Jaconelli, Savile & the Spanish Waiter: Missing or Murdered?
Regular readers of the NYE will know that in 2014 we revealed the existence of an organised crime ring led by Scarborough Mayor Peter Jaconelli, involving his side-kick Jimmy Savile and others, in a BBC Documentary.
Until that time, North Yorkshire Police had denied any knowledge of Jimmy Savile or Peter Jaconelli and had issued a Report by Assistant Chief Constable Sue Cross in May 2013 confirming this. The partially redacted report is no longer available on the force website, but this quote should give the flavour:
“Checks of North Yorkshire Police databases (live and historic) do not show Savile as a Nominal in his own right or nor an associate of anyone else and there is no intelligence held regarding the alleged association of [Name Redacted but thought to be Peter Jaconelli] and Savile prior to the media coverage….”.
(A ‘Nominal’ is someone who is present in the police intelligence system).
The report was accepted by the IPCC, which had then exonerated North Yorkshire Police from any responsibility for the failure to arrest Jimmy Savile or Peter Jaconelli on that basis.
The BBC documentary forced North Yorkshire Police to refer itself to the IPCC the next day and to launch Operation Hibiscus, which revealed multiple sexual offences committed by Peter Jaconeli and Jimmy Savile. It also revealed that North Yorkshire Police had missed numerous opportunities to arrest both creatures and is unquestionably the worst investigative failure in the history of policing in North Yorkshire. Sky news report here. This also quashed an investigation by the IPCC which had previously exonerated North Yorkshire Police from any misconduct or knowledge of Savile, which was arguably the worst investigative failure in the history of the IPCC.
Subsequently, as a result of a Freedom of Information request to the Crown Prosecution Service by NYE senior investigative reporter Nigel Ward, we were able to reveal that Jaconelli had been arrested in 1972 for rape. Unfortunately, Jaconelli was not charged. Main article in which we broke the story here.
According to the person who came forward to Nigel Ward, the facts of this offence are that in 1972 Peter Jaconelli attacked and raped a man in the back of a taxi in Scarborough. Jaconelli was a big man, strong, agile and a judo black belt. He forced himself on his victim without difficulty and intimidated the driver. The victim was a waiter of Spanish nationality living and working in Scarborough. The taxi driver apparently reported the offence to Scarborough Police and Peter Jaconelli was arrested. Shortly afterwards, the waiter disappeared. It was widely assumed that he had returned to Spain.
The Chief Police Officer in charge of Operation Hibiscus is Assistant Chief Constable Paul Kennedy and he issued a statement about this new development acknowledging that the NYE coverage had been helpful to the police investigation. The full statement has subsequently disappeared from the North Yorkshire Police force website. However, the IPCC subsequently issued a report conceding that North Yorkshire Police knew all about Jaconelli in 2009, which is available in this NYE article:
The article also includes ACC Kennedy’s statement. The IPCC report also confirms that the police knew about Savile in 2003, as claimed by the original 2012 article in the Express that first mentioned Jaconelli.
In total, according to the IPCC, the CID officers who knew about Jaconelli’s offending at the time the Cross Report was issued in May 2013 were:
- Detective Constable A
- Detective Constable L
- Detective Constable P
- Detective Sergeant A
- Detective Sergeant B
- Detective Inspector O
- Detective Inspector J
- Detective Chief Inspector K
- Detective Chief Inspector M
- Detective Superintendent N
- Head of Force Major Crime Unit Detective Supt H
As pointed out in the BBC documentary above (at 5:04), ACC Cross did not interview any of the witnesses who had come forward when she dismissed their allegations and exonerated North Yorkshire Police from any responsibility for its failure to arrest Savile or Jaconelli. Nor apparently did she check with any of her colleagues in Filey CID, or Scarborough CID or the Force Major Crime Unit. Nor did any of them speak out when they became aware of her report to raise concerns that it was in error, although they had a duty to do so. How can a Chief Police Officer of ACC Cross’s experience and rank have issued a report that denying the existence of a gang that had been committing multiple serious offences openly in Scarborough for many years?
