Rhondda: Investigation begins as girl, 16, dies and two hurt

A 16-year-old girl has died and two men have been arrested after suffering serious injuries in the Rhondda.

The teenager’s death in Treorchy was “sudden and unexplained” and a post-mortem examination is due, South Wales Police said.

Emergency crews were called at about midday to reports of a stabbing in Baglan Street, which is sealed off.

Police said those involved were known to each other and no one else was being sought over the matter.

The girl’s family is being supported by specially-trained officers and efforts are being made to contact other relatives.

Supt Rich Jones, said: “This is clearly a very serious incident which has caused significant shock and concern for both the local and wider community.

“We have a dedicated team of detectives working hard to establish the exact circumstances that have led to the tragic death of this young girl.”

The investigation was “still in its early stages”.

“There will be significant police presence in Baglan Street over the weekend but we will reopen the road at the earliest opportunity,” Supt Jones said.

“In the meantime, the support and understanding of the local community is very much appreciated.”

The police cordon was erected around a takeaway restaurant called Blue Sky, with a small white tent placed outside the premises.

The public has been urged by police to “refrain from speculation” about the incident.

A spokesman said: “We attended the scene with one rapid response vehicle, three emergency ambulances, our hazardous area response team and the Wales Air Ambulance.”

Rhondda MP Chris Bryant tweeted he was aware of “disturbing events on Baglan Street” and later said he understood police were not looking for anyone else in connection to the incident.

He said: “Because there have been so many emergency services turning up, people thought there must be some massive manhunt going on.

“I can reassure everyone the police are in control of the situation.”

Mr Bryant described what had happened as “a very worrying and upsetting episode”.

“You just don’t think that something like this is going to happen in the Rhondda,” he said.

“But I can reassure everyone, having spoken to the police, they are completely on top of the situation.

“They are not looking for anybody else as I understand it.”

Mr Bryant also said that primary school Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Ynyswen had been aware and had taken “all necessary precautions”.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said his thoughts were with “everyone in the community”.

Sarah Belgrove, 54, who lives a few doors from the scene, said the air ambulance was forced to land some way from Baglan Street.

“The helicopter was in the sky and had to land in the school, in the playground – it’s like a football field,” she said.

“The paramedics who got out of the helicopter flagged down some cars to give them a lift to the to the scene.”

Neighbour Mavis Wakeford, 79, added: “I’ve lived here all my life and nothing like this has ever happened before.”

Andrew Morgan, leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf council, tweeted his thanks to emergency services for “the significant attendance which is ongoing”.

A Wales Air Ambulance landed in Ynyswen at 13:00 GMT from Mid Wales Airport in Powys.

Police urged anyone who may have witnessed the events in Baglan Street to contact the force.

BAME sexual abuse: Failures of victims to be investigated

Three policing bodies are to investigate how police in England and Wales deal with sexual abuse victims from ethnic minority backgrounds.

It follows a super-complaint citing failures in responses to reports of sexual abuse within a BAME community.

Areas of concern included excessive focus on “community impact” and failure to consider family reprisals when abuse was reported to the police.

The super-complaint was raised by Tees Valley Inclusion Project (TVIP).

Super-complaints allow organisations or charities to raise issues on behalf of the public about harmful patterns in policing.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, the Independent Office for Police Conduct and the College of Policing will investigate police responses and report their findings.

The charity Halo, which supports abused people from minority communities, wrote the report on behalf of TVIP, which works with BAME individuals to aid social inclusion.

The complaint highlights obstacles unique to ethnic communities in the investigation of sexual abuse cases. These include:

Failure to consider honour-based violence was an area the Halo project found was particularly failing black and ethnic minority victims.

“The ramifications of not considering honour really can be devastating,” Yasmin Khan, director of Halo, told BBC Newsnight.

Victims are discouraged to disclose sexual abuse to officers because it brings shame and dishonour to the family and sometimes whole communities, Ms Khan said.

