One minute I had so many plates spinning in the air I didn’t know which way to turn and began to doubt my ability to keep them all airborne – and the next? Why, if they didn’t all magically float down to land softly, right side up on the table, looking for all the world like the most professionally laid table for the ultimate Christmas feast…
God moves in mysterious ways. With so many ‘plates’, this will be in three parts.
Through all the wild claims of murdered children being hurled from the back of Ted Heath’s yacht, and the political chicanery which has threaded its way through the ‘Battle of the Narcissists’ as the question of historic sex abuse has become, I have never lost sight of the fact that it was the ‘Duncroft claims’ which formed the shaky bedrock on which the entire shebang rested. If they were’t solid fact then what price the houses of ‘Exposure’ or ‘Yewtree’ which rested on them?
I wrestled with my conscience back in the early days after Savile’s death when the first rumours emerged of the BBC being complicit in a cover-up of Savile’s alleged crimes – long before Mark Williams-Thomas’ glittering celebrity career as Child Protection Investigator Extraordinaire was even a glint in his shifty squint, never mind anyone else’s. I knew Meirion Jones, the journalist behind that original un-transmitted ‘Newsnight’ production, to be the runny-nosed young nephew of our head-mistress, Ms Jones, that we had found paper tissues for and entertained in the senior common room with our precious copy of ‘It’s a Hard Days Night’ whilst his mother visited her sister-in-law, with whom his grand-mother lived.
Later, stories were sold to the main stream media concerning the girl who had spent a considerable time sitting up in bed opposite me in Meirion’s aunt’s school – she was now claiming that Jimmy Savile had been running round our dormitory sexually abusing us and that ‘we were terrified’ – I had never heard so much nonsense. Another girl was all over social media saying that ‘Maggie Jones’, as she had the temerity to call her, had been ‘pimping the girls out to celebrities’. I literally couldn’t believe my ears.
This blog has thousands of readers every day – I have no idea who most of you are. You log on in Australia and Thailand, Angola and Ethiopia, in the early hours of the morning – and I marvel at how you ever came to hear of Anna Raccoon. Stories I have written have resulted in the son, that no one knew existed, of Mr Gs best friend coming forward – now happily reunited with his deceased Father’s diving watch. Readers were monumentally helpful in tracking down the still alive if not kicking ‘murder victim’ that Graham Mitchell was incarcerated in Wandsworth jail on a European Arrest warrant over – now freed. You saw off the despicable attempt to bankrupt Sheila Martin; you so effectively publicised the predicament of Stephen Neary, that the ‘secret’ Court of Protection dumped 600 years of protocol and allowed the media in to hear how he had been illegally detained – I could go on, and on – suffice it to say that I am very aware of the power of all you silent readers to publicise what I say far and wide. You talk amongst yourselves, you send links onto Facebook and Twitter, you discuss every word in forums.
That became a terrifying prospect in terms of coming forward to say why I knew that some of what was at that time a fairly low key news story concerning whether the BBC’s Peter Rippon was right or not to refuse to run an item on a serious news programme, that he had insufficient faith in, was quite simply – untrue. My past had been buried for 50 years, long forgotten. I knew that I was running the risk that someone in Outer Botswana or Inner Mongolia would remember me and come forward to correct the most minor detail, or reveal any salacious detail they thought I might have left out. It had to be ruthlessly accurate and coruscatingly honest.
Having ‘taken all my clothes off’ in public, I was quickly rewarded with, as I had suspected, a raft of supportive ‘ex-Duncroft girls’ who had been googling these mysterious stories, and who had landed on my site. I shall always be grateful to them – they have kept my spirits high as the story grew legs by the day, and I was in danger of disappearing under a tsunami of vitriol and recrimination – how could I, how dare I, why would I, throw a spanner in the wheels of this story careering through Fleet Street? Jimmy Savile was the greatest sexual predator mankind had ever known, every one of these totally honest and ‘brave women’, and boys, and cadavers, and probably goats as well, was telling the absolute truth, and anyone who said otherwise was an MI5 agent, a paedophile supporter, a disinformation agent, a government plant – Good Grief, you should have seen my inbox at times!
Blimey! Had I said I had been raped by Savile and 73 members of the Metropolitan Police to say nothing of Prince Philip and a few other Princes for good measure, in the middle of a Buckingham Palace garden party, I would have been lionised by the main stream media, supported by 53 different charities and hailed as a hero by the blogosphere. Pointing out that unlike the rest of the excitable commentariat in the blogosphere, I was actually physically present when the earliest published claims were alleged to have occurred and that somehow I had failed to notice a peroxided disc jockey careering round our bedroom of six girls, raping everyone else but mysteriously leaving me so untouched by the event that I had never even set eyes on the man – turned me into public enemy number one.
Contrary to popular opinion in the Blogosphere, I don’t ‘believe that Savile is innocent’ of everything he has been accused of. Nor do I believe that he is guilty of everything he has been accused of. I find the claim that he kissed a teenage choir girl as she got off a bus totally believable. Yes, I accept that inserting your tongue in a girl’s mouth who is under the age of 16 does constitute a sexual offence – and we had better build three million prisons if we are going to incarcerate everyone who has ever done that.
What I most emphatically don’t believe, and have never believed, is that the sturdy matrons who constituted the female staff at Duncroft had turned in a sparse few years into the sort of sleazy women who would be party to acting as pimps for any celebrity, nor would they ‘turn a blind eye’ to complaints that girls had been abused. They were too rooted in their earnest characters for that to be in any way believable.
