Statement: my partner was in no doubt, police were looking for ‘Greville Janner’ letters

By Alex Varley-Winter | 27 June 2015

Police raided the house of a former officer in a desperate hunt for evidence that then Labour MP Greville Janner was a paedophile.

Exaro today publishes extracts about the raid from a statement by the former officer, Ian Henning, who worked for Scotland Yard for 18 years before becoming a legal clerk for a law firm in Leicester.

As Exaro reveals today, the sensational statement is key evidence as the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) oversees an investigation into claims of a cover-up by Leicestershire Constabulary of evidence against Janner.

At the time of the raid, Henning was working for Greene D’Sa, and was part of the legal team for Frank Beck, a warden for children’s homes in Leicestershire, who was convicted of 17 counts of sexual abuse of children in his care.

“I feel that my arrest was brought about by senior police officers determined to destroy my professional career”
– Statement of Ian Henning, legal clerk and former police officer

Henning carried out some investigative work at the law firm from 1989 for a possible appeal by a convicted rapist. He worked closely with John Harrison, then a partner at Greene D’Sa.

The firm consulted counsel, who advised that someone from the law firm should visit the rape victim.

Henning went to her house in March 1990, and introduced himself. She allowed him into her home, and they discussed the case.

Counsel later advised that there were no grounds for appeal.

According to Henning’s statement, he heard nothing more about the matter until Tuesday, December 3, 1991. By that point, Henning was seeking a judicial review over what he said was a ban by Leicestershire Constabulary on his visiting police stations to accompany clients to interviews. He drew up this statement for that judicial review.

Although the judicial review was rejected, he was granted leave to appeal. He died in a road accident before the appeal was heard.

But Tuesday, December 3, 1991 was the day after the High Court gave him permission to seek the judicial review.

And it was four days after Beck’s trial ended with guilty verdicts.

First, Henning was arrested, although that would ultimately result in no further action.

That same day, police visited his partner at the house that they shared on the pretext of investigating Henning’s visit in March 1990 to the home of the rape victim.

But they seemed much more interested in seizing personal letters between Greville, now Lord, Janner and a boy whom the influential politician is alleged to have sexually abused. Janner was then an MP in Leicester.

Henning said in his statement: “My arrest was a response by the Leicestershire Constabulary to bully, threaten and intimidate me into silence.”

“The police were attempting to fabricate a case against me.”

The partner, who asked to be kept anonymous, told Exaro: “I do not know what I can add to Ian’s statement. They were reluctant to tell me why he had been arrested – on what case. And they had a search warrant, so I had no choice but to let them in.”

“The detective sergeant was just very scary. I had to take my daughter, who was only young then, to school. So I was leaving them in the house.

“I was not keen on doing that. But I did not have an option because I did not want her there either, under those circumstances. So yes, it was pretty horrendous really.”

The following extracts from Henning’s statement are exactly as they were written, with some redactions or additions by Exaro in square brackets:

I returned to my partners house at [number redacted], Grange Avenue, Leicester Forest East, on her return she was frightened and upset. She described how the police had knocked at the front door and asked for me. She told them that I had gone and the police said “Didn’t I live there any more. She told them that I had gone to work. The police replied “We’ll catch him at the office then”. She told me that she thought this strange, because if that was their attitude why had they called at her house at such an early hour. She told them that I had gone to Hull. The officers asked what time I had left, and my partner told them, they appeared bemused, then left. My partner felt that the officers did not believe her because my car was parked on her front driveway. At no time did they identify themselves as police officers, although my partner said that they looked like policemen.

Shortly afterwards my partner again answered a knock at the door. One of them men who had previously questioned her at the front door was again standing there, this time accompanied by a woman . The man asked if they could come inside. My partner said “No”. The man then identified himself as Detective Sergeant [DS1] and introduced the woman as Detective Constable [DC1]. He again asked if he could come inside the house, “As it was a delicate matter”.

Both officers stepped into the hallway and [DS1] asked if there was anyone else in the house my partner told them that her 7 year old daughter was upstairs. [DS1] then told my partner that they had arrested me for attempting to pervert the course of justice in the [rape] case. My partner asked if she could see me, but [DS1] said “No”. [DS1] then asked where I worked in the house and my partner showed them to the dining room.

My partner is familiar with all my cases as she receives many calls daily asking to speak with me or requesting she pass a message to me. On the telephone she has become known to most of my clients.

