Operation Countryman II (3): JACONELLIGATE
– In the third of his Operation Countryman II series of articles investigating corruption in North Yorkshire Police (NYP), TIM HICKS continues his investigation into the way Alderman Peter Jaconelli (arguably Britain’s most successful and longest running paedophile) and Sir Jimmy Savile OBE (Britain’s most prolific paedophile) were protected from arrest and allowed to operate unhindered for about fifty years.
Enter the IPCC
Regular readers of Real Whitby will know that it has been consistently alleged on the Real Whitby website and in the national press that Officers of North Yorkshire Police ignored clear intelligence about Peter Jaconelli, Jimmy Savile and others committing sexual offences in Scarborough, because of Jaconelli’s local status.
Jaconelli’s obituary shows that he was a Scarborough Councillor, Mayor of Scarborough, a prominent Conservative politician, an Alderman, a prominent local and national businessman, Chairman of North Yorkshire County Council Planning Committee, of the Economic Development, Planning, Land and Harbour Committees of Scarborough District Council for many years, and a major force in revitalising Scarborough. This shows how influential and powerful he was locally – and why he was left alone.
As a result of the Real Whitby Investigation, two witnesses have come forward and formally alleged that Savile-associate Jaconelli was a paedophile and sexually assaulted them.
On this basis, if Jaconelli was still alive, he would probably now be under arrest as a suspect in the second tier of Operation Yewtree which is investigating offenders that were associated with Savile.
Following our investigation into this over the last six months, I requested that the IPCC investigate these claims of failure by North Yorkshire Police in the same way as the other Police forces concerned in the Savile investigation.
This request was accepted:
“In the light of information received, the IPCC is writing to North Yorkshire Police to ask them to review all relevant material and information to establish whether there are conduct matters that should be referred to us.” The information received was from Real Whitby.
“The IPCC has received the recently published report from West Yorkshire Police arising from the Savile case. The IPCC has received an earlier referral from the force in relation to the alleged actions of a former West Yorkshire police inspector which is being assessed.
“The IPCC is collating responses from a number of forces we have written to asking them to review all relevant material and information to establish whether there are conduct matters that should be referred to us. These forces are West Yorkshire, Surrey, Sussex, Thames Valley, Greater Manchester, the Metropolitan and Lancashire police forces. The only referrals the IPCC has received at present are from West Yorkshire. The IPCC has asked that each force provides the relevant documents and, if they decide not to record or refer any matters, the rationale for not doing so.
“All the information received is being assessed by the IPCC and we will make decisions as soon as we are able as to whether or not there are matters in relation to the conduct of individual officers that require an IPCC investigation.”
The BBC report on this is here. The Yorkshire Post report is in more detail and confirms that this step has been taken “as a result of allegations in media reports” which again, can only be a reference to Real Whitby, the only local media organisation that has investigated this aspect of the Jaconelli/Savile scandal.
Scarborough is the area that Savile operated in for the longest period of time (1960 – 2009), and it appears he operated there in joint enterprise with a paedophile-ring led by Peter Jaconelli (who was offending there from about 1955 until about 1999). and involving others. It now appears probable that Savile was moving hospital patients into Scarborough to meet Jaconelli and others, although I have not been able to find any evidence that they were abused there.
According to Operation Yewtree statistics, there were eight victims of Savile in North Yorkshire, making it the fifth most prolific force area of offending by Savile. However, I assert that if all of the ring’s victims over fifty years were included, (including victims of offences committed by a man with a caravan overlooking the sea, suspected to be Savile), there would be a significantly larger number of victims, probably moving Scarborough to the number one position.
For some time, witnesses have alleged that there was institutionalised corruption in North Yorkshire Police, the local Council, child protection services and the Local Education Authority (NYCC) which allowed Savile’s associate Peter Jaconelli to offend with impunity in Scarborough because of his lofty status and local influence. Savile’s close association with Jaconelli meant that he was left alone as well.
Concerns about the conduct of the Savile investigation by North Yorkshire Police have already been raised in the national press and by the local MP Mr Robert Goodwill.
The response of Scarborough Borough Council
Former Scarborian Mr Trevor Harrington wrote to Scarborough Borough Council making the gravest possible allegations about Jaconelli. These allegations have been made by other people who knew Mr Jaconelli and in the local and national press. Mr Harrington has had no response from Scarborough Borough Council at all. Not even an acknowledgement. In short, his complaint has been ignored and stonewalled.
On 18th February 2013, Nigel Ward wrote to the leader of Scarborough Borough Council Councillor Tom Fox (Conservative: Weaponness) (who served a full Police career in Scarborough during the height of Savile and Jaconelli’s offending, rising to Command all policing in Scarborough as acting Chief Inspector Tom Fox) asking this question:
“What is the intention of the Leader in respect of the many serious allegations, every bit as horrific as those against Jimmy SAVILE, against former Councillor and Mayor Peter JACONELLI, in respect of his status as Alderman of the Borough. Is there a process in train for the Council to adopt the same approach as in the SAVILE case?”
Councillor Fox’s response was to deny he had received any correspondence from Nigel Ward concerning Jaconelli, although he obviously has. He then indicated that he would not respond to any further correspondence on this matter.
