Caller who fostered Manchester grooming victim opened up about police "disinterest"

15 January 2020, 15:18 | Updated: 15 January 2020, 15:50

This caller fostered a victim of a Manchester grooming gang and opened up to Shelagh Fogarty about their constant bids for justice: "we were doing more work than the police and the social workers were."

Graham told Shelagh he used to be a foster carer in Manchester sixteen years ago during the time a grooming gang of around 100 members reportedly raped and abused at least 57 young girls while the police and social services "weren't interested."

Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins has spoken out about this and said he is 'personally disgusted' that the child abuse victims were failed.

Graham said, "We were looking after a teenage girl [who] was heavily involved and being groomed by these gangs. She was being ferried around boroughs within the Greater Manchester region.

"We put a really big case together: we had phone numbers, we had names, we had registrations that were picking her up. There was one guy who was a catalyst for it all and we got a really good case, and we handed this to social services.

"Initially it was one step forward three steps back because we were being told by the police and social services 'oh well she's getting involved with these gangs, she's 15, so by the time this comes to court she may be 16 or over and there's not a great deal we can do'.

"We kept pursuing it and pushing it. She was crying for help, she even gave a police interview."

The name of the man who seemed central to the grooming gang kept coming up and so the police him up, they "didn't even bother to go and see the person" which showed they "weren't interested."

Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said he is 'personally disgusted' victims were failed by the police
Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said he is 'personally disgusted' victims were failed by the police. Picture: PA

Shelagh surmised that Graham had seen close up a lack of care for a child which was "unbelievable"; even though the girl was turning 16, Shelagh said, "I've been a 16 year old girl, you're still very much a child."

Graham agreed, "Even the taxi drivers that were ferrying her around and using her, the actual borough that we were representing as foster carers were using that taxi company to ferry looked after children around. Even after we told them what was happening."

Graham said when the Rochdale sex grooming investigation case came out, "it hit me really hard because they've failed not just the one girl, they've failed hundreds. We're just scraping the service."

"We went above and beyond," he insisted, "I did feel like we were doing more work than the police and the social workers were doing. We handed a lever arch file to the police and social services."

Shelagh recommended that Graham contact Maggie Oliver's foundation to report the fact the police only had "one phone call" with the ringleader. Maggie Oliver was the whistleblower police officer who compiled an extensive dossier of evidence against the grooming gang.

Graham agreed, "A whole society has been let down and hidden."