Brittan raped me, claims woman: Tory grandee denies assault after a blind date in 1967
- Woman claims Lord Brittan raped her at London home after a date
- The 74-year-old has strongly denied her allegations and maintains innocence
- Supporters claim he is the victim of a politically motivated smear campaign
The woman claims Lord Brittan – then in his late 20s and a rising star in the Conservative Party – raped her at his London home after they went on a date in 1967.
Lord Brittan, who went on to become Home Secretary under Margaret Thatcher, strenuously denies her allegations and has instructed Mishcon de Reya, the former lawyers of Diana, Princess of Wales, to defend him.
The 74-year-old maintained his innocence when he was interviewed under caution by detectives last month – more than a year and half after she first made her bombshell allegations.
His supporters claim that he is the victim of a politically motivated smear campaign and are confident he will clear his name.
His questioning by officers happened weeks after his accuser told her story to a Sunday newspaper.
The woman, now 66 and reported to be a Labour Party member, did not identify Lord Brittan in her interview.
Instead the article referred to her alleged attacker as a future Tory Cabinet Minister who lured her to his flat on a pretence and led to his bedroom ‘like a lamb to the slaughter’.
The accuser, who was referred to in the interview only by the name Jane, said she was ‘struck dumb with terror’ as he attacked her. She claimed: ‘It lasted just a few minutes. But they were long moments in my life.
‘It was dark in the bedroom, and I could not see much. I remember him on top of me being very forceful.’
The woman reported the alleged attack to police in 2012 – 45 years after she claims it happened – when detectives opened an investigation into an alleged VIP paedophile ring involving politicians and dignitaries in the 1970s and 1980s.
But after apparently consulting the Crown Prosecution Service, police told her they had no plans either to arrest or to interview Lord Brittan.
However, campaigning Labour MP Tom Watson wrote a letter to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, criticising the police’s decision not to question the peer.
Legal sources said Mr Watson also complained to Met chiefs about the alleged inaction, prompting senior detectives to perform a U-turn and interview Lord Brittan after all.
The alleged attack happened after the accuser moved to London to study at a prestigious college.
It was at a party attended by doctors, lawyers, and aspiring politicians that she was allegedly spotted by Lord Brittan. She claims that the following night, a mutual friend said Lord Brittan was interested in taking her on a blind date.
Jane arranged to meet him outside a Tube station in an upmarket area of London, she claims. She said: ‘He said at that point that he would like to go to collect some records at his flat to take to a friend’s after dinner.
‘So I went along with him. I was very naive. If he had rung and invited me to go round to his flat, that is not something I would have done.’
Jane alleges that she and Lord Brittan walked to the flat in an exclusive mansion block nearby. As he ushered her in, she allegedly noticed him double-locking the door and pocketing the key. She said: ‘I panicked but he was totally calm.
‘As soon as he put his keys in his pocket, I ran to the toilet and locked myself in, and I stayed in there until he became very angry.
‘And he was banging on the door, and threatening to kick it down. I tried to get out of the window but it had metal bars on it. I was petrified. I was thinking, “What do I do? Would I even get out alive?”
‘Eventually I knew I could not stay in the toilet for ever. Once I came out, he turned me towards the bedroom and walked behind me.’
Jane said she was ‘struck dumb’ with terror. ‘I weighed less than 7st and had no chance of fighting him off. My memory is that I came out like a lamb to the slaughter. I think the state of mind I was in when I came out of the toilet, I just shut down.’
She says Lord Brittan then directed her to his bedroom. ‘All I could smell was the grease in his hair,’ she said. ‘Then he raped me. I cannot even remember whether I undressed, or whether he undressed me.
‘I am not certain that I was fully undressed, or whether he simply lifted up my dress before he attacked me. I just remember him on top of me and inside me. It lasted minutes.
‘Afterwards, he brought me a glass of water, and I fell straight to sleep.’ The following morning, Jane left the apartment shortly after her alleged attacker. She claims she agonised over whether to report the attack to the police. ‘It was 1967. Back then nobody believed a young woman when she made such claims,’ she said.
Scotland Yard said the woman originally made a complaint in late 2012 and that her claims are being investigated by officers from the Met’s Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command. It confirmed that a man in his 70s was ‘interviewed under caution by appointment at a Central London location in connection with the allegation. He was not arrested. Inquiries continue’.
Lord Brittan married wife Diana in 1980 and was made a life peer in 2000. Four years ago, he was appointed trade adviser to the Government after David Cameron said he had ‘unrivalled experience’.
Last night the Met refused to say whether officers had searched any of Lord Brittan’s homes or offices but said a file on the case had not yet been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service. Mishcon de Reya said yesterday that Lord Brittan would be making no immediate comment.