Politics

Oldham child sexual abuse inquiry ‘concludes authorities covered up serious failings’ after girl, 12, raped


A child sexual exploitation inquiry in Oldham has found authorities covered up ‘serious failings’ in their treatment of a 12-year-old girl who was raped.

A leaked passage of the report shows both Oldham Council and Greater Manchester Police will be heavily criticised when it is published in full – and ordered to apologise.

A man was jailed for her rape and is now serving a life sentence.

Authorities turned a blind eye as the youngster was abused by a string of adult men, including two who assaulted her after picking her up outside a police station, according to The Sunday Mirror.

This sparked a devastating chain of events in which the girl suffered more than 20 sex attacks by eight men in one night, including 15 rapes.

Just one of those men, Shakil Chowdhury, now 55, was brought to justice – and handed a six year jail sentence for raping the girl six times in October 2006.

The victim previously told professionals she was being groomed by teacher Paul Waites, now 49 – but she was dismissed as ‘attention seeking’.

He was jailed for raping this victim in 2015 and is now serving a life sentence for similar attacks on another girl.



Oldham town centre

The Sunday Mirror said the victim said: “An apology will never be enough. They have destroyed my life.”

Her case has been examined as part of wider probe into exploitation in Oldham, which is due to be published later this month.

The investigation was ordered by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and is also looking at exploitation in other parts of the region.

It’s understood both Oldham Council and Greater Manchester Police will be heavily criticised and ordered to apologise to those they let down.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham is also expected to order a second probe into the victim’s case after police failed to hand over key documents, citing data protection concerns.

Sources say senior figures at GMP have now agreed to cooperate.

According to The Sunday Mirror, a leaked passage from the report reads: “The responses of both the council and Greater Manchester Police in replying to complaints made by [the victim] are disappointing.



Oldham Council

“Both agencies consistently denied that they failed in their duties to her.

“These denials create an impression that both agencies were more concerned with covering up their failures than acknowledging the harm that has been done to a vulnerable young person.

“We recommend both GMP and Oldham Council acknowledge these failures and provide an appropriately worded apology based on their collective serious failings.”



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The report found the police and council failed to follow their own procedures regarding reports about the girl’s abuse and should have launched joint investigations on at least two occasions.

It also concluded her treatment at the police station was ‘highly inappropriate’ and ‘set in train a set of events which led to her being seriously abused by different men’.

It added there was ‘no evidence’ the actions of police station staff were ever properly investigated, despite the fact at least three senior officers were aware of the allegations in the immediate aftermath of the incident.



Greater Manchester Police

Gerard Jones, managing director of children and young people at Oldham Council, said: “As the review process reaches a conclusion, it has become clear that there were serious failures to protect this individual from the abuse she suffered.

“A full apology will be made to her, acknowledging that the response of the authorities at the time was wholly unacceptable and fell far short of the help she had every right to expect.

“We will never fully understand how her experiences affected her, and she deserved much better.”

Stephen Watson, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, said: “This woman has tragically experienced lasting harm as a result of what happened to her and our failure to protect her.

“We fully intend to express our deepest and most sincere apology directly to her.”

A spokeswoman for GMCA said it was ‘working towards publication of the full report and next steps for investigations, safeguarding and supporting victims’.

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