Jun 262018
 

In an ongoing attack on Aberdeen Voice and its contributor Suzanne Kelly, Northfield Animal Haven alleged on Facebook that the police were looking into events and had supplied a bundle of documents to Northfield’s owner.  However, the police recently confirmed in writing that this claim by Northfield was a fabrication.  By Suzanne Kelly.

Northfield Animal Haven’s activities have been exposed in previous Aberdeen Voice articles, and the shelter/farm have often used social media to try to throw doubt on the facts exposed.

In one instance, Northfield Animal Haven took to Facebook in September 2016 to claim the police were involved.

The police have just recently confirmed in a two page letter to me that this is completely, totally untrue.

Northfield wrote:

“… finally getting a resolution on that carry-on we have had to endure, spent this afternoon at police station speaking with the officers this so next stage is set in motion hopefully I can update you all about this very soon.”

The post on the Animal business’ Facebook page was accompanied by a photograph of what appears to be a thick bundle of documents with the Police Scotland logo showing, handwriting, and the name of an officer.

The post on the Animal business’s Facebook page was accompanied by a photograph of what appears to be a thick bundle of documents with the Police Scotland logo showing, handwriting, and the name of an officer.

I had been trying to get the police to comment on this bogus-looking documentation and claim for some time.

It is a great vindication that they’ve dismissed Kelly Cable’s/Northfield’s claims entirely.

The police wrote a two-page letter to me on 22 April 2018; the entire contents have been shown to the editors of Aberdeen Voice.

The letter read in part:

“Police Scotland would not permit or allow any private individual to photograph, copy or have access to any Police investigation paperwork without instructions from the Procurator Fiscal.

“I can confirm that this is not a Police Scotland investigation file.”

The letter continued: 

“…he (the police officer whose name appears on the documents pictured on Northfield’s post) has stated that he has in fact had no involvement at any time with the establishment or the person named.”

Ms Cable was asked to explain the bundle of documents and the assertion she had spent an afternoon about a ‘carry on’ at a police station. As per the previous articles, we asked for her to comment on the situation. 

She has refused to explain where the bundle came from and her claim the police were involved.

However, a lawyer from Brodies, which seems about to sue me over my articles, wrote to my lawyer with a demand to stop me writing this or other articles. 

As I explained to my lawyer, I have a right and a responsibility to share factual information that is in the public interest, and I have a freedom of expression guaranteed by EU Human Rights law. People who donate money to any cause should have access to the relevant facts.

Northfield has called me a liar by name on social media. The owner’s father named me in an alleged break-in at the farm that resulted in a pony being overfed to death (NB other animals have died at the business in feeding-related circumstances), and ‘joked’ about using an AK47 to ‘solve’ the problem.

I look forward to hearing from Brodies, which Kelly Cable is briefing about taking me to court, as to how they explain this latest embarrassing deception. I can’t wait to hear what the ‘next stage’ Northfield referred to in their post is.

Clearly Kelly Cable knew she didn’t spend an afternoon in a police station; she knew she didn’t get a bundle of documents from the police, and she knew that this officer Henderson was in no way involved. But someone cooked this story up.

Whoever wrote it did so as a representative of Northfield Animal Haven – and Northfield Animal Haven should be held to account.

I suspect that using a Police Scotland logo as Cable did may well be a criminal action; we’ll see.

If they do take me to court, I have a very strong suspicion who would be believed – and it’s not the convicted benefit fraudster Ms Cable, caught in yet another deception aimed, in my opinion, at making me look bad and deceiving social media visitors to the NAH page about events.

Even the fundraising she created to raise money to sue me seems to be misleading:  I feel an obligation to let people who are giving her money know that this bundle of evidence is a fabrication, disowned by Police Scotland.

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[Aberdeen Voice accepts and welcomes contributions from all sides/angles pertaining to any issue. Views and opinions expressed in any article are entirely those of the writer/contributor, and inclusion in our publication does not constitute support or endorsement of these by Aberdeen Voice as an organisation or any of its team members.]

Mar 212018
 

By Suzanne Kelly.

For people who care about animal welfare, supporting an animal shelter seems like a great way to help – but how many know what kind of shelter they are donating to? Last August Zara Brown, who said she was running a shelter, was found to have committed a catalogue of horrific offences.

Investigators found, for instance, a freezer stuffed with seven dead dogs and a cat.

Animals were left in dark, cold buildings with inadequate food and water and without medical treatment.

The courts were told poor Zara was depressed and was unable to cope.  She got off very lightly for the cruelty inflicted.

Then we learned she was a convicted fraudster to the value of some £37,000.

Clearly we cannot have people who are convicted fraudsters handling animals and money.

Facebook posts show that awareness of huge problems at her animal sanctuary existed long before she was ever convicted – why was no action taken?

A recent proposal to the Scottish government would see the SSPCA and police tackle the unscrupulous animal charity.  However, is the SSPCA really the right body to deal with this?

One long-running animal welfare group, Animal Concern Advice Line, likes the idea, but opposes SSPCA involvement. It recently told its supporters:

“We oppose this for three main reasons.

“1: The Scottish SPCA is the largest owner and operator of animal rescue centres in Scotland and as such should be regulated and policed by the scheme just like every other rescue and rehoming operation.

“2: Some of the smaller rescue, rehab and rehoming operatives harbour ill feeling towards the Scottish SPCA and would find it extremely difficult to be part of any scheme administered and/or policed by the SSPCA.

“3: Dumping the administration and policing of any scheme on the shoulders of the Scottish SPCA would mean that yet again the Scottish SPCA would be spending charity donations to do work which should be funded by central or local government thus reducing the resources available to the Scottish SPCA to help animals for whom no-one has a legal duty of care.”

Sadly the SSPCA has come in for a lot of deserved criticism of late. Its issues include:

  • Raising the chief executive’s salary to a whopping £216,000 without any consultation with the army of donors (I collected money for the SSPCA and donated for years – to help animals not to pay a massive salary to an executive – Suzanne).  The latest on this is that the chair has left.
  • Killing a harmless snake which was misidentified as poisonous by putting it in a freezer to die alone in the dark.  I asked repeatedly why, when the snake had already been captured could it not have been left alone until an expert could assess it – no answer was forthcoming.

When the salary of the chairman went up, the SSPCA closed its Shetland facility, with Mike Flynn of the SSPCA making the shocking claim that the SSPCA’s role was not to keep a building open in case there was an oil spill.

The facility was not strictly used for oil-accidents, and the closure dismayed residents.

Keeping the shelter open would have cost a fraction of what the chair’s salary rise was.

Initially Mr Flynn was critical of an Aberdeen scheme to kill deer on Tullos Hill to plant trees (a government report had already said trees could not be established in numbers because of the soil matrix being poor).  He was cheered for condemning the move – but when later asked for further comments on the scheme he called ‘abhorrent’ he simply stopped replying to correspondence.

John Robins of Animal Concern Advice Line has been campaigning for licensing and policing of animal rescue centres and sanctuaries for many years.

He said:

“I want to see all animal rescue and rehoming centres brought up to a high minimum standard of animal welfare, public safety and financial accountability. Sadly a small number of rescuers get it very wrong causing animals to suffer and the public to lose trust in the whole sector.

“Some put people at risk of death by placing potentially dangerous dogs in totally unsuitable new homes. Others fail to carry out  proper home checks and risk placing animals with potential abusers. Most of the problems are caused by well-intentioned people who don’t have the space, skills or finances to do things properly.

“Regretfully a few are criminals who knowingly abuse and neglect animals while conning the public and grant-giving trust funds out of money.

“It is a great pity that the many  good and trustworthy rescue centres are going to encounter a bit more red tape and expense to meet a new licencing regime but that is what it is going to take to get rid of the cowboys and criminals.

“One major problem is in finding an organisation to administer and police the licensing scheme.

“The Government wants the Scottish SPCA to run things but that would be wrong as the Scottish SPCA has more animal rescue centres than any other organisation and should not police itself.

“Police Scotland and local authorities, some of which have their own rescue kennels, have legal responsibilities for stray dogs thus rendering them unsuitable to manage the scheme.

“I suggest responsibility  be given either to the existing Animal & Plant Health Agency or to a new body created by the Scottish Government.”

A bona-fide animal rescue will either be a registered Scottish charity or will otherwise let you look at its accounts.

A genuine rescue will not be selling animals for slaughter while asking people to donate to save the lives of other animals – it is not possible to do both ethically, morally or logically (how can one pig be worth saving and another pig be worth killing?).

As the Scottish consultation points to the unsuitability of convicted fraudsters handling public donations, no reputable animal rescue will have anyone who has form as a fraudster or confidence trickster taking in donations.

Hopefully a suitable arrangement can be found, but for reasons pointed out by Mr Robins and by this article, the SSPCA should not be involved in regulating an industry it itself participates in – and which has failed in its duty.

Spotlight on Northfield Animal Haven

Despite its continuing threats to close (and its threats and insinuations against its critics), Northfield Animal Haven continues to:

  • Seek donations, buy animals (wrong for any charity, but wrong for one so apparently short of funds).
  • Sell animals at Thainstone market, where many if not all will wind up slaughtered.

Here is an extract from a previous article. Despite false claims from Northfield, neither Aberdeen Voice or Suzanne Kelly (myself) have been in any way prevented from writing about the odd goings-on at this place.

