30TH May 2000.


Read in her absence at a public meeting held on Saturday, June 3rd 2000 at John Moores University, Liverpool UK.


I have never met Eddie Gilfoyle or his sister Sue Caddick but I believe that he is innocent and an injustice has been done. I happen to place my trust in Sue and Eddie and I am sorry that it is impossible for me to be present with you today. I cannot stand by without speaking up against a rank injustice.

l am not looking for a crusade, another battle to enjoin with the Authorities and the Establishment. This message today is not an attempt to settle old scores against my former force, because of how they treated me when I started an action for sexual discrimination. As the most senior woman in the British Isles and the first to make police history by being appointed to the rank of Assistant Chief Constable (that’s just two away from the top job), I failed
nine times in a bid for promotion.

I had a strong case. An extensive CV gained from 21 years in the Met Police rising though the ranks to a position where I was able to apply and win in open competition against 3 male Merseyside Officers. When I applied for the Deputy Constables job in Merseyside, I was beaten by the personal friend of the Chief Constable Jim Sharples, despite his short time as an ACC, 20 months to my six plus years in fact. Was it something to do with them holidaying together or having attended a police training course together, surely not? Patronage got him the job but it was not enough to spare him from appearing before magistrates on a drink drive charge, having landed at the bottom of a ditch soon after he retired.

This is not sour grapes. I can only try to give you a small insight into how some, and let me repeat
some, senior officers behave. The kindness Sharples showed his chum was in total contrast to the way he behaved towards me when I started an Industrial Tribunal action against the force in 1990. He said that the case would be “vigorously defended” and my God for once he was true to his word.

Jim Sharples should not have behaved so reprehensibly when he was the most senior law enforcer in the County. Senior officers behaviour and attitude sets the cultural and moral tone for how the officers under his command also behave.

Much as I respect Paul Condon, the former Commissioner of the Metropolis, a man who worked for me in the 70’s, he was wrong to excuse illicit practices of his officers under the grand heading of “noble cause corrupt”. Some years ago, his message was that the law made it virtually impossible for hard pressed officers to secure convictions and thus blind eyes should be turned to massaging of the evidence. What a dangerous precedent! When does fact vanish and fiction begin? Eddie must surely know.

This is the first step onto that irretrievable sliding slope which knocks out sound principles of fair play, proper collation of evidence and makes the judicial process a lottery. What is more damaging? A woolly criminal justice system where clever lawyers get their clients off or the police officer who decides to up the stakes by massaging the evidence and inventing “the verbals.”
Surely it is better for a guilty citizen to go free than to wrongly take away the liberty of an innocent person?

I wrote a book after my ordeal. It is called, “No Way up the Greasy Pole.” In it I made serious allegations against Jim Sharples, I was adamant and suggested strongly that my phones, office and home were bugged. I heard the tinkle on my private office line and the enemy was always so well informed.

After I left the Merseyside Force with a ruined reputation in 1992, Rex Makin, a high profile local liberal lawyer took my case of wrongful phone tapping to the Court of Human Rights. The Home Office actually admitted that certainly the office phone in HQ had been bugged. James Sharples allowed this tapping to happen. It helped his case and he’s not squeamish over how he wins.

It was the same leader of the force that perverted the course of Justice by doctoring official files, rewriting the chronology of these documents and removing, never to be seen again, the original minute sheets, thus making it easier to rewrite the file contents. Who helped with this corrupt endeavour? The finger of suspicion points at the staff officer to the Chief Constable, Martin Hill. Martin had the tricky task of establishing the colour of the manila folders used in the 80’s so as not to have a major cock up in the conspiracy to alter the evidence. I know, I had informants too. Martin was a sergeant in the Chief Constable’s outer office when I arrived in 1983. Regularly promoted for services rendered, he has never seen duty on the streets in the last 17 years. He has now attended the needs of 3 chief constables.

Jim and I liked each other when he arrived in Merseyside in 1988 as a DCC. I was delighted when he got the top job a year later, I was wrong.

He came with his own unsavoury baggage as heading the enquiry into police malpractice by the Surrey Police into Guildford 4. Having had audience with the now deceased Roman Catholic Archbishop who had knowledge of the case through the confessional, Jim was still unconvinced that at least one of the 4 might have been innocent. Dramatic new evidence was unearthed. Jim was called to London for urgent talks with the DPP. Quite suddenly, a huge question mark was raised over the 4’s guilt and the rest is history

One tiny clue remains buried in my book that was never probed, Sharples confided in me that his senior investigation officer had been caught acting improperly over expenses cIaims. The local press had got wind and Jim was seriously concerned. I have the clearest recollection of giving him comforting advice as I lounged against his office window. Jim stated that the “fiddling” officer (my description not his) left quietly with a medical pension.

Only then, with a new officer in charge did the weight of evidence favour the presumption of the innocence of the Guildford 4. I can honestly say that Sharples was deeply concerned that a crucial member of his team was compromised and in turn the investigation itself could have been deeply flawed. He did nothing to right a possible wrong. He copped out. A familiar trait of his as I know well.

There is no time to tell you all the shocking antics Sharples orchestrated against me, his most senior woman officer colleague after I started my discrimination action. The manipulation of police internal files even stretched to manipulating Metropolitan files in order to ruin the reputation of an important witness for me. Different typefaces had been used to rewrite the original memo. No one has ever explained why official files were doctored and were found to be in the possession of Special Branch - who place bugs on phones. Special Branch again! Jim was spared giving evidence, I enjoyed my 24 days in the witness box. Jim seemed more reticent. As his turn approached a settlement was offered. He has always denied I had a case and was reported in the papers as saying that the case was irrelevant and had been a waste of money. The judgment of the Court of Human Rights about his behaviour was scathing. By then Sharples had collected his knighthood and went to ground. “No comment was his only reply!”

How could even a Tory Home Secretary have knighted this man? What faith can anyone have in the criminal justice system when a senior law enforcer uses his influence, power and cruel wickedness to ensure that justice is denied.

As a former officer of some 30 years I do not lightly abuse the privilege of my position now. I feel sad that decent officers are some times so badly led, certainly so in Merseyside. Recently, the Home Secretary agreed that Sharples behaviour towards me was “outrageous.” That comment was long overdue and very very true.

If they did it to me, an officer at the highest level on the inside track in the system, what on earth can they do to the Eddie Gilfoyles of this world? Many lawyers are sloppy and are more interested in the legal aid handouts than reading the brief. Police officers ignore the rules and who is there to guard the guards?

There appears to have been a dreadful injustice perpetrated against Eddie. At the time of his arrest Sharples was still head of Merseyside. I say to you  Sir James, “You stopped almost at nothing to defeat my case. You fought unfairly at every stage. You were not fit to sit in judgment on your fellow officers on disciplinary hearings. You are not an ethical man and furthermore you presided over a force that embarked upon perversion of the course of justice in order to defend the indefensible. Arise Sir James and tell me that I am wrong.”

(Posted June 2000)