Following an extraordinary Crown Court hearing in which Nottingham Police and the CPS failed to present evidence, child abuse victim and key Beechwood abuse witness Melanie Shaw has been remanded in HMP Peterborough until October.
Members of the public present at the hearing in Nottingham Crown Court on Friday 25th July 2014, described a muddled hearing in which the prosecution simply failed to present evidence, despite the Judge prompting them with references to a finger or palm print. In what was described as a fumbling statement to the Judge, the prosecution excused the lack of evidence and promised it would be available ‘shortly.’ Despite the absence of evidence against her, her status as a vulnerable abuse victim and her importance as a key witness to widespread child abuse, the Judge was happy to place Melanie on remand, at a prison in which she has already suffered bullying, strip searches, denial of her NHS medication and disorientation through repeated relocation between cells.
Melanie appeared hampered by her own defence team, who failed to communicate with her and failed to challenge the lack of evidence. At no point was Melanie asked to speak in her own defence and as a result she commented directly to the Judge on several occasions. Her remarks included that she had been denied her prescription of Valium, she had been denied a doctor and that she was being persecuted because she had exposed a paedophile ring. Melanie also made reference to Operation Daybreak, the Nottingham police investigation into child abuse at Beechwood and other children’s homes in the Nottingham area. Many consider it significant that Melanie had previously stated, just prior to her arrest, that Nottingham police had failed to properly investigate both the widespread child abuse, and the deaths of numerous children within the ‘care’ of Nottingham City and County Council at Beechwood and other homes.
Members of the public present also stated their deep concern that after the formal hearing appeared closed, the prosecution approached the bench to hand the Judge a substantial collection of A4 papers described as ‘some additional evidence.’
Melanie’s case has been beset by mistakes and irregularities. Nottingham police initially refused to say she had been arrested, and only admitted she was held in custody after numerous calls from the public who were concerned at her disappearance. Notts police later seemed confused over the date of the arson offence, publicly quoting both 1 February and 4 April 2014. The police also published her charges as ‘arson with intent to endanger life’ when the correct charge is understood to be ‘arson reckless.’ Melanie denies all charges against her.
There is no doubt that Melanie Shaw has suffered horrific rapes, sexual abuse, sadistic physical assaults and psychological bullying whilst at Beechwood Children’s Home. Her bravery in coming forward as an abuse victim to alert authorities to widespread abuse and child deaths is remarkable. It also appears a remarkable coincidence that following her outspoken remarks that Nottinghamshire police were failing in their investigations under Operation Daybreak, that they had colluded with the Crown Prosecution Service in presenting falsified evidence and that they had failed to conduct proper forensic examination of the Beechwood site, Melanie was abruptly accused of arson and remanded in a prison with a brutal record, without evidence against her.
Nottinghamshire City Council and County Council deny any liability for abuses against Melanie and some 100 other child victims at Beechwood alone. They prefer to buy off victims with public money – some £250,000 to date, although it is understood that the Judge presiding over compensation awards for victims has now withdrawn until the police investigation is complete. Neither Council will answer simple questions concerning the implementation of a Serious Case Review following the Beechwood abuses, nor will they name those now holding responsibility for such reviews. Nor will they say what action they have taken to protect child abuse victims, particularly those made even more vulnerable by whistleblowing. Their silence is deafening.
Meanwhile Melanie Shaw sits in a hostile prison environment at HMP Peterborough, fearful for her personal safety and the Nottingham Councils have rushed to sell off Beechwood to a private buyer with whom they are working ‘in Association.’ Perhaps not surprisingly, the public watching the Melanie Shaw case unfold, smell the stench of yet another public sector cover-up of organised paedophile rings. Remembering the suffering of the children, it is up to us, the concerned public, to ensure that this disgraceful abuse of power by Nottingham police, Nottingham Local Authorities and Nottingham Courts is not allowed to continue.
Melanie Shaw can be contacted by letter at:
Melanie Shaw A4126DE, HMP Peterborough, Saville Road, Westwood, Peterborough PE3 7PD. Please do not send money unless you provide your full name and address. Melanie does need stamps and will greatly appreciate any sent to her.
by UK Column