Fact Recap:

  • That Kelly Cable is a convicted benefit fraudster [3]– this calls her honesty into question;
  • That Kelly Cable denied signing for a substantial loan [4]– again her honesty was thrown in doubt;
  • That signs and funding appeals stating ‘all farm animals are rescued are misleading [5].There seem to be two Northfields – one that keeps some animals as rescues – while breeding for sale from these [6.1-3], and one that sells animals at Thainstone Market and privately where slaughter is the almost inevitable outcome [7]This schism is condemned by many animal welfare professionals including John Robins of Animal Concern Advice Line [8].
  • When cornered on this issue, Kelly has made posts along the lines of ‘everyone’knows that she operates a working farm and that the reason she uses pictures of animals in her appeal such as sheep and cattle that are not to be rescued is ‘people have asked to see all the animals’ [9]. Donors Aberdeen Voice had contact with were completely in the dark on the point, and would never have donated to money to an institution that breeds from its rescue for sales, and raises farm animals for commercial purposes.
  • That Cable used, without any contact or permission, images of animals she had nothing to do with for fundraising purposes – this calls transparency and honesty into question (the image on the left of an emaciated bovine is not an animal Cable was trying to rescue; it is from 2011 in the USA  [10].
  • That Cable has claimed to different witnesses to have disabilities and illnesses [11.1-11.4]; she has told several people these illnesses lead her to use cannabis on the farm and that alcohol and drug use by others is tolerated by her at Northfield around the 170 animals she says she cares for single-handedly. This clearly poses threats to animal welfare – and that has led to serious consequences as this article will demonstrate. This drug use should also be of serious concern to anyone using her animal assisted therapy programme.
  • There are allegations of cannabis sales which the authorities are aware of [12]. (As an aside, cannabis can be a very therapeutic medical boon to some. The appropriateness of seeking public donations while using/selling cannabis on a farm by a disabled woman who purports to single-handedly care for over 170 animals where neglect and deaths have occurred should raise red flags to animal welfare authorities and those concerned with public safety).
  • Northfield has itself posted about animals that have died ‘from a broken heart’ or overeating.
  • Northfield has also posted that Suzanne Kelly was involved in going to their farm, damaging fences, locking a pony in a food store where it ate itself to death.
  • A previous Northfield Facebook administrator, Fiona Manclark, was ordered to pay Suzanne Kelly £15,000 plus costs for repeated libel (Manclark had months in which to simply make an apology without facing any costs, but forced the matter to court). Ms Manclark spectacularly wrote to the court to excuse her failure to turn up, and in her letter she wrote that cannabis is routinely used at Northfield, a claim which fits in with other peoples’ allegations of drug use and dealing.  While many people feel cannabis use should be legalised, many would question whether a disabled woman who claims to care for over 70 animals, some of whom have died in her care from exposure and feeding issues – and who offers animal therapy to young people – should mix cannabis with an animal welfare charity offering therapy.
  • Ms Cable is a convicted benefit fraudster (see past AV articles).

This all adds up to irresponsibility fiscally, operationally, and safety wise on a worrying scale.

https://aberdeenvoice.com/2016/10/northfield-animal-haven-haven-hell/

Northfield and its supporters first began to attack Aberdeen Voice and myself when we repeated a press release (the Press & Journal printed it too) merely calling for a voluntary registration scheme for shelters which would ensure animal welfare.

What Northfield will make of mandatory regulation excluding fraudsters from running animal charities remains to be seen, but whether or not the SSPCA is involved, a regulator in this sector will spell the end for any fraudsters operating animal shelter charities.

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Nov 222016
 

Suzanne Kelly reports the latest claims from controversial commercial farm-cum-rescue for farm animals – an alleged break in, vandalism and deliberate ‘poisoning’ of a young Shetland pony.

open-day-july-15-sign-says-all-farm-animals-and-shows-animals-northfield-actually-slaughterAs has been demonstrated in previous AV articles, Northfield Animal Haven owner, Kelly Cable has engaged in some bizarre fundraising schemes, and animals have been injured, frozen to death and overfed to death at the New Pitsligo premises.
On the afternoon of 15 November 2015, a woman named Jackie Dow posted on facebook that Northfield Animal Haven had suffered a break in on the night of 14 November.

She wrote:

“hello to the evil people who went to Northfield Animal Haven last night. hope you are proud of yourselfs as you cut all the wire so the sheep could get out. and you poisoned my pony who sadly died today. call yoursels animal lovers. I don’t think so. This vendetta needs to stop before any other animals suffer and thanks to you I will have to spend a fortune on vet bills. what did my boy do to deserve it…. and if the people who did this are reading this hope you are proud of yoursels.” 
– Jackie Dow on NAH’s facebook page, 15 Nov 2016.

Aberdeen Voice sent Ms Dow an email to clarify why she thinks she knows who did this act, why she thinks they are animal lovers and what vendetta she is referring to. When / if she replies, we will print her response.

Northfield also echoed this allegation; on its Facebook page owner Kelly Cable wrote:

“got up this morning to find fencing cut out onto main road for the sheep and horses, lovely little auguero who everyone met at the Super Saturday locked in a portacabin and sadly he was very toxic, no gut sounds at all so he had to be pts [put to sleep]. Very evil twisted people out there and when they get caught I hope they throw the book at them.”
– Northfield Animal Haven Facebook page.

It seems that Ms Dow and Eric Cable had suspects for this very odd crime in mind – and Eric decided to name me and blame me for this event:

“Well the haters have really done it this time. A 22 month old Shetland pony poisoned last night after locking it in a feed store I hope that cowbag Suzanne Kelly is f**king happy with her work now the most evil bast///on on this planet I believe that she is now encouraging activists and it looks like they decided to pay a visit last night cut fence wire let sheep out locked a trusting wee pony into a portakabin and poison the wee toot… the vets want to speak to the police when they arrive.”

The Cables assert in their posts on the incident that the press and police were informed. 

However, when alerted to this development, I telephoned the Police Scotland media arm – the spokesperson could find no such report. On Monday 21 November the police now have an incident report – which only concerns a fence. No pony is mentioned.

The police have been asked to say when this incident was reported considering there was no such report on their books when Eric Cable’s post claimed the vet wanted to speak to the police when they arrived. It currently seems that while Cable wrote those words about police arriving, the police had no information whatsoever about the incident. 

Sources associated with local newspapers were unaware of anyone contacting them about a poisoned animal or vandalism. No news reports have been published about this alleged incident which was meant to have happened 6 days ago. There was no outreach from Northfield to other shelters in the area to warn them of potential vandals in the area.

The very idea of the crime is a bizarre one. There are many incidents of livestock being stolen, and last year there was a horrific attack on a mare in a field.

But to cut a fence and then, oddly, to sneak past the CCTV system it is understood operates at NAH, for the purpose of taking one of the 170+ animals and locking it inside a feed store beggars belief.

In the past, two animals at Northfield were allowed to overeat with fatal consequences. In a separate incident, an elderly horse was left to freeze to death in a field. Could this possibly be yet another instance demonstrating that a woman with health issues (in her own words) might not be best able to look after 170 animals?

Things took a dark turn following Eric Cable’s post. Several people made threatening posts, and one man who had in the past made threats, shared Jackie Dow’s post over 2 dozen times. The threats were reported to Police Scotland. Many have since been deleted from facebook.

Two of the more concerning threats were:

“They won’t be so smart when we get hold of them. Silent justice and as for that f**king reporter and her pals it’s on f**kers”

and …

“I will find you. I will hurt you.”

There are many times over the course of investigating how the Cables operate that I have been called a liar by Eric and Kelly Cable. I have asked them to apologise for the defamatory remarks – or to at the very least point out what portions of my articles they consider to be ‘lies’.

All of my claims have sources – very often I am quoting back contradictory claims that Kelly Cable has herself made over the course of time.

One day she will say NAH rescues all farm animals; the next she claims everyone knows they also sell animals at the Thainstone market and it’s not her affair what happens to such sold animals.

She will one day say that no animal will ever be put to sleep whilst her fundraising appeals clearly say that unless money is found, animals will be put to sleep. 

The Cables have been asked to apologise on Facebook, Twitter and to the Aberdeen Voice for publication of a full apology, or I will have no choice but to seek legal remedy for the ongoing, serious defamation – and not least this latest unfounded attack by Mr Cable which seems to have led to threats of violence.

In a previous facebook post, Kelly Cable had gave her permission for me to see her veterinarian’s records; I wrote to the vet at the time, who refused to release any information. 

After this alleged pony poisoning and Eric Cable’s post saying the vet wanted to speak to the police (who had not been told about a poisoned pony it should be remembered), I emailed the vet once again. A source made me aware of The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons’ position:

‘The duty of confidentiality is important but it is not absolute and information can be disclosed in certain circumstances, for example where the client’s consent has been given, where disclosure can be justified by animal welfare concerns or the wider public interest.’

Considering Northfield has been asking the public for money for years and, as previous articles demonstrate, sometimes doing so under false pretences, and considering the number of animals injured and neglected at Northfield over time, it is hoped the vet will release information.

Since this poisoning tale appeared on Facebook, someone was in touch concerning a pony that died there of blood poisoning – how many avoidable deaths and injuries will it take for the vet to raise concerns with the authorities and let the donating public know what is going on?

I posted this request for apology and many questions about the incident on the Northfield Animal Haven Facebook page. The page is now offline. 

Aberdeen Voice will follow this story and report any and all updates.

Aberdeen Voice is sorry to hear that yet another animal has had an avoidable death at Northfield. If indeed vandals cut a fence, snuck in, and put the animal in a feed store – then we are confident the CCTV will have caught them, and we hope they will be brought to justice.

Should it be conceivable that the truth is still to be determined and information has been withheld or warped, possibly to cover a further incident of fatal animal overfeeding and/or other form of negligence, Aberdeen Voice is equally hopeful that the truth will come out. In the mean time, we are receiving yet more stories from people who have had business/animal welfare dealings with the Cable family.

Anyone with any further information is invited to please contact Aberdeen Voice in strictest confidence.

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Sep 232016
 

Aberdeen Voice can reveal that Fiona Manclark, former Facebook Page Administrator for Northfield Animal Haven made an accusation of cannabis use at the farm by the owner, and claims drink and other drug use by others took place there too. Cannabis might be a means to alleviate symptoms of serious illness – but is someone using it regularly able to safely look after 170+ animals on a working farm and animal sanctuary?

In the second article in a series concerning NAH, Suzanne Kelly explains her doubts, and looks at other claims made in Manclark’s remarkable letter to the court, written in response to Suzanne Kelly’s legal action to stop Manclark’s defamation of her. By Suzanne Kelly

cannabis-400832_1280After a drawn out court procedure, defamation action I instigated against Fiona Manclark resulted in my being awarded £10,000 plus costs.
Manclark had run out of road with regard to my lawsuit which sought damages and an apology for her defamation of me which spanned Twitter, Facebook and email. She had applied for legal aid and was denied (the process took months).

Legal aid is normally denied where the applicant either has sufficient funds to cover their costs or where the applicant does not have sound grounds for bringing or defending legal action.

Despite Fiona Manclark having numerous opportunities to issue an apology and remove the various social media slurs without having to pay any damages, she chose to contest the legal action. It took months before the offensive comments were deleted. Eventually her legal firm announced to the courts it would no longer be defending Manclark; no reason was supplied.

When a hearing was scheduled in mid August, Manclark chose not to appear or send a legal representative: she did however send the court a most remarkable letter. Two members of Aberdeen Voice attended the sheriff court to look at the letter, and a shorthand transcription was made of it. All Ms Manclark needed to do was to put forward her side of the argument to the court as the defendant in the defamation action. She went much, much farther.

