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Picked off by a paedophile gang, plied with drink, repeatedly raped and pregnant by 14: Victim of Rotherham child abuse ringleader reveals social workers and police did nothing despite knowing about her ordeal

Read the story of one of the victims and how the agents of the state decided to do nothing, over and over again.

From: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5589835/Victim-Rotherham-child-abuse-ringleader-reveals-social-workers-police-did-nothing.html

Tyres screeching, the blue Subaru sped towards the cliff edge.

Beyond it was a sheer drop and certain death. ‘Stop, Ash! You’re going to kill us!’ I screamed.

‘That’s right,’ he said. ‘You want to finish with me, do you? Well, if I can’t have you, nobody can.’

The whole of Rotherham lay below us and I could see the road running out as we raced to the edge, Ash’s foot pressed hard on the accelerator.

I screwed up my eyes and put my arms across my bump to protect my unborn baby.

A moment later Ash slammed his foot on the brakes and the car stopped, the front tyres only inches from the cliff.

Ash just laughed. Throwing me in the back seat, he raped me while I lay there, the tears running down my cheeks.

I was too terrified to stop him.

After all, I was just 15 years old. I had no idea that the man I thought I loved – 25-year-old Arshid ‘Ash’ Hussain, known as Mad Ash – was in fact a paedophile, a ringleader in one of the country’s biggest and most notorious child abuse scandals.

He had been grooming me for sex for two years.

But lying on the clifftop that day, terrified and humiliated, it was the final straw.

At least 1,400 children, most of them white girls, were subjected to sexual exploitation in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, between 1997 and 2013.

Children as young as 11 were raped by multiple abusers, abducted, trafficked to other cities in England, beaten and intimidated by gangs of predominantly British Pakistani men.

I was one of those children.

Ash had been grooming me personally, and through his associates, since I was 14 and his hold on me was so complete that, despite his cruelty, I foolishly believed we were in love.

He would give me drink and drugs, rape and beat me, hold a gun to my head, and taunt me by having sex with other teenage girls.

The relationship devastated my family, caused my behaviour to spiral out of control and ultimately ended in me being taken into care, ostensibly for my own safety.

But most shocking of all, throughout everything, the police and social services knew what was going on.

The care authorities wrote detailed reports about Ash but did nothing to stop him. I’d been catastrophically let down by the very people who should have protected me.

It took just two years for my perfect life to fall apart.

In 1999, aged 14, I was an A-grade student who dreamed of being a top dancer and came from a loving and supportive family.

My mum Julie and dad Melvin were childhood sweethearts who worked hard and doted on me and my older sisters, Kate and Lisa.

We lived in a smart, privately owned three-bedroom house on a close-knit estate.

Dad had a painting and decorating business and also owned a pool hall he had named after me.

To them, I was the perfect daughter.

I was bubbly, confident, intelligent and ambitious – the beautiful child whose dreams would come true; the lucky girl who would live happily ever after.

Then, in 1999, I met Ash and he captivated me. It was an ordinary night, hanging out by the local shops with friends, when he pulled up in a smart silver Astra and took us for a drive.

I never thought for one second it would change my life for ever.

He took us to a dodgy flat full of older Pakistani men. He gave us vodka and encouraged me to ‘chill’.

I was also offered a fag and a drag on a spliff.

Everyone was smoking and drinking and so I joined in. I didn’t have much because I was feeling nervous, plus it was a school night. Yet I felt spellbound in his company.

He told me he’d stolen cars and had recently spent some time in prison because of his ‘mischief’.

This didn’t put me off; quite the opposite. I was excited by his crazy, wild side and it made him even more attractive.

I’d lied that I was 16, but he didn’t care. ‘I knew you weren’t 16,’ he’d said, smiling. ‘You look way too young.’

By the time he dropped me home I was floating on air.

I began meeting Ash regularly, and we’d go out in the car and listen to what he called his ‘proper love-making songs’ by Usher or Craig David, and buy me my favourite foods – McDonald’s or chicken and chips.

I joked he was my ‘walking bank machine’. I felt like the luckiest girl in Rotherham.

Dad had heard rumours I was hanging out with older guys, involved in drugs and crime.

He reported it to South Yorkshire Police, but they told him it was just a family dispute between an errant teenage girl and her parents, and there was no evidence of any wrongdoing.

My dad was really angry and couldn’t understand how the onus was on me, a naive and impressionable 14-year-old schoolgirl, to complain about the company I was keeping.

His gut was telling him something wasn’t right and I was in danger.

Dad grounded me, but I skipped school to meet Ash. He’d take me to the dingy flat, where the chairs had been replaced by a dirty old mattress on the floor and some stained bed covers.

I didn’t want to go because it was so tatty and horrible, but I did want to spend time with Ash.

After four weeks, after again sneaking out of school, we slept together.

I was wearing a horrible pink bra under my school shirt and didn’t want Ash to think I was a ‘scrubber’, so I told him I didn’t want to take all my clothes off.

Once it happened, Ash wanted to have sex with me every day. I wanted to please him so I hardly ever said no.

He gave me a mobile phone and I began sneaking out to meet him, using every trick in the book.

