‘My husband was stitched up’, says wife of convicted paedophile
- Credit: Archant
The wife of a convicted paedophile plans a campaign to help others after she said her husband was “stitched up” by witnesses and a police officer who “lied in court”.
April Hammond says the high profile Jimmy Saville case has encouraged others to wrongly accuse men of historic sexual abuse using word of mouth evidence only.
And she says it is not fair that victims are allowed so much leeway in recalling their version of events, because of excuses like being traumatised while giving evidence.
She believes that being behind a screen means they have enough protection to not feel stressed by the court experience.
April says her husband Allan was “stitched up” by both witnesses and a policeman, which led to him being found guilty of 11 historic sexual abuse charges spanning there decades.
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He was also found guilty of having child porn images on his computer in 2014.
In a 27 minute interview with the Cambs Times, April, who lives with her 78 year old husband at their home in Steeple View, March, said she plans to contact the Ministry of Justice and ‘campaign ferociously’ to discuss the legal validity of historic sexual abuse cases with word of mouth evidence only.
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“The impression I get is there are eight jails in Britain for sex offenders,” she said. “There is a natural increase of elderly men in prison for these crimes.
“There has to be questions raised. Why suddenly is this happening?
“We know it is from the Jimmy Saville cases. We know anyone can go to the police stations and say they have been raped.”
More evidence needs to be presented, other than just hearsay word of mouth, she said.
She added that witnesses in her husband’s case could not remember exact ages or dates. They also forgot details, which meant their evidence should not have stood up in court, she claimed.
“Word of mouth is fine but then to be allowed to say you forget, or your mind has gone blank, or because of trauma, is unfair.”
She added that one witness, now aged 40, who was a young teenager at the time of being sexually assaulted by buggery by Hammond, was allowed to give evidence behind a screen - so she felt that should not have led to trauma and so forgetting his evidence.
She said: “Yes he [Allan] has been stitched up. He feels absolutely gutted, he says [he’s] never done any of these things.
“He is going to man-up to his prison sentence when it comes about and he will go and he will do his time.
“We hope because of his being diagnosed with dementia that he will live long enough to come out.
“In that time I shall be campaigning ferociously because I think it’s completely wrong that prosecution witnesses are allowed (to give word of mouth evidence)” and “their evidence is going to be taken as absolute truth.”
Hammond has spent £100,000 in court costs, she said.
An NSPCC spokesperson for the East of England said: “Hammond subjected three young children to sickening abuse in a predatory campaign of exploitation that lasted decades.
“This sort of abuse can have a lasting effect on the lives of victims but it is their tremendous courage in speaking out and their bravery over the course of proceedings that has helped convict him for his vile crimes.
“It is never too late for victims of non-recent abuse to report what happened to them and get support.”
During the trial a jury found him guilty of 11 charges of sexually abusing children from the 1960s through to the early 1990s.
One sexual assault was on a girl who was just eight years old, another was a buggery assault on a boy under the age of 13.
He was also found guilty of one charge of making internet child porn images in 2014.
He protested his innocence throughout the trial, in which the jury heard how Hammond assaulted his female victims in the 1960s and 1970s, and assaulted a boy in the early 1990s.
Hammond previously lived in Essex and the allegations relate to crimes carried out in Saffron Walden, Colchester, Enfield, Chigwell and Chingford.
April Hammond wrote this email to the Cambs Times:
I gave an interview to the Cambs Times, in which I stated these convictions are a serious miscarriage of justice.
I also provided evidence to support this statement.
I also stated that the police computer expert, who found the three images, on the computer, changed his evidence during the re-trial and stated that he did not know how these images were made on the computer, and he also agreed with the defence computer expert,that the images could have come from pop-ups.
The jury in the original trial, were told by the same police expert, that only My Husband could have put these images on the computer.
I also stated that in the original trial the complainant who accused My Husband of rape, changed his account, after he was told by another prosecution witness, that the date he gave in his police statement would expose him as a liar.
The other prosecution witness admitted passing on information he had gleaned from the defence QC, whilst he was giving evidence.
