In 2017, twenty-nine years after having sex with Alison on NHS hospital premises in 1988, Robert Scott-Buccleuch finally admitted what he’d done. Alison had been a patient and his acts were illegal. He could have told Cumbria Police in 2001, but his Union advised him to refuse to be interviewed. Cumbria Police say he knew Alison was pregnant in 1988 and he helped arrange the abortion that hid the result of his actions. However, despite confessing to having sex with a young vulnerable mental health patient, the CPS decided in 2017 not to prosecute him; they say “it is not in the public interest”. This absurd decision might be expected in the 1970’s or 80’s but in a post-Saville era when victims of historical sex crimes are encouraged to come forward, decisions like this make a mockery of justice. You can bet your last penny if Alison or Scott-Buccleuch had been celebrities, the CPS would have been all over this case like a rash.
Sex crimes were committed by an older man in a position of trust in an NHS hospital which led to a pregnancy and crisis abortion, under the noses of NHS Managers and staff. They could have stopped it, instead, they colluded and concealed it. A mentally ill young woman then found herself in such a dark confused place she ended her own life and no-one has been held accountable; is that acceptable? NHS Managers and staff, Cumbria Police and the CPS, all failed Alison. If the system we fund is not interested in protecting the rights of our most vulnerable, then what is its purpose?
The CPS; have sent out a clear message, the vulnerable, the mentally ill and the dead who cannot speak up, do not matter. The evidence is clear, a man in a publicly funded position of trust confessed to committing serious offences with massive repercussions; why is it not in the Public Interest to prosecute him? The CPS even tried to deny our right to review their decision, saying we could not prove a link between Alison’s death and the criminal acts in question…but they have never proved otherwise. Their approach to this case has ensured the farcical “investigation” by Cumbria Police in 2001 will not be subject to further scrutiny in court and those other victims from the Garlands, of which we suspect there are many, may never be discovered.
We believe the CPS made a decision not to prosecute this case because it is not in their or Cumbria Police’s interests to pursue it rather than what is genuinely in the Public Interest. In the wake of Poppi Worthington and other fiascos, they appear to be trying to make sure the incompetence and malpractice that occurs in Cumbria, remains hidden in Cumbria.
Cumbria Police; it was clear in 2001 they did not want this case and they certainly never wanted it reopened in 2015. They made us feel they were doing us a favour looking into it. Even when presented with the evidence they lost in the first investigation, they tried to avoid reopening the case. They have never clarified what happened to the missing evidence and they have never explained the role of a Senior Police Commander who was on the board of the NHS Trust at the start of the 2001 investigation; did he influence officers and derail the investigation?
Cumbria NHS; in 1988, North Cumbria NHS closed its eyes to sex-crimes committed under its nose. In 2001 they had a chance to right this wrong, instead, they were so preoccupied managing a tarnished reputation they brushed it under the carpet again and withheld evidence from Cumbria Police. Their reputation was more important than justice for a young woman no longer able to speak for herself. We were told Scott-Buccleuch would never work in a patient-facing environment again, yet he is a presenter on Hospital Radio at the Cumberland Infirmary.