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Further questions raised about whether or not Lord Janner is fit to stand trial

Published April 20, 2015 by JS2

Labour peer ruled too unwell to face child abuse charges signed document requesting a leave of absence from the House of Lords just eleven days ago

Lord Janner.
Lord Janner. Photograph: David Karp/Bloomberg News

Lord Janner of Braunstone, the Labour peer ruled too unwell with dementia by the prosecuting authorities to face child abuse charges, could face further police inquiries after the House of Lords confirmed that he signed an official document just eleven days ago.

A letter sent to the clerk of the parliaments that has been released to the Guardian shows Janner’s signature appeared on a request for a leave of absence from the House of Lords on 9 April.

A spokesman for the House of Lords said on Monday that the signature matches previous examples from the peer, and there is no reason to believe that it was signed by someone else.

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The letter and the parliamentary authorities’ assessment of Janner’s signature raise further questions about whether or not the peer is fit to stand trial.

A spokeswoman for Leicestershire police said they will consider contacting the House of Lords about the letter as part of Operation Enamel, their ongoing investigation into Janner and other alleged paedophiles.

Last week, Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions, ruled that the former MP for Leicester West would not face the courts because four separate doctors – two appointed by prosecutors and two by Janner’s family – ruled that he was unfit to plead or understand the court.

People with dementia have been prosecuted before the courts. But the decision over whether an individual is fit to stand trial is made by theCrown Prosecution Service on a case-by-case basis. Janner was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2009.

At least 10 men with dementia have been convicted of child sex offences since 2010, including six in the past year.

Janner’s letter was addressed to David Beamish, the clerk of the parliaments, and arrived at his desk on 9 April.

The peer wrote: “I am writing to request Leave of Absence from the House of Lords for the duration of the 2015 Parliament. I understand that this will take effect on the next sitting day.”

The letter was signed by Lord Janner, but the signature has been blanked out by the House of Lords to avoid any risk of ID theft. Below, someone has printed “Lord Janner of Braunstone” on the bottom of the letter.

Asked whether Janner’s signature on the letter warranted further inquiries given the public outcry over whether he is fit to stand, a House of Lords spokesman said: “The signature on the form matches the signature of Lord Janner of Braunstone. There is nothing for the Clerk of the Parliaments to investigate.”

Janner also wrote to Beamish on 3 October to indicate that he wished to go on leave of absence, the spokesman said.

Campaigners said that the letter points to another reason why Saunders was wrong to drop the prosecution of Janner.

Simon Danczuk, the former Labour MP for Rochdale who has co-written a book about the Cyril Smith child sex abuse scandal, said: “The decision on whether Lord Janner is fit to stand trial should be resolved before the courts and not in a clandestine and quasi judicial way behind closed doors.

“If Lord Janner is incapable of answering questions and going before a court then how can he possibly remain a possible legislator in the House of Lords? It’s bringing the whole place into disrepute.”

In a highly unusual move, the DPP said last week there was sufficient evidence to charge the peer with 22 offences against nine alleged victims between the 1960s and 1980 – but it was not in the public interest to prosecute because of Janner’s ill health.

If a person’s mental state is a consideration, then their fitness to plead can be tried. If they are found unfit to plead, then the facts of the case are tried rather than the person, so the accused receives neither the same verdict nor the same sentence as an ordinary defendant.

Leicestershire police has criticised Saunders’ decision, as have a number of Janner’s alleged victims.

Hamish Baillie, 47, who was one of the nine people lined up to give evidence against Janner over child sex abuse allegations, said the decision not to prosecute the Labour politician “beggars belief”.

Waiving his right to anonymity, the father-of-three told the Daily Mail he was molested by Janner during a game of hide-and-seek in a park, when he was a 15-year-old resident of a children’s home in Leicestershire.

He said: “I don’t think anybody other than the victims and the police involved in the Operation Enamel inquiry understand how perverted a man Lord Janner is.”

It also emerged on Monday that Saunders sought advice on Janner from a CPS barrister who recently worked in the same chambers as the Labour politician’s son. Neil Moore QC, Saunders’ principal legal adviser, was based at 23 Essex Street chambers with Daniel Janner QC until late last year.