Over the course of a decade, Rahila, not her real name, was raped and sexually abused by members of her extended family since she was in primary school.

Fifteen years later she disclosed her abuse to the police but some of her alleged abusers were not contacted for more than a year. All denied the allegations and there were no prosecutions.

“After my uncles were interviewed I didn’t feel safe,” she said.

“I think they would silence me. I think they would kill me.

“I still believe that I am at threat now… That’s why I haven’t told anybody where I am. I have no friends, no family here.”

She was pressured by her family not to contact the police.

“I was told to conceal what happened to me,” she said. “It was shame for me. But there was no mention of my uncle being in shame.”

The former North West chief crown prosecutor Nazir Afzal, who helped convict grooming gangs in Rochdale, is a contributor to the super-complaint and patron of Halo.

“When victims from the minority community come forward, unfortunately, there’s a tendency amongst some police forces and officers to be hypersensitive about what the community might think, which they wouldn’t do for any other victim.”

Mr Afzal believes it is a by-product of the so-called grooming cases and “that means these victims are just being neglected”.

Former police officer Maliha Berridge, who specialised in so-called honour-based violence, said “the police are so frightened of putting a foot wrong and being accused of racism, Islamophobia, singling out BME people”.

She said “The law should be neutral. If somebody breaks the law, he’s a criminal. We need to arrest him. We need to deal with it.”

Rahila is being helped by the charity Muslim Women’s Network UK who also contributed to the report.

Now in hiding, in fear of her and her children’s lives, she said: “I regret going to the police, because it’s turned my world upside down”.

Lupus: Welsh centres of excellence could extend lives

Calls have been made for specialist help in Wales to treat an incurable, life-limiting condition which takes an average of six years to diagnose.

An estimated 2,000 people in Wales are affected by lupus.

Campaigner Wendy Diment said centres of excellence would “extend the lives” of lupus patients in Wales.

A Welsh Government spokeswoman said health boards can refer people for further treatment if it is not available locally.

It has been described as the “invisible illness”, which cuts life expectancy to about 53 years.

There is currently no cure for lupus and it occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy parts of the body.

“Many GPs and even consultant rheumatologists have limited experience in diagnosing, treating and monitoring patients with lupus, which means that specialist care is often required,” said Paul Howard, chief executive of charity Lupus UK.

He has called for investment in services – but until then, wants rules over cross-border referrals relaxed, so care in England’s nine centres of excellence can be accessed by people in Wales.

Research suggests people with lupus in Wales were twice as likely to be refused specialist help than in the rest of the UK.

For Mrs Diment, 46, the crippling fatigue and headaches would often leave her confined to her bed in tears.

“Some days I couldn’t get out of my pyjamas. If I had a shower, I’d need a lie down. It takes a long time to get used to it, it’s overwhelming and frustrating,” she said.

Mrs Diment, from Tenby, Pembrokeshire, believes the ‘trigger’ for her condition was the birth of her third child in 2008.

At first she put the symptoms down to tiredness, though she had to quit her job as a legal executive, aged 35.

It was not until four years later that a chance occurrence led to her diagnosis for the rare autoimmune disease.

“I became quite unwell in 2013, and had horrific rashes [another symptom of lupus] on my chest, feet and face. It seemed quite bizarre,” she said.

“Steroids cleared it up and I forgot about it. But in October of that year, I was in bed at 7pm suffering from severe fatigue, when my husband watched a television programme on a new drug for a rare condition.

“He woke me up and said ‘lupus’. It was the first time I’d heard of it.”

Source: Lupus UK

She was diagnosed with a type of lupus that year, but the rashes that had appeared made her believe it was a different variant of the complex condition she was suffering from.

It would take another four years – and paying to see a specialist in London – until her suspicions were proved right.

While she acknowledges things have improved since the 1960s when it was treated as “a terminal illness with survival not great past five years”, Mrs Diment still sees “a bundle of prejudices” around it.

