Roy Greig’s death featured strongly in today’s proceedings, in particular in the remainder of the evidence given by DS Drummond, followed by that of DC Crowder, the other Grampian officer who had arrested Robert on 12th February 2010, and that of Dr James Grieve, the senior pathologist who had carried out the autopsy in 1997.
When questioned by Defence Counsel Andy Lamb QC as to whether Robert had mentioned Sylvester Cadger in connection with Roy’s death during the police interview on 12 February, DS Drummond confirmed that he had. DC Crowder on the other hand, asked the same question, stated that he could not recall. The omission from the transcripts provided by the police and Crown of this vital information continues to cast a cloud over the integrity of the authorities concerned.
DC Crowder confirmed that Robert had reminded him when he was detained of his duty as a police officer to investigate crime; a police officer’s duty was to the law rather than to a senior officer. His response to the Crown’s question on this fundamental issue was initially vague and equivocal, but asked what he would do if he suspected a senior officer was up to no good he confirmed that he would investigate. It was somewhat heartening that he was prepared to make this statement on oath.
Dr James Grieve appeared next and began by making much of his qualifications and experience. When asked about the death of Robert Greig, however, his judgement would seem to have been affected by his close relationship with the late Terry Major and his wife Sylvia. It should be remembered that Sylvia Major was one of the 3 people named by the expert witness Dr Eva Harding whose evidence was supported by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority in providing Hollie with public funds to help compensate for her suffering. We will quote directly from Dr Harding’s report: “When asked if anyone else had ever touched her she immediately said Sylvia. She explained that Sylvia was her father’s cousin. Surprised at this, I asked her how Sylvia had touched her. She clasped her own breast… She also mentioned other people such as Sylvia’s husband who is a policeman”. At the end of her report Dr Harding confirmed her belief that Hollie had been systematically sexually abused by her father and brother “and probably by others who had access to her.” This quite clearly included the Majors.
These are friends and associates of Dr Grieve’s, in fact Sylvia Major was seen warmly congratulating him on his evidence at close of court today. It would hence be extremely difficult for any reasonable person to regard Dr James Grieve as an impartial and reliable witness. He confirmed that questions had been asked before about his judgement, to the extent of action being taken against him, and that mistakes could be made. In the spring of 2011 he was also questioned about his role in the Claire Webster murder inquiry at the trial in Glasgow. As in the case of Roy Greig’s death Dr Grieve did not appear to suspect foul play and at the time of Mrs Webster’s death in a car-fire in the Grampian area the decision was that she had died accidentally. We now know that this supposedly accidental death was in fact as the result of murder by Malcolm Webster, a friend of Graeme Mackie and his wife Jillian, the latter having also like Grieve given evidence in both trials!
Dr Grieve continued to maintain today that Roy’s injuries, including the breaking of his sternum, said to be the hardest bone in the body, had come about due to resuscitation attempts. Interestingly, Dr Grieve stated his understanding that this had been carried out by a nurse who was on the scene. This is something of a revelation as neither the police, the fire-service, the Crown Office, the Royal Humane Society and the other witness, Sylvester Cadger seem to have any information on this individual or how he/she came to be at the scene at this remote spot on a dark, windy and rainy night at exactly the same time as Cadger.
In fairness to Dr Grieve, no one is suggesting that he could have been aware that Denis Mackie had been found by Roy Greig sexually abusing Hollie just prior to his death. Dr Grieve may also have been influenced by the official report we hold which states that the cause of death was regarded as suicide, a conclusion reached less than 4 hours after the arrival on the scene of the emergency services. Since then we have obtained a document from the NHS confirming that they have no knowledge of any authority requesting Roy’s medical records, without which a verdict of suicide could never have been reached. Mr Lamb asked why Dr Grieve’s autopsy report should not have been passed on to his next of kin, bearing in mind that Anne Greig had been requesting this document for 12 years. Dr Grieve went to some lengths to explain that the decision was not his but that of the Procurator Fiscal; it was not for him to decide the reason for the death, other than the conclusion reached in his report that it was by smoke inhalation. Any criminal investigation into a death of this sort was a matter for the police, not for him or his team.
