Social services accused of failing to liaise with police over Huntley

Concerns that Ian Huntley was having a sexual relationship with
a pair of school friends raised by their headteacher were not
passed on to the police by social services, the Bichard Inquiry
heard this week, writes Sally Gillen.

Peter Billam, a former senior police officer with the Humberside
force, said he had never seen a fax sent by Roger Davis of
Immingham School to North East Lincolnshire social services in

It detailed concerns that two girls, known as CD and EF, had
been having a relationship with Huntley and that he had given them
alcohol and drugs.

Billam, who headed the Grimsby child protection unit but is now
retired, defended the unit’s inaction saying he did not know
about the fax.

Nine months earlier, Billam had taken the decision not to
prosecute or caution Huntley despite him admitting to a sexual
relationship with a 15-year-old girl because she would not press

The girl, known as AB, believed that Huntley, aged 21 at the
time, was her boyfriend and without a complaint by her, the
prosecution was unlikely to be successful.

“It was a boyfriend/girlfriend situation, which was not
uncommon. She did not want to prosecute her boyfriend,”
Billam said.

The inquiry heard that AB was the first of a number of girls to
come to the attention of the police through their involvement with
Huntley. AB and her younger brother had been allowed to stay with
Huntley by an unnamed male social worker after being thrown out of
their home by their parents.

Billam said he was “very surprised” that the
incident had not been entered into the child protection register
but earlier admitted that the system was largely a
“managerial tool” and “unreliable”.

He added that he would “possibly” have acted
differently over the CD and EF case if he had made the link with

Counsel to the inquiry James Eadie said social services had
“arranged”, after speaking to Huntley, to let AB and
her brother remain with Huntley despite knowing she was having a
sexual relationship with him. Eadie said questions would need to be
asked about why such a decision was made.

Witnesses from North East Lincolnshire social services will
appear before the inquiry next week.


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