Fresh Probe For Sex Abuse Victim

Nightmares haunting Craig Sweeney’s terrified young victim have sparked a new investigation into the shocking sex abuse scandal. Wales on Sunday can today reveal that the Independent Police Complaints Commission has launched a fresh probe following a new complaint into South Wales Police’s handling of the controversial case.

The inquiry follows nightmares by Sweeney’s three-year-old victim which tell how the paedophile may not have acted alone on the night he abducted and sexually abused the toddler.

In a chilling revelation, the young girl has made reference to a bald man in a recurring dream who is said to have pushed her onto a bed on the night Sweeney snatched her.

The girl is also said to have recalled how one of her abductors told her: “We don’t want boys, we want girls”.

On Friday, the girl’s parents lodged a fresh complaint with the IPCC against South Wales Police. The complaint comes just three months after the force was heavily criticised by the police watchdog for being too slow in arresting Sweeney.

The girl’s parents want the IPCC to probe whether cops eliminated Sweeney and another man from their enquiries as they hunted two men in connection with the failed abduction of a schoolgirl just two hours before their daughter was snatched on Monday, January 2.

At 8.15pm that day, South Wales Police were alerted after a schoolgirl was enticed into a dark-coloured Ford Escort car in the Llanrumney area of Cardiff. At the time, cops said they were looking for two men, one of whom they said was bald.

Later that day, Sweeney, 24, visited the toddler’s parents at their home in Rumney along with a bald friend.

But at 10.27pm, the girl’s parents dialled 999 after Sweeney drove their daughter off in his dark-coloured Ford Escort car.

The girl’s father gave chase with Sweeney’s friend but the pair were unable to find the paedophile.

During the search, the girl’s father handed Sweeney’s friend over to a police patrol officer over fears he was withholding information regarding Sweeney’s whereabouts.

But although questioned by cops, the girl’s parents believe the man was later freed and met up with Sweeney at his bail hostel in Newport where the toddler was sexually abused.

Sweeney then fled Wales with the girl, driving some 80 miles to Swindon. Sweeney, now serving a life sentence, was only arrested by chance after traffic cops saw his Ford Escort jump a red traffic light. Two other men, aged 34 and 47, were arrested that night in connection with the abduction but were later released without charge.

However, the girl’s parents fear one of the men freed is directly linked to the failed abduction earlier that day.

They now want the IPCC to investigate what efforts South Wales Police made in linking the two cases in a bid to bring Sweeney’s “accomplice” to justice.

On Friday, the IPCC confirmed it had launched a new investigation.

A spokeswoman said: “I can confirm that the IPCC has received a further complaint against South Wales Police from the father of the three-year-old girl abducted by Craig Sweeney. This will be processed in the usual way and will be forwarded to South Wales Police.”

The new probe comes after WoS revealed how Sweeney was at the centre of a failed abduction probe just five months before he kidnapped the toddler. Avon and Somerset Constabulary probed Sweeney last August after he was seen loitering in a grey Ford Escort car near a group of children. He was free on licence from prison at the time after serving time for abusing a six-year-old girl in 2003.

The parents of Sweeney’s victim this week declined to comment on the latest IPCC probe but confirmed they had submitted a new complaint.

Their quest for answers is backed by anti-child abuse campaigner Shy Keenan.

Ms Keenan, who is said to have referred the family’s latest complaint to the Home Office and the Attorney General, runs the Phoenix Survivors support group for victims of sexual abuse.

The Colchester- based campaigner set up the group after her stepfather was jailed for selling her into a paedophile ring.

She said: “We want South Wales Police to tell us if Sweeney and this other male were lurking, trying to pick up other children on the same day as the abduction.

“We know the identity of this other male and believe he has a conviction for child cruelty. The police will have a mug shot of him. Did they show a photo of him to the girl at the centre of the attempted abduction?

“Why was Sweeney the only person brought to justice in this case? We believe this other man had a serious involvement in the abduction and the attempted abduction.

“We have serious concerns. We believe clear offences have been committed here and there is a catastrophic failure by the police.”

South Wales Police declined to comment on whether the failed abduction of the schoolgirl and the abduction of the three- year-old are linked.

Following Sweeney’s arrest, the force issued a public appeal in connection with the failed abduction.

At the time, Detective Superintendent Paul Kemp said he was investigating links between the failed abduction and the kidnap.

In January, he said: “We have reason to believe that the two men in question may have attempted to entice young girls into their car but were unsuccessful and made off.

“It is feasible they may have approached other girls in the area. We’re looking at the possibility of links between the two incidents.”

But on Thursday, Det Sup Kemp said he was “too busy” to discuss the cases, saying: “I have not got the time to discuss it with you.”

However, South Wales Police say every aspect of the Sweeney case has been investigated.

A spokesman said: “If the family have made a complaint to the IPCC it will be dealt with in the normal way and passed to our professional standards department for investigation.”

He added: “We have fully investigated the issues raised by the family and consulted with the Crown Prosecution Service.

“As a result of the investigation Craig Sweeney was put before the court which resulted in him receiving a substantial custodial sentence.”

Asked if officers had shown mug shots of Sweeney and the two other men later released without charge in a bid to rule them out of the failed abduction, a police spokeswoman said: “We are not going to start discussing every aspect of an investigation.”

An inquiry into how Sweeney was monitored in Gwent – following his release from prison last year – is currently the subject of a joint investigation by the IPCC and the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements agency. A report is due next month.