A schoolgirl was raped after police failed to act on two phone calls from a former Met officer who saw the victim being attacked, the Independent Police Complaints Commission has ruled. Paedophile Colin Riddall pounced on the teen outside the gates of her school in Quedgeley, Gloucestershire, as she walked home from a friend’s house. Riddall, 44, gagged and blindfolded his victim and drove her to a quiet lane where he beat her up.

The attack was witnessed by an ex-Metropolitan Police officer who called 999 – but police at Gloucestershire Police graded the call a ‘Category Two’ incident, meaning it only required a response within the next four hours. The former policeman followed Riddall’s car and again phoned 999 less than 15 minutes later, this time giving Riddall’s registration. But officers still graded the call a Category Two, despite Riddall’s registration being linked on police computers to another suspicious incident just four months earlier.

An IPCC spokesman said yesterday: ‘There was intelligence indicating that the vehicle had been seen in suspicious circumstances, apparently following a group of young girls in June 2010. ‘This intelligence report was not viewed and the incident was therefore not re-graded. ‘At 8.19pm the same evening, a 999 call was made to the police reporting that a 13-year-old girl had been kidnapped by a man in a white car and seriously sexually assaulted. ‘It was later confirmed that this was the same vehicle and driver that had been reported in the two earlier 999 calls.’

Riddall – who had no previous convictions – snatched his victim on October 16 last year. He was jailed indefinitely in February after admitting kidnap, false imprisonment, sexual assault and assault causing actual bodily harm.

Tim Beer, 54, the former policeman who witnessed the attack taking place said he had felt compelled to chase Riddall to get his car registration. Mr Beer, who lives in Cornwall but was visiting relatives at the time of the offence, said: ‘I was just having a drive in the country when I passed this car, parked up in Elmore.

‘As I looked in I could see a female being frenziedly assaulted by a male. I couldn’t see her face, so didn’t know at the time how old she was. ‘I parked up around the next corner, dialled 999 and told them what I’d seen. This was about 5.40pm. ‘I thought I should try and get his number plate so told them I’d go back, which I did. But by this time, he’d gone. I sped around looking for him, but was certain I’d lost him, so I went back to Elmore. ‘To my surprise, there he was again, parked up near the original spot.

‘As I drove past he turned his face away from me, but I could see the girl looked terrified – her face was all red and crumpled as though she’d been crying. ‘I turned around again, but as I got close to his car he put his foot down and sped off. ‘I’ve been trained in pursuit, but we were doing 60mph down country lanes and it was getting silly. ‘In the end, I memorized the number plate, gave up the chase, and called 999 again with the car’s make and registration. ‘I left it to the police to do their job. If I’d known this guy had a young girl in the car with him, I’d have forced him off the road without a second’s thought. I do feel bad now that I let him go.’

Astonishingly, police only alerted their Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras to Riddall’s car after his victim called them hours later. She was dumped half naked by the side of the road and stumbled to a friend’s house where she raised the alarm.

Car valeter Riddall was spotted by police later that night in Wales after fleeing to Aberystwyth, and was arrested just after midnight. Beads from his victim’s top were found in his car. And after he was confronted with CCTV images of him loitering outside the school gates he led detectives to the scene of his attack where they found his victim’s phone and shoes.

Her mother said yesterday she felt ‘betrayed and abandoned’ by the authorities. The woman, now living in London with her daughter, said the findings of the police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission meant nothing to her family.
‘The simple fact is the police should have come out when they got that call – they had a witness saying someone was being attacked in a car. How serious does it have to be before they go and check?

‘Yes, they’ve admitted they’ve made mistakes and they’ve now made some changes, but that’s not good enough. I’m disgusted with the whole system, we feel completely and utterly abandoned.’

IPCC Commissioner Rebecca Marsh said: ‘We will never know whether a much earlier response to the first 999 call would have been able to partially prevent this assault. But it is clear that the errors in the initial grading of the first call meant that this incident did not receive the appropriate response and led to it being viewed with a misguided lack of urgency by those who subsequently dealt with it.’
The IPCC ruled the 999 calls were not dealt with efficiently and resources were not deployed to the incident, but said the calls made no reference to the victim being a child.
‘The control room staff were clearly unaware of her age and vulnerability,’ said a spokesman, adding that two inspectors, one sergeant and five control room staff were subject to performance advice for their individual inaction in handling the initial 999 call.

I absolutely agree with the victims mother when she said,
‘The simple fact is the police should have come out when they got that call – they had a witness saying someone was being attacked in a car. How serious does it have to be before they go and check?’

Furthermore, if a Ex Met Officer called them TWICE and still failed to get them to see the seriousness of the situation then what chance does an ordinary member of public have?

The Police have fallen back onto that old favourite sound bite,
“Mistakes have been made, lessons have been learned and we’ve made changes so it doesn’t happen again.”
It’s a stock line we hear from the Police, Social Services, Hospitals etc. with alarming regularity but my big question relates to the two inspectors, one sergeant and five control room staff who were subject to performance advice for their individual inaction in handling the initial 999 call.

“What on earth were you doing that night because you certainly weren’t doing what you were paid to do and because of it a young girl was raped.”

If you’re going to take the money ladies and gentlemen then you really ought to do the job you’re being paid to do. I hope you hang your heads in shame for what you allowed to happen to that young girl.

Because of massive budgets cuts the Police force have to save money. Could I nominate these eight for redundancy please?