It was over ten years later my older sister Sarah and I found out what had happened to Alison when she was in the care of the NHS in Cumbria. Our Mum had known but had kept quiet, she is from a different generation and was ashamed. She is not proud of this but we don’t blame her for not speaking out. We know the real shame lies with the person who took advantage of Alison and with the people who sat back and let it happen.
In 2001 we approached North Cumbria NHS and Cumbria Police to tell them what happened and get justice for Alison. We made the mistake of thinking they would be interested. Cumbria Police were indifferent, asking why it mattered as it happened over ten years ago. The NHS then lost Alison’s Medical Records, despite telling me a week earlier they had them. North Cumbria NHS and Cumbria Police were useless, unable to locate Alison’s medical records. It became my job to track records down. I found a copy of a pregnancy termination certificate and notes from a GP who had treated Alison in Doncaster. When I presented these to the Police and NHS, they asked me how I managed to locate them? This took many months, in that time despite knowing the name of the individual, managers at the NHS had not approached him to discuss the serious allegations we had made.
The records we obtained showed Alison had an abortion when she was a Mental Health patient of the NHS in Carlisle. They also showed details of the abortion were not shared with other people; Psychiatrists and Social Workers. This meant what she had been put through was withheld from people who could have helped; the illegal sex, the pregnancy and the resulting abortion were brushed under the carpet by Scott-Buccleuch and those who turned a blind eye.
In February 2002 the CPS dismissed the case saying there was not enough evidence, despite the termination certificate and records showing the offence had occurred and been covered up. We were angry and confused and wrote to ask why the case had been dropped, but they just kept trotting out the same line … what we didn’t know at the time was that Cumbria Police “lost” the evidence we gave them and Executives at the NHS had not shared information they had with Cumbria Police. What has only recently become clear is that neither of the two institutions, Cumbria Police or the NHS, wanted the case to move forward.