coverups

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MI5 letter unearthed by Cabinet Office in child abuse inquiry

Published July 23, 2015 by JS2

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An MI5 letter warning of the risk of “political embarrassment” from child sexual abuse claims has been found.

A 1986 note – by then head of MI5, Sir Anthony Duff – followed warnings an MP had a “penchant for small boys”.

The newly uncovered material, found in a search by the Cabinet Office, was not disclosed to a 2014 Home Office review.

Its author, the NSPCC’s Peter Wanless, said the new documents showed the risk to children was “not considered at all” but did not alter his findings.

The papers have come to light months after the conclusion of an official review into whether allegations of child abuse were covered up by the Home Office in the 1980s.

The review – written by Mr Wanless and Richard Whittam QC and published in November – examined how the Home Office dealt with files alleging child abuse between 1979 and 1999.

It concluded that there was no evidence of records being deliberately removed or destroyed.

BBC

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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

Only 11 MPs out of 650 turn up for debate on Westminster paedophile rings

Published November 28, 2014 by JS2

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LOOK at the pathetic turnout from MPs for today’s child abuse inquiry debate in the House of Commons

650 elected MPs & only 11 have bothered to turn up

Do they care – Do they *uck

It is shameful and an absolute insult to all victims of child abuse

PLEASE share

TAP – We need independent MPs with minds of their own, who are not controlled by political parties.

Published on Nov 27, 2014

Bringing the debate on child abuse to a close MP Zac Goldsmith pays tribute to the survivors of abuse, to Labour MPs Tom Watson and Simon Danczuk, “and above all to the extraordinary work by the investigative journalists at Exaro and David Hencke in particular. This is an organisation that has really led the campaign on so many fronts, and I know that the mainstream press who’ve been so slow to pick up on what’s really happening in this scandal, have become heavily dependent and rightly so on Exaro.
And I sometimes feel that because they are online, they don’t have the magazine on your desk, they are somehow invisible to people who are not paying attention, but they are absolutely crucial and David Hencke has an encyclopaedic knowledge of something which I don’t ever want to have encyclopaedic knowledge on frankly, but he’s an extraordinary figure.

There can be no doubt at all that people have done terrible things and that they have been protected by the establishment.

And I’m sure that some of the key figures are alive today, and the measure of success for the police investigation is that those people face justice before they die. This process really needs to happen now. Justice must be done and it must be seen to be done. And it’s no good waiting years and years for some of these people to fade away and be punished in their absence it’s not good enough.
The measure of the success for the inquiry is that we and the wider public understand how these conspiracies and cover ups have been able to happen, it’s only by understanding how they formed that we will have any hope at all of preventing them from happening again.

http://youtu.be/6rTgyOuoOmA

In Great Britain, Protecting Pedophile Politicians Is A Matter Of “National Security”

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

I’ve long written about how the percentage of sociopaths within a group of humans becomes increasingly concentrated the higher you climb within the positions of power in a society, with it being most chronic amongst those who crave political power (see: Humanity is Rising).

The reason for this is obvious. Those with the sickest minds, and who wish to act upon their destructive fantasies, understand that they can most easily get away with their deeds if they are protected by an aura of power and ostensible respectability. They believe that as a result of their status, no one would dare accuse them of horrific activities, and if it ever came to that, they could quash any investigation. Unfortunately for us all, this is typically the case. I previously covered the issue of powerful pedophiles in the UK in the piece: Former BBC Host “Sir” Jimmy Savile Exposed as Major Player in Massive Pedophile Ring.

Now we have evidence of yet another case.

The Guardian reports that:

The security services are facing questions over the cover-up of a Westminster paedophile ring as it emerged that files relating to official requests for media blackouts in the early 1980s were destroyed.

Two newspaper executives have told the Observer that their publications were issued with D-notices – warnings not to publish intelligence that might damage national security – when they sought to report on allegations of a powerful group of men engaging in child sex abuse in 1984.One executive said he had been accosted in his office by 15 uniformed and two non-uniformed police over a dossier on Westminster paedophiles passed to him by the former Labour cabinet minister Barbara Castle.

Ah, national security. Remember that the next time you are lectured that we need to give up our civil liberties in the name of “national security.” Think about what that really means. It really means the security of the status quo to continue to behave like insane criminals with zero accountability.

The other said that his newspaper had received a D-notice when a reporter sought to write about a police investigation into Elm Guest House, in southwest London, where a group of high-profile paedophiles was said to have operated and may have killed a child. Now it has emerged that these claims are impossible to verify or discount because the D-notice archives for that period “are not complete”.