As a result of my early posts on the subject, I have been back in regular contact with Ms Jones and party to her anxieties as she was pilloried in the media as a ‘heartless headmistress’, and endlessly and exhaustively interviewed by police – at the grand old age of 91 – who had been fed stories of how she ‘was a drunk’ (do me a favour!), whose head ‘was turned’ by celebrity – alongside several other grotesque and outlandish allegations, by her nephew, Meirion Jones. I can’t imagine anything more distressing at that age than to be so brutally and publicly attacked by a member of your family, merely ‘in search of a story that any journalist would want’.
I also found myself in contact with Amanda, Jimmy Savile’s niece, who had woken one morning to find the front page of the Sun contained a picture of her mother’s gravestone, gloatingly smashed, simply because her brother, Jimmy had been buried alongside her. I have wondered at the agonies that Samantha, another great niece, had gone through when she came forward to me to tell the truth about her Mother Caroline’s untrue claims that Savile had abused her at a tender age. So many families were being ripped apart mercilessly as people felt honour bound to tell the truth about the outlandish claims being aired daily on television and in the papers – even when it meant denouncing members of their own family.
Finally, ‘Susan’ stepped out of the shadows. A woman so honest, and of such integrity, that I humbly salute her. She allowed me to host her version of ‘taking her clothes off in public’ – she really did know the entire ‘Savile at Duncroft’ story which was far removed from the media version, by now buried in a welter of even more unbelievable stories. What is more, she was able to back up her version with documentary evidence. Evidence, incidentally, that she and I had to fight to get heard at the Dame Janet Smith inquiry – because the Metropolitan Police, by now in charge of ‘Operation Yewtree’, didn’t want Dame Janet to hear.
Whilst all this has been going – Gosh is it really three years now since Savile died? – the appropriately named Detective Superintendent Jon Savell has been carrying out an inquiry into an inquiry into the original inquiry of the ‘Duncroft allegations’ – dutifully minutely inspecting the foundation stones of the entire ‘Savile saga’. He has interviewed over 100 old Duncroft girls. He has taken a three day video statement of ‘Susan’s’ evidence. He has interviewed all those Duncroft staff still alive. He has cross-checked every scrap of information with the Barnardo’s records, social workers records, court records, hospital records, death records, birth records – you name it, he’s checked it, to see who is telling the truth and who is patently lying.
In short, he has been everywhere that the excitable blogosphere commentariat who are so ‘sure the girl’s are telling the truth’, to say nothing of the self appointed ‘child protection experts’ cannot go. What he ended up with – he sent to the CPS, that body that is quite prepared to prosecute Dave Lee Travis, to take but one example, a second time, based on the word of a comedienne who had used her allegations as the butt of jokes for years, in their desire to justify the travisty that is ‘Yewtree’ – motto ‘no allegation too far fetched or unbelievable for us to attempt to prosecute’.
Guess what! There are allegations too far fetched or unbelievable – even for the CPS.
Now had ‘Susan’ – whose honesty has been tested time and again, and never found wanting, not e-mailed me yesterday to say she was overjoyed and relieved to have received a version of the letter which is circulating on the Internet this morning from DS Jon Savell, individually addressed to each of the girls that he had interviewed, painstakingly explaining the steps he had taken to attempt – and fail – to verify the allegations originally made by a girl who claimed to have ‘witnessed’ abuse by Savile taking place at Duncroft, then I wouldn’t have been running this story.
For, you see, there is one very interesting fact buried in the individually addressed three pages of prose from DS Jon Savell. It says quite clearly that the CPS have not ‘decided that you have given a false account of what you SAW happening at Duncroft’.
There is only one person who claimed to have ‘seen‘ rather than ‘been the subject of’ abuse by Savile at Duncroft.
That is the same person who was last seen holding aloft a forged letter on Surrey Police headed paper falsely explaining that Savile was not being prosecuted because he was ‘too old and infirm’….
I do believe that the letter telling the girls involved that the CPS cannot find sufficient to justify a prosecution of Duncroft staff is genuine – just as the CPS could not find sufficient to justify prosecuting Freddie Starr or Garry Glitter based on the vivid imagination of those original Duncroft ‘allegators’. I trust Susan’s judgement and honesty implicitly, she believes her version of the letter is genuine.
It’s just shall we say ‘unfortunate’ that the only physical evidence of the end of ‘Operation Outreach’ circulating on the Internet emanates from a source so fond of forgeries and so economical with the actualite….
There may even have been a grain of truth in the original Duncroft allegations; especially the ‘sister’ who was kissed at Luton, but sadly the mendacity, deviousness, to say nothing of the duplicate identities, attempts to impersonate staff, bullying of any who have attempted to speak the truth as they know it; myriad abusive blog sites and Twitter identifies; forged letters, untrue claims to have witnessed other celebrities abusing, untrue claims to have informed staff or witnessed staff ‘pimping girls out’ – all have long since discredited the value anyone can put on anything they have to say.
So, for me, this is the end of keeping the Duncroft plate spinning in the air – it is up to others now to figure out whether the tower block of claims and allegations that have been constructed on the Duncroft foundations have any truth in them – some of them may, many will not.
Thank God it’s over. I’m sick to death of it.
Part Two tomorrow!
Edited to add by Anna: Oh dear, oh dear – Just for good measure – the man who was actually at Elm Guest House all those years ago, Haroon Kasir, has just broken cover to pour cold water over the entire Elm Guest House conspiracy theory – never happened, no politicians, no nothing:
“There is no truth in these allegations whatsoever. It’s complete nonsense.
“Elm House was just a guest house. There were never any politicians or any parties. That is why there have never been any convictions on anything like that. There is nothing else to add.”
I doubt if the people who weren’t there but are quite sure they know what happened will take any notice of him – but what a turn up for the books!!!!
It’s turning into quite a day….