MAYOR FOX: “Sorry . . . NOT Sorry!”
- an “In My View” article by NIGEL WARD, up-dating readers on the SAVILE/JACONELLI Scarborough paedophile-ring cover-up.
The Peter JACONELLI saga has become a long and drawn-out affair.
It has come now to the point whereby, in the full glare of publicity, Scarborough Borough Council Leader Derek BASTIMAN and his predecessor as Leader, Councillor Tom FOX, the incumbent Mayor of Scarborough, have made it clear that, even though they have been forced to acknowledge that scores (certainly), hundreds (probably), even thousands (very possibly) of children were horribly abused by former North Yorkshire and Scarborough Councillor, Mayor and Alderman Peter JACONELLI, a pillar of his party institution – the Scarborough Council and the Scarborough & Whitby Conservative Association – they are unable to bring themselves to say “Sorry!”.
How can that possibly be? Who could not be sorry about what happened to all those poor kids?
Why is a simple, straightforward and down-to-earth expression of commiseration and regret anathema to the SBC leadership?
Though we may speculate, we cannot know. But we do know that it is anathema to them because, following the publication of the Scarborough News article “Silence as council leader asked to ‘will you say sorry for Jaconelli?” (see my report, here), it seems that a statement was issued to the Scarborough News (circa 21/08/15), apparently by the Director of Legal & Democratic Services, Lisa DIXON, and passed to me by a sympathetic source. The statement did not appear in the newspaper.
But the statement does make it abundantly clear that no apology – no “Sorry!” – is on the cards:
- “You will be aware that immediately following the police’s conclusions in May 2014 that, if Jaconelli were still alive today he would have been interviewed under caution and a file of evidence would have been submitted for consideration by the Crown Prosecution Service, the Council took immediate and unequivocal steps to strip Jaconelli of his previous honours as Alderman and former mayor of the Borough and also to offer empathy and support to the victims of these terrible crimes. The motion to effect this was proposed by the then Leader, Councillor Tom Fox, and seconded by Councillor Bastiman. You can find the full text of the motion and debate in the minutes of the Council meeting of 12 May 2014. At present, the Council is not aware of any fresh information which would necessitate the Council revisiting its response to this dreadful issue.”
Leaving aside the twelve months ‘the Council’ needed to implement those “immediate and unequivocal steps”, would a thoroughgoing investigation into which Councillors and Officers were the recipients of complaints from victims/survivors “necessitate the Council revisiting its response”?
- Has such an investigation ever been undertaken by the Council? If not – why not?
- Which Councillors and Council Officers were closely associated with JACONELLI?
- Which Police Officers were closely associated with Peter JACONELLI?
- Which Councillors and/or Council Officers, having received complaints against JACONELLI, referred them to the Police?
- To which Police Officers? Was a certain Detective Sergeant TAYLOR (see below) amongst them?
- And which Councillors, Council Officers or Police Officers, having received complaints, acted as go-betweens to broker out-of-court settlements on behalf of Peter JACONELLI?
Has any investigation, however perfunctory, ever been undertaken by the Council to provide answers to these questions? Has a report ever been published? Has there been any transparency at all? No.
Obviously ‘the Council’ does not embrace the fact that its own duty to answer these questions certainly does “necessitate the Council revisiting its response”.
And just who is ‘the Council’ to which the statement refers? Who was acting as the Council’s mouth-piece? Which elected Councillors do not consider that these questions needed to be asked, and answered, for fear that the answers will “necessitate the Council revisiting its response”?
Even now, Full Council has not yet been granted an opportunity to support this latest statement. So whence did this intransigent determination to stifle further investigation originate?
Who decided upon that particularly clinical and legalistic form of words – thereby committing all Councillors to a position that they have never been allowed to consider, much less validate by voting their formal support? What must the Opposition Councillors think of this? Are they not concerned that their Council is being administered by autocrats?
Whatever; SBC Leader Councillor Derek BASTIMAN [Con.] and Mayor Councillor Tom FOX [Con.] are not going to say “Sorry!” – on the grounds (I am sure they would insist) that you don’t have to say “Sorry!” for something you haven’t done.
And they will never say “Sorry!” for something that they neglected to do, or evaded doing, or were persuaded or bribed not to do.
For sure, they will never, ever say “Sorry!” for something that they actually did do.
Because then they would be reviled as nothing better than lackeys – accessories after the fact to the crimes of Peter JACONELLI, Jimmy SAVILE and the other members of the Scarborough paedophile-ring.
‘The Council’ (i.e. Leader and former-Mayor Derek BASTIMAN and incumbent Mayor and former-Leader Tom FOX, with the dubious benefit of legalistic spin applied by Director of Legal & Democratic Services Lisa DIXON) may talk up its claim “to offer empathy and support to the victims of these terrible crimes” as much as it pleases.
