Leon Brittan’s widow ‘let down’ by Met over dropped rape inquiry

The widow of Leon Brittan has said she felt let down and saddened by the Metropolitan police’s failure to inform her husband that it had dropped an investigation into allegations of rape before he died.

The former home secretary died in January 2015 facing an accusation that he had raped a 19-year-old female student in 1967.

The Metropolitan police decided Lord Brittan had no case to answer but failed to tell him before he died of cancer.

In her first comments about the ordeal, Lady Brittan told the BBC: “I felt let down. I think he should have known that he was innocent of the charges before he died but that didn’t happen.”

Asked how he dealt with the situation, Brittan said: “I think he kept it very much to himself because his major objective during those last few months was to get better, get well, do everything that he could to get well.”

An interview with Lady Brittan for Radio 4’s Briefing Room programme is due to be broadcast on Thursday night. In comments published by the BBC before the programme, Brittan, said the police “hadn’t bothered” to inform her that no further action would be taken.

She said: “I only found that out, really, because of the press stories. I’m never entirely sure when the case was dropped and certainly Leon was never told.

“It’s made me very saddened because I realise that the last year that Leon was alive would have been very different [if the case had been dropped].”

She added: “I was absolutely certain that when he said that this allegation was without foundation, that was true.”

It was not until February this year that the Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, met Brittan to apologise for not telling her sooner that the investigation had been dropped.