“…if there is money for drugs, she should not be asking the public for handouts”

Manclark’s letter openly accuses Kelly Cable of using cannabis, and of permitting others living on the farm to drink, use cannabis and ‘to be addicted’ to prescription drugs.

Manclark talks about first meeting the owner of Northfield, Kelly Cable. Manclark visited the farm to buy a pet rabbit – as an aside, reputable animal charities do not breed or sell animals; Cable managed to bridge the gap between rescue, breeding for sale, and running a commercial farm all from the same premises; an ethical dilemma and one unique in the rescue sector in Scotland as far as I can determine.

Aberdeen Voice has asked NAH about selling pets. In response, Northfield Animal Haven owner Kelly Cable told Aberdeen Voice:

“We do not breed or sell rabbits we rehome them and accept a donation of the persons choosing. The only connection with that is that Ms Manclark rehomed a rabbit from us then sold it.

“….since Sept last year Ms Manclark has had nothing to do with Northfield Animal Haven.”

After Manclark and Cable talked, Manclark and her children visited the farm. The children ‘helped build up the farm’ and ‘put in fence posts’ (presumably they were properly supervised, given personal protective clothing, and a safety briefing).

It was then Manclark alleges Cable:

“also smoked cannabis, but that was for medical reasons.”

This would certainly be consistent with a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia – one of an astonishing number of debilitating conditions a variety of sources, including Cable herself, claim she suffers from.

Kelly Cable responded:

“You state that a letter from Ms Manclark declares all of this but I had a private message conversation with ms Manclark from a few days ago where she states I was never mentioned in any letter…”

Fibromyalgia and cannabis:

Fibromyalgia is a serious illness – one with totally unpredictable symptoms and widely ranging levels of pain. Cannabis and cannabis/hemp oil derivatives seem to alleviate pain in some cases.

Some forms of cannabis oil (which do not contain the intoxicant thc) are legal in the UK; at present cannabis is still considered illegal. This is a situation that needs addressing, but in the context of NAH, allegedly, a Fibromyalgia sufferer is running a farm and using cannabis while caring for 170 animals.

Kelly Cable had this to say:

“My personal health is of no business to anyone but what I will say is just because your disabled doesnt mean you give up and lie in bed all day. I am on prescribed medication from my doctor so I cannot give you an answer as to whether cannabis is a useful treatment for my health as its not prescribed.”

NAH also seeks donations from the public because there is not enough money to support the rescues; sometimes it says animals may have to be put to sleep if funds aren’t donated. (NB the commercial arm of the farm sells animals at market all the while).

In this resect Northfield and Cable are again in an unprecedented situation in the animal welfare sector. A report has been made to the police and other relevant authorities, and other witnesses agree with Manclark’s assertion.

A fibromyalgia sufferer would in all likelihood find properly caring for 170 animals at a sanctuary/commercial farm even a more formidable task than a healthy adult would, yet it is claimed Kelly Cable runs the farm with little or even no help at times.

One occasion when her father helped resulted – by Kelly Cable’s own admission – in 17 horses being cut while they were to be transported from one field to another. Eric Cable was also injured in this incident. Inexplicably, Kelly Cable chose to link Aberdeen Voice to this worrying event– clearly with no foundation in reason or fact. In a rambling rant concerning a variety of allegations, Kelly Cable wrote:

“… I arranged alternative grazing for the animals here some of which should not even been attempted to load and moved and what happens my Dad who is 73 gets knocked over and trampled by horses that are so scared, so now I have 17 terrified horses all with cuts etc from trying to be loaded and they are now stressed and very anxious.

“I would suggest that anyone who has shared the articles from the Aberdeen voice or anyone who has jumped on the bandwagon and spouted this crap had better remove all information as Monday morning even if I have to sell my car to do it I will be going after everyone who has done damage to this sanctuary.

“I am also going to the national press and quite a few revelations will be disclosed to the press which can be backed up by various websites….”

Precisely how the horses were scared, who else was helping, whether the horses’ legs bandaged for shipping (as would be good practice) is unknown; NAH has been asked to explain.

Kelly Cable rsponded:

” I have already explained what happened there, if one horse gets spooked it will set off others in the fields, beside them, and in stables but if we had managed to raise funds for hay we wouldnt have had to move them but as our reputation was in tatters this did not happen so we had no choice but to move them a couple of miles away to grazing.”

The NFU Scotland was asked to comment on potential issues of cannabis use on a farm; the request was something of a first for them. They commented:

“Farmers, crofters and their staff are no different from other sectors of society and existing laws around the misuse of drugs would apply. That said, farming is a hazardous occupation and as an industry our record on health and safety is poor. 

“If we are to cut the number of deaths and serious injuries in farming, then anything that impairs someone’s judgement when working with equipment or dealing with animals or potentially places themselves and others at risk must be avoided at all costs.”

Let’s say for argument’s sake there is nothing at all wrong in terms of safety and risk with having THC in the bloodstream and being seriously ill while looking after 170 animals.

Let’s assume that a person with a number of debilitating medical conditions, who allegedly smokes cannabis, and her father were perfectly capable of transporting 17 horses. How then did Eric Cable get trampled, and how did 17 animals suffer cuts in the incident?

Is it somehow Aberdeen Voice’s or my fault considering Kelly Cable leads directly from describing the injuries to AV? One last bit of food for thought:

Northfield is also offering animal assisted therapy: would you be comfortable utilising their service?

Fiona Manclark’s letter continues to say that after the revelations regarding drug use, she decided to cut ties with Northfield, not wanting her children around drugs, and saying:

“…if there is money for drugs, she should not be asking the public for handouts…”

Manclark appears not to have shared her concerns with police or animal welfare organisations that Aberdeen Voice is aware of; we will publish her response to the question when it is received. It is as if her concern was limited to her own children and not other visitors or donors.

Dismissing Manclark’s claims, Kelly Cable said:

“Claims regarding cannabis first came about in ms [Suzanne] kellys nativity story last year and now ms manclark has used them as defence in a defamation case, as ms kelly had won I think that question has already been answered but it has been discussed with the police on the 3 seperate occasions I have had these claims made against me.”

Illness:

What was the relevance of Manclark’s illness to the court? Did it prevent her making an apology, prevent her submitting evidence to back up the hacking claim?

Evidence of the illness was asked for as part of the legal process. No evidence was supplied because in Manclark’s words:

“The reason I have no legal representation any more is that I was requested to get a report from the doctor regarding my health, …..I really didn’t want this dragging on any longer than necessary as this has been a contributing factor to my state of mind.”

For someone who did not want the action dragging on, she did her best to prolong it.

The power to end the legal action always rested with Fiona Manclark. She chose to seek legal aid when a simple apology and deletion of offending posts – without having to pay any damages – was still possible.

“So sue me” were her words on the matter early on, and later repeated to my lawyer. Apparently she only phoned his office to issue that challenge because she was having medical issues. However, only towards the conclusion of the defamation action is there a reference to illness. More can be found in a previous Aberdeen Voice article. 

Manclark’s slurs against me were seen by thousands. She remained defiant that she was telling the truth about me and had evidence – it never materialised. Her slurs have quite possibly stopped people coming to me with stories that I might have otherwise been able to research this past year. The longer her remarks remained visible on the internet, the more time they had to seep in and damage my reputation.

If I am somewhat unsympathetic to the idea that her undocumented illness claim should have been considered by the court, I hope that is understandable. The court’s position is ultimately the last word on the question of illness. It sided with me.

That Mystery Hacker:

Fiona Manclark says in her letter that she agreed to be a Facebook administrator for NAH on the back of the first visit to buy the rabbit.

She wrote:

“I agreed, and she gave me all her passwords and I gave her mine. (I do understand it was a stupid thing to do)”

Kelly Cable has since posted on Facebook that she had never had Manclark’s passwords. Aberdeen Voice has asked each of them to clarify this anomaly.

Kelly Cable told Aberdeen Voice:

“Ms manclark and her family helped out with the haven and Ms Manclark was made admin on my page, I gave my passwords so that she may access anything she needed, why would I need hers. I have emails confirming that I myself was removed as admin and the page was hacked and resulted in my original page being deleted.”

Around the time the legal action against Manclark started, a dialogue appeared on the Northfield site concerning an alleged hacking attack. The conversation involves Cable and Manclark – and at one point they named me as the possible hacker.

Manclark:  “My own fb was hacked too tho, so maybe it’s someone with a grudge against me. Which again makes me think of Suzanne. She was spitting feathers over me calling her an alkie”

Cable:  “Yeah very true. I have told the police about the hacking as well maybe they can find out who hacked it and have them done xx”

Hacking is considered a serious crime. If there had been a police report or investigation, it certainly did not result in any contact with me or Aberdeen Voice.

On the other hand, as reported in the first article in this series, Manclark refused to help me get the police to investigate the hacking crime.

If the police had investigated the hack, then I would have accepted there was a bona fide attack and stopped my lawsuit. I would also have expected the victim of a hack to remove material posted by a hacker; this took ages – during which time the hacker (so we are led to believe) posted refusals to retract, claimed they had evidence to back up the slurs, and told me to sue.

We are looking for a pro-NAH hacker with the ability to hack Fiona Manclark’s twitter, facebook and email over a period of six months, who had a particular desire to attack me. Anyone with any suspicions as to the identity of such a skilled hacker should please contact the police and/or Aberdeen Voice.

Amnesia?

Manclark initially told my solicitor she had no idea who I was; and yet she had an exchange with Cable concerning hacking, which mentions me.

On 13 October 2015 as part of an exchange about ‘hacking’ with Kelly Cable Manclark posted:

“Yes because I don’t want that bitch getting off with anything. And I was getting private mails from her until I blocked her. Still waiting to hear from her solicitor too J J J “

The two women had mentioned me by name by now, but perhaps it is some other person who they accuse of hacking them who had threatened legal action Manclark is referring to? Ms Manclark is at liberty to explain who else could be under discussion if not me. Perhaps amnesia is another illness Ms Manclark has, for on 20 November, she wrote to my lawyer to say she’d never heard of me:

“Message Received: Nov 20 2015, 02:04 PM
“Subject: Suzanne Kelly

“To whom.ot may concern, 

“I have just received a letter saying that I have been slanderous towards your client. I do not know your client and I have never heard of the voice.