“It feels like just another example of key documents from that period going missing. We need to know more about what has happened. The journalists who have said that D-notices were issued are respected people with no reason to lie.”

The two journalists, Don Hale, the former editor of the Bury Messenger, and Hilton Tims, news editor of the Surrey Comet between 1980 and 1988, both recall their publications being issued with D-notices around 1984. Tims, a veteran of the Daily Mail and BBC, where he was head of publicity for the launch of colour TV, said that his chief reporter had informed him that a D-notice had been issued to him after he tried to report on a police investigation into events at Elm Guest House, where Smith is said to have been a regular visitor.

“The reporter was told that there were a number of high-profile people involved and they were getting boys from a care home in the Richmond area. So I put someone on to it, the chief reporter I think, to make inquiries. It was the following day that we had a D-notice slapped on us; the reporter came over and told me. It was the only time in my career.”

Hale, who was awarded an OBE for his successful campaign to overturn the murder conviction of Stephen Downing, a victim of one of the longest-known miscarriages of justice, said he was issued with a D-notice when editor of the Bury Messenger. He had been given a file by Castle, by then an MEP, which had details of a Home Office investigation into allegations made by the Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens of the existence of a Westminster paedophile ring. The files contained the name of 16 MPs said to be involved and another 40 who were supportive of the goals of the Paedophile Information Exchange, which sought to reduce the age of consent.

The worst part about incidents like these, is that those closest to the situations will often blindly protect the offenders. Such as what is described in the following articles.

From Outside Magazine: The Sex-Abuse Scandal Plaguing USA Swimming

From the Associated PressClassroom Sex Abuse Case to Cost Nearly $140M

My heart goes out to all these young, helpless victims, and all those others whose stories haven’t been told.

Former Scotland Yard detectives say young boys were murdered by Westminster paedophile ring

Published November 24, 2014 by JS2
  • New claims reportedly made in written statements by two retired officers
  • Emerged after witness ‘Nick’ claimed he saw Tory MP throttle a boy, 12
  • Scandal revolves round Elm Guest House and Dolphin Square in London
  • Two journalists say they were barred from reporting for ‘national security’
  • But ‘D-notice requests from government in 1984’ have now been destroyed
  • Home Secretary Theresa May admits revelations only ‘tip of the iceberg’
  • Scotland Yard chief Bernard Hogan-Howe says 40 detectives investigating

Two retired detectives have reportedly backed claims that young boys were murdered by politicians at paedophile orgies.

The claims, said to be in new written statements handed to the Metropolitan Police, have emerged just a week after a witness called ‘Nick’ claimed he saw a Tory MP throttle a 12-year-old boy to death.

Scotland Yard has already confirmed it is examining a ‘possible homicide’ committed 30 years ago by a paedophile ring whose ranks included senior Establishment figures.

The revelation came as the Home Secretary Theresa May admitted the recent spate of child abuse allegations were only the ‘tip of the iceberg’.

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The Home Secretary, speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show this morning, said it was crucial for society to ‘get to the truth’ of what happened in the 1970s and 1980s.

But Mrs May told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show she was determined that the issues would be fully investigated.

She said: ‘We must as a society, I believe, get to the truth of that and because I think what we’re seeing is frankly – what we’ve already seen revealed – is only the tip of the iceberg on this issue.’

It came as Scotland Yard chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe insisted police are taking claims ‘seriously’ and promised there will be no cover-up.

He said: ‘We have got 40 detectives looking into these relatively new claims. There are a series of claims over a relatively long period of time and not all of them are linked, although in the public’s imagination they may be.

‘We have now had more recently this discussion or these claims about murder and, of course, that makes it even more serious.’

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The alleged Westminster paedophile ring at the centre of the scandal reportedly met at the now-notorious former Elm Guest House in Barnes, south west London, and a luxury apartment at Dolphin Square in Pimlico.

The two retired officers provided their information today to the Sunday People, which last week revealed the testimony of ‘Nick’ with the help of the Exaro investigative agency.

According to the newspaper, the officers were part of the team which originally investigated the claims in the 1980s but it is thought they were told not to probe further.

Their claims appear to support those of ‘Nick’, now an adult, who said he was in the same room as a 12-year-old boy who was murdered by a Tory MP.

He told the Sunday People last week: ‘I watched while that happened. I am not sure how I got out of that. Whether I will ever know why I survived, I am not sure.’

And the notion that they could have been told to halt their investigation backs claims of a cover-up made by several MPs, including campaigning Labour MP Tom Watson.