Some 90% of patients are women and it is sometimes treated in relation to mental health or dismissed as “women saying they’re tired”, she added.

By taking 15 tablets a day, Mrs Diment is able to now focus on essentials, such as preparing meals for her children, as well as campaigning and running a support group for 50 other sufferers.

She wants to see centres of excellence established in north and south Wales to employ specialists, researchers and nurses to help with health and lifestyle.

“I get frustrated how many ask for referrals to England or second opinions on their diagnosis,” she said.

“They are so poorly and unwell, they don’t question the system, just accept it as their fate.

“In England it is a specialism, so they have improved outcomes.

“People in Wales would just like reassurances they are getting the best care which can extend their lives.”

Her local Senedd Member, Paul Davies, said: “I hope the Welsh Government will at least commit to looking at establishing centres of excellence in Wales, so people here have access to the same level of support and services that patients do in England.”

Among those waiting for more specialised care is Les James, from Carmarthen.

The condition is far less common in men and Mr James has not been diagnosed by a doctor after nine years.

However, he has shown many of the symptoms which can leave him in extreme pain for months at a time and is being helped by a lupus support group in west Wales.

He was forced to retire ten years ago, aged 53, and was given medication for a variety of conditions, including antiphospholipid syndrome – which also affects the immune system.

“For six months in 2019, I couldn’t walk. My feet were so painful, it was like putting them on a cobbly beach,” said Mr James, who takes 165 grams of morphine twice a day.

“Eventually, it went away. But I regularly get pains in my toes and heels.”

Cambridge University research associate Melanie Sloan – who has lupus – is leading a team surveying attitudes of patients.

Of 111 respondents, 43% of those in Wales said they had been refused a referral to see a specialist, compared to 21% in the rest of the UK.

Campaign group Fair Treatment for the Women of Wales said there is a lack of awareness of the “huge impact” and lack of investment in specialist services.

“Within our patient community, we hear far too often of women’s symptoms being downplayed or not adequately managed and this has significant consequences for patients’ long-term health,” a spokeswoman added.

The Welsh Government spokeswoman said it recognised the impact lupus can have on people’s health and lives.

“We will be consulting about musculoskeletal conditions, including lupus, and their treatment,” a spokeswoman added.

“We will continue to work with relevant organisations, including Lupus UK and Cymru Versus Arthritis, to improve treatment for people affected.”

Andrew Carruthers, director of operations at the Hywel Dda health board in west Wales, said it holds lupus clinics conducted by consultant rheumatologists.

Patients who cannot be managed within the health board area are referred to tertiary centres of excellence as clinically required, he added.

Mr Carruthers said: “We have participated in the British Society for Rheumatology lupus audit which showed the health board was above average for both the Welsh and UK average for most of the standards set out and we are committed to improving on these standards to further enhance the care for patients with lupus.”

Man bailed over Blackpool hospital death investigation

A healthcare worker arrested on suspicion of murder and rape as part of an investigation into a hospital patient’s death has been bailed.

The man was arrested during the inquiry into Valerie Kneale’s death at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, Lancashire Police said.

Ms Kneale, 75, died in 2018 of a haemorrhage from a “non-medical related internal injury”, a spokesman said.

The force added the man had been bailed on Thursday until 31 March.

He has been suspended by Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

A separate investigation into suspected poisoning of patients on the unit, which has previously seen seven hospital workers arrested, remains in progress.

The arrest of the health worker is not linked to the ongoing investigation into allegations of poisoning and neglect, said Lancashire Police.

Det Ch Insp Jill Johnston said the allegations were “complicated and sensitive”, and the force was “committed to investigating thoroughly”.

Officers said they were supporting those involved in the investigation.

Cladding rules: I would never have bought my flat if I knew

NHS worker Holly Ciesielczuk bought 75% of her first-floor flat in Redbridge in March 2019, under shared ownership.