“My social media was hacked, and due to a disagreement with Kelly Cable, I had only been admin of the page for 2 weeks. I had never posted as admin on the page. My hacking was reported, and I closed down both Facebook and Twitter as people were getting spam mail. I have since reopened other accounts.

“I have been in touch with Kelly Cable to ask if she knows of your client, and apparently the police have been contacted due to a dispute between your client and her. I have again reiterated to Kelly Cable that I do not want her to contact me again. 

“Again, I do not know your client, and I certainly would not get into a slanging match online for everyone to see. 

“I have absolutely nothing to do with Northfield Animal Haven, and haven’t for a long time, and I do not wish to be associated with them in anyway.”

Perhaps having to clarify how she knew me in October but didn’t know me in November was one of those things that made her uncomfortable with appearing in front of the court.

Truth and Consequences

I started this investigation after Aberdeen Voice published an innocuous press release with my byline calling for standards for animal rescues. I had heard of Northfield Animal Haven and its split personality when it comes to rescuing Animal A while selling Animal B at market, and its sans souci attitude about the future of the sold animal.

Kelly Cable responded:

“I have explained quite a few times now as to how we work here. Yes we have a flock of 26 ewes in size by no means a commercial flock we also occasionally buy a couple of bull calves and raise them. This is our income and also goes towards feed for the rescue animals. No rescue animals are ever bred from or sent to slaughter.

“Yes my sign says all farm animals so therefore if we take in a farm animal then it is a rescue, not an animal that has been purchased then claimed to be rescued. The animals that are here all live together interact with each other but you also get the welfare benefits of grazing these animals together, ie worms, ticks, flys etc these counteract with the other animals.

“With having farm animals we are regulated by animal health and seerad because we have rescue animals here they also have to be included in the forms for vet medicines, feed, nitrogen deposits on the ground.”

After a bit of research I published an article, and was soon inundated with emails suggesting further areas for investigation about the farm and the Cables.

I discovered Kelly has a conviction for benefit fraud. I discovered how she eventually got out of repaying a £5,000 loan, at one point claiming her signature was a forgery (a forensic handwriting expert soon put paid to the claim).

I soon found myself the target of abuse in varying forms from the Cables and their administrator Fiona Manclark across social media. A year long battle to get Manclark to apologise and remove her damaging remarks also resulted in my being awarded £10,000 plus costs – an expense wholly within Manclark’s power to have avoided.

Manclark and Cable claim they were hacked. Their discussions also mention me as being the potential hacker – all very odd, as Manclark informed my lawyer she had only heard of me when he wrote to her, which was after I sent her one personal message asking her to remove the remarks. If you believe her, then it must have been the hacker who responded to my request across twitter, facebook and email and who said ‘so sue me’.

I take Fibromyalgia very seriously, and I am involved in a recognised SCIO which buys cannabis oil for peole with documented medical evidence of serious illness such as Fibro – as long as they are an adult in financial hardship who has done their own research and has made the decision to use legal CBD oil in conjunction with their medical practitioner.

No one of the three people in this SCIO take any money; in fact it is costing me money to run, but it is an important service and I am happy to offer it.

In the next article I will explain why it is important for everyone to be free from abusive lies, and how defending my reputation is particularly important concerning investigative journalism – Would people be coming to me with leads? Would publishers buy my work? Would readers believe me?

Fiona Manclark tried to stop me. Using legal means, I have now stopped her.

But the real concern here is for the welfare of animals – 170 animals seems a huge amount for a woman who, according to a number of posts including at least one by Manclark, is doing it on her own. Kelly Cable often says she is in dire need of funds, sometimes hinting that animals may be put to sleep if she doesn’t’ get money.

By several accounts, there are funds enough for cannabis. Assuming she has Fibro and is able to manage her large menagerie, she must be nearly super human.

I’ve worked on farms. I know how long it takes to look after – properly feeding, exercising, grooming, cleaning stalls for even a dozen horses can be. I do not see how anyone with a serious illness can safely, effectively look after such a huge number of animals. By her own words, there has been an accident with 17 horses and her father.

The welfare of the animals is paramount – but protecting the consumer from fraudulent appeals for money is important too. This is why I am researching and writing about Northfield Animal Haven, and now that my law suit – the only legal action taking place between NAH, Cable, Manclark and I is concluded, I am delighted to pick up where my legal action against Manclark made me stop.

In her defence, Kelly Cable states:

“Many children and adults have visited our place before the flooding and they could interact with all animals, learn about their welfare, learn about how to raise them free ranged instead of caged or locked in sheds. At the end of the day everything here is about the animals and educating people along the way, with animals like sheep or cows that isnt a normal everday animal to meet and interact with

“We stick to numbers on both the farm and the rescue and that way if fundraising doesnt raise the funds or preferably the goods like hay, straw, feed etc, we know with our numbers every animal will be fed and cared for. No donations will ever be used for running costs like electric, phone, wages, etc.

“Between the animals care and care of the ground, and their housing is all that donations are used for and always will be.

“there is no fraud or illegal conduct taken place at Northfield Animal Haven.”

If doubts remain about the truth of my claims, I hope my next two and final articles (unless further information comes to light) on NAH will convince readers beyond any doubt.

Footnote: Aberdeen Voice is grateful to Kelly Cable for her timely response to issues raised in this article. Fiona Manclark was also contacted and invited to comment. We still await her response.

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[Aberdeen Voice accepts and welcomes contributions from all sides/angles pertaining to any issue. Views and opinions expressed in any article are entirely those of the writer/contributor, and inclusion in our publication does not constitute support or endorsement of these by Aberdeen Voice as an organisation or any of its team members.]

Sep 202016
 

One of my more volatile investigations published in Aberdeen Voice concerns Northfield Animal Haven. One of its former Facebook page administrators, Fiona Manclark, persistently posted defamatory comments about me across social media sites – and later claimed a hacker had got into her Twitter, Facebook and email accounts and made the remarks, not her.

Refusing to delete these comments – that I was an ‘alkie’ and a liar’ – and failing to submit any evidence to back these slanderous claims, Fiona Manclark dared me on several occasions to sue her. So eventually I did. And by default, I’ve prevailed. I won’t get the requested apology as it was a default situation. But the court has awarded damages to me.

Don’t feel too sorry for her: she was given numerous chances to delete the material and to apologise, all of which she refused to do over the months – but the upshot is she is to pay me £10,000 plus costs (currently being determined).

Here’s how things built up, what happened, and in a series of articles, I will lay bare the story behind the legal action, expose more concerns about NAH, and share my thoughts at having to stop writing about NAH or Manclark while the legal action was live. By Suzanne Kelly.

Northfield Sheep to mart fb screenshotFiona Manclark was an administrator for Northfield Animal Haven’s Facebook page. I was investigating NAH; this came about after a relatively innocuous article, ‘Reputable Animal Charities Initiative’ was published in early June 2015,

The piece stemmed from a press release; the Press & Journal ran the same story.

It was merely a call for standards in the animal rescue/welfare sector – a charity sector in which more than a few scams take place.

By this time, I had heard distant rumblings about Northfield Animal Haven and the family operating it.

The response to the article from Fiona Manclark’s email was this:

“I find it disgusting and absolutely shocking at how biased this paper is. I seen the remarks that your so called journalist made on one of the animal sanctuary sites, and it was disgusting. The woman that runs the sanctuary that is so very obviously being spoken about here, works very hard and does it all herself.

“Your (so called) journalist was invited up on more than one occasion. But she never turned up at all. So how she has the audacity to speak about sanctuaries this way, without knowing the facts is not only slander, but is very very poor journalism. I can only assume that she couldn’t find the time to leave the brewdog beer for long enough.

“I really really hope that some of the sanctuaries get together and sue this paper.”

The AV Editor, acting as Moderator wrote:

“[This comment is being published in full, in spite of obvious and valid reasons why some content contravenes publication criteria, as it has been published in full on a public facebook page. Therefore it appears futile to edit – Moderator]”

I had been asking Northfield (NAH) questions by this point – but they had NOT been mentioned in the article.

It was Fiona’s bringing NAH into the context of the article that sparked off a small flood of people making contact with me.

People with past dealings with NAH or its owner Kelly Cable and/or her father Eric shared concerns about animal welfare, how funds are managed, what goes on at the farm, Cable’s past conviction for benefit fraud, and other allegations. Almost all of the concerns came from people who were fearful of the Cables discovering the source’s identity.

Considering that Eric Cable chose to mention an AK47 on a Facebook post concerning my articles, I fully understand the fear that some of my sources have.

People chose to come to me with their evidence and anecdotes; if they had been convinced by the repetitive assertions I was a liar and an alcoholic, they well might have gone to other writers instead, or not come forward at all. Manclark/the alleged hacker – if unchallenged — would have damaged my reputation personally and professionally; this will be touched on in a future piece. I asked Manclark numerous times to take down her derogatory remarks. She – or this alleged hacker – refused.

What were some of the issues I found? Northfield Animal Haven claimed to ‘rescue all farm animals’ – it had for instance a sign showing a variety of farm animals, which declared it rescued all farm animals. In reality, while one arm of this family business purports to rescue farm animals; the other arm sells farm animals at market.

Some animal lovers were horrified when they discovered they were supporting a person who was involved in rescue but who was also involved in sending animals to market – which more often than not can mean sending them to slaughter.

Kelly Cable responded along the lines that ‘everyone’ knows that she also operates a ‘working farm’ and it is not her concern what happens to animals she sells (more on these issues in further articles in this series).

As documented in a previous Aberdeen Voice article, Kelly Cable responded:

“all of our supporters are aware of what we do with our sheep”

When questioned in detail about whether or not the sold animals are killed she replied:

“I don’t send them [sheep] for slaughter the people who buy them after me probably do but I don’t personally so what I stated was fact….”

Northfield was, shall we say, creative with fundraising. Using photos of Shetland ponies and emaciated cows, NAH claimed to need funds for urgent rescue and launched online fundraising appeals. When these images were put into Google search by Aberdeen Voice and other concerned parties, it emerged either the ponies depicted were happily homed and had no connection to Northfield – or in the case of the cows – were in… America.

Cable claimed to be rescuing them:

“They dumped them in a shed I’ve been feeding them since Friday”

“Thank you if I can raise about a £1000 at least that will get them here food for a few weeks and vet care”

The truth was just a bit different back in 2011 when Lycospca (based in Lycoming County, USA) wrote about the same animals:

“Thank goodness someone saw these poor animals and called us to check up on them. The owner had grain in the barn and they were ordered to get a round bale.”

