NORTH WALES POLICE deliberately with-held sensational evidence about Gordon Anglesea from the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal.
The force suppressed the fact that the retired police superintendent lied when he was questioned under caution about an alleged indecent assault.
That’s the revelation which emerges from the updated version of the Macur Review, headed by Lady Justice Macur, released on December 5.
The Review — launched in 2012 by then-Home Secretary Theresa May — examined the workings of the 1996-2000 North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal headed by Sir Ronald Waterhouse.
The case of Gordon Anglesea was central to the Tribunal’s hearings.
Anglesea’s name was removed — “redacted” is the technical term — from the Macur Review when it was published in March 2016 because he was due to stand trial on historic child abuse charges.
He was convicted at Mold Crown Court in October 2016 and died in prison shortly after he began a 12 year prison sentence.
The new version of the report — which follows a Rebecca campaign to have the redactions removed — adds to the growing body of evidence showing North Wales Police (NWP) was determined to protect Anglesea.
It reveals that in 1997 a woman made an allegation that she had been indecently assaulted by Gordon Anglesea.
The Review says that the woman — “an adult acquaintance of the family” — reported the matter to the North Wales Police.
The force submitted a file to the Crown Prosecution Service which decided there was “insufficient evidence” to prosecute.
The North Wales Police did not tell the Tribunal — still sitting at this point — about the allegation.
However, there were brief reports about the case in the national press which alerted the Tribunal.
The Macur Review notes that the Tribunal’s legal team wrote to the chairman, Sir Ronald Waterhouse:
“… we have requested sight of the NWP file in respect of the allegation of indecent assault …”
“The NWP’s legal representatives are concerned that this allegation (of indecent assault upon an adult) is entirely irrelevant to the issues before the Tribunal. “
“We believe that we should at least see the file, and unless you take a contrary view, we propose to insist upon its production to us.”
Lady Justice Macur notes that the words “justification needed” were written on the note.
“ … it does not appear that the matter was taken any further.”
The new version of the Macur Review makes it clear that North Wales Police deliberately covered-up a critical element of the case.
Lady Justice Macur reveals that Anglesea had “lied when first questioned under caution” about the alleged offence.
“I regard the evidence that Gordon Anglesea had lied when first interviewed under caution about the allegation of indecent assault against an adult acquaintance of the family was relevant to the issue of his credibility.”
“Counsel to the Tribunal do not appear to have been made aware of this fact and would have been at a disadvantage in justifying their request for disclosure.”
“This information may have been significant in the Tribunal’s appraisal of his [Anglesea’s] credibility and would have been ‘fresh’ evidence to that which had been available in the libel trial.”
North Wales Police did not want this damaging piece of evidence to come out.
The force was covering up for Gordon Anglesea …
THE REVIEW also reveals that other important information was kept from the Tribunal.
Lady Justice Macur reveals the existence of an internal memo written by government law officers in May 1993.
This noted that “ … enquiries have also been made concerning Anglesea’s behaviour in other areas of his life.”
“One or two minor items of gossip concerning him have been reported to the investigating officers. For example … seen him at a local homosexual club … not been confirmed.”
These inquiries also included his “domestic life” which “also failed to reveal any indication at all of any homosexual inclinations on his part …”
This memo was never mentioned in any of the public hearings of the Tribunal.
Nor was the fact that it was common knowledge among police in Wrexham that Anglesea was having an affair with a young woman police constable (WPC) in the 1980s.
The Macur Review is also silent on this relationship.
The WPC made — but later withdrew — an allegation that Anglesea raped her during a night shift at Wrexham police headquarters.
Rebecca knows her name but is not revealing it — our investigation into this continues.
From 1979 Anglesea was in charge of the Bromfield division which covered outlying districts of Wrexham.
The WPC lived in this area and officers on patrol regularly saw Anglesea’s car outside her home.
The significance of this was to become clear in 1994 when Anglesea sued four media companies for libel.
They accused him of abusing three boys.
During the court case, Anglesea’s defence team portrayed him as a happily-married man.
Many North Wales Police officers will have known that this picture was false.
Yet these officers stood by and watched as the jury found for Anglesea by 10 votes to 2.
He walked away with £375,000 in damages.
THE REVISED version of the Macur Review is also silent about another example of North Wales Police protecting Anglesea.
At the time the Review was established, in 2012, a new police investigation was launched — Operation Pallial, carried by the National Crime Agency on behalf of North Wales Police.
There was an agreement between Operation Pallial and the Macur Review “governing how the two teams would work in tandem”.
This means the Macur Review should have been aware of a highly significant incident which took place in April 2002.
Two North Wales Police detectives interviewed a man in Liverpool’s Walton Prison who gave them information about an alleged abuser with a distinctive birthmark.
This man — who can’t be named for legal reasons — gave evidence when Anglesea stood trial in the autumn of 2016.
The jury found his evidence convincing and convicted Anglesea of indecently assaulting him in the 1980s.
Back in 2002, North Wales Police detectives interviewed this prisoner as part of Operation Angel, an investigation into further allegations against already convicted child abuser John Allen.
Internal North Wales Police records show the prisoner handed detectives a piece of paper with the names of three of the men he said had abused him.
