Friday, January 22, 2016

Sorry seems to be the hardest word... Police break silence over Lord Bramall (but there's no sign of an apology)

Police issued an 891-word statement on the Lord Bramall case yesterday – that contained not one word of apology for their heavy-handed investigation into baseless child sex allegations.

The rambling letter was designed to explain why Scotland Yard would not say sorry for its probe into unsubstantiated claims that the 92-year-old war hero was a paedophile.

But last night Lord Bramall, the former head of the Army, attacked the force’s move as self-serving and ‘purely the police justifying themselves’.

He said, however, that he would accept an offer from a senior officer to meet him to explain what happened during their ten-month investigation.

Lord Bramall had his home raided by police last March in the presence of his dying wife after a suspected serial fantasist, known only as Nick, accused him of historical child sex abuse.

Nick had alleged that Britain’s most decorated living soldier abused him at a military base more than 30 years ago.

He has also claimed that a VIP paedophile ring, including ex-prime minister Edward Heath, former Tory Home Secretary Leon Brittan, and various ex-heads of the security services, killed three boys.

A senior detective provoked a storm after telling a press conference the allegations were regarded as being ‘credible and true’.

D-Day hero Lord Bramall was later interviewed under caution about the abuse claims, which were never corroborated, and spent nearly a year under suspicion.

But on Friday night, police grudgingly announced there was insufficient evidence to bring charges and that they had dropped the case.

Since then, Metropolitan Police boss Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has been under mounting pressure from top political, military and police figures to make a full apology.

Yesterday Sir Bernard, who in October ducked an opportunity to explain to a committee of MPs his force’s failings in the bungled Leon Brittan rape inquiry – the former Cabinet minister was not told he had been exonerated before his death last year – left it to one of his subordinates to say why Lord Bramall does not deserve an apology.

Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan said in a statement: ‘I fully recognise how unpleasant it may be to be investigated by the police over allegations of historic abuse.

'For a person to have their innocence publicly called into question must be appalling, and so I have every sympathy with Lord Bramall and his late wife and regret the distress they endured during this investigation.’

She added: ‘However, if we were to apologise whenever we investigated allegations that did not lead to a charge, we believe this would have a harmful impact on the judgments made by officers.

'Investigators may be less likely to pursue allegations they knew would be hard to prove, whereas they should be focused on establishing the existence, or otherwise, of relevant evidence.’

Miss Gallan said she would meet Lord Bramall at the end of a wider police investigation into historical abuse claims, called Operation Midland, and explain the force’s conduct.

But last night Lord Bramall’s son, Nicholas, said his father should receive an ‘exoneration’ rather than an apology. He added: ‘I never doubted my father for one minute, nor did any of his family or friends.

‘I have been saddened beyond belief by the vicious attacks on his character and reputation. He does not deserve any of it.’

Anthony Stansfeld, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley who served under Lord Bramall in the Army, said the Met statement was ‘dishonest’.

He added: ‘Having got it wrong, largely through gullibility and incompetence, they have a moral duty to apologise properly, not a private explanation.

'It needs an apology as public as their actions were in taking this case forward.’


    An explanation of why a senior detective described Lord Bramall’s accuser as being ‘credible and true’ at the start of the inquiry

    Why officers were never able to find any corroboration of alleged victim’s account

    ‘Disproportionate’ breakfast-time raid (involving 20 officers) on Lord Bramall’s home – in front of his dying wife

    Officers went to local village pub for lunch during search operation

    Lowest rank officers in the Met later sent to interview Lord Bramall

    Why it took ten months to investigate ‘baseless’ allegations

    Case against him was so weak that the Met could not justify asking Crown Prosecution Service to consider charges

    Why Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan – not Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe – made yesterday’s statement

Original report here

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