Last week, Fathers4Justice reported, that it had learnt that the Independent Police Complaints Commission had ordered the PCC for Avon and Somerset to appoint a separate police force to launch a criminal investigation into allegations surrounding the Chief Constable for Avon and Somerset Constabulary, Andy Marsh.
“This followed claims that Mr Marsh set up Operation Flamborough to protect the reputation of Hampshire Constabulary, and other organisations and individuals in Romsey, when he was the Chief Constable there, following claims he ordered a whitewash over the failure of police investigations into shocking sex abuse allegations at Stanbridge Earls School.
Mr Marsh faced claims at the time that he leaked details of a criminal investigation and details of alleged rape victims to Caroline Nokes, the MP for Romsey and Southampton North.
The Chief Constable is also facing new claims that he launched a cover up surrounding the involvement of Caroline Nokes in a violent attack at the home of Fathers4Justice founder Matt O’Connor in 2014, and that he sealed the criminal case file to prevent her involvement becoming public knowledge.
This followed calls by F4J for Stanbridge Earls school to be closed pending a full investigation into abuse allegations.
Mr O’Connor was subsequently arrested by Hampshire Police for a Section 5 Public Order Act offence, following his complaints of a cover up. Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service attempted to hear his trial in secret, and a Judicial Review of this decision will be heard in the High Court on 26th July.
Lawyers acting for Mr O’Connor have been instructed to commence legal proceedings against Mr Marsh.”
In an update to the news, which broke last week, I have seen sight of 2 further complaints about Andy Marsh which I understand have been forwarded to Avon & Somerset with evidence of misconduct by Andy Marsh during his time at Hampshire.
These complaints had previously been ignored by former Police & Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes, and it has been requested that these too are sent to the investigating force who are to be appointed by A&S PCC Sue Mountstevens, along with evidence of Simon Hayes’s failure to hold his former Chief Constable to account.
This investigation will raise further questions about the involvement of Romsey MP Caroline Nokes in the Stanbridge Earls School case, Operation Oregon and whether she, or those close to her, are connected to Operation Flamorough in anyway.
It also raises questions about whether former Hants PCC Simon Hayes, who lost his job earlier this month, should also face investigation.
Others have asked whether A&S PCC Sue Mountstevens did a thorough enough background check on Andy Marsh before offering him the job of Chief Constable, or whether her need to fill the post with “anyone” ahead of her own PCC Re-election campaign was greater. The post had already been left empty for so long, surely she could not have overlooked the complaints about Andy Marsh which were readily available in the public domain?
The Charity Commission, who withdrew its 2 previous reports on Stanbridge Earls School is to publish its latest report, High Court proceedings against the former Chief Constable appear to be ongoing in the High Court and in July evidence of further cover-ups and misconduct by Hampshire Police will no doubt be heard at Matt O’Connor’s Judical Review Hearing.
There must surely now be grounds for the child abuse inquiry lead by Justice Goddard, to thoroughly investigate historical child abuse at the former Stanbridge Earls School and all the people, politicians, former teachers and organisations linked to it.
Unless of course the idea of the inquiry is to drag out the preliminary work for so long all culprits have died and it quietly gets dropped by those in Government trying to cover-up the sins of the past.