ITV News reveals how police ignored teenage victim's written account of sexual abuse

Victoria Agoglia Byrne Credit: Manchester Evening News

ITV News Correspondent Martin Geissler reports.

ITV News has learned that police are to re-open an investigation into the death of a Rochdale teenager who alleged she was sexually exploited by a gang of older men.

Victoria Agoglia Byrne, 15, died of a suspected drugs overdose in 2003. She was living in a care home for young people at the time.

In an account written as much as two years before her death, Victoria described her sexual abuse by a gang of older men.

As part of our investigation into failings by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) to investigate sexual exploitation, ITV News can reveal that Victoria's account was handed to police in 2004 but was never acted upon.

Part of the written account by Victoria. Credit: ITV News

Although one man was later jailed for supplying drugs to the teenager, officers have never pursued allegations that she was sexually abused.

Victoria's account, which is not printed in full out of respect for her family, includes references to sexual exploitation and drugs. An extract reads:

Joan Agoglia speaks to ITV News Correspondent Martin Geissler. Credit: ITV News

Victoria's grandmother, Joan Agoglia, said she was never told about the account, despite raising concerns that her granddaughter was a victim of abuse.

Joan said that everything in the account tallies with the types of things her granddaughter told her privately in the months leading up to her death.

Joan alleges that her granddaughter was too frightened to give details of her abusers or to leave the care home for fear of reprisals.

"She kept on saying 'if I don't go back they'll get me and they'll come and get you and all'. They knew where I lived and they knew where my sister and my daughter lived," Joan said.

Victoria's family believe that if her account had been acted on sooner, it could have prevented her death as well as the other well-publicised cases of grooming in Rochdale.

On Tuesday, ITV News exclusively revealed that officers in Manchester failed to act on an internal report detailing allegations of the sexual exploitation of young girls.

The report shows that GMP knew Victoria was a victim of grooming, but failed to investigate.

The report's author, former detective constable Margaret Oliver, has claimed there is a "lack of desire" to investigate abuse.

GMP Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy has admitted that some of his officers "developed a mindset that victims in these sorts of cases would always been unreliable."

He told ITV News that there was the potential for old cases to be reopened and added that he is "quite happy" to look at Victoria's case again.