Friday, February 6, 2009


In our last post on this case indicates that Suzanne Holdsworth had filed a complaint against the Cleveland police force with an independent police complaints commission.

We now learn in a story by reporter Paul Watson published February 4, 2009, in the Hartlepool Mall, under the heading "Police chief meets cleared babysitter" that Chief Constable Sean Price, who had previously refused to apologize face to face to Ms. Holdsworth, may be changing his tune.

"A BABYSITTER wrongly jailed for the murder of two-year-old Kyle Fisher has come face-to-face with the chief constable who has vowed he will never apologise to her," the story begins;

"Top cop Sean Price met Suzanne Holdsworth and her long-term partner, Lee Spencer, at a West Yorkshire hotel on Monday over comments he made in a public statement shortly after the mother-of-two was cleared at a re-trial," it continues;

"Cleveland Police was criticised for its handling of the initial inquiry which saw the 38-year-old spend three years behind bars for a crime she did not commit and she and her family hit out at the way the investigation was conducted.

She was jailed in 2005. But the Court of Appeal quashed her conviction in 2008 and ordered a re-trial after Lee uncovered vital medical evidence which showed two year-old Kyle suffered from a number of brain abnormalities.

A few weeks after last December's unanimous not guilty verdict at Teesside Crown Court, Mr Price publicly defended officers involved in the murder inquiry and issued a lengthy statement in which he said there was no need for any apologies and detailed how the investigation had been conducted.

He said at the time: "I firmly believe that when you make a mistake you should apologise.

"I have done this on behalf of Cleveland Police in the past when the conduct of individuals has fallen below that which would be expected of a professional police service.

"However, to issue an apology when officers have carried out their jobdiligently and professionally is inappropriate."

The mother-of-two, now back living in her native Seacroft, Leeds, has also called for an investigation into the handling of the murder inquiry and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has confirmed that her complaint has been passed to Cleveland Police for its comments.

Lee Spencer, 38, said of Monday's meeting: "We aired our views and he listened and he said why he made that statement. We are adamant that media statement was wrong and misleading and he said he would go away, check his facts and come back to us within seven days."

Joe McCarthy, Chief Executive of Cleveland Police Authority, speaking on behalf of both parties (Mr Spencer and the Chief Constable) said: "The Independent Police Complaints Commission forwarded to the Authority a complaint made by Mr Lee Spencer. Under the Police Reform Act 2002 the Police Authority has a duty to consider the element of the complaint relating to a statement made by the Chief Constable.

"The Authority has a responsibility to undertake initial consideration of the complaint and to explore the possibility of 'local resolution' of the matter. All parties have agreed to deal with the matter through the 'local resolution' process and this is ongoing.""