MP launches blistering attack on Met for failing to interview ex-minister over rape claim
By Mark Conrad and David Hencke | 20 May 2014
Exaro can reveal that Watson’s private letter to the DPP, Alison Saunders, identifies the alleged perpetrator while suggesting that the police are unwilling to investigate him properly because of his status.
In the letter, the Labour MP launches a blistering attack on how the police have handled the case of the woman – known as “Jane” to protect her identity – who alleges that the ex-minister raped her before he became a politician.
He writes: “I am driven to the unpalatable conclusion that the identity of the alleged perpetrator – [name redacted] – may in some way have influenced treatment of the case. I hope I am wrong.”
We are identifying neither the former Conservative cabinet minister nor the alleged victim for legal reasons.
Over the weekend, Exaro revealed, in conjunction with the Sunday People, Jane’s story of how the ex-minister tricked her into his flat, locked her in, then raped her when she was a 19-year-old student in 1967.
Jane asked Exaro to help arrange a meeting with Watson so that she could tell him about the police response to her allegations.
“The elements of lack of freedom and capacity to consent,” Watson writes to the DPP, “make the decision highly irregular. This is shocking in itself.
“It further troubles me that the senior police officer who dropped the case revealed to the victim that he apparently took a series of worthless stereotypes and other irrelevant points into consideration.”
“Most of these stereotypes have been blown out of the water in recent months. Or so I thought.
“There has been a sea change in the climate surrounding rape, historic cases in particular. Why is it that the tide has not reached this case?”
He continues: “I have found myself appalled at the conduct of this investigation. I would like to believe that it is not typical of the CPS and the Metropolitan police as a whole. However, the case raises some very serious questions that are likely to remain unanswered without your attention.”
He seeks assurances on several points, including: “The investigation, including interview of [name redacted], will be completed.” The Met investigated Jane’s allegations under ‘Operation Fernbridge’, which was already looking into claims that the same ex-minister had sexually abused boys.
Watson urges Saunders to review the rape allegation and the “entire historic caseload of allegations made against [name redacted] – including the way in which each allegation was treated.” He refers to the cases of two men who were sexually abused as boys.
He asks that the “CPS area head of sexual offences” carries out the review “as a matter of urgency”.
He also asks Saunders to “read the reviews yourself, providing input as required.”
“Everyone is complicit in the failures of the past. But we have an opportunity now to put matters right. Any attempt to perpetuate a CPS in which a victim’s acquiescence in, or inability to escape, rape is a barrier to prosecution,” he adds, “would be wrong.”
Exaro revealed on Saturday that Tom Watson had written to the DPP. But Jane has since passed a copy of the letter to Exaro to prove the strength of his attack on the Met.
She told Exaro: “It is a very strongly-worded letter. I am really pleased that Tom Watson has been able to deal with the issue in this way.
“My hope is that the matter, the investigation, will now be dealt with more fully and in a far more sensitive way.”
Watson’s letter will trouble the Met in particular because the MP had been supportive of the police investigation since he challenged David Cameron, prime minister, in Parliament in 2012 over claims of sexual abuse by leading political figures. He raised the issue during prime minister’s questions in the wake of the exposure of Jimmy Savile, the late BBC star, as a paedophile.
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