The original Joint Enquiry Report consisted of five volumes totalling over 600 pages. The first volume of 42 pages contained an introduction, a survey of the Team’s work, conclusions, the reasons for these, a section covering the effects of the Broxtowe case on the Social Services Department, a section on Police/Social Service relationships and finally the Recommendations. This volume was in effect a brief summary of our approach and findings and no personnel were identified. All the evidence for our findings was contained in a further 4 volumes of Appendices labelled Factual Investigations, Children’s Disclosures and Research. The Factual Investigation volume contained reports on interviews and contacts with over 70 persons.
The original report was written on the understanding that it was a personal report for the Director of Social Services and the Chief Constable and included material that was given to us in the strictest confidence that this would be the case. There was no attempt to preserve confidentiality and the appendices identify children and suspected perpetrators of Satanic abuse.
With the need to make the report more widely available and usable it has been re-written in a shortened version so that it can stand on its own without the appendices. The team have, therefore, extracted the most important information which influenced their conclusions and recommendations and have incorporated it into a one volume report. Our findings, conclusions and recommendations have not been altered but we have taken the opportunity to clarify some of the statements made in the original report. We have also added some additional material on the significance of our findings and have made use of further relevant information which has become available in the last few months. This report is still a Joint Report and has the approval of the remaining members of both agencies.
7th June 1990 Signed.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ENQUIRY
Stage 1 Preliminary Investigation into Background Material
Stage 2 Interviews with Senior Personnel in the Respective Departments
Stage 3 Places and People Investigated
Stage 4 Analysis of the Children’s Disclosures
(i) Analysis of the Children’s Disclosures
(ii) Research into Satanism and Witchcraft
(iii) Research into the International Scene (USA, Canada and Holland) and the literature from the USA
(iv) Interviews with Experts previously used by Social Services
Stage 5 The later disclosures of [Mary] and the other ‘satellite’ cases
RESEARCH INTO OTHER CASES IN THE UK
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS OF WORK DONE BY THE TEAM (Stage 1 – 5)
IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS
- The effect of the Broxtowe Case on the Social Services Department
- Police – Social Services Relationships
In October 1987 seven children of an extended family in Nottinghamshire were removed from home on suspicion that they had been sexually abused by their parents and relatives. In February 1989 10 adults, both male and female, appeared at Nottingham Crown Court charged with 53 offences of incest, indecent assault and cruelty against 21 of the children of their extended family and extensive terms of imprisonment were imposed. It is generally agreed that this was the most serious case of multi-generational sexual abuse within an extended family known in Britain. The successful prosecution was the culmination of enquiries made by both Police and Social Services personnel co-operating together into what became known as the Broxtowe Case, Nottingham. It resulted in considerable praise from the media, local councillors and even the Prime Minister for the efforts of the police and social workers after the Crown Court Judge made named commendations in respect of the involved personnel.
The children had been made Wards of Court before the criminal proceedings commenced and the Judge gave permission for the children to be interviewed by psychiatrists instructed by the parties. Any further interviews by social workers or the police would have required the Court’s further permission. This was a sensitive time as the furore over Cleveland had erupted three months previously. The children’s foster parents were asked to keep diaries of anything they said or did that might be relevant to their future welfare. These diaries formed part of the evidence provided to the Wardship Court which resulted in all the children being committed to the care of the Local Authority. The disclosures made in these diaries indicated very extensive sexual abuse. They also appeared to suggest that the children had been subjected to something more than sexual abuse as the children talked about witch parties, the murder of babies, the killing of animals, the involvement of strangers and of being taken elsewhere to be abused. Nothing like the content of these diaries had ever been seen before and they eventually gave rise to the suspicion that the children might have been involved in some form of organised ritualistic Satanic abuse or witchcraft cult. Adult members of the extended family were interviewed by social workers and appeared to support this view.
The Police set up a separate unilateral investigation into these further revelations after a Senior Social Worker made a statement. The social workers were not invited or encouraged to take part in this investigation which was called “Gollom”. The social workers have stated that they had little idea as to what, if anything, was actually being investigated. When the Police reported in their findings that they did not consider Satanic abuse or witchcraft was involved or that there were any other perpetrators, this was not accepted by Social Services staff. It would appear that the social work staff had formed a view that the Police had deliberately set out to discredit the corroborating adults. In their view the Police were trying to disprove and close down the investigation. They further considered that the Police did not have sufficient knowledge of this type of abuse and were not prepared to acquire it. In short the Social Services Department, having not been involved were not satisfied that the Police had undertaken a thorough investigation and additional information the social workers acquired about tunnels at Wollaton Hall and a swimming pool at an identified house appeared to strengthen this opinion.
The Police were concerned that the information contained in the children’s diaries would be on their prosecution files and, therefore, available to the Defence in the Criminal Prosecution. They considered that there was a possibility that as potential witnesses the children and young adults would be discredited. Because of this the Police requested that no further diaries should be kept but this ran counter to the requirements of the Wardship Hearing and the need to understand the children’s experience if they were to be helped. By June 1988 the Police refused to accept any more of the children’s diaries. They indicated that they would no longer be prepared to investigate disclosures of this nature.
The only exception to this was an interview conducted with children who alleged that murders had taken place on a boat. Once again the social workers considered that the police had set out to discredit the children.
Various meetings by senior officers of both departments were held to try and find a way out of this impasse but no satisfactory resolution appeared to be reached and the children continued to make disclosures identifying locations and additional perpetrators. It is indisputable that a profound mistrust had developed and the awareness of this was not helped by the knowledge that the Cook Programme would be including Nottingham in its presentation of a programme on the Satanic abuse of children.
