Operation Violet Oak was the official name for a police investigation into an alleged child abuse ring in Cardiff. This is the moving and nightmarish story of a Cardiff doctor who was dramatically arrested at Bristol airport in 2016 and charged with thirteen sexual offences against a teenage girl, plus performing an illegal abortion on her. The book is an account of the period from Glascoe’s arrest to the dropping of all charges two weeks before trial in January 2018. Innocent of all charges along with his co-defendants, Glascoe was a victim of a police force driven by the media hysteria around several celebrity child abuse cases (most notably Jimmy Savile). Nor were he and his co-defendants alone in being committed to trial and then unconditionally discharged due to a complete lack of evidence, as recent, highly publicised cases have shown.
Glascoe’s book is thus both an indictment of the police and the criminal justice system (and, by proxy, government austerity policy) and an account of how he dealt personally with the pressures on himself, his marriage, his family, his friendships and his finances at the time. He recounts the processes of the journey to the decision to prosecute, a period of daily dullness and, simultaneously, tension with which Glascoe had to live, and the ways in which he coped. It is a story very much to do with fear: of the competence of the police and judicial system, of the individual in the face of the institutional, of the power of the media and the way it can be manipulated by a single person in the right (or wrong) circumstances.