For­mer MP: Child abuse claims were com­plete non­sense

Hemming feared he would be vic­tim of vig­i­lantes

Solihull News - - NEWS - JONATHAN WALKER jon. walker@ trinitymirror. com

FOR­MER MP John Hemming has re­vealed he was a sus­pect in a two- year po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion into claims he sex­u­ally abused a girl, af­ter po­lice an­nounced the case was be­ing dropped.

Mr Hemming, who was never ar­rested nor charged with any crime, said he feared be­com­ing a vic­tim of a vig­i­lante at­tack while in­ves­ti­ga­tions were tak­ing place.

He said: “It was ob­vi­ous from the start that the al­le­ga­tions were non­sense.”

The for­mer MP for Birm­ing­ham Yard­ley was ques­tioned by po­lice over claims he was part of a pae­dophile ring that sex­u­ally as­saulted a young girl in the 1980s and 90s, in wood­land near Can­nock Chase.

Stafford­shire Po­lice have now writ­ten to him say­ing: “There is in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to pro­vide a re­al­is­tic prospect of con­vic­tion of any sus­pect in this case”.

His ac­cuser was a woman named Es­ther Baker, now aged 34, who waived her right to anonymity.

Ms Baker con­ducted an in­ter­view with Sky News in 2015 to say she was sex­u­ally abused by a politi­cian and other se­nior fig­ures at a beauty spot in Stafford­shire and a num­ber of nearby homes, from the age of six in the 80s and 90s.

Su­per­in­ten­dent Amanda Davies, of Stafford­shire Po­lice, said: “In this case Es­ther made the dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to waive her right to anonymity and we will con­tinue to sup­port her, as we would with all vic­tims of crime. We want to take this op­por­tu­nity to re­as­sure other po­ten­tial vic­tims that their iden­tity is pro­tected by law.” While the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion has been widely re­ported, Mr Hemming has never be­fore been pub­licly iden­ti­fied. In­stead, re­ports re­ferred only to “a for­mer MP” or “well­known politi­cian”.

How­ever, Mr Hemming said that some peo­ple knew he was a sus­pect, thanks to hints dropped on so­cial me­dia.

He has now cho­sen to iden­tify him­self, to high­light what he calls the “un­just cam­paign of vil­i­fi­ca­tion” waged against him. He said this cre­ated “an en­vi­ron­ment in which it is rea­son­able to be con­cerned about ill- founded vig­i­lante at­tacks on your fam­ily and your­self.”

Mr Hemming said: “This sort of sit­u­a­tion is in­evitably an at­tack on my fam­ily not just my­self. I am still in dis­cus­sion with the po­lice about some of the crim­i­nal in­ci­dents in­volv­ing my fam­ily and my­self dur­ing this process. There­fore I do not wish to make fur­ther com­ment on those at the mo­ment.

“I am nor­mally some­one who helps other peo­ple fight in­jus­tice. Be­ing sub­ject to an un­just cam­paign of vil­i­fi­ca­tion is some­thing I do not wish to re­peat.

“It has taken two years for this to be re­solved. Iden­ti­fy­ing why that is will take time, but I be­lieve that the sys­tem is too tol­er­ant of false al­le­ga­tions.”

Speak­ing to our sis­ter news­pa­per the Birm­ing­ham Post, Mr Hemming added: “I am nam­ing my­self at this stage be­cause this pat­tern of false al­le­ga­tions be­ing made with im­punity has got to come to a halt.”

Supt Davies said: “It was vi­tal we gave the vic­tim the time, space and sup­port she needed to dis­close the in­for­ma­tion. Over 100 hours of in­ter­views were con­ducted by spe­cially trained of­fi­cers, and through­out the in­ves­ti­ga­tion we have kept her in­formed and con­tin­ued to pro­vide sup­port.”

Es­ther Baker who claims to have been sex­u­ally abused as a child on Can­nock Chase John Hemming was never ar­rested or charged with any crime

Be­ing‘ su‘

bject to an un­just cam­paign of vil­i­fi­ca­tion is some­thing I do not wish to re­peat. It has taken two years for this to be re­solved JOHN HEMMING

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