The Friday Night Song
The Friday Night Song
Originally posted on TimTate.co.uk
Before reblogging this new post by Tim Tate, I just wanted to explain that I and the Needleteam can personally vouch that the identification of the U.S General alluded to below is absolutely accurate.
This is the story of two war heroes – highly decorated soldiers both – and of how the Metropolitan Police responded to allegations about them concerning child sexual abuse.
Their contrasting stories should be examined by the Goddard Enquiry. But whether this happens may depend on public pressure for an open and transparent process. There is no doubt that Goddard and her teams of barristers should ask details questions about both men’s cases. Because the way each of these two very senior military leaders was treated encapsulates precisely the problems her investigation into the handling of historic child sexual abuse allegations was established to examine.
We can – because he has named himself (albeit after being outed by others) – identify the first of these war heroes. Field Marshall Edwin, Baron Bramall, Britain’s Chief of Defence Staff (the head of the armed services) until 1985.
The second was until relatively recently one of the United States most senior generals, who lived for a time in Britain. He must – for the time being – remain anonymous. I have his name, his (very senior) rank and his personal details. But for reasons which will become apparent, I am not naming him in this post.
Lord Bramall’s case first. Last week the Metropolitan Police announced that it wasabandoning its 18-month investigation into allegations that Bramall had sexually abused a young boy. During this Bramall, whose extensive record of military service included the D-Day landings, had been interviewed under caution by the Met’s Operation Midland, had watched his house being searched by a large team of officers and seen his reputation dragged through the mud when his name was published by sections of the media.
The alleged crimes for which Bramall was so rigorously investigated stemmed from one (now adult) man. This complainant, known only as “Nick” made statements to the Met and gave interviews to Exaro News, the web-based news organisation which has placed itself at the centre of historic child sexual abuse allegations. In both his police statement and his Exaro interviews “Nick” claimed not just to have been sexually abused and tortured by a variety of VIP paedophiles during the 1970s and 1980s, but to have witnessed the sexually-motivated murder of other children.
There is no corroborative evidence for “Nick’s” allegations. No other witness or complainant has stated that he was present during this crimes; not a single piece of forensic or medical evidence has been found to back up the claims. In fact the only things Nick seemed to have in his favour are a very plausible demeanour – one person who has regularly met Nick says that if he is not telling the truth, he is a “Hollywood standard actor” – and the unwavering support of Exaro News.
Despite this, the Met has spent almost £2 million trying to stand up Nick’s complaints. In the case of Lord Bramall, at least, it has now thrown in the towel and admitted that “the evidence did not support charges being laid”.
The story of the US general is very different. There was what a highly experienced prosecutor described as “an open and shut case” to prosecute him. But the Metropolitan Police does not appear even to have begun an investigation.
The American officer is a decorated Vietnam war veteran who went on to play a major role in the planning and execution of America’s wars in the Gulf. He holds a very senior rank – and, by extension, very high security clearance – in the US Army. In the late 1970s this officer spent some time in Britain. He was seconded to the British Army Staff College at Camberley in Surrey. It appears that he used this address to receive a postal mailing of child pornography from an American supplier.
The reason we know about this is that his name and address appears on a list of British-based customers of US child pornographers. That list was compiled by the US Customs Child Pornography and Protection Division, and handed to me in 1987.
I was then researching a Roger Cook television documentary about child pornography. For more than a year I worked closely with US Customs and its sister unit at the US Postal Service. These two agencies were, at the time, setting the benchmark for investigating and prosecuting those who dealt in child pornography – both inside America and internationally. Each agency was adamant that their evidence was enough for British police to arrest and charge the men on the list. Both agencies had also previously supplied these names to the Home Office, and were surprised that no action had been taken.
I was also then working very closely with the Obscene Publications Branch at New Scotland Yard. That unit – then known as TO13 – was much less effective than its American counterparts, largely due to the refusal of the Met’s senior management to recognise the seriousness of the problem. Of its 11 officers, just two were assigned to investigating child pornography. The senior officer in charge of TO13, Supt. Iain Donaldson was deeply frustrated by the refusal of his superiors to engage with the issue. He had repeatedly lobbied the Met’s management for more officers to tackle child pornography.
By agreement, Roger Cook handed the lists to Donaldson on film. Donaldson believed that if he was made to look a little foolish in a television documentary, his bosses would finally agree to assign additional officers to child pornography investigations. A clip of that encounter can be seen below.
There was a very clear understanding that New Scotland Yard would make enquiries into each of the names on the US lists. Supt. Donaldson and his officers certainly wanted to do so. Joyce Karlin, a US Federal prosecutor who specialised in child pornography cases, believed that the American evidence should be enough to launch an investigation. Her interview clip is here:
But did those investigations ever take place ? Or were Donaldson’s urgent pleas for a more serious approach to child pornography ignored by the Met’s senior management ? The subsequent stellar career of the American general who had child pornography sent to him at the British Army Staff College would seem to imply that no investigations were ever instituted into his actions , nor that the US Army was ever appraised of what he was alleged to have done whilst in Britain. The General’s military trajectory carried on ever-upwards.
