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Aimee Challenor: Green star failed to properly alert party of father's child rape charges

Independent investigation found transgender activist only alerted two colleagues in 'informal' Facebook message

Chiara Giordano
Sunday 13 January 2019 16:23 GMT
Amy Challenor
Amy Challenor

A rising star in the Green Party did not clearly tell colleagues her father had been charged with serious sex crimes against a child before appointing him as her election agent.

David Challenor, 50, was charged with 22 offences in November 2016, including the rape and torture of a 10-year-old girl, but went on to work for his daughter Aimee Challenor during two elections while out on bail.

An independent investigation found Challenor posed a “major safeguarding risk” for two years while he was given roles of responsibility in the party, including as his daughter’s agent during the 2017 general election and 2018 local council elections.

The inquiry, by Verita, said Ms Challenor, a transgender activist who was in the running to become the Greens’ deputy leader, committed a “serious error of judgment”.

Challenor, of Charterhouse Road, Coventry, was jailed for 22 years in August 2018 after he was found guilty of 20 offences.

A court heard how he held his victim captive in the attic of his family home, where he electrocuted her while playing out his sadomasochistic fantasies.

Investigators found Ms Challenor’s only attempt to alert the party of the charges was a “brief, informal and ambiguous” 2016 Facebook message to two other members of the national executive, Matt Hawkins and Clare Phipps.

In the message, she told them her father had been charged with 22 offences and that “ … it is my understanding that the majority of them were sexual offences”.

David Challenor 

The Verita report found she did not ask them to take action and failed to mention her father was a party member.

Investigators also found Ms Challenor’s two colleagues “closed the matter off too quickly and should have followed up more”.

They said members they spoke to had little awareness of safeguarding issues and those who were told about the charges “saw the issue as primarily a communications one – about protecting the reputation of the party”.

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The report recommended the party should update its code of conduct, review safeguarding policy and speak to West Midlands Police about whether it should have drawn attention to the charges.

Ms Challenor, 20, who had been running to become the Green's deputy leader was suspended by the party pending the investigation.

She later resigned, accusing the party of transphobia.

In a statement after the report's publication, Ms Challenor said: “Thankfully there is no evidence that anyone was close to harm as a result of their contact with the Green Party.

“My thoughts continue to be with those my father caused harm.”

She added that she stood by the apology she made in August for “my error in appointing my father my election agent”.

The Green Party said in a statement: “We apologise unreservedly for any concerns that this will have caused and any safeguarding risks it may have given rise to.”

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