Being inquisitive, and not wanting to leave a loose end, the NYE team continued to investigate the Spanish Waiter story and became concerned at the disappearance of this crucial witness. Why, having made his home in Scarborough, would he leave? Why did he change his mind about giving evidence? What happened to him? Why did the police make no effort to trace him at the time?
I wrote to North Yorkshire Police in respectful terms several times raising the possibility that he had not returned to Spain, but had been murdered, to prevent him from giving evidence against Peter Jaconelli. I asked that North Yorkshire Police raise a missing person’s enquiry with the Spanish Police and issue a request for information to the public via the force website to resolve this issue. The initial response of North Yorkshire Police was:
“As part of Operation Hibiscus, extensive enquiries have been carried out to identify a potential further victim described as a ‘Spanish waiter’. Despite this effort, we have not been able to trace him or any of his relatives to assist with this line of enquiry. Consequently, there is no available evidence to suggest that he returned to his country of origin, went missing, or of concerns being raised regarding his welfare. Clearly, the ability to trace this individual has been hampered by the passage of time.”
This seemed to me to be unsatisfactory because the two key actions I had requested (an appeal for information on the force website and a welfare request to the Spanish authorities) had been ignored. Being an optimist, I put all my past experiences with North Yorkshire Police behind me and wrote again raising my concerns. Having been commended for my help in the past, I was hopeful of a nice ‘thank you’ letter for my help – and some action. Instead I received this letter from Assistant Chief Constable Paul Kennedy:
ACC Kennedy’s letter causes me some concern for a number of reasons. It is a letter from a police officer to a member of the public in response to a police appeal for information that was intended to be helpful. ACC Kennedy’s response is insulting and dismissive. This is unacceptable in the British Police Service. Many people write in or ring with information to the police and a lot of it – while well-intentioned- is not, in the event, relevant. However, normal standards of courtesy and the need not to discourage responses to police information appeals would normally require that the correspondent receives a courteous response. It should also be remembered that this is from a Chief Police Officer of a force that has failed catastrophically to investigate sexual offences against children, both historically and in the present, to a journalist who has assisted the police by providing them with information that revealed multiple offences which had previously gone undetected by Assistant Chief Constable Cross.
Assistant Chief Constable Paul Kennedy
Even more concerning, the assertion that “you have made uncorroborated assertions based on speculation rather than fact and this provides insufficient grounds to investigate further lines of enquiry or indeed a review by another force” is very similar to the language used in the now completely discredited Cross report that I had quashed three years ago. In short, (a) it ignores evidence to purport that there is no evidence, and then (b) uses this to justify inaction and prevent any further investigation.
Further, Assistant Chief Constable Kennedy’s assertion that my assertions are uncorroborated and not based on fact is factually incorrect. In fact, the assertions I made in the correspondence with North Yorkshire Police summarized below which he refers to, are factual and completely corroborated (My annotations in bold):
- There is no evidence that the victim returned to Spain (Fact: corroborated by Assistant Chief Constable Paul Kennedy above) as was thought at the time (corroborated by the witness that came forward to Nigel Ward) to be the reason for his sudden disappearance.
- North Yorkshire Police assert they have conducted extensive enquiries to locate the witness known as the Spanish waiter. However, this is not so. No specific appeal for information has been put out on the force website (Fact: corroborated by review of the force website, which has not issued an appeal for information on the whereabouts of the witness/victim known as the Spanish Waiter or the taxi driver) and North Yorkshire Police have not have contacted the Spanish authorities to ascertain if the witness is listed there as missing, or can be traced and interviewed. (Fact: corroborated by Assistant Chief Constable Kennedy above).