This witness was removed from the court and made to write a confessional statement, admitting that he had passed on information to the complainant ,that would enable him to change his story.
I also stated that the prosecution withheld evidence from the original trial and another complainant’s evidence was rejected by three other witnesses.
I also told you that the complainants were permitted to adjust or change their accounts, due to possible, “trauma” and in doing so, were able to avoid providing exacting evidence.
One complainant gave three differing accounts and both her trial accounts were different from her police statement account.
My husband was not allowed this privilege, nor was he given any allowances for his dementia affecting his memory.
As all the complainants evidence was “word of mouth” only and not supported by any other evidence or witnesses, should complainants in historic trials be allowed to adjust their evidence?
I informed you that I have copies of all the police evidence and the original trial transcripts and my evidence derives directly from these sources.
I would also like to state that the Cambs Times did print false information, the first time the paper printed this story.
It was stated that the abuse had gone on four decades, which has now been corrected to three decades.
It was also stated that My Husband had taken photographs of children, not making images on a computer.
This was suggestive that My Husband was going out taking photographs of children.
• The Cambs Times reported from the charge list issued by the court that Hammond was found guilty of creating indecent images of children on his computer between June 23, 2014 and October 28, 2014.
April said: In the last issue of the Cambs Times it was stated that My Husband had been charged with raping a woman, which was false.
• Allan was found guilty of raping a female between March 12, 1970 and March 11, 1971.
April added: These may seem small errors, but I will argue that if you are going to print information, then at least print it accurately.
If you are committed to presenting a balanced view in your accounts of My Husband’s trial then print this email.
Print it without any alteration or editing.
This will not change what has happened nor prevent My Husband from going to prison, but it will at least provide a balance to the story and stress the fact, that all the complainants evidence was “word of mouth” and not supported by any forensic, factual or “witnessed” evidence.
Furthermore, all the complainants and the prosecution witnesses were in contact with each other and most were related to each other.
You will be aware that recently and in the past, there have been many people wrongly convicted and I and all the lawyers and barristers who have worked with My Husband believe he is innocent.
In fact his current barrister has told him he has had rough justice.
These lawyers and barristers have the most detailed knowledge of the case and have also read and analysed all the evidence and have constantly challenged My Husband’s recollections of past events.
They have all concluded that although he has severe memory problems, he has been consistent in his evidence and has never altered or strayed from his account.
I note, that you had already released your latest report on My Husband, before you came to our house.
You arrived with your camera crew and immediately started recording as soon as I opened the door.
I gave you an interview, a very long and informative interview , not surprising, as I have been involved with every aspect of this case since October 2014.
I omitted one significant piece of information, after you had printed the first news story about My Husband, two women in our street went from door to door, with a copy of the news story and collected names on a petition.
I do not know what they intended to do with that petition, but I was told by a neighbour that one of these women, said she had a friend working for the Cambs Times and that friend informed her, that the member of the public who provided the story to the Cambs Times also provided further detailed information about the allegations.
One of these women also informed my neighbour that she thought I was a monster, for staying with My Husband.
I have had many other challenges since then and the most recent being you turning up at my house.
I have chosen my path, but I have always made it clear that this is my choice and do not expect other people to do the same.
However, I do expect My Husband to have a fair hearing and as I have already stated, there have been many people falsely convicted and some have had to endure years in prison.
The Cambs Times could be a vehicle to provide some balance to this case.
Printing this email will not alter what has been decided, but it will at least present the other side of this case.
Remember at the first trial, the jury could not decide and both juries were given complex background evidence to factor in to their verdict.
You told me it was a converfluting story, and arguably it is easier to focus on the horrendous allegations, rather than get bogged down, with the complex background story.
But only by factoring all the evidence, can a fair verdict be made.
Why, you asked me would someone make up such allegations?
I said because some people do lie, for example the man who was known as, “Nick”, who lied about being abused by a paedophile ring. The Metropolitan police believed him and a huge amount of tax payers money was wasted on a massive police investigation.
So word of mouth evidence, must be more consistent and less flexible, if it is to be used as proof.
I hope you do print this
• The NSPCC’s Helpline is available on 0808 800 5000 for help and advice.