- WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT:
- The girl walked into police station to allege she was beaten up by grooming gang
- She later claimed on social media that she was taken to an address on Tuesday
- Cumbria Police said today the teen had been charged with perverting the course of justice and was in custody, having allegedly breached her bail conditions
- Police force also reassured the public it was investigating her claims robustly
A 19-year-old girl has been charged with perverting the course of justice after telling police she was drugged and raped by an Asian sex gang in Cumbria.
The teenager, from Barrow-in-Furness, is currently in custody awaiting a court hearing, having allegedly breached her bail conditions.
Last night Cumbria Police confirmed it was investigating an incident of physical and sexual abuse that was reported by a woman in her late teens on Tuesday evening.
The girl later alleged on social media that she had been beaten, burned, drugged and trafficked for sex throughout the north of England by Pakistani men.
Her post included pictures of bruises, scratches and burn marks, and sparked a social media storm.
Cumbria Police revealed on Wednesday that they had launched a 12 month investigation into claims of sexual and physical abuse by an organised gang who were said to have trafficked girls and young women across the north of England.
An independent review team was called in to assess their handling of the investigation and safeguarding surrounding it.
Today the force said the only charges to arise from the investigation was against a young woman. In a statement it said: 'Cumbria Constabulary can confirm that a 19-year-old woman, from Barrow-in-Furness, is subject of ongoing criminal proceedings.
'She was charged with seven counts of perverting the course of justice on 26th March 2020 and was released on bail.
'She has subsequently been arrested on 20th May for breach of her bail conditions and has been remanded in custody, court date to be notified. '
In the girl's shocking social media post, she'd claimed she was put into a car on Tuesday and taken to an address so that three Asian men could have sex with her.
'Afterwards I was beaten because I was in debt to these men for not attending "parties" for over seven weeks due to coronavirus,' she wrote.
'The organisers of the party decided to beat me to teach me a lesson. They decided that I don't learn from being battered as I've received beatings before'.
She claimed her alleged abusers began to hack off one of her fingers as a punishment for 'continuing to make the same mistakes'.
One of them 'waved a knife around' while he and others in the gang threatened to kill her.
The girl supported her claims with a series of photographs showing her with black eyes, bruising to both her face and body, and what appear to be cigarette burns.
Responding to the public's horror at the social media post today, Cumbria's Head of Crime and safeguarding, Det Chief Supt Dean Holden, reiterated that there had been a robust response to the allegation.
Det Chief Holden said: 'What I can say about this particular scenario is that Cumbria Constabulary have been undertaking an operational investigation for nearly 12 months now that has been looking at specific allegations of abuse.
'That investigation has involved a dedicated investigative team, a senior investigating officer and significant resources dedicated to it.
'As a result of that investigation I can say that an individual has been charged with some offences. I have to be very careful what I say about that because I do not want to undermine any judicial processes, but what I can say is that the investigation was subjected to an independent peer review in March this year.
'That review was conducted by subject matter experts nationally, qualified and experienced in investigating sexual abuse and physical violence.
'Whilst that review did give us some minor recommendations the outcome was that the investigation was conducted with utmost integrity, transparency and professionalism.
'More importantly our safeguarding approach had been very robust and professional, which we had taken with partner agencies.
'So I want to reassure people this is not something we had ignored or otherwise dismissed, it is something we have taken extremely seriously and we have sought an independent review to ensure that our investigation is transparent and professional.
'What I would say is, when the question is asked, "Is there an organised gang of Asian men in Barrow conducting abuse or other exploitation against individuals?"
'Our investigation has shown that has not been corroborated or otherwise evidenced.
'Here in Cumbria Constabulary we are not complacent, we are humble and if individuals think they have information that suggests that is the scenario or have any information about abuse, sexual abuse or physical abuse they must contact us and put those reports in.
'We will take them very seriously and will do our utmost to investigate them and more importantly safeguard and support victims of crime. We have a really good relationship with our partner agencies and have been really well supported.'
The girl alleged she had been both physically and sexually abused by the gang over a number of years.
She also claimed that despite the police investigation into her own case, other teenagers in the area are still being attacked and trafficked.
She claimed: 'I am not the only girl in (the area) who has gone through this or is going through this. I know plenty of girls involved – including girls from away.
'This is local men and men from away. These are mostly Pakistani men and some are business owners. I wish I could name all of those involved, but due to current ongoing investigations I'm not allowed'.
She had finally come forward after 'years of me being trafficked to places across Manchester, Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria…mostly Leeds, Huddersfield, Oldham, Preston, Blackpool, Lancaster and Morecambe.
'I have been to other places as well as attending "parties" locally. This is to have sex with Asian men with me receiving nothing for it'.
She adds: 'These are evil yet clever men. They know how to manipulate, convince and threaten girls into staying. When they can't, they use extreme violence.
'I used to believe that these people loved me. I realise now that they used me for their own gain and profit. They have beaten me on multiple occasions, sometimes for no reason at all.
'They have given me drugs to the point I was nearly addicted to heroin. They have stripped me naked, beaten me and dumped me in the middle of nowhere with nothing…no money, phone, ID, clothes, shoes, nothing.
'They did this once in winter (when) I got found with bad hypothermia. They have broken my ribs and many bones in my face. They have split my ear, cut my throat, attempted to cut my boobs and nipples off.
'They have carved words into my body, branded me with letters. They have disclocated my elbow, they have stabbed me, they have burnt me and used me as an ashtray to stamp cigarettes out.
'They have beaten me black (and blue). I have had a bleed on the brain from a head injury. I have lost some vision in one of my eyes from being smacked so badly.
'Now I have had my finger cut. They have put lit petrol rags and threatening letters through my letter box, they have followed me home, tried to drown me, strangled me and they have stalked me'.
She claimed members of the gang were sometimes armed and had either waved their guns around or else held them to her head.
For years she tried to cover up the abuse by claiming she had hurt herself in accidents. Her suffering caused her to attempt suicide as a way to escape.
'I lost all my self-respect and didn't actually care if I was killed because at least then all this would be over. I know now that this has gone too far and everything is not ok. I have scars across my body that won't go away, but even worse I have memories that won't disappear'.
'I am incredibly lucky not to be dead already. I thought the only way I could escape this life was to marry one of them, get pregnant or kill myself'.
Girl X insists she will continue to tell the police everything she knows so she can help them 'fix this'. She believes she deserves justice and will feel 'so proud of myself' if she can achieve it by bringing her alleged abusers to trial.
She wants other girls to be aware of the issue of grooming and to remember that 'if a man asks you to keep it a secret it's usually because what he is doing is wrong'.
Under-age girls should be shown the 'disturbing' images of her abuse if their families or friends felt it would help frighten them into staying clear of the gangs.
They might see the attention given to them by such men as 'fun and nice at the start', but the photographs represented the reality of 'how it ends'.