A CPS spokesman said: “Saunders made the decision not to prosecute on her own and Moore had told her he had been in chambers with Lord Janner’s son before discussing the case.”

A spokeswoman for the CPS said that any related further inquiries are a matter for the police. “Lord Janner is suffering from a degenerative dementia which is rapidly becoming more severe. He requires continuous care both day and night.
“His evidence could not be relied upon in court and he could not have any meaningful engagement with the court process, and the court would find it impossible to proceed. The condition will only deteriorate, there is no prospect of recovery,” she said.

Janner’s family said last week that he was entirely innocent of any wrongdoing.
“As the Crown Prosecution Service indicated today, this decision does not mean or imply that any of the allegations that have been made are established or that Lord Janner is guilty of any offence,” a statement said.

The Guardian

Challenge to CPS decision on Greville Janner’s trial for alleged child abuse

Published April 19, 2015 by JS2

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All Parliamentary candidates have the same access to Government offices as MPs. 
I have used this privilege to write about the failure of the CPS to bring Greville Janner to court.
I would like to see this argument taken up by the media, but paradoxically, candidates cannot access the media during the election period, because the other candidates will object of unfair coverage.
To get round this I am inviting the other candidates in Weston (Lab, Libdem, Con and UKIP) to copy this letter, send it to the Attorney General, and then we can publicise what we have done together. It will help the cause of justice, and also raise the profile of Weston super Mare.
So, Tim, John, John and Ernie – are you with me on this? 
Use the comments slot below.
See my Wiki on child abuse by VIPs here.

Attorney General’s Office
Victoria Street
London
SW1H 0NF
correspondence@attorneygeneral.gsi.gov.uk

19 April, 2015

Dear Attorney General

Reference: CPS decision on Lord Janner of Blackstone

I write in my capacity as a potential Member of Parliament to challenge the decision of the DPP, Alison Saunders, not to prosecute Lord Janner for alleged crimes, namely 16 indecent assaults between 1969 and 1988, and 6 counts of buggery on under aged boys between 1972 and 1988.

I have read the CPS’ justification for their decision here http://cps.gov.uk/news/latest_news/lord_janner/.

Please do not refer this letter downwards to the CPS, and please do not treat it as a complaint against the CPS. I have been in lengthy correspondence with the CPS and have used their complaint service already, and I have no confidence in their decisions and processes, for the reasons set out below. I wish to challenge the judgment of the DPP directly. This is now a matter for the Chief Law Officer.
Alison Saunders in her justification document accepts that the evidential basis for a criminal prosecution of Janner is sound. However, she argues that there is no public interest in prosecuting him because he is unfit to plead.

She bases this argument on the evidence of four medical experts who agree that he has dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease, and that they have  “general agreement” as to the level of cognitive ability on a Mini  Mental State examination.

However, there is no reference to any brain scan having been carried our. If scans were performed but reports on the scans were left out of the CPS justification document, there has been a failure of due diligence in reporting, and Saunders should be rebuked.

If on the other hand brain scans on Janner were not performed, there has been serious negligence. In my extensive correspondence with the CPS on this case I explicitly requested several times that brain scans should be carried out, because they give objective evidence that goes far beyond medical history taking and examination. If they were not carried out Saunders should be invited to consider her position.
If we accept for the sake of argument that Janner is indeed suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, there are three precedents where paedophiles have been tried and convicted of sexual crimes against children. The names are David Massingham, John Hayford and Michael Collingwood. I can supply references if requested, but the CPS should be able to find them.

Either Alison Saunders knew of these cases and negligently failed to deal with them in her report, or she did not know of them, in which case there was a failure of due diligence as a lawyer.
There is no provision in the CPS Code of Practice to exempt people with dementia from facing trial. In the absence of such provision, but in the presence of sufficient evidential basis to proceed, Alison Saunders has used the public interest test.

Now clearly there is a major public interest in bringing to court people who are abused of serious sexual crimes against children, especially children who for one reason or another were in the care of public organisations.

First, sexual abuse has a devastating effect on the subsequent lives of survivors of abuse, and there is a need to demonstrate that society will not tolerate child abuse, even if carried out by VIPs.

