Operation Yewtree – the biggest Police cover-up since Hillsborough
- Crime and Parliamentary Affairs correspondent TIM HICKS follows up on the incredible revelations of misconduct in North Yorkshire Police revealed by the BBC Inside Out programme.
“That particularly dubious Constabulary that merits careful consideration”
[Lord Maginnis of Drumglass, commenting on North Yorkshire Police, following his involvement in the case of Mrs Barbara Hofschröer].
Jimmy Savile’s principal residence was in Leeds and he travelled regularly to Scarborough from 1960 onwards to visit his mother and to stay with her. He continued his close association with Scarborough after her death, staying there regularly in his flat at the Esplanade. It follows from this that the full and meticulous investigation of his activities in Leeds and Scarborough are of critical interest to Operation Yewtree, the Home Office, HM Inspector of Constabulary and the IPCC in determining why it was that he was able to offend for so long, without being arrested by the Police.
Yet the West Yorkshire Police investigation into Savile, called Operation Newgreen, has been widely condemned as a farce. Alan Collins, a solicitor representing 40 of Savile’s victims, is quoted in the press as having told ITV’s Daybreak programme:
“The report begs a lot more questions. It provides some answers but the report reveals memories that are not as sharp as perhaps they ought to be, ‘can’t remember’, documents that can’t seem to be located. It doesn’t add up. But my take is that there seems to be a collective myopia and the collective myopia is evidenced by Savile. He was able to run rings around the police for decades. He used police officers. He was ingrained with them, dovetailed with them.”
Unusually, Chief Constable Nick Gargan of Avon and Somerset has broken ranks and also criticised West Yorkshire Police over its handling of its Savile enquiry. He is quoted in the Yorkshire Post as saying:
“It seems clear to me that Operation Newgreen does not have the look and feel of an independent report. As I turned from one page to the next, I saw example after example of the author putting the case for West Yorkshire Police. At times this case was put with some force and emotion and more than a hint of exasperation with other bodies. In that respect, Operation Newgreen was unsuccessful if it was its intention to give an impression of independent assurance: it may even have had the effect of strengthening suspicion that West Yorkshire Police was at the very least being defensive.”
Mr Gargan suggested the force carry out a “very open and public examination of its actions” and a public engagement strategy to deal with issues raised by the review. He said:
“I think you will benefit from a situation in which your staff respond to criticism with the questions ‘maybe this person has a point’ more readily than ‘how do I prove them wrong?’.
North Yorkshire Police deny all knowledge
The initial response of North Yorkshire Police was to deny all knowledge, despite the fact that Savile had been mentioned in the press and on the BBC regularly as living in Scarborough and was well known there as a Freeman of the Borough. A force spokesman commented in 2012:
“When the allegations surrounding Jimmy Savile were publicised, we carried out extensive searches of force records which did not reveal a local connection”.
Given that North Yorkshire Police nevertheless provided Savile with a police car and driver to take him to a community event for young people it had organised in Selby in 2008, where Savile shared the platform with the Chief Constable, this was clearly a lie.
On the 27th of April 2013 following confirmation from the Detective at Operation Yewtree who liaised with Real Whitby, that all the information gathered by the Metropolitan Police as part of Operation Yewtree would be passed on to North Yorkshire Police, who would conduct the investigation from then on, I wrote to Operation Yewtree stating (prophetically) that:
“A central issue of the Scarborough aspect of Operation Yewtree is that there are consistent allegations of corruption within North Yorkshire Police in respect of their response to Jaconelli and Savile. I am satisfied that North Yorkshire Police will not investigate the allegations concerning Savile, Jaconeli and the response of Scarborough Police impartially and that referring the investigation to North Yorkshire Police means that the integrity of this aspect of Operation Yewtree has been completely compromised.”
Our analysis of the North Yorkshire Police investigation by Deputy Chief Constable Cross showed that it is also another whitewash.
Enter the BBC
The following revelations were made in the BBC Inside Out documentary aired on Monday the 10th of February 2014 at 7.30 pm:
- Archive BBC film was shown proving that Jaconelli was an associate of Savile, practised judo with Savile, filmed in Scarborough for the BBC.
- Multiple witnesses alleged that complaints had been made to North Yorkshire Police about Peter Jaconelli in his lifetime, alleging that he was a paedophile.
- It was alleged that North Yorkshire Police had admitted at the time it was completely aware of the allegations about Jaconelli, that there had been other complainants, but Peter Jaconelli was not arrested because of his status as a Councillor and Mayor.
- It was further alleged that a statement had been taken as part of a formal criminal complaint.
- It was also alleged that it was common knowledge throughout Scarborough that Peter Jaconelli was a paedophile.
- It emerged that North Yorkshire Police Operation Yewtree investigation had not bothered to interview any of the witnesses developed by Real Whitby.
BBC programme and trailer are below:
This has some profound implications for Operation Yewtree.
