Abused children neglected agin and again
ily starts meeting with a sexual health worker from Rochdale’s Crisis Intervention Team. “…they was the only people that was ever consistent in my life, they was the only people that never judged me.” When Lily describes the sex she’d had with Freddy, the worker tells Lily she has been raped. “In Rochdale there were certainly workers….who were recognising what was happening and desperately trying to raise awareness of it…they really were lone voices.” Adele Gladden, Safeguarding Children’s Consultant
In November 2008, 15 year old Lily, still under the age of consent, is taken to see a Rochdale police officer. She is there to give a statement about her abuse by Freddy Kendakumana. She does not feel she gets a sympathetic audience.“…it was a male police officer. And he was kind of like, sighing - and had his head in his hands - and just looked really disinterested.”This encounter and a lack of any sustained follow up convinces Lily that either she is ‘over reacting’ or that the authorities believe her to be ‘just some stupid kid’. “I can’t imagine anything worse as a victim of abuse than finally realising you’re being abused, plucking up the courage to tell somebody that you’ve been abused and then nothing being done and you being abandoned to your abuser. I can’t imagine a situation that leaves you more terrified and more vulnerable.”Adele Gladden, Safeguarding Children’s ConsultantNearly the same substandard lack of care and investigation is given to another child, to Girl A. In August 2008, police are called to a kebab takeaway restaurant in Rochdale. A young girl is said to be causing criminal damage. She’s arrested and taken for questioning. Asked why she tried to trash the takeaway, she explains; “It’s not what happened at the end. It’s what...it’s been going on for ages.” The child’s ordeal began weeks earlier when she started visiting two local Rochdale takeaways.Girl A knew an older girl who she believed was a trusted best friend. This ‘friend’ showed her a teenage life of smoking and late night drinking. So Girl A wasn’t suspicious when her friend suggests they go to a takeaway for free food. But the food, like the cigarettes and alcohol will come with a heavy price tag.
one afternoon, one of the takeaway workers, 55-year old Shabir Ahmed, explains he expects to be repaid for all the freebies. He takes her upstairs:“…she was reluctant but felt she had no option…she’s very much a child. He’s in his 50s…suddenly she realises it’s payback time.”Nigel Bunyan, Journalist & Ghost Writer of ‘Girl A: My Story'On a bare mattress, he rapes her. After the ordeal, the 14 year old girl starts crying and won’t stop. So Shabir Ahmed tells her he loves her. That night, he takes this 14 year old girl to another man. This other man also rapes her.It is almost impossible to imagine how frightened, broken and trapped this little girl must have felt. But to her abusers, she is simply property, to be traded, bartered and abused:“Very early on in the abuse of Girl A she was handed over by Shabir Ahmed to his supposed nephew Kabeer Hassan - simply as a birthday present.”Nigel Bunyan, Journalist & Ghost Writer of ‘Girl A: My Story'Frustrated and confused, a few weeks later, on the 6th August 2008, Girl A, lashes out and tries to trash a takeaway where she’d met her abuser. She’s arrested for criminal damage. And then she tells the police who the real criminals are. Greater Manchester Police spend the next 11 months investigating Shabir Ahmed and the person who called the police on her, Kabeer Hassan. Both are arrested. But they deny the allegations and are bailed pending further forensic results. Girl A, meanwhile, is charged with criminal damage. Feeling betrayed and trapped, she now fell victim to a 37 year old local taxi driver Abdul Aziz, the ringleader of a large grooming gang:“She got caught up in a world where if she was going to school, she would be texted or rung, men would turn up in vehicles, off then back to the house, out of school uniform and off to be raped.”Nigel Bunyan, Journalist & Ghost Writer of ‘Girl A: My Story’“…we’d get to the place…and there’d just be different men there waiting. Towards the end it was like, it could be up to five different men in a day.”Girl AHer escape came through her getting pregnant. Her abusers no longer want her. It has taken them just four months to destroy and discard a young child. Eleven months after reporting her rape to the police, the Crown Prosecution Service states she wouldn’t be deemed a credible witness in court. The police believe that ‘given the unreliability’ of Girl A, the investigation cannot proceed and the case of the 14 year old girl that claimed to be raped by older men is marked, “no further action”.“…the most shocking element is that the people who should have been looking after these girls…were completely failing in their duty; effectively turning a blind eye to rape.”Nigel Bunyan, Journalist & Ghost Writer of ‘Girl A: My Story’