in danger of these two professional paedophiles

  • Dr Whittaker
  • Dr Graham

Nursery School Abusers

  • Mr Sumner
  • Mr Whiteman
  • 2 others

Around the nursery, with unhindered access to the children were 5 other predators:

  • Jacobs
  • Fitzgerald
  • Cummings
  • Graham
  • Hosegood
  • As well as doctors.
  • Many of the senior matrons in the nursery were also facilitators or simply ‘turned a blind eye.

The Association of Combined Youth Clubs (ACYC) members need to be investigated as part of the Lambeth child abuse network because it holds the secrets as to how paedophiles developed their strategies to control the access of children through developing community activities on a large scale. Included in the working structures of ACYC were senior Police officers and politicians

  • Canon Devan
  • John Butcher
  • Mr Thompson
  • Terrence Spazinski (convicted)
  • A Priest
  • Michael John Carroll (convicted)
  • John Wentworth
  • Stan Willman
  • Desmond St Peters
  • Keith Cornfield
  • Ernie Randall (Chief Executive)
  • Don Dunc (Assistant, convicted),
  • Mark Harwood (Sports Officer, convicted) [4.6g]

Many attended the camping holidays, one of which was said to be Paul Boateng [4.6.h]


  • Jim Atwood, Don Thomas and a group of men were involved in corruption at Shirley Oaks
  • Pauline Lamden a “cold, vicious, nasty bitch”
  • Two years after the Council was forced to close all its children’s homes in 1994, following two investigations into the Housing department Lambeth got rid of six senior managers from the department. All of them were implicated in claims of sexual abuse, the distribution of child and adult pornography and covering up their behaviour.
  • Southwark Councillor John Friary was arrested for having child pornography on his computer.


Some recent convictions have been obtained

  • Philip Temple convicted and sentenced in August 2016 of child abuse in House 33. He was also charged with abusing children after he left Shirley Oaks which means Lambeth Council and the Police officers, having allowed him to walk free, are responsible for any further abuse he inflicted at Shirley Oaks after the initial police investigation and the abuse he carried out at other children’s homes following his departure.
  • June Entecott (formerly Hudson), a Lambeth foster carer convicted Sept 2016. Entecott was convicted for child cruelty and perverting the course of justice. Entecott’s former husband John Hudson who cared for the foster children with her, was a former Scotland Yard Detective Sergeant on the Met Police Vice Squad for Obscene Publications and subjected the girls to years of sexual abuse.
  • Brenda Ball, June Entecotts sister convicted Sept 2016 for perverting the course of Justice

Police and Child Abuse

The police have a lot of explaining to do about their prominent role in the child abuse in Lambeth, and probably all over London, as can be seen by this lengthy section on the police.

Survivors from Lambeth have a deep seated long standing mistrust of the Met Police , particularly Lambeth as the Police were interconnected with much of the historical criminal activity and sexual abuse that took place across Lambeth and were very good at covering it up. [5.6]

They also turned their back on the survivors when children and needed help.

Are the Met Police are the best people to investigate their own activities? [5.6c]

Despite this SOSA are currently working with police.

Police have now confirmed that many of photos of abused children and have been lost or misplaced [5.6f]

  • Photos were taken from convicted paedophile Leslie Paul, John Carroll, David Hamilton and a house parent from Shirley Oaks.
  • Photos were also seized from convicted paedophile William Hook and from John Butcher who was convicted of bringing in child porn from Holland [5.6e]
  • Some of these photos include prominent people abusing children in Lambeth children’s homes

Other photos have been retrieved which the police had failed to print, of children with John Carroll. Former Lambeth care children are now demanding that however horrific these photos are, they want to know if they are in any and if the Police are hiding the identities of the perpetrators who were either grooming or abusing the children [5.6i]

Police Corruption

  • 1970s Massive corruption in police – Operation Countryman
  • 1990s Operation Orthona Ghost Squad The police have confirmed that nearly all records from this operation were destroyed in 2001 or 2003. Ironically, this is when Lambeth’s records in relation to the history of Shirley Oaks had a 100 year order put upon them [5.6m]

