Police investigating Lord Janner went off the boil, child abuse inquiry told

18:16pm, Fri 16 Oct 2020
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A former senior legal adviser at the Crown Prosecution Service told an abuse inquiry that police investigating historical sexual abuse allegations against Lord Janner appeared reluctant to pursue the Labour peer.

Iain Groundwell told the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) that senior officers with Leicestershire Police seemed wary about investing the politician.

Allegations against the former Leicestershire MP first emerged publicly in the trial of disgraced care home boss Frank Beck in 1991, although the Sir Richard Henriques report in 2016 found that failures by police and prosecutors meant three chances were missed to charge Lord Janner, in 1991, 2002 and 2007.

Lord Janner, who had Alzheimer’s, died in December 2015 while awaiting trial for 22 counts of child sexual abuse offences, relating to nine different boys, dating back half a century.

He denied the allegations.

A short summary of Friday’s IICSA hearing, which was held in private due to concerns the evidence would identify alleged victims, documented impressions from Mr Groundwell that the investigation into Lord Janner had fallen flat.

He said: “It was not what was said by the police, but what they didn’t say.”

He said he felt that “there was something holding them (police) back, that at that point they seemed to have gone off the boil”.

No detail was provided about when in time Mr Groundwell was referring to.

Earlier this week, a former detective described how Lord Janner was given “preferential treatment” due to his status, resulting in him not being arrested despite “plenty of evidence to do so”.

On Friday, barrister Peter Joyce QC, who prosecuted Beck nearly 30 years ago, said the fact that Lord Janner was an MP at the time and was well known locally would “not have made the slightest difference” to any advice he provided or to his approach towards the investigation.

The inquiry will continue with a mixture of closed and open hearings next week.

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