Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Child sex abuse still happening in Rochdale claims health worker

Girls are still being abused in Rochdale despite nine men being convicted of running a child sex ring in the town, a health worker has said.

Sara Rowbotham, from the Rochdale Crisis Intervention Team, is tasked with identifying young people vulnerable to child sex exploitation.

She told an inquiry that agencies had treated the victims "appallingly".

The team co-ordinator also told the Home Affairs Select Committee the abuse had started in 2004 and not 2007.
'Still sexual exploitation'
Rochdale Crisis Intervention Team identifies young people thought to be some of society's most vulnerable and helps with their sexual health.

"In Rochdale, there is still sexual exploitation," Ms Rowbotham said.

"We are attending strategy meetings where these concerns have been raised."

Children involved are about 14 or 15 years old, she said.

Sara Rowbotham
Speaking of the victims of the convicted men, Ms Rowbotham told the committee: "These vulnerable people did not have a voice and they were treated appallingly by protective agencies."

She said she had made 103 referrals of "incredibly vulnerable" cases to police and social services between 2005 and 2011 and there had been only nine convictions in May that she was aware of.

The ex-chief executive of Rochdale Council, which was criticised for staff "deficiencies" in a report by the town's safeguarding children board, told the hearing he knew nothing of the abuse until the men's arrests in 2010.

Roger Ellis told the committee as chief executive he had "felt a deep sense of responsibility" and was "embarrassed at the authority's failings", but not personally.

The council was criticised in the report for failing to help the victims,

"I don't feel any personal culpability based on the information that was available to me," he said.

Mr Ellis, who was chief executive for 12 years, said "clearly information was withheld" from him by staff.

"I did not know about these particular issues. I can't explain why I wasn't made aware [of] what was happening."

Mr Ellis left the authority in 2010. When asked if he received a pay-off, he told the committee he could not reveal the amount due to "confidentiality".

He agreed there should be a judicial inquiry into what had happened in Rochdale to find out "who had failed" the children.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Sex crime nursery worker Alexander Mortimer has jail term cut

A nursery worker from Lanarkshire who was jailed for eight years for filming himself abusing young boys has had his prison term cut by appeal judges.

Alexander Mortimer, 28, admitted assaulting the boys, taking indecent photographs of children, and possessing indecent images.

His lawyers successfully argued he was not given a large enough sentence reduction for his early guilty plea.

Appeal judges reduced his prison term to five years and 11 months.

When he was sentenced, the High Court in Edinburgh heard how Mortimer filmed and photographed the abuse he carried out, and was found to have 17,967 indecent images and 582 videos on his computer.

Read More: BBC News

Shamed peer allowed back into House of Lords despite failing to repay a penny of her £125,000 false expenses

  • Baroness Uddin owns three properties with her husband but says she is 'too poor' to repay money
  • Peer had 'never been seen' at main home in Maidstone
  • Fears she will use tax-free £300-per-day House of Lords allowance to slowly pay back £125k
By Kirsty Walker

Expenses: Police Unable To Use MacShane Letters

Disgraced former minister's letters on false claims for thousands of pounds are protected by parliamentary privilege.

Letters in which a former Labour minister admitted expenses abuses cannot be used to prosecute him because they are protected by parliamentary privilege, an official has said.

Denis MacShane stepped down as an MP after a damning report from the Commons expenses watchdog found he had wrongly claimed thousands of pounds.

The report said he submitted 19 false invoices "plainly intended to deceive" Parliament's expenses authority - which said the case was the "gravest" it had dealt with.

There are now calls for a police investigation into Mr MacShane's expense claims, which was dropped in July, to be reopened.

The Metropolitan Police said: "We are aware of the report and will be assessing its content in due course."

The letters, which were never shown to the original inquiry because of parliamentary privilege, are likely to be examined by the police, but are still protected from being used in court.

Clerk of the Journals Liam Laurence Smyth, who is responsible for parliamentary privilege issues, admitted that many people would find the situation "surprising", but said privilege was necessary for Parliament to function effectively.

Even if Mr MacShane had openly admitted criminal behaviour in his evidence, the police would not be able to rely on the comments in court, he said.

However, he suggested the police might now be able to use the letters as a "map" to further their own enquiries.

Conservative MP Philip Davies, who urged the Met to reopen its investigation, said it was a "sad state of affairs" that Mr MacShane was protected by parliamentary privilege.

"All it will do is further undermine the reputation of Parliament," he said.

"There will be millions of people out there who think that MPs are above the law and that is what the perception will be."

Parliamentary Standards Commissioner John Lyon found the MP had entered 19 "misleading" expenses claims for research and translation services from a body called the European Policy Institute (EPI), signed by its supposed general manager.

However, the institute did not exist "in this form" by the time in question and the general manager's signature was provided by Mr MacShane himself or someone else "under his authority".

One letter from the MP to Mr Lyon in October 2009 described how he drew funds from the EPI so he could serve on a book-judging panel in Paris.

"I appreciate the committee's ruling that I made no personal gain and I regret my foolishness in the manner I chose to be reimbursed for work including working as the Prime Minister's personal envoy in Europe," he said.

MPs' Expenses: Denis MacShane Quits As MP

Denis MacShane declares he is stepping down as an MP after making false expenses claims running to thousands of pounds.

A former Labour minister has announced he is resigning as an MP after being suspended from the Commons for making false expenses claims.

It follows a damning report from the Commons expenses watchdog, which found Denis MacShane wrongly claimed thousands of pounds.