Other Police Involvement in Child Abuse

  • Former Lambeth foster carer and child abuser John Hudson (now deceased) was abusing the children in his care at the time when he was working in Vice Publications. [5.6j]
  • Mark Hames, Head of Paedophile Unit was a major part of failure to investigate paedophile rings in the early 1970s. He was eventually forced to resign along with other suspected police paedophiles.
  • Police vice officers both senior and junior were in league with Paul Humphries who was the head of Britain’s largest porn ring at the time
  • Police officer in charge of the Hosegood case was Detective O’Connor. If this was the same police officer who was leading Operation Middleton, there are some serious concerns about his impartiality
  • 1997 Sex dungeon complete with manacles, chains, bedding and a sleazy red light in Lambeth’s high-security Police Head Quarters. The civilian staff who leaked the story were suspended
  • Kenroy Payne rape
  • Leslie Paul – Residential Care Worker at South Vale – convicted paedophile and former Met Special Constable. Paul had been investigated by the police on three separate occasions and the true extent of his abuse was not uncovered which meant he avoided prosecution for many of his crimes until 2016 when he was imprisoned for historic child sex abuse
  • John Carroll Police informant, many Police friends who protect him
  • Bill McCredy – Residential Care Worker at St Saviours – paedophile and Police informant. A child that lived in his flat and slept in his bed later went on and killed himself
  • Police given photos by Junior Shabazz a former Lambeth Youth worker, which included John Carroll and ACYC members on a camping holiday with numerous other paedophiles we have named. The police state they cannot find these photos.
  • John Hudson former Scotland Yard Vice Officer and Lambeth foster carer committed sexual abuse on underage girls and was protected by the Police. Hudson died before he could be convicted. His wife convicted in 2016 for child cruelty/neglect and perverting the course of justice
  • DCI Clive Driscoll a former Met Officer removed from investigating child abuse in Lambeth, it appears because he was too effective.
  • Un-named former houseparent at Shirley Oaks – became a Met police child protection officer – allegations of abuse from a child in Shirley Oaks
  • Gary Pankhurst – Detective Sergeant and investigating officer for Middleton – providing misleading information to victims; informing one victim that their abuser was dead when in fact he was alive. We have numerous complaints that he did not take allegations seriously or follow up. Judging by the amount of paedophiles we have found, we concur with this; Pankhurst was ineffective in his job and/or was compromised in some way.
  • Various Police Officers were having inappropriate relationships with former care children who made complaints during Middleton
  • Richard Gargini, lead Met Officer for Middleton Inquiry, allegations of intimidation from Lambeth whistleblowers. Questions over his suitability and possible conflict of interest in his involvement in the Middleton investigation;
  • Un-named Met Officer – informed victim that Heap a former superintendent at Shirley Oaks was too old to prosecute. The allegations against Heap were not relayed to Lambeth Council and therefore not investigated which meant there would be no reparation for his victims.
  • Ron Holman – ran Shirley Oaks from 1965 – interfering with natural justice and covering up of allegations of abuse that was carried out by a Superintendent is of concern. Not only did he not adhere to his moral duty to investigate the claims of abuse, he failed in his dual role as a Justice of the Peace in Croydon to maintain the law. Holman was also physically abusing boys who complained of abuse and intimidated them not to speak out.
  • David Roach, a senior Freemason who worked in Lambeth, police failed to pursue and prosecute Roach for having child pornography in his possession on Council property and failed to investigate his role in facilitating paedophiles operating in Shirley Oaks.
  • Sir Dennis O’Connor, Met Police Assistant Commissioner 1997, who headed up the Middleton Inquiry. The Report questions his impartiality and whether this could this be the reason for the failings of Operation Middleton?
  • We also now question many of the cases which the Police ?
  • Leslie Paul – Residential Care Worker at South Vale – convicted paedophile and former Met Special Constable. Paul had been investigated by the police on three separate occasions and the true extent of his abuse was not uncovered which meant he avoided prosecution for many of his crimes until 2016 when he was imprisoned for historic child sex abuse
  • The Police announced after Operation Middleton in 2003 that there were 19 paedophiles they could not identify. SOSA beleive that they have identified most of these suspects and question why the Police with their vast resources and expertise could not do the same? It is clear the Police did not contact 5000 children as they originally stated and they covered up any connections that linked Police Officers to the abuse. Police failed to present the allegations to the CPS in a proper way, in the interest of the victims.
  • Helen Kenwood was employed by Lambeth to undertake CHILE, the joint investigation with Operation Middleton. This was sanctioned by Jo Clearly, from Social Services Inspectorate. Kenwood previous relationships with the Police may have been the reason why she proposed separate investigations by the Council, information from which she would share with the Police and not Lambeth Council. This is known from information that was shared at Cabinet level in the Government.
  • Police were happy to steer Kenwood into a non-effective role because they had a vested interest in quashing allegations where their own officers were involved.
  • Bulic Forsythe was murdered when his home was set alight – he died an agonising death. He had told colleagues he was about to expose a paedophile ring in Lambeth. Police failure to investigate [5.6u]
  • Police denied there was a paedophile ring operating in Lambeth
  • Police did not contact 5000 children as they originally stated and what we believe they covered up any connections that linked Police Officers to the abuse.
  • Tom Hosey jumped off a balcony in 1987 after stating that he had stumbled across a paedophile ring operating in Lambeth Council. We now know that 12 years later, in 1999, the Police were so concerned about a ring of dangerous men operating in Lambeth, the person Forsythe had confided in was deemed at risk of her life and they proposed to rehouse her.
  • In 2016, Temple was charged with historical child sex abuse against children in House 33 House. He was also charged with abusing children after he left Shirley Oaks which means Lambeth Council and the Police officers, having allowed him to walk free, are responsible for any further abuse he inflicted at Shirley Oaks after the initial police investigation and the abuse he carried out at other children’s homes following his departure. The court found that Temple abused numerous children.


