Scotland Yard launched campaign to traduce alleged victim as it dropped investigation
By Mark Conrad and David Hencke | 27 May 2014
Over many months, senior officers at the Metropolitan Police Service have made repeated attempts either to tarnish the woman’s reputation or undermine her claim that she was raped as a 19-year-old student by the ex-minister in 1967 before he became an MP.
The police’s false smears of the woman – whom we called “Jane” to protect her identity – include:
- Claiming that Jane, now 66, suffered from problems with her mental health;
- Casting aspersions about her sexual history;
- Stating that she had “backed away” after making her allegations to the Met.
The woman provided a detailed account of her alleged rape to detectives working on Scotland Yard’s ‘Operation Fernbridge’, which is investigating an array of claims of sexual abuse by the ex-minister and other VIPs.
Jane was furious when she learnt of the smears, asking: “Is this part of a ‘dirty tricks’ campaign?” She is especially angry about the police’s raising questions about her mental health.
During police interviews, she had mentioned that she suffered intermittently from a mild form of depression. She said that a professional psychiatrist has assessed her condition as the likely result of past trauma.
Speaking to Exaro, she said: “I am very angry. My medical history has nothing to do with the statements that I gave to the police about the rape. I volunteered information on my background and medical history to the police, and expected that it would be treated in confidence.”
One person who was told in a Met briefing that Jane suffered problems with mental health shared her anger, recognising that it was simply a smear.
Jane has also been alarmed by police comments about her sexual history, suggesting that she was promiscuous at the time and referring to the fact that she already had a baby before college.
And, far from “backing away”, Jane has pressed the Met to continue to investigate, and was shocked to be told by the officer in charge that detectives had not even questioned her alleged attacker as part of the evidence-gathering process.
In despair at the Met, she spent many months going over her allegations with Exaro, seeking assistance from us and Tom Watson, Labour MP, in her quest for answers from the police as to why the case had been dropped.
Despite this, police briefed one person who has been following developments in Operation Fernbridge that she was “backing away”.
The Met was also behind a false story in one national newspaper that it had referred the case to the Crown Prosecution Service for a charging decision. In truth, it had merely consulted the CPS last summer for advice on whether to continue the investigation by arresting and questioning the alleged attacker.
Detectives even attempted to blame the CPS for the decision to drop the case at a meeting with Jane.
They indicated to her that the CPS had decided against proceeding with the case because she had not explicitly stated that she did not consent to sex with her alleged attacker.
However, she said that the officer in charge of the investigation later admitted to her at a stormy meeting that he took the decision to drop the case. He told her that he had sought pre-arrest advice from the CPS.
The Met refused to comment.
Tom Watson, Labour MP, named the ex-minister who allegedly raped Jane in an explosive letter to the director of public prosecutions, and suggested that the police were unwilling to investigate him properly because of his status.
Exaro uploaded a video interview with Jane, while maintaining her anonymity. She is appealing for any other victim of the ex-minister to come forward.
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