Steve Hedley’s statement – Not “Cleared of Domestic Violence” with a Case Still to Answer – Andy Littlechild RMT Rep

I’m writing the following statement as the RMT rep representing Caroline
Leneghan in relation to her complaint of physical, emotional and verbal abuse
by Steve Hedley RMT Assistant General Secretary. I’ve just returned from a
week away on holiday to discover the initial stage of the unions investigation
completed, with an unsatisfactory outcome of no further action (investigation) to
take place, and a statement from Steve Hedley that I believe as Caroline’s rep
to be misleading. My statement below is solely based on this statement, all my
comments are relating to its contents.

To date I have refrained from involvement in the large amount of internet
content in relation to her case; and have kept my role as her rep between those
who were involved within the RMT. Apart from that I have only disclosed my
involvement to the 2 RMT “officials” whom I directly report to in order to be
accountable, maintaining strict confidentiality around the whole issue in all
respects,

My intention here is to set the record straight following
Steve Hedley’s recent statement and other similar internet posts from other
people/groups which are inaccurate, and to put forward the facts so people are in
possession of them.

I’m not a member of political group seeking to make politically motivated (or any
other) attacks on Steve Hedley or the RMT; I’m Caroline Leneghan’s RMT rep.

Verbal, Cyber and Threats of violence

Firstly, in light of his statement; I’d like to make it clear that neither Caroline nor
myself or any other of her friends have at anytime known to her took part in
abuse or threats of violence etc. to Steve Hedley or any members of his family.
If anyone has done that I condemn it completely.

Caroline Leneghan’s Allegations & Evidence

You can read Caroline’s allegations in her opening post above, and view the
photos of her injuries.

In his statement, Steve Hedley rightly says that Caroline Leneghan’s complaint
was submitted a year after the event (with the implication that this makes it less
worthy of belief?!).
In fact this is a fairly common occurrence with women reporting domestic abuse,
for reasons that are well documented and understood: misplaced loyalty, the
belief the abuser will change, fear of retaliation or not being believed, and along
with even telling others at the time that facial injuries are “an accident” to protect
an abuser are symptoms in themselves of being a victim of domestic violence.

Steve Hedley claims that Caroline’s allegations are unfounded and her
photographic evidence “dubious”, and due to this “no further action” was the
outcome of the police investigation.

This is somewhat misleading; the police officer dealing with her complaint stated
in writing to her:

“….there is a high chance of conviction if this matter was to be taken to Court.

We would be able to say that your account remains that you were assaulted and
that we have no reason to suspect you made the matter up.

In the same vein we would say Steve was not exonerated. It was simply that the
matter was not capable of proof at Court. Both yourself and Steve accept the
injuries you received were as a result of an incident between the two of you. You
claim to have been assaulted and Steve claimed self defence as a result of you
attacking him. In the absence of any witnesses or background history we couldn’t
prove the matter either way. This coupled with the injuries you received being of
a CPS charging standard of common assault meant that we have only 6 months
from the incident to bring the matter before a Court. This had lapsed prior to
initial report”.

So the reality is that far from her “claims being unfounded and her evidence
dubious” as put forward in Steve Hedley’s statement, Caroline’s allegations to the
police weren’t taken any further due to the CPS’ procedural limits on timescales
for cases to go to court.

Previously during the RMT enquiry I had to challenge the exact same
misrepresentation of the police investigation that Steve Hedley put forward.
*(I have documented evidence to support this).

RMT’s “Exhaustive Investigation”

Similarly; Steve Hedley’s statement puts forward that the RMT following an
“exhaustive investigation” said he had “no case to answer”.
Again, you can read for yourself in her opening post above the manner in which
the enquiry was conducted by RMT, and there are 2 facts that need to also be
explained here:

1. The RMT procedure for complaints is adhoc, (i.e. not a written down), but
broadly equated to the General Secretary instructing the Senior Assistant
General Secretary to conduct “an enquiry” into Caroline’s complaint against
Steve Hedley (2nd Assistant General Secretary).
Upon concluding his enquiry; the Senior AGS presented his enquiry report to
the General Secretary for him to decide whether or not to submit it to the RMT
Council of Executives for a full investigation to be undertaken.
The General Secretaries decision was NOT to submit Caroline’s complaint to the
RMT Executive Council, and no full investigation was undertaken.

2. The reason given to Caroline by the General Secretary for not instructing the
Executive Council to undertake a full investigation was that her RMT membership
did not cover the date/time the incident took place, and also due to a lack of
corroborating evidence (which I believe may be alluding to no witnesses being
willing to come forward?).
However, the General Secretary stated that “both you and Steve Hedley agree
an incident took place”.

In closing; the General Secretary advised that “I will not be taking any further
action on this matter”.

At no point was the dropping of Caroline’s complaint by the General Secretary
stated as because Steve Hedley “had no case to answer” as claimed by him in
his statement!
*(I have documented evidence to support this).

Threatening Texts from Caroline Leneghan

Caroline texted Steve around the general time of their relationship break up,
though I’m not aware of their content apart from the one text read to us during
the enquiry. While the texts may be of a particularly emotional nature, I would
put it that texts sent by people during a break up generally are of an emotional
nature and that it is unremarkable in its obviousness.

In relation to this same text referred by Steve Hedley in his statement where
Caroline states “you’re going down Steve” or something similar; this had another
meaning than that implied by Steve of “I’m going to get you”!.
As Caroline explained at the time, the context was “you will be found out” / “you
will not get away with it” (i.e. beating her up).

Caroline Leneghan and me as her rep were not read any other texts that I
remember(?), and Caroline refutes sending “hundreds of threatening texts” in the
manner claimed by Steve Hedley.

Caroline Leneghan’s “Mental Health Problems”

Caroline like many people (national average is 25% of the population suffer from
a mental health issue during their lives) has suffered with mental health issues; in
her youth she self-harmed, and today copes with depression.
She is not a violent person and has no history of violence towards anyone (a
history of self-harm (superficial cutting as teenager) is the exact opposite of
outward violence.

The implication in the way Steve Hedley has put forward “mental health issues”
so prominently seems to be aimed at saying that people with common mental
health issues are violent and have a tendency towards violence; this serves to
demonise, stigmatise and stereotype people with mental health difficulties, in
particular for women for who this stereotype is more problematic

Some of the factual details above of Caroline Leneghan’s mental health history
were disclosed to Steve by her when they were happier, as couples do sharing
and being intimate together. Using this evidence of Caroline’s mental health
along with allegations of assault by Caroline Leneghan on himself that she totally
refutes, is an irresponsible and gross misrepresentation of the experience of
people that suffer with mental health issues such as depression.

Caroline’s complaint was a straight forward matter of her being assaulted by
Steve Hedley, which he either did or didn’t do; her mental health has nothing to
do with the complaint that she raised.

However, it seems the case that Steve Hedley believes it important to repeatedly
portray Caroline as a “mental case”; which similarly I have had to previously
challenge during the initial RMT enquiry.
*(I have documented evidence to support this).

Appeal to the RMT Executive Council

Despite his misleading claims in his statement that he had been cleared by both
the police and the RMT of domestic violence, there is still also a case remaining
for Steve Hedley answer.

Caroline Leneghan has submitted her request for an appeal against the decision
of the RMT GS.
She was advised by reply that her request for an appeal will go before the RMT Executive Council

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