tv BBC Wales Investigates BBC News May 5, 2019 9:30pm-10:00pm BST
to tell their story. it started for me with peter, when i was about seven or eight i think. it got worse as i got older. avril griffiths isjoann's eldest half—sister. peter is her brother—in—law. as a child, they baby—sat joann at their house. i feel so ashamed and sick. ifeel bad because i couldn't stop it sooner. joann was their first victim and she could have been there last. and she could have been their last. butjoann says that social workers failed her and police did not follow the leads. so the couple remained at large. why didn't i let them help me?
why didn't i do something that day? i was begging them. as a child, sally's future looked bright. full of promise. i was a proper tomboy. mucking about up the park. it was a nice childhood we had. we weren't rich, but we were happy. she grew up around the corner from peter and avril griffiths. and she trusted them. they were really nice. they made you feel very welcome. give you cigarettes. yeah, we liked going over there. we were kids. i didn't even know what a paedophile was. at that age. she waited 25 years to tell south wales police that they had raped her as a child. she did not think she would be believed.
what sally did not know then, was that they had already abused other girls. the beach became a backdrop to their crimes. they used to take me out there. hang me over the side of the boat. and threaten if i told anybody, they would drop me. and leave me in the middle of the night. it was terrifying. that boat was owned by peter griffiths. he was a fisherman and joann says he and avril would take her on board for sex parties. peter, avril, theirfriends. i don't know their names. but they weren't fishing, they were there to have
sex with children. young girls. that's what they were there to do. it started at a young age, but it went on till i was 15. at their trial, joann described the last at their trial, joann described the last time she was abused on the boat. it was anchored in barry, and she remembered police officers getting aboard. i believe they were policemen. i don't believe they were working or on duty at the time because they would always be half dressed, if you like. always have their shirts undone or their ties unclipped
or their hats hanging up ourjackets hanging up. that's how i knew they were police officers, apart from their bragging about it. they told me that nobody would listen to me, they were the officers, they were the law. she had to wait 30 years to see that couple brought to court. what have you got to say to your victims, mr griffiths. they were jailed for a total of 36 years for abusing joann, sally and another local girl. but this is a story that should have been told decades ago. we have discovered that allegations of abuse were made to the authorities in the 1980s, 90s and again in 2000. so, why were they not acted upon? because it left the couple free to carry on abusing others. and why were there only two paedophiles in the dock when the evidence pointed to a network of other predators, including police officers?
when sally came forward in 2015, a detective in barry spent three years successfully piecing together the case against the couple. when i came to barry in 2000 as a pc, i was aware of the couple. when we used to go out on nights, you would see a white van parked up, but never saw it respond to them. it was always just rumours, why was there a white van parked? oh, it's peter and averell. —— oh, it's peter and avril. but did police officers know what was perhaps going on in that white van? i think they believed that it was just wife swapping with consensual adults. it was nothing to suggest or any knowledge that there was anything involving children. but 15 years before that investigation began, in 2000 joann contacted south wales police after hearing fresh allegations that peter griffiths was abusing young children.
she says she told them everything, including the abuse she suffered, the policeman on the boat, and where to look for an album at indecent photos of girls at the couple's house. they raided their house, got all the evidence that i had told them. it was all still exactly where i told them. she said she gave police descriptions of some of the man on the boat as well. i begged them not to let this evidence go into the wrong hands because i knew there were police officers involved. they swore that they would not, they swore that they would have it in a secure location. i named all the other girls that were in the album. including... one of them which was sally. but it was not until after the trial
that the women discovered police had not visited sally in 2000. they told me they had spoken to all the girls i named. when i went to the police in 2000, i was told that you had all made statements. but you were not willing to go to court and that's why they could not take it further. that's a barefaced lie, because nobody knocked on my door, ever. about the griffiths's. i had to come forward and do it myself. i can't believe it. because if they had knocked on my door, i would've told them all. i had no idea there were photos of me in an album in that house. it makes me feel a bit ill. but there were indecent photos found at peter and avril‘s house, which led police to another teenager. when we spoke to her, she said the major reason she did not co—operate or say that the couple had raped her was because officers made inappropriate comments about her body when they showed her the photo.