But what sort of “empathy” stops short of a simple “Sorry!”?
What sort of “empathy” denies victims/survivors justice, or even clarity, on the matter of which Councillors, Council Officers and Police Officers who, unforgivably, sold them down the river by stiff-arming their complaints?
What sort of people are we dealing with here?
Do they – FOX, BASTIMAN and DIXON – have the integrity to get to the truth of the JACONELLI cover-up – to purge the endemic culture of denial – or will they continue to duck and dive for years, like their counterparts in Rotherham, Leeds and Greater Manchester, praying that by grimly holding the line, tight-lipped, somehow the crisis will pass unnoticed into history – and the victims/survivors will be left to write off their ordeals to bitter experience, despite all the Council’s professed “empathy”?
In short, will the cover-up crew continue to protect – and be protected?
And how could anyone like Peter JACONELLI ever get to be Mayor in the first place? What special privileges does the Mayorship entail? What degree of protection does it afford? Can any Mayor get away with almost anything? Or only a Conservative Mayor? A Freemason Mayor? A Common Purpose Mayor? A connected Mayor?
How should we believe that former Scarborough Police Officer Tom FOX, surrounded by a Criminal Investigation Department (CID) with a complement of thirty plainclothes detectives (pictured below, including the almost legendary super-sleuth Strickland CARTER, second row down, third from the right), knew nothing at all about Peter JACONELLI’s predatory sexual activities – given that we now know that he was reported by North Riding Police to the DPP for the indecent assault of a young Spanish waiter, in 1972?
And it now transpires that Peter JACONELLI did not face trial. How convenient.
Thirty experienced plainclothes detectives out on the avenues and alleyways of Scarborough, in and out of the pubs and the clubs, in and out of the arcades and the back-street garages – and not one of them garnered any intelligence at all about pervert Peter JACONELLI, or, having done so, never mentioned to Tom FOX, even in passing, that JACONELLI was well-know for his sexual crimes and a report about his brutal assault on the Spanish waiter had been referred to the DPP?
Were they all utterly useless? Where they all deaf, dumb and blind – supervised by a clod of earth? Or were they all paid off by Peter JACONELLI?
How has the fact that Peter JACONELLI was accused of indecent assault never emerged in the forty-three years since it took place – even in these past three years since Jimmy SAVILE was exposed, or in the past eighteen months since our allegations, broadcast by the BBC ‘Inside Out’ program, forced the North Yorkshire Police to instigate Operation Hibiscus?
And when Peter JACONELLI was nominated for the now discredited Civic Honour of Alderman, how was it that no-one in the Scarborough Police thought it prudent to apprise Scarborough Borough Council of Peter JACONELLI’s narrow escape?
It can only be that the Council and the Police have between them retained all knowledge of it within very tight circles indeed.
This extract from Michael TAYLOR’s ‘Letter to the Editor’ of the Scarborough News (05/02/15) about JACONELLI’s repeated sexual assaults at his Ippon Judo Club offers a clue to the prevailing ethos of the time:
Once a public servant has lied to the pubic, the trust is gone. She/he has breached the public trust; ergo, is no longer to be trusted.
A couple of months ago, The Guardian reported (in an article entitled “Rotherham abuse scandal: IPCC working to identify 100 police officers “, that the Independent Police Complaints Commissioner is investigating how Police and Council personnel in Rotherham ignored complaints and treated complainants as ‘troublesome’:
Is this the future for SBC and NYP?
Returning to the the Council’s position, as set out in the unpublished statement to the Scarborough News, let us be clear that the claim:
- “At present, the Council is not aware of any fresh information which would necessitate the Council revisiting its response to this dreadful issue”
is a claim that stretches credibility to breaking-point.
And it has not been democratically mandated by a majority of SBC Councillors – some of whom have expressed to me in no uncertain terms the passionate view that a proper apology is long overdue and, equally importantly, so is a diligent and transparent investigation into how JACONELLI ever came to be able to operate with gilt-edged, life-long impunity, along with Jimmy SAVILE and others, year upon year, decade upon decade, within the very bosom of the authorities. And after all that, they made him an Alderman!
With more Alderman and Freeman citations having been ‘jollied’ through Council, what background checks are to be made in respect of the acceptability of future nominations for Alderman and Freeman? Jimmy SAVILE was a Scarborough Borough Council Freeman – until he was acknowledged, without trial, as a criminal paedophile. Peter JACONELLI was a Scarborough Borough Council Alderman – until he was acknowledged, without trial, as a criminal paedophile. What precautions have been taken to ensure that yet another untried criminal will not need to be ditched?
If “the Council is not aware of any fresh information which would necessitate the Council revisiting its response to this dreadful issue”, I would contend that this is because the Council is determined to ignore any fresh information.