1984 Tyra Henry died leading to the Whose Child Report
1987 Allegations of Sexual Abuse to a Child at House 42 (Shirley Oaks)
1990 The Enquiry into South Vale Assessment Centre.
1993 Clough Report
1994 The Harris Report.
1995 Appleby Report
1999 The Barratt Report Background Part 1
1999 The Barratt Final Report
2000 Middleton 1st Interim Report
2001 Middleton 2nd Interim Report
2002 Middleton 3rd Interim Report
2003 Middleton 4th and Final Report
Children Homes in Lambeth Inquiry (CHILE) 1998 – 2003, Summary.
2015 Single Inspection of Local Authority Children’s Services and Review of LSCB


The report says

“The reason we have made the momentous decision to publish our own report is that we have simply lost trust in the Inquiry [IICSA] and do not want them to become the custodians of our story.

Just compare what SOSA have doen in completing this report with what stage IICSA are at, with the asymetric availability of resources.

IICSA stuffed full of lawyers, who largely have a similar outlook an mentality, appear not to understand the survivor viewpoint, or even to try..

“Using our own model as an example we made various approaches to the Independent Inquiry about them funding a national campaign to encourage survivors of sexual abuse to come forward. We knew from our own experience that many victims were (and still are) undecided about whether or not to take part in what may be their first and last opportunity to seek justice for the crimes committed towards them. This once in a lifetime opportunity may not be for everyone but a campaign would have allowed the silent majority of survivors to arrive at an informed opinion of the merits of being part of the Inquiry.”

SOSA has come to the conclusion that the Children’s Homes being managed by Lambeth Council were being failed by the inaction of Lambeth Council’s then senior managers [5.2.b]

It was clear from reading each report that over the years, managers and officers had relied on a policy of blaming a catalogue of errors and staff mismanagement as integral ingredients of the failings whilst ignoring the fact that hundreds of children were being physically and sexually abused.

What is consistent by its absence in the reports is a coherent explanation as to why Lambeth Council’s senior managers allowed the same recurring failings to continue over the decades and how the significance of the abuse we have uncovered was never made apparent.