southwest police says it was unaware of this incident and will investigate if the victim contacts them. joann says she also put police in touch withjoann says she also put police in touch with the girl who had been on the boat when she was raped. she was a crucial witness at the trial. she has asked us not to show herface. there was police on the boat. at least they were men in police uniforms. police coats. and fishermen because they had on the big woollyjumpers. they gave me a big massive cup and they said, they filled it with all miniature drinks, and they said drink that and i will give you a tenner so i drank it. i remember going and looking after a while, and ifound men coming out and were
undoing their trousers. there were two of them. at that time, she did not tell anyone what had happened. who would you tell? you're supposed to trust the police, aren't you? but in 2000 when she knew thatjoann had reported the abuse, she said she agreed to tell the police what she knew. i spoke to him and he said he would come and see me and go through everything and do an interview and i never heard from him ever again. i gave them my address and never heard from them. i thought they were going to be prosecuted. i had the phone call of the offices, saying sorry, ijoann, we cannot press charges. we don't have enough evidence. were opportunities missed in 2000 because last year, the jury convicted
that the same evidence that achieved a strong conviction in 2018, for whatever reason was not preceded in 2000? it's scandalous. there is no other word for it. they could have brought these people tojustice in 15 years before hand and protected others, who knows what they had been doing in the 15 years since and how many others have been potentially abused, so abuse could have been stopped. this is exactly what happened in the cases i prosecuted, which others failed to prosecute. but it was notjust police who failed to do enough. joann had told her mother everything. she had been injured in the rape and needed help. my mother said to me, what have you been doing, you dirty filthy bitch. she did not want me to wreck the family or pull the family apart. joann ran away from home and says she spent a short time in care. she says she told a social worker about the rape and a policeman. i thought it would be stopped, i thought i would get help. i thought they would go and arrest them, but nothing happened. i think it was all covered up at that time. it took sally to come forward in 2015 for the full story to emerge. the couple were questioned again. they weren't shocked, they were very calm. iremember petersaid something along the lines of, we've had these allegations made to us previously. obviously i was completely unaware
of that because i had no information at that time to suggest that there had been other complaints made. especially nothing along these lines. joann said she told a social worker, what happened to that? could you find evidence of that complaint? we spent many, many hours down with social services, but could not find any information even though what she was telling us about going missing and the care home she would have gone into, all those things, it made sense that that was where she would've gone, but there was no, we could not find any documents relating to joann. but it was a fact that peter griffiths was already a known sex offender. at 19, he was prosecuted for having underage sex with a school girl who became pregnant. what beggars belief is people didn't not know or act upon what they knew. but then that was the culture that existed pre—2011/12, people turning blind eyes
to the abuse of young girls. and rapists thinking they can get away with it. they think authorities are not interested, they think and they are quite right, authorities weren't interested. and there was yet another opportunity for social services to step in. this time, in the late 90s. we have spoken to a woman who works with social services in barry, she said she became so worried about a girl she met at the griffiths‘ home, that she warned child protection workers the couple posed a serious risk. she has asked us not to identify her. i first met peter and avril when i worked for the vale of glamorgan council social services department. we went to the house and i was concerned with the welfare of the young girl who was there. she looked about 1a or 15 years old. she was not one of their children though. peter was out at that time and when avril left the room, the girl told me she was staying with them. she also told me that the couple had been taking naked photographs of her.
i left the house and immediately reported my concerns to the council children services team and made it clear i thought they may be sexually exploiting the girl, and she may be at risk. i know i rang the team about this and i definitely documented my concerns. i assumed they would have investigated what i told them if they thought it was necessary they could have involved the police. i don't know what happened to the girl after that day. never mind one flag, you've got the un flags waiting here, and clearly something should have been done about this but evidently nothing was. in response to the concerns, the council says it's impossible to identify any records relating to the case. as it does not have enough information about the girl. police say they searched social service records and found no allegations about the couple from the 90s.
