Lord Janner inquiry heard disturbing evidence from alleged child abuse victims

·3-min read

For three weeks last autumn, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse heard disturbing evidence from Lord Janner’s alleged victims about their ordeals.

The alleged abuse was largely meted out in children’s homes in the Leicestershire area between the early 1960s and the late 1980s, but some said they were also assaulted in private residences, a hotel, Lord Janner’s car, and in the Palace of Westminster.

None of the complainants were called to give live evidence during the inquiry, due to it focusing solely on the state responses to their allegations against Lord Janner, rather than the authenticity of the claims themselves.

Instead, the inquiry heard brief evidence from several children through their lawyers.

Lord Janner died in 2015, awaiting trial for a string of child abuse offences.

He always denied any involvement.

In one case, an alleged victim said she was raped by Lord Janner, who then told her he could ensure she became the next prime minister’s wife.

Christopher Jacobs, representing some of the complainants, told the inquiry that his clients were abused in care in Leicestershire decades ago, and that Lord Janner “was able to act with impunity”.

Mr Jacobs described the ordeal suffered by Tracey Taylor, a complainant who has waived her right to anonymity, who was sent to care home as a 14-year-old in the 1970s.

He told the inquiry: “She said she was raped by a man who said his name was Greville Janner, he said he was an MP and that he could make her the next prime minister’s wife.

“She has told the police about the abuse, but she has never been believed due to her mental health problems.

“On some occasions, police mocked her statements, calling her Crazy Tracey.”

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Lord Janner appearing at Westminster Magistrates Court (Elizabeth Cook/PA)
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Lord Janner appearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Tim Betteridge, another complainant to waive his anonymity, said he was sexually abused by Lord Janner on two occasions, including once in an allotment and once in a mobile unit.

The inquiry heard Mr Betteridge raised the alarm but was told by staff at the care home that “nobody would believe him because he was just a brat in care”.

Another 13-year-old allegedly abused in the 1980s said he was forced to perform a sex act on Lord Janner, after which he was given two 50p pieces.

He confided in staff but no action was taken, Mr Jacobs said.

And in another case, a 15-year-old boy described how he felt angry that his complaints were dismissed out of hand, and that staff, police and social workers “turned their heads away from the predators who tormented him as a child”.

Mr Jacobs said: “Their abusers told them they would not be believed … and on the occasions when the children were brave enough to disclose, the advice of their abusers has been borne out, that they would be comprehensively disbelieved.”

Lawyer David Enright said one complainant described how “it is like poor children are on a conveyor belt to abuse, and that nobody seems to believe them”.

Mr Enright told the inquiry that Lord Janner’s prominence “presented barriers to interview, arrest and prosecution”.

Another victim added: “Hurdles were erected that no horse could jump.”

Mr Enright said his clients urged the investigation to end the practice of poor charging decisions in cases where “the complainant is often a poor and disadvantaged child, and when the alleged perpetrator is often a person of interest … such as a lord”.

Professor Alexis Jay, who chaired the inquiry, said on Tuesday: “Despite numerous serious allegations against the late Lord Janner, police and prosecutors appeared reluctant to fully investigate the claims against him.

“On multiple occasions police put too little emphasis on looking for supporting evidence and shut down investigations without pursuing all outstanding inquiries.”

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