Second, the Law itself comes into disrepute if there is a public perception that VIP status confers immunity against justice. You must be aware that already there exists a common perception that this is the case. This view is particularly prevalent in the community of survivors of sexual abuse. If Janner escapes trial, this perception will increase, both among survivors and among the general public. It is not in the public interest for there to be a perception that there is one law for the rich, another for the poor.

Against these two major public interest arguments, the CPS advances the minor public interest argument that money spent in bringing Janner to court could be wasted as he is likely to be judged unfit to plead. This argument is extremely weak. The expenditure would be trivial in comparison with other cases that have failed.

The precedents referred to above are worthy of being considered in court.

Most importantly, a major legal argument needs to be entertained, namely whether a person who passes the evidential test but who might not be fit to plead for reasons of dementia should be tried as if in absentia.
The defence could test the evidence given by Janner’s alleged victims. His accusers could be invited to ask if they can positively identify him, possibly by reference to body characteristics such as moles.
It should be noted also that in coming to her conclusion, Saunders rejected advice of one of UK’s principal authorities on sex offences. Eleanor Laws QC,  leading counsel to Leicestershire police’s investigation into Janner, recommended that he be put on trial despite his age and dementia.

In the light of this, the DPP must have consulted with other people in coming to her decision. The names of these people, the advice they gave, and the degree of pressure that they put on the DPP should be made clear to the public.

In conclusion, let me summarise the questions I am raising:
1. The question of whether or not scans have been carried out must be settled.
2. The question of precedents must be considered.
3. The question of public interest, major and minor, needs to be reviewed.
4. Who gave advice to the DPP to persuade her to come to her conclusion?

I look forward to a timely response to all the points made in this letter.

Respectfully yours

Dr Richard Lawson
MB BS, MRCPsych
Parliamentary Candidate, Weston Constituency, Green Party

Original can be found here  http://greenerblog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/challenge-to-cps-decision-on-greville.html

Making failure to report sexual abuse a criminal offence not enough on its own to protect children

Published April 14, 2015 by JS2

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Shocking child abuse scandals have triggered campaigns throughout Britain for legislation making failure to report abuse a criminal offence.

A petition calling for “mandatory reporting” in Scotland has been lodged with the Scottish Parliament by campaigner Scott Pattinson.

Campaigners say staff in faith settings, schools, sports clubs, other institutions and childcare settings must be legally obliged to report to police and or social services. Who could object to that?

Yet many people experienced in working against child abuse and sexual violence have serious worries about the effectiveness of a crusade no-one, including politicians, likes to question. They believe it will both encourage complacency and ignore more urgent changes needed before mandatory reporting could make much difference – at least in sexual abuse, the main abuse in recent scandals.

However, we can all agree that the most senior management level in these settings should indeed be mandated to report so that scandals where church leaders, or heads of homes and schools kept information about paedophiles to themselves would end. But junior staff should not be threatened and intimidated with criminal sanction. Other reforms also need greater priority. Why?

Reporting doesn’t mean reports will be acted on, nor children protected. Countless reports were made by outraged staff to police and social services of children raped and brutalised by child exploitation gangs or in care homes, yet nothing was done. This will continue until key agencies and criminal justice interpret those acts as abuse, instead of deciding stigmatised young people make lifestyle choices, or are just prostitutes, troublemakers, delinquents or liars. Changes of attitude need to be enforced through compulsory training, backed by the professional sanction of disciplinary action.

Even if reports are acted upon, children and young people will continue being traumatised and discredited in court so long as they’re used as the main source of evidence and without further curbs on defence conduct. Why not pilot in Scotland one of the “children’s houses”, so successful in preparing such cases sensitively for court in Scandinavia?

Most children remain unable to tell adults if they are being sexually abused. In my research alone, young people gave 14 different reasons why they did not tell. The climate for “instant action” in mandatory reporting would further deter young people from confiding in staff. They need time to develop trust and overcome fears, and greater control over the speed of investigation. In successful child exploitation investigations, police have painstakingly built trust with stigmatised, distrustful young people. Hence three local authorities hope to pilot Scottish “confidential space” projects, to gather evidence thoroughly at sexually abused young people’s pace, with emphasis on making them safe and achieving some positive outcome. How would this child-centred practice coexist with mandatory reporting, or give young people any sense of control or involvement?

