Official statement of Mervyn Barrett OBE on his withdrawal from Police & Crime Commissioner election in Lincolnshire

Having covered the recent developments in Mervyn Barrett’s campaign to be Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, I was approached by @gillRadcliffe on Mervyn’s behalf to host his official statement as he no longer has easy access to internet publishing to do this. The statement is reproduced in full below.

 

24 October 2012-10-24

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Statement of Mervyn Barrett OBE

Former PCC candidate for Lincolnshire

 

I confirm that I have today officially withdrawn from the election for Police & Crime Commissioner in Lincolnshire.

 

I have done so after discovering that I have been the victim of a bizarre and hugely embarrassing deception by the person who was acting – and I use the word “acting” quite deliberately – as my principal adviser and campaign manager until Saturday.

 

Matthew de Unger Brown purported to be an experienced campaigner and, for several months, I trusted him to arrange the administration, fundraising and publicity for my campaign.

 

Yesterday I finally realised that the whole thing had been a sham.  Although I have been actively campaigning on the streets of Lincolnshire, with a website and promotional video in place, many other aspects of the plan that Matthew claimed to have delivered – such as tracking polls and leaflets for a door-to-door delivery – now appear to have been purely figments of his imagination.

 

I would like to start by saying that, as far as I am aware, I am the sole victim of this confidence trick.  It has cost me dearly.  In monetary terms, I believe myself to be out-of-pocket to the tune of tens of thousands of pounds and, inevitably, it will also have an impact on my professional reputation, something I have built up over a long and positive career in criminal justice. Of course, it has also ended my chances of being PCC for Lincolnshire, a role in which I sincerely believed I could use my professional experience to do good work.

 

Last weekend brought reports of inappropriate funding for my campaign from neo-conservative sources in America, with suggestions that this was some kind of deal I had entered into in return for promoting privatisation of police services in Lincolnshire.  It was not: there was no such deal and no money.  I had no privatisation agenda myself and no truck with anyone who wanted to go beyond the current arrangements.  I believe it was something dreamed up by Matthew but he never discussed it with me until the story broke and, even then, did not tell me the truth. The statement issued afterwards, in my name, also originated from Matthew.

 

He was the person who opened and operated my account on Twitter and who now appears to have closed it.  I can only assume that he was responsible for purchasing “followers” for my account over recent months and this is not something I’ve had any involvement in or knowledge of.

 

To my knowledge, there has been no funding for my campaign, other than from my own bank account, to which Matthew had access.  It will take some days for me to establish how much has been spent, on what, and whether there are outstanding debts to be settled.  For example, I understand that the video produced cost in excess of £30,000 and I do not know whether that bill has been paid.

 

I do not know the current whereabouts of Matthew de Unger Brown.  Last time I spoke to him, he was still fabricating information to defend a number of his actions that I had begun to question. Now that I understand that he has deceived me on a shocking scale, I have no plans to speak to him again, though he has made many attempts to contact me.

 

I am consulting the Chief Constable of Lincolnshire with a view to officially reporting the matter to the police as a matter of urgency, either to the county force or in London.  I am not at all bent on vengeance but I do feel that Matthew must answer for his actions.  Information on the internet suggests strongly that this is not the first time he has deceived people about his identity, means and qualifications.  I confess that I am worried he will orchestrate another deception of the kind he inflicted on me.

 

Inevitably, people will wonder how I could have been so taken in.  First of all, I met Matthew early this year while I was working as Head of Resettlement Information for NACRO.  Matthew had joined us as a volunteer, claiming a legal background and independent means.  He impressed many people with his skills and intelligence, including me, and is undoubtedly a brilliant and charismatic character.

 

I was due to leave NACRO in June and, over the months, Matthew became aware of my interest in being a PCC and strongly encouraged me to stand.  Although I had some reservations, I was eventually persuaded to embark on a campaign and to engage him as my right-hand from June.  He claimed significant experience of elections from an earlier time as a member of the young Conservative movement and also from recent – and indeed current, he said – experience of American elections.

 

I realise now that I was naïve to accept his claims at face value without references, but there were a lot of factors that supported his claims. Matthew had a towering personality and demonstrated a considerable talent for everything he undertook and I am afraid I was swept away by it all.  He had a plausible explanation for everything and, though at times I suspected that some of his claims were exaggerated, I believed in him and regarded him as a trusted ally and friend.

 

I feel totally betrayed and very hurt that he used me as he did to perpetuate some kind of Walter Mitty fantasy.  I also feel very foolish that I fell for his fabrications, when I have a track record of sound professional judgement, but I have to accept the reality.

 

I apologise to the people of Lincolnshire, and the other PCC candidates, that Matthew’s deceptions fooled me in a way that tainted the election. That was never my intention.  I have been honest and genuine in my intentions at every stage and am still bewildered by the avalanche of revelations about Matthew over the past 24 hours.

 

Ends.

 

 

Note to editors: For today, this is all I intend to say on this matter as I need time to address the legal and financial priorities of the situation and to gather my thoughts. I have not yet planned beyond that.  Gillian Radcliffe – the former PCC candidate for South Yorkshire – has offered to release this statement on my behalf and to take calls for me today.  She can be contacted via Twitter (@gillradcliffe) or by telephone on 07957 446659.

 

 




5 Comments

  1. Cate Moore 24th October 2012
  2. Sweeney 24th October 2012
  3. Marianne Overton 24th October 2012
  4. David Millar 30th October 2012
  5. Mark Haydon 2nd November 2012

Leave a Reply

Delphic oracle
What does recovery mean and how do we measure it?
shortage
The impact of a shortage of heroin
injection trainer
Preventing heroin deaths with take-home naloxone
heroin poppy
Interesting alcohol and drug facts January 2016
s300_number10
Review of racial bias in justice sytem
injustice
Joint enterprise criminalises young BAME people
hidden hurt
The hidden hurt of violence against women
gangs
Ending gang violence and exploitation
transition
Transitions from young to adult offender remain poor
justice data lab
The Justice Data Lab gets more useful
House of Common TR FI
The official history of Transforming Rehabilitation so far
probation-unpaid-work-inspe
Unpaid work irrelevant to broader probation supervision
drink driving
What do we know about drink drivers?
car theft
Is car theft a thing of the past?
postcodes
Rape prosecution is a postcode lottery
police sns
Big fall in Stop and Search
prison reform
Will we really see prison reform?
mental health eggs
Improving the mental health of prisoners
prison break
How many prisoners are released by mistake?
empty prison
Prisons and prevention
Payment by Results
front cover1
Payment by Results: Lessons from the Literature
empty prison
Prisons and prevention
House of Common TR FI
The official history of Transforming Rehabilitation so far
Finally Friday Social Media Innovation Why I Tweet
Unlock Youtube
Unlocking offenders’ doors to employment
digital govt
Digital government extends its reach
SocialMediaAndCrime-FI
Social media and crime
crazy laws FI
I’m arresting you for…
cities
The most violent cities in the world
noose 2
Which countries execute the most people?
JRFI
Justice Reinvestment

Keep up to date on drugs, crime & PbR

Every new post straight to your inbox