Senior Reform Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner has said she contemplated suicide in 2015 as child sexual abuse stories swirled about her late father.
Lord Greville Janner, a former president of the Board of Deputies who co-founded the Holocaust Educational Trust, was accused of 22 counts of sex offences against boys, over a 20-year period from the 1960s – allegations his family denied.
Earlier this month one of his accusers – Carl Beech – was revealed in court to be a paedophile fantasist. He was found guilty of lying about Janner and a host of other well-known figures, and of fraud. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
Speaking to The Times this week, Janner-Klausner and her sister Marion told of the impact that accusations by Beech and others had had on their mental health.
“I felt extremely anxious,” the senior Reform rabbi said. “I wanted to hurt myself. At times, I felt suicidal.”
Echoing the thoughts of her siblings, Janner-Klausner said she was “left feeling abandoned by British justice in a world where my father’s accuser was automatically believed and my father’s innocence already dismissed”.
Speaking to Jewish News on Monday, she added that she family had had “wall-to-wall support from the Jewish community,” saying: “It has actually brought us closer as a family. It has been transformational in that sense.”
She added that she had received “massive amounts of misogynistic and antisemitic hatred” online referring to news stories about her father.
Marion, who was awarded an OBE for her mental health work, said her home came “under siege” from paparazzi and she developed a “pervasive sense of being watched”. When Janner died, she moved to the Cotswolds because “everything that had become tainted with anxiety”.
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- Lord Janner’s family: ‘We’re winning back dad’s reputation’, as accuser jailed
In April 2015, then director of public prosecutions Alison Saunders said there was enough evidence to prosecute Janner for 22 sex offences allegedly committed in Leicestershire children’s homes between 1969 and 1988, but that he was too sick to stand trial owing to his advanced dementia.
She also said the CPS had been wrong not to prosecute Lord Janner following investigations in 1991 and 2007, and that Leicestershire police had been wrong not to pursue him in 2002.
A trial of the facts had been due to be held in April 2016, but that ended with Janner’s death in December 2015.
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