All posts tagged EVIDENCE

Rotherham child abuse was raised ‘at highest level’

Published October 26, 2014 by misty534


Child abuse in Rotherham was raised “at the highest level” as far back as 2002 but officials apparently pressured a researcher to change her report.

The then chief constable Mike Hedges and the council’s director of education Di Billups were among those said to have been warned by the researcher.

Documents detailing her concerns, shown to the home affairs select committee in private, have been seen by the BBC.

The researcher said it was “a tragedy” her evidence was not looked at in 2002.

In her report to the committee the researcher, initially employed by the council to investigate prostitution, said she was pressured to present her findings in a way that presented services in Rotherham in “a better light”.

Scale of abuse

The researcher claimed she had “repeatedly” tried to raise concerns at senior levels “in the police force, social care and education”.

The scale of child abuse in Rotherham was not revealed until this year when Professor Alexis Jay’s report found at least 1400 children had been exploited.


Mike Hedges told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that the first he had known of the abuse was on the news

The researcher claimed she had written to Mr Hedges and the then Rotherham District Commander Christine Burbeary, both of South Yorkshire Police, about the scale of the abuse in October 2001.

Ms Burbeary was said to have been “furious” about the letter to the chief constable according to the researcher’s report and left her feeling “extremely intimidated and undermined”.

After allegedly receiving the letter, the report claims the chief constable called Ged Fitzgerald, who was then chief executive of Rotherham Council, to ask why the researcher had written to him. Mr Fitzgerald was said to have then contacted Ms Billups to ask for an explanation.

Yet last month, Mr Hedges told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that the first he had known of the abuse was on the news.

He said he had “no recollection” of ever seeing the letter.

Still concerned that children were being abused on a “daily” basis, the researcher submitted some of her evidence to Home Office evaluators.


The researcher who gave evidence to the Home Affairs select committee has remained anonymous

That evidence is now missing. The researcher claimed there was a “raid” on her office the weekend after she submitted the evidence.

On coming into work, she claimed she found that all of the data relating to the Home Office work had been removed from filing cabinets. Documents on the office computer had been deleted, while others were created detailing the minutes of meetings.

The researcher added in her report: “The minutes of those meetings showed that I had apparently agreed to certain conditions regarding the disclosure of the data.

“I had not attended any such meetings, in fact the date of one of the meetings that I had supposedly attended was when I was overseas on annual leave.”

When she returned to the office later she had a new line manager, Christine Broadhurst-Brown. The researcher was suspended for submitting confidential data to the evaluators without permission.

‘Hostility and intimidation’

She reported the break-in to Ms Broadhurst-Brown but the removal of the data was never reported to the police, the report claims.

The researcher told the committee: “During my final months at Rotherham, I was subjected to intense personal hostility and intimidation, not just from the council, but also South Yorkshire Police.

“There is no doubt in my mind that I was placed under pressure to change and present my findings in a way that presented services in Rotherham in a better light

“I think that these requests were made by those identified in this summary in the belief that the data on which I based my research was no longer available to me and that I would not be able to defend or prove my findings.

“I find it personally and professionally a tragedy that Rotherham did not avail itself of the opportunity it had to explore the information and evidence that I was providing to senior managers in key services in 2002.

“Professor Jay’s report shows what the consequences of that has been for the children of Rotherham.”

Mr Fitzgerald, now chief executive at Liverpool Council, has said he would “co-operate openly” in any investigation or public inquiry.

Mr Hedges, Ms Burbeary, Ms Broadhurst-Brown and Ms Billups all declined to comment.

BBC News

Child Sexual Abuse in the British Establishment

Published October 1, 2014 by misty534

Screen Shot 2014-09-27 at 12.11.44

Melanie Shaw

Melanie Shaw, a vulnerable abuse victim and vital abuse whistleblower, remains in high security prison HMP Peterborough, with no substantive evidence against her, no proper NHS medication that she has taken daily over many years, no treatment for her leg ulcer, no access her psychiatrist, no visits from her family, interference with her mail, bullying from prison warders, a national mainstream media black out and a stunning silence from her MP Chris Leslie and other MPs.

