- Rotherham child abuse scandal: Missing files 'fuel public suspicion of a deliberate cover-up’, say MPs
- Rotherham child abuse scandal: Shamed former children's services boss gets £40,000 pay-off
- Visitor at home shared by couple heard stories of murder, animal sacrifice
Rotherham child abuse scandal: Missing files 'fuel public suspicion of a deliberate cover-up’, say MPs
MPs accuse council and police of ignoring credible warnings
Nigel Morris Author Biography
Deputy Political Editor
Saturday 18 October 2014
Fears of a “deliberate cover-up” by public officials of the sexual abuse of children in Rotherham have been fuelled by the large number of documents detailing the scandal which have vanished, an investigation by MPs has concluded.
They urged the Home Office to launch an immediate search for the missing paperwork and to examine claims that files warning about the activities of paedophile rings were stolen from a locked council office in the South Yorkshire town.
In a report published on Saturday, the Commons home affairs select committee said the “shocking” failure to act on repeated warnings of systematic exploitation had exposed more victims to abuse.
At least 1,400 girls as young as 11 were groomed and abused by gangs in the town over a 16 year period and new victims continue to come forward.
The committee, in its second inquiry into Rotherham, said there was “compelling evidence” that the town’s council and South Yorkshire Police ignored “numerous, credible warnings about the scale of child sexual exploitation”.
And it raised suspicions that officials colluded to conceal evidence which could have uncovered the scandal years before it came to light.
The MPs heard private evidence from a former researcher who was hired by Rotherham Council to find ways of catching men who tried to lure girls and vulnerable young women into prostitution....
Rotherham child abuse scandal: Shamed former children's services boss gets £40,000 pay-off
Oct 18, 2014 By Karen Rockett
Joyce Thacker has been given the pay-off as she was named as one of the people singled out for criticism in a new report into the child sex abuse scandal
Shamed former Rotherham children's services boss Joyce Thacker has received a £40,000 pay-off.
The revelation comes as Mrs Thacker is among key figures in the town's child sex abuse scandal singled out for criticism in a new report.
Mrs Thacker agreed the five-figure sum as a pay-off for leaving her £130,000 per year job, which took immediate effect last month.
Furious abuse victims said Mrs Thacker should donate her pay-off to the Rotherham Women's Counselling Service....
Mrs Thacker was criticised in Home Affairs Select Committee report, which has also called for an independent investigation to be launched by the Home Office.
It says the probe should focus on whether there was a "deliberate cover-up" after files relating to the town's child sexual exploitation problems were stolen from the office of a council researcher in 2002.
MPs on the committee, which called for Mrs Thacker to resign a week before she left, also concluded South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Council had "ignored numerous credible warnings about the scale of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham"....
Mrs Thacker had faced repeated calls to resign or be sacked in the wake of the Jay Report, which revealed at least 1,400 children in had been sexually exploited between 1997 and 2013....
Visitor at home shared by couple heard stories of murder, animal sacrifice
Warrants sealed in Clemmons homicides; Crews clear debris
Thursday, October 16, 2014 9:00 pm
Wesley Young/Winston-Salem Journal
More details continue to emerge about the lives of Pazuzu Algarad and Amber Burch, the two people arrested on Oct. 5 and charged in the murder and burial of two men at their Clemmons home.
According to a friend of Burch, Algarad’s girlfriend, he claimed to get a high from eating the “still-beating heart” of a sacrificial animal and bragged openly about having killed two prostitutes.
That friend visited the house in 2009 where the couple lived on Knob Hill Drive in Clemmons. Algarad and Burch are each charged with murder in connection with the deaths of two men whose remains were found recently in the couple’s backyard....
Walking into the house, trying not to step in excrement, Burch’s friend saw Satanic sayings written on the walls and filthy dishes piled up with “bugs crawling all over them.”
Algarad bragged about killing two prostitutes, the friend said, adding that neither she nor Burch really believed he had done it.
“The facial tattoos, the Satanism, I never gave it much thought,” the friend said. “I figured he was just trying to psych everybody out.”
The friend said she never saw anyone from the Winston-Salem area at the couple’s house when she was there, and doesn’t know anything about Joshua Wetzler and Tommy Dean Welch, who have been identified as the two men buried in the backyard. She said she and her friends have been wondering about the victims — who they were, and how they might have ended up at the house.
Authorities have not said how the two men were killed or what connection they had to Algarad and Burch. Arrest warrants say Algarad, who is 35, killed Wetzler in July 2009 and that Burch, who is 24, helped him bury the body. In October 2009, arrest warrants say, Burch killed Welch and Algarad helped with the burial....
Algarad talked a lot about ritual sacrifices, Burch’s friend said, but never mentioned human sacrifice.
“He made it a point to mention all the time that once a month he has to sacrifice … a small rabbit or small animal,” the friend said. “He would describe the animal and bathing in or drinking the blood. He would get a drug-like high from eating the still-beating heart. I thought he was feeding me a load of crap. I thought it was a big show, one of those shock factors. He would say something along the lines of, ‘We sacrificed it and had sex in its blood.’ I slept there on a number of occasions and I never worried about him slicing my throat or anything.”
Burch’s friends had nicknamed her Bubbles because of her bright personality, the friend said, but the woman she saw in Winston-Salem was not the Amber she had known.
“She was the type of girl that it didn’t matter what was going on that was bad, it was her personal goal to put a smile on her friends’ faces,” the friend said.
Burch’s friend said she thinks Algarad “brainwashed” Burch....
The change in Burch is what “blows my mind,” the friend said.
“She couldn’t handle someone spanking a dog for peeing on the floor,” she said. “She was into peace, love and happiness. She was a hippie. She wasn’t a devil-worshipping Satanist killing machine that everyone is saying she is.”