Islington Council has appointed a top Queen’s Counsel to investigate former Mayor Sandy Marks’ links to historic child abuse that took place in local children’s homes and the council from the 1970s through to the 1990s.
Sarah Morgan QC will investigate former Mayor of Islington and ex-councillor Sandy Marks’ alleged involvement in organised child abuse in the area during the 1990s. Ms Marks has denied the allegations, calling them “untrue and unfounded” but has previously admitted involvement with pro-paedophilia group Fallen Angels in the 1980s, including attending a conference with the group in 1980.
The move comes after a long campaign for justice by the Islington Survivors Network (ISN), a group representing at least 40 survivors of the abuse that took place in Islington across three decades. The group is now raising funds to support research into the historic abuse with the aim of preparing a report to help raise awareness and provide vital evidence for future investigations.
The allegations of historic child abuse in Islington relate to an unknown number of children who were abused sexually, physically and emotionally, as well as being subject to neglect, in local children’s homes during the late 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. The abuse first came to light in 1992 following a series of exposés in the Evening Standard. However, in the years since, relatively few of those accused have been prosecuted.
In spite of the time that has passed since the abuse took place, it is still possible new prosecutions may be brought against those accused. This is because there is no statute of limitations for sexual abuse cases in the UK, so there is no time limit for prosecuting historic child abuse. In one example a man who repeatedly raped one of the ISN survivors in the 1980s from the time she was 12, leaving her pregnant at 13, was successfully prosecuted and jailed for 13 years in 2016.
Islington Police opened a new investigation in October 2016, which included meeting with Dr Liz Davies, one of the original whistleblowers who first cast light onto the historic abuse. This investigation apparently produced a list of 26 names of alleged abusers that has not been made public. However, this investigation was closed without resulting in any fresh prosecutions.
It is now hoped that the new investigation into Ms Marks’ links to the abuse, combined with the research being produced by Islington Survivors Network, could ultimately result in more of the abusers being brought to justice. It is also understood that Islington Council has files in its archives related to 13 earlier enquiries into the scandal that were carried out in the 1990s, which could contain key information.
ISN had called for all current and former council staff who witnessed abuse and failed to report it to be given amnesty in the hopes that this will prompt new witnesses to come forward. The council has said it will cooperate fully with any investigations, having previously admitted that they “systematically failed people”.
If you were a victim of historic child abuse in Islington, or elsewhere, IBB Claims’ expert child abuse lawyers can offer the support and guidance you need to pursue justice. We have extensive experience in pursuing a wide range of child abuse cases, including both recent and historic, and can offer a sensitive and empathetic but practical approach to ensure you receive the best possible representation.