But when she tried to borrow more money to increase her share of ownership a year later, she hit a stumbling block.

Following their initial survey, her mortgage lender requested an EWS1 form – an external wall safety certificate for the building, which can be obtained following checks.

These were first developed to assess the potential financial impact of cladding on high-rise flats, after 72 people died at Grenfell Tower.

To begin with, only those who owned flats in tall buildings with dangerous flammable cladding were affected.

But after the government extended its advice to smaller properties in January 2020, mortgage lenders began demanding fire surveys from a much wider range of sellers.

The reason Holly was given by her lender for requesting one was that a balcony on the building had a wooden floor.

However, she says her housing association would not agree to an EWS1 because, it said, the building was not high enough to meet the criteria.

The lender refused a mortgage without it, as did the next bank she tried. The combination of this and her partner’s cancer diagnosis took its toll.

“I properly broke down. If I knew how much stress this was going to cause, I would never have bought my flat,” she told the BBC.

In November, the government said an agreement had been reached with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), banking trade body UK Finance and the Building Societies Association.

It said this meant owners of flats in buildings without cladding would no longer need the form to sell or remortgage.

But mortgage lenders said they “did not consent” to the announcement.

Problems are still being encountered – including by Holly.

When she contacted her lender after the November announcement, their position had not altered. “I was so hopeful, so excited – but then so dismayed when I was told, ‘You still need an EWS1 form.'”

Following a consultation on the requirement for EWS1 checks, RICS plans to release updated guidance. It’s understood this could be published as soon as next week.

It will be aimed at narrowing down the number of EWS1 requests, but there’s no obligation for lenders to follow it.

“Naively or optimistically, I hope the guidance will provide clarity about whether I will be able to get a mortgage,” Holly says.

Even when building management agree to having checks done, it can be a lengthy process.

Alex Cross from Berkshire was excited to find what he thought was his “perfect” first flat, yet he too has been held up.

When he was asked to obtain an EWS1 form to secure a mortgage, the property management company refused to help.

They said they owned 4,000 blocks, but only 48 inspections had been booked that financial year.

“At that rate, it would take decades to obtain the required information,” Alex points out.

He eventually found one bank that did not require the full survey, but asked a set of questions about the building’s safety, which the property developer would not answer.

Rebecca Frisina and her family were hoping to move to a larger property, but have been unable to sell their flat. Although they have found a buyer, the mortgage provider has requested a EWS1 form for their property.

The management company which owns the freehold eventually agreed to pursue the safety checks. However, it isn’t clear when they might take place.

Rebecca’s family are now living with her parents and their buyer has moved into rented accommodation.

“We have asked for a rough estimated timeline and they have refused to answer us,” she says. “It’s been a nightmare.”

Andrew Montlake is managing director of mortgage broker Coreco and chairman of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries. He says one of the first things his team now ask about a property is whether there is cladding and whether an EWS1 has been produced.

“There are cases I’m sure where the buildings are probably OK. However, where you’re dealing with such a serious subject, surely it’s better to be safe than sorry. If the valuers aren’t sure, they’re going to cover themselves

“If there’s a risk of a leaseholder having to pay repair bills in future, that could have an impact on affordability.”

UK Finance also pointed out that some buildings might have cladding that is not obvious.

The fee for an EWS1 survey can be up to £50,000, depending on the size and style of the property.

It’s estimated that there are only 300 chartered fire engineers in the UK who can carry out the survey, which is believed to be a cause of delays.

A social media campaign, #EndOurCladdingScandal, has attracted support from a wide range of homeowners, including those subject to EWS1 requirements.

“RICS and the government can offer as much guidance as they want, but the truth is the genie is out of the bottle – and mortgage lenders are spooked,” a spokesperson for the campaign said.

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government said in a statement: “The EWS1 is not a government form, nor a legal requirement, and we’re disappointed this is being asked for in some cases where it’s not needed.