(There is other evidence to suggest that the US lists were simply consigned to a filing cabinet inside New Scotland Yard. One of the other names given by US Customs was Charles Napier, the former treasurer of the Paedophile Information Exchange. Despite the fact that his address was clearly and correctly identified on the US Customs list – the address, therefore, at which he had received child pornography – no police action would be taken against Napier until 1995. During that period he was left free to abuse children. Napier is now serving a lengthy prison sentence for doing just that).
Two generals, then; war heroes both, with two starkly contrasting experiences of the Metropolitan Police’s responses to allegations concerning child sexual abuse. One whose life has been blighted by unsupported accusations from a single, uncorroborated complainant; a second who was never even investigated despite cast-iron evidence that he bought and received child pornography.
It is difficult to escape the inference that in seeking to atone for the historic failures exemplified by the American general’s story, the Metropolitan Police was over-zealous in dealing with Lord Brammall. That is – or should be – one of the strands of the Goddard Enquiry. It certainly has the evidence.
The US Customs and Postals lists are currently locked in a safe at the Goddard Enquiry’s offices. They were handed to the Enquiry’s counsel, Ben Emmerson QC, last year. Goddard must examine how and why the names on those lists were never investigated, nor any prosecutions brought. She must summon those who were responsible for Metropolitan Police policy – its commanders and the Home Office officials to whom they answered – and ask them to explain their refusal to provide Supt. Donaldson with the resources to do his job.
Originally posted on TimTate.co.uk
As the press continue to look into the Operation Midland allegations and the sole witness making them, known as Nick, they are revealing that the allegations hold as much water as a macrame bucket. The allegations against Lord Bramall, Harvey Proctor and others are fantastical and grotesque.
Eventually, the truth will out, it always does, and there is a grave danger that there may be a backlash against genuine victims of childhood sexual abuse (CSA). It is important to be clear that the vast majority of allegations of CSA are genuine. There are estimates, very difficult to prove, that up to 10% of allegations against Jimmy Savile are false but let’s not lose sight of the fact that even if true in this most high profile and most publicised of cases, 90% of the allegations are absolutely genuine. The less of a profile the alleged offender has the higher the percentage of genuine allegations there are and overall it is estimated that 99% of allegations of rape and child abuse are genuine, even if 99% of cases do not result in charges or convictions.
As one very high profile case dominates the headlines for all the wrong reasons, it is best not to lose sight of the fact that there will be thousands of genuine survivors who will be angry, frustrated, and disconsolate by degrees that their own integrity may be called into question as a result. This would be one of the most deplorable consequences of this unfortunate development. The genuine survivors must never be allowed to feel that it is hopeless to speak out and I will always support them on The Needle when I can.
Many of the news stories in today’s papers refer to a documentary that Nick appeared in which was broadcast back in September 2014 on the Sky Crime and Investigation Channel called Crimes That Shook Britain: Jimmy Savile.
Below is an extract which includes Nick, here referred to as Stephen and below that one of today’s newspaper stories.
The man who accused war hero Lord Bramall of sexually abusing him had originally claimed to be a Jimmy Savile victim while appearing on a TV documentary.
The man known only as ‘Nick’ was interviewed on a show on the Crime and Investigation satellite channel in 2014 where he made no mention of abuse by a political or military figure.
Allegations by Nick sparked the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Midland investigation, which was set up to tackle an alleged VIP paedophile ring that ran in Westminster and involved high ranking officials.
Nick claimed to be abused by D-Day veteran and former army chief Lord Bramall from 1976-1984, at a military base.
A group of 20 police officers raided the home of Britain’s most decorated soldier, 92, last year but found no evidence.
It was later revealed that the case against him was so weak that a file was not even submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service.
As well as Lord Bramall other high profile figures accused of abuse by Nick were Sir Edward Heath, the former prime minister and Lord Brittan, the former home secretary.
On the TV show ‘Nick’ had his identity protected by a silhouette and went by the name of ‘Stephen’.
The Friday Night Song
C4 News reporting on the disturbing case of Poppi, whose life was tragically cut short at only 13 months, and the crass incompetence and cover-up that followed. An appalling comment on our society, Cumbria police, and Cumbria council.
(I can’t explain the reason for the two interruptions during Tim Loughton’s interview. Maybe it was a technical problem, or maybe the C4 legal team took issue with something that Tim Loughton said in the live broadcast).
Poppi collapsed with serious injuries at her home in Barrow, Cumbria, in December 2012 and was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Cumbria Police conducted no “real” investigation for nine months, Mr Justice Jackson found, as senior detectives thought a pathologist “may have jumped to conclusions” in her belief the child had been a victim of abuse.
The toddler was buried in February 2013, precluding a further post-mortem examination, after her body was released by the local coroner.
There is now said to be an “absence of evidence” to find out how Poppi died, or definitively prove if or how she was injured.
There are some important legal distinctions involved in this tragic case.
Mr Justice Peter Jackson made his finding that Paul Worthington assaulted his daughter on the civil standard of proof. That standard is “the balance of probabilities”, in other words that it is more likely than not Paul Worthington carried out the assault. A finding in a civil court to this standard falls far short of a finding of guilt in a criminal case and should never be confused with it.
