Exaro News Archive

Commentary: my frustration over rape probe into Leon Brittan

Ex-minister attacked me ‘with such a practised air of entitlement’, writes complainant

By Jane | 25 June 2015

Commentary: my frustration over rape probe into Leon BrittanI never, ever through all the years thought that I was the only one harmed by him

For me, it was very difficult to go to the police about the rape that I endured in 1967 as a student in London.

I had lived with the memory of it for more than 40 years, but without the courage to report it to the police. I had no confidence that they would take the matter seriously.

I feared him. I never told anyone – not even my closest friends or family – until some 20 years later when I confided in my partner, and later my sister and a friend.

Information started to come out about Jimmy Savile, the late BBC presenter, and other prominent people who allegedly were paedophiles in 2012.

I began to think about whether I should go to the police about Leon Brittan, former home secretary: the man who raped me in 1967 before he became an MP.

Police must be looking into allegations about Brittan, I thought. My information might help to build up a picture about him. I built the courage to go to the police. It was gruelling.

At first, I went to the local ‘sexual crimes unit’.

After an intense video interview, I was told: “Because you did not say ‘no’, it was not rape.” I was outraged. However, I tried to reconcile myself with the thought that I had done what I could.

A short time later, officers from the Metropolitan Police Service contacted me, and I went through the whole process again with them. It was handled very thoughtfully and professionally. The team, working under ‘Operation Fairbank’, took my information seriously, and believed me.

I then started researching, and I found Exaro.

In 2013, it reported that police had taken very seriously an allegation from a woman who claimed that an ex-minister raped her many years before.”

“She also told police that she had gone willingly to the ex-minister’s home, where she was attacked,” Exaro reported.

“One source close to the investigation said that the CPS, in a controversial view, has told detectives that it cannot prosecute on the basis of her claims because guidelines at the time of the alleged attack – unlike now – would not have convicted in a case where the woman had not made explicit that she was refusing consent.”

However, I had not gone willingly to the ex-minister’s home. I contacted Exaro to put the record straight. I began a relationship with Exaro, and it provided advice and support.

When the Met told me that it was shelving my case, I was astonished. That was that, or so I thought.

Exaro suggested that I ask for a meeting with the officer in charge of my case.

He told me that my case “did not meet the criteria for rape.”

I was staggered.

He also said that I was only pursuing the matter because of who Brittan was.

No, I said, it was because of what he had done.

Exaro ran a full account of my case.

Exaro also arranged a meeting for me with the Labour MP, Tom Watson, who wrote to Alison Saunders, director of public prosecutions (DPP).

She told the Met to follow police guidelines in rape cases, and the investigation was re-opened.

Police formally questioned Brittan about my allegation, and a source not connected with me made this public.

A few months later, Brittan died.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has refused to provide the police with an opinion on whether they would have had enough to charge Brittan with raping me.

I feel utterly frustrated.

I had gone to the police two-and-a-half years before he died.

I feel very let down. My sleep is constantly disturbed with thoughts about the experience that I went through nearly 50 years ago, and the gruelling interviews and the subsequent outcome.

It is deeply unpleasant to read the eulogies about Brittan by prominent members of the establishment without any thought or mention of the harm that he did to me, and apparently others, who I absolutely believe, because I never, ever through all the years thought that I was the only one harmed by him.

He did it with such disregard for my feelings or well-being, and with such a practised air of entitlement.

Jane (not her real name) made a complaint to police that Lord Brittan, former home secretary, raped her as a 19-year-old student in 1967.

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

By Exaro News

Exaro News investigates matters of public interest and seeks to uncover the truth.