A Harrow woman who suffered years of abuse and rape at the hands of her foster dad has been denied compensation from the bungling Harrow Council officials who let him care for her - despite knowing about his string of sex offences.
The woman, referred to in court as Mrs T, was adopted by the paedophile in 1972, aged five, even though he had sex convictions dating back to the 1960s. It emerged in court that social workers knew about the horrendous crimes, which included sexual assaults on his own mother, sister and another 16-year-old girl.
Astonishingly, even after confessing to indecently assaulting Mrs T in 1977, in front of magistrates, he was placed on probation and she remained in his care for a further five years.
It even emerged in court that she was placed on the at risk register in 1979 but was later removed for reasons unknown.
It wasn't until 1982 - 10 years after first being placed in his care - that she finally escaped the sex beast when he was sentenced to five years in prison for raping her.
Irrespective of the catastrophic errors, however, she failed in her bid to claim compensation at High Court last week, because it was felt she had delayed the claim for too long.
Justice Judge Eady said: "I am naturally very sorry that this will be a disappointment to the claimant after so much worry and stress, but I cannot believe it would be in the overall interests of justice to allow the matter to proceed.
"When everything is taken into account, as it must be, the conclusion has to be that there is no sufficient justification for imposing on this defendant a trial relating to historic allegations in respect of which its information has been significantly depleted."
He was however critical of authorities which permitted her to have contact or carry on living with her adoptive father "despite knowing of one or more of his convictions for indecent assault".
Paul Clarke, corporate director of children's services at the council, offered his sympathy to Mrs T and assured readers that the current adoptive process would never allow for a repeat problem.
He said: "This was clearly a deeply distressing experience for the individual involved.
"But the case involving Mrs T dates back almost four decades.
"We are confident that present child care procedures in Harrow are robust - for example, all of our foster parents are subject to rigorous police checks and social workers frequently visit the family unannounced.
"We always listen to the child and put them at the heart of everything we do."
A council spokesman said it would not be issuing any apology for the mistakes made in the 70s because Judge Eady had not made any formal judgement against the authority. He said the council was not aware of any other children having been placed with the abuser by the council.