The Crown Prosecution will charge a suspect with a crime and bring a case to court if there is a “realistic prospect” of a criminal conviction. That is similar to a “balance of probabilities” test in that it also means the CPS regard the evidence as making it “more likely than not” there will be a conviction.
So, based on Mr Justice Jackson’s finding, why should a criminal case not be brought? There is further important and subtle distinction. The CPS must consider whether there is a realistic prospect of a jury convicting on the higher criminal standard of proof, i.e. beyond a reasonable doubt or satisfied so that they are sure.
Applying that test to the evidence, the CPS decided there was not a realistic prospect of a conviction. Following the Family Court proceedings there will be a second inquest into Poppi’s death. If new evidence comes to light, the CPS will reconsider its decision.
Reports on the leaked Smith Report can be found on Exaro News HERE
The ‘scoop’ relates to an early draft of Dame Janet Smith’s review on Jimmy Savile.
Without doubt this ‘scoop’ is a feather in the cap for David Hencke and Exaro News. However, the draft is over a year old and judging by the desperate references to it in the days preceding the BBC Panorama on Elm Guest House back in October last years by Exaro, it seems likely that they have had this leaked report in their possession for some time and I think,therefore it is fair to say that the exposure of its contents now is part of a well orchestrated piece of news management, an attempt at moving the news agenda away from scrutiny of their source ‘Nick’, Operation Midland, and the public outrage over the treatment of Lord Bramall.
Nevertheless, regardless of how cynical the timing is, it shouldn’t detract from the newsworthiness of this leaked report, it’s just something that needs to be borne in mind.
[Edit: In fairness to Exaro and David Hencke, I’m adding this comment left by David to the main text here. I may have been a little too cynical in my appraisal above.The last two years have left me cynical but not, I hope, close-minded:
Thanks for the mention. This has nothing to do with news management on the Midland story. It is a separate investigation that I have been doing quietly for months ( which is why I haven’t written on Midland recently) and has taken a lot of time and effort. The trigger that led to us publishing it last night was the long,long awaited decision to publish the final report in six weeks time announced by Dame Janet Smith and also that it would no longer prejudice police investigations. I had enormous difficulty working out from the report what police investigation would be prejudiced as Dame Janet had an agreement with the Met NOT to interview anyone who could be part of a future police investigation.Very odd.”]
Dame Janet Smith’s review into the BBC’s practices at the time of the Jimmy Savile scandal has reportedly been leaked by investigative Exaro, including “devastating detail” on the broadcaster’s “sheer scale of awareness” during Savile’s activities.
The retired judge condemns BBC culture over Savile’s crimes at the corporation in her inquiry report and includes statements from witnesses who claim the TV personality assaulted children “in plain sight”, draft excerpts published by the investigative news website have revealed.
Smith criticises the corporation for a “very deferential culture”, its “untouchable” stars and “above the law” managers.
Her report outlines multiple rapes and indecent assaults on children which she claims were all “in some way associated with the BBC”.
And in the afterword of the lengthy leaked report, the retired judge states: “Finally, I wish to consider whether it is possible that a predatory child abuser could be lurking undiscovered in the BBC even today.
“The answer is that I think it is possible.”
In this statement Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan explains why the Met will not apologise to Lord Bramall for the public way that he has been associated with false allegations of child sexual abuse. However, when a fuller understanding of the broader allegations are understood and the absurd nature of them are revealed at a later date, it is likely that calls for an apology will be renewed. In that context the public will find it extremely difficult to understand how Operation Midland made it past the initial investigative stages and evolved into the 18 month, multi million pound investigation employing scores of murder detectives which has resulted in the reputation of a respected public servant like Lord Bramall being tarnished with allegations of sadistic child sexual abuse. In that context, pressure will once again mount on the MPS to apologise for what is an obvious and avoidable failure rather than a normal investigation that has not led to charge.
This statement is however clearer on Lord Bramall’s innocence than the one sneaked out late last Friday evening. For the time being, and until further details can be made public, it is likely to be as much as can be expected.
The following statement has been issued following the conclusion of the police investigation re: Lord Bramall.
Assistant Commissioner Specialist Crime and Operations Patricia Gallan said:
“I fully recognise how unpleasant it may be to be investigated by the police over allegations of historic abuse. For a person to have their innocence publicly called into question must be appalling, and so I have every sympathy with Lord Bramall and his late wife and regret the distress they endured during this investigation.
“The Metropolitan Police are clear that citizens are innocent until proven guilty, and our letter to Lord Bramall’s lawyers now closes this investigation into the allegations against him.
“The possibility of an apology has been raised, and I thought it was important for the Metropolitan Police to respond publicly. This is an unusual step for us to take, but I think it is in the public interest for me to explain the dilemmas faced by policing in this regard.
“We have many serious allegations referred to us every year that we have a duty to investigate. It is, of course, a principle of British justice that everyone is equal before the law so that duty must apply equally to all, irrespective of their status or social standing.
