Radio Sandwell Local News

Police investigate historical Cannock Chase child abuse gang

2015-05-26 18:36:22

Esther BakerEsther Baker on Sky News

Police have launched a major investigation into claims a high-powered paedophile ring systematically abused children on Cannock Chase in the 1980s and 90s.

And the Staffordshire force has already interviewed one woman who alleges police officers were present - and shielded the perpetrators.

Assistant Chief Constable Jon Drake said: “We are determined to thoroughly gather any evidence which will allow us to bring those who may have been involved to justice, while taking a sensitive approach to supporting the victim throughout.”

Esther Baker, 32, waived her right to anonymity to give Sky News shocking details of the alleged abuse, which she says involved at least one politician.

Ms Baker said she was attacked from the age of six at homes studded around Staffordshire and on the Chase.

She claims she and others were plied with alcohol before being abused and that one of the ring was referred to as “Lord” by others.

In her interview, Ms Baker urged other alleged victims to step forward. “I know they are terrified to come forward, I know what they were told, I know what threats were made and I know why they are scared.

“But every one of us that comes forward will hold a different piece of the puzzle. I can’t fill it in on my own.”

ACC Drake described the allegations as “very serious” and stressed the investigation is at an early stage.

He added: “Specially trained officers are carrying out a number of interviews with the victim to build up an understanding of what took place, and her recollections of all those involved.

“We will continue to interview her over the coming days, recognising the horrific nature of what we are investigating. To be clear, regardless of role, anyone who has been involved in criminal offences will be investigated to provide justice for the victim.

“Child abuse is a terrible crime, whenever it occurs. We are keen to hear from anyone who knows more about the allegations, or any other victim of child sexual abuse, and they can contact the police through 101, or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

“In this specific case the victim has made the decision to waive her right to anonymity. Staffordshire Police wants to reassure anyone who has been a victim of any form of child or sexual abuse that their anonymity will be protected.”

It is understood Ms Baker, currently receiving support from Merseyside’s Lantern Project, set-up for survivors of sexual abuse, has given the name of one politician to police.

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