Mr Watson, who first raised allegations of a Westminster paedophile ring in Parliament, said last week: ‘We are at the point where the government should consider a national police inquiry made up of specialists from around the country.

‘It is unfair to ask the police in London alone to investigate alleged crimes that took place in many regions of the UK. I am writing to the PM to make this request.’

Two former local newspaper executives have now claimed they were told to stop their reporting of a Westminster paedophile ring in the name of ‘national security’.

The two men, Don Hale of the Bury Messenger and Hilton Tims of the Surrey Comet, told the Observer they were both served with D-notices around 1984 when they tried to report the story.

Now called DA-notices, the rarely-issued orders come from the government and strongly advise journalists not to reveal issues which could compromise the security services.

But the men’s claims cannot be proved because D-notice correspondence ‘with no historical significance’ is destroyed after 20 years, the Observer reported.

Mr Tims, now 82, told MailOnline: ‘We had a tip-off that there was something going on at a guest house in Barnes and I put a reporter onto it.

‘He started making enquiries and didn’t get very far with it, but got some information that some high-profile people had been using this guest house for their antics.

‘The following day the reporter came to me and said we couldn’t carry on with it, we’d had a D-notice. I think it was by phone, as I never saw any document and the editor at the time dealt with most of it. I was the news editor at the time.

‘It was the only D-notice I ever encountered in my career. I was on the Daily Mail for six years and also worked at the BBC.’

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Air Vice-Marshall Andrew Vallance, secretary of the current DA-notice committee, insisted it was ‘inconceivable’ that genuine D-notices would have been issued to cover up child abuse – or that they would have then been destroyed.

He said: ‘The 20-year rule is standard throughout government. You get this mass of files that you haven’t used for years and years and some of them have to be destroyed, but not all.

‘Anything which contained letters of advice to the newspapers concerned would not have been destroyed.

‘The more relevant question is where are these D-notices? If individuals claim to have received D-notice correspondence, let’s see it.’

Last week Theresa May admitted there ‘might have been a cover-up’ of an Establishment paedophile ring after more than 100 files went missing from the Home Office.

NSPCC boss Peter Wanless and Richard Whittam QC had tried to track down 114 files dating to the 1980s.

Just one was found while another was shredded by the Ministry of Justice, which took possession of the dossier, just three years ago.

In their government-commissioned report, the men concluded: ‘It is … not possible to say whether files were ever removed or destroyed to cover up or hide allegations of organised or systematic child abuse by particular individuals because of the systems then in place.

‘We cannot say that no file was removed or destroyed for that reason.’

In separate claims Vishambar Mehrotra, whose son Vishal was eight when he vanished on the day of the Royal wedding in 1981, said he may have murdered by Westminster-based abusers.

Nick Clegg called on Scotland Yard to investigate the ‘grotesque’ claims after Mr Mehrotra said a male prostitute phoned him and said the boy had been taken to the Elm Guest House.

A Met Police spokesman said last week: ‘Our inquiries… have revealed further information regarding possible homicide. Based on our current knowledge, this is the first time that this specific information has been passed to the Met.

‘Detectives from the Child Abuse Investigation Command are working closely with colleagues from the Homicide and Major Crime Command concerning this information, which is being looked at under the name of Operation Midland.

‘We will not be giving a commentary as this inquiry develops, and it is important that officers are allowed to pursue their work without interference.’

TIMELINE: HOW THE PAEDOPHILE SCANDALS MUSHROOMED IN TWO YEARS

October 2012: Labour MP Tom Watson claims at Prime Minister’s Questions there is ‘clear intelligence suggesting a powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and No 10’ and that a ‘senior aide to a former prime minister’ had links to a child sex gang member.

November 2012: Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk uses parliamentary privilege to claim Cyril Smith, right, sexually abused boys.

November 2012: The CPS reveals it considered Smith allegations in 1970, 1998 and 1999. It admits Smith should have been prosecuted.

December 2012: Operation Fairbank set up to examine allegations that VIPs, including politicians, abused young men at Elm Guest House in Barnes, south-west London, in the 1970s and 1980s .

February 2013: Operation Fernbridge begins investigating the alleged paedophile ring linked to Elm Guest House. The Mail reveals Peter Hatton-Bornshin – allegedly abused there as a teenager – killed himself in 1994, aged 28.

December 2013: Ex-Labour MP Lord Janner’s home searched by police investigating historical child sex abuse. He is not arrested.

June 2014: Lord Janner’s Westminster offices searched by police. Again, he is not arrested.

