Copied from Mirror 25/08/2012
“Blundering police let me live with paedo for two years…and I even had his baby”: Mum’s story shows lessons of Soham murders not learned
Cheryle Hibbert wasn’t told that her new partner Dan Brasier was a child sex offender after officers failed to implement the findings of the Bichard Inquiry
A shocking blunder by police allowed a paedophile to move in with a single mum and her two young children for TWO YEARS.
Despite lessons supposedly learned from the Soham murders, Cheryle Hibbert wasn’t informed by police that her new partner was a child sex offender.
Distraught Cheryle even had a baby with Dan Brasier, who later admitted online grooming and possessing child porn images.
Police chiefs last week admitted their “incompetence” in a letter to Cheryle, adding that they put her children at risk by not passing information about Brasier between forces.
Had they done so, Cheryle could have been warned about his background.
Two officers are now facing misconduct charges after failing to implement the findings of the Bichard Inquiry, introduced after Ian Huntley murdered schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in 2002.
In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Mirror Cheryle, 42, said: “I am devastated at what has happened. My three children were placed in the gravest danger. I can never forgive that.
“As a mother it is your duty to protect your kids and I have to live with the most profound guilt, even though I know it is not my fault, about what could have happened because two police officers failed to do their job properly.
“The Bichard Inquiry highlighted the fact that Ian Huntley was able to murder Holly and Jessica because of identical failings to these and we were promised those lessons had been learned. Clearly they haven’t.”
Huntley was given a job as a school caretaker in Soham, Cambs, despite being accused of nine allegations of rape and indecent assault on an 11-year-old girl, and sex with other under-age girls.
No record had been retained by his local force, Humberside, and Cambridgeshire Police failed to vet him properly when he applied for the job.
Following the tragedy, the Bichard Inquiry introduced new intelligence sharing procedures, but in the case of Brasier the system failed.
The 33-year-old first came to the attention of police in August 2007 when he engaged in an online grooming conversation with a “14-year-old girl”, who was actually a Metropolitan Police officer.
Scotland Yard notified Thames Valley Police of the investigation as Brasier was living in Bracknell, Berks.
Police then seized computer equipment from the telesales adviser’s home and child porn pictures were found.
With the investigation ongoing, Brasier moved to Cornwall, and in October 2008 he met Cheryle while they were both out walking their dogs.
“When I first met Dan he seemed such a kind, gentle and honest man,” said Cheryle. “We just seemed to click.We would always stop and chat. He told me he had just moved down from Berkshire after splitting up with his girlfriend.
“I hadn’t long been separated from my husband so we were both kind of lost souls. I had my boys to think about, though, and I wasn’t rushing into anything.”
The pair became friends but, still raw from her broken marriage, Cheryle kept him at arm’s length until the following September when she invited Brasier to her home to meet her two sons, then aged eight and six, for the first time.
She said: “I was adamant it had to be the right person as the boys were incredibly bruised after the breakdown of my relationship with their father. I thought Dan was that person. From that point on he pretty much moved in.”
A year later, Brasier was arrested by Thames Valley Police over child porn offences. Yet they failed to inform the Devon and Cornwall force and Brasier kept the arrest secret from Cheryle.
In November 2010, she became unexpectedly pregnant and decided to keep the child because she thought Brasier was in it “for the long haul”.
Three months later Brasier was charged with making indecent photographs, performing a sex act in front of a child and attempting to procure a child for sex.
Incredibly, he managed to keep it secret from Cheryle by telling her he was on “training days” on the days he had court appearances.
But in August 2011 Cheryle’s world fell apart when she received an anonymous text message while nursing her newborn daughter.
It read: “R U Dan Brasier’s girlfriend? Do U No he was charged with child protection in October 2010? R Ur kids safe?”
Devastated Cheryle forwarded the text to Brasier, who simply replied: “What?”
Her worst fears were confirmed when she Googled his details and found a listing for his court appearance at Reading.
“I felt physically sick,” she said. “Part of me didn’t want to believe it was true but I think deep down another part of me knew it was.”
When Cheryle confronted Brasier he managed to convince her it was a malicious and false allegation made by a bitter ex-girlfriend.
She said: “I’d just had a baby. My boys had a new stepdad. I thought we were getting married. I really wanted to believe him. So I stayed.” But Cheryle later discovered from his computer that he had solicited women for sex online while she was pregnant. And a day after he pleaded guilty last August, she finally ended their relationship.
Brasier pleaded guilty before his trial and was ordered to complete a nine-month sex offender course and made the subject of a three-year supervision order.
Cheryle received a letter earlier this month from Det Chief Supt Nikki Ross, who led an internal investigation into Thames Valley Police’s failures.
It read: “As a result of the [two officers’] incompetence you and your young family were clearly at risk from Mr Brasier for the period he lived with you. Such incompetence is unacceptable.”
But Cheryle added: “One day I will have to tell our daughter who her father is. I am dreading that. I am furious. I feel angry some idiotic police officers were so bloody stupid, lazy or ignorant to have put me in such a hideous position.”
Brasier refused to comment.