Police fear exploitation of women at Holloway sauna

Aqua Sauna's licence will be decided at a meeting at Islington Town Hall on Monday.

Aqua Sauna's licence will be decided at a meeting at Islington Town Hall on Monday. - Credit: Archant

The daughter of a woman once dubbed “the premier league of London madams” is listed as the owner of a premises believed to be operating as a brothel, the Gazette can reveal.

Aqua Sauna, in Hornsey Road, has applied for a special treatments licence – to allow for massage and steam room facilities – but police and councillors are campaigning against the move for fear Romanian girls found working there will be “harmed or exploited”.

The sauna is only authorised for use as a hairdressers but the licence has lapsed due to overdue health and safety checks.

Tomasz Jagielnicki, who has applied for the new licence at the premises, says he wants clients to be able to dip in a “hot air sauna”.

But a Gazette investigation has revealed that the registered owner of the premises, according to Land Registry documents, is Emelia Tawiah, daughter of the woman dubbed “the premier league of London madams” Josephine Daly.

In 2000 Daly admitted three charges of controlling prostitution between January 1996 and December 1997. Her empire, which was partly run from her nearby home in Hornsey Lane, where she lived with her daughter, was alleged to have been worth millions.

The Hornsey Road premises has been the centre of controversy with police and council officers investigating the shop six times since February 2012 and finding it to be operating without a licence.

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Islington Council’s Licensing Regulatory Committee will make a decision on Monday.

In a strongly worded letter Sgt Robin Clark, of the Islington Police Licensing Team said: “I personally visited the address late last year with the council staff and 11 females were present. It appears to be the case that the applicant is being less than open about who will be working at the premises and in what capacity.

Police swoops

“I am concerned that vulnerable women will be harmed or exploited if the premises is granted a licence.”

A report ahead of the meeting said a series of police swoops – including overnight raids – in 2012 and 2013 each time found Romanian girls working at the building.

Andy Hull, Labour Councillor for Highbury West, said: “Residents of Highbury West know what’s going on here and they deserve better. All I know is that the local community don’t want a brothel operating in their midst, and everyone knows that a brothel is what it is.”

No acts of prostitution have been uncovered by police.

Ms Tawiah said she did not have any involvement in the running of the premises and did not know what it was being used for.

Mr Jagielnicki was not available for comment.