13 Aug 2015

Lord Janner ‘a hollow shell’ of his former self says friend

As the peer is told he must attend court tomorrow, friends of Lord Janner say the mental and physical condition of the 87-year-old has severely deteriorated in the time they have known him.

Lord Janner in 2011 (Getty)

Lord Janner in 2011

Lawyers for Lord Janner on Thursday lost a High Court bid to prevent him being forced to attend court tomorrow in relation to 22 charges spanning a period from the 1960s to the 1980s.

His legal team argued that he should not be made to appear as he is suffering from severe dementia, and the appearance would cause “extreme distress”.

However, two high court judges “unhesitatingly concluded” that “the public interest in public justice” meant he should appear.

‘One of the saddest days’

A friend who has known Lord Janner for fourteen years told Channel 4 News that his condition had deteriorately, describing a visit he made with his wife the month before last as “one of the saddest days of my life”.

“I know nothing about the charges, but for a man who was among the most alert, quick-witted and engaging of people we’ve ever met, we were presented with a sad figure who clearly did not know who I was, was unable to recall or utter a meaningful word.

“There was no effective speech whatsoever.

“For a man known for his speeches in the Commons and the Lords and who had been on occasions quite outstanding, what we saw was a hollow shell of a significant parliamentarian with no apparent comprehension of the world or people around him.

“Extreme frustration is a part of the condition and such patience as he had is no longer there.”

Prosecution controversy

Lord Janner’s health became the focus of public attention in April when the Crown Prosecution Service announced that it would not be in the public interest to bring charges against him as he was unfit to stand trial.

That decision, made by the Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders, was criticised by Leicestershire Police which had carried out an investigation into allegations made by 25 people.

Following a review it was announced that a “trial of the facts” would take place.