|The JET Report
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(Part 2 of 5)
It should be noted that the following stages through which the Enquiry progressed overlapped to some extent but we consider that it is important to illustrate how the Team's views developed.
STAGE 1 - Preliminary Investigation into Background Material
We knew nothing about the Broxtowe cases when we started and our first endeavour was to acquire and read all the background information that appeared to be relevant or that was offered to us. This included the following:-
- The official Police files
- The Wardship papers on Social Services files
- The Children's files
- The Diaries that had been kept by the foster parents
We made it clear at the outset that we would want to look at anything that was considered to be relevant but obviously in this respect had to depend upon the social workers who knew the case well.
STAGE 2 - Interviews with the Senior Personnel in the Respective Departments who had been involved in the Broxtowe case and its aftermath
a) The Police
We considered that it was important to find out what had actually been investigated in the Gollom enquiry, and the findings. Without this knowledge we had no way of knowing at what stage it had ended. We also considered it important to find out the Police perspective on the case. From this interview we learned that the continuation of the Diaries had caused the Police anxiety as they constituted a threat to the successful prosecution. We could surmise that the Police felt betrayed that their request had apparently been ignored. It became clear that the Police had checked locations more thoroughly than the Social Services Department had realised and had, for example interviewed neighbours of the T. family.
We were told that the Police had approached this investigation with an open mind and even a sense of anticipation of something interesting. They had, however, been rapidly disillusioned by the lack of evidence and a realization that the corroborating adults were in their view totally unreliable. In an attempt to explain this they had analysed the Diaries and had come to the conclusion that the children and foster parents were influencing each other, possibly through the fortnightly foster parent support meetings.
The Police were highly suspicious of the involvement of the media and Mr. W., particularly after they discovered that the media, who wanted to make a good T.V. programme, had supplied Mr. W. with the Satanic indictors that he used when briefing the foster parents.
The Police speculated that the Social Services Department had been manipulated.
b) Social Services
As with the Police we considered it important to find out their perception of what had happened since the original criminal Enquiry. We also needed to be aware of the disclosures that they considered had not been investigated to their satisfaction and the disclosures that had not been investigated at all.
We also wanted to know on what they based their current thinking. The Social Services staff stated that their concern was due to their perception of the Police attitude and they thought investigations may not have been thorough because of this. More recent information appeared to cast doubt on the Police findings. They did not feel that the Police could in any case investigate properly if they had no knowledge of what they were investigating. Their view that the Broxtowe case could involve Satanic ritual abuse, with the implications that other adults would be involved and other children would be at risk, was based upon the following:-
In another interview we were given a briefing on the knowledge acquired about Satanic abuse and its implications.
STAGE 3 - Places and People Investigated
A decision was made at the start of the Enquiry that these investigations would include both the Police and the Social Workers in order to obtain a balanced view.
We started the Enquiry with an open mind and did not know where it would lead us. Indeed one of the team was sufficiently worried that he went Ex-Directory and if anything, with hindsight, would feel that he had been initially biased towards the ritualistic Satanic viewpoint, after preliminary discussions with staff and a perusal of the information presented to him. All of the team were prepared to believe that Satanic abuse could be a reality and we approached our task with an initial premise that it was true until proved otherwise. It followed from this, for example, that strenuous efforts were made to locate tunnels under Wollaton Hall and the Police Support Unit was used in an attempt to establish that they were there. Some bones were found in a small storage cellar behind the gentleman's toilets and although the "room" appeared to have been unused for many years and the taxidermist gave a reasonable explanation, the Home Office pathologist was called in to examine the bones.
Likewise when we arranged to interview the three adults who appeared to corroborate the children's disclosures it was decided to allow them a free interview without any probing questions that might discredit them. [Mandy], for example, gave us a lengthy detailed description of the rooms and tunnels used under Wollaton Hall and the following day she was given every opportunity there with her social worker to verify what she had told us. With regard to [Vivian]'s allegations, although they appeared to be absurd, enquiries were made at the Queen's Medical Centre regarding the disposal of foetuses.
A number of places had been indicated by the adult witnesses and by the children during 1988 as locations for Satanic ritual abuse ceremonies. Many of these had been investigated during the Gollom enquiry but were reinvestigated. They included the following:-
Wollaton Hall The children and [Mandy] and [Jane] identified tunnels and a room. They do not exist.
St Mary's Church The children identified tunnels and an underground room. They do not exist.