To further investigate our concerns we commissioned an independent report under the title: ‘Turning a Blind Eye for 33 Years’. We also commissioned four other reports around

  • Social Service Inspectorate (SSI)
  • Health Department,
  • Met Police,
  • Race Report

The outcomes of these reports further support our findings and claims. [Not yet released or available to me at time of writing]

The discovery that staff at Lambeth were still trying to bury the truth is consistent with claims from the Lambeth whistleblowers we have interviewed.

Survivors who contributed fell into four main groups

  • Ex-residents who have never spoken of their abuse who want reparation and answers as to why their abusers were never investigated in the past inquiries.
  • Ex- residents who have either been to court and given evidence and have received compensation; whose only interest is to support the claims of other victims who were abused.
  • Ex-residents who were abused and not listened to and may or may not be seeking reparations.
  • Ex-residents who do not want to make any claim and want nothing to do with Lambeth and have only given SOSA evidence to support the claims of others in care.

All members of the Shirley Oaks Survivor’s Association agreed that if Lambeth fails to accept the findings of this Interim report, they will all stand side by side in court and give evidence collectively as part of a Group Litigation process. This will of course increase Lambeth’s liability four-fold and no doubt will lead to more allegations.

Group Litigation, SOSA believe it is a cost effective way to claim against Lambeth Council, rather than engaging in individual cases and the associated cost to the tax payer. Justice will be best served by hearing the claims as one and therefore judging the failings of Shirley Oaks and by extension Lambeth Council and other government entities, to deliver its duty of care inside of its own policies and the legal framework that existed at the time.

If we had not heard the first-hand accounts from the children, we would not believe that such cruelty was allowed to take placed over such a long period of time and on such a scale without challenge. The only thing that could rival this evil was the consistent cover ups.

“This report demonstrates the scale of the child abuse that occurred at Shirley Oaks. over decades, many children were sexually, physically, racially and mentally abuse, the extent of the abuse they experienced impacted their lives forever. For some children, those that died in care or those who died subsequently, as a result of the trauma of the horrendous abuse they suffered in care, we dedicate this report, in remembrance of their suffering. Similarly, for all those brave survivors that spoke out, after so many years, we thank you for your courage and tenacity.” [10]


When abused children use the word survivor, it is not misplaced. Many do not survive to tell their tales of the past abuse in the childrens homes of Lambeth that many relive in flashbacks and PTSD to this day. [4.11]

There were 48 deaths in Lambeth’s children’s homes between 1970 and 1989. [4.11d]