Worrying behaviour seen or heard is rarely clear cut, but filled with doubts and uncertainties. Mandatory reporting assumes people will clearly recognise sexual or other abuses. But most don’t, as any training exercise reveals. What am I seeing/hearing? Am I exaggerating, imagining, mistaken? Are they just kids experimenting? Might I ruin his career?

More “worry ‘phone lines'” and secure internet advice services, staffed by child protection specialists, where people can talk through worrying scenarios, are urgently needed. Most adults responsible for children think they’re not allowed to ask if they’re being sexually abused.

“Backlash” propaganda has made school and youth staff fear to ask even sensitive, open-ended (and clearly permitted) questions of children, even when they strongly suspect sexual abuse. Disclosures and reports remain tiny in most schools. Simply making quite clear to teachers that it’s permissible to ask would make a big difference.

Most adults find sexual abuse a difficult, upsetting subject they prefer to avoid. Threats of prison increase fear and panic: support builds confidence and courage. Regular confidence- building and reflective discussion for staff groups throughout organisations will achieve this – not stern instruction, nor the big stick.

We need to campaign for the changes above so that, if mandatory reporting is eventually implemented, it only takes place in a climate of informed awareness and confidence, lack of prejudice against children, and a legal and criminal justice system which gives them better hope of protection.

Sarah Nelson is a writer and researcher specialising in sexual abuse issues, based at the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships at the University of Edinburgh.

Gang ‘Streamed Child Abuse On The Internet’

Published April 11, 2015 by JS2

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Jurors were told the men often gained access to their victims by gaining the trust of their parents and offering to babysit them.

A court in Bristol has heard how a group of paedophiles raped and abused babies and children under the age of five, streaming their crimes live on the internet.

Jurors were told the gang of men from across England often gained access to their victims by gaining the trust of their parents and offering to babysit them.

In some cases, offenders travelled hundreds of miles to an agreed point in order to snatch a short amount of time with a victim.

The court heard that video conferencing and Skype were used to arrange and view the assaults.

The men also communicated via the “dark web”, a hidden part of the internet, in an attempt to keep their crimes secret.

Prosecutor, Robert Davies warned the jury: “This prosecution will take you into a world you wish did not exist ” and “the evidence exposes the shocking interest a group of men has in sexually abusing babies, toddlers or pre-school children”.

He explained that five men have pleaded guilty to a range of offences, including rape of a child and conspiracy to rape a child during 2013 and 2014.

They are Robin Hollyson, 30, Christopher Knight, 35, Matthew Lisk, 32, Adam Toms, 33, and 51-year-old David Harsley.

The information was presented as part of the trial of Matthew Stansfield, from Hampshire, and John Denham, formally Benjamin Harrop, from Wiltshire, being heard at Bristol Crown Court.

Stansfield, 34, denies two counts of conspiracy to rape a child under the age of 13 and one count of conspiracy to sexually assault a child under 13.

He has pleaded guilty to possessing indecent images of children.

Denham, 49, has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to rape a child under 13 and conspiracy to sexually assault a child under 13.

He has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to engage in sexual activity in the presence of a child and possessing indecent images of children.

The jury was told they must decide if either of the men on trial were involved in a conspiracy to commit an offence and if they intended that the abuse should be carried out.

The case at Bristol Crown Court continues.

We must investigate new sex abuse claims says Leo McKinstry

Published April 9, 2015 by JS2

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For years there have been dark rumours that a paedophile ring operated at the heart of the British establishment in the 1970s and early-1980s.

Such claims used to be frequently dismissed as nothing more than lurid conspiracy theories.

But after all the revelations about Cyril Smith and Jimmy Savile that kind of arrogance is no longer tenable.

A significant new development has further exposed the foul malignancy within the political system.

This week Richard Kerr, a child abuse survivor from Northern Ireland, recounted how he was not only brutally exploited by paedophiles in the notorious care home of Kincora in Belfast but was also trafficked to London, where he was assaulted at the Elm Guest House in south-west London and at a flat in Dolphin Square, the apartment complex near Parliament.

