Probe into how disgraced councillor John Humphreys was given alderman honour

Former mayor of Exmouth John Humphreys

Humphreys was jailed in August last year - Credit: DC Police

An independent probe is being launched into the appointment of former councillor John Humphreys as an alderman in Exmouth.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) has voted to commission the report, which will look at how the former councillor came to be nominated for the honour in December 2019, despite having been arrested in May 2016.

Humphreys was jailed for 21 years in August last year after being found guilty of sexually abusing two underage boys in offences dating back to the 1990s.

Now, the probe will investigate the circumstances of how the former mayor of Exmouth came to be nominated and bestowed the award of an aldermanship in December 2019.

The motion approved by councillors at the East Devon District Council (EDDC) Full Council meeting on Wednesday (April 20) said: "That the Council commissions an independent report by the Local Government Association or the Centre for Public Scrutiny or another appropriate independent body to be expeditiously brought to Cabinet to provide a clear understanding how John Humphreys, despite his arrest in May 2016 continued to serve as a Councillor until May 2019, retained his position as ‘Lead Member for Exmouth’ and went on to be bestowed the honour of an alderman by this Council in December 2019.

"In particular, the report will focus on the circumstances of how John Humphreys came to be nominated and bestowed the award of an aldermanship despite being under criminal investigation at the time. 

"The council will put on hold the remainder of the scrutiny recommendations (on the future of appointing alderman and alderwomen) pending the receipt and consideration of the independent report by the cabinet.”

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EDDC's chief executive will prepare a report for consideration at a future meeting of the cabinet.