TV doc to look into ‘be­trayal’ of groom­ing case scan­dal

Middleton Guardian - - THE LAUGHING BADGER - DA­MON WILKIN­SON

ANEW BBC doc­u­men­tary will ex­am­ine how the vic­tims of the Rochdale groom­ing scan­dal were ‘be­trayed’ by the author­i­ties.

Pro­duc­ers say it will in­clude ‘the har­row­ing tes­ti­mony of the vic­tims whose sto­ries have not been told be­fore’.

Be­trayed Girls fol­lows the 2012 con­vic­tion of nine men for the hor­rific rape and abuse of five vul­ner­a­ble young girls in Rochdale and Hey­wood.

It comes af­ter the ac­claimed BBC drama Three Girls, star­ring Max­ine Peake, which aired last month.

A BBC spokesman said: “In May 2012, the rev­e­la­tion that nine men were guilty of the groom­ing, rape and sex traf­fick­ing of teenage white girls shocked the na­tion.

“But the po­lice and so­cial ser­vices had known about the abusers for years, and the abuse went far beyond Rochdale. From Rother­ham to Keigh­ley, it was hap­pen­ing across cities and towns in the north and beyond.

“The film re­veals how it wasn’t just the pro­fes­sion­als whose job it was to pro­tect the girls who ig­nored their plight.

“This was a story where many from the po­lice, so­cial ser­vices, pol­i­tics and the Mus­lim com­mu­nity also chose to look the other way.”

Be­trayed Girls will also in­clude in­ter­views with whistle­blower Sara Row­botham, who at the time was the man­ager of the Rochdale Cri­sis In­ter­ven­tion Team, and former De­tec­tive Con­sta­ble Mag­gie Oliver, who re­signed from GMP claim­ing that the force had failed the vic­tims.

Nazir Afzal, former chief crown prose­cu­tor for the North West, who was in­stru­men­tal in bring­ing the case to court, has also been in­ter­viewed for the doc­u­men­tary.

The film’s direc­tor Henry Singer made Baby P: The Un­told Story, about 17-month-old Peter Con­nelly, killed at the hands of his mother, her boyfriend and his brother in Haringey, north Lon­don, in 2007.

Dur­ing the trial at Liver­pool Crown Court ju­rors heard how girls as young as 14 were plied with vodka, threat­ened with vi­o­lence and passed around men for sex, dur­ing abuse which had been ig­nored by the author­i­ties for years.

Nine mem­bers of the groom­ing ring, led by Shabir Ahmed, known as ‘Daddy’ to his vic­tims, were even­tu­ally sen­tenced to jail terms rang­ing from four to 19 years.

Fol­low­ing the case a string of damn­ing in­quiries found the girls had been let down time and time again by po­lice, so­cial work­ers and oth­ers.

The Be­trayed Girls will be shown on the BBC next month.

Whistle­blower Sara Row­botham, former De­tec­tive Con­sta­ble Mag­gie Oliver and former chief crown prose­cu­tor for the north west Nazir Afzal were in­ter­viewed for the BBC doc­u­men­tary

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