10: What a difference a year makes!

“He wrecked my life. I left school at 14 and got through life using drink and drugs.”
– Dee Coles

It would not be unreasonable to ask what difference a year makes; I hope to answer that question here.

Leaving Dee Coles to one side for a moment, there are occasions when a lapse of memory – or even a little exaggeration – may be overlooked or forgiven.
The truth of what did happen will outweigh any ‘discrepancies’ that did not.

(Obviously in cases of quite deliberate deception this ought not apply.)

In 2015 – and with the UK in the midst of a full-blown paedophile panic – the Telegraph’s assistant news editor, Bill Gardner, produced a series of “exclusives” with such astonishing titles as ‘Thatcher confidant raped boy and police covered crime up’.

“Now he says he has now decided to come forward again after watching victims of Jimmy Savile telling their stories.” – Bill Gardner in The Telegraph

The articles provide quite precise information: the boy was 14 years old; the year was 1982; the police were immediately involved; and so on.
The alleged victim – whose father is also interviewed – appears in a video with Gardner. There is no good reason for any confusion over basic facts.

“I was never the same after what happened – he ruined my life really. I left school soon afterwards because I lost all my confidence.” – The Victim

The culprit is the long-dead MP Peter Morrison and it is suggested that the venue was the “notorious” Elm Guest House. Some of us groaned. And waited…

The UK’s ongoing Institutional Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse recently revealed the truth of the matter: the victim was 15 (not 14) and the year was 1983 (not 1982). Given that Elm Guest House closed in 1982 it is quite clear why the year – and therefore also the age – were deliberately changed.

The culprit – tried & convicted – was named; it was not Peter Morrison. Given the short sentence received it might also be wise to question the nature of the offence as reported by Gardner in the Telegraph. Or wiser still to simply ignore Gardner in the Telegraph…

In short, the story was rubbish.

This unconnected case, which nonetheless bears similarities to that of Coles, illustrates clearly why a year may make all the difference: the difference between a story being true, and a story being false.


Links and further reading here.

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