If the casual observer had read Kelly’s messages about the cows, they’d have believed she had just seen them, and that they had little time in which to raise funds. As for the shetland ponies, owners of two of these were less than pleased to find their photos had been used for NAH fundraising without their permission.

There will be further analysis and revelations in the next articles.

Manclark’s comments – a timeline:

If Fiona Manclark had been hacked, the hack went on for six months. She would also appear not to have taken down any of the offensive comments the alleged hacker made over the months until late December when my legal action against her attempted smear on me was in progress.

The alleged hacker managed to get her Facebook, Twitter and email accounts and use them to communicate with people including her friends – none of which picked up on the claim Manclark made that she didn’t know me or AV, or that they weren’t speaking to Manclark but to a hacker.

Date Poster/Author Social Media/publication Comment
02/06/15 Fiona Manclark (? hacker?) Aberdeen Voice – comments on article ‘Reputable Animal Charities Initiative’ – nb this story came as a press release and was also published by the Press & Journal. I find it disgusting and absolutely shocking at how biased this paper is. I seen the remarks that your so called journalist made on one of the animal sanctuary sites, and it was disgusting. The woman that runs the sanctuary that is so very obviously being spoken about here, works very hard and does it all herself. Your (so called) journalist was invited up on more than one occasion. But she never turned up at all. So how she has the audacity to speak about sanctuaries this way, without knowing the facts is not only slander, but is very very poor journalism. I can only assume that she couldn’t find the time to leave the brewdog beer for long enough.
I really really hope that some of the sanctuaries get together and sue this paper.** [This comment is being published in full, in spite of obvious and valid reasons why some content contravenes publication criteria, as it has been published in full on a public facebook page. Therefore it appears futile to edit – Moderator]
18/08/15 Suzanne Kelly Twitter Mummyalfi (Manclark’s Twitter account name) Further to my earlier tweet, I consider calling me a liar and an alcoholic to be libel. Remove your posts, apologise
04/09/15 Fiona Manclark (? hacker?) Twitter SueKelly10 (Suzanne Kelly’s Twitter account name) So sue me. You are a liar and you are an alkie, so no, I will not apologise for telling people the truth.
05/09/15 (approx) Fiona Manclark (? hacker?) Facebook, Northfield Animal Haven home page (Posting as Northfield Animal Haven) Fiona here. Suzanne Kelly who “writes” for the voice. She’s Sue Kelly on Twitter and is the biggest cretin I have ever come across. She is a liar, a keyboard warrior and an alkie. Dangerous combination. And for the record, it’s me (Fiona) that is saying all of this. Not on behalf of Northfield Animal Haven, or Kelly, just on what I’ve had to witness from this thing.
08/09/15 Fiona Manclark (? hacker?) Aberdeen Voice – comments on article ‘Animal Shelter Operator Is A Smooth Operator Suzanne, please do take me to court. Your reputation means everything to you?
You haven’t even been to visit Kelly even though you have been invited many times.
And you have been seen coming out (or should I say falling out) of brewdog on many occasions. So until you remove your rubbish about Kelly, I will not be removing my truths about you.
08/09/15 Fiona Manclark (? hacker?) Aberdeen Voice – comments on article ‘Animal Shelter Operator Is A Smooth Operator I can’t wait to hear from your solicitor. You have been seen on many occasions falling out of brewdog, so that’s not libel, that’s the truth.
19/12/15 Fiona Manclark (? hacker?) Facebook, Suzanne Kelly’s home page (Fiona or the alleged hacker) sees a comment from a man she knows on my page and comments:
“… please tell me you don’t know this ahem person”
22/12/15 (approx Fiona Manclark (? hacker?) Voice message left for my solicitor Fiona Manclark (? hacker?) tells us to ‘go ahead and sue’ – Manclark later admits to making this call, but claims she was ill/stressed at the time.

 

Aberdeen Voice has also seen Facebook discussions between Ms Manclark and others in which Manclark mentions the threat of legal action from me, and complains I sent her a profusion of private messages.

The truth is that I sent one message to her, asking her to remove offensive comments; an Aberdeen Voice editor was on copy of the message. Fiona Manclark (or this mysterious hacker) replied refusing to retract the comments. None of the people in these discussions suspected that they were communicating with a hacker; none question Manclark’s assertion to the court that she’d only heard of me/Aberdeen Voice after hearing from my lawyer.

When someone is hacked, there is every chance that their email/social media provider will at the very least send a message of concern – login from an unusual site, unusual activity on the account, etc.

When items sent or posted from a hacker haven’t been deleted, then a hacking victim would see them in their outbox, on their home page, in their twitter feed, etc. – and know something was amiss, delete them and report a suspected hack. None of this seems to fit the pattern we are asked by Manclark to believe.

The hack allegedly went on from June through December – apparently without Manclark realising it was taking place. Sometimes the alleged hacker was able to respond very quickly (see Aberdeen Voice comments for instance).

Ms Manclark recently claimed to the court that she gave all of her passwords to Kelly Cable at Northfield Animal Haven: if there were a hack, and if the police had been asked to investigate by Manclark, I wonder where the trail would have led – to some mysterious hacker, or a computer closer to home?

Then again, should we take Manclark’s word there was a hacker over this period of time using three of her accounts?

Was there a mysterious hacker with a vendetta against me with regard to Northfield that took place for months – or was this all the work of Fiona Manclark?

Fiona Manclark refused my lawyer’s first request to remove the posts from social media and apologise publically for them. When she refused, we started the legal action against her. After months of waiting to see if she would get legal aid to fight the case, legal aid was denied, and a court date was set.

Manclark wrote a letter to the court rather than appearing before it in August. In her letter she sticks to the claim she had been hacked. She claims it was reported to the police, but she never supplied evidence to back this up such as a police incident number.

She refused to help me have the police investigate the hacking claim. I was a third party victim of the hack she claims to have suffered.

The police could have investigated it – only if Manclark had been willing to co-operate. My lawyer wanted her to go to the police with me to report it, and she refused on the grounds ‘she didn’t know me’. Well, the person using her accounts certainly knew me well enough – to respond by blocking me.

It would appear from the legal decision in my favour the courts might have at the very least had their doubts as to her claims.

Manclark had quite a bit to say in her written submission to the court, which Aberdeen Voice editors have now seen. This will be the subject of the next article.

It is my understanding now that the court’s decision is absolute. It is time for Ms Manclark – or the mysterious hacker – to think about making restitution to me. My thoughts on the defamation, the legal process, and Ms Manclark’s arguments (such as they are) will be one of the articles in this series.

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Sep 202016
 

Suzanne Kelly presents some of the sources and evidence in support of her articles regarding Northfield Animal Haven.

[1]  Eric Cable’s AK 47 ‘joke’ made on Facebook

eric-cable-ak47

[2] Carrie Anne Greig: ‘someone needs to put her down with that AK47 she was on about’ https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009008791129&fref=ts

carrie-anne-ak47

[3] Kelly Cable’s benefit fraud and financial fraud exposed.  From Scottish Courts email to S Kelly September 2015:

“Between 14 August 2007 and 1 March 2008 both dates inclusive all at Aberdeenshire Council Benefit Section and Job Centre Plus or elsewhere Paul Cable did, with a view to obtaining any benefit or other payment or advantage under the relevant social security legislation as defined in section 121DA of the aftermentioned Act, knowingly make to officials of Aberdeenshire Council Benefit Section and Job Centre Plus a false statement or representation, namely on Aberdeenshire Council Benefit forms and Job Centres Income Support forms you represented that you had no partner staying with you, the truth being that you did have a partner staying with you who had been staying with you as your partner since 01 October 2003 and you did thereby obtain payment of Council Tax Benefit and Income Support of £6700 in cumulo to which you were not entitled; Contrary to the Social Security Administration Act 1992 Section 111A(1)(a)

“Paul was sentence to a Community Service Order whereby he had to undertake 200 hours of unpaid work.”

(Anyone who wishes to check the accuracy of this statement should contact the Scottish Courts)

“1)      Between 28 January 2008 and 24 August 2008 at RCD Car Smart in Turriff, Aberdeenshire or elsewhere Kelly Cable along with another did form a fraudulent scheme to allow you to continue claiming social security benefits to which you would otherwise no longer have been entitled and in pursuance of said scheme you did falsify records pertaining to the employment of you Kelly Cable by another at RCD Car Smart aforesaid whereby only 17.5 hours of work a week by you Kelly Cable was recorded with declared wages of only £97.13 per week, when in fact you Kelly Cable were working more hours per week than this and another was paying you Kelly Cable approximately £225 per week, the balance between the declared wages of £97.13 and the actual wages of approximately £225 being met by additional payments by cash or cheque and you Kelly Cable did thereby receive Housing Benefit of £1000.00 and Council Tax Benefit of £200.00 to which you were not entitled.”

“2)      Between 29 May 2006 and 15 March 2009 at 25 Knockie Road, Turriff, Aberdeenshire and at Aberdeenshire Council Benefits Section and elsewhere you Kelly Cable did, with a view to obtaining benefit or other payment or advantage under the relevant social security legislation as defined in Section 121DA of the aftermentioned Act, knowingly make to officials of Aberdeenshire Council Benefit Section false statements and representations, namely on benefit forms dated 08 November 2006, 06 January 2008, 6 February 2008, 08 August 2008 and 15 march 2009 that having read and understood the instructions in the aftermentioned benefit forms you had correctly reported any facts which could affect the amount of your benefit, the truth being that you did not disclose that you had been working at Pipeline Technique, Rothienorman, Aberdeenshire between 16 May 2006 and 13 October 2006; you did not disclose that you had been working at RSD Supplies, Poyernook Road, Aberdeen since 09 October 2006; you did not disclose your full earnings and hours that you worked at RCD Car Smart, Turriff, Aberdeenshire and additionally you did not disclose that you had not been staying at the address at 25 Knockie Road since approximately 01 June 2009 and you did thereby obtain Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit of £2000 and £400 respectively to which you were not entitled; CONTRARY to the Social Security Administration Act 1992 Section 111A(1)(a).”

[4] Kelly Cable signs for loan with her then partner from his parents and their parents; she claims subsequently she never signed for the loan – a handwriting expert disproves her claim.

