Scotland Yard’s investigation into claims of a VIP paedophile ring was likened to the antics of the bungling fictional detective Inspector Clouseau today as a review of the inquiry was published.
The son of the late Labour peer Lord Janner, who was separately accused of child sex abuse, hit out at how detectives were taken in by a “blatant fantasist” in a 16-month investigation codenamed Operation Midland.
The £2.5 million investigation was opened in November 2014 after claims by a key witness called “Nick” that boys had been sexually abused by public figures more than 30 years ago.
The allegations included accounts of child abuse, murder and torture by politicians and military figures in the Seventies and Eighties. The inquiry was abandoned this year after it found no evidence to support the claims.
Today, Daniel Janner QC told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Inspector Clouseau could have done better and not spent £2.5 million in 16 months investigating what were blatant fantasies.” Inspector Clouseau was played by Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther series of films.
Mr Janner, who maintains his father’s innocence, said Lord Janner — who died last December at the age of 87 — was wrongly dragged into Operation Midland by its key witness. He also criticised the force for apparently choosing to publish the report on the day of the US election to escape scrutiny, and said: “To come out today is, in our view, no coincidence and it is a shame.”
Mr Janner called on the Crown Prosecution Service to mount a prosecution against “Nick” over his claims, saying in a separate interview that if it failed to do so he would seek legal advice about launching a private prosecution.
The review of the Operation Midland inquiry is included in High Court judge Sir Richard Henriques’s examination of the Met’s handling of a number of historical sex crime investigations involving high-profile suspects.
The report is expected to dismiss the claims by “Nick”, to say that he was unreliable and should have been challenged about his claims far earlier. A claim by police that Nick’s allegations were “credible and true” is also likely to face criticism.
The report will also question the Met’s policy that “the victim should always be believed” and raise the issue of anonymity for suspects accused of sex crimes.
Controversy over the Midland inquiry intensified when it emerged that the home of D-Day veteran Lord Bramall, 92, had been searched while he breakfasted with his terminally ill wife. In January, he was told he would face no further action, almost nine months after he was interviewed under caution.
Former Tory MP Harvey Proctor, a fierce critic of the inquiry, had his home raided and was twice interviewed under caution. He was finally told in March that he would face no further action. Both men had denied the false allegations.
The widow of Lord Brittan, the late former home secretary, was also informed in March that he would have had no case to answer under the collapsed investigation.
Met commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe offered to meet Lady Brittan and Mr Proctor in advance of the report’s publication today but both declined.
Mr Proctor said that only about 10 per cent of the full report was expected to be published today.
He told the Daily Telegraph today: “This report should be published in full, warts and all. Those whose lives have been wrecked by false accusations and the subsequent police investigation are not even going to be shown the report in full.”
- Met Police admits Scotland Yard made catalogue of errors Independent 8 Nov 2016
- Scotland Yard’s investigation into VIP paedophile allegations had ITV News-8 Nov 2016
- ‘Numerous errors’ made in paedophile inquiry Sky News-8 Nov 2016
- ‘Errors’ in Met’s VIP paedophile probe Operation Midland In-Depth-BBC News-8 Nov 2016
- Operation Midland: Report into Westminster paedophile ring inquiry In-Depth-Metro-8 Nov 2016