A daughter of one of the victims of the Telford child sex abuse scandal has come forward asking for an enquiry into the police for not investigating her killer father over his child sex crimes.
Tasnim Lowe, 18, is daughter to Azhar Ali Mehmood, who murdered her mother Lucy, Lucy’s sister, and Lucy’s own mother by setting their house on fire in 2000. Lucy was also pregnant with her second child at the time and was 16 years old.
The problem, Lowe notes, is that Mehmood was never prosecuted for sex crimes even though he groomed Lucy when she was just 12 years old.
Lowe told the BBC, “I would like to see that my dad shows remorse and that we can set up an investigation into why he was never charged with sex crimes.” She adds that her mother’s school and the authorities should have done more to protect Lucy; “They should have been like, ‘This is wrong. This is illegal, we are going to do something about it.’”
West Mercia Police declined a statement, saying that they could not comment on specific cases.
This story is yet another added to the growing list of sex crimes against children in Telford, England. In an 18-month investigation from the Sunday Mirror, it was revealed that up to 1000 girls had been abused and raped for over 40 years, with the authorities failing to intervene.
Sex gangs would target girls as young as 11, luring them from their families, drugging them, beating them, and raping them since the 1980s. A scandal that mirrors the rape-gangs of Rochdale and Rotherham but is feared to be the worst of them all.
The Mirror shockingly discovered that “social workers knew of abuse in the 1990s but police took a decade to launch a probe” and that “council staff viewed abused and trafficked children as ‘prostitutes’ instead of victims.” Unsurprisingly, however, was the revelation that “authorities failed to keep details of abusers from Asian communities for fear of ‘racism.’”
In the U.K., “Asian” refers to those from Pakistani or near-East decent.
It was also reported that three girls, including Lucy Lowe, were murdered by pedophiles who abused hundreds of children in Telford. One schoolgirl, Becky Watson who was 13 at the time, was killed in 2002 in an unexplained car accident. The crash had been recorded as a “prank” gone wrong, though it was later discovered that she had allegedly been abused by a grooming gang since the age of 11. Diaries of Becky’s obtained by the Mirror speak of the anguish of being forced to “sleep around.” Becky’s mother Torron Watson revealed that she told the police of the abuse, to no avail:
“Girls like Becky were treated like criminals. I was crying out for help but it felt like I had nowhere to turn. If Becky’s abuse had been properly investigated by the authorities more girls could have been saved from going through this hell.”
Vicky Round, a friend of Becky’s, died aged 20 due to a ‘drugs incident.’ She was abused by the same grooming gang as Becky; the gang had her addicted to crack cocaine at age 12, and progressed to heroin at age 14.
Investigators from the Mirror spoke to 12 victims, who claimed that rapes were still happening only months ago.
One 14-year-old told the Mirror:
“I hated what was happening and my abusers made my skin crawl but I was told that if I said a word to anyone they’d come for my little sisters and tell my mum I was a prostitute. Night after night, I was forced to have sex with multiple men in disgusting takeaways and filthy houses.
“I must have been getting the morning after pill from a local clinic at least twice a week but no one asked any questions.”
She continued: “I fell pregnant twice and had two abortions. Hours after my second termination, I was taken by one of my abusers to be raped by more men.
“The worst moment came just after my 16th birthday when I was drugged and gang raped by five men. Days later, the ringleader turned up at my house and told me he’d burn it down if I breathed a word of what had happened.”
Another victim of the alleged pedophile ring told the Mirror that she was abused by so many different men that she didn’t know who the father of her baby was when she fell pregnant. She said:
“I was first picked up on the streets by an older Pakistani man when I was 12. I had a hard home life, and he was charming at first, but soon he raped me.
“I try to fight him of but not long afterwards he passed me to his friends. By 12 I was pregnant and the father could have been any one of 20 men.
“The abuse didn’t stop when I gave birth, in fact it got worse. The most horrific night was when two of them took me up The Wrekin Hill and violently raped me. My teachers or social workers never asked any questions so I thought what was happening to me was normal.
Being abused by gangs of men just seemed part of teenage life in Telford.
Since the story broke, Conservative MP Lucy Allan has said she has been “inundated with emails saying, ‘This has happened to me.’” Allan had called for a public enquiry in September 2016, but the police and council told Home Secretary Amber Rudd that it wasn’t necessary.
The Telford MP told ministers in parliament of the reports of abuse of ‘vulnerable white working class girls.’ Ms Allan said that the girls had been targeted due to their backgrounds and that the authorities saw the victims as “troublemakers.”
“Maybe that’s why these crimes were not identified for quite so long. Had those girls been from a different background, had they been able to articulate more clearly what it was that was happening to them, had they been able to identify that it was a crime then I think perhaps we would not have the cases that we’re seeing in Telford, in Rotherham, in Oxford.
“How did it happen that our young girls are being traded for sex in what is becoming a routine way? Whether it’s from takeaways or taxis or betting shops, it’s happening in our streets.”
Senior officers have also been blasted over their failure to act and for victim-blaming. West Mercia Police Superintendent Tom Harding told the BBC “I am confident that, in the main, we do know the scale of CSE [child sexual exploitation]. Therefore, I significantly dispute the 1000 plus figure and do feel it is sensationalized.” It was also reported that an internal memo was sent to investigating officers saying “In most cases the sex is consensual.”
A whistle-blower has since revealed that even though more than 20 men were considered for Sexual Risk Orders, which would have the suspected abusers monitored by police, the view from senior officers was that “it was too much trouble.” A viewpoint which horrified the other officers.
Though an investigation named Operation Chalice ran for three years in 2009 as a response to the child sexual exploitation issue, only seven men were jailed.
feature image: Lucy Lowe via Metro.co.uk
Alizee covers campus news and U.K. politics for DANGEROUS.
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