Grooming of young girls uncovered in Corby

Leanne Mape’s story.

THE INDEPENDENT Police Complaints Commission is to be asked to look into how Northamptonshire Police handled an investigation of allegations that a Corby woman was the victim of sexual exploitation and rape by a group of Asian and white men from the age of eleven.

The claims, similar to those surrounding the jailing last month of the sex grooming gang of nine Asian men from the Rochdale area, relate to events which happened over 15 years ago.

The woman at the centre of the allegations, Leanne Mape, is now 27 with a young son and in a stable relationship. She claims that from the age of 11 to 15 she was the victim of systematic sexual abuse by a number of Bangladeshi men and others in Corby during the 1990s.

“As an 11 year old I was a very vulnerable young girl. My grandmother died when I was seven and then my parents split up. I didn’t get on with my mother’s new partner, so I went to live with my father. That is when I was introduced to some Asian men who were friendly with my father,” said Leanne.

She added: “At first they were kind to me. One, in particular, treated me like I was his daughter. He made me feel special. But unbeknown to me I was already being groomed for sex. I was a very vulnerable and mixed-up eleven year old child from a broken home with a father who just didn’t care. I was taken advantage of by men who saw me simply as a sex object to be passed around.”

For the next four years Leanne says she was repeatedly sexually abused by a number of Asian and white men, some of whom have become prominent within their communities.

At the age of 14 she reported what was happening to her to the police. “I wondered if the same could possibly happen to my little sister,” she said. “I gave the police the names of other girls involved with the group and full details of what had happened to me and the names of my abusers,” she continued, adding that she had been placed on the “at risk” list by Social Services but was not taken into care, remaining with her father.

A medical report at the time by a doctor at Kettering General Hospital states “a history of systematic sexual abuse by a number of individuals over two to three years.”

“Over the years I have been let down by a lot of people, including the police and Social Services. I admit I took drugs and self-harmed, but I was a young child, mixed-up and lost, befriended by adults with ulterior motives and easy pray to being manipulated.
“I have been fighting for justice for a long time, but no one in authority appears to care. What upsets me is that some of my abusers have attained prominent positions locally and that worries me,” she said.

Leanne has now set up a local self-help group, We Stand Together, which meets every week to help other vulnerable and frightened girls and young women from any cultural background.

Says Leanne: “From my experiences I know how difficult it is for a young person to tell someone they are being sexually abused and be believed. It is often very difficult to prove, particularly if the victim is a young girl from a broken or unhappy home and feels she has no one to turn to for support.”


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