Lord Greville Janner: 'Multiple failings' in responses to child sex abuse claims, inquiry finds

ITV News UK Editor Paul Brand reports on the key findings on how authorities handled child sex abuse claims against the late Labour peer Lord Greville Janner

There were "multiple failings" in responses to child sex abuse claims against the late Labour peer Lord Greville Janner, an independent inquiry has found.

Children who claimed they were being abused by Lord Janner were "let down by institutional failings", the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) said.

It added children in the care of Leicestershire County Council were "not given the attention they deserved".

The report also criticised Leicestershire County Council's "sorry record of failures" relating to abuse at children’s homes dating back to the 1960s.

The former Leicestershire MP died in 2015 having been charged with 22 counts of historic child sexual abuse, relating to nine different boys, dating back decades.

He denied the allegations and his family continue to do so.

Who is Lord Janner?

Greville Janner QC represented Leicester West for the Labour Party between 1970 and 1997.

He was later given a peerage, becoming Lord Janner of Braunstone.

What happened to Lord Janner?

Lord Janner was the subject of child sex abuse allegations dating back to 1955.

There have been a number of police investigations into Lord Janner's alleged activities in 1991, 2002 and 2006.

The former Labour MP, who had dementia, was ruled unfit to plead.

He died aged 87 before a trial of the facts could take place.

An independent inquiry the following year in 2016 concluded the Crown Prosecution Service had three "missed chances" in earlier investigations to prosecute him.

Lord Janner leaves Westminster Magistrates’ Court in 2015 Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA

Detectives working the third police investigation into Lord Janner were 'uninterested' in the allegations, inquiry finds

The IICSA accused Detective Superintendent Christopher Thomas, who led Operation Dauntless, the third police investigation into Lord Janner, of being "uninterested" in the allegations, while colleagues were "quick to dismiss" some testimonies.

The report was particularly critical of Mr Thomas, the senior investigation officer in 2006.

It said: "Our overriding sense is that Det Supt Christopher Thomas was uninterested in this investigation, and his decisions to limit the inquiries undertaken appeared to be reflective of a wider failure to pursue the investigation with the rigour it deserved, rather than being motivated by a wish to protect Lord Janner or show him undue deference."

Who gave evidence during the three-week inquiry strand?

More than 30 complainants were involved in the inquiry, with their lawyers describing how poor children in care were on a "conveyor belt to abuse".

They alleged being seriously sexually abused in a range of locations, including schools, a flat in London, a hotel, Lord Janner’s car and the Houses of Parliament.

No alleged victims of Lord Janner were called to give live evidence during the three-week inquiry strand, which was held largely behind closed doors to protect their identities.

However, lawyers for Lord Janner’s alleged victims told the hearings there was a "culture of deference" towards the veteran politician, and he enjoyed "the halo effect" while children he is alleged to have abused were routinely disbelieved.

Leicestershire County Council Credit: ITV News Central

Leicestershire County Council 'simply did not do enough to keep the children in its care safe'

The leader of Leicestershire County Council, Nick Rushton, has apologised following the findings of the report.

Mr Rushton said: "The Council at the time simply did not do enough to keep the children in its care safe and for that, I am sorry.

"The publication underlines that there were failures in the past. We fully accept the findings in the report and have supported the inquiry from the outset.

"It has taken immense courage for people to speak out about historic events and I’d like to praise them for their bravery."

"Across the board, our approach to safeguarding has transformed. The formal systems in place today, as well as the specialist support provided to our young people and the joint work with the police to help secure convictions, are unrecognisable from those of the past, and IICSA has acknowledged these changes."

Lord Greville Janner Credit: PA

'It offers no proof whatsoever of guilt', Lord Janner's son responds to the inquiry findings

Lord Janner's son, Daniel Janner QC, said: "Our late father’s innocence is unchallenged in this report. It offers no proof whatsoever of guilt.

"He was himself the victim of institutional failings because he was denied the ability (in court) while of sound mind prior to his dementia to defend himself and challenge the false allegations.

"The fact that all the civil claims made against his estate were withdrawn or discontinued speaks for itself."

He added: "There was no finding of undue influence by anyone."

Daniel Janner QC Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

What have Leicestershire Police said?

Simon Cole, the Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police, said: "On behalf of Leicestershire Police, firstly, I would like to reiterate the wholehearted apology I gave in February 2020 to any complainant whose allegations during earlier police investigations into Lord Janner were not responded to as they should have been."

"It is fair and correct to say that the allegations could and should have been investigated more thoroughly, and Lord Janner could and should have faced prosecution earlier than 2015."

He said Operation Enamel, which eventually resulted in Lord Janner being charged, “demonstrated then, more than six years ago, a clear commitment and determination to pursue allegations of current or historic abuse against children”.

How has the Crown Prosecution Service responded to the inquiry?

"The CPS has acknowledged past failings in the way allegations made against Lord Janner were handled," a CPS spokesman said.

He added: "It remains a matter of sincere regret that opportunities were missed to put these allegations before a jury.

"We have co-operated fully with the inquiry and will carefully consider its conclusions."