Sky News, March 12, 2018
A child-grooming scandal in Telford — in which up to 1,000 children are estimated to have been abused — has prompted calls for an inquiry.
The abuse is believed to have been carried out over a 40-year period.
An investigation by the Sunday Mirror gathered allegations of abuse in the Shropshire town. It is said to include cases involving girls as young as 11 who were drugged, beaten and raped.
They are reported to date back to the 1980s.
Many of the perpetrators are believed to have gone unpunished, with cases being mishandled by authorities. It is claimed similar abuse is continuing in the area.
Three murders and two deaths could also be linked to the scandal, the newspaper reported.
Sixteen-year-old Lucy Lowe became pregnant aged 14. She died alongside her mother and sister after the baby’s father set fire to her house.
He was jailed for murder, but not sex crimes.
Seven men were jailed in 2013 following Operation Chalice, a police inquiry into child prostitution in the Telford area.
The paper says authorities were warned of the abuse a decade before Operation Chalice.
Telford’s Conservative MP, Lucy Allan, has previously called for a Rotherham-style inquiry into the allegations and called the latest reports “extremely serious and shocking”.
“There must now be an independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Telford so that our community can have absolute confidence in the authorities,” she told the paper.
The number of victims was calculated with the help of Professor Liz Kelly, from the Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit at London Metropolitan University.
Dino Nocivelli, a specialist child abuse solicitor, told the Sunday Mirror: “These children were treated as sexual commodities by men who inflicted despicable acts of abuse. The survivors deserve an inquiry.
“They need to know how abuse took place for so long and why so many perpetrators have never been brought to justice.”
A spokesperson for Telford and Wrekin Council said: “Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a vile, evil crime. It’s an issue right across the UK and has been for a long time.
“Telford will be covered by the national CSE review. We welcome this. All agencies continue to work very closely together and this remains our top priority.”