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Head of child abuse panel to meet with MPs

Justice Lowell Goddard Credit: Home Office

The New Zealand judge who is to lead the Independent Panel Inquiry into child sex abuse will appear before the Home Affairs Select Committee today.

Justice Lowell Goddard and her team will investigate the abuse of 1,400 young girls in Rotherham alongside the alleged Westminster VIP paedophile ring.

Home Secretary Theresa May announced the appointment last week and Justice Goddard, a judge of the High Court of New Zealand, will appear at a pre-appointment hearing before the committee today.

The Inquiry will consider whether, and the extent to which, public bodies and other important institutions have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse.

Rotherham inspectors 'did not have the focus'

A former senior official at children's care watchdog Ofsted has apologised for the organisation's failure to uncover widespread sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

Rotherham inspectors 'did not have the focus'

John Goldup, who joined Ofsted as director of social care in 2009 and was appointed deputy chief inspector in 2012, said that the watchdog did not focus as it should have done on the dangers of child sex exploitation in inspections in the South Yorkshire town

Rotherham Council was last week taken under Government control and its entire political leadership resigned after the Casey Report's withering indictment of its failure to tackle monumental levels of child sexual exploitation.

Louise Casey's report came after an inquiry by Alexis Jay last year found that more than 1,400 children had been subjected to rape, violence and trafficking by gangs of mainly Asian men over a 16-year period.

Giving evidence to the House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee, Mr Goldup was asked whether he wanted to apologise to children in Rotherham.

The former deputy chief inspector stressed that he could not speak on behalf of Ofsted, but told MPs: "Yes I do. I agree entirely with what (Ofsted head) Sir Michael Wilshaw said to the Education Select Committee two weeks ago, that we didn't get it right with child sexual exploitation in Rotherham. He apologised for that and I apologise for that.

"The inspection frameworks at the time didn't have the focus on child sexual exploitation that they would and should have had if we had known and understood then what we know and understand now.

"It is clear from reading back over the inspection reports that we didn't appreciate the scale of the child sexual exploitation issue in Rotherham and we didn't scrutinise sufficiently the effectiveness with which it was being responded to."

Mr Goldup added: "Having said that, I would also want to point out to the committee that it was when Ofsted first directly went in to do a social care inspection in Rotherham in 2009, it was an Ofsted inspection that for the first time exposed the failings in Rotherham and said very clearly that Rotherham was a failing authority.

"I think that does also say something about the strength and the robustness of Ofsted inspection then and subsequently, but I absolutely accept that we didn't have the focus on child sexual exploitation that we certainly would and should have now."

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Man jailed after pleading guilty to child abduction

A man has been jailed after pleading guilty to child abduction and trafficking offences after abducting three young girls from a Rotherham park.

Vejuhadin Ghorbani, 37, of Park Mount, Rotherham, admitted one count of trafficking and two counts of child abduction.

Vejuhadin Ghorbani, 37, of Park Mount, Rotherham, admitted one count of trafficking and two counts of child abduction.

He was jailed for three years at Sheffield Crown Court.

Ghorbani lured the girls, two aged 11 and one 13-year-old, into his car and took them to his home after meeting them in a park in Eastwood, Rotherham on the afternoon of Saturday 6 September.

The girls were reported missing at 10.20pm that evening when they failed to return home.

Police launched a large search to try to trace the girls.

The girls left Ghorbani’s flat and returned home the following morning and told police what had happened.

Ghorbani was arrested a short time later and was charged on Monday 8 September.

This man preyed on these young, vulnerable girls, the effect this had on them should not be underestimated. I would like to praise them for coming forward and reporting their ordeal to police and for the courage they have shown throughout this process. I would also like to thank the families for their trust and confidence in to secure this conviction and the local community for their help with the search. It is some small consolation for the victims and their families that Ghorbani has pleaded guilty and not forced them to relive their ordeal in court.

– Investigating Officer Detective Constable Paul Rooney

Children's charity experience 'unprecedented demand for help' in wake of Rotherham abuse scandal

The children's charity Barnardos says it has seen an 'unprecedented demand' for its help, in the wake of the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal.

Over 2000 victims of crime supported by charity last year Credit: PA Wire

Over 2000 victims of the crime were supported by the charity last year - an increase of nearly 80 per cent . They say they need more money to cope with the rise in calls.

Pedestrian critically ill after collision with a 4x4

Police are appealing for witnesses following a collision in Wentworth, Rotherham, in which a 56-year-old pedestrian was critically injured.

It happened on Friday 6 February at 2.20pm and involved a green Land Rover Defender which was travelling along Coaley Lane towards Wentworth.

About 100 yards from the junction with Smithey Bridge Lane, the Land Rover was in collision with a 56-year-old man. The Land Rover driver was not injured.

Officers are asking for any witnesses to call 101 quoting incident number 516 of 6 February 2015.

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PC 'investigated over child sex abuse scandal' dies

There is controversy surrounding a tweet posted by UKIP following the death of a South Yorkshire Police officer who was understood to be under investigation in connection with the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal. PC Hassan Ali was off-duty and on-foot when he was hit by a car on Staniforth Road at Darnall in Sheffield last week. He died from his injuries today. Chris Kiddey reports.

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PC 'investigated over child sex abuse scandal' killed in crash

A South Yorkshire Police officer understood to be under investigation over the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal has died after a car crash, the force said.

PC Hassan Ali, aged 44, was off-duty and on-foot when he was hit on Staniforth Road, Sheffield, on Wednesday night.

Ch Cons David Crompton said he died in the early hours of this morning, with his family by his bedside.

All of our thoughts are with Hassan’s family and on behalf of the force I would like to offer my sincere condolences at this incredibly difficult time.

PC Ali was a well-liked officer whose colleagues are devastated by what has happened.

– Ch Cons David Crompton, South Yorkshire Police

It is understood that complaints had been made about PC Ali in relation to revelations that hundreds of children had been sexual exploitated in Rotherham, and he was under investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Eight charged with drug offences in Rotherham

Eight people have been charged in connection with alleged Class A drugs offences in Rotherham.

Four men, two women, a 16-year-old boy and a 17-year-old boy from Rotherham have been charged with conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, namely crack cocaine and heroin.

Those charged are:

  • Vacars Khan, 27, of Selborne Street, Eastwood,
  • Jael Kuumba, 20, of Lindley Street, Eastwood,
  • Catherine Styles, 19, of Selborne Street, Eastwood,
  • Paige Raynor, 20, of Selborne Street, Eastwood,
  • Vaclav Vnoucek, 25, of Selborne Street, Eastwood,
  • Jan Toka, 20, of Selwyn Street, Eastwood,
  • Two teenagers who cannot be named for legal reasons.

They will appear before Rotherham Magistrates’ and Youth Court on 3 March.

The charges relate to a series of drugs warrants executed in the Eastwood area of Rotherham in October last year.

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