so, what about claims that the couple did not act alone? that there was a paedophile network? the force says it found no evidence in this case. but two victims as well as the key witnesses in the trial, made it clear that peter and avril did not act alone in their abuse. they had been taken to various locations across south wales, to meet a number of other predators. it was in a car park and there was a mattress in the back of the van and they were taking it in turns. it would be him and a couple other people, sometimes loads of people, sometimes only a couple. i didn't like it, but i thought they are looking after me, i've got to, assuming i could not pay them back really. joann remembers in the late 1980s
being taking to car parks too. they would park here and abuse us here. they used to take us, but me certainly. and pass us around. i think there was a big paedophile ring around and i think that people brushed it under the carpet. sally was also driven around by the couple at night. avril would dress the girls up. i do remember going out in a band dressed up in a miniskirt and makeup. but i never remember coming back. ever. it was just blank. i think they drugged me more than once. so other things could have happened
to me that i don't even know about. the couple made pornographic videos. in one, they filmed the witness having sex with them and a friend of theirs who peter griffiths named during the trial. i've never even seen it. they said it would never be put out and nobody would see it, but i've heard rumours that people have seen it. because people used to come up to me in the street and tell me they would see it. police have had the name of the man in the sex tape since the couple were convicted six months ago. they still had not questioned the witness orjoann about him. that force told us inquiries were made, but he was never located.
we had been given a photograph. it's understood he's associated with the couple, and have the same name as the man in the video. and he is still living here in south wales. we had made our own inquiries and come across a photograph of this man, do you recognise him? yeah, he's the one in the film. he had sex with you on film... yeah. no doubt? no it was definitely him. so i don't understand why he has not been brought in either. just none of it makes sense. at the trial, peter griffiths also said the man in the video had sex withjoann. that's him. that's that guy they said in court. that's the same guy, i'm telling you, he's just older. just on the basis of what you know, right now about this network, these victims, if we believe these victims obviously the jury did,
they were abused by this couple. why not believe them when they say others were involved though? what makes you think that they are lying about one when they are telling the truth about another? take their story as a whole and say yes, there was a network of abusers and therefore understand how it is that who else may be involved investigated. it costs money, so what? everything bears a cost and you know justice delayed is better than justice denied. the force says it expects the highest standards of its officers and takes allegations extremely seriously. but this case has been overshadowed by allegations that in the late 1980s police were among the abusers, that the couple had friends who were police officers. and there was always police going back and forth in the house.
it wasjust normal. i was in the house and a policeman pulled up in a car and i wanted to go and pick up some weed, so he gave me a lift to go pick some up. a policeman took you to go get drugs? yeah. and they would come and get tapes and hand over tapes and he would go in the cupboard and give them new tapes and give the old ones off back. do you know what was on the videos? no. i don't know. when the 2015 investigation began, it was discovered that all ofjoann‘s evidence about the couple and the other predators was missing. i absolutely think there was a cover—up, yes. yes. because i was promised that it would be kept in a secure location.
clearly, it wasn't. that file was lost in a flood and a copy destroyed. thankfully we have brought in systems so this again but unfortunately back in 2000, the system was not in place. we have brought in the way we deal with police information has changed since 2004 or 2005. so that is in place now where documents will not get destroyed after i think 99 years. back in 2000, that was not there, that was not in place. joann is worried that without her original evidence, other abusers may never be traced. she and sally have complained to the police about its handling of the 2000 investigation. she wants police to reinvestigate the man in the video and other predators. the force says it well if new evidence comes to light. my mission now is to bring all the criminals to justice. the other people who were with avril and peter when they abused us as kids. since the trial, a man and woman had said that they too were abused as children by the griffiths.
police have investigated and stated there will be no new charges. the force says fighting child sexual abuse is an absolute priority. and is continuing to investigate alleged contact between its officers and the couple. but that does not go far enough for nazir. whether it's conspiracy or some kind of incompetence, i don't know. but they ought to do a review of it. there is a process for that, serious case review independent of authority to enable all agencies to look at what they did and what they did not do, and when it takes place it needs to be watched and then address what needs to change now to ensure it does not become repeated. sally and joann are waiting
to hear the outcome of their police complaint. but with the couple behind bars, they finally feel safe in their hometown. for the girls whose childhoods were lost, there is now some hope for the future. plenty of times i thought i wouldn't survive. but here i am, i'm still here, and surviving. i'm free to look at the sun. i've got to find pleasure in theirsuffering. and i am free now. and they are not taking any more away from me. no more.
