Cleared over in­ves­ti­ga­tion into city child abuse fam­ily

Coventry Telegraph - - NEWS - By BEN ECCLESTON News Reporter news@reach­ IOPC spokesman

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.”

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