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ROTHERHAM SCANDAL: Fury as child abuse evidence VANISHES from police station

Parliament pretended it was the Crime Commissioner, senior local government officers and councillors who were to blame for Rotherham. Yet with them now out of the picture, who is to blame for this? Moreover, if the evidence is disappearing in Rotherham, in centre frame, what is going on in the scores of other towns and cities which have organized rape gangs, but which have escaped any kind of formal investigation.

From: http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/697588/Rotherham-abuse-scandal-South-Yorkshire-Police-missing-grooming-CSE-evidence

VITAL pieces of evidence which could have outed new suspects in the Rotherham grooming scandal have gone “missing” from the town’s police station with alarming regularity.

Senior officers were under pressure to explain how key documents, which are supposed to be kept under lock and key, vanished from Rotherham’s central station amid accusations they are still failing to tackle the issue of Asian grooming gangs. 

As part of an Express.co.uk investigation into the Rotherham abuse scandal, victims have told this website of their shock and disgust that evidence they provided to the police in the form of witness statements and DNA later disappeared without explanation.

One even raised suspicions police tipped off her abuser that she had contacted them, saying he began texting her death threats within hours of her attending the station alone to give an interview to officers.  

Amongst the documents to vanish from the police evidence room at Rotherham police station are a teenager’s diary which chronicled her years of sex abuse at the hands of grooming gangs, a victim’s original interview notes with officers and a 14-year-old’s DNA evidence. 

The revelations will add to the already serious questions about South Yorkshire Police’s handling of the investigation into child sexual exploitation in the town, which has been dogged by scandal.

One witness called Lizzie - not her real name - told express.co.uk that her witness statements went missing after she attended Rotherham police station to give a statement to officers about the abuse she had suffered. 

She said: “The only thing that the police have got are the telephone reports, the telephone contact I had with the police. 

“That's all they've released, they are claiming that the other files are lost or they can't find them. 

"I did a lot of interviews, statements. It's very dodgy the amount of things that have gone missing.” 

Lizzie, who was groomed by a gang of Asian men from the age of 15, also raised fears that a corrupt officer told her abuser she had contacted the police. 

She said: "I can remember ringing the police when I got attacked by one of them and somehow he found out and then he was messaging me, threatening messages. Now how did he find out, because nobody knew I'd been to do the interview and the statement? 

"He used to call me a white bitch and tell me that if I didn't tell them I was lying they were going to set my flat on fire with petrol, they were going to burn me alive and kill my family and torture my disabled grandma. The things he said were evil, they were disgusting.” 

Her testimony follows revelations in court that South Yorkshire Police “lost” the diary of a young girl who was subjected to years of sexual abuse. 

The shocking claims are not the first time that Rotherham victims have reported concerns that detectives had lost vital evidence relevant to their cases.  

In August 2014 one victim, using the pseudonym Emma, told the BBC that officers “lost” DNA evidence she had given them to help them build a case against her attackers.  

She revealed: “I did a formal video interview, I went to be examined by a police officer who examined me internally and externally to measure my injuries they took away my evidence which they were quite surprised that I’d got evidence but I had I’d got clothing that I’d been abused in. 

“They then phoned me a couple of days after that to tell me that they’d actually lost my evidence. Their attitude all along was as though I was just complaining about nothing and maybe I should just get over it.” 

And a former social worker who helps victims of abuse told this website the disappearance of evidence from Rotherham police station is "common". 

They said: "Over the 17 years this is quite common really, it's not an isolated case. I wouldn't say there have been hundreds, but there have been quite a few." 

Express.co.uk has heard shocking details of the police’s inadequate approach to child sex abuse, including how 101 call handlers have questioned why victims are reporting instances of rape and witness intimidation.

Victims and their families told how police are not even logging instances of intimidation as a crime when they are reported, adding that detectives often repeat the mantra that they can only arrest abusers after they have committed an assault.

One victim’s father told how he and his daughter were targeted by an “Asian” man with known links to her abuser – who has been jailed – when they went to pick up the keys to their new house from Rotherham’s council offices.

The family had been forced to move for their own protection after gangs of young Kashmiri men launched a campaign of intimidation against them, hanging around outside their house and threatening to set it alight.

He said: “We went to the council offices to do an interview and get the keys for the new house and I saw this Asian bloke standing there staring at us and I thought I know him.

"Halfway through the interview this woman barged in and said stop this interview, we've had a complaint from an Asian man saying you've racially abused him, told him 'f****** Paki, f*** off back to Pakistan'. “

The father told express.co.uk the name of the man, which we have withheld to protect the identity of his daughter.

He said: “Fortunately on the way into the council offices there was a girl struggling to get her pram up the steps and I helped her, so I went and found her and she confirmed that I had said nothing to him whatsoever. The council officer who was interviewing me also backed us up.

"I phoned the police and said this is intimidation, and they said we can't prove it. But there were two independent witnesses, so why can't they?

"I asked the police officer, said to him 'if that girl hadn't been there to back me up you would've arrested me wouldn't you?' And he said 'yes’.

"Without that independent witness I'd have been evicted and my family homeless. But it was just his word against mine, so why could the police proceed with that but not with reports of intimidation?" 

He said he recently called the police about the incident, which happened in February of this year, and was stunned to discover they had not even recorded it as a crime.

He added: "It seems to me that because they've had this big court case now and it looks like they've achieved something they just don't care. “

Lawyer David Greenwood said he had heard countless complaints from victims of child abuse about police inaction and missing evidence.  

Mr Greenwood, who represented dozens of girls for Switalskis solicitors, said: “I have heard many, many stories about police inaction, that police won’t take statements in the first place, back in the early 2000s. 

“It would be difficult to list the number of complaints of that nature and there’s obviously an IPCC investigation going on into that. 

“They have had more than 100 complaints of neglect of duty by police officers. Yeah, I have seen lots of evidence of that, evidence of corruption also. 

He added: “But if we bring ourselves up to date, the police are still learning but they have done a reasonable job on Operation Clover [SYP’s ongoing investigation into historic child sexual exploitation].” 

The scandal comes after if emerged that vital files containing the details of victims and intelligence about abusers, including where and how they were operating, were stolen from the locked office of a Rotherham council worker in 2002.  

The files were compiled by a woman working from the offices of Risky Business at the Rotherham International Centre on a Home Office funded project to investigate ways of stopping grooming gangs.

Express.co.uk wrote to South Yorkshire Police presenting the allegations to them and setting out a series of questions for them to answer.  

We asked the force whether it has launched an internal investigation into the disappearance of material from Rotherham police station, and whether it is considering bolstering security around the secure evidence room. 

We also requested details of how many reports of evidence relating to child sexual exploitation going missing the force has received in the last six years.  

The force declined to comment on the issue. 


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