Peter Jaconelli was a close associate of Savile and therefore falls within Strand 2 of Operation Yewtree. Although he is unquestionably Britain’s longest offending and most successful paedophile ever, probably having committed thousands of offences in Scarborough over fifty two years, he is not mentioned anywhere in Operation Yewtree. Yet the BBC programme showed there was ample evidence of his offending being known to the Police.
A follow up article in Real Whitby alleged that Officers had deleted and withheld intelligence on Savile and his associates and that there had been other examples of misuse of police intelligence in connection with other cases in North and West Yorkshire Police. These concerns now stand vindicated:
- The BBC quoted a victim confirming that he had made a complaint and given a statement to Police about Jaconelli. Yet this information has miraculously disappeared from Police intelligence.
- It was alleged, on Inside Out, that other complaints had been made to the Police. Yet this information has also miraculously disappeared from Police intelligence.
- Every schoolboy and most parents in Scarborough knew of Jaconelli’s offending and yet we are asked to believe that he was completely unknown to Police and does not appear anywhere in any Police note-book or intelligence system.
- In 2003 North Yorkshire Police conducted a major paedophile investigation in Scarborough which generated so much intelligence it had to be managed through HOLMES (Home Office Large Major Intelligence System). According to local and national newspaper reports , Savile, Jaconelli and Corrigan featured in this investigation as suspects. The intelligence generated in this major operation has also miraculously disappeared.
- As part of its Operation Yewtree investigation, North Yorkshire Police should have interviewed the witnesses identified by Real Whitby, entered their evidence into HOLMES and then tasked a specialist sexual offences intelligence detective to compare it to the original intelligence that had been gathered during the 2003 investigation to see what additional evidence this produced. It appears that no criminal record check was conducted. A cold case review may also have resolved any outstanding offences. However, Deputy Chief Constable Cross did none of these things, effectively ensuring that intelligence on Savile, Corrigan and Jaconelli which could have been developed was withheld through inaction.
Deputy Chief Constable Cross is a most capable and formidable detective, with extensive CID training recently retired after a distinguished career. She is widely admired in the British Police Service for her textbook investigation of the murder of Jenny Nicholl and her contribution to the development of forensic linguistics. So what possible explanation can there be for her inexplicable omission of Peter Jaconelli from her report, the effect of which is to airbrush Peter Jaconelli and Jimmy Savile out of North Yorkshire Police history?
Why has Peter Jaconelli disappeared into the Operation Yewtree black hole?
The two critical failures of the British Police Service to arrest Savile both occurred in North Yorkshire. They are:
1. The failure of North Yorkshire Police to arrest Jaconelli and Corrigan, which would surely have led them to Savile, (Britain’s most prolific paedophile and rapist).
2. When asked for intelligence on Savile by Surrey Police in 2007, North Yorkshire Police Force Intelligence Bureau replied that it had none, although Jaconelli and Corrigan are alleged to have featured in a 2003 paedophile investigation conducted by North Yorkshire Police and entered into HOLMES. As a result, Surrey and Sussex Police did not have the intelligence from North Yorkshire necessary to assist in its investigation – and the best opportunity of bringing him to justice was lost.
It is widely alleged that North Yorkshire Police knew all about Jaconelli and that Police Officers covered up for him and allowed him to carry on offending, because he was a prominent local Councillo,r businessman and Mayor. So if Deputy Chief Constable Cross were to admit that Jaconelli had been a paedophile, this would raise all sorts of questions as to why the Police had not arrested him. Clearly this would be a huge embarrassment to North Yorkshire Police.
Deputy Chief Constable Cross of the North Yorkshire Police started her career in Leeds with West Yorkshire Police, the two forces that Savile was most closely associated with – and which have suffered severe criticism over their collective failure to arrest him. Neither force has confirmed if Cross knew Savile there.
Chartered Accountants and indeed all investigators are taught that when conducting investigations they should develop as much evidence as possible, then consider all the evidence before coming to a conclusion. However, this did not trouble Deputy Chief Constable Cross. She simply ignored the witness evidence provided by Real Whitby, wrongly stated that Jaconelli and Savile did not feature in any North Yorkshire Police intelligence, and used this as an excuse to exonerate North Yorkshire Police from any criticism. In short, she appears to have conducted a cover up to save the face of North Yorkshire Police – which if true, is a corrupt act.
As a result of the Cross Report, both the above key questions – arguably the two most important questions in the entire Savile investigation – remain completely and conveniently ignored, and the ability of Savile and Jaconelli to offend in Scarborough and Whitby for fifty years untroubled by the local Police remains completely unexplained. Until North Yorkshire Police answer these questions, Operation Yewtree has no credibility.
North Yorkshire Police ordered to re-open its investigation
So concerned was I at the blatantly inadequate nature of Deputy Chief Constable Cross’s detective work that I raised my concerns with HM Inspector of Constabulary Dru Sharpling CBE. On the 14th of February 2014, she responded to me confirming that she had caused North Yorkshire Police to make further enquiries.