On 11 July 2014 Melanie Shaw, a survivor of abuse at Beechwood Childrens Home, Nottingham, was arrested on charges of arson of a neighbour’s shed, a charge that she denies. Nottingham police initially refused to say she had been arrested, and only admitted she was held in custody after numerous calls from the public who were concerned at her disappearance. Police police later seemed confused over the date of the alleged arson offence, publicly quoting both 1 February and 4 April 2014.

At a hearing at Nottingham Crown Court on 25 July the prosecution failed to present evidence, despite the Judge prompting them with references to a finger or palm print.

In what was described as a fumbling statement to the Judge, the prosecution excused the lack of evidence and promised it would be available ‘shortly.’ Despite the absence of evidence against her, her status as a vulnerable abuse victim and her importance as a key witness to widespread child abuse, the Judge was happy to place Melanie on remand, at a prison in which she has already suffered bullying, strip searches, denial of her NHS medication and disorientation through repeated relocation between cells.

Her defence team failed to communicate with her and failed to challenge the lack of evidence. At no point was Melanie asked to speak in her own defence.

Melanie had stated just prior to her arrest, that Nottingham police had failed to properly investigate both the widespread child abuse, and the deaths of numerous children within the ‘care’ of Nottingham City and County Council at Beechwood and other homes.

Note that Nottinghamshire police have used arson charges before to smear a witness’ name.

There were several flaws in the legal process, but she is remanded in a prison, Peterborough, where bullying is rife. She says she is not being given her Valium. If so, this is of grave concern, as it will at best cause discomfort, and at worst cause seizures which could be fatal.

Melanie was told to expect a “direction hearing” on 12th Sepember. She prepared for it, but was then told that it was cancelled because the judge was on holiday. She has discharged her legal team for incompetence.

Campaigners should get a legal opinion on whether a writ of Habeas Corpus should be issued for Melanie.

22nd September 2014: Melanie was on hunger strike, though this is reported to have stopped shortly after.

24th September Update


Here are sample letters to Melanie and the Director of HMP Peterborough.

Copy them, but then customise them. Remember to be scrupulously polite to the Director

Melanie Shaw A4126DE,
HMP Peterborough,
Saville Road,
Peterborough PE3 7PD

I am so sorry to read on the internet about your case. Be assured that there are a lot of people out here who know about you, and are rooting for you. There is a petition on the Web calling for your release.

As a retired doctor and Chair of Battle Against Tranquillisers I am concerned to read that you are not getting your regular dose of Valium. This must be making you feel awful. I will be writing to the Governor of HMP Peterborough to ask him to restore your dose, and to make sure that you are treated as the important and well-known person that you now are.

Remember – you will be released, you will have freedom again, and in the end, you will get justice. It will take time. Just be patient and always remember this bad time will pass.

I enclose a book of 6 first class stamps.

With my very best wishes

Director Nick Leader
HMP Peterborough,
Saville Road,
Peterborough PE3 7PD

Re Melanie Shaw A4126DE

In common with an increasing number of people I am aware of this lady’s status as an important witness to historic abuse in a Childrens Home. I am very concerned for here welfare, and am writing to make sure that she is not harmed in any way while on remand in HMP Peterborough.

As a retired doctor and Chair of Battle Against Tranquillisers (www.bataid.org) I am concerned to read that Melanie is not getting her regular dose of Valium. At best, this may be making her feel extremely anxious and ill. At worst, it puts her at risk of seizures, which carry a risk of death. I would respectfully ask you therefore to instruct the prison medical services to restore Melanie to her previous dose, and if it is decided to reduce it, to do so very gradually indeed, in line with current practice guidelines. Thank you.

Please also ensure that Melanie is not bullied or abused. As a survivor of past abuse in her childhood, she will be very vulnerable emotionally and physically to any threat of this kind.

