Police ‘were told girl was pressured to prostitute herself to Rotherham taxi drivers in 1990s’

Karen MacGregor, accused of being part of a Rotherham grooming ring
Karen MacGregor, accused of being part of a Rotherham grooming ring
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Police were told an underage teenage girl was being pressured to have sex with Asian taxi drivers in Rotherham – but no action was ever taken, a court heard.

A 38-year-old woman, who said she lived at the home of defendant Karen MacGregor when she was 14 or 15 years old, said that she and other girls living in the property in the 1990s had been told to ‘earn their keep’ by having sex with men.

No details were given in Sheffield Crown Court as to when the complaint was made, but it occurred after the woman had left MacGregor’s house in the early 1990s and was living in Sheffield.

Louise Sweet, representing 40-year-old defendant Shelley Davies, who also lived in the property around the same time, asked the woman: “Do you remember, after you had left Karen’s house and gone to Sheffield, speaking to a lady police officer and telling her while you were living at Karen’s house pressure was put on you to prostitute yourself with Asian taxi driver friends of Karen’s?”

The woman, who cannot be named, said she could remember speaking to a probation officer but not to the police.

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When asked if anybody had done anything about the matter, the woman said: “I don’t think so, I can’t remember.”

The court was also told that police and social services had been aware that teenage girls had been living with MacGregor, who is now 58.

Robert Wyn Jones, representing MacGregor, asked the witness if she was aware social services had made payments to his client for her ‘food and lodgings’ while she stayed at the property.

He added the police had ‘often’ come to the address looking for another girl who used to go missing but also stayed with MacGregor.

The woman said she had no knowledge of the payments and couldn’t remember the visits of the police.

The witness, who is not one of the 12 complainants involved in the trial, earlier told the court she had moved in with MacGregor after previously living in a children’s home.

She said: “She was really nice at first. It was as if she cared when nobody else did.”

But she said things began to change and she was put under pressure to have sex with men.

She said on one occasion ‘five or sex Asian men’ had come into her bedroom and one attempted to have sex with her.

She said: “Karen used to always have Asian men coming back all the time.

“One night I woke up to a roomful of Asian men in the bedroom, five or six of them. I remember one of them being sat over me and instigating sex and I was just thinking, ‘no’. One of them went outside and were saying I were being mardy.”

The woman said she overheard MacGregor saying she would ‘sort it’ and nothing further happened that night.

She said on another occasion, she was told to go on a ‘date’ to the cinema with a man. When she was being driven back, the woman said the man stopped the car at the side of some woods.

She said he asked her to perform a sex act and when she refused, he started putting his hands down her top and her trousers.

“I started freaking out. He told me that I would enjoy it,” she said.

Mr Wyn Jones, for MacGregor, said his client denies the incident with the Asian men in the bedroom had happened. The witness agreed she did not know who had arranged for her to go to the cinema with the man in the second incident.