[4.1] proof Cable claimed to lawyers her signature on the loan agreement was not hers but a forgery.

cable-claim-no-forgery

[4.2]  A handwriting expert proves conclusively Kelly did sign for the loan – so her claim her signature was a forgery was a lie.

cable-handwriting-expert

cable-handwriting-expert2

[5] Northfield’s sign – there is no indication on here that the type of animals pictured are sold for slaughter, just that they are rescued, rehomed, etc.  Kelly subsequently claimed ‘everyone’ knew she also sold animals.  In October 2016 she claimed to add her first ever sheep (called Joffrey) to the animals she decided not to sell but to rescue.  That is quite a few years between erecting a sign picturing a sheep and finally rescuing one.

nah-sign

[6.1] Kelly Cable on the subject of breeding animals.

cable-breeding-1

[6.2] In the screenshot above, Kelly says birds are only available for people to buy when over 22 weeks.  Apparently the birds are ‘broody’ – but rather than upset them, she prefers to let the eggs hatch; coincidentally having some animals she can turn a profit on – from her rescues.

Here are birds from Northfield at only 2 weeks old in someone’s home from the looks of it, not a farm.  The person who had these Northfield chicks sold them – their current welfare is unknown.

A simple solution for those not wanting to breed chickens they have rescued – use the eggs before they hatch.

nah-sale-of-animals-1nah-sale-of-animals-2

[6.3] Fiona Manclark represented in her letter to Aberdeen Sheriff Court that she bought a rabbit from NAH.  The letter was viewed by Suzanne Kelly and Fred Wilkinson.  Suzanne Kelly used shorthand to transcribe the letter.

“I went to Northfield Animal Haven to buy my son a rabbit for his birthday.”

[6.4] Manclark claims she bought rabbits from NAH.  Here is what Manclark posted when selling them. If the rabbit was brought to NAH after its ear had been bitten off, that is one thing.  If not, and the rabbits were bred at NAH:  Is this adequate care that such a situation took place?  What do the people who say Kelly Cable is brilliant with animals, loves them, and everything is fine at NAH say to this rabbit?  Either way, NAH is giving out animals that are later passed around for sale.  Aberdeen Voice would like to know what the fate of this poor rabbit is.  This and the chick story alone proves that far from adopting ethical practices found at most animal shelters, ‘rescued’ animals are bred, the offspring meet uncertain fates. Manclark says Kelly does this for money; she admits to selling birds at 22 weeks. This is breeding from rescue for profit. It is unethical to create more unwanted animals that will meet uncertain ends to raise money, even if it is allegedly somehow saving other animals from the fate the offspring are condemned to.

manclark-sale

Note: It is a fact that dogfighting takes place in Aberdeenshire. The criminals involved in this activity are always on the lookout for pets going cheaply or for free.  Please do not give / sell an animal to a home you have not visited – if you must get rid of a pet at all.  Getting tired of your pet is no excuse.

[7]  Thainstone.  Kelly Cable may be in the business of saving ‘all farm animals’ per NAH’s sign.  Here is a listing from Thainstone Market where animals are bought and sold for breeding (often for meat) or sold directly for meat.  This causes no ethical issue for Cable, except when she wants to save Shetland ponies on occasion from the very same fate that she condemns other animals to. Donors were shocked when they learned this side of the business from Aberdeen Voice, despite Cable’s claim ‘everyone knows’ she sells animals – this is not featured in her appeals or her signs. This is only one listing; there are many more.

nah-thainstone

[8] comments from John F Robins of Animal Concern Advice Line about Northfield:

“A sanctuary simply should not be breeding or slaughtering any animals! If she [Cable] wants to harvest eggs for personal use or to sell she can do that by rescuing end of lay battery hens, most of which make a good recovery and become free range egg producers for several years.”

“Regretfully the time is long overdue when all animal sanctuaries and rescue centres need to be licensed, inspected by an independent authority and maintained to high minimum standards. A true animal sanctuary does not send any animals to slaughter, does not breed animals and does its best to find good homes for life for the animals it rescues. Numerous times a year we hear of “sanctuaries” which are really no more than well-meaning animal hoarders where one or two people, without the necessary space, financial resources or expertise take in numerous cats and/or dogs and sometimes farm animals and horses . Before long they discover they cannot pay for vets’ bills or even for food for the animals. The animals end up ill, emaciated and infested with worms, ticks, fleas and other parasites. Sometimes by the time the authorities realise there is a problem all they find are dead and dying animals.  If you are requested to donate to an animal sanctuary there are several questions you should ask first. Is the sanctuary a registered charity? If the answer is yes double-check with the Charity Regulator. If the answer is no ask why not and how can they survive without the extra money charity status provides. Ask for copies of its constitution and most recent accounts. Find out what animals it has and how it rehomes them. Are the animals neutered and is the sanctuary registered with a local vet? If you re-home an animal from a rescue centre expect to pay a realistic fee to cover veterinary costs such as neutering, vaccinations and micro-chipping. Do not agree to pay a rescue centre large sums of money for pedigree dogs or fashionable cross-breeds. Expect the rescue centre to home-check you to ensure your premises are suitable for the animal you are taking on. If they do not do a home check they are not doing their job properly. Do not confuse animal sanctuaries with commercial enterprises such as working farms with visitor facilities, petting zoos or commercial falconry centres.”    

[9] Kelly explains why the (misleading) imagery of sheep and cattle in fundraising appeals is done – when these animals are destined not to be rescued (in this screenshot NAH also says she would rather the Shetland ponies not be rescued than go to other shelters.  The other shelters would have taken the animals for no donations – Kelly was trying to raise £5000 for the Shetlands – two of which at least were other people’s animals in need of no rescue):

nah-no-other-shelter-ponies

[10] For details and images of the ‘Shetland 6’ fundraising appeal launched with images taken from websites without permission – of ponies needing no rescue, see this article.  No explanation was ever made of how the 6 became 4; but Kelly and her supporters have taken this article and decided to mock it, writing off the incident incorrectly as AV asserting incorrectly the ponies were fake.  It is clear she took in some Shetlands – whether she bought or rescued them, the owner of the 6 never came forward to explain why they would only let Kelly have them, and why they were going to be killed

https://aberdeenvoice.com/2015/09/animal-rescues-appeals-are-for-other-peoples-animals/

[11.1] AV is told that Kelly Cable’s health is none of our business.  However, she regularly makes claims on social media about her health issues; in this shot she references a brain tumour, an illness mentioned in other places.

cable-health-no-av-business

[11.2] her friend references Cable’s health on an internet fundraising appeal Kelly was well aware of.  This extract also leads potential benefactors to believe they are giving money to a person who helps all animals, not a person who saves some animals and sends others to slaughter. Note as well the passage about an animal never being put to sleep; Kelly waivers back and forth on this point in her own posts.  If Kelly is someone with a disability, a brain tumour, cervical issues (mentioned in a letter Kelly wrote) and is using cannabis for her symptoms, perhaps she ought to get her own living conditions in order so as to be able to better singlehandedly care for the 170 animals.

Lisa Marie Mathieson you caring page re NAH  https://www.youcaring.com/pet-expenses/support-animal-rescue-in-helping-animals-have-a-safe-hom

Nb – Kelly was aware of this page and commented on it.

“Kelly and her family could see there was so many unwanted neglected animals out there since opening they have saved over 600 animals that probably would have ended up being pts or worse, most of them are in forever loving homes and the rest which is over 170 are still in the sanctuary, no animal is ever pts unless the vets says so, everything is tried to help the animals. The only reason they would turn an animal away is if they dont have the funds to care for the animal once it arrives.  If All of that isnt enough this has been done by one human being with very little financial help.  Now my friend needs your help as I can see just how important it is to have a safe place for the animals where they can live out there lives without a care in the world and thats exactly what they get at the sanctuary but without money, one person cannot do anymore than she already has.  I would also like to point out that Kelly is disabled herself but no matter what the animals are cared for, the house she bought isnt habitable but rather than do her house so that she can be warm everything is spent on the animals, so Im asking if everyone could give £5 this goal would be reached, funds for the sanctuary are in the bank and Kelly then can use her own money to get her house warm before winter as all donations and kellys own income goes to the sanctuary.”  

[11.3]

In a further extract from Fiona Manclark’s letter to the Aberdeen court in answer to my lawsuit against her for defamation (a legal action I prevailed in), Manclark wrote:

“Living on the farm [NAH]was her brother and his girlfriend… was there most days, as was her daughter.  Each of these people were admins on the site.   Later that day she told me that her brother’s girlfriend was heavily into drink and that she was addicted to prescription drugs and (I had said nothing) but had made up my mind to avoid her at all costs.  Later that day just before I was leaving, the owner [said] that she also smoked cannabis, but that was for medical reasons…”

Aberdeen Voice has had contact with one of the girlfriends – who is adamant that it was not her – but the Cable family who routinely used drugs and alcohol at the farm.

[11.4]  One of my sources told me that Kelly once said her many health problems included fibromyalgia; cannabis is commonly used for this.  In this blog, Kelly adds other disabilities to her list:

“  I run my sanctuary with the help of a few volunteers but I am disabled with a few conditions ie spondilitis, emphasimia [sic] and others [very sick] but regardless of that every day I will be there to help the animals that need it.”
– 
Kelly Cable blog http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:yTRPmmgGRdoJ:https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/downside-animal-rescue-kelly-cable+&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk

[12.1]  Cannabis use is not in itself a problem.  The problem is when animals are clearly suffering, when donations are being sought by people buying and selling cannabis, and when someone involved in this is also doing ‘animal assisted therapy.’  Turning again to  Fiona Manclark’s letter to the courts (above) and additional sources who say that cannabis is regularly used and sold from NAH.

[13]  While attempting to move 17 equines, the horses were all cut, Eric Cable injured, and it was… Aberdeen Voice’s fault.  When I worked with horses, moving them in small numbers, after they had their legs and tails bandaged, ensuring safety of the people involved (always 2 or more) and the horses was paramount.  Kelly Cable refuses to explain who was there, how the horses were being loaded.

cable-17-horses

[14.1] Kelly Cable posts on social media no animals will be put to sleep; a noble sentiment but one she herself contradicts when she appeals for money [14.2-4]

cable-states-no-pts

[14.2] Kelly says her animals are suffering in the cold and might be better off put to sleep.

cable-animals-best-pts

[14.3]  And again Kelly uses the threat of animals being put to sleep in a Voom fundraising appeal.

cable-animals-best-pts2

[14.4] In her own words again, Kelly finds it ‘sick’ to threaten to put animals to sleep. NB  – does she not realise that the animals she sells at market are put to sleep?

