Meirion Jones has long been an advocate of ‘Mandatory Reporting’ – a system of criminal sanctions for those who have care of children but have failed to report allegations of abuse made to them regarding those children. He frequently takes MPs to task if he thinks they are not doing sufficient to bring this law into being.
Do you see the subtle assumption at play there? – without ‘Mandatory Reporting’, the assumption is that a child WILL have reported abuse in the past, and the carer WILL have ‘covered it up’. It completely discounts the possibility, and I put it no higher than that, that a) such abuse genuinely occurred, and b) that it was reported. It leaves a carer, perhaps 30 years later, being criminally sanctioned for having ‘failed to report’ a crime he may have known nothing about, simply because there was no report in the day book – yet a jury have accepted that abuse did occur and the child, now middle aged, claims to have reported it to Mr ‘X’.
It is the ultimate Christmas gift to those who run legal firms specialising in bringing claims for compensation against institutions.
Interestingly, there has never been any question of ‘Mandatory Reporting’ applying to the now legion of journalists who claim retrospectively to have known ‘irrefutably’ that Savile was a predatory paedophile – but were unable to stop him ‘because of the libel laws’. The idea of accompanying their supposed ‘credible sources’ to the local police station and ensuring that their claims were investigated, as any decent human being would have done, never seemed to have occurred to them, once the ‘story that every journalist would want’ had been spiked…
Meirion’s source for his Newsnight documentary that was never shown due to lack of credible evidence, centred round Karin Ward, a girl who had been at Duncroft in 1974. Karin and the other girls that were sent in Meirion’s direction, were marshalled by another girl who had been at the school in 1978, and bolstered by a forged letter claiming that Savile would have been prosecuted but was ‘too old and infirm’. Their paths had never crossed in person, only on the Internet. The ‘2007’ police investigation into Savile’s presence at Duncroft showed one remarkable fact – that not one girl had ever claimed to have reported Savile to any of the staff. Nor was ‘Clunk-click’ ever mentioned to them. That was why the Police had never interviewed any of the staff, nor were they aware of the events in 1974 regarding the origins of Savile’s connection with the school.
Which made Meirion’s desire to muddy the waters and make it appear as though – had the staff reported these ‘dreadful allegations’ – then Savile ‘could have been stopped’ all the more intriguing to me. For I was aware that the Head of the staff, the person most likely to have been criminally sanctioned, was none other than Meirion’s Aunt. Ms Margaret Jones.
After many months of lengthy investigation, police visits to the home of this 94 year old lasting for hours on end, the usual papers and mementoes of her long career removed for forensic examination, questioning which included allegations made to them ‘by BBC journalists’ regarding the innuendo laden ‘she likes a drink’ – turning the christmas sherry into something that sounded as though it might include alcoholism! and ‘she invited him to stay the night with her, you know’ – turning Savile’s stay in Janet Therobold’s empty staff quarters the other side of the school block, several secure key locks away from the girls, the night before the Fete he had agreed to open the following day, into something that sounded like an invitation from a ‘cougar’ female!
I can’t imagine (yes, I can!) who those ‘BBC journalists’ could have been who gave that evidence to Operation Outreach, nor where they might have gained such scurrilous gossip but eventually the Police discovered that claims of having ‘told the staff’ had only emerged in time to catch the ‘Mandatory Reporting’ campaign, and all the staff were cleared of any complicity or knowledge. Sadly too late to put Ruth Cole, the equally elderly deputy headmistress’, mind at rest. She died a few days before the final Police decision.
They were not the only staff at risk of criminal sanctions – there were many other staff on the premises that would have been targeted by the Mandatory Reporting. One of whom I had no knowledge of, since he had commenced work there after my time, when the school leaving age was raised to 16 and the ‘school’ element of Duncroft was made full time. He was the History teacher in the 1970s.
‘Jones the History’ – or ‘Mr’ Jones as the girls would have had to refer to him. A distinguished lecturer in Local Government, he had been drafted
in to help fulfil Ms Jones’ dream of giving the girls the best ‘second chance’ at education that she could possibly muster.
I heard rumours that there might be a family connection between Mr Jones the History teacher, and Ms Jones the head mistress, but aware that she had once had twin brothers, I thought perhaps this was the twin who had died tragically early?
Not a bit of it. This Mr Jones was none other than the Mr Jones who had once had carnal knowledge of Meirion’s beloved ‘Mumsy’, the Mother he was so close to that he only deigned to marry recently – in late middle age.
Mr Jones the History Teacher was none other than Meirion’s Father. A fact that Meirion could not fail to be aware of. The man who went to work every day to pay for young Meirion’s school fees at Colet Court and its ‘senior’ version St. Paul’s School – two of the most prestigious, and expensive, establishments for nurturing the future opinion makers and shakers. Strangely, both those schools have been beset by allegations of paedophile gangs at large. (The gangs must have been at work during the period Meirion was suspended for ‘hooliganism’ for Meirion has never attempted to make programmes about those schools….)
Meirion’s desire to force the BBC to carry a programme on the flimsiest of evidence that would ruin the life’s work of both his Aunt and his Father, and make it appear that his Grand-mother lived in a den of iniquity (Duncroft was her home as well) is beginning to make Lizzie Borden look like a competent family relationship advisor.
Did he tell the BBC of these other family connections? We should be told.
Legal? Decent? Honest? Truthful?