July 3, 2014: It emerges Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens’ dossier on suspected Establishment paedophiles – sent to then Home Secretary Leon Brittan in 1983 – disappeared. But the Home Office could find no record of it, fuelling claims of a cover-up. Lord Brittan amends his story twice over his dealings with the original document.

July 5, 2014: More than ten current and former politicians reported to be on list of alleged child abusers held by police investigating Westminster paedophile ring claims. The Mail reveals the Establishment protected diplomat Sir Peter Hayman, a member of the Paedophile Information Exchange, when police found child sex abuse images at his flat in 1978.

July 6, 2014: Home Office permanent secretary Mark Sedwill reveals 114 files relating to historical allegations of child sex abuse, 1979 to 1999, have disappeared from the department.

July 7, 2014: Home Secretary Theresa May asks NSPCC’s Peter Wanless to head inquiry into Home Office handling of historical sex abuse cases. She also announces overarching inquiry. Chairman Baroness Butler-Sloss is forced to step down amid questions over the role played by her late brother, Lord Havers, who was attorney general in the 1980s.

October 2014: Replacement Fiona Woolf resigns amid criticism over her ‘Establishment links’, most notably in relation to Lord Brittan.

Dan Bloom & Tom McTague

Politicians’ alleged paedophile ring murder could have been covered up, says top detective

Published November 21, 2014 by JS2

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Retired senior officer who worked on child murder case warns not to discount a cover-up

A senior detective who worked on an unsolved case of child murder in the 1980s says she fears there could have been a “cover-up” surrounding allegations of a Westminster paedophile ring based at the notorious Elm Guest House.

Jackie Malton, who worked as a detective with the Metropolitan Police, told the Daily Telegraph newspaper there had sometimes been “a feeling of misuse of power”.

“There is clear evidence that something was happening at that guesthouse,” she said. “If nothing has been done about it in retrospect, then Mr Mehrotra is right. Either the police disbelieved it, or they covered it up one way or another.”

“During my time in the police there was a feeling of misuse of power. There were a lot of powerful people saying, ‘Don’t you know who I am?’”

Now retired, Ms Malton worked on the investigation into the 1981 disappearance of nine-year-old boy Vishal Mehrotra as a detective sergeant. Vishal was abducted as he walked home to Putney in south London, after watching the marriage procession of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

He disappeared less than a mile away from the notorious Elm Guest House in Barnes during the period it was alleged to be used as a base for child abuse by top establishment figures.

The child’s bones were found in a Sussex field six months later.

The Metropolitan Police announced last week that it was investigating the possibility that murders could have been linked to the alleged paedophile ring.

The inquiry was started after an alleged victim at the guesthouse came forward claiming to have witnessed three boys being killed, including one who was allegedly strangled by a Conservative MP during a violent sex game.

Earlier this week Vishal’s father, Vishambar Mahrotra, who is a retired magistrate, claimed he had recorded an anonymous caller saying his son might have been taken to the Elm Guest House. He says he took the recording to the police but that they had to refused to investigate the allegation. Mr Mahortra said he believed there was a “cover-up”.

Jane Tennison, Dame Helen Mirren’s character in the television programme Prime Suspect was based on Ms Malton, who retired from Scotland Yard in 1997 having achieved the rank of detective chief inspector.

The former senior officer said she had no evidence of a cover-up, but described a policing culture at the time in which police were deferential to politicians who were implicated in crimes.

“Some inquiries would come to an end when someone senior said, ‘That’s enough’,” she said. “I remember a case where there was an MP accused of cottaging and it all kind of disappeared.”

“There was also a strong sense of the power of Parliament and of politicians. It was very much a case of ‘do as you are told’.

“There was certainly a culture of disbelief among the officers, and that often didn’t help to get to the truth. But the politicians were very much in power, and the police officers’ voices could often not be heard.”

‘Cover-up to protect politicians after abuse claims’

Published October 20, 2014 by JS2

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There was a cover-up to protect politicians’ reputations following allegations of abuse at a children’s home, it has been claimed.

Nigel Goldie, former assistant director of social services at Lambeth Council, said it appeared “high level decisions” were made not to explore allegations against public figures.

Mr Goldie told the BBC: “People were protecting one another.”

The government is preparing an enquiry into historical abuse claims.

Lambeth Council said it would co-operate with the Home Office’s reviews and police enquiries.

Speaking out

A former Labour councillor in Lambeth, Anna Tapsell, said she also thought allegations of child abuse had been covered up.

