Met drops £1.7m investigation into allegations of murder and child sex abuse by VIPs
By Mark Watts | 21 March 2016
The Metropolitan Police Service this afternoon announced the halting of ‘Operation Midland’, which was investigating the alleged murder of three boys, after informing Proctor and the complainant, known only as ‘Nick’.
The Met has, however, launched ‘Operation Marlborough’ to continue to investigate the disappearance in 1979 of a 15-year-old boy, Martin Allen.
The Met defended Operation Midland in a statement, saying that the investigation was launched after the credibility of the allegations was assessed.
The statement continued: “The allegations included the potential homicide of three boys. The complainant identified one of these as resembling a boy called Martin Allen who disappeared in November 1979.”
The Met said that in September detectives received new information related to Martin’s disappearance. “This generated new lines of inquiry which have had to be thoroughly investigated.”
Steve Rodhouse, deputy assistant commissioner, who was overseeing Operation Midland, concluded that the case had not reached the threshold to refer it to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). But Rodhouse said that it was “absolutely right” that the Met had assessed the allegations “carefully” and had not dismissed them “prematurely”.
“Victims of non-recent abuse should have the confidence to come forward and know that we will listen to them, take seriously their allegations and investigate without fear or favour,” he said.
The Met statement continued: “While investigations could not be completed into individuals who are no longer alive, sufficient evidence has not been found that would have led the Met to refer the matter to the CPS if they were alive.
“The disappearance of Martin Allen remains an outstanding concern for the MPS and for his family, who do not know what happened to their son. Specialist investigators from the Homicide and Major Crime Command will continue a missing person inquiry into Martin’s disappearance.”
The Met said that Operation Midland had cost £1.7 million as of last November, with 31 officers on the case.
“It is not uncommon for investigations to result in no action against individuals, and it is a central part of our judicial system that everyone is innocent unless proven guilty in a court.”
Despite a false media report in January that police were investigating Nick for “wasting police time”, the Met made clear that it is not taking any action against the complainant.
The Met’s statement said: “In the course of the investigation, officers have not found evidence to prove that they were knowingly misled by a complainant.”
Last month, the Met commissioned Sir Richard Henriques, the retired High Court judge, to conduct a review of Operation Midland and its other investigations into allegations against public figures of non-recent sexual abuse.
The Met is to publish the review’s key findings and recommendations later this year, but says that it will not make the full report public because it will contain confidential and sensitive information.
The statement said that the Met would co-operate with the overarching inquiry into child sex abuse if it decides to examine Operation Midland.
The statement added: “The Met will not apologise for carrying out its duty to investigate serious allegations of non-recent abuse.
“The Met recognises, however, how unpleasant it is for an individual to be investigated and to have their innocence publicly called into question. The Met sympathises with those affected, including the families of those no longer alive, and regrets the distress that they have felt.
“But it is in the interests of justice for police to investigate thoroughly.”
Police raided Proctor’s home in March last year, and later interviewed him under caution.
Proctor said that he was “relieved” by the closure of Operation Midland. In a statement, he called for “a truly independent public inquiry” into the operation.
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