‘More could have been done for tragic Laura’

Tragic case: Laura Wilson
Tragic case: Laura Wilson
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A TEENAGE mum stabbed to death by her ex-lover after she told his relatives of their affair had been known to social services in the town since she was 12, it has emerged.

Laura Wilson, aged 17, was knifed and then dumped in a canal by Ashtiaq Asghar, 18, to ‘punish’ her for telling his relatives about their fling.

She had also just told relatives of another ex-lover – 22-year-old Ishaq Hussain, of Ferham, Road, Holmes – that she had given birth to his daughter four months earlier.

Lord Justice Davis, who jailed Asghar for a minimum of 17 years after he admitted murder, said he believed both men had hatched a ‘plan’ to punish Laura because of the ‘trouble’ she was bringing to their doors. He said both men had ‘regarded white girls simply as sexual targets’.

Laura, who was killed in October 2010, had been known to social services since 2005 and was thought to have been at risk of sexual exploitation.

A Rotherham Council spokesman said when Laura was 12 she was the subject of ‘preventive’ work.

A serious case review into the circumstances surrounding her death and what led to it is under way.

Alan Hazell, chairman of Rotherham Local Safeguarding Children Board, said it was a ‘complex and tragic case’ and there were times when agencies could have done more for the teenager.

He said: “This was a despicable crime in which a vulnerable young woman was viciously attacked and left for dead. It has left a young child without a mother and we hope that the conviction which has been secured and the sentence handed down will help her family and friends as they continue to come to terms with what happened.

“The Rotherham Local Safeguarding Children Board has commissioned a Serious Case Review. Whilst not wishing to pre-empt that report, it is clear that Laura’s situation was very complex, which made it difficult for agencies to engage with her.

“However, there were times when agencies may have worked differently or more effectively. All agencies which had links with Laura have taken part in the review and have already shown a strong commitment to learn any lessons the case has highlighted.

“The Serious Case Review will include a series of recommendations, many of which have already been addressed and other actions will be completed as soon as practical.

“Agencies in Rotherham have also taken a very pro-active approach, and have been successful in bringing people to court for the exploitation of vulnerable young women. There are also excellent examples of inter-agency working to protect our vulnerable young people.

“This Serious Case Review, along with learning from other cases, all help professionals to focus on where changes can be made and where care can be improved, as the ultimate aim has to be keeping young people safe from any type of harm.

“However, that cannot be achieved by agencies alone and work has to carry on with families and communities to engage them in helping achieve that aim.”

In November last year five Asian men who groomed teenage girls in Rotherham and had sex with them in park, alleyways and cars around the town were jailed for 32 years after being found guilty of sex abuse charges.