Council apologises to victims of Aylesbury child sex ring
Buckinghamshire County Council has apologised to the victims of the Aylesbury sex ring for "letting them down", admitting that indications had "probably" been there.
Speaking outside the Old Bailey, David Johnston, the council's Director for Children's Services, said: "On behalf of the council, I would also like to apologise to both of them for letting them down during this period in their lives.
"We know a great deal more about child sexual exploitation than we did back then and I hope that young people who are worried about themselves or someone they know will have the same courage to come forward. We will do everything in our power to help them."
He said that a serious case review had been launched by the council's safeguarding board and that the findings would be published in due time.
When asked whether any signs had been missed in relation to this case, Mr Johnston added: "We do know a great deal more know about child sexual exploitation than we did back then.
"However, there were probably indications that may have been there that our staff were not as aware of at that point.
"So I'm not saying the indications weren't there, but the knowledge around dealing with this type of phenomenon wasn't there at the time."
He also said that the council was "as appalled as all parents and the community of Buckinghamshire will be by the despicable acts of cruel abuse committed by those found guilty at the Old Bailey today".
"These girls were just children when they became victims to such manipulation that lasted so many years.
"I want to thank each of these young women for taking the brave step to come forward, to speak to the police and re-live their horrific experiences in court to bring these men to justice."
Thames Valley Police Superintendent Gill Wootton also thanked the victims for their bravery in coming forward, saying that it was because of their courage that they convictions were possible.
She added: "I also want to take this opportunity to ask anyone out there who may have been a victim of crime to come forward and talk to us.
"This case shows that we will listen and do everything in our power to bring the offenders to justice.
"Thames Valley Police continue to work with partners to tackle CSE and to bring historic and current offenders to justice."