- North Yorkshire Police assert that there is no evidence concerns were raised for the welfare of the witness at the time and will not state what efforts – if any- were made to locate him at the time by Scarborough CID. However, given the elapsed time, it is possible that there were concerns raised at the time and these concerns are no longer on file. (Fact: corroborated above by the statement from Operation Hibiscus that “the ability to trace this individual has been hampered by the passage of time”).
- Although this man had been resident in Scarborough for some time, had employment and accommodation there and was available to give evidence in a major case against a violent criminal, all efforts to trace him have failed, no one knows what happened to this man or where he is now. (Fact: corroborated by North Yorkshire Police). North Yorkshire Police have concluded he is not missing and there is no reason to suspect foul play or evidence to support the possibility of him having been the victim of crime, no one knows what happened to this man or where he is now. (Fact: corroborated by North Yorkshire Police).
- Jaconelli was a Judo black belt (Fact: confirmed by numerous witnesses and the BBC documentary above) and a serious violent criminal (Fact: confirmed by numerous witnesses, the IPCC report above, prisoner A and North Yorkshire Police). He was physically capable of overcoming an opponent and killing with a choke hold. (Fact: Judo is a martial art which uses choke holds, Jaconelli’s physical strength is corroborated in this video clip of him easily overpowering Jimmy Savile, who was himself an amateur wrestler of some prowess and physically fit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fHTlnogz08 – corroborated by the CPS evidence of the attack on the Spanish waiter confirming that Jaconelli was capable of attacking and overpowering a victim)
- According to the IPCC investigation into Detective Sergeant A, Jaconelli had access to firearms and to other criminals. (Alleged to North Yorkshire Police by Prisoner A, corroborated in the IPCC report above).
- Jaconelli had close connections to the police in Scarborough, (Fact: as Mayor he would have known, and have had routine dealings with, Scarborough Police; a witness has been quoted in the Scarborough News as alleging that Jaconelli was paying off Police Officers from Scarborough Police Station) his subordinate Jimmy Savile had close connections to the police in Leeds (Fact: he attended West Yorkshire Police social functions, made donations to their charities, invited officers from West Yorkshire Police around to his flat each month and a West Yorkshire Police Inspector was his driver and bodyguard, corroborated by West Yorkshire Police Operation Newgreen which admitted there had been an over-reliance on personal friendships). Savile was well known to North Yorkshire Police, (corroborated by Assistant Chief Constable Sue Cross, who confirmed he had appeared at a fête with the Chief Constable and had been given a police car and driver to ferry him around and by Assistant Chief Constable Paul Kennedy, who confirmed in the video-clip below that many complaints were made to Scarborough Police station about both of them, but never followed up).
Unquestionably, the arrest of Jaconelli for rape was the criminal biggest case in Scarborough since the Germans bombarded it during the First World War. Everyone in Scarborough Police Station must have been talking about it. Yet when the key witness disappeared no one in CID made any enquiries as to what had happened, or tried to contact him to get him to ascertain his whereabouts and give evidence. Nor did Scarborough Police make any attempt to remove Jaconelli as a Governor from local schools, where he was enticing the children into prostitution.
Had Jaconelli been brought to trial it would also have exposed other crimes he had committed and others committed by Jimmy Savile acting in joint enterprise with him, which were routinely ignored by Scarborough Police. This would also have exposed the policemen in Scarborough that had protected him. It may also be the case that this would also have stopped the steady stream of bribes that one witness has alleged police officers were receiving from Jaconelli. Whatever the accuracy of this allegation, it was obviously in the best interests of Scarborough Police that Jaconelli did not go to trial and was hushed up and hushed up it was. Very effectively for forty three years. Not a peep emerged, from 1972 until 2015, when Nigel Ward started doing his stuff. Only the Police could have ensured such watertight security.
