Fast forward to 2015

Early in 2015, I was hit by depression. I would burst into tears when I saw or heard anything about the Saville Enquiry or injustices of Hillsborough, these events stirred up emotions I had buried, bringing past hurts to life. I had unwittingly found myself working in a communications department of the NHS (there’s a story) and the trigger for my depression was the gap between my values and what I saw going on around me. It was becoming clear to me the NHS prioritised its reputation over the concerns of patients and their families. I saw first-hand how when things went wrong the NHS slipped into reputation defence mode, shielding itself without thought for those it had hurt or harmed. This was an impossible climate for me to work in which caused a great deal of stress. I went to see a Psychologist who helped me identify the causes of my issues; unsurprisingly it was the confusion I felt about Alison. After all these years I still could not understand how little she seemed to have meant to a system that was supposed to look after her. How could someone be so wrongly treated without anyone being accountable? Getting behind the scenes in the NHS awoke me to the possibility that the truth about what happened had been hidden to protect reputations. It was during a session with my Psychologist I realised I couldn’t live with the uncertainty anymore, I had to get to the bottom of what happened to Alison.

police-liar-picIn Autumn 2015, I submitted a request to Cumbria Police for the notes of the original investigation in 2001. Only when I received these did I realise something was seriously amiss; the evidence and medical records I gave the Police in 2001 were not there, these vital documents were missing. It started to dawn on me why the investigation in 2001 failed, so I asked Cumbria Police to come and see me at the earliest opportunity.

In Autumn 2015 Cumbria Police sent a Senior Officer to see me. He and his colleague sat in my home and assured me the original investigation was of a good standard, and they said there was nothing to be gained from reopening it. They even vouched personally for the character of their former colleagues who undertook the investigation in 2001. This was misleading, the original investigation was subsequently described by Cumbria Police Professional Standards Department as “poor” and “flawed“. They also acknowledge the file handed to the CPS in 2001 was “lacking” and “there wasn’t even a basic investigation plan created”. Despite Cumbria Police attempts to stop the investigation being reopened, we forced them to reopen the case in Autumn 2016 after presenting them with the evidence they “mislaid” fifteen years earlier. Now we finally felt there was a chance to get justice for Alison. Once again we would be disappointed…

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