“This to me is the downside, having daily worries and stress of wondering where the animals food will come from, or what do I do threaten to have them all put to sleep as I have seen this happen before and I find that sick and I would rather find new homes for the animals if i could than threaten them with the worst case scenario, so if we can all help the small animal charities who tend to help more than the big ones, it would be alot less stressful for some owners of these charities especially able bodied ones.”
– Kelly Cable blog – http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:yTRPmmgGRdoJ:https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/downside-animal-rescue-kelly-cable+&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk

[15] Lucy was a very elderly horse. Kelly already made a fundraising appeal in which she mentions the cold is a big risk to her elderly animals. Rather than finding temporary stabling elsewhere, warmer, Lucy died in the cold at Northfield.

cable-horse-dies-cold

[16]   A horse dies of a broken heart; a horse it was attached to had recently died.  If Kelly would allow Aberdeen Voice to access her vet’s records (she claims we already have these records – we do not), it would be interesting to see what the vet considered the death to be from.

cable-horse-dies-broken-heart

[17] Animal feed is an expense Kelly often complains of. It is a pity an orphaned lamb was allowed to over eat to the point it died.

cable-lamb-overeats

[18]  The complex story of the ‘Shetland 6’ rescue ponies is addressed here.
https://aberdeenvoice.com/2015/09/animal-rescues-appeals-are-for-other-peoples-animals/

Apr 252014
 

Serious questions need to be answered about how Grampian Police – now Police Scotland handled an incident last June. It’s time for a reminder of what happened during the Siege of Heathryfold, and to let people know that the search for answers is far from over. By Suzanne Kelly.

The man who wasn’t there.

home

George Copland’s home which was at the centre of an armed seige on June 7 2013

In June of last year, witnesses claimed a man with a gun was inside a flat in Heathryfold, Aberdeen.
This was however an empty flat – a flat far from the main road and at the end of a row of two houses accessible by a gate – you would have had to be very close to the windows to have seen anything inside, and no explanation has yet been offered as to what the witnesses were doing and how they conceivably came to the conclusion a man with a gun was inside.

Even though there are  many legal reasons for people to have guns (hunting is legal, so are pellet guns), the police decided the answer was to surround the building, cordon off streets, bring in specialist teams, and lay siege to an empty property. [Those of you with hunting rifles, shooting range pistols, starter’s guns had best take note].

They entered, and finding no one home, clearly giving the gunman story the lie, the police decided to ransack the flat from top to bottom. Perhaps the gunman was  hiding in the medicine chest or in the CD rack. This search seems to have happened before they finally spoke to George Copland, the property owner, on the telephone.

Seeing his flat on television surrounded by armed men, and getting a call telling him to meet the police (and not saying he could bring a friend, adviser or lawyer) George, who has a history known to the police of physical and mental health issues, was quite understandably frightened, and he declined to meet them.

He says the police were already inside his building; they say they only entered after he refused to meet them. This is one of at least half a dozen questions that need to be answered. But clearly as Copland wasn’t in his home, he couldn’t have been the hunted gunman.

The man with the feather duster gun.

Still, the police were not content with the search results (could it be they didn’t want to look silly for deploying a fair bit of back up at what must have been considerable expense for a hoax?). Days later they burst Copland’s girlfriend’s door down in a dawn raid, and took Copland into custody (whether or not this was a formal arrest is unknown to this day).

Searched, put into a boiler suit, possibly with medication withheld from him (another issue requiring clarification), he was allegedly asked to say that a feather duster he owned could have looked like a gun (the Sun newspaper ran a story on this).

the police have so far refused to release any information on the case

George’s account of seeing a doctor at the time differs with what the police said happened. It is certain they knew he had mental health issues before the siege; it is certain they didn’t let  him have an adviser, friend or lawyer during the long hours of his detention.

Copland also says that before his release from custody, one of the police named one of the witnesses – an interesting move on their part, and one which like so many issues needs to be examined. Aberdeen Voice knows the identity of the person allegedly named to Copland, and it is debatable whether they would have made a credible witness.

The Right to Remain Silent – well, for Police Scotland anyway

Left with several eggs on their face, the police have so far refused to release any information on the case. A Freedom of Information request was lodged but information, as well as a reasonable request for compensation, was denied.

Copland was not up to the stress or the challenge of dealing with the FOI process; he asked for assistance. He authorised an Aberdeen Voice reporter to make enquiries of the police on his behalf.  Two different signed, detailed permission letters from George bearing his address and signature were submitted to the police by email, and one original letter was delivered as well.

The police still refused to release information or contemplate compensation, and several different correspondents from the police side got involved. Some correspondence was done by email; some via the police’s online comments form. A paralegal refused to use email; and correspondence flew back and forth for months.

Finally, when Police Scotland refused the FOI request, a request for a review of how they handled the FOI request was made. This was submitted on their online form as no email address was given to make an appeal to.

The first time the request for a review was sent, it somehow was never received by the police.

It’s almost as if they had something to hide

The online form was used a second time to request the review. The request for the review advised the police to ask if they needed further information.

This second request via the online form was received, and in due course a letter came, saying a review found they had handled the FOI request perfectly.

The police said among other things that they did not have sufficient permission from George Copland for Aberdeen Voice to be given information. Did they email him, write to him or phone him to corroborate that all the submitted permission forms were genuine? No.

Does it then seem as if Police Scotland are implying that Aberdeen Voice were seeking personal data without authorisation? Yes.

After months of trying to get information and jumping through various hoops, the police refused to explain what they did and why. (It’s almost as if they had something to hide).

At that stage of the labyrinthine process, it was time to bring the entire matter to the Information Commissioner for them to consider. If the previous correspondence with the police had been confusing, the eventual Information Commissioner’s outcome was something else altogether.

It could be called Kafkaesque, but the bizarre decision, possibly unprecedented, also has a Catch 22 element.

Kafka steps in

All the correspondence was summarised, and the important items were sent to the Information Commissioner’s office – this included the request for the review and the letter giving the review outcome. So far, so good.

On 18 April Aberdeen Voice’s reporter received a letter in the post saying the Information Commissioner would not look into this case. The reason? The request sent to the police was not specific enough.

The police had the request to review how they handled this Freedom of Information request. They were told to revert if they needed more specifics. They didn’t. They went ahead and held a review upholding their actions in withholding the facts from George Copland and Aberdeen Voice.

that dialogue aspect of FOI requests doesn’t seem to exist now

Now, months later, someone has decided that the request for the review which was held wasn’t quite good enough. Kafka might have come up with this.

Information Commissioner – has the rulebook changed?

When Aberdeen Voice was involved in a FOI commission investigation into property dealings between Stewart Milne and Aberdeen City Council, we were informed every step of the way as to what the council was claiming and what they were telling the information commissioner’s office.

AV was able to counter points successfully and in the end the City had to release information.

Somehow that dialogue aspect of FOI requests doesn’t seem to exist now. Any first year law student would be making good points as to how holding a review pretty much gives validation to the request for a review.

AV had no such opportunity to put up the case for law, logic and common sense. We will be asking how often this defence is used when refusing to investigate FOI matters. It certainly seems the rules  have changed.

Carte Blanche

The police are no strangers to requests for information which wind up going to the Information Commissioner. However, the police do not have to release any info which may make the public lose confidence in them.

This is basically giving the police carte blanche to do as they please with complete immunity and no fear of accountability getting in their way. With public confidence in the police already low, surely this aspect of how the Information Commissioner operates must be reviewed and changed.

It would be interesting to know how many times this public confidence exemption has been used by the  police in past FOI appeals to the Commissioner.

More questions likely to remain unanswered.

Whose idea was it to claim the request for a review was invalid – the Police, the Information Commissioner’s office – or both?

Why did they hold a review if they didn’t need to?

Why did it take until 15 April for anyone to claim that the review which was held didn’t need to be held?

If the request was not valid, why did Police Scotland hold the review in the first place?

Since the request for review, as submitted online (no documents could be attached,) offered to supply further details for the review request if needed, why didn’t anyone point out that there wasn’t sufficient grounds given for a review?

How could the police possibly claim they didn’t have enough valid permission to release the requested information at the review stage when they could have had clarification at any time?

Does holding a review validate the request for a review?

Was the way the Siege of Heathryfold handled reasonable?  Was the way George Copland was treated legal, fair and suitable for someone with known health issues?

To come back months after the review was held, and claim that the request for the review was invalid makes police Scotland appear either to be disingenuous, or disorganised. Why did they hold a review if they didn’t need to? It’s almost as if someone higher up got wind of this, and decided to try and derail it.

Surely not.

It ain’t over til it’s over.

Perhaps the police involved in this incident may not want to breathe that sigh of relief just yet. Information will indeed still be sought by various other avenues.

Oh, and if the police are interested, the  Police Complaints Commission has been formally asked to look into this entire incident as well. Time will tell what comes of that.

More info – previous Voice articles.

seige-a-hoax-but-the-damage-all-too-real/
siege-of-heathryfold-and-george-copland-arrest-latest/
benefit-concert-for-heathryfold-siege-man/
siege-heathryfold-update/
siege-heathryfold-devastation-no-compensation/

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Nov 012013
 

On Friday 7 June 2013, Grampian Police surrounded an empty flat on a curious tip-off that someone with a gun was inside. The owner George Copland was arrested elsewhere on Sunday 9 June. The police spent days tearing his place and his possessions to pieces, leaving an impassable mess behind them. Released without charge, he has had absolutely no help with clean-up and no apology.

Having visited the property at the end of October, contacted the police and Aberdeen City Council, Suzanne Kelly reports.

George Copland's property thoroughly searched and left in a heap.

George Coplands property thoroughly searched and left in a heap. This scene is repeated throughout the house.

George Copland is not well; this is no surprise. He was unjustly, as it transpires, arrested after Grampian Police dramatically lay siege to his empty flat, cordoned it off for days while conducting a destructive search that yielded no evidence of gun crime or any other crime.

He was arrested on the following Sunday even though there was no evidence of any crime, held for some 12 hours, and released without charge.

He is also without explanation, apology, any form of clean-up and any compensation.

Freedom of Information requests have been lodged for details of the arrest, siege and search. The police have not given any comment on the situation.

Normally if someone is the subject of a destructive, intensive, intrusive search and no wrongdoing is discovered, they are entitled to compensation and to having the property restored to its former condition.

And what a condition the flat is in.  George gave me a tour – as far as was possible.  I was not able to fit into parts of the premises for all of the possessions, many broken, strewn throughout.