“We always endeavour to investigate impartially and to follow the evidence without fear or favour. Where the evidence supports it, charges will be laid, and a jury will decide, not the police, and our language should always reflect this. The fact that after a full and impartial investigation the evidence did not support charges being laid, does not suggest that an allegation should not have been investigated.
“We have continued the investigation into the allegations against Lord Bramall until all relevant lines of enquiry have been examined, and recognising that they are one part of a detailed set of allegations. This has meant it has not been possible to complete the process as quickly as we would have liked, but that is an unfortunate consequence of the historic and complex nature of the allegations. An incomplete investigation would have served no one’s interest.
“We have endeavoured to act with courtesy and professionalism at all times, recognising the impact on the person is acute, especially when their identity enters the public domain. That is why we continue to hold the view that the identity of an individual facing allegations of this kind should not be made public until and unless they are charged, save there is an exceptional policing purpose. We have never named Lord Bramall and only do so now because he has spoken publicly and disclosed that he was the subject of this investigation, and we have contacted his legal representative and shared this statement before making it public.
“The Metropolitan Police accepts absolutely that we should apologise when we get things wrong, and we have not shrunk from doing so. However, if we were to apologise whenever we investigated allegations that did not lead to a charge, we believe this would have a harmful impact on the judgments made by officers and on the confidence of the public. Investigators may be less likely to pursue allegations they knew would be hard to prove, whereas they should be focused on establishing the existence, or otherwise, of relevant evidence.
“Naturally, there will be occasions on which this does not lead to a charge, but the investigator’s primary duty must always be to establish the evidence. It stands to reason that we cannot only investigate the guilty and that we are not making a mistake when we investigate allegations where we subsequently find there is no case to answer.
“I accept that we can always learn and improve. I accept too that the impersonal language we need to use in legal letters to a person’s lawyer may suggest that we have no sympathy for those who remain innocent at the end of an investigation. That is absolutely not the case, but we must continue to remain dispassionate and not introduce any personal sentiment or comment on the quality or otherwise of the evidence.
“I also accept as Lord Denning said in a famous judgment that police officers are answerable to the law and to the law alone. The government has decided to set up a statutory public inquiry under the Hon Lowell Goddard precisely because of contemporary concerns about historic investigations. It is a powerful recognition of public disquiet about the thoroughness of attempts by the police and other agencies to investigate allegations of abuse. The Inquiry has already made clear that it will be investigating cases where there are allegations of child sexual abuse and exploitation involving people of public prominence associated with Westminster. This may include Operation Midland. The MPS will, of course, fully co-operate with the Inquiry and account for its actions wherever that is requested.
“In conclusion, I have offered to meet Lord Bramall at the conclusion of Operation Midland to explain the nature of our investigation and why we have acted in the way we have. I do want to hear his views and understand whether we might have conducted ourselves differently in any of our engagements with him and his legal representatives. But I cannot do that before the criminal investigation is complete.”
The Full Henriques Report can be found HERE
On Friday 15 January, Mr Justice Openshaw brought to an end criminal proceedings against Lord Greville Janner for child sexual offences, after the Central Criminal Court received formal evidence of his death.
The conclusion of criminal proceedings means that the findings of an independent inquiry into the handling of past allegations of sexual abuse by Lord Janner can now be published.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) commissioned the inquiry last year, when she stated that decisions not to prosecute following previous investigations into Lord Janner were wrong. Retired High Court Judge Sir Richard Henriques was asked to conduct a thorough and independent review into the CPS decision making and handling of all past allegations relating to the Lord Janner case and to make any recommendations he felt appropriate.
The independent inquiry found:
- The decision not to charge Lord Janner in 1991 was wrong and there was enough evidence against him to provide a realistic prospect of conviction for offences of indecent assault and buggery. In addition, the police investigation was inadequate and no charging decision should have been taken by the CPS until the police had undertaken further enquiries.
- In 2002, allegations against Lord Janner were not supplied by the police to the CPS and accordingly no prosecution was possible. This merits investigation by the IPCC.
- There was sufficient evidence to prosecute Lord Janner in 2007 for indecent assault and buggery. He should have been arrested and interviewed and his home searched.
Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said: “The inquiry’s findings that mistakes were made confirms my view that failings in the past by prosecutors and police meant that proceedings were not brought. It is a matter of sincere regret that on three occasions, opportunities to put the allegations against Lord Janner before a jury were not taken.
“It is important that we understand the steps which led to these decisions not to prosecute, and ensure that no such mistakes can be made again.
“I have carefully considered the observations and conclusions made by Sir Richard Henriques. The inquiry acknowledged that the CPS has moved on hugely since these investigations and that current guidance and procedures would result in decisions that there was sufficient evidence to prosecute in all three cases considered in the report. However we are also acting on his recommendations to make further changes and improvements in the handling of such sensitive cases.”
Significant changes have already been undertaken within the CPS which address many of the issues highlighted. In his report, Sir Richard Henriques says, “I have no doubt that with current guidance and procedures, a case management panel would conclude that there was a sufficiency of evidence in all three cases considered in this report.”
