A gang of three brothers, their uncle and two women were found guilty of 55 serious offences, some of which lay undetected for almost 20 years. 15 vulnerable girls, one as young as 11, were subjected to acts of sexual violence between 1987 and 2003 including rape, forced prostitution, indecent assault and false imprisonment.
Karen MacGregor was sentenced to 13 years for conspiracy to procure a child for prostitution, false imprisonment, and conspiracy to rape. MacGregor was a high-profile campaigner on behalf of abused children. In 2013, she founded KinKids, a community support group for kinship carers. MacGregor boasted that KinKids had helped families affected by the scandal. She had persuaded Rotherham council, local Labour MP John Healey and other local organisations to support KinKids in the wake of heightened investigation into cases of child abuse in Rotherham.
MacGregor had been luring vulnerable girls to her home in Walker Street, which was described by one of the victims as akin to the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale. There, she would groom them before pimping them out in order for them to earn their keep.
One of her victims described how MacGregor was a motherly figure who had taken her under her wing at a difficult time in her life and treated her like a daughter. Another victim described how within days of arriving, MacGregor had plied her with vodka to the point of unconsciousness before waking up to find herself being sexually assaulted.
The conduct of more than 50 officers from South Yorkshire Police who had dealt with the victims across the 20 year period is now under investigation.
The Dark Figure* is an ongoing photographic project that investigates and documents UK neighbourhoods where victims have been identified as modern-day slaves.
Photo: Walker Street, Rawmarsh, Rotherham, courtesy of The Dark Figure