Judge Dame Lowell at head of Britain’s child abuse inquiry had ‘no real idea’ of size of job
By Mike Sullivan
February 19, 2017
|Dame Lowell, who lasted less than 18 months as head of Britain’s child abuse inquiry had ‘’no real idea’’ of its size when she took the job|
|Grovelling Home Office flunkeys arranged with UK Borders Agency staff for Dame Lowell to to be waved thorough immigration checks to avoid the media|
|Dame Lowell Goddard publicly claimed she was well aware of the scale of the inquiry when she was appointed by Theresa May|
EXPLOSIVE emails reveal how the New Zealand judge who lasted less than 18 months as head of Britain’s child abuse inquiry had ‘’no real idea’’ of its size when she took the job.
Dame Lowell Goddard publicly claimed she was well aware of the scale of the inquiry when she was appointed by Theresa May in February 2015.
But she secretly admitted to a Home Office official in email that she had ‘’no real idea of the potential scope’’ of the inquiry.
Emails also reveal how the red carpet was rolled out for Dame Lowell when she arrived in the country to take up her £360,000 a year post.
The messages show how grovelling Home Office flunkeys arranged with UK Borders Agency staff for Dame Lowell to to be waved thorough immigration checks to avoid the media.
Along with the presidential treatment, Dame Lowell and her husband were given first class return tickets from New Zealand for that ten-day visit to the UK costing £23,000 in total.
And her demand for a £190 a night suite at the five-star Conrad Hotel in London was also signed off on the grounds she was a VIP working on behalf of then Home Secretary Theresa May.
On February 6, 2015 - two days after the then Home Secretary Theresa May announced Dame Lowell as the new head of the inquiry - a Home Office official wrote to the taxpayer-funded Crown Commercial Service, saying: “Authorisation is required for this particular hotel as it has been previously agreed with the person travelling.
“The VIP is a High Court judge travelling from New Zealand to conduct an inquiry on behalf of the Home Secretary.”
The Home Office tried to suppress the emails for two years but have just been ordered to reveal them by the information commissioner on the grounds of being ‘’strongly in the public interest.’’
The messages reveal for the first time Dame Lowell’s lack of knowledge about the inquiry delving into child sexual abuse within Britain’s institutions which had been covered up for decades.
On the day Theresa May announced Dame Lowell as the third chair of the inquiry, the judge issued a statement saying she was “honoured” to the lead the inquiry and was aware of the “scale of the undertaking”.
But the following day, February 5, 2015, Dame Lowell wrote to Home Office officials saying February 4 had been “a long and pretty high pressure day” but thanked the Home Office for sending an official to assist.
She asked officials to send her “any material outlining the various strands in the inquiry or proposed strands and any other background material that I could start reading, as at the moment I have no real idea of the potential scope”.
An official replied later, revealing plans for border staff to help Dame Lowell through the airport when she jetted into Britain on February 9.
The official wrote: “I’m already in touch with our Border Force and will make sure they know you are arriving and ensure all goes smoothly - i.e. we don’t want you to be met by the media.”
An official also revealed the plan for her to stay at the luxury Conrad hotel, saying: “Hope that works - it’s nice and near us so will be good location wise.”
Dame Lowell was branded a “disgrace” after she quit the inquiry last year.
The chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee made the comment after Dame Lowell refused to appear before MPs who want to quiz her over her tumultuous 16-month tenure when she is alleged to have made racist remarks and been abusive to staff.
Dame Lowell denies the claims.
The judge, whose appointment came after two previous chairwomen resigned amid concerns over their links with the establishment, has been replaced by Professor Alexis Jay, who authored a damning report into child sexual abuse by gangs in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.