It seems items were removed from the loft, examined, and left.  Items such as CDs lie around an emptied CD rack, many broken. George enjoys playing with remote control toys; some of which are – or rather were – worth a fair amount of money.

“See this car; it was in perfectly good shape,” he tells me, holding a large, clearly intricate radio-controlled car; its front wheels are missing and it seems to have been crushed.

“They must have stood on it to break it.”

“I’ve had to see my doctor; this is really too much.”

George continues;

“I tried to send photographs of the damage to WPC Niki Trower (an officer who seems to be involved with the case), but she says she can’t access the photos I’ve emailed for security reasons.”

Another broken RC toyI trust WPC Trower will look at these photos. This is how a man with mental health issues has had his flat left for four months after a raid which arguably should never have happened.

When I visit the house, it is clear that anyone claiming a gunman was inside must have gone up close to the windows: what made the witness or witnesses make such a claim? What led them to look into the windows?

The house is attached to another house, but its windows are not exactly on the beaten path.

The part of the house which is visible from a distance over a grassy area near Provost Rust Drive does not even have any windows.  The window near one of the two doors to the flat only has small windows, and unless someone specifically went to the back of the house and peered in, there is no way they would see anything there.

Then we come to the other door. The main entrance to the flat is down a short path, and past the other attached house. Unless someone were coming to visit the other house and continued on to George Copland’s front door and peered in the windows, they would not readily see anyone.

No one would have any business going down this path unless they were visiting the neighbour or George; if visiting the neighbour, what would have made them continue past the door of their destination and look into George’s windows?

George tells me:

 “I had aeroplanes hanging up in the bathroom; they were taken down and thrown in the bath”

Everywhere is the sight of broken toys and goods, some smashed, some clearly deliberately dissembled – while police apparently looked for an invisible gunman with non-existent guns.

Famously (as reported in The Sun), the police apparently  tried to suggest to Copland and get him to agree that a remote control and a feather duster could have been taken for weapons. Who was meant to be brandishing the imaginary weapon or even the feather duster is still a mystery, as we know as the police knew when they arrested Copland the flat they surrounded for 8 hours was empty.

George Copland door.George does not have a copy of the police report yet, but the police are, perhaps unsurprisingly, adamant that the siege was justified and the witnesses were trustworthy.

Aberdeen Voice will report further on the details when they are released.

Turning again to the main entrance door – it had been broken in, and is now bolted into place, unusable. If there were a problem such as a fire (not inconceivable, given the state of the place) there is only one exit now where there would have been two.

The windows are too high to be utilised for the purpose of fire escape.

The Council have been approached about their failure to mend this door; apparently it takes weeks and hundreds of pounds to get a specialist door like this replaced.

This raises some interesting questions about procurement, keeping spares around, and how we wound up with such an expensive item with such a long lead time on the City’s budget. Let’s hope no other vulnerable people need a replacement door in a hurry.

In terms of expense, the siege and search will have cost the taxpayer a considerable sum.

Surely the responsibility for having misjudged the situation so badly sits squarely with the police, and restitution, if not apology, are long overdue.

There seems to be nothing the Council can do about the mess and destruction; this indeed should be resolved by Police Scotland immediately.

George Copland in flat 2 picToo much time has gone by; too much stress has been caused.

The Police will be put on notice that a formal complaint and legal action will be started if there is no positive development forthcoming.

One anonymous donor has come forward; others who wish to support any legal action are welcome to contact Aberdeen Voice for details.

Some politicians have been trying to help, and it is appreciated, but so far, nothing has changed for George, except that the strain is causing his health to deteriorate.

If we don’t live in a police state, let’s prove that now, and get Copland the help, flat clean-up and restitution he is clearly due:  NOW.

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Oct 292013
 

The city was shocked in the summer when it emerged that a police incident, reported as a stand-off between police and an alleged armed individual in an Aberdeen house, turned out to be a hoax. The reverberations are still being felt but questions remain unanswered.

The history

7 June 2013 – armed police surround an empty property, on reports that a gunman is inside.  The flat was empty.

9 June 2013 – George Copland, occupier of the council flat at the centre of the siege is arrested in the early hours at his girlfriend’s flat.  After 12-13 hours in custody, he is released.

27 October 2013 – Suzanne Kelly updates Aberdeen Voice readers on what appears to unfinished business and an injustice which continues to affect an innocent citizen.

homeMr Copland’s flat was all but destroyed as the police tore the property apart in the search for the weapon allegedly brandished in the empty flat. They came up with a feather duster, a broken remote control toy and a legal air gun, but nothing illegal.
Mr Copland alleges he was prevented from taking necessary medicine while in custody, and further alleges that the police told him the name of one of the so-called witnesses.

You may think that in the ensuing months he would have been compensated, as is expected when police searches are found to be wrong and cause an innocent party to suffer loss. You may also have thought that a police apology would be in order, since no-one can quite explain why he was arrested days after the siege took place.

You may also think that Aberdeen City Council, aware of a national news story centred on a flat they owned and managed, would have ensured that the occupant was looked after.

Apology and repairs?

Aberdeen Voice can confirm that there has been no compensation, no apology and not even a proper front door replacement to date.

There have been renewed calls by Aberdeen Voice for the police and the Council’s Housing and Environment section to explain the delays in righting the wrongs. The police have now been asked to release the arrest record and provide explanations as to how they managed the situation.

Questions for the police include:-

* Did they disclose the name of a witness to Copland?

* Why did they arrest him in the first place?

* If they suspected there was a weapon, why did they wait days before making an arrest?

* What is the background of the witnesses? Do they have any prior police records?  What do their statements say? How could they have seen anyone in an empty flat?

* Knowing of Copland’s health issues, are they adding unnecessarily to the stress they have caused by holding back on compensation and an apology?

The Council has been asked to explain why it takes four months to replace what they must have known to be a battered–in door in a vulnerable person’s home. In response to requests made by politicians, they claim they only knew on 21 September that a door would need to be ordered.

Whilst it may be a security door that is required, it beggars belief that a council can have such an appalling procurement system. What if someone even more vulnerable than George Copland didn’t have a secure front door all this time?

Aberdeen Voice will bring you answers as soon as it gets further information, but getting anything released has proven difficult. Whilst we cannot dispute that the siege was carried out to protect the public, no-one is protecting Copland, who was entirely innocent. Could any of our institutions be trying to cover their tracks?

Benefit

There has been one bright spot. Glasgow musician Deek Allan of Oi Polloi heard about the situation, and held a benefit gig for Copland. The band, its friends and relatives sent approximately £370, which was greatly appreciated.

Copland’s situation

In the meantime George Copland, who already faces ongoing challenges with his health, is feeling helpless and defeated. He can’t face starting the massive clean-up that should be done on his flat, which arguably should be paid for by the police.

He is reluctant to go out; he feels his neighbours are assuming he must have done something wrong to have been treated this way without compensation or apology.

He told Voice:

This is a nightmare.  The whole thing has put me back [he has had some very troubling thoughts since the siege and the arrest]. I can’t face going out much. It’s too much”

Aberdeen Voice will redouble its efforts to get to the truth, and to get compensation. A follow-up will appear within a week. Thanks are due to the politicians who are trying to help behind the scenes, but this is a situation that needs immediate resolution.

It happened to be Copland who was unjustly accused, arrested and whose home and contents were violated. Who will it be next time if we don’t find out the whole truth and learn lessons now?

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Jun 212013
 

Suzanne Kelly met with George Copland, the resident of an Aberdeen house which was the scene of an armed police siege – when no one was in it – who was arrested and held for approximately 13 hours.

The 7th June siege, called a ‘blunder’ in mainstream media, was a massive police operation launched on the say-so of an anonymous tipster.
A 29 year-old-man, was subsequently detained for questioning on suspicion of wasting police time the same day of the siege.
Why then, was George Copland arrested and his property searched, on account of a hoax, days later?

Copland’s arrest and subsequent treatment unfolded like this:

Copland was arrested at his girlfriend’s home in the early hours of Sunday 9th June.   Police apparently shouted ‘Jo – we need to see you and make sure you are all right’ before breaking in.

It must be borne in mind that at this point in time, it was known to the police and the public that the siege was a hoax.  His own home was trashed by police looking for weaponry; his possessions broken and scattered.

Upon his arrest, Copland informed police he needed medication, and despite being told a doctor was coming, no one ever saw him.

He was told ‘specialists’ wanted to question him about a suspicious item found at his home (which Copland demonstrated to be no more than a broken remote controlled toy ) and was questioned repeatedly about a fluffy dusting brush – the police insinuated during questioning that these could be seen as ‘weapons;’

Copland feels police were trying to get him to say these items may have resembled guns/weapons.

There is apparently an acknowledgement that he was not in his home at the time of the siege.

No lawyer was present at this questioning. Police, with no warrant, wished to search his girlfriend’s flat.  He was held for approximately 13 hours.

There is no talk of compensation for the destruction; there is no apology.   There is no proper explanation as to how someone could be arrested for a hoax perpetrated on their home when they were not in it.

In an extraordinary move, police tell Copland the name of the person arrested for placing the hoax call.  This information still has not been released to the media.

Copland tells Aberdeen Voice:

 “I will be talking to a lawyer about this incident.  I want an acknowledgement this arrest and my treatment were totally wrong and unacceptable.  I want my flat put right, and I want compensation for the destruction of my property – but also for the damage to my reputation.  People are giving me a wide berth after the siege and my arrest.”

Copland openly tells Aberdeen Voice he has had problems in the past and is known to the police.  He has been treated for mental health issues in the past, which may be related to his Crohn’s disease, a debilitating digestive condition.
His mental state improved after surgery for his medical condition.

That the police knew of his issues but did not either allow him his medication or send for a doctor as promised is another unacceptable dimension of this case.

If Copland had a past record with the police, it is nothing compared to the record of the person police named to Copland as the alleged hoax caller, who has serious charges and convictions against his name.

Aberdeen Voice have sent police a contact form from the Police Scotland website, and have sent them questions concerning this story for comment.  Their response will be published once received.

This may be a UK first – arresting the owner of a property where a hoax was perpetrated which caused the police to launch a massive armed response.  An innocent man was subjected to a police ordeal, loss of reputation, property damage, medical neglect, potential violation of rights – all for an incident that never was.

No one is suggesting that the police should not respond to genuine threats – but did the police behave correctly at the 7th June siege or when arresting George Copland?  It hardly seems so.

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