Thank you for giving attention to Melanie’s case.

With best wishes


Published September 14, 2014 by misty534

Is this another cover-up of a paedophile ring unfolding?



While child rapists avoid prosecution simply by apologising to their young victims, abuse witness at Beechwood Children’s Home, Nottingham, Melanie Shaw, is locked up on remand in Peterborough prison accused of arson with no evidence of a crime having been committed.


She says she’s being persecuted because she exposed a paedophile ring. To a public accustomed to abuse scandals and cover-ups, Melanie’s story is bound to set alarm bells ringing.


It was Friday 11th July when news first emerged of Melanie Shaw’s disappearance during a lunchtime broadcast on internet TV channel, UK Column, after the team received a mysterious text message from Melanie urging them to call her urgently: ‘…I don’t trust the police and I may be locked up tomorrow’ it said.


Shortly before her arrest, Melanie had criticised Operation Daybreak, the police investigation into Beechwood and other children’s homes; where rampant abuse and deaths are alleged to have occurred. A victim of rapes, physical assaults and psychological abuse suffered within the care system, Melanie suddenly found herself accused of setting fire to a neighbour’s shed; a charge she denies and was remanded in HMP Peterborough.


Bullied by staff, strip-searched several times, her Valium and other prescription medicines withheld for the first three weeks – this harsh prison environment is where Melanie remains incarcerated today as she awaits news of the trial. It’s a stress and distraction she could do without.


Normally, for someone of good character, there would have to be strong reasons for being held in custody. Such treatment is likely to reinforce her distrust of authority, says Jon Bird of NAPAC (The National Association for People Abused in Childhood). “She already says she doesn’t trust the police. We need to make sure such people feel confident that their testimony will be taken seriously if the perpetrators of abuse against children are to be caught and stopped.”


“Unfortunately, we know that defence teams will use any means available to discredit a witness, that is what they are paid to do. We continually see such practices allowed by judges and many other sectors of society, who find it easier to blame victims rather than seek out the really dangerous criminals.”


The GP who guided Melanie towards recovery over twenty years – a man she has nothing but praise for – is now under investigation by the General Medical Council. He too has become a target, she says, and can’t be named for legal reasons.


Nottinghamshire City Council and County Council deny liability for abuses against Melanie and some 100 other victims of Beechwood Children’s Home, but have already paid out compensation to 26 former residents to the tune of £250,000. Some of the allegations made against staff go back as far as the late 60s through to the early 00s.


Chris Ratcliffe, a Director with Uppal Taylor Solicitors and the solicitor acting for 75 former residents, said in an earlier press release: “the sheer scale of the allegations made is shocking. We are not just talking about a discrete period of time with a few rogue members of staff. What we are looking at here is a period of around 40 years, during which numerous vulnerable children were abused by a number of staff members.”


“These former residents suffered great pain and fear, during their residence at Beechwood, and the impact that such terrible abuse has had upon their lives is immeasurable. The former residents deserve recognition for the atrocities that they suffered and compensation, which will go some way to rebuilding the life that they could have had, had they been looked after properly.”


Writing from prison, Melanie paints a disturbing image of deeply traumatised inmates. “There are so many ex-care kids of government rape and torture in here, self-harming, people with terrible burns where the boiling water urn suddenly turns up, broken hands from hitting walls.”


Melanie, who bravely stepped forward in 2011 as a witness, hopes her testimony will help deliver justice for all ex-care victims. “It’s not right the perpetrators, the Council and Police investigate themselves,” she says. “We want a full public enquiry into kids care home abuse nationally and the truth for the victims and public.”


Meanwhile, a change in attitude towards victims is needed, says Jon Bird. “Anger is a very common and understandable emotional response. Unfortunately for children in care or in difficult home situations there is very little emotional support and the young people are labelled as simply being ‘bad children’. So we should not be surprised if abused and unsupported young people exhibit challenging behaviour. They need support to recover, not more punishment in an environment which is far from nurturing.”


By: Anna Bragga