‘Care home staff forced me to have custard and then made me eat my own sick’

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Care home children were put in the path of ­paedophiles by the very people who were meant to be caring for them, a ­damning report said.

Vile perverts were able to access youngsters with ­“devastating, lifelong ­consequences for their victims”.

And Labour council chiefs were so engulfed in a battle with Margaret Thatcher’s government they did nothing as children were sexually abused over a period of years in the 80s.

The inquiry into one of ­Britain’s worst care home ­scandals found a “culture of cover-up” allowed more than 700 ­youngsters to be attacked in homes run by Lambeth Council across South London.

Whistleblowers in the Met and council told of concerns and threats.

And to this day, police are still not believed to have fully probed claims.

Marina was six when she began to be sexually abused by her foster father John Hudson, a vice squad detective, but he was never charged.

She won her 37-year battle for justice after being traced by the Mirror when Hudson’s former wife June Entecott was jailed in 2016 for helping to cover up his evil crimes.

Marina, who waived her right to anonymity, said: “I wouldn’t be sitting here if it wasn’t for the Daily Mirror. I’ve spent 40 years fighting for justice and I’m not going to stop now.”

Hudson died in 2008.

The siblings said they were sexually abused by social workers and other paedophiles from the ages of three and four in the 1970s while living with their mother in Clapham, South London.

They said Lambeth has refused to accept them on its compensation scheme as they were not in a care home.

Seamus said: “What happened to me has been ignored. I can’t get peace of mind until we get justice.”

Now a taxi driver living in Cornwall, Chris was in Shirley Oaks from the age of two, in the mid 1970s and left aged nine after being fostered.

He said his biological parents were let into the home, where they abused him sexually and physically.

He said of staff: “They knew because they heard a child screaming at the top of their lungs.

“At eight years old I just wanted to die. The truth needs to come out – if everything is covered up then nothing will change.”

In Shirley Oaks from the age of two in 1964, Gina suffered racist abuse daily at the hands of staff.

She said of them: “Their cruelty knew no bounds. They would make me sit down and eat custard, which I hated, and when I vomited they would make me eat that.

“The contempt they had for the colour of my skin just made me scared.

“Sometimes they looked like they wanted to kill you. One night when I was asleep I was taken out of my bed and beaten all over my body. I still can’t sleep at night.”

Shayne was in Shirley Oaks from April 1968, when he was one, until it closed in 1983.

He was subjected to sexual, physical and racial abuse over a nine-year period.

He said of his abusers: “I’m holding my head up high, let them carry the shame.

“But the inquiry is just another whitewash, the public needs to know the truth. Once again the people in power have not been exposed.

“This isn’t just about our group, this is about learning from the past so these things don’t happen again.”

Campaigner Raymond Stevenson, who represents more than 1,700 survivors, said: “The paedophiles did not take the lives of our friends, it was the cover-up that killed.

“So all of those that took part in the cover-up have blood on their hands and the cover-up between the Metropolitan Police and Lambeth council continues today.”

Raymond, a former ­resident ay the Shirley Oaks home in Croydon, accused inquiry ­chairwoman Professor Alexis Jay of not ­highlighting ­failings at the Met. He added: “This is not justice. Police were determined not to uncover the truth and the inquiry continues with this.

“The inquiry avoided ­contentious issues where police were implicated.”

A total of 1,877 former Lambeth children’s homes ­residents have been abused, the council itself found.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse said council chiefs treated children in care as if they were ­“worthless”. It added: “As a consequence, individuals who posed a risk to children were able to infiltrate homes.”

After complaints from 705 former residents, only one member of staff was ­disciplined.

The report described sex offenders as likely feeling “untouchable”. The inquiry examined five homes –Angell Road, South Vale, Shirley Oaks, Ivy House and Monkton Street. It found the council was mired in corruption and ­financial strife during the decades of abuse.

The report added: “Children became pawns in a toxic power game between council and government.”

Prof jay said: “This all ­contributed to allowing c­hildren in their care to suffer the most horrendous sexual abuse, with just one senior council employee disciplined.”

Staff and councillors failed when it came to responding to allegations of misconduct.

One “particularly shocking example” was Michael John Carroll, who ran the Angell Road children’s home in Brixton during the 80s. He had failed to disclose a previous conviction for child sexual abuse.

But Carroll kept his job when this came to light.

He was convicted in 1999 of 34 counts of child sexual abuse, including of two boys in the care of Lambeth in the early 80s.

The report criticised police for failing to properly ­investigate sexual abuse during inquiries in 1992 and 2003.

Lambeth Council accepts that it failed children in its care. Leader Claire Holland said: “The council is deeply sorry.”

The true figure of victims is thought to be ­“significantly higher” than the 705 who have come forward, the report said.

Lambeth has paid £71.5m compensation so far and has arranged to borrow £125m to cover the potential final cost. Former Met ­detective Clive Driscoll said: “I’m grateful the scale of the abuse is known. I hope we can learn from it.”

Six men have been convicted since the 90s in connection with abuse in Lambeth.

They include William Hook, who got 10 years, Philip Temple, 18 years and Les Paul, 13 years.

The compensation scheme remains open until the end of the year.