it's hard to believe that only two weeks have passed since that easter weekend when we basked in warmth and sunshine, because the weather this bank holiday weekend feels a world away from that. it's been chilly, we had showers, some sunshine, as well, and through the next few days that theme continues, cool days, cool nights, rain at times, but not all the time. breezy weather through the middle of the coming week, but amidst all that we will still see some sunshine. monday's weather chart brings this cold front southwards across the uk, moving slowly, taking cloudy weather and
showery rain with it, but behind that we see a resurgence, a new push of cold airfrom that we see a resurgence, a new push of cold air from the north. monday will bring this area of cloud and showery rain slowly southwards out of scotla nd showery rain slowly southwards out of scotland into northern england, northern ireland, and eventually the midlands. to the south of that, another day of patchy rain and cloud. to the north, beautiful skies with a scattering of showers and temperatures at just with a scattering of showers and temperatures atjust 9 degrees in aberdeen. tuesday, that a frontal system will be sitting in place across central part of the uk, bringing some cloud and showers, the showers becoming quite heavy for a time into the afternoon. across the far south—west, we will hear signs ofa far south—west, we will hear signs of a change, some rain infringing in late in the day. and this is going to be the most turbulent day of the next few, we spin up an area of low pressure, the jet stream next few, we spin up an area of low pressure, thejet stream injecting energy into this weather system, deepening the load, bringing some outbreaks of rain, and fairly blustery winds, as well. if that low pressure stays to the south of the uk, which it looks like it well, we
will remain in that rather chilly air. so, during wednesday, outbreaks of rain pushing northwards across england and wales, some blustery winds, as well. northern ireland and scotla nd winds, as well. northern ireland and scotland seeing a mix of sunshine and wintry showers. those winds will be brisk, particularly across northern parts of england and with the wind coming from the east off the wind coming from the east off the north sea, with the cloud and rain, 10 degrees in hull won't feel very pleasant. thursday, that area of low pressure starts to drift away eastwards, but still a fairly u nsettled eastwards, but still a fairly unsettled weather pattern, some sunshine, some showers, hard to pinpoint at this stage exactly where the showers will be. but it remains pretty chilly, particularly in the north, mainly scraping up to 1a, 15 in the south. friday find us between weather systems. midway, low, sliding up to the east, another area of low pressure may be developing by this stage towards the south—west. there is uncertainty about that. the winds will be light, the showers could be quite slow moving, and
those temperatures, still no great shakes for the time of year. as we get on into the coming weekend, low pressure looks like it'll slide eastwards early in the weekend, but thenit eastwards early in the weekend, but then it looks increasingly likely high pressure will start to build in from the west. settling the weather down, giving us more in the way of dry weather. at this stage, the jet strea m dry weather. at this stage, the jet stream looks likely to head northwards. that will finally open the door to something just a little bit warmer. the big uncertainty, as we go through next weekend, is just how long this area of high pressure will hold on. frontal systems will be trying to push in from the west, areas of low pressure, and we will have to keep an eye on those because there is the chance that western areas might turn a little bit more u nsettled areas might turn a little bit more unsettled as we get deep into next week. before that, some drier weather, a little bit warmer, and it certainly won't feel as warm as the easter week ended. —— but it
this is bbc news. i'm lukwesa burak. the headlines at 10:00pm: 41 people have died as a russian passenger plane caught fire and was forced to make an emergency landing not long after take—off. the prime minister appeals tojeremy corbyn to resolve their differences and help her deliver brexit, but the shadow chancellor says trust has been lost. in a word, a single word, do you trust the prime minister? no, sorry not after this weekend when she has blown the confidentiality she had. i actually think she has jeopardised the negotiations for her own personal protection. israel and militants in the gaza strip engage in a deadly exchange of rocket fire, as tensions between the two sides continue to escalate. roads in the centre of edinburgh close to traffic, as the cityjoins