For the first time a woman has spoken out, having been a victim of the Telford abuse scandal on how she was raped by “more than 500 men” from the age of 11 onwards and how she was let down by the police.
The woman, identified only as Jennifer, who is now in her 40s, says she was repeatedly arrested for prostitution and by the time she was 19 had 52 convictions. She was targeted by a grooming gang in Telford, Shropshire, in what has been described as Britain’s worst ever child abuse scandal.
Jennifer said she was 11 when she was first introduced to her rapists by a boy she was seeing who introduced her to an older relative. They then let their friends gang rape her, she told the Sunday Mirror ahead of a public inquiry where she will give evidence. She was one of many girls who were drugged, beaten and raped by the gang in the 1980s. Jennifer said she would be abused by up to 10 men every night.
She said: ‘I thought the only way out was death because I’d gone to the police and they didn’t want to help me. My life was a living hell, I felt so alone.’ Jennifer, who is now a mother, said that when she went back to school she was told she had missed too much so did not attend from the ages of 14 to 16.
Not enough questions were asked about her absence and so the abuse continued. Having fallen out of the system she was taken across the country by an older man so that she could be raped by strangers. She said: ‘He also locked me in a flat with iron bars, for three or four days.
I was told the police thought I’d been abducted but they did nothing.’ Eventually he was arrested but after the case was dropped he turned up at her house with a shotgun to threaten her. West Mercia Police said the case was not successful because officers could not identify the rapists.
West Midlands Police said they would review any new evidence that comes forward and investigate. Telford and Wrekin Council said: ‘We urge anyone with information about any such abuse to contact the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Telford which [Telford and Wrekin] Council has commissioned and is now underway. ‘The terms of reference for the independent inquiry were changed at the request of survivors to cover from 1989 onwards.
‘The Inquiry has also further said that it will hear from victims or survivors of child sexual exploitation in Telford regardless of when this happened. The Inquiry can also make specific requests to organisations to disclose any relevant pre-1989 documents that exist.’