However, he makes the following three specific recommendations for the further action by the CPS:
- to consider whether time limits in charging decisions are appropriate;
- to establish a protocol when referring cases from CPS area teams to Central Casework Divisions (CCDs), to ensure no decision is taken to end a case without referring back to CCDs; and
- to establish a central log of cases referred and declined irrespective of whether a prosecution is to be commenced or not, with borderline cases included on the sensitive case list.
The CPS will implement these recommendations, and other issues identified by Sir Richard Henriques in his report. Measures are being introduced to ensure rape and serious sexual assault cases are dealt with swiftly. A full response to the findings is available on the CPS website.
CPS legal guidance on child sexual abuse was introduced in 2013, which recognises that prosecutors must focus on the credibility of the allegation, rather than focusing solely on the actions of the victim, and factors such as late reporting, inconsistent accounts and a victim ‘voluntarily’ returning to the alleged abuser should not then undermine the credibility of the victim’s account. Rape and serious sexual offences are now dealt with by prosecutors specially trained in handling these cases, and a more rigorous Case Management Panel process means that prosecutors regularly meet to review such cases and decisions.
All case files and papers have now been handed to the Goddard Inquiry.
- January 2013: Operation Enamel initiated by Leicestershire Police
- March 2015: Final case papers passed to the DPP for a charging decision in Operation Enamel
- April 2015: The DPP announced the charging decision of No Further Action due to Lord Janner’s advanced stage of dementia which would mean he would be found unfit to stand trial
- May 2015: A number of victims asked for this decision to be reviewed as part of the Victims’ Right of Review scheme
- June 2015: The DPP announced that criminal proceedings would begin against Lord Janner
- December 2015: Mr Justice Openshaw determined that Lord Janner was unfit to stand trial and a trial of the facts would take place
- January 2016: Mr Justice Openshaw determined that due to the death of Lord Janner, proceedings would be stayed.
Terms of reference of the inquiry:
1. The Independent Inquiry will examine the three cases listed below and make findings in respect of the following matters:
a) Whether the approach and decision making of the CPS and counsel instructed was correct in relation to advising the police including but not limited to case building, the making of further enquiries and advice on charge and sufficiency of evidence.
b) Whether the CPS followed all relevant guidance and policy
c) Whether the CPS arrangements in place for handling the case were adequate and properly followed
d) Any other matters that the Inquiry considers would be relevant in preventing recurrence.
2. The Independent Inquiry will also make such recommendations it feels appropriate in light of the examination and findings set out above, including, if appropriate, recommendations about CPS policy and/or guidance and CPS arrangements for handling allegations involving high profile or political figures.
3. The Independent Inquiry has been established by, and will report its findings and recommendations to, the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The three cases
- 1. Allegations by an individual who featured in the trial of Frank Beck in 1991. The CPS considered the evidence and advised police that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute. The police took no further action.
- Operation Magnolia in 2002. Allegations were referred to the CPS but apparently not the allegations relating to Lord Janner. Police decided that no further action should be taken against Lord Janner, and the CPS decided that no further action should be taken against any other individual.
- Operation Dauntless in 2006. Allegations of offending by three individuals including Lord Janner. The CPS decided there was insufficient evidence to prosecute in 2007.
Forty years after the mysterious death of a Welsh teenager in Euston, London, detectives are appealing for anyone with information about the incident to come forward.
Peter Watts was just 15 years old when he left a note to his parents at his home in Colwyn Bay, North Wales. He said he was planning to help a school friend with homework and would return soon. His family never saw him alive again.
Just hours later Peter was discovered collapsed in London in the middle of the Euston Road underpass, around half a mile from Euston station. A passing cab driver called an ambulance but Peter died in hospital an hour later.
Following extensive police appeals in both England and Wales, officers were able to piece together some of Peter’s last known movements.
The teenager was last seen at his home address at 16:00hrs on Sunday, 18 January 1976. After a family lunch he told his parents he wanted to finish his homework rather than go for an afternoon drive with them and his older brother.
A short while later Peter wrote his parents a brief note and then left his home to purchase a train ticket from Colwyn Bay station to Chester. He is thought to have travelled on the 17:15hrs, Holyhead to London train, but failed to leave the train at Chester. It is then thought he continued on to Euston, possibly arriving at 21:15hrs.
Apart from the guard who sold Peter his train ticket at Colwyn Bay, there were no further confirmed sightings of the 15-year-old.
Peter was found below a bridge at Euston Road underpass at around 01:30hrs on Monday, 19 January by a passing taxi driver. A post mortem examination gave the cause of death as head injuries consistent with a fall. There were no marks on Peter’s body to indicate he was pushed from the bridge or had been involved in an earlier struggle. There was also no evidence of any sexual assault.
Officers established that Peter was missing his watch and glasses when he was found. These items have never been found.
Peter was described as white, 5ft 11in tall with long brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a long brown leather jacket, trousers and a roll-neck sweater.
Four decades on, the Met’s Special Casework Investigation Team, are releasing details of Peter’s death in an effort to trace anyone who is yet to speak to police about the incident.