The report said he submitted 19 false invoices "plainly intended to deceive" Parliament's expenses authority - which said the case was the "gravest" it had dealt with.

The move came after the Labour Party declared the Rotherham MP's career to be "effectively over", and with Scotland Yard facing demands to reopen a criminal investigation.

Speaking of Mr MacShane's resignation, a senior Labour source said: "Denis has done the right thing."

A statement issued by former minister said: "I have been overwhelmed by messages of support for my work as an MP on a range of issues but I accept that my parliamentary career is over.

"I appreciate the committee's ruling that I made no personal gain and I regret my foolishness in the manner I chose to be reimbursed for work including working as the Prime Minister's personal envoy in Europe.

"I want to thank the people of Rotherham for allowing me to serve as their MP and the Labour Party for allowing me over the years to fight for the causes I believe in."

The committee's sanctions follow an investigation by Parliamentary Standards Commissioner John Lyon, who accused Mr MacShane of "extremely serious" rule-breaking.

It also emerged in today's report that the commissioner's findings had not been shared with the Metropolitan Police, which dropped its own lengthy inquiry into Mr MacShane without further action in July.

Conservative MP Philip Davies urged police to revisit the allegations against Mr MacShane armed with the detailed evidence in the commissioner's "astonishing" report.

In a letter to the Met, he wrote: "Now that the report has been published, and parliamentary privilege no longer applies, I would ask you to consider reopening the investigation into Mr MacShane."

Committee officials suggested that the evidence from Mr MacShane would not be legally admissible - even though it has not now been made public.

The committee said it was impossible to say how much Mr MacShane claimed "outside the rules" but estimated it "may have been in the order of £7,500".

Sky News

Friday, 2 November 2012

Newsnight caught in fresh paedophile storm amid claims 'senior political figure' will be outed on show

  • Editor of the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Iain Overton, makes claim on Twitter
  • The tweet prompts furious speculation online about the identity of the alleged paedophile, who is still alive
  • Channel Four's Michael Crick claims he has spoken to the man, who denies allegations and will sue if Newsnight shows investigation

  • BBC refuses to confirm if the investigation into the alleged abuser exists

  • The BBC has been dragged into a fresh storm over a second Newsnight paedophile investigation, it emerged today.
    Editor of the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Iain Overton, mysteriously tweeted that a 'senior political figure' was to be outed as a child-abuser on the programme this evening.
    The investigation about the unnamed man, who is alive, is being looked at by the BBC's legal team, MailOnline understands, but the corporation is refusing to confirm the probe exists.
    This is despite Mr Overton's crystal clear message online: 'If all goes well we've got a Newsnight out tonight about a very senior political figure who is a paedophile.'

    Mr Overton's bureau is a not-for-profit organisation which works with news outlets to publish in-depth investigations. It says it has been working on this project for the BBC.

    It piles more pressure on the beleaguered corporation after last month it was revealed Newsnight dumped an investigation into paedophile Sir Jimmy Savile, even though they had interviewed his victims.

    Channel Four political correspondent Michael Crick says he has spoken to the man at the centre of the allegations, who denied that he was a paedophile and said he would sue if Newsnight broadcasts anything on him tonight.

    He also added that the man said he had not been approached for a comment by the BBC, despite it being earmarked for tonight's Newsnight.

    The Metropolitan Police have told MailOnline they have not been handed anything on the subject of the investigation.

    Read more: Daily Mail

    Thursday, 1 November 2012

    Freddie Starr arrested in Jimmy Savile abuse inquiry

    Entertainer Freddie Starr has been arrested in the police inquiry into sex abuse claims against Jimmy Savile.

    Mr Starr, from Warwickshire, was arrested by Operation Yewtree officers on suspicion of sexual offences and has been taken into police custody locally.

    He has denied claims he groped a girl of 14 while in a room with Savile.

    Meanwhile, an independent review into BBC Newsnight's dropping of a programme about the allegations against Savile will report later this month.

    Meanwhile, an independent review into BBC Newsnight's dropping of a programme about the allegations against Savile will report later this month.
    Operation Yewtree is a Scotland Yard criminal inquiry into sexual abuse claims.
    The Metropolitan Police said officers arrested a man in his 60s, from Warwickshire, at 17:45 GMT in connection with the investigation and was "taken into police custody locally".
    Police said the individual fell under the strand of the investigation termed "Savile and others".
    On Sunday, ex-pop star Gary Glitter was arrested and bailed after being questioned as part of the inquiry.
    Glitter, 68, whose real name is Paul Gadd, was arrested at home and questioned at a London police station before being released on bail until mid-December.

    Read more: BBC News

    The High Street: A year of casualties

    The high street: A year of casualties

    • January
    • Peacocks collapsed, placing 7,500 jobs in jeopardy
    • Pumpkin Patch went into administration with 400 jobs put at risk
    • Past Times appointed administrators, resulting in 507 redundancies
    • La Senza collapsed, triggering 1,300 redundancies
    • Barratts called in administrators, cutting 680 jobs
    • March
    • Game collapsed, triggering 2,104 job losses
    • April
    • Aquascutum fell into administration but was sold in May, saving 100 jobs
    • Allied Carpets saw nine stores saved after going bust for the third time in three years
    • May
    • Clinton Cards fell into administration with 397 of its stores sold on
    • June
    • Allders called in administrators Duff and Phelps
    • July
    • Ethel Austin went into administration, risking around 500 jobs
    • Julian Graves called in administrators, putting more than 700 jobs at risk
    • October
    • Around 2,200 JJB Sports staff were made redundant after administrators were called in