The story of the teenager on the receiving end of an unprovoked life changing
assault would be almost unbelievable if it weren’t for the fact that a judge
examined all the evidence and came to the conclusion that almost everything
Bexleyheath police said was a fabrication and almost everything they did was
aimed at getting the culprit off the hook because of his close links to the police.
The Directorate of Professional Standards has said that Bexley police’s failure to track the council’s obscene blog to councillor Craske’s address in a matter of weeks was incompetence but I don’t believe it. Deep seated corruption at every level is the more likely cause. What else would explain an eight month delay between identifying the source of the blog and searching the suspect’s house? What other explanation can there be for the disgraceful turn of events related below by the teenager’s father?
In previous weeks, we’ve looked at Bexley Police’s investigation of a serious assault and shown that there was something badly wrong with it. A decision had been made to take ‘no further action’ against the assailant and the case was now closed. It was only when a concerned David Evennett MP contacted the Borough Commander about it that Police decided to review the case for a third time. This review was carried out by DI2 – the Detective Inspector who threatened to bring a criminal prosecution against the owner of this website for ‘harassing’ Bexley councillors.
On concluding his review, DI2 phoned us to report that he had examined the case file in detail and was “satisfied” that his fellow officers had investigated the incident as thoroughly as possible. (Read earlier posts on this case to see whether you agree with his assessment.) Things had gone wrong, he admitted, but it was all the fault of the school where the assault occurred, and he would be making notes to this effect on the case file. We were surprised by this conclusion, as in our experience, the school had handled the incident impeccably.
A few days later, David Evennett forwarded us a letter that he had just received from the Detective Chief Inspector DCI1 who was in charge of Bexley CID. DCI1 was an experienced senior officer who had overcome some difficulties during her career, from being part of a team that botched a high-profile murder investigation to being (unsuccessfully) prosecuted herself after some very unpleasant allegations were made about her. However, after the court case against her, DCI1 was transferred to Bexley Police with a promotion to Head of CID, so we had every reason to expect that her response to David Evennett would be well researched and fair.
Imagine our surprise, then, to find that this letter was riddled with basic factual errors far too numerous to mention, inaccurately blaming both the school and our son for the failure to prosecute the attacker. Worst of all, it included a claim about our son ‘striking the first blow’, even though there was nothing in any of the seven witness statements, nor in the statement of the attacker himself, nor in the CCTV footage, about him striking a blow at any point.
Both we and the school wrote to DCI1, identifying these errors, and were even more disappointed not to receive any apology or acknowledgment from her whatsoever. (Please note that it was not the whole of Bexley CID that was implicated in these flawed investigations and reviews – just one Constable (PC1), one Detective Constable (DC1), one Detective Sergeant (DS1), the Head of CID (DCI1) and her two most senior deputies (DI1 and DI2)).
The school was extremely unhappy at how the matter had been handled, and further complaint resulted in the involvement in the case of Bexley’s second most senior officer CI1 (the Chief Inspector who mistakenly indicated to the press that criminal charges had been brought due to abuse of councillors on the Bonkers website).
According to the school, CI1 advised that he was not allowed to let us have any information on the case for a year (even though it appears that no such time limit exists under the law), and warned that our son might not wish to pursue the matter any further, because it was a very serious and would involve him appearing in court before a jury and lawyers, and that the attacker had a “good” lawyer who had helped him prepare “a well written statement” (even though the only statement from the attacker mentioned on the prosecutor’s report was one that he had made before he had spoken to his solicitor).
It was only after Police learnt that we did not buy the idea that the case was too serious to be properly investigated, and that our son and the school were not going to be demoralised and intimidated into dropping the matter, that the Borough Commander asked CI1 to launch a “full review” of the case that would involve reinvestigating the incident from scratch.
Next we’ll see if the investigation was handled properly now that CI1 was in charge…
I think I can now begin to decode the police references. DI2 must be Detective Inspector Keith Marshall. DCI1 must be Detective Chief Inspector Alison Funnell. There was no other high ranking female CID officer at Bexleyheath police station who had helped to foul up the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation. CI1 has to be Chief Inspector Tony Gowen. With him in charge I feel the urge to utter the words “God help us”.
The complete story so far.