In wake of Jimmy Savile’s exposure, police investigate her claim against political figure
By Mark Conrad | 17 May 2014
October 2012: Jane was amazed to hear exchanges in the House of Commons about historical claims of a “powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and Number 10.”
Tom Watson, Labour MP, was challenging the prime minister, David Cameron, and claiming that the “powerful paedophile network” included a “senior aide of a former prime minister”. Police should re-investigate the allegations, Watson told Cameron.
“They clocked it because of the name of the person” – Jane
Watson’s extraordinary intervention came during prime minister’s questions in Parliament, following the exposure of Jimmy Savile, the late BBC star, as a paedophile.
The Metropolitan Police Service responded to Watson’s intervention by launching ‘Operation Fairbank’, which began to scope a wide variety of claims against several senior political figures that they sexually abused children.
Scotland Yard, with Exaro’s help, also began to investigate claims from three decades ago that senior Conservative figures and other prominent people sexually abused boys at Elm Guest House in Barnes, south-west London. That investigation became the core of ‘Operation Fernbridge’.
Jane decided to tell the police how a former cabinet minister had raped her in 1967 before he became an MP.
“I saw Tom Watson raise the issue with the prime minister on television,” she recalled.
Victims of historical crimes by high-profile people were supposed to be taken seriously. “We were told that there had been a sea change.”
She contacted her local police force, outside of London. Police took detailed statements, and recorded video testimony. The local force referred the case to the Met, because the crime was allegedly committed in London. “And they clocked it because of the name of the person,” she adds.
Scotland Yard passed the case to its paedophile unit because it was already investigating allegations that the ex-minister had sexually abused boys.
After decades of emotional turmoil, Jane says that she felt strong enough to discuss what happened with authority figures.
The Met assigned a female officer to liaise with Jane, who gave a second round of detailed interviews.
Then came silence.
Met commanders received a secret briefing, as Exaro disclosed just over a year ago, on preparations by the paedophile unit to arrest the ex-minister. Exaro revealed: “One woman has told detectives that the ex-minister raped her when she was a young woman.”
Jane followed Exaro’s reports on evidence that politicians and other VIPs had sexually abused children with close interest.
But she heard nothing from the Met for months.
Then Jane’s liaison officer, a detective constable, telephones her. The liaison officer and a detective sergeant would travel hundreds of miles from London to see Jane and her partner, Michael.
At the meeting last October, the two detectives thank Jane for coming forward.
An awkward pause.
The liaison officer refers to the fact that Jane was sexually active at the time and already had “an illegitimate baby”.
The point strikes Jane and Michael as odd. What relevance, they think to themselves, does that have to anything?
“It was very insensitive of her just to throw it at me like that,” says Jane.
But the liaison officer says that Jane had not originally told them about the baby. Jane’s sister had mentioned it when police interviewed her.
Jane says that she regarded it as irrelevant.
“It would possibly have informed the decision with the judiciary at the time. That is perhaps where they are coming from. I take great issue with this way of working,” Jane says.
The detective sergeant tells her: the case will not proceed.
He reads from what he implies was an e-mail from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Because Jane had not explicitly stated that she did not want to have sex with her alleged attacker, her lack of consent was not sufficiently clear.
Jane is totally taken aback.
So, locking herself in a toilet to escape from her alleged attacker then reluctantly emerging because there was no way out does not count as making clear her lack of consent?
“Perhaps I might not have come forward if I had known the feeling that they would not have enough to prosecute him.”
Exaro is protecting the real identity of “Jane” and “Michael”.
Related Stories: Child sex abuse, ‘Fernbridge’ and ‘Fairbank’: Exaro story thread