Detective Inspector Susan Stansfield, of the Met’s Special Casework Investigation Team, who is leading the investigation, said: “Despite numerous appeals, mystery still surrounds the death of Peter Watts. He came from a loving and close-knit family but tragically his parents both died without the answers they were seeking.
“After 40 years, his only surviving relative – his older brother Mark, aged 57 – said this may be his last opportunity to find out what happened to his older sibling.
“At the time Peter went missing, 40 years ago, there were no mobile phones and wide-spread CCTV was not available.
“The investigation continues to be dealt with as an unexplained death and is not being linked to any other investigations. We’ve never had any information to suggest that anyone else was involved in Peter’s death but, for the sake of his brother, we would like to speak to anyone who may be able to assist.”
Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Incident Room on 020 7230 7963; alternatively, to remain anonymous, call Crimestoopers on 0800 555 111.
According to the available evidence, on the 19th May 2014 DCI Paul Settle was removed from heading the Metropolitan Police Service’s (MPS) investigation into paedophile activity by establishment figures. The previous September Settle had concluded, following advice from the CPS, that the investigation into a rape allegation from 1967 against Lord Brittan by a witness known as ‘Jane’ should not proceed as the allegation could not be ‘made out’ in law. ‘Jane’ was informed and later in February met with DCI Settle who explained to the witness why the investigation had been dropped. Unhappy with the decision, ‘Jane’ contacted Exaro News and Tom Watson MP, both of whom she had previously had contact with. Tom Watson wrote to the Director of Public Prosecution requesting that the decision not to question Lord Brittan under caution be reviewed and Exaro News reported these developments.
Media pressure mounted and by the 17th of May, the weekend preceding DCI Settle’s removal, a flurry of media reports appeared – notably on the Exaro News website and in The Mirror giving an account of ‘Jane’s’ alleged rape which, it was later said, differed from the statements given to the police.
What actually happened on the morning of Monday 19th May 2014 within the MPS, following these weekend media reports is difficult to ascertain. What we do know with some certainty is that DCI Settle had refused to interview Leon Brittan under caution, believing such a course of action to be unlawful and that as a consequence he was removed from the investigation. The decision to interview Lord Brittan was taken on the same day and on the 30th May Lord Brittan was indeed interviewed under caution.
The 19th May 2014 therefore marks a significant turning point for the MPS’s investigation into VIP child abuse and for many key figures. Not least DCI Paul Settle himself who following his removal was considered ‘rogue’ by senior MPS management and has spent the last 2 years in limbo. He also faces an investigation by the IPCC on trumped up allegations made by another Exaro ‘witness’ who was subsequently found to have been lying about VIP child abuse, known as ‘Darren’. As a consequence it is unclear how much longer the MPS will be able to count on DCI Settle’s experience and integrity as an available resource to them.
The 19th May 2014 was also a turning point for Field Marshal Lord Bramall and former MP Harvey Proctor, though neither could know that at the time, for it seems unlikely that had DCI Settle remained in post, the incredible allegations made by their accuser known as ‘Nick’ would not have led to the disgraceful situation that we can see now, for it was only a few months after DCI Settle’s removal that Exaro News published its first story about ‘Nick’ and his allegations and Operation Midland was conceived.
Much criticism has been levelled at Det Supt Kenny McDonald who led the investigation, especially for his public description of Nick’s allegations as “credible and true” but in the interests of fairness perhaps we should consider the context in which he came to the job. He would have seen his predecessor DCI Settle removed from his position by the MPS management for failing to do Exaro News’s bidding, he would have seen his predecessor labelled ‘rogue’and his career stalled. Given the circumstances, it is easy to see why Det Supt McDonald took the road he did. Under such pressure, it is certainly understandable even if it is not quite forgivable.
Less understandable are the decisions taken by Assistant Commissioner Steve Rodhouse (but that is a different article).
The 19th of May 2014 not only marks a turning point for the high profile people mentioned above but also for genuine victims of child sexual abuse. Child abuse is not restricted to any strata of society. Cyril Smith, Lord Janner and Sir Peter Morrison are all examples of politicians that have sexually abused children and there are almost certainly others. I have always said that the best way of discrediting genuine cases of child abuse is to hype up false allegations building them higher and higher, until they eventually fall and bury the truth under the rubble of lies.
What is welcome is that the press seem to be differentiating between the genuine cases and the false allegations. It would have been a far simpler narrative just to label all allegations as false and the media much prefer simple narratives to such complex issues. Still, it will be harder than it has been over the last few years for genuine survivors of child sexual abuse to be heard, especially if the abuser is well known.
Leon Brittan died before he was cleared of raping ‘Jane’, the investigation unnecessarily extended due to media pressure and the cowardly inability of Rodhouse and others to admit that they were wrong to reopen the investigation. At least Lord Bramall is around to learn that this ludicrous investigation has been dropped but the fact that Rodhouse only notified Bramall and the press of this development on Friday evening, and that the statement should be so weak and equivocal reflects badly on those behind it.
It is media management at its worst and as a consequence pressure will mount on the Met to be more forthcoming about the paucity of evidence against Lord Bramall and their failure to recognise their mistakes and apologise to him.
