Peter and Avril Griffiths: Watchdog to probe rapist couple investigation

Avril and Peter Griffiths Image copyright South Wales Police
Image caption Avril and Peter Griffiths groomed then raped a number of young girls during their campaign of abuse

Complaints over an investigation into a rapist couple who did not face justice for almost 20 years have been referred to the police watchdog.

It follows a BBC Wales inquiry into Peter and Avril Griffiths who abused girls for decades in Barry.

South Wales Police referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct over an investigation in 2000.

Allegations heard in court that some of the men involved were police officers are also being considered.

The couple were jailed in October for carrying out a sustained campaign of rape and abuse of young girls they groomed in their hometown.

However it emerged the Griffiths were arrested in 2000 but no prosecution was brought. Some victims have come forward to say their complaints were not acted on by police.

Their trial in 2018 also heard claims police officers were present when a young girl was raped on a boat, a matter which police said was being taken "extremely seriously."

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Media captionVictims call for Barry rapist couple case review

The force is "actively pursuing lines of inquiry" and added it wanted to hear from those with information on the couple or any other individual involved in their offending.

Assistant Chief Constable Jeremy Vaughan said: "In this particular case, I regret that it took almost 20 years for the victims to get justice for the abuse they suffered."

He said the complaints over the investigation in 2000 had been referred to the IOPC "to ensure they receive the highest level of scrutiny".

He added he had also ensured a referral was made to the Regional Safeguarding Board to consider a Child Practice Review "to enable all agencies to learn any lessons from these events."

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Peter Griffiths used his wife - claimed to have a low IQ - as "bait" to help him ensnare young girls.

Peter Griffiths, 65, was sentenced to 21 years and Avril Griffiths, 61, was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

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