These locations in the capital have heavily featured in allegations about a paedophile network within the elite.

Cyril Smith reportedly was a visitor to the Elm Guest House.

What is so important about Richard Kerr’s testimony this week is that he provides confirmation of the link between the sinister Kincora home and the bases of organised paedophilia in London.

It is clear that the strings of this influential web of depravity extended right across our country.

And that is why it is vital that the remit of the official inquiry into historical child abuse must be extended to cover Kincora.

So far Home Secretary Theresa May has refused to take this step, arguing that allegations of past abuse in Belfast are a devolved matter for the Northern Irish Government.

This is unconvincing, first because the worst of Kincora’s horrors occurred during the Troubles when London was directly responsible for the governance of Northern Ireland.

Second because the home was integral to the operations of the political elite’s national paedophile ring.

Kincora is no minor, peripheral Ulster problem. It is a key element of the abuse saga.

Founded in 1958 as a home for troubled teenage boys the place was turned into an arena of exploitation by its warden William McGrath, a fanatical Orangeman and pederast who eventually was jailed in 1980, along with two Kincora colleagues, for several counts of abuse after a newspaper exposé.

Yet the authorities had known about the nature of his sick regime for years before this.

The reason he had been able to get away with his crimes for so long was because of his connections to the establishment, especially military intelligence, the civil service and Westminster.

In fact it is said that within the establishment paedophile ring Kincora came to be regarded as a kind of weekend retreat.

According to one source, Sir Maurice Oldfield, the former head of MI6, was an occasional visitor, as were several senior MPs.

Part of McGrath’s immunity lay in his closeness to top Unionist politician Sir Robin Knox Cunningham, who was also a pederast and once served as parliamentary private secretary to Harold Macmillan.

While at Cambridge, Knox Cunningham had become friends with Anthony Blunt, later the infamous Soviet spy and another alleged abuser of Kincora boys.

It has been claimed that Blunt used his knowledge of Kincora’s other clients to protect himself from prosecution when he had been uncovered as a spy.

The establishment paedophiles do not seem to have confined their abuse in Ulster just to Kincora’s premises.

I was telephoned recently by a respected BBC journalist who told me that he had uncovered serious allegations that boys from care homes in Belfast and Dublin had been trafficked for rape-fuelled sessions in stately homes in the west of the province.

The violent chaos in Ulster at the time provided the perfect cover to protect abusers and silence witnesses.

In a world dominated by fear the usual checks on the misuse of power disappeared. Investigations could easily be shut down in the name of security.

Former army intelligence officer Brian Gemmell said yesterday that in 1975 MI5 told him aggressively to stop looking into claims of abuse at Kincora despite the powerful evidence he had collected.

Another former officer Colin Wallace said in 1973 that he had received intelligence about abuse but his superiors had refused to act on the information.

The Troubles had also created a society where death was woven into its fabric, thereby giving further protection to those with something to hide.

Many of those close to warden William McGrath came to sudden ends in the early-1980s.

Josh Cardwell, a Belfast Unionist councillor in charge of children’s homes and a suspected paedophile, was found dead in his garage from carbon monoxide poisoning in March 1982.

Even more chillingly John McKeague, a pederast and extreme loyalist paramilitary leader, was gunned down in 1982 soon after he had reportedly told police that he was prepared to give the names of the other men involved in the Kincora paedophile ring.

His killers were reported to be dissident republicans, though it has been claimed that they had links to British intelligence.

This murky world needs a full, public enquiry with the power to demand testimony and documents from the security forces.

The limited investigation into Kincora, currently under way in mid-Ulster, does not go nearly far enough.

A national approach is the least that survivors such as Richard Kerr deserve.

by

Leo McKinstry

Police launch major investigation into claims of sexual abuse at Nottinghamshire care homes dating back 75 years

Published April 8, 2015 by JS2
  • Operation Xeres will focus on abuse claims at Skegby Hall children’s home
  • Inquiry will have a team of 20 looking into the historical abuse claims 
  • More than 20 claims have been made relating to abuse in care homes

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Skegby Hall in Mansfield, which was a former children’s care home. Police have launched an investigation looking into claims of sexual abuse at the home

Police have launched a major investigation into claims of sexual abuse at care homes in Nottinghamshire dating back more than 70 years.