She said: “I think because some people become entrapped in knots not necessarily in abuse but in other forms of misconduct, including fraud, that then prevents them from speaking out when they suspect something.”

Michael John Carroll ran the Angell Road children’s home in Lambeth during the 1980s despite having been convicted of indecently assaulting a boy in the 1960s.

He was allowed to remain in his job at the home even after the council learned of his conviction.

He was later sentenced to 10 years for further abuses of children in 1999.

The police officer who began investigating allegations in Lambeth, Clive Driscoll, was taken off the case after he named political figures as potential suspects.

‘Too uncomfortable’

Last week, he told the BBC he was removed from the investigation because it felt “too uncomfortable for a lot of people”.

Mr Goldie was present when the officer named the politicians. He said: “It does seem that not only at the time but subsequently there were some high level decisions about not wanting to open up issues that related to public figures of whom there were suggestions that they had been visiting this children’s home.”

Police officers questioned Mr Goldie about what Mr Driscoll had said, shortly before he was removed from the case.

He was told not to tell anyone about their conversations.

Mr Goldie said: “The whole approach to making it clear, I shouldn’t speak to anyone about what had happened, something that was now a closed book not to be further investigated, made me feel that there was a cover-up going on.”

A previous Metropolitan police investigation into abuse in Lambeth resulted in three convictions.

The Met is now investigating fresh claims. Officers from its professional standards directorate have met Mr Driscoll to hear his allegations.

Police accused of cover-up over loss of video interviews with abuse victims

Published September 22, 2014 by JS2

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Labour MP Keith Vaz said he was ‘deeply concerned by the serious security breach’

  • Interview recordings with abuse were being edited by a private firm for CPS
  • Computers containing the statements were stolen from Manchester office 
  • Police accused of cover-up after asking those affected to keep quiet about it
  • MP Keith Vaz says he is ‘deeply concerned by serious security breach’

Vulnerable victims of sex crimes have reacted with panic and fury after highly sensitive videos of their police interviews were stolen in an ‘unacceptable’ breach of security.

The theft of computers containing the statements sparked disbelief among witnesses when they were informed of the break-in.

And police were accused of trying to cover up the incident by asking those affected to keep quiet about it.

The recordings were being edited by a private firm in Greater Manchester for the Crown Prosecution Service.

Last night, Labour MP Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons’ Home Affairs Committee, said he was ‘deeply concerned by the serious security breach’ and voiced ‘surprise’ that a private firm had control of such data.

The loss is a blow for the CPS in the North-West, which oversaw the prosecution of the Rochdale gang in which nine men were convicted for exploiting dozens of girls as young as 13.

Publicity from the trial led to hundreds of victims of sexual abuse coming forward after suffering in silence for years.

But yesterday, it emerged that copies of their video statements had been stolen ten days ago, on September 11.

One witness, whose evidence related to attacks against her as a child, told The Mail on Sunday last night: ‘I was told by police that my statement had gone missing. The CPS uses an outside firm to edit the videos and they were all stored on computers.

‘The office was burgled and they all went missing. We were asked not to make the theft public. We were told by police that they’d been recovered today. They said they hadn’t been tampered with but how do they know for sure?

‘You’d have thought these files would have been kept under tighter security.’

In a statement yesterday, a CPS spokesman said that it was now co-operating with a police inquiry following a burglary at the premises of Swan Films, a Manchester-based video editing contractor for the CPS.

He said: ‘During the burglary, it is believed that material relating to a small number of cases, including some police interviews with victims or witnesses, sent to the company since August 1 this year within the Greater Manchester area, were stolen. Master copies of all material are retained by the prosecution.

‘The computers containing this information have now been recovered and we can confirm that the sensitive information they contained was not accessed between the time they were stolen and their recovery.’

The CPS said it was now demanding an ‘urgent explanation’ of the security arrangements that had been in place.

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Mr Vaz said he would be challenging CPS boss Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, over the security breach when she gives evidence to the Home Affairs Committee next month.

He said: ‘The public will be surprised that such sensitive information has been out-sourced in this way.’

Richard Scorer, a Manchester-based solicitor who represents child sex abuse victims in Rochdale, said he was ‘appalled and extremely concerned’ by the affair and raised fears it would deter future witnesses coming forward.

Greater Manchester police commissioner Tony Lloyd branded it ‘an unacceptable breach of security’, and called on the CPS to review the security arrangements.

Asked if witnesses were told to keep quiet about the theft, Greater Manchester Police insisted its officers had ‘not been briefed to request victims to not pass on this information’, and that the Force had been ‘entirely open and transparent’.

by Brendan Carlin