Private Dwelling, Ruddington [Mandy] identified a room under the stables. It does not exist.
Old Lodge Gates The children and [Mandy] identified tunnels running to Wollaton Hall. They do not exist.
Private Dwelling, Derby Road The children, [Mandy] and [Jane] alleged an underground room, tunnels leading to Wollaton Hall and an outdoor swimming pool. The former do not exist and the latter which is indoors did not exist at the time of the disclosures. (On audio tape [Mandy] claimed that it was an outdoor swimming pool and that the police must have been blind if they could not see it.)
Private Dwelling, Lenton Avenue [Jane] identified a swimming pool. It does not exist.
With respect to these premises it is clear that the children and the adults of the extended family had not been telling the truth.
As [Mandy] and [Vivian] were the corroborating adults from the extended family we interviewed them and the audio-tapes are available. [Mandy] gave us an amazing description of the rooms under Wollaton Hall, the entrances and the tunnel lit by torchlights leading to Derby Road. On being taken to Wollaton Hall she could not identify anything and it was apparent that she had little knowledge of the place. The Enquiry Team took [Vivian] for a trip into Derbyshire and although it was obvious that she had no idea where she was she identified a house that she claimed had a butler, a secret passage and an underground room with four dead bodies in it. The Enquiry team later visited this property and found that it was a complete fabrication.
[Jane] the third corroborative member of the extended family had already made a statement of retraction to the Police on the 22nd August 1988. She confirmed to us that this second statement was the truth and that she still stood by it. In it she states that she was interviewed by her social worker about 20 times before she made her Affidavit to the Wardship Court about witch parties and big houses. In this statement [Jane] claims that The information she gave subsequently misled the Wardship Court and that her evidence was the result of "pressure" from her social worker. She comments that the only things that she knows about witchcraft and magic are "the things I've seen on the telly" and with reference to [Mandy] "I know she is telling lies". At this stage of the Enquiry we did not realise the possible significance of this Statement.
All of these adults will tell you anything, have suggested the impossible and have been found to be lying in every respect that could actually be checked. They are highly suggestible and will related anything that comes into their heads. We would suggest that the video tape made by [Mandy] is a good example of this. In our view they could not be considered corroborative witnesses of anything that the children have said. It has been put to us that even if unreliable it was too much of a coincidence that they were talking about witch parties independently of the children. We know, however, that the Social Services Departments Affidavits with copies of the children's diaries attached were left in the Broxtowe households. At the very end of the Enquiry after the Report had been typed we found evidence from the files that [Jane] had been shown copies of the children's Affidavits with the attached diaries by her social worker.
At the end of these investigations we could not find any evidence to support the children's disclosures and in our view the apparent corroboration by the adult members of the family was illusory.
STAGE 4 - Analysis of the Children's Disclosures
Research into Satanism and Witchcraft
Research into the International scene and the literature from the USA
Interviews with the Experts used by Social Services
We decided that we needed to try a different approach as we were left with the children's disclosures on the one hand and a total lack of supporting evidence on the other. It was at this point that the previous investigation had broken down. At the December 1988 meeting the Police reported that there was no evidence and the social workers replied that they were left with the children's stories. It is interesting to note that the Canadian and Dutch experience had been the same and they had fared no better than Nottinghamshire. We have the advantage, however, that our investigations had been done together as one 'protective' agency and there was no dispute over the findings.
(i) Analysis of the Children's Disclosures
We decided that we needed to undertake a much more detailed study of the Children's Diaries as they were the "foundation stone" for the belief in the existence of Satanic ritual abuse in the Broxtowe cases and the view that other children were at risk. The children in the Broxtowe case talked about the following:-
The following contain our observations on these disclosures extracted from the full report:-
The Form of the Disclosures
The children were not interviewed formally by social workers but the foster parents kept diaries recording anything unusual that the children said or did.
It is important to realise that contrary to normal disclosure work, we do not have "a story" informing us of Who? Where? When? How? The children have never been formally interviewed on the "Satanic" allegations recorded in the diaries except for claims of murders on a boat in December 1988. The nature of the disclosures, therefore, is what might be termed a "flow of consciousness" rather then any connected story. For example, in a normal disclosure you might have a story in which a child roughly indicates when it was taken on a journey to a house, how it was taken, who it was with, where it was and what happened there.
Although it has been stated that social workers were convinced by the number of children telling the same story the significant diaries really reduce to four children in three foster homes.