Dad bolted doors and windows to try to stop me. He told me he’d found out Ash was married with two children, and was a dangerous criminal.

Other girls told me they were sleeping with him, too. I refused to believe any of it.

Within weeks of us starting to sleep together, I was pregnant.

In February 2000, my GP informed social services that I was 14 and the father of my child was 24 and ‘on a probation order’.

Yet, incredibly, my social services file notes that ‘there does not appear to be a role for SS [social services] at this time’.

I was hiding the pregnancy at home, and our rows were becoming terrible. My parents wouldn’t get off my case.

Ash, too, was becoming more violent and possessive.

On one occasion, after he saw me talking to a boy from school, he smashed my head on the dashboard and called me a ‘white whore’.

When I threatened to leave, he vowed to kill my family.

At first, he’d been pleased about the baby but then tried to make me miscarry because he didn’t want to get into trouble.

One of his ideas was to beat me really badly in the stomach; another to throw me down the stairs.

Eventually he gave me a bottle of castor oil to drink in a red-hot bath and I agreed, like I agreed to everything he wanted. But it didn’t work.

At one point, I ran away to be with Ash, and had been missing for a couple of days when the police got involved.

Ash’s relative, Jahangir Akhtar, who went on to become deputy leader of Rotherham Council, warned Ash he’d heard there would be ‘too much police involvement’ if he didn’t get me home ‘sharpish’.

Looking back, it was bizarre. Ash was told to drop me at a petrol station where police would be waiting, with assurances that he wouldn’t be questioned if he did so.

Still, I was made the subject of a Police Protection Order and a note in my file said I was ‘morally and physically in danger’ because Ash was ‘known to the police and social services’.

Mum was told not to let me out and call the police if she suspected I was with him.

A strategy meeting was supposed to take place at school, but it was cancelled as a result of something as simple as a burst pipe. It never happened.

Even today, I still don’t know what they really knew about Ash.

Many years later when, eventually, I got hold of my file, a large section was completely blacked out, marked ‘CONFIDENTIAL’.

When my parents discovered that I was pregnant, they begged me to have an abortion – and I did.

But I went through with it for Ash, not for them, and for all their concern, the relationship with him continued.

My parents called the police every time I went out.

Dad even made an 11-page statement and gave the police my diary, which contained loads of detail about my sexual relationship with Ash.

I was just 14, remember, yet every time my desperate parents approached the authorities, the response was the same: there’s nothing we can do if Sammy is not prepared to put in a complaint herself.

I understood very well by now that Ash had friends in the police and, when officers saw us together in Ash’s car, nobody stopped us. Or if they did, they’d just chat to Ash.

For my 15th birthday in June 2000, Ash said he was going to take me on my first armed robbery – of a post office.

My job was to wait in the car and monitor the police radio. They left empty-handed and, fortunately, no one was hurt.

Other times, we went on ‘petrol runs’ – filling up at the garage and then driving off without paying.

Yet when the police finally caught up with us – we were half naked in bed together, despite my age – I was the one who was charged, not Ash.

Police found an ‘offensive weapon’, a baton Ash had given me for ‘protection’ in my handbag.

I was taken to the police station and given a formal caution. It was enough for my parents to finally agree to put me into care.

They couldn’t keep me out of trouble and couldn’t keep me safe. When I was missing, they were terrified I’d be found dead.

This should have been a turning point, yet – once again – nothing really changed.

My social worker, Margaret Brown, wrote in her notes that I was seeing Ash ‘willingly’ and told my parents that the social services department had no power to prevent contact between us.

With the knowledge of the social services, my foster carers allowed my relationship with Ash to continue as long as I was home by 10pm and didn’t skip school.

Quickly, I became pregnant again.

Around this time there were about 20 girls from my school year who were involved with older Pakistani men, many of them among Ash’s circle of friends and associates.

Later, I would read minutes from a Rotherham Council strategy meeting about my case.

Sexual exploitation was discussed but, astonishingly, police said they had ‘no formal evidence or allegations regarding Ash’.

The documents show that one youth worker thought my life was at risk. It was.

During one row, he drove his car at speed into a wall, leaving us both in hospital.

Then came the terrifying clifftop threat.

Driven to despair, I even tried to kill myself by stepping in front of a bus.

Yet it was only after Ash ended up in prison for stabbing a man with a screwdriver that I resolved finally to change everything.

I’d had enough.

Holding our son, James, for the first time, I can remember thinking how much I wanted to protect him from all the violence and danger I’d been around.

He was so precious and innocent, and he deserved so much better.

Yet even then, we continued to be failed by the authorities who were supposed to protect us.

Social services discussed the need for safe housing or conditions on Ash’s licence – even an injunction – when he was freed. It never happened.

When Ash was released, he attacked me and my baby in a shopping centre but police took no action, claiming I was to blame because I’d stopped him from seeing James.

A restraining order made no difference. Ash would sit outside my flat in his car day and night, music blaring, while the police insisted there was nothing they could do.

But in the end, it was James who rescued me, and he became my real inspiration.

I wanted to give him the world, and I wanted to be the best mum ever. It was time for a fresh start.

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