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‘Ex-cabinet minister raped me when I was 19,’ woman tells Met

Alleged victim: he tricked me into his flat. I was trapped, raped, then let down by police

By Mark Conrad, David Hencke and Alex Varley-Winter | 17 May 2014

‘Ex-cabinet minister raped me when I was 19,’ woman tells Met

‘Ex-cabinet minister raped me when I was 19,’ woman tells MetPolice stand accused of bowing to political sensitivities to avoid questioning a former Conservative cabinet minister about a claim that he raped a teenage woman.

The alleged victim says that in 1967 the ex-minister, before he became an MP, tricked her into his flat, locked her in, then raped her. She was a 19-year-old student at the time.

In extensive interviews with Exaro, the woman and her long-term partner accuse police of looking for excuses to shelve the investigation into her allegations against the ex-minister.

She told Exaro: “I am concerned that people may be protecting him.

“If you compare the handling of this case with some of the ‘celebrity’ investigations, there appears to be an inconsistency. Celebrities were quickly interviewed by police, and yet the allegations are similar.”

We are identifying neither the alleged victim – whom we are calling “Jane” – nor the ex-minister for legal reasons.

Tom Watson, Labour MP, who has met Jane twice, said: “She deserves the rules to be applied fairly by the police regardless of the status of the alleged perpetrator.”

Detectives initially indicated to Jane, now 66, and her partner – whom we are calling “Michael” – how the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had decided that the case should not proceed. But the detective in charge of the investigation admitted at a heated meeting with the couple that he decided to drop the case.

Detectives also initially explained to them how the identity of the alleged attacker was masked in the file that was passed to the CPS.

But the officer in charge later told them that Scotland Yard had handed to the CPS all the details of the case – including the alleged attacker’s identity.

The senior officer insisted in his meeting with the couple that the Met had followed procedures properly by seeking CPS advice before deciding whether to make an arrest.

Jane went to the police in 2012 in the wake of the exposure of Jimmy Savile, the late BBC star, as a paedophile.

The Metropolitan Police Service’s paedophile unit took up the case as part of ‘Operation Fernbridge’, which was already investigating claims that the same ex-minister had sexually abused boys.

Police took her allegations very seriously. They were able to corroborate her claims about how she came to meet the man who went on to become a Cabinet minister.

However, there was no other witness to the alleged attack.

And Jane says that she was too fearful to tell anyone about it until many years later.

But the Met’s handling of the case has shattered her confidence in the police and the CPS.

Jane is especially angry after officers told her that the case was being dropped because she had failed to make it clear enough to her alleged attacker that she did not consent to have sex with him.

But she gave detailed statements to police about how the man locked the front door to his flat, and put the key in his pocket. She said that she ran to the toilet, and locked herself in to escape from him.

When she realised that she had no way of escaping, she unlocked the toilet door. She weighed less than seven stone, and had no way of fighting him off. She says that he directed her to his bedroom, guided her on to the bed, then raped her.

Jane and Michael are convinced that if the alleged attacker were not a former cabinet minister, police would have arrested him and interviewed him under caution.

Sir Keir Starmer, former DPP, has called for a “radical shift in attitude and approach” to victims of sexual violence.

Jane agrees with his stance, but said: “I do not feel that the police have handled this any differently from how it would have been handled if I had gone to them in 1967.”

Michael added: “We cannot invite people to come forward with historical allegations, only for them to hit a brick wall precisely because it happened a long time ago.”

Exaro today tells Jane’s shocking account of how she was raped by a man who went on to become a cabinet minister: it starts with a party in “swinging London” in the “summer of love”.

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.