Monday, 23 April, 2018

Up to 1K children abused UK's 'worst ever' scandal

Telford MP Lucy Allan. Credit PA Telford MP Lucy Allan. Credit PA
Anna Jefferson | 13 March, 2018, 09:49

As many as 1,000 children could have suffered at the merciless hands of perverts and torturers in Telford since the 1980s, it said.

Out of 12 - mostly unconnected - victims who spoke to investigators from the Mirror, more than 70 abusers were accused. Lucy Lowe was murdered in 2000 with her mother and sister, when her 26-year-old abuser Azhar Ali Mehmood set fire to their house.

Years later, a police investigation identified more than 100 potential victims, who were abused between 2007 and 2009, in an investigation called 'Operation Chalice.' Police said there could be as many as 200 perpetrators. It also said authorities treated the children simply as prostitutes and therefore criminals.

Up to 1,000 children could have fallen victim to child sexual exploitation in Telford over a 40-year-period, according to a Sunday newspaper.

The problem is not limited to one city though.

Besides Telford, similar high-profile cases were also reported in Rochdale and Rotherham. The sentences added up to 49 years, seven years each on average.

In 2016-17 the local authority received 337 contacts raising concerns about child sexual exploitation relating to 224 young people, more than half of whom were referred to child protection teams. And some ended up dead.

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The taxi driver was later jailed for life after being convicted of three counts of murder - but was never arrested or charged over sex abuse. I raised it with police when she died but nothing ever came of it.

One anonymous victim said that Lucy's killing was to scare the other girls into keeping quiet.

Rebecca Watson was 13 when she died in March 2002 after falling from the bonnet of a auto near her youth club, in what driver Ahmed Nawaz claimed was a "prank" which went tragically wrong. At the time, the crash was reported as a "prank" gone wrong.

But the Mirror obtained the girl's diaries, where she talked about her two years of sexual abuse by an Asian grooming gang-since the age of 11.

Becky had a friend who was abused by the same gang.

Following allegations from victims that the sex abuse is still ongoing after almost 40-years, Tory MP Lucy Allan has demanded a public enquiry into the decades-long child abuse scandal.

"Tackling such horrific offences is the number one priority for police in Telford and we have not only increased officer numbers to tackle this type of offending, but use all of our resources and technology available to prosecute anyone who sexually offends against children whether that offending took place today, yesterday, or decades ago", said Martin Evans, assistant chief constable for West Mercia Police.

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