Although Councillor Fox’s motion to remove Savile’s position as an honorary Freeman of the Borough of Scarbrough obtained him national publicity, and he publicly denied any knowledge of Savile’s offending (which we published in full), to this day we have had no comment from Councillor Fox on Jaconelli.
In short, the Council has ignored evidence and buried the complaints.
However, we have received one comment from someone in Scarborough Borough Council. This was from Councillor Colin Haddington (Filey, Conservative). Following email correspondence from me raising concerns about the Jaconelli/Savile scandal, Councillor Haddington emailed me and copied in two victims of Jaconelli’s offending. His sole comment was:
Which I can only presume is meant to indicate boredom and contempt for the issue.
So in response to concerns that there was a paedophile vice-ring operating in Scarborough run by a member of his party who was a Councillor, Alderman and Mayor, in which possibly hundreds of children were abused over fifty years and a dangerous rapist was introduced to local schools; Councillor Haddington emailed two of Jaconelli’s victims in these insensitive and offensive terms.
This appears to be typical of the attitude Scarborough Borough Council displayed over Jaconelli at the time. It is typical of the attitude that allowed Jaconelli to prey on children with impunity and it is completely unacceptable that the Council should continue to display it.
The response of North Yorkshire Police
The investigation into the conduct of North Yorkshire Police will have to explain why North Yorkshire Police were ostensibly unaware of Jaconelli’s offending for over fifty years, when every schoolboy, teacher, Councillor and most local people in Scarborough were completely aware of it. Had Jaconeli been arrested, that would have led the Police straight to Savile and the rest of the ring.
Most particularly, it will have to explain why in response to an enquiry from Surrey Police during an investigation in July 2007 – which was the best chance that existed of bringing Savile to justice – for any intelligence on Savile, North Yorkshire Police responded with an all clear. In fact everyone in Scarborough knew he was a close associate of Jaconelli, a known paedophile and had apparently been investigated by North Yorkshire Police during a major paedophile investigation back in Scarborough in 2003. North Yorkshire Police Force Intelligence Bureau failed to pass on the intelligence it undoubtedly had about Saville and Jaconelli to the Surrey investigation from 2007 until after Savile’s death in 2011.
The evidence from Mr Harrington and Councillor Geoff Evans, alleging that the North Yorkshire Police had ignored Jaconelli’s offending, was sent to the Police by Scarborough Borough Council when it was received. However, entirely predictably, neither complainant has been contacted by the Police – or a Crime Number issued – and North Yorkshire Police are refusing to comment. In short, it appears that intelligence on Savile and Jaconelli has again been ignored by North Yorkshire Police.
Another force to conduct an impartial investigation into North Yorkshire Police?
I submit that any impartial investigation into Savile and Jaconelli may reveal offences of misconduct by North Yorkshire Police Officers over a number of years. It may still be possible that some Officers could be prosecuted.
However, following on from the blatantly perverse West Yorkshire Police investigation, in which WYP exonerated itself from any responsibility and which has been widely condemned as a disgraceful whitewash, neither force will confirm if an Officer of North Yorkshire Police was the ninth man who attended Savile’s infamous Friday Morning Tea Club in Leeds.
It appears obvious that North Yorkshire Police will not conduct an impartial investigation into itself that will reveal publicly such serious shortcomings. Even now, in 2013, intelligence received from victims on Savile and Jaconelli from complainants is apparently being ignored by North Yorkshire Police.
I therefore wrote to the Metropolitan Police, the IPCC, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire and Chief Constable Madgwick of North Yorkshire Police asking for the investigation to be conducted by officers from another force. I have had two responses.
- A Detective Chief Inspector of the Metropolitan Police (MPS) working on Operation Yewtree confirmed that my correspondence had been passed to North Yorkshire Police: “Any future e-mails sent by you to MPS officers associated with Operation Yewtree will be dealt with in the same way. I understand that you have brought your concerns to the attention of the IPCC and the HMIC, I therefore feel that the matters you raise are being properly considered and I will make no further comment”. I have, not in fact, brought any matters to the attention of Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabularies.
- The IPCC acknowledged receipt of my concerns and responded “We are completely independent of the police service and are responsible for making sure that the police complaints system in England and Wales works effectively and fairly. However, each police force is responsible for considering complaints made against that force and recording your complaint. Our role at this stage is to forward your complaint to the relevant police force. If you are not happy with the police’s decision on recording your complaint, you have the right to appeal to us. I have passed the matter to the Professional Standards Department (PSD) of the North Yorkshire Police for them to consider whether your complaint would come under the Police Reform Act 2002, the police will be contacting you soon.”
Following on from the West Yorkshire investigation, I think it should be obvious that in a high profile case like Jaconelli/Savile, the Police will not investigate themselves impartially. Hence, my request for an external investigation. However, in response to my request to Operation Yewtree and the IPCC to refer the investigation to another force, both organizations have referred me back to North Yorkshire Police.
Scarborough Borough Council, Surrey Police, Julia Mulligan – the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire – and Chief Constable Madgwick of North Yorkshire Police were all given the opportunity to comment on this article, but did not comment.
In this respect, the silence of Chief Constable Madgwick and Police and Crime Commissioner Mulligan – who have the authority to call in another force – on any aspect of the Jaconelli and Savile allegations since they first arose is THUNDEROUS.