Dr Grieve also admitted knowing Sheriff Graham Buchanan and Elish Angiolini, describing them both, along with Terry Major, as people he trusts. This is a somewhat puzzling position to take, given the exposure of Angiolini both through Robert’s investigations and those of the Freedom of Information Commissioner, and may cast yet further doubt on Dr Grieve’s judgement.
Another interesting witness was Rosemary Murray who was head-teacher of the sister Special Needs school sharing a campus with Beechwood School during the same period that Andrew Young was headmaster there.
She also stated that she worked in Aberdeen Court, and that she knew Sheriff Buchanan. One interesting disclosure was her confirmation that it was the schools’ policy for no staff ever to be alone with a pupil with the door closed, for “common sense” reasons, she said. As a result of Robert’s advertisement in the Aberdeen Press & Journal, 3 parents and 2 teacher colleagues had stated having been aware of Andrew Young regularly breaching this policy by having pupils with him in his study with the door closed for periods of up to 20 minutes at a time. Parents had told Robert that during these ‘sessions’ Young had spoken in French throughout to the pupils, a language they did not understand. One of the parents of an 11 year-old boy was sufficiently concerned about Mr Young to have retained the postcard Young had sent to the boy from his holiday in Egypt, the odd text of which has already been published.
A final reminder about Mr Young is that when questioned by Mr Lamb, he claimed that Hollie was not at Beechwood School when Dr Carter’s 2nd report about her being at risk was presented. This is incorrect. The report is dated 3rd February 1992 when Hollie was still a pupil of the school; she left in the summer of that year.
Young must have known this, as he must also have known about the first report in 1990, yet on neither occasion did he take any action.
One of the last witnesses to appear was Ian West, a retired tile-fixer from the Ferry Hill area who was worried by Robert’s January 2010 round-robin letter to local residents, in which he said that nothing had been done to investigate Hollie’s allegations regarding a paedophile ring operating in the neighbourhood. He went to the police because of his worry over this; he had grandchildren, he said. When asked by the prosecution if he thought it was true? he said until it was either proven or disproven, “you never know about these things, do you?”
This witness ably vindicates the point we have been making throughout this trial, that Grampian Police should have investigated Hollie’s allegations years ago and if they had, all the present public worry, embarrassment and distress would have been avoided. They should at the very least have pursued Hollie’s father, brother and her father’s cousin Sylvia Major and husband Terry Major, for whom the evidence that they abused Hollie was strongest. The problem was that Terry Major was the senior Forensics officer for Grampian Police and used his position to block any further forensic investigation of Hollie’s allegations, even though their medical forensics specialist at the time, Dr Frances Kelly had immediately found evidence on Hollie’s body that she was a victim of long-term abuse. The rest of the force at the time seems to have been somehow cowed into silence and inaction. With the result that even in death, Terry Major continues to block this investigation and could this be why his widow Sylvia dogs the present courtroom at Stonehaven, ready to congratulate any witness who gives evidence favourable to the ring? as we saw today in respect of Dr James Grieve. One can only wonder and indeed shudder at what favours such faithful champions of evil receive, having fulfilled their remit.
The final witness cited to appear, Councillor James Donnelly was curiously missing from court. This individual had been amicably discussing with Robert the concerns about the existence of the alleged ring operating in the area he represented, the Ferry Hill area. Robert had specifically contacted him in the public interest, as there could be some risk to those he represented or their families. Donnelly, a Conservative, had agreed to meet Robert at Union Square, Aberdeen on the evening of Friday 12th February in order to examine documents supporting Robert’s concerns. He was unable to meet him earlier as he was attending a Conservative meeting in Perth at which the main speaker was David Cameron. Robert was then unable to keep the appointment, having been arrested earlier that day.
Therefore, given Robert’s belief in Councillor Donnelly’s genuine concern, it came as a surprise to discover that whilst in discussion with Robert in apparent good faith, he had already made an official complaint about him to the police. Perhaps he had since become concerned that his appearance in court in the circumstances might have led to justifiable questions regarding his integrity as an elected official, charged to represent the people of Ferry Hill as a whole, rather than certain individuals of his personal acquaintance.
Tomorrow Tuesday the case for the Defence commences.