|Painting of Napoleon on his unwanted paradise|
16 Napoleons exile St Helena June1970".
Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons
Establishment paedophiles, including a social work manager who advised on child protection and a deputy manager of a sheltered accommodation complex, were not brought to justice. Both men were finally sentenced in the past two years.
|Jamestown, St Helena|
The British government launched the inquiry, headed by Sasha Wass, the QC who prosecuted Rolf Harris, last year after whistleblowers detailed abuse and an alleged cover-up by the island’s government and the Foreign Office.
|Longwood, Napoleon's home|
Napoleon sainthelene". Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
Mrs Ellick’s claims are published as a Telegraph investigation discloses:
• Child abuse was “ignored throughout society” until recently, according to an official report, and men who sexually abused children were handed fines of as little as £50;
• The sheltered accommodation worker, Leslie Clingham, was not brought to court until seven years after he admitted to police that he had sexually abused a child. He continued to work for the government and was allowed to have a relationship with a sheltered accommodation resident who had suffered a stroke;
• In June 2013, a Dorset Police report failed to substantiate any criminal allegations against Jeromy Cairns-Wicks, the former social work manager, or to suspend him from his job as a police officer. Five months later, after Cairns-Wicks was imprisoned for separate firearms offences, he was finally sentenced to 11 years in prison for sexually assaulting a nine-year-old. Pam Trevillion, who produced the Dorset report, has since been employed as the island’s head of crime, running child abuse investigations;
• The police were not told that a 15-year-old girl was pregnant on Ascension island, a dependency of St Helena, until four days after she was flown to Britain for medical care. Police suspected the father was five years older and launched a criminal investigation. No prosecution was ever brought;
|The main street in Jamestown, the island's capital|
“They [the Foreign Office] were aware that we didn’t have the resources to cope with it because we’ve been pointing it out ever since. I said they were unfair to expect us to do it without the resources.
“I said to them, ‘you’ve signed up to this convention, but it’s going to require big money and we don’t have the social workers nor the resources to do it’.
“We did have some convictions of child abuse but some of them didn’t reach conviction because we didn’t have the resources to do proper investigations. The police weren’t equipped enough, they didn’t have all the tools that were necessary.
“People were actually brought to court but once they were before the judge the case got thrown out on technical points. It happened on a couple of occasions when I was in the health and social services department.”
At the same time, they are being investigated over alleged perjury in an adoption case on Ascension island and could eventually be extradited back to St Helena to be tried by the very criminal justice system they complained about.
“Which whistleblower would stand up if it meant removal from their place of work or even the UK?” said Lawrence Davies, director of Equal Justice Solicitors, who is representing them. “The spectre of extradition is a horrible thing for these British whistleblowers to have to live with.”
Twenty-seven men are on the island’s recently introduced sex offenders’ register out of a total male population of around 2,000, more than six times the figure per head in England and Wales.
|Seven out of 11 prisoners are child sex offenders|
Islanders with learning difficulties and disabilities were said to be kept in “Victorian” conditions in its “challenging behaviour unit”. They will only move to purpose-built accommodation next month. The island’s government denied a reporter access to the unit.
Dr Karen Harrison, an expert in sex offender sentencing from the University of Hull, said the fines amounted to “a slap on the wrist” and “suggests the offence isn’t taken seriously”.
Comparing the fines for child sex offenders to heftier penalties sometimes awarded in other cases, Dave Gardiner, who has worked in the British probation service for 30 years, said “you were better off worrying children than sheep” on the island. “The fines don’t mark society’s disapproval,” he said. “Fining people for sexual abuse is just not tackling the abuse.”
Dorset Police confirmed that Ms Trevillion conducted an investigation on behalf of the Foreign Office into an allegation against a St Helena police officer but declined to comment further.
A Foreign Office (FCO) spokesman said: “We take all measures of child abuse very seriously. Where we could act, we believe we have. In recent years, we have sent police to provide training, investigate cases and look at the effectiveness of policing on St Helena.
“In 2013, the FCO sent a chid safeguarding non-governmental organisation to St Helena to investigate child protection and there have also been visits from other child safeguarding experts. The FCO has also dedicated extra resource to child safeguarding.
“However, we know from the current allegations that there is more to do to make sure that children on St Helena are given the right level of protection. That is why the Foreign Secretary launched the Wass inquiry which will look at these allegations.”
A St Helena government spokesman said it “welcomed” the Wass inquiry and “looks forward to giving it the fullest cooperation”. He said the investigation into Cairns-Wicks “was in fact undertaken by St Helena police with independent oversight from Pam Trevillion, and resulted in a guilty plea and a significant sentence”.
|North to south - Ascension, St Helena, and Tristan da Cunha.|