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Media pressure forced me out: Goddard

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/11/2016 Andrew Woodcock, Press Association Political Editor

The former New Zealand head of the UK's Child Sexual Abuse Inquiry has blamed "relentless" media pressure for undermining colleagues' confidence in her leadership.

Dame Lowell Goddard told a UK parliamentary committee that she believed campaigners published articles in the press in the hope of dealing a "fatal" blow to the inquiry by forcing her to become the third head to resign the post.

In an eight-page written submission to the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, the New Zealand judge - who sensationally resigned in August - acknowledged there were "tensions" within the inquiry team but insisted that concerns about the quality of her leadership were never raised with her.

Committee chairwoman Yvette Cooper urged Dame Lowell to give evidence in person to the cross-party committee, to allow MPs to put "precise and specific questions" to her.

Ms Cooper rejected the judge's argument that it was more "effective" for her to detail her experiences in writing, insisting that oral evidence - if necessary by video link from New Zealand - was "essential".

Ms Cooper also rebuffed a plea from Dame Lowell's successor Alexis Jay for the committee to "consider carefully" before calling any more members of the inquiry to give evidence.

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