Jessica Speaks Out About Sexual Abuse by Andy Coles
Whilst Andy Coles was undercover in the 1990s, he groomed Jessica into a sexual relationship.
However, he is hanging on to other positions of civic trust, notably as a member of Peterborough City Council. There is now a dedicated Sack Andy Coles campaign in the city.
Transcript of Jessica’s Speech
I first met Andy when I was 19. I had recently moved to East London and I was involved with a few local animal rights groups and environmental groups. It was within these groups that I first met him.
I can’t remember the initial meeting, but I remember seeing him at various demonstrations and I knew him to say ‘hi’ to. The next thing I remember is he started turning up at our house, uninvited, but you’re polite, you invite people in, and so he was a friend, I thought.
We also know now, after Donal has spoken to lots of other women, that’s actually what he would do. He would turn up around women’s houses, usually in the evenings, and would be quite difficult to get rid of.
One of the other women – I’ve spoken to her, she said it’s fine to read out a statement she actually made – this is Joy’s own words.
‘He made a pass at me with no preamble. As I recall he did not say anything but just lunged at me and tried to kiss me. I pushed him off and he persisted for a while, several minutes, following me around the living room while I avoided contact and repeatedly asked him to stop. I then had to ask him to leave which he eventually agreed to do. I cannot remember exactly what I said, I was upset and angry. I felt a bit stupid for allowing him into the flat in the first place and a bit soiled to be honest.’
Now, Joy was 26 at this time. This is exactly what he did to me, he never actually said anything to me, he just lunged at me and kissed me. I didn’t know what his intentions were, I’d certainly never actually felt that towards him. The only difference between myself and Joy is that I didn’t react as bravely as she did.
I remember feeling shocked, embarrassed, awkward and totally out of my depth. I remember it so clearly because it was so uncomfortable, it has never really felt right. But I put that down to us both being quite young at the time, and it was actually my first proper relationship. Now we know that in actual fact he wasn’t 24 like he told me, but he was actually 32 and also he was married. He had been married for four years at this point.
This has now changed from something that was very awkward and uncomfortable at the time to something that is now very sordid, dirty and manipulative. A much older man leading me into a sexual relationship as a teenager that I wasn’t ready for or confident enough to get out of. I have never said I was underage, I was 19 at the time. But I was no different from lots of people, in that I’d had quite a traumatic childhood, I’d been bullied at school, and those things had left a bit of a mark on me. I had low self-esteem and no confidence, I’d suffered panic attacks and been treated for anxiety. To someone much older, like him, and also a trained police officer I would have been an easy target for being vulnerable.
It’s worth saying at this point that not every undercover officer had a sexual relationship whilst they were deployed. Andy did not have to have a pursue a sexual relationship with me to maintain his cover, he chose to. He absolutely knew that I would have never consented to have sex with a police officer. As far as I’m concerned he did it knowing it would have been against my will.
His bosses also knew it would have been against my informed consent, and yet they allowed it to happen. Where were the police? The people who were supposed to protect me? They were the ones that paid him to do it. They were the ones who arranged the fake birth certificates, the fake driving licences, fake passports, provided him a fake job, his vehicle and his home. They needed to make him convincing and, to me, they did. I never stood a chance, I was a stupid naive teenager now left with the shame of what has happened.
Andy won’t face any charges over what he chose to do to me. I wish there was something I could do about that, but there isn’t. I wasn’t able to stand up for myself as a teenager, so I need to do that now. I need to try and take back some control. All I am able to do now is to sue his employers, the Metropolitan Police. The four ‘torts’, as they call them, for suing them are; assault, deception, negligence (on behalf of his bosses for allowing it to happen) and misfeasance (or wrongdoing) in public office. Also I am also now a part of the Undercover Policing Inquiry, I’m a core participant.
I have so many questions that I don’t think I will ever know the answers to. Did he despise all of us, people who thought of him as our friend? Is that the way he treated all of women or was that just the way he treated us?
Was he lying to me when he told me he had a two year old daughter? We know it wasn’t with his wife at the time, his first daughter with her was born the year after he and I split up. But we don’t know exactly when he was deployed so whether he did have a two year old child with another activist, we don’t know.
Why did he choose such public roles when he knew the danger of his being discovered? Does he feel even the tiniest bit of guilt for what he did to me? I wasn’t a criminal, I don’t have a criminal record, so why did it happen to me? How much did he share with the other undercover officers about me? What did he put in his reports about us and our relationship? He came to my parents’ house on several occasions, was there a file on them?
How did he know about my being adopted? It’s unlikely I would have told him, it was something I had been bullied about and was deeply ashamed of, so it was unlikely I’d tell him but people remember him saying it was a great match that he and I were together, what with both of us being adopted. Did he use something so private and painful to me just as a ploy to ingratiate himself? I will never know.
I wake up in the early hours every morning with these questions running through my head. I can’t get a moment’s peace from any of this. It’s twisting the knife that he remains in a trusted public position, as though what he did to me means nothing.
He stepped down from the DPCC role, and if he had a shred of decency he’d step down from this role too.
16 September 2017