                                    Recent Candlelit Vigil at Shirley Oaks

Here are some who did not survive

  • Peter Davis: born in 1961 was placed into care in 1962 and died 1977. Peter died in mysterious circumstances in Shirley Oaks after being sexually abused all his childhood by two managers and possibly three.
  • Sarah Specterman was born in 1974 and died 4 days before her 1st birthday. Sarah was a baby in Chevington Children’s Home who died by ‘constriction’ i.e. unable to breathe due to baby straps wrapped around her neck.
  • John Bulmer was born in 1963 and died in South Vale Assessment Centre. It was said that John died from epilepsy in 1976. However, the DCI who inspected the scene said of his death that he found “the circumstances to be suspicious.”
  • Joanna died in care due to lack of care. Her sibling was sexually abused in one of Lambeth Children’s home.
  • Keith Care: hung himself in 1981 and we believe he was a victim of sexual abuse.
  • Paul Francis: was in St Saviours Children’s Home from approximately 1976-1980, however he was not there officially and his stay was against Lambeth Council’s then policy. Paul died years later after jumping off the roof of an 11 storey building.
  • Janina: and her brother Pietor Marchelak were both at Shirley Oaks and died after they left care, one suffered sexual abuse whilst in care and both suffered neglect in care with no after care.
  • Victor King: an ex-Shirley resident was found dead in his flat.
  • Paul Kemsley: was a boy in Chevington. He had health problems and another child from the home said he was being abused.
  • Peter Maloney: was found dead in a squat and Dyana his sister was found dead in her flat – both were sexually abused at Shirley Oaks. Their brother Stephen reported his abuse to the police but has also sadly passed away.
  • Linda: her brother killed himself after leaving Shirley Oaks.
  • Mark Annon: died of alcohol abuse but his two brothers who were also in Shirley Oaks believe he was hiding a secret from Shirley Oaks
  • Sarah Fearon-Doyle: another Shirley Oaks sexual abuse victim, would never recover from her ordeal.
  • Carlton Hanson: lived at Shirley Oaks in the 70’s and he jumped onto a train track and it was over. It has now been confirmed by one of his House parents that he was sexually abused in Shirley Oaks.
  • John Hicks: died in a Lido and was a child in Telford Avenue. Godfrey: We must not forget the hell he and his family went through in Shirley Oaks. We now know in his cottage were two paedophiles.
  • Craig Butler: died aged 32. Craig’s sibling informed us her brother was abused in Shirley Oaks
  • Anthony McCabe: suffered from severe paranoid schizophrenia for the whole of his life as a result of the sexual, physical, emotional and psychological abuse he suffered as a child in care. In and out of mental health institutions, Anthony’s suffering finally ended when he died aged just 49, from untreated and undiagnosed double pneumonia, having been placed into a local mental health care home by the local health authority.
  • Anthony Collett: died aged 16 after spending his life in care which was an extremely harrowing time which is documented on his care files.
  • Terry Doyle: killed himself aged 29 in Brixton Prison after suffering abuse in Lambeth’s care.
  • James McCourt: killed himself in 1999 in Highpoint Prison. James suffered abuse. His time in care was appalling which destroyed him as a person
  • Sandra Jessup: in care from the age of 2, Sandra’s existence, for her short life may as well have been in hell.
  • Elaine: was a popular girl at Shirley Oaks. Her story is starting to unravel and we now know she was abused at Shirley Oaks. Some years later she drove back to Shirley Oaks in her car, parked up and put a tube into the exhaust and killed herself.

                                   Aerial view of candlelit vigil at Shirley Oaks


The author of the report Author Raymond Stevenson, did not suffer sexual abuse but did suffer physical abuse in his 11 years at Shirley Oaks. With his business partner Lucia, he was a main driver of this report.

To uncover what had transpired at Shirley Oaks he first had to accept he had been living in denial all his life. Despite hating Shirley Oaks he also wanted to protect it; others too, especially the long- termers. This was partly to do with their instinct to bury all the bad memories and the fact that Shirley Oaks was the only place they could call home.

One day he repeated the old Shirley Oaks mantra. ‘All for one and one for all”

This time he added “Together we shall reclaim the legacy of Shirley Oaks and finally unbury the lies and resurrect the truth”.

The survivors of Shirley Oaks, whistleblowers and helpers all deserve congratulations on what they have achieved so far in that task. My respect to you all, and an inspiration to others.

Media coverage of the Report

  • Guardian Lambeth council to pay tens of millions to child abuse survivors [1]
  • Daily Mail Every child in care home at the centre of sexual abuse on an ‘industrial scale’ to get a share of £40million payout [2] 
  • BBC Shirley Oaks ex-residents to get ‘abuse’ payouts [3] 
  • Love Lambeth – News from Lambeth Council Statement on Shirley Oaks Survivors Association [4] 
  • News from Crystal Palace “TENS OF MILLIONS OF POUNDS” TO BE PAID OUT BY LAMBETH OVER CHILD ABUSE – “It is now clear that all Shirley Oaks residents were put in harms way” says council leader. [5]
  • Croydon Guardian Sexual abuse victims at Shirely Oaks to all recieve share of tens of millions of pounds in compensation [7] 
  • Croydon Guardian Explosive report into child sexual abuse at Croydon children’s home Shirley Oaks names 27 alleged paedophiles [8] 
  • Jordans £40 million pound pay our for victims of abuse at a home run by Lambeth Council [9] 
  • Public Sector Executive Lambeth Council to pay tens of millions to Shirley Oaks survivors [10] 
  • Telegraph Child sex victims offered tens of millions of pounds compensation over ‘industrial scale’ abuse in children’s homes [12]

Shirley Oaks Survivors Association [13]

Contact for former Shirley Oaks and Lambeth Childrens Home Residents

0207 703 4238 office hours

For further information see website [13]

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