MP accuses CPS of key error on evidence of child sex abuse from ‘Operation Fernbridge’
By Mark Conrad and David Hencke | 1 July 2014
Labour MP Simon Danczuk has asked the director of public prosecutions to review the dismissal by prosecutors of historical allegations of child sex abuse.
Danczuk becomes the second MP to write to the DPP, Alison Saunders, to raise serious concerns about the handling of a specific victim’s claims that were investigated by the Metropolitan Police Service under ‘Operation Fernbridge’.
It increases the pressure on police and prosecutors over how they are conducting cases of historical allegations of sexual abuse, especially those against politicians or other prominent people.
The witness told Exaro: “I am delighted that Danczuk is actively seeking explanations on my behalf.”
Tom Watson, another Labour MP, first complained to the DPP about police conduct of an investigation of a rape claim by a woman – known as “Jane” to protect her identity – against a former cabinet minister.
Danczuk is co-author of a book, ‘Smile for the Camera,’ exposing the paedophile life of Sir Cyril Smith, who died in 2010.
The MP has complained about the handling by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) of allegations of sexual abuse of a boy at a children’s home in the London borough of Richmond and at the nearby Elm Guest House three decades ago.
He wants the DPP to review a statement in a CPS letter to the witness concerned that he is the only person to allege that he was sexually abused at the guest house.
Exaro revealed last December that the CPS was mistaken in its understanding of the police evidence.
Another witness told Exaro that he had been sexually assaulted at Elm Guest House when he was a boy in care in Richmond, and that he had informed the police.
The CPS mistake led to the dropping of key charges, based on the first witness’s evidence, although none related to Elm Guest House, against a manager at the home and a priest who are awaiting trial.
Danczuk has further evidence that the CPS was wrong, and Exaro arranged a meeting between the witness, at his request, and the MP.
Elm Guest House, in Barnes, south-west London operated as a paedophile brothel. Several MPs are understood to have frequented it.
The Met has confirmed that Smith was one visitor.
Danczuk, during research for his book about Smith, talked to a former masseur at Elm Guest House, who revealed that he had told the Met in 2012 how he was sexually abused there.
In his letter to the DPP, Danczuk urges her to explain the inaccuracy.
“The inconsistency requires an explanation,” he wrote. We have reproduced the entire text below, removing the victim’s name.
The witness said: “I have been asking the CPS for a full explanation for more than six months. I was treated well by the Metropolitan Police Service, but was surprised by the content of the CPS letter to me.”
“The police approached me in this case, and until that point my life was back on an even keel. I am currently on heavy medication because of the stress.
“Do some of the authorities in these cases understand the impact their decisions have on people’s lives?”
Danczuk’s intervention comes as the number of MPs who backed a cross-party call for an overarching inquiry into the organised sexual abuse of children in the UK passed the 100 mark.
So far, 124 MPs have joined the cross-party call for an independent panel to carry out an investigation similar to the inquiry into Hillsborough, the football disaster of 1989.
Danczuk hopes to raise the case at a hearing this afternoon before the House of Commons home affairs committee, which wants to ask him about the Smith case.
Journalists from national newspapers, and at least one committee member indirectly, are pressuring Danczuk to use the legal protection of parliamentary privilege to name the ex-minister who is at the centre of claims of child sex abuse, as well as the alleged rape of Jane as a 19-year-old woman.
Exaro has argued against the naming of the ex-minister in Parliament for fear of jeopardising a panel inquiry into child sex abuse.
Dear Ms Saunders,
I have recently written a book documenting decades of sexual abuse by the former Liberal MP for Rochdale, Cyril Smith, and it is regarding matters relating to this that I am writing to you.
In writing this book, I had no idea of the repercussions it would have, and it appears that I have opened a large can of worms. Indeed, I am of the view that our expose of Cyril’s abuse represents the tip of the iceberg. A number of victims have subsequently come forward to tell their story, and I have had several discussions recently with people about Elm Guest House in Barnes.
As you will be aware, the Metropolitan Police has confirmed that Cyril Smith was a visitor here, and it has been widely alleged that child abuse took place at this establishment.
One of the victims, [name removed], has been to see me to tell me how he was abused there. His story is extremely troubling, and I am concerned that a decision was made by the CPS last year to drop charges relating to abuse allegedly perpetrated against [name deleted].
My concern is that the justification for this decision is based upon the assertion that [name deleted] was the only victim to allege abuse at Elm Guest House. I know this not to be true, as I have spoken to another victim from Elm Guest House that has been known to the Metropolitan Police since 2012.
Given that there are other people apart from [name deleted] alleging abuse at Elm Guest House, I hope you will now consider reviewing the CPS decision relating to his case made last year.
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