My partner told me that she became suspicious of the police, when she saw them put letters received from [convicted rapist in rape case] (Police claimed, the reason for my arrest), on a corner of a table and concentrate their search solely on material relating to the Frank Beck trial which had ended the previous week.

The two officers then started emptying the boxes marked ‘Frank Beck’ which contained the defence work product relating to the trial and had been boxed in readiness to be returned to the offices of Greene D’SA.

My partner then went upstairs to get her daughter ready for school, but because she thought that the officers were acting suspiciously, she told her daughter that they were friends from my work, looking for some papers to bring to me.

My partner returned downstairs to attend to the coal fire in the lounge when she was approached by [DS1], who she describes as appearing very annoyed. He stood very close to her, close enough for my partner to smell his bad breath and said “Does he keep any of his stuff anywhere else?”. My partner replied “Not as far as I am aware”. [DS1] then tightened his mouth in a very threatening manner and said “Are you sure?, because I will tear this house to pieces”. My partner said “Not that I am aware”. [DS1] then returned to the table where he continued searching through a box of the Beck trial material. The female officer was searching through a legal document case which contained my private banking records and private papers.

My partners daughter came into the room and stood watching the officers, but my partner felt intimidated and frightened by the suspicious behaviour of the officers, who had told her one thing, yet were doing something completely different, so she took her daughter and ran to a neighbours house, leaving the officers alone in her house.

My partner told her neighbour that she was taking her daughter to school, but asked that he kept an eye on her house as she had left the police alone to continue with their search. After taking her daughter to school, my partner called at a close friends house and he agreed to return with her, so that he could keep the police under observation. Being a close friend of Frank Beck, he had been arrested and was aware of the shortcuts police were taking in their efforts to obtain all the ‘Janner Letters’.

My partner returned to her house at 9.20am to find the two officers still there. [DS1] told her that he was taking three books, two diaries and a record of all my police station visits, with him. My partner asked for a receipt and was given one by [DS1]. He also explained to her that he did not need a search warrant, because they had arrested me.

My partner then said “Am I right then, I can’t see him?” and [DS1] said “That’s right”. The police then left the house, leaving the [convicted rapist in rape case] letters on the corner of the table, without even reading them. My partner told me that she was in no doubt that they were looking for the ‘Greville Janner’ letters. My partner then locked up her house and left at the same time as the police and she did not return until shortly after I had arrived at her house at about 3.30pm.

I then photographed the area in which I worked. I noticed that files, computers, tapes, confidential defence work product, photographs, personal papers and my private banking records were in total disarray. I saw that my Psion Organiser and the power unit had been removed from my legal document case and were laying on the floor. An obvious attempt had been made to access the machine, but as the password had not been entered, access had been denied.

I then attempted to use my Sharp IQ.128 KB Pocket Computer but it failed to operate. I noticed that it had been interfered with and saw that a 64 KB Ram card, value £59.99. was missing. This card contained detailed information regarding the Frank Beck case, but cannot be used unless the operator knows the password to gain access. I telephoned the arresting officers immediately and reporting that the disc was missing. I then informed Mr Harrison of Greene D’SA, as he has overall responsibility for preparing the Beck case bill for costing.

I later received a call from Detective Sergeant [DS1] who admitted that it was he who had touched the Sharp Computer. He denied that the disc had been stolen. I told him that I had made no such allegation, I told him that the disc was in the computer when I left home, but was not there on my return and I repeated what I had reported earlier ‘That the disc was missing’. [DS1] suggested that it may have fallen into one of the boxes which contained the Frank Beck material. An admission of the real purpose for the police search.

At the dinner table that evening, my Partners 7 year old daughter [name redacted] said to me “Did your friends bring your papers to you?”, I replied “Yes they did”. She said “I saw the man put something in his pocket”. I said “Did you?” and she said “Yes, it was your wallet”. I replied “No it wasn’t my wallet, I had that with me”. She said “I saw him put something black into his pocket”, and she demonstrated someone putting something into a right hand jacket pocket. My partner and I started at each other but said nothing so as to not alarm the girl.

On the evening of Wednesday 8th January 1992, a form F.104 – Cancellation of Bail Form, was hand delivered to my partners house, informing me that police enquiries were continuing in this matter.

