UK peer accused of pedophilia charges dies at 87

Lord Greville Janner © Neil Hall
Greville Janner, an 87-year-old member of the House of Lords, who was earlier this month deemed unfit to stand trial on child sex abuse charges due to dementia, died in his home on Saturday.

“This is devastating news for my clients,” said lawyer Liz Dux, who represents six of Janner’s alleged victims.

“They have waited so long to see this case come before the courts. To be denied justice at the final hurdle is deeply frustrating,”

Lord Janner was one of several prominent figures in the British establishment facing historic sex abuse charges after BBC presenter Jimmy Savile was exposed as a serial child abuser following his death in 2011, leading to a rush of victims coming forward.

Janner was accused of 22 offenses against nine boys, eight of whom were aged 16 or under at the time, dating from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Janner, who was a Labour MP from 1970 to 1997, and later appointed to the House of Lords, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2009. The Crown Prosecution Service initially declined to press charges against him, citing his condition, but the decision was reversed after a public outcry.

After a judge ruled this month that Janner was not fit to stand trial, a rare “trial of facts” was scheduled for April. This procedure is meant to establish facts, but does not result in a conviction. With Janner's death, the trial will not be held.

“So many opportunities to bring this matter to justice whilst he was well were missed,” Dux said. “All [the alleged victims] have ever wanted is to give their evidence in court and have these very serious allegations tested and to be believed.”

Public allegations of child abuse by Janner date back to 1991, when Frank Beck, the director of a children's home in Leicestershire, accused Janner, then an MP, of having abused a child. The accusations came as Beck himself was standing trial for child abuse, for which he was sentenced to five life terms. A witness claimed to be one of Janner's victims during the trial. Three separate police investigations held before the Savile scandal failed to lead to a prosecution.

READ MORE: Janner ‘violated, raped & tortured’ children on Westminster Palace estate, MP alleges

Janner served in the British army before becoming a lawyer and then following his father into the House of Commons as an MP. He was one of the pillars of Britain’s Jewish establishment.

His family said he would be “deeply missed.”