The effect of this announcement by HM Inspector Sharpling is that North Yorkshire Police has been forced to re-open its Operation Yewtree investigation into Savile and his associates in Scarborough. The same day, North Yorkshire Police issued the following statement:
Historic allegations made on Inside Out – statement”
Further to the historic allegations made against the late Peter Jaconelli, a former Mayor of Scarborough, on BBC1′s Inside Out (North East and Cumbria), 7.30pm, 10 February 2014: North Yorkshire Police is considering the content of the programme, its effect on previous matters and the potential need for any future investigative work that would best serve the interests of those directly affected. In so doing, North Yorkshire Police would encourage those individuals who took part in the programme, who were the subject of direct contact with the late Mr Jaconelli, to get in touch as soon as possible in order that their allegations and wishes are fully and properly considered. Please call North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 1, ask for the Force Control Room and state it is for the attention of Detective Superintendent Steve Smith. Alternatively, contact can be made or information reported via email:
North Yorkshire Police have been ridiculed on the BBC and forced, by Real Whitby, to re-open a major investigation . The former Deputy Chief Constable has been accused publicly of incompetence on the BBC and despite the availability of trained detectives, forensic scientists, powers of arrest, access to the media, extensive Police intelligence systems and the assistance of Scotland Yard, three amateurs have been shown to have conducted a far more credible and meticulous investigation than North Yorkshire Police.
This will have come as a major embarrassment for Chief Constable Dave Jones, who has consistently refused to respond to Real Whitby’s concerns, on the ridiculous and asinine basis that this is not in the interests of “the efficient and effective use of publicly funded resources”. Well neither is ignoring the evidence unearthed by journalists, being caught out in a cover-up and then being compelled to re-open a major investigation at huge cost to the taxpayers of North Yorkshire.
The BBC and the intervention of HM Inspector Sharpling has vindicated the concerns raised by Real Whitby about North Yorkshire Police. It has also vindicated the concerns expressed about North Yorkshire Police in parliament by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass concerning the case of Mrs Barbara Hofschröer, in which Deputy Chief Constable Cross also featured.
The policy of ignoring evidence from Real Whitby continues
Detective Superintendent Steve Smith has only appealed for information relating to the five witnesses interviewed by the BBC and has made no attempt to interview Real Whitby, or any of the many other witnesses we have developed. We did not make all of the information we have available to the BBC, because the primary focus of the programme was Jaconelli, so this is another major and continuing failure in the North Yorkshire Police Operation Yewtree investigation which will again allow witness evidence to be ignored.
Our investigation has revealed that there was a paedophile-ring operating in Scarborough from about 1960 onwards. Using Operation Yewtree terminology, it consisted of:
Strand 1. Savile: Known to have committed eight offences in North Yorkshire, but we believe committed many more.
Strand 2. Associates of Savile: Jaconelli and Jimmy Corrigan (both deceased) and three other persons, two of whom may have acted as procurers.
Strand 3. Persons unconnected with Savile: One other person who is now dead.
Real Whitby is still developing further witness evidence.
This is the second major paedophile investigation I have participated in. The first led to the arrest and indefinite detention of a paedophile and the break-up of the ring associated with him. On that occasion, a very fine Police Officer whom I greatly admire – Chief Constable SE Bailey QPM – wrote to me and thanked me for the assistance I had given to his force. In this case, by acting in cooperation with local people, my colleagues and I have produced a stream of witnesses that can assist the Operation Yewtree investigation. The response of North Yorkshire Police was that Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick wrote to me threatening to arrest me if I continued to comment on North Yorkshire Police operations.
Following the acquittal of William Roache and Dave Lee Travis, the wider concern around the conduct of Operation Yewtree must be that whilst the Police will go after high-profile celebrities to excuse their failure to arrest Savile and Jaconelli, they will not prosecute fellow Police Officers that were responsible for letting them escape justice. Nor will the Police take action against Officers like Deputy Chief Constable Cross who conceal Police misconduct.
It remains a concern that the policy of protecting high profile politicians like Jaconelli still continues – witness the attempt to arrest me for harassment by Detective Superintendent Heather Pearson, because Real Whitby had shown that the then Chair of the North Yorkshire Police Authority, Councillor Jane Kenyon, was the Chief Financial Officer of a bankrupt company, which she had not declared in her Register of Interests – a criminal offence under the Localism Act.
The threats to arrest me for expressing opinions and comments on North Yorkshire Police (such as the ones I have expressed here and on the BBC) and the demands that I remove all of my articles on North Yorkshire Police from Real Whitby internet site are classic examples of a force that is culturally unable to accept criticism – even when accurate and in the public interest – and will abuse Police powers to prevent it.
Under these circumstances, in my opinion only a full independent judicial enquiry will get anywhere near to establishing how Peter Jaconelli and Jimmy Savile were able to offend for so long without being arrested by North Yorkshire Police.
Coming Next: The onslaught
In my next article, I will be revealing the full story of the campaign of harassment that has been unleashed upon Real Whitby, which was only partially covered by the BBC.