Daniel Bryant, a paedophile and a former policeman for Devon & Cornwall Constabulary, has finally been brought to justice after 40 years. The conviction was down to the tenacity of survivor Russel Dawson, who first reported Bryant’s abuse in 1987. Devon & Cornwall Police refused to bring charges against Bryant, saying Dawson’s allegations were uncorroborated – despite a second boy also alleging abuse.
It appears that someone in Devon & Cornwall Police was protecting Bryant. As well as dodging the charges in 1987, he was allowed to take early retirement in 1994 for ill health just months after being suspended after a third victim came forward. Bryant was then allowed to continue working with children for almost 20 years until he was eventually investigated in 2013. Why was he never investigated before, despite continued pressure from Russel Dawson and his family?
While Bryant was employed by Devon & Cornwall Police and abusing boys using the cover of surf life-saving clubs and charities, a paedophile ring was active in the Devon & Cornwall area, also using charity status and watersports – this time sailing – as a cover to abuse vulnerable boys.
The sailing charity was called the Azimuth Trust (see video link below), and was operating from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, when the charity’s skipper, Michael Johnson, was convicted. But there were many other paedophiles linked to Azimuth Trust who escaped justice, which raises serious questions about Devon & Cornwall Police’s handling of the case.
Russel Dawson is calling for an independent inquiry into why it took Devon & Cornwall Police so long to bring Daniel Bryant to justice. Hopefully this will also lead to the truth coming out about the Azimuth Trust.