“If a form is genuinely needed, we are providing £700,000 of funding to train up to 2,000 more surveyors to speed up the process and get through the backlog.”

Soldier dies in Castlemartin live-fire training exercise

A soldier has died during a live-fire training exercise at a British Army firing range.

The victim, who has not yet been named, was a sergeant in the Welsh Guards, the BBC understands.

He was fatally wounded at the Castlemartin base in Pembrokeshire, on Thursday night.

The Ministry of Defence said next of kin has been informed. Dyfed Powys Police are being assisted by the Royal Military Police in the investigation.

The Defence Accident Investigation Branch is also involved in inquiries into the soldier’s death.

“It is with great sadness we can confirm the death of a soldier on 4th March. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this tragic time,” an Army spokesman said.

“The circumstances surrounding this death are being investigated and it would be inappropriate to comment any further.”

It the latest in a number of accidents at Castlemartin.

In 2017, two soldiers died in a tank explosion, which a coroner ruled was due to a design flaw.

An Army captain was jailed in July 2018 after a 21-year-old soldier was killed by a stray bullet during an exercise at the range in 2012.

And last year eight cows were killed after wandering into the line of fire.

According to the MoD, the Welsh Guards have a “dual role” as “light role infantry” and “world class ceremonial soldiers, guarding the Royal Family and Royal palaces such as Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London and conducting state ceremonial duties”.

UK to cut aid to Syria and African countries

The UK will cut aid to Syria and several African countries by more than 60%, a leaked email suggests.

First reported by openDemocracy, the document dated last month suggests officials are considering cutting aid to Syria by 67% and Lebanon by 88%.

Aid to Nigeria could drop 58%, Somalia 60%, South Sudan 59% and the Democratic Republic of Congo by 60%, it says.

The Foreign Office said no decisions had been made and insisted the UK remained a world-leading aid donor.

Syria has been devastated by a conflict that erupted after President Bashar al-Assad’s government responded with deadly force to peaceful anti-government protests in March 2011.

The fighting has left at least 380,000 people dead and caused half the population to flee their homes, including almost six million refugees abroad.

A UK government spokesman said: “The seismic impact of the pandemic on the UK economy has forced us to take tough but necessary decisions, including temporarily reducing the overall amount we spend on aid.

“We are still working through what this means for individual programmes and decisions have not yet been made.

“We remain a world-leading aid donor and we will spend more than £10 billion this year to fight poverty, tackle climate change and improve global health.”

The government wants to reduce its overall international aid budget by about £4bn in 2021-2022, which will mean missing the UN target of spending 0.7% of national income on foreign aid.

But it has yet to say where the axe will fall.

The leaked Foreign Office email gives the first indication of which countries might lose out.

And the figures suggested by the document are of the same scale as the 50% cut in aid to Yemen announced earlier this week.

The UK has pledged at least £87m in aid to Yemen, down from £164m in 2019-2020.

More than a hundred UK charities have condemned the decision, following criticism from MPs across the political spectrum.

In a letter to Boris Johnson, they say the government has made a “misjudgement” by thinking the public is happy to turn away from countries affected by poverty, war and disease.

The government has said pressure on the public finances from the pandemic means tough choices must be made.

A Foreign Office spokesman said the government remained “steadfast” in its support to the Yemeni people.

Roy Greenslade: The Guardian apologises to Máiría Cahill over column

The Guardian newspaper has apologised to Máiría Cahill over an article written about her by former Fleet Street editor Roy Greenslade.

In 2014, Ms Cahill told a BBC Spotlight investigation that she had been raped by a member of the IRA.

She reported this to police in 2010.

After the programme, Mr Greenslade wrote a column in The Guardian which said that Spotlight “were too willing to accept Cahill’s story and did not point to countervailing evidence”.

