Cleared over investigation into city child abuse family
POLICE have been cleared of any wrongdoing following the original investigation of a Coventry family who raped and abused children for more than 30 years.
The Potts family are set to be sentenced next month after being found guilty of, or admitting, more than 40 offences, including rape, sexual assault, cruelty and neglect - all against children.
Their crimes stretched over more than three decades and the case was described by one detective as “one of the worst cases of systematic and horrifying child sexual abuse” she had come across during her career.
When West Midlands Police revealed the full horror of the Potts’ crimes following an eight-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court, they stated that officers were first approached by one of the victims back in 1989 but the case was never brought to trial.
The force stated that the original investigation was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in 2016.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) - the new name for the IPCC - has now released a statement.
A spokesman for the IOPC said: “Following a referral from West Midlands Police in June 2016 we began an investigation into the force’s handling of allegations of sexual abuse which were made against members of the Potts family in 1989.
“Our investigation was completed in June 2017 when we concluded from the evidence available that the police did not have enough to substantiate the allegations at that time, and that the investigative actions taken by police were reasonable and proportionate under the circumstances. In our view there was no indication that anyone serving with the police had behaved in a manner that would justify disciplinary proceedings.”
Four members of the Potts family were convicted following the trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
Antony Potts, 49, of Milverton Road, Wood End, was found guilty of 13 counts of rape, three counts of sexual assault and nine counts of inciting a child to perform a sexual act and cruelty - all against children. His halfbrother Nathan Potts, 26, of Burnaby Road, was convicted of two counts of rape of a child, four counts of sexual assault, inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and sex with another adult. Nathan’s parents Keith and Julie Potts - Keith is also Antony’s dad - were convicted of two counts of child cruelty. Three other people had pleaded guilty ahead of the trial taking place.
They included Nathan Potts’ brother Joshua, 26, of Burnaby Road, who admitted multiple counts of rape and sexual assault against children.
The other two were family friend Joanne Hoye, 42, of no fixed address, who admitted neglect, as did Antony Potts’ wife Elaine, 50, of Milverton Road.
Joshua, Nathan and Antony Potts were remanded in custody while the other four were given bail ahead of sentencing on July 16.
Speaking at the end of the trial, Detective Sergeant Rachel Gregory who was one of the leading investigators in the case, said: “I’m delighted for the survivors that they were given a voice and have been believed.
“We are hoping it sends a positive message out that if this is happening to you, or has happened to you, then tell us about it.
“We are absolutely committed and passionate about hunting this type of offender down and getting justice.
“If people have been abused 30 years ago or now, let us know.”
Regarding the original investigation from 1989, Det Sgt Gregory stated: “There was no deliberate attempt not to investigate, just poor policing procedures.
“They had different legislation and did not have the practices that we have now.
“They didn’t have specialist officers or work with other health professionals and intermediaries.”