I’ll end with one piece of advice to Steve Rodhouse and the Metropolitan Police Service’s management which I’m confident Field Marshall Lord Bramall will appreciate for it is from Napoleon:
“Never Reinforce Failure.”
Here Max Hastings talks about the Met decision to drop the charges against Field Marshal Lord Bramall on Radio 4’s Today programme. In this interview Hastings reveals that some of the allegations leveled against Bramall by ‘Nick’ were from the 1970s during periods that he wasn’t even serving in Britain, that some of the allegations were that Lord Bramall had taken part in ‘pool parties’ with Jimmy Savile, and that Bramall along with two other named Generals, including the late Field Marshal Sir Roland Gibbs , Bramall’s predecessor as Chief of the General Staff, had been involved in sexually abusing ‘Nick’.
‘Nick’ has made numerous allegations against high profile men.
According to Exaro, ‘Nick’ has made allegations of abuse “including rape” against the known child abuser Lord Janner in London between 1979 and 1982. However, Leicestershire police felt they already had enough witnesses against Janner and decided not to include Nick’s allegations when charging Janner – make of that what you will…
As has been noted before, Nick has made allegations of sadistic sexual abuse against Jimmy Savile. He spoke to a Sky documentary ‘Crimes That Shook Britain’ about these ‘experiences’. Before writing about this for The Needle [HERE], I showed the video to an expert on Jimmy Savile, who has talked to many of his victims and who is very familiar with Savile’s offending profile. He confirmed what I thought – that what Nick was describing was “utter rubbish”.
In his many blog entries, which have since been deleted, Nick has described in detail the injuries that he sustained during his abuse. These include – Electrocution, Sharp objects stabbed into feet, Drowning, Being stung by a room full of wasps, Broken bones/fractures, Burns (all over back), Having Poppies pinned to his bare chest, Severe anal injuries and blood loss from buggery which resulted in hospitalisation, and Puncture wounds.
Nick even helpfully supplied a diagram [below]
Which all begs the question; how could his mother, who had had a comprehensive medical training at the time, have been completely unaware of this abuse as, according to Nick, she told the police ?
Frankly, I think this statement is weak from the Met.
Because of their actions a 92 year old former D-Day veteran has been named in the media as a paedophile and child murderer and their statement simply states that there is “insufficient evidence”. This neither clears nor condemns Field Marshall Lord Bramall. It is rather like the Scottish verdict of ‘Not Proven’ and it leaves an indelible stain on his reputation.
Officers working on Operation Midland have today, Friday, 15 January informed a man in his 90’s [A] from Farnham who was interviewed under caution on 30 April, 2015 that he will face no further action.
Following a thorough investigation officers have concluded there is insufficient evidence to request the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to consider charging the man with any offences.
This decision was taken by the Met in accordance with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) ‘Guidance on Charging’. The Met have been in discussion with the CPS during the enquiry and they are aware of the decision in this case.
Operation Midland will continue to investigate allegations of historic child sexual abuse and homicide which involves a number of potential locations over a period of several years. It is right that such grave allegations are thoroughly investigated.
Whilst officers continue to expedite enquiries, there remain lines of further enquiry which are complex.
There have been no further interviews of people under caution, or arrests.
The DPP ‘Guidance on Charging’ sets out the responsibility of the police to assess cases before referral to the CPS to ensure the ‘Full Code Test’ can be met on the available evidence. Equally, the guidance also details the responsibility of the police for taking “no further action” in any case that cannot meet the appropriate evidential standard.
The Friday Night Song.
I’m posting this for completeness but I can tell you all now that if this complaint does refer to DCI Paul Settle and the witness known as ‘Darren’ then it is a complete load of hogwash. ‘Darren’ had appeared on the BBC using his real name over a year before he was visited by journalists. Most journalists knew who ‘Darren’ was and DCI Settle was no longer involved with the establishment paedophile police operations by the time this case was being investigated by the Met.
It just suits some in the police to tarnish DCI Settle’s reputation at this time but it will all be shown to be rubbish.
The behaviour of a senior police officer who investigated a Westminster sex ring is to be examined by the Independent Police Complaints Commission over a claim of leaking information to the media.
The officer, believed to be DCI Paul Settle, who as the head of the Met’s Operation Fairbank between November 2012 and May 2014 was charged with looking into claims of VIP sexual abuse at Dolphin Square, the Elm Guest House in Barnes and elsewhere, is the subject of a complaint by one of the alleged victims of abuse. It is believed that the complaint relates to “Darren”, an alleged victim, whose anonymity should be assured under the law, and who has claimed that journalists arrived at his house asking questions of him, purportedly as a result of unauthorised briefings by the police. It has also been alleged in the media that an officer spoke to the BBC’s Panorama for a programme broadcast last October and provided unauthorised material about the identity of a child abuse survivor. The name of the alleged Panorama source is not known.
The IPCC said last night: “The IPCC is investigating two complaints regarding the disclosure of information to the media. The investigation is at a very early stage and follows a referral from the Metropolitan Police Service.”