In his column in 2014, Mr Greenslade said: “This lack of balance resulted in the Cahill story being accepted at face value across Ireland, where [Gerry] Adams and his party were forced on to the back foot as they tried to defend and explain the IRA’s actions.”

Ms Cahill received an apology from the PSNI in 2018 after a report found she had been failed by them over her claim.

Last week, Mr Greenslade wrote in the British Journalism Review that he backed the IRA’s armed campaign while he was working as a journalist during the Troubles.

Ms Cahill then complained to The Guardian that its 2014 article by Mr Greenslade was a “propaganda piece against a rape victim”.

The Guardian confirmed on Friday evening that its current editor-in-chief, who was not in the role at the time the article was published, had sent a private apology on its behalf to Ms Cahill.

Katharine Viner, who took up her post in 2015, acknowledged that the column “was not handled appropriately”.

“I can only apologise again that Roy Greenslade’s article was not handled appropriately in the first place,” said Ms Viner.

The Guardian has begun a review into articles about NI written by the ex-Daily Mirror editor and The Guardian commentator, after the complaint by Ms Cahill.

It said in an earlier statement its editor would be reviewing “other historical Roy Greenslade articles concerning Northern Ireland” to “ensure that they meet the Guardian’s editorial standards and are sufficiently transparent”.

In an endnote to Mr Greenslade’s column, added this week, The Guardian said its editor “considered the complaint and concluded that the columnist ought to have been open about his position”.

It added: “GNM’s editorial guidelines on conflicts of interest say (in part) that ‘it is always necessary to declare an interest when the journalist is writing about something with which he or she has a significant connection’ and that this applies to all active outside interests which, should they remain undeclared and become known, would cause a fair-minded reader to question the value of a contribution to the paper by the journalist involved”.

Speaking to the BBC, Ms Cahill said the apology issued to her “doesn’t go far enough”.

“I was a child abuse victim and my credibility was not in question – I’ve had an apology from the then Chief Constable and DPP – so I find it quite horrifying, to be honest.”

She added: “Journalists are supposed to hold the powerful to account.”

Ms Cahill said that the article by Mr Greenslade “was published in the Guardian with no disclosure of his political affiliations – I have yet to be offered a right of reply”.

On Monday, it emerged Mr Greenslade had resigned from his post as a journalism lecturer at City University in London following the article.

Boy, 4, drowned at woefully lax Knapp House activity centre

A four-year-old boy drowned on holiday in an activity centre swimming pool with no lifeguard and “cloudy” water.

Alexander Miller – known as George – was found at the bottom of the pool almost three hours after going missing in August 2017.

Knapp House activity centre in Northam, Devon, previously pleaded guilty to a health and safety breach.

The judge at Exeter Crown Court said the centre had been “woefully lax” and fined them £60,000.

They have also been ordered to pay £30,000 legal costs.

George was on holiday with his parents Julian Miller and Ruth Hill, from Weymouth, Dorset, as part of a week away organised by Narcotics Anonymous.

On 28 August 2017 George, his brother, sister and father went swimming.

Mr Miller and his two other children left the pool at 12:40 but could not find George.

David Sapiecha, for the prosecution, said: “Mr Miller thought he caught a glimpse of George outside but he was mistaken.”

Family and staff searched for George in the pool building as well as outside.

The court heard a tarpaulin cover had been pulled over the pool, and the building was locked up with George’s body still in the deep end.

Other families had also used the pool in the period between George going missing and his body being discovered.

He was found when police were called and an officer ordered the 12m (39ft) by 6m (20ft) indoor pool to be dragged with a net.

Torridge District Council prosecuted Knapp House for a breach of section 3 of the Health and Safety At Work Act.

Mr Sapiecha said there was no risk assessment, no lifeguard, poor water quality, poor signage and nobody in a position of responsibility to deal with any problems.

He said these failures were “a significant cause of the death of George Miller by drowning”.

The prosecution said the police officer at the scene described the 40-year-old pool as “extremely cloudy”.

