Authorities in Telford, Shropshire, are looking into a child sexual abuse scandal, perpetrated by a grooming gang.
It is thought as many as 1,000 young girls have been drugged, beaten and raped by the Telford gang in a series of incidents dating back to the 1980s.
It has been reported girls as young as 11-years-old have been abused by the gang, which has been compared to the high profile cases seen in Rochdale and Rotherham.
The systematic, ritual abuse of children in Telford dwarfs the horrors uncovered in Rotherham – time to stop the left pandering to the abusers and falling over themselves to cover-up this scandal. If we can’t fight for our children what kind of people are we ?
— Phil Arnold (@PhilArnold4) March 11, 2018
An investigation by the Sunday Mirror has reported how the abuse is still ongoing, with authorities reportedly failing to address the issue.
The paper claims social workers had knowledge of the abuse back in the 1990s, however it would be a decade until police launched an investigation.
Furthermore, files suggest the abused girls were viewed to be ‘prostitutes’ rather than victims by council workers.
Telford’s Conservative MP Lucy Allan told the Sunday Mirror:
There must now be an independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Telford so that our community can have absolute confidence in the authorities.
This is awful. How can this have been allowed to happen? There must be an impartial and independent inquiry. All the findings MUST be made completely public. Anything else will seem like an attempt to cover up wrongdoing.
— DT (@Forknolightning) March 10, 2018
Horrifyingly, three people have been murdered in incidents linked to this abuse and two deaths have been connected to the case, the newspaper claims.
In 2000, 16-year-old Lucy Lowe was murdered alongside her mum Eileen and older sister Sarah after her abuser, 26-year-old Azhar Ali Mehmood, set their home on fire.
Taxi driver Mehmood targerted Lucy in 1997 and she was only 14-years-old when she gave birth to his child. Mehmood was jailed for the murders but was never charged for sexual abuse crimes.
Watch Alison Miller from NSPCC discuss the Rotherham abuse scandal below:
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13-year-old Telford schoolgirl Becky Watson died after an unexplained car accident in 2002.
It was later found out she had been abused for two years by a grooming gang. She had written about the abuse in her diary.
It's time for an independent public enquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Telford.
I don't share petitions, this one I will make an exception for.https://t.co/8mMtikIdaT
— Telford Live! (@telfordlive) March 11, 2018
If you have been affected by the issues raised in this article, you can contact Samaritans on their free to call phone number – 116 123
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.