A FORMER detective commended for his work on the Baby P investigation is suing police after claiming he was bullied for exposing child abuse and corruption. John Wedger said he was forced into early retirement from the Metropolitan Police after suffering a breakdown last year brought on by post traumatic stress disorder. The former detective constable has begun a civil claim against Scotland Yard seeking damages for psychiatric injury arising from work-related stress. Mr Wedger said he was bullied after filing an intelligence report alleging that some of his colleagues knew a prostitute was pimping out girls as young as nine but turned a blind eye. He claimed he was told by a high-ranking Met officer to keep quiet or be “thrown to the wolves”.
Last night father-of-four Mr Wedger said: “I joined the police to serve the community and make a difference. I have wholeheartedly, loyally and relentlessly pursued, arrested and prosecuted those I was tasked to target. He said that once the form was completed it would be sent back to him. Pointing to a wastepaper bin he told me, ‘That’s where it will end up. I will never betray fellow rank nor will anyone else. Keep your mouth shut.’” On his last day with the unit he was called in by the same officer.
He said: “He offered me his hand, I reciprocated, and he said, ‘You must give your word that you will never look into child prostitution ever again.’ The experience left me traumatised and paranoid.” Mr Wedger joined the Child Abuse Investigation Command in the borough of Haringey where he became involved with the investigation in 2007 into baby Peter Connelly’s death. He was later praised and rewarded for the way he handled an interview with Peter’s mother, Tracey. In 2014, following the Jimmy Savile and Rotherham paedophile scandals, Mr Wedger repeated his claims of a cover-up and the bullying he suffered to a detective inspector, who he says ignored them.
He then approached the Met’s department of professional standards and was interviewed over two days. Later that year Mr Wedger was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. Due to his protracted time off sick he was placed on half pay, which plunged him into debt. Despite being placed under the care of an NHS mental health team and given counselling, he twice returned to work in 2015, first on the fraud investigation team and then on the road deaths unit. However, the return to work made his PTSD even worse.
Mr Wedger, of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, was finally given early ill health retirement last month after 23 years of service. He added: “I’m relieved to be out. I felt at the centre of a huge conspiracy and very much alone.” He is now being supported by his local MP, Sir Mike Penning, who has written to Met chief Cressida Dick for a response to the allegations. Sir Mike said: “There are some really serious answers to deal with both on what John says happened and the way he was treated afterwards.” A Met spokesman said: “We have received a civil claim from John Wedger. We are considering the claim and will respond in due course as required by the court procedures.”