Knapp House had asked an employee to open and close the pool and check there was no damage but not to act as a lifeguard.

Narcotics Anonymous said it understood a lifeguard was provided when the pool was in use.The Knapp House employee provided George with a buoyancy aid which the prosecution said was too big and could come off too easily as it did not have crotch straps.

The court was shown a video of George jumping into the pool wearing the buoyancy aid the day before the tragedy.

Judge David Evans said it was clear George “must have drowned in the pool unnoticed”.

The judge said visibility in the pool was “wholly inadequate” and seemed to have been a “chronic problem”.

He said people using the pool would “naturally assume” if a member of staff was present they “were there to act as a lifeguard”.

He acknowledged George’s father had a “primary duty of care” but said there had been “clear and obvious failures” by Knapp House.

The judge added: “There is nothing I can do in passing sentence that could ever come close to making up for this awful tragedy and George’s absence.

“No sentence can repair the unbearable pain his loss has caused.

“The bottom line is that the way in which the pool was being made available was very lax indeed. It was woefully lax.”

Operation Midland: Met Police to face new inquiry

A new investigation has been launched into the disastrous Metropolitan Police VIP abuse inquiry, Operation Midland.

Merseyside Police will examine why Scotland Yard did not refer two false accusers for criminal investigation despite an official recommendation.

A third accuser, Carl Beech, is in jail for falsely accusing public figures of murder and child sexual abuse.

Beech was only investigated when the Met followed a recommendation that he be looked at by an independent force.

The recommendations for Beech and the two other accusers came in a damming 2016 report by retired High Court judge Sir Richard Henriques, who found more than 40 failings in Operation Midland.

Beech, referred to as “Nick” during Operation Midland, made false claims of sexual abuse and child murder about a group of MPs, generals and senior figures in the intelligence services in the 1970s and 1980s.

Met officers searched the homes of former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor, D-Day veteran and former chief of the defence staff Lord Bramall, and former home secretary Lord Brittan’s widow, Lady Diana Brittan.

The issue of why the other two false accusers, known as A and B, were not investigated was first highlighted by the BBC.

Sir Richard Henriques found that both men “deliberately lied” and that their allegations had extended the 18-month inquiry.

He recommended that “offences of attempting to pervert the course of justice be considered in the cases of A and B” and said it would be appropriate for another police force to carry out such investigations.

Scotland Yard did not refer the men to another force, but this only emerged three years later when a largely unredacted version of the report was published.

Carl Beech was referred to Northumbria Police.

He is now serving 18 years in jail for perverting the course of justice, as well as paedophile offences uncovered by Northumbria detectives.

A and B, who both have criminal records for dishonesty, were first interviewed by Operation Midland officers in September 2015, nearly a year after the operation started.

Following Sir Richard’s recommendation, Scotland Yard decided against referring the pair for investigation despite a senior officer privately saying they were liars.

The Henriques report quoted from a presentation given to Sir Richard in August 2016 by then Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Rodhouse, who oversaw Operation Midland, in which he said: “I am satisfied that both A and B have told deliberate lies.”

Despite this admission, months earlier Scotland Yard had publicly stated that Operation Midland detectives “have not found evidence to prove that they were knowingly misled by a complainant”.

In October 2019, Harvey Proctor submitted a formal complaint that A and B had not been investigated, which resulted in the Met asking the police watchdog to examine an apparent failure to record the decision not to start an inquiry to a sufficient standard.

Last summer, Merseyside Police were asked to conduct a probe into the issue, but it has taken months to agree the terms of reference.

Merseyside will now examine Mr Proctor’s complaint about why A and B were not investigated for perverting the course of justice and wasting police time, despite Mr Rodhouse allegedly stating that he knew they were deliberate liars.

Mr Proctor told the BBC: “I am very pleased that Merseyside Police are investigating these matters.”

A Met spokesman said the force would co-operate fully with the Merseyside inquiry.

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