The Friday Night Song
Richard Scorer is Head of the Abuse team at Slater and Gordon lawyers, and author of Betrayed: The English Catholic Church and the Sex Abuse Crisis, published by Biteback Books.
With the release of some of the letters written in support of Bishop Peter Ball during the 1992-1993 police investigation, particularly those written by prominent people, we’re starting to see more clearly how Ball was protected.
The spotlight has rightly fallen on former Archbishop George Carey, who seems reluctant to discuss the subject: on Tuesday, in response to further revelations in The Times, a spokesman for Carey said that he was “abroad yesterday and unlikely to be able to comment”. But the questions mount, and we need to hear from him.
Before itemising those questions, just to recap what we now know: firstly, that on 5 February 1993, Carey wrote to the Chief Constable of Gloucestershire regarding the allegations against Ball. In this letter Carey described the allegations against Ball as “most improbable” and asserted that “if he is guilty of unprofessional behaviour it is quite unrepresentative of his style“. Whilst noting that “special pleading” on Ball’s behalf would be “entirely inappropriate”, Carey went on to explain to the Chief Constable that he felt “justified in drawing to your attention the excruciating pain and torment” which these allegations have inevitably brought upon Ball, whom Carey described as a “wonderful and honourable man” (if this isn’t “special pleading”, I’m not sure what is). We also know that in March 1993 Carey wrote to the DPP, Barbara Mills, pressing her to make a decision quickly given Ball’s “fragile health” (interesting, isn’t it, when “fragile health” is deployed by child abusers facing charges: as it turned out, Ball was well enough to face trial in 2015, some 22 years later).
Secondly, we now know that in January 1993, i.e. the month before Carey wrote this letter, he had been in receipt of a report about Ball’s conduct from his chief of staff, the Right Rev Ronald Gordon. We don’t have a full copy of this report; all we have is a heavily redacted version disclosed (pursuant to a data protection request) to a man who had written to Carey in December 1992 to express his concerns about Ball’s behaviour some 10 years previously (This man, who wishes to remain anonymous so I’m calling him AB, has kindly passed this redacted version to me).
Despite the redactions, it’s clear that this report followed a long meeting between Gordon and Ball in January 1993 (Gordon’s report helpfully records that the meeting lasted from 11.30am to 2.10pm “with a short break for sandwiches”). During the meeting Gordon and Ball discussed “correspondence the Archbishop had received referring to past events in Ball’s life”. Gordon’s report records that he felt no need to ask for more detail of what happened between AB and Ball as “there is already enough evidence to suggest a picture of what has been happening“. The clear implication, even in redacted version, is that a number of pieces of evidence about Ball’s behaviour had come to the church’s attention- enough in fact to “suggest a clear picture of what has been happening” , namely , the widespread and systematic abuse of young men.
And yet only a few days later Carey wrote to the Chief Constable claiming that the allegation which the police were investigating (ie. from Neil Todd) was “improbable” and “quite unrepresentative” of Ball’s behaviour.
Further, in September 2015 Carey stated that: “I have seen a number of reports which appear to give the misleading impression that I interfered with the process of justice by contacting the Crown Prosecution Service. I only did so after Ball had been cautioned“. (See BBC website, “Bishop Ball sex charges caution ‘wrong’ admits CPS” 13.09.15).
We now know, from the recent release of the letters, that this is plainly not correct: Carey wrote to the Chief Constable on 5 February 1993; he wrote to the CPS on 2 March 1993; and it was only after those letters that the prosecution of Ball was abandoned and a caution administered.
As I told The Times, unless Carey has a very good explanation, this has all the hallmarks of a cover-up. So two things now need to happen: the Gordon report now needs to be released in full, and Carey needs to answer the following questions :
1. Why did you tell the Chief Constable in February 1993 that the allegation against Ball being investigated by the police was “improbable” and “unrepresentative” when you appear to have had an internal report suggesting otherwise?
2. Why didn’t you share the additional information in that report with the police, so they could follow up further lines of enquiry?
3. Why did you apparently procure for Ball a guarantee of no further prosecution, despite knowing of other allegations against him? ( maybe this question answers itself…).
4. Why did you allow Ball to continue to officiate at services after being cautioned , despite having a “clear picture of what has been happening”?
5. Why did you claim last year that you only wrote to the authorities after the caution, when this wasn’t the case?
These questions matter a great deal. With the 1993 caution deal, Ball escaped justice for 22 years. One of his victims, Neil Todd, no doubt bitterly frustrated by the failure of the authorities to accord his allegations the seriousness they deserved, committed suicide. And Ball’s other victims were left to nurse their pain, not knowing that many others shared their wounds. Although Carey is no longer Archbishop of Canterbury, he remains a senior figure in the Church of England: so if anyone is going to take seriously Archbishop Welby’s claim that the church now puts victims first, Carey needs to give a full explanation of his actions. Those who have suffered so grievously from Ball’s behaviour deserve nothing less.
Richard Scorer is Head of the Abuse team at Slater and Gordon lawyers, and author of Betrayed: The English Catholic Church and the Sex Abuse Crisis, published by Biteback Books.
The New Year Friday Night Song