Rotherham sex abuse trial: Female ‘pimp’ treated girls ‘like Hansel and Gretel’

Karen MacGregor, one of seven defendants accused of being part of a Rotherham child grooming gang
Karen MacGregor, one of seven defendants accused of being part of a Rotherham child grooming gang
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A woman accused of inviting vulnerable teens to live at her home so they could be ‘pimped’ out to Asian men treated the girls ‘like Hansel and Gretel’, a court heard.

One of the women who lived with Karen MacGregor in Rotherham when she was aged around 14 or 15 claimed at Sheffield Crown Court on Monday that she was pressured to have sex with older men.

She said being at the property was comparable with the Brothers Grimm fairytale Hansel and Gretel, in which children are kidnapped by a witch living in a house made of cake and sweets.

MacGregor, aged 58, of Barnsley Road, Wath, is one of seven defendants accused of playing roles in a child grooming gang in Rotherham for a period of more than 10 years.

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A jury heard evidence that MacGregor had taken in vulnerable teenage girls living at a local children’s home in the 1990s.

The witness, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said MacGregor had initially been like a ‘mother figure’ to her.

But in a police interview with the woman – who is not one of the 12 complainants involved in the case – which was read to the court, she said things had changed after it became apparent girls in the property were expected to ‘earn their keep’ by having sex with Asian men known to MacGregor through her job with a local taxi firm.

The woman, who cannot be named, said: “She (Karen) started telling us: ‘You need to earn your keep.’

“I took that to mean I would have to sleep with Asians.

“Karen wanted to pimp everybody out.

“Looking back, it was like Hansel and Gretel living at Karen’s.”

Under cross-examination from Robert Wyn Jones, representing MacGregor, the woman – who attended court as a witness – accepted her memory about events at the time was unclear.

Mr Wyn Jones said his client denies wanting to ‘pimp everybody out’.

He said: “That simply didn’t happen at all.”

The woman said: “I might not have a good memory.

“But you can’t forget feelings.”

MacGregor denies one count of conspiracy to procure a woman under 21 to become a common prostitute, false imprisonment and two counts of conspiracy to rape.

The trial at Sheffield Crown Court continues.