Operation Xeres will focus on allegations relating to abuse at Skegby Hall children’s home near Mansfield.

The inquiry will also look into nine other centres in Nottinghamshire where children were said to have been physically or sexually abused.

The 10 centres, all of which have either closed or changed their use since the time of the alleged abuse, also includes Whatton Youth Detention Centre.

Also being investigated are three former residential centres in Mansfield and five others in Worksop, Southwell and Stapleford.

The inquiry will have a team of 20 people looking into the abuse claims and will also include two social workers.

Three of the 23 allegations relate to a former youth detention centre, where teenage inmates were detained with the oldest claim dating back to the 1940s.

Police will look at whether the abuse was systematic or organised.

However, they say they are aware many of the records relating to the homes may no longer exist and that some of the alleged perpetrators may have died.

The investigation comes after calls for an inquiry by people who claimed they were sexually abused at Skegby Hall.

The investigation called Operation Xeres has been launched by Nottinghamshire Police, pictured. The inquiry will have a team of 20 people looking into the abuse claims and will also include two social workers

A separate inquiry called Operation Daybreak is already looking at child abuse at homes in Nottingham in the 1960s and 70s.

It comes after 189 former residents of 18 children’s homes in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire say they were abused between the 1950s and 1980s.

So far 11 people have been arrested in connection with the inquiry.

Among the victims to speak to Nottinghamshire Police in connection with alleged abuse is Golden Globe and Bafta winner, Samantha Morton.

The actress who spent most of her childhood living in institutions in Nottingham, spoke out last year saying she was abused by two male residential home workers at the Red Tile Children’s Home when she was just 13.

The double-Oscar nominee said she decided to waive her right to anonymity in the wake of a report detailing sexual exploitation of 1,400 children over a period of 16 years in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

Jennifer Newton

‘Hero’ who won bravery award EXPOSED as paedophile and jailed for abusing young girls

Published April 7, 2015 by JS2

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A hero who won a national bravery award has been exposed as a paedophile.

Wayne Morrison, aged 56, has been jailed for eleven years for sexually abusing young girls.

In 2005 Morrison, of Millbrook, Stalybridge, won an accolade at a ceremony sponsored by the Association of Chief Police Officers.

At a glitzy event at a Manchester hotel he picked up an award for rugby-tackling a mugger in Stockport town centre.

He was working as a street cleaner when he brought down the thief after seeing him snatch a woman pedestrian’s handbag.

Morrison’s glasses were sent flying as he struggled to detain the thief, who was kicking and punching.

But police arrived within minutes and arrested the man.

Morrison dusted himself down and returned the bag to the victim.

But at the time of the incident he had been abusing young girls for years.

At Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court, Morrison, was found guilty of all 12 counts of indecent assault and one of sexual assault on a child under 13.

He had denied all the charges but was convicted after a week-long trial.

The offences took place between 1993 and 2014.

One of his victims told the M.E.N.: “I am very happy with the sentence he has got.”

Morrison was arrested in May 2014.

At the time of his award, Morrison told the MEN how he tackled the thief.

He said: “I just saw him sneaking up and had to do something.

“He went for me and I went for him. I rugby-tackled him and got him in a head-lock.

“He was being extremely violent but I knew if I let go it would get worse. It was about two or three minutes before the police arrived. If someone’s in danger like that, I wouldn’t walk past.”

After handing Wayne his award, Merdydd Hughes, the then chief constable of West Yorkshire Police, said: “Each and every day members of the public put themselves at risk to help others in need.

“These awards showcase some extraordinary stories of bravery and many selfless acts of kindness and we are delighted to be honouring these very brave people.”

AWARD: Wayne Morrison receives his police bravery award from Chief Superintendent Mark Granby (right) as the Mayor of Stockport, Colin MacAlister (left), and colleague Ross Hartley (back) look on
Wayne Morrison in December 2009 receiving his police bravery award from Chief Superintendent Mark Granby (right) as Mayor of Stockport Colin MacAlister (left) and colleague Ross Hartley (back) look on

Manchester Evening News