Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Dame Lowell Goddard quit historic child abuse inquiry because she was 'lonely'

Dame Lowell Goddard is the third person to resign from the child abuse inquiry. Credit: PA

Dame Lowell Goddard quit her role as chairwoman of the Inquiry into historic Child Sexual Abuse partly because it was a "lonely existence", Home Secretary Amber Rudd has said.

Speaking before MPs at the Home Affairs Select Committee, Rudd said Dame Lowell's full resignation letter outlined the areas where the New Zealand judge felt she could not deliver.

"I think she went...because she found it too much for her, and although she could contribute to it and there was some good work done in the past year, ultimately she found it too lonely," Rudd said.

"She was a long way from home and she decided to step down," the home secretary added.

Dame Lowell had claimed that the inquiry was under-resourced, and reportedly identified this as one of the reasons she could not continue in her role.

However, acting Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Tim Loughton MP pointed out that the inquiry refunded £2.5 million to the Home Office last year because it had underspent its budget.

"In that respect at least, her letter is factually incorrect and is a misrepresentation of the circumstances which may have led to her resignation," Loughton said.

Dame Lowell, 67, became the third person to step down as chair of the child sexual abuse inquiry when she tended her resignation in August.

She said the inquiry had struggled to shake of its "legacy of failure", and said the job was a "struggle".

Dame Lowell drew criticism after it emerged that she had spent over 70 days either on holiday or abroad during her first year in the role.

She claimed there was an "inherent problem" in the inquiry's size and scale, and called for it to be overhauled.

Child protection expert Professor Alexis Jay was named as Dame Lowell's successor last month.

The probe was given a budget of £17.9 million for 2015/16 and has been described as the most ambitious public inquiry ever to be undertaken in England and Wales.

It was earmarked to take five years, but there have been suggestions it could run for as long as a decade.