If Jaconelli had faced trial, even if he had been found not guilty, it would have ruined him. Scarborough is a small place and Jaconelli was well connected, so he would have had no difficulty identifying the whereabouts of the principal witness against him. This obviously gave Jaconelli a motive to remove the witness as a threat, either through violence or intimidation and the opportunity to employ it. (Deduction: Although not fact, it is self-evidently a valid conclusion to draw and cannot be dismissed as speculation).
So why is it that ACC Kennedy will not end the uncertainty by:
- Releasing an appeal for information on the whereabouts of the Spanish waiter and the taxi driver on the force website?
- Making a standard enquiry through Interpol to ascertain if the Spanish waiter is listed as a missing person in Spain and if not trace his current whereabouts?
This would not take up much police time and is standard procedure. It is ridiculous of ACC Kennedy to suggest that this would be impractical and disproportionate, given the weight of evidence and the gravity of the allegations. After all, this would end the speculation one way or another and it could move Operation Hibiscus on very significantly. If this man is traced, it would also confirm if the police intimidated him from pursuing his case, as multiple witnesses confirm they did in many other cases that could have led to the successful prosecution of Savile and Jaconelli.
As a result of the investigative work by the NYE team, North Yorkshire Police had to issue a public apology for its past investigative failures. Unquestionably, the worst investigative failure in its history, which attracted national publicity, this humiliating task fell to ACC Kennedy:
What ACC Kennedy did not mention in the interview is that from November 2012 onwards North Yorkshire Police stonewalled the possibility of any investigation into Peter Jaconelli, although there was overwhelming evidence of his offending. Nevertheless during the interview he conceded that the BBC documentary referred to above in which I featured, had been the catalyst for revealing these failures. So is it possible that he bears some form of personal animosity towards me for exposing the failings of North Yorkshire Police and opening it up to national criticism? Although I suspect I may not be very popular in Newby Wiske Hall, in my opinion this is not the primary reason for ACC Kennedt’s outright rejection of the concerns I brought to his attention, or of the associated refusal to recommend calling in another force to investigate.
There have been widespread allegations of police corruption in Scarborough throughout the Jaconelli years, not just by the NYE, but by mainstream media, a police witness, local Councillors and victims, which allowed Savile and Jaconelli to abuse children with impunity. If this aspect of the investigation is pursued rigorously, then it is possible that police officers – some of whom went on to achieve high rank – could be convicted of serious crimes. This includes the police officer who, I believe, ordered that Savile and Jaconelli should be protected and no prosecutions should take place. However, this aspect appears to have been ignored in all the investigations conducted by North Yorkshire Police. ACC Kennedy was very careful in his interview to offer no explanation for this aspect of the investigation and skilfully evaded commenting on it.
Savile and Jaconelli were members of an organised crime syndicate involved in a wide range of criminal activities, which it has been alleged involved police officers. This excellent BBC Panorama Documentary on Police corruption shows how easily criminals can infiltrate the police. It also shows how difficult it is to expose corrupt police officers because of the resistance of the police service to rigorously investigate corruption within its own ranks.
North Yorkshire Police as a force is obviously determined not to allow any more damage to its already tarnished reputation, following the Jimmy Savile, Peter Jaconelli and multiple misuse of police funds scandals revealed by the NYE and other media outlets. Nor will it allow an investigation which could see senior police officers have their reputations ruined or even go to jail. It is no wonder the “alphabet officers” kept quiet and concealed an organised crime group that had been operating in Scarborough until comparatively recently and had been committing multiple offences. The lid is well and truly on and the wagons are formed into a circle around the police officers that protected Savile and Jaconelli. We will only get to the bottom of things when an investigation is conducted by another force that is not in any way involved in any of the recent paedophile scandals. That is not going to happen, because:
- The Chief Officers of North Yorkshire Police are not going to let it happen.
- Because the only other person with power to call in another force –North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mullilgan- is backing them up all the way.
North Yorkshire Police and North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan have been given sight of a draft of this article and had the opportunity of commenting on it.