In April 1989 a Joint Memorandum outlining the Social Services’ perspective of the disclosures and enquiry work was submitted by the Principal Solicitor and Assistant Director of Children’s Services to the Chief Executive. The memorandum did not express a view as to whether Satanic abuse was a reality but it did express grave concern that further children could be at risk and that it was no longer possible to investigate this. The memorandum made the point that if a child was abused as a consequence of the lack of investigation then it would be very damaging for the Local Authority. The memorandum was, therefore, written to draw attention to this and compel further action.
The Joint Enquiry Team
The Chief Constable, Mr. R. Hadfield and the Director of Social Services, Mr. D. White, recognised that massive differences of opinion had developed between officers of their respective departments and positive action was needed to progress further. Their decision was that a Joint Unit staffed by Police Officers and Social Workers who had no involvement with the evidence gathering, file preparation and trial of the extended T. Family should be set up. The staffing for the Joint Unit was decided by the respective Chief Officers and the following personnel were selected on a full-time basis:-
Detective Sergeant George THORPE (West Bridgford CID)
Detective Constable Wendy GLENN (West Bridgford CID)
David LONG, Senior Social Worker (Radford Social Services Office)
Margaret GREGORY, Senior Social Worker (Kings Mill Hospital, Mansfield)
For operational purposes the Unit was jointly managed by Detective Superintendent Bob DAVY, (Deputy Head – Nottinghamshire CID), and John GWATKIN, (Area Director, Nottinghamshire Social Services – Newark), who retained the responsibility for their respective posts. The Joint Unit worked from accommodation at West Bridgford Police Station, Nottingham, and had access for advice and guidance to Chief Officer level, in the case of the Police – Mr. E. GRIFFITH, Assistant Chief Constable (Operations), and in the case of Social Services – Mr. B. NEWELL, Deputy Director of Social Services.
The Terms of Reference for the Joint Unit were outlined as follows:-
- Enquiries into the T. Family in Broxtowe which culminated in a trial at Crown Court, has resulted in Wardship cases for many of the children victimised.
- Some statements taken at the time and subsequent disclosures made by the children and other parties involved suggestion that there may be a possibility of serious offences being committed against young persons either in the future or have been committed in the past.
- In the constant need for care and comfort for the victim of the cases at the Crown Court, those charged with caring for their comfort and welfare need to be able to refer to someone any information which they feel is relevant to the investigations of abuse, past, present, or in the future.
d) You are asked to explore these items and seek to resolve them.
A Joint Memorandum to the staff seconded to the Unit was issued by the Director of Social Services and the Chief Constable, and brief information giving details of the Joint Unit was circulated within the two Departments.
The Team’s Work
The team commenced work on the 10th July 1989 and immediately arranged a meeting with the social workers responsible for the children of the extended T. family. At this meeting it was emphasised that the purpose of the Enquiry was the protection of known or unknown children from abuse and that it was not an Enquiry into the conduct of staff. We have tried to keep to the spirit of this and no individuals of the respective departments are named in this report. We have not interviewed any staff or obtained any information with the purpose or intention of making judgements on staff although inevitably views may be formed from our findings.
It must be emphasised that these original conditions imposed upon the Enquiry Team prevented us from interviewing the relevant staff with regard to their work with particular children. We have come to some of our conclusions based upon the records and additional interviews with children who were not part of the original enquiry. Inevitably this report cannot give a complete picture but hopefully will point the way to further work.
During the course of an enquiry which lasted five months the following areas of work were covered by the Team:-
- Investigating places and premises disclosed by the children and adults.
- Interviewing persons relating to these locations.
- Interviewing convicted members of the extended family.
- Interviewing other members of the extended family.
- Interviewing alleged perpetrators.
- Interviewing some senior staff of the Police, Clerks and Social Services Department who had been previously involved.
- Interviewing experts previously used by the Social Services Department (and recommended to us).
- Advice from consultants selected by the Team.
- Interviewing members of the media.
- Interviewing some of the children’s foster parents.
- Interviewing or contacting Police Officers at the British Embassy, Washington USA, New Scotland Yard, Humberside, Suffolk, Derbyshire, Cheshire, North Wales and Cumbria, the NSPCC Unit, Nottingham, NSPCC Headquarters and Social Services staff at two local authorities.
- Some miscellaneous interviews.
- Involvement with the interviewing of twelve children disclosing ritualistic abuse during the course of the Enquiry. We have termed these ‘satellite cases’. The children concerned were:-
[Lily] and [Alice]
[Reggie] and [Melissa]
[Colin] and [Florence]
[Donna] and [Teresa]
14. Attendance at presentations in respect of Satanic/ritualistic child abuse at Reading and Mapperley (Child Line). A representative was sent to the Area Directors’ and BASPCAN presentations.
15. Research into Satanism/Witchcraft and the international experience (a bibliography is attached).
The Enquiry proved to be extremely complex and led in unexpected directions.
After re-reading the original report which was unnecessarily repetitious we have decided on the following format:-
The Development of the Enquiry
STAGE 1 Preliminary investigation into background material.
STAGE 2 Interviews with Senior Personnel in the respective departments.
STAGE 3 Places and People investigated.
STAGE 4 Analysis of the Children’s disclosures
Research into Satanism and Witchcraft.
Research into the International scene and the literature from the USA.
Interviews with the experts used by Social Services
STAGE 5 The disclosures of [Mary] and the other satellite cases.
Research into other cases in the UK.
Summary of Findings
Implications of the Findings:-
- The effect of the Broxtowe Case on the Social Services Department.
- Police – Social Service relationships.