But there is fresh information – because now we know, straight from the horse’s mouth – the Crown Prosecution Service – that Peter JACONELLI was reported to the DPP (the predecessor of the CPS) back in 1972, for a sex offence committed during the year he was Mayor or very shortly thereafter.
On Thursday 22nd October 2015, the CPS amended its original response to my FOIA request, thus:
“The CPS is now in a position to confirm that a decision was taken as a result of this file being sent to the DPP’s office in 1972. It is important to note from the record held that the DPP’s office ‘advised no action’ on 10/10/72. This would suggest that Peter Jaconelli was not charged.”
I have since requested further clarification. But information provided by contemporaneous witnesses indicates that the case was not pursued because the DPP had been made aware that the victim was no longer available to testify against Peter JACONELLI.
On Friday 23rd October 2015, the Yorkshire Post covered this development in some depth. But, for me, the most telling information was saved until the last paragraphs of the article:
“The Crown Prosecution Service was formed in 1986 under the direction of the Director of Public Prosecutions, consisting of a merger of his old department with the existing police prosecution departments.
Prior to this, police forces were responsible for the bulk of prosecutions, with only the most difficult cases passed to the DPP.”
“The Scarborough News recently ran an article in which it quoted Ms Pauline Carruthers, founder of HOPE in which she confirmed that eleven victims of Jaconelli had come forward to her, some of whom had confirmed that Jaconelli had raped them. Real Whitby has also received an allegation of rape made against Jaconelli by a witness who alleged Jaconelli raped a foreign national who worked as a waiter in Scarborough, who left the country after the incident.”
Was Interpol asked to investigate? The Spanish Police? Did anyone file a Missing Person report, here or abroad?
Correct me if I err, but I recall no public statement by Scarborough Borough Council or the North Yorkshire Police making reference to Peter JACONELLI’s 1972 indecent assault charge prior to, or since, Assistant Chief Constable Paul KENNEDY’ s press statement
How could it have been overlooked, in all this furore, when it required only a single Freedom of Information request from a member of the public – yours truly – to bring out into the open?
And consider this IPCC Report, dated 24th December 2014 (Christmas Eve, qwhen most people had better things to do than read through an IPCC Report), entitled “An investigation into alleged mishandling of information by Det. Sgt. ‘A’.
It is a very interesting document. The following excerpt, Items 60 to 62, inc.) is pertinient to the matter at hand:
That redaction in the middle of Item 61 is in the original. What might it conceal? It is hard to imagine that it would have been deemed necessary to redact anything innocuous – like “a stolen microwave” or “1lb of mature Cheddar” . . .
And surely all of this information most emphatically does amount to “fresh information which would necessitate the Council revisiting its response to this dreadful issue”.
So now we may draw our own conclusions as to why Tom FOX refuses to say “Sorry!” to the victims and survivors of JACONELLI’s unbridled debauchery. He joined the Police in 1969. And we know, from former Police Officers, that JACONELLI’s sexual exploits were the talk of the Force throughout the ’70s and ’80s.
If FOX were to apologise now for what I will charitably call the sins of omission of his predecessors on the Council, he would be doing so in the certain knowledge that his hypocrisy would make him an object of contempt amongst his former colleagues, as well as the wider public, just as he is an object of utter contempt for so many of JACONELLI’s victims – not least, Guy WHITING.
This latest posturing in the name of ‘the Council’ (but without any legitimate mandate from the Council) is the work of the very people – FOX, BASTIMAN, and DIXON – who are most determined to keep the JACONELLI cover-up under wraps.
Leader Councillor Derek BASTIMAN [Con.] was a member of the 1996 incarnation of Scarborough Borough Council that awarded Alderman status to his fellow Conservative Peter JACONELLI. Derek BASTIMAN is a Scarborough lad who grew up in the town and lived through much of the JACONELLI reign of abuse. Is he another who claims to have been unaware of JACONELLI’s perverted nature – when you and I know that the whole town was aware?
FOX and BASTIMAN, in my view, are unfit for public office – and I am far from alone in that view. It has been widely expressed all over the social-media sites.
No wonder that they are afraid to say “Sorry!”.
In the fullness of time, I suspect future Councillors will be saying “Sorry!” for their predecessors’ failings. In my view, they are a disgrace to local government.
Take it from me, the Council will be revisiting its response to this dreadful “issue”, though I have to say that the choice of that particularly clinical and impersonal word – “issue” – as an appropriate euphemism for systematic paedophilia (and institutional cover-up thereof) says much more about Council priorities – save face first, and offer closure for the victims and survivors last, or never – than it does about “empathy”, compassion or common decency.
And for readers who are wondering whether or not I have received any response to my Open Letter To Jim DILLON, the answer, of course, is “No”. Why should a paid public servant account to me for his actions and omissions?