The Telford Report is well over 1,000 pages long, and details a saga of serious sexual abuse perpetrated against disadvantaged underage British girls from as far back as the 1970s.
The report, which was commissioned by Telford & Wrekin Council, and carried out independently by law firm Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, is harrowing in its detail of the abuse which was carried out largely by men of southern Asian origin, Pakistanis in particular.
A sophisticated system of grooming, using fear, threats and intimidation; playing the ‘race’ card; and using abortion as a cover-up, kept the abusers in business over decades. So far, over 1,000 victims have been identified.
Shockingly, the report points out that the abuse went on so long that, in some cases, it was “intergenerational” in nature, both on the part of the victims and the perpetrators.
The abuse went on almost entirely unchecked, and astonishingly the victims were sometimes seen as being complicit.
Authorities were recorded in internal documents commenting on how the girls were “being too trusting” and “sneaking off to have sex”. Other comments include a case worker saying that a girl had been given advice but was unable to “keep herself safe”.
There is reported to have been a general attitude that the victims of sex abuse were engaging in ‘child prostitution.’
The report states that “From the 1990s, it was clear that there was a problem with child sexual abuse (CSE) in Telford.”
“That information was coming from the community, from schools, from youth workers; it was even reported in the local press.”
Local efforts to tackle child sexual abuse are described as being “ad-hoc” in nature, being “put together by concerned individuals,” although it states that “none then worked directly with victims of CSE.”
In the year 2000, 15-year-old Lucy Lowe was burned alive in her Telford home alongside her unborn child, her sister, and her mother by her abuser, then 26-year-old Azhar Ali Mehmood.
Mehmood was reportedly sexually involved with Lucy since she was just 12 years old.
Victims of the Telford CSE gang were recorded as saying “Abusers would remind girls of what had happened to Lucy Lowe and would tell them that they would be next if they ever said anything.
“Every boy would mention it.”
Underage girls are reported to have been regularly visiting “sexual health clinics,” but no proper records were made and no proper reporting was done. The report seeks to blame a lack of consistent staffing for this, but readers may draw their own conclusions.
“Multiple witnesses told the Inquiry that perpetrators did not use contraception, placing victims at obvious risk; pregnancies were expected to be (and in many cases were) terminated, though some victims and survivors went on to bear the children of their perpetrator(s).”
‘Boyfriend’ grooming techniques were used to make the children think that their abusers loved and cared for them. This was done in part though buying food, gifts, offering lifts etc.
“Many victims had of course been lured into believing that the perpetrators were their ‘boyfriends’, or that they loved them, and they believed that they had therefore ‘consented’ to the sexual activity – and, as a result, the pregnancy.”
In the early 2000s a spike in teenage pregnancy was “seen as relevant only to the health or economic wellbeing of the children involved” and no measures of any significance were put in place to investigate the issue.
During 2009 when instances of child sexual abuse “was said to be increasing at “an alarming rate,” a “CATE” (Children At Risk Through Exploitation) project set up in the Telford area “was reduced to a single practitioner.”
A YVPSE Report concluded that a lack of action on the part of authorities could have a negative impact on the public’s view of public services and the police saying “The general perception is that the authorities are not interested in the problem and are not taking it seriously enough and are failing to protect the vulnerable.”
One of the Telford report’s authors stated the following. “It would in my judgement be wholly wrong, and undoubtedly racist, to equate membership of a particular racial group with propensity to commit CSE.”
Adding, “That said, on the papers disclosed by key stakeholders, it is an undeniable fact that a high proportion of those cases involved perpetrators that were described by victims/survivors and others as being “Asian” or, often, “Pakistani”.
He continues “The Inquiry has itself also heard such accounts from victims/survivors. In considering the evidence, and in particular the disclosed material, I have been cautious not to infer too much from names, which may indicate wider geographical background and indeed religious heritage, but are wholly unreliable indicators of national background and (in particular) religious belief. “
“Even bearing that in mind, however, the evidence plainly shows that the majority of CSE suspects in Telford during my Terms of Reference were men of southern Asian heritage, including all the men convicted in Chalice, and Operations Delta and Epsilon.”
Last year RealCrime released a documentary called ‘The Hunt for Britian’s Sex Gangs’ detailing the sickening nature of some of the abuse uncovered by the Chalice police inquiry. One girl’s testimony describes how she was held hostage for between 10 and 13 hours, being “raped constantly.”
The Telford Reports states that in the 2000s there was “a feeling that certain individuals in the Asian community were not targeted for investigation into child exploitation because it would have been too “politically incorrect”.”
“At a multi-agency meeting at which inappropriate behaviour by an Asian male towards a child was discussed, no action was taken forward: “It seemed to be … it was because of the ethnicity of the people involved they felt as if the police were frightened to question or challenge because they didn’t want to have the finger pointed at them, saying they were being racist.””
The comment concludes with, “Between 2006 to 2008, senior management within the Council were concerned that allegations about Asian males’ involvement with CSE in Wellington had the potential to start a “race riot.””
In 2019, the Index of Multiple Deprivation (“IMD”) recorded Telford as having 17 areas that ranked in the “10% most deprived nationally” and that “more than one in five children in the Borough aged between 0-15 were affected by income deprivation.”