'So many people knew what was going on'

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The Independent Online
ANN CLWYD, the Labour MP for Cynon Valley, yesterday said she had released the letter from Miss Phillips because 'it tells in her own words, better than anybody else, what she was facing, and how desperate she was feeling'.

Mrs Clwyd immediately raised the letter with the police writes Colin Brown. But it was not unusual. 'I get loads like that . . . . Crime in South Wales has gone up 130 per cent over the last ten years, and in Cynon Valley it has doubled. Apart from unemployment, it is the number one concern.'

That concern was evident on Friday when 200 people in a neighbouring village turned out for a public meeting on crime. It was organised by Mrs Clwyd for the local people to put questions to two police officers and the clerk to the magistrates. 'They were standing in the aisles. It went on for two hours and it showed how concerned they were about the things happening in their community.

'Elderly people said they were frightened to open their doors at night; they were frightened to go out; fear among the elderly - that is quite widespread.

'The police were asked, what could we do, should we bother the police, and whether we should dial 999? They also wanted to know what they should do when there was no answer from the police station because the headquarters in Cynon Valley has been shifted to Merthyr Tydfil.'

Mrs Clwyd said the police wanted to put more officers on the beat, but were prevented from investing more resources by the Home Office. 'Cynon Valley is classified as a rural area, but we have got the same problems as the inner city areas of bad housing, deprivation, high unemployment, social problems and poor health.'

More public meetings on crime are being organised by Mrs Clwyd across her constituency. 'It is tragic. Now that all the facts have come out, it is pretty clear Miss Phillips was a victim of persecution over a long period of time.

'Clearly, with hindsight, everybody must ask the question, 'Why was it that so many people around her clearly knew what was going on but did not take any action on her behalf?' '