The third name on the list consisted of a Christian name: “Gordon”.
The witness noted that “Gordon” was “prim and proper dressed, birthmark on face …”
There followed an exchange of emails which reveal senior officers were aware “Gordon” could well be Anglesea.
One of these emails talked of “keeping quiet”.
A decision was taken not to investigate further.
None of this was known until the National Crime Agency (NCA) began investigating Anglesea in 2012 as part of Operation Pallial.
The NCA were concerned about the way North Wales Police had dealt with this matter and made an official complaint to the force.
Only the two officers who interviewed the prisoner — a detective sergeant and a detective constable — were investigated.
When Anglesea was convicted last October, North Wales Police told Rebecca:
“We can confirm that North Wales Police Professional Standards Department have received a complaint as a result of Operation Pallial that is being investigated.”
North Wales Police have now told us the investigation was “finalised” in October 2016:
“ … there was no case to answer for the two officers; one of whom had retired some time ago.”
THE PROTECTION of Gordon Anglesea continued even after he started his 12 year prison sentence.
His conviction meant that his considerable police pension — perhaps as much as £25,000 a year, all fully funded by taxpayers — was potentially forfeit.
This decision was in the hands of the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales, retired police inspector Arfon Jones.
Under the Police Pensions Regulations 2015 a former police officer can be stripped of his pension if the offences were
“ … committed in connection with the [officer’s] service as a member of a police force and in respect of which the Secretary of State for the Home Department has issued a forfeiture certificate.”
After Anglesea’s conviction, Arfon Jones “concluded this was a case where the forfeiture of pension was appropriate.”
However, he had not applied to the Home Office for a forfeiture certificate by the time Anglesea died in prison on 15 December 2016.
After Anglesea’s death — but without consulting the Home Office — he decided that his widow Sandra should receive half of his pension.
“There is no precedent in law to with-hold that 50 per cent especially as the beneficiary has not been convicted of any offence.”
GORDON ANGLESEA & ARFON JONES: UNANSWERED QUESTIONS
NORTH WALES Police Commissioner Arfon Jones has declined to answer Rebecca questions about his role in the Gordon Anglesea affair. Jones, a former North Wales Police inspector, won’t say why he allowed Anglesea’s widow to keep half of his pension without consulting the Home Office. Nor will he explain why his damning testimony against Anglesea in last autumn’s trial did not feature in the hearings of the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal in 1996-97. And he won’t say if he made a statement when North Wales Police originally investigated abuse allegations against Anglesea in the early 1990s …
The revised Macur Review can be found here.
The paragraphs from the Macur Review which relate to this story are:
I am aware that an allegation of a relatively minor indecent assault was made against Gordon Anglesea by an adult acquaintance of his family prior to the commencement of the Tribunal hearings. It appears that Counsel to the Tribunal was informed that “the CPS had decided to take no further action in the case on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to support criminal proceedings”, but apparently not of the fact that Gordon Anglesea had lied, on his own subsequent admission, when first interviewed under caution about the allegation. A note to the Chairman from Mr Gerard Elias QC and Mr Treverton-Jones indicates that, “we have requested sight of the NWP file in respect of the allegation of indecent assault …The NWP’s legal representatives are concerned that this allegation (of indecent assault upon an adult) is entirely irrelevant to the issues before the Tribunal. We believe that we should at least see the file, and unless you take a contrary view, we propose to insist upon its production to us.” However, a manuscript annotation reads “justification needed” and it does not appear that the matter was taken any further.
I wrote to the present Chief Constable of the NWP [Mark Polin] on 15 May 2015 in relation to this non disclosure. The Chief Constable responded indicating that there is no material in the possession of the NWP to indicate why the file was not disclosed, but that it is possible that the file’s relevance to the issue of credibility was overlooked. Having looked into the matter, the Chief Constable noted that Gordon Anglesea had been interviewed during the course of the investigation into the indecent assault and an advice file submitted to the CPS, who decided to take no further action.
I regard the evidence that Gordon Anglesea had lied when first interviewed under caution about the allegation of indecent assault against an adult acquaintance of the family was relevant to the issue of his credibility. Counsel to the Tribunal do not appear to have been made aware of this fact and would have been at a disadvantage in justifying their request for disclosure. It is likely that the NWP overlooked the issue of credibility in favour of considering whether the facts of the alleged offence constituted similar fact evidence. This information may have been significant in the Tribunal’s appraisal of his credibility and would have been ‘fresh’ evidence to that which had been available in the libel trial.
I have seen the further faxed memorandum from [name redacted] to the Legal Secretariat’s officials on 10 May 1993 dealing at greater length with issues of discrepancy and credibility. It concludes, “although not directly relevant, enquiries have also been made concerning Anglesea’s behaviour in other areas of his life. One or two minor items of gossip concerning him have been reported to the investigating officers. For example … seen him at a local homosexual club … not been confirmed … [enquiries into his] domestic life have also failed to reveal any indications at all of any homosexual inclinations on his part …” A background note briefing the AG [Attorney General] subsequently in July 1993 assessed Gordon Anglesea to be of heterosexual orientation.