In February/March 1992 as my partners 7 year old daughter was playing with her friends outside her house, a car containing 2 men stopped beside her, asked her where she lived, her mothers name, then asked if Ian Henning lived with her mother. Other children stated that the car was ‘The same as a police car’ and there was a hat on the back seat and one of the men was dressed like a policeman.

On Friday 13th November 1992 I received a letter dated 22nd October 1992 from A.J.P. [Anthony] Butler, Deputy Chief Constable of the Leicestershire Constabulary informing me that the Crown Prosecution Service HQ had advised that there was insufficient evidence for the case to be pursued through a criminal court.

In early December 1992 I received a telephone call from Detective Inspector [DI1] at my office, in which he claimed that a higher ranked CID officer named [redacted] had asked him to call me to ask if I had moved from [number redacted], Grange Avenue, as the letter I mentioned in the previous paragraph, had been returned to the police marked ‘Not known at this address’ and could he have my new address.

I told [DI1] that I had received the letter at my office and if he had any correspondence for me, to send it to the officers of Greene D’SA.

I feel that my arrest was brought about by senior police officers determined to destroy my professional career, not by a person contacting the police and making an allegation about me which the police felt was of a criminal nature and their duty to investigate.

The police were aware, in their own words, of my visit to [complainant in rape case] on the 28th March 1990 on the day that I visited her, yet did not consider it a criminal offence at that time.

Again in their own words, the police decided to investigate me some 20 months after what they alleged was an attempt by myself to pervert the course of justice.

The word ‘Investigate’ is defined as ‘Seeking the truth’ and in investigating and acting on the instructions of my client Frank Beck, which I might add is also my duty to my employer a solicitor of the Supreme Court and if I uncover information which causes embarrassment to senior officers of the Leicestershire Constabulary or their friends, that should not be my problem.

I feel that senior police officers fearing embarrassment which may be caused by revelations likely to be made public either by the media or in open court, decided that it was not their duty to carry out the law, but they were the law. The attached Chronology clearly demonstrates that senior police officers attempted to pervert the course of justice by falsely arresting me.

I contend that there are far too many coincidences throughout the Beck investigation and my application for a Judicial Review to be ignored.

During late 1989 and throughout 1990 and 1991, records show that Officers of the Leicestershire Constabulary were investigating a major sex abuse case involving childrens homes controlled by the Leicestershire Social Services.

The main defendant Frank Beck, was arrested on 14th April 1990 and remanded into custody at Leicester Prison. He transferred his instructions to my employers Greene D’SA Solicitors, in September 1990.

On the same day 14th April 1990, [witness 1], who was treated as a son by Beck and who occupied the upstairs of the same house with his wife, was also arrested. [Witness 1] told me that at the time of his arrest, he was asked by Detective Sergeant [DS2] if he was in possession of any incriminating letters sent by Greville Janner to a boy ‘In Care’ of the Leicestershire Social Services.

[Witness 1] told me that he was aware of the letters, but did not have them and told [DS2] the same. Police Officers seized a large number of video tapes belonging to [witness 1], believing that they belonged to Frank Beck.

[Witness 1] told me that on arrival at Wigston Police Station, he insisted on knowing the reason for his arrest and was told ‘On suspicion of commiting [sic] acts of gross indecency’. Later on arrival of his solicitor, when demands were made to be confronted with the allegations or evidence, police were forced to admit that no such evidence existed and that no complaint had been made.

[Witness 1] told me that he felt police attempted to extradicte [sic] themselves from a blatent [sic] false arrest by forwarding the seized video tapes to an outside authority, in an attempt to disclose some type of copyright offence.

Records show that on 11th May 1990 police officers took a written statement from a complainant named [witness 2], in which she made allegations of rape against Beck. In her statement she made reference to Greville Janner MP [she said that witness 1 had told her about what Janner was doing to him].

On 17th May 1990 police officers returned to [witness 2] with a typed copy of her original statement in which all reference to Greville Janner had been edited out. The omitted material was never disclosed to the Defence or lodged at the court of trial, Leicester Crown Court. This came to light during the defence cross examination of [witness 2] by John Black [Beck’s counsel].

Exaro also publishes today extracts from the Henning statement that detail what the police told him about Janner and child sex abuse in the run-up to the Beck trial.

Additional research by Matthew Gilley and Samuel Osborne.

Related Stories : Child sex abuse, ‘Fernbridge’ and ‘Fairbank’: Exaro story thread

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