Exaro News Archive

CPS refuses to advise police on rape case against Leon Brittan

Met sent file to prosecutors – before peer’s death – on claim of raping female student

By Mark Conrad | 20 June 2015

CPS refuses to advise police on rape case against Leon BrittanProsecutors are refusing to tell Scotland Yard whether it had enough evidence to charge former home secretary Lord Brittan with raping a young woman.

The refusal has prompted frustration among detectives and for the complainant, known only as “Jane” to protect her identity. Jane alleged that Brittan had raped her when she was a 19-year-old student in 1967 and before he was an MP.

Before Brittan’s death in January, the Metropolitan Police Service sent a file on the case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for advice.

Jane told Exaro of her frustration with the CPS decision. “The detective who told me seemed disappointed that neither the Met, nor I, would know whether Leon Brittan could have been prosecuted.”

“Unfortunately, I have to live with the fact. At one point, I did think that I was going to have my day in court.

“But I am a robust person now – I have had to be – and I would still encourage other survivors of abuse to come forward.”

The Met still wanted to know whether it would have had a strong enough case to prosecute the Conservative peer over the allegation were it not for his death.

Exaro understands that an assistant commissioner at the Met pressed the request for the CPS opinion despite the suspect’s death, believing that it would be useful guidance in other VIP cases.

But – months after Brittan died – the CPS has refused. It comes after Alison Saunders, director of public prosecutions (DPP), infuriated Leicestershire Police by refusing to prosecute Lord Janner, the Labour peer, on 22 counts of child sex abuse on grounds of ill health.

It is a bitter blow for Jane after police initially failed to interview Brittan over Jane’s detailed allegations, even though officers believed her to be credible.

And, as Exaro reveals today, the CPS refused to provide charging advice on the late Lord Brittan, but announced that it would have prosecuted Arnis Zalkalns with the murder last year of 14-year-old Alice Gross even though he was dead by the time of that statement in January.

A CPS spokesman said that the case had not reached the stage for a charging decision.

Exaro’s lengthy report on Jane’s account of meeting Brittan for a blind date, and of how he allegedly duped her into his flat before raping her, led to the intervention of the director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders.

Exaro revealed that the police were failing to follow their own guidelines by refusing to interview Brittan.

The officer in charge of the case accused Exaro of being “overly intrusive” in its monitoring of the police investigation.Following the Exaro disclosures and an intervention by Tom Watson, Labour MP, the DPP forced the Met to review its handling of the case.

As a result, the officer in charge of the investigation was removed, and Brittan was duly interviewed under caution. At the time of his death, the Met was investigating multiple allegations against Brittan of sexually abusing boys.

Brittan denied all the claims against him.

Jane condemned the fact that so many high-profile people turned out for Brittan’s memorial service last month despite his being under active police investigation at the time of his death.

Many of Brittan’s old-time Conservative colleagues attended the service, including John Gummer (now Lord Deben), David Mellor and William Hague (all pictured to the right). Theresa May, current home secretary, was absent.

Nick Clegg, former leader of the Liberal Democrats and deputy prime minister until May, is also pictured attending the service at the West London Synagogue, with his wife, Miriam Gonzalez Durantez.

“I find it hard to accept that these people attended such an event,” said Jane.

The memorial service struck a different note from Brittan’s “very private funeral”, when he was buried in an unmarked grave. This was despite the cemetery’s usual practice of marking a new burial site with a white plate.

Jane and her partner, known as “Michael”, have been angered by ill-informed comments in newspapers about the case.

They were especially upset by false newspaper reports that it was closed last year after the police interviewed Brittan, when, as Exaro reported, it remained open even after his death.

If you have information that might help our investigation into child sex abuse, please contact us. Keep re-visiting Exaro for more on this investigation.

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By Exaro News

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