A WOMAN made pregnant at 15 by alleged child sex abuser Arshid Hussain claims when she spoke out about her childhood abuse 15 years later, she felt “blackmailed” by Rotherham Council — and believed they were going to take her children away from her.
The woman — a complainant in the ongoing trial of five men and two women over grooming and sex abuse in Rotherham — told the court she went to the press about her alleged abuse because the police had not listened to her.
Hussain faces four sexual abuse charges against this alleged victim and two abduction charges between 1999 and 2001.
He admits he fathered a child with her but denies the charges and claims he believed she was over 18 when they met, when he was aged 24.
The woman’s story was printed in August 2013 in The Times newspaper under a pseudonym after she was interviewed by journalist Andrew Norfolk.
Shortly after her story was published, she was interviewed by South Yorkshire Police about her alleged abuse.
The now 30-year-old woman said former Risky Business manager Jayne Senior put her in touch with Mr Norfolk.
She said she had known Ms Senior from being aged under 15 and attending a youth club in Greasborough where Ms Senior worked as a youth worker.
Mr Stephen Uttley, defending Hussain, said: “Ms Senior knows Andrew Norfolk, the distinguished Times reporter .Have you had meetings with them together?”
The woman said that when she gave an interview to Mr Norfolk she was on her own, but Ms Senior put her in touch with him.
Mr Uttley asked why the woman had collected newspaper reports about the Rotherham CSE scandal from the past couple of years — a bundle of 74 cuttings which she has given over to the police.
He asked why she had a keen interest in the story despite giving her police interview in August 2013.
“Why not just let them get on with their job, why such an interest in the media?,” Mr Uttley asked.
The woman answered: “I went to the police before I went to the media, which I didn’t find helpful at all, that’s why I went to the media.
“So the only reason the police started this investigation was because The Times printed my story.”
The woman said she did a lot of campaign work to try and encourage other victims to come forward, and considered stopping because she felt like she was being blackmailed by Rotherham Borough Council.
She said: “They were saying they were going to take my kids away from me for coming forward as a victim.
“The more I spoke out the more people did come forward and it was helping the situation and things were improving, I felt really proud of myself for doing that.”
The woman said social workers told her she had put her own children at risk by coming forward.
She added: “I felt like they were saying because I came forward I was going to lose my kids.
“I had been asking them for years and years to help me with my kids, then when I came forward they put them on a protection plan, but they should have been on one years ago.”
The woman said she had not made a formal complaint about this but had spoken to police about it.
She added: “I panicked, I didn't think it was fair someone would take my kids because of what happened to me, they should just help me and support me.”
Mr Uttley asked if the witness had had any discussions with Ms Senior about her allegations before she gave her police interview in August 2013
The woman said she had not.
Mr Uttley asked if she had confided in her at all about the allegations in this case.
The woman answered: “Yes, she knows a lot about my experience, I trust her, she doesn’t judge me.”
Mr Uttley asked if she had ever asked Ms Senior to “fill the gaps in her memory?”
She repiled: “I remember asking Jayne to tell me things, but she wouldn’t, which I found frustrating, but now I understand why, because of the trial.”
The woman said she could not remember when Ms Senior had begun supporting her, but knew it was before the Jay report was published (in August 2014) and “may have been around the time she was working for Sarah Champion”.
Hussain denies all 29 charges against him.
The trial continues.
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