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Telford council: 'Bring child exploitation review forward'

13 March 2018

An investigation by the Sunday Mirror gathered allegations of abuse in the Shropshire town said to include cases involving girls as young as 11 who were drugged, beaten and raped.

The publication spoke to 12 victims who "accused more than 70 abusers and claimed that violent rapes were still taking place just months ago". I can't bear to think she was being groomed and wasn't able to ask for help'. Her sister Emma said: "I have no doubt Vicky would still be here if she hadn't been so badly abused - yet the people who made her life hell still walk the streets". Police chaplain Keith Osmund-Smith was suspended when he provided the Mirror with papers along with "a report commissioned by the council revealed social workers knew of the sex crimes before the turn of the milleniun". It also said authorities treated the children simply as prostitutes and therefore criminals.

Clive Jones, director of children and adult services at Telford and Wrekin Council, said he was not aware of any murders associated with child abuse in Telford and said he did not recognise the figure of 1,000 potential victims.

The problem is not limited to one city though.

It can now be revealed that Telford has the third highest number of child sexual offences recorded in the United Kingdom, just behind Blackpool and Rotherham, according to the Home Office. An estimated 1,500 were abused in Rotherham, the report states.

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"It is vital that every victim has confidence that police will investigate thoroughly, that they will be supported and that people will listen to them". But only seven were jailed and the case was closed.

Lucy Lowe was 16 and pregnant with her second child when she was murdered alongside her sister Sarah, 17, and their mother Eileen, 49, in a house fire in Telford set by Lucy's 26-year-old boyfriend, Azhar Ali Mehmood.

The probe found that two predatory pedophiles began targeting girls from a local children's home in 1981.

But he was never arrested nor charged in connection with any child sex crimes over his illegal relationship with the schoolgirl.

Lucy's death had a silencing effect on other victims.

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Mr Lowe and his sister, Edna Jackson, also told how Lucy became "unruly" after getting together with Mehmood, often truanting from her school - where the family were later told taxis would congregate to pick up pupils.

Numerous underage victims were considered as prostitutes by the authorities, and when concerned citizens attempted to blow the whistle, they were targeted in the workplace and one even lost her job.

In 2002, 13-year-old Becky Watson died in a auto accident in Shropshire. At the time, the crash was reported as a "prank" gone wrong.

The sex gangs targetted girls as young as 11 since the 1980s. "If Becky's abuse had been properly investigated by the authorities, more girls could have been saved from going through this hell".

Telford's Conservative MP, Lucy Allan, has previously called for a Rotherham-style inquiry into the allegations and called the latest reports "extremely serious and shocking".

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Telford council: 'Bring child exploitation review forward'