Arsonists have allegedly ‘burnt out’ Tommy Robinson’s car outside a hotel in Telford. The former English Defence League leader has claimed his vehicle was torched in the town by people determined to ‘silence him’.
It is believed to be the third time controversial campaigner Robinson – whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – has had his car set alight. It comes as cops have stepped up patrols amid growing ‘tensions’ and ‘continued concerns’ in Telford, West Mercia Police revealed.
In a live stream broadcast online, Robinson stood outside a Telford police station as he claimed he was the victim of a recent arson attack.
Another vehicle was smashed up and a woman claimed to have been assaulted by a gang of asian males.
He said police remained outside a ‘guarded’ property linked to him until the early hours of the morning following the suspected arson. The 39-year-old – who alleges he now faces ‘serious threats’ – went on to say forensic teams are currently examining the vehicle.
Robinson said: “This is just a development, we’re at the police station in Telford. You may have seen news reports that there was another arson attack last night in Telford. “That arson attack was my car, yeah.
“The car was blown up outside a hotel, which I wasn’t even aware of at the time. So the car was taken, there’s some pictures of where it was.
Tommy has remarketed himself as an investigative reporter added: “I’ve just had my third car blown up. That causes me problems for insurance, for everything, yeah.
It causes my mate problems who sorted me the car.” Robinson believes he is being targeted ahead of his new documentary, called the “Rape of Britain” which is being released in the US later this month.
Last month, Robinson ‘cornered, filmed and accused’ a law firm worker at Wrekin Retail Park of grooming. The confrontation at Telford’s Wrekin Retail Park is now the subject of a police investigation.
A Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service log noted it was called to Watling Street’s Whitehouse Hotel just after 8pm on Sunday.
Firefighters used breathing apparatus and a hose reel jet to extinguish the car fire. Officers from West Mercia Police were also thought to be at the scene in Wellington.
The log read: “At 20:04 on Sunday, January 2, fire control received a call reporting a fire classified as car fire in Telford. West Mercia Police confirmed ‘a number of incidents’ had taken place in Telford over the past week, including criminal damage and arson.
Investigations into the incidents are ongoing, Jamie Dunn, Superintendent for Telford, said: “I’m aware of current concerns within the local community and I’d like to assure the public that all incidents are being taken seriously and thoroughly investigated.
Support is also being offered to the victims.
“We’ll be conducting additional high visibility patrols in key areas over the coming days to provide reassurance to the local community. We are also continuing to engage with key local partners and are always available should anyone wish to discuss any concerns.
The Telford grooming scandal
The police said “There is currently an independent investigation underway regarding child sexual exploitation in Telford and we await the report, therefore it would be inappropriate to comment further on this at this time.
“However, I can confirm that we have fully engaged with the enquiry and continue to offer support to victims.”
So far the inquiry has received 1,275,000 pages of written material, the majority from Telford and Wrekin Council.
Mr Crowther said the inquiry has also contacted, or attempted to contact, 212 witnesses and had seen 131, with six further meetings scheduled.
The Telford rape gang trial 2013
The documentary Tommy is doing is based around the seven men who were jailed after a series of complex court cases, the reporting of which has been banned until now while legal battles raged on.
Details of those court cases following a hearing in the High Court today in which a judge upheld a decision that another man accused of child sex abuse offences was not mentally fit to be retried.
The man, Noshad Hussain, 23, was cleared of trafficking a girl, 14, at a trial last year, but the jury was unable to reach a verdict on four charges of engaging in sexual activity with her.
Today’s High Court ruling brings to an end a three-year investigation into a child prostitution ring in Telford.
Youth workers first raised the alarm when teenage girls in Wellington, some as young as 13, started telling them the same stories about men they were seeing.
The subsequent police investigation, dubbed Operation Chalice, revealed details of a network of men from the Muslim community who targeted young and vulnerable teenage girls.
After West Mercia Police’s investigation into suspected under-age sex and child prostitution, seven men were finally convicted in cases stretching over two years.
Four experienced judges have heard distressing evidence from four young women, who were aged 13 to 16 when they were abused during a two-year period between 2007 and 2009.
The leading players in the abuse were brothers, Ahdel and Mubarek Ali, of Regent Street, Wellington, who received long jail sentences after an eight-week trial.
Ahdel Ali, 25, known as Eddie, was given a 26-year extended sentence – 18 years’ immediate custody with an additional eight-year period on licence after release.
His 29-year-old brother, Mubarek Ali, known as Max, was given 22 years, 14 years’ immediate custody and eight years on licence, for seven offences – four of controlling child prostitution, causing child prostitution and two offences of trafficking in the UK for the purpose of prostitution, involving two of the victims.
Both men were made the subject of lifelong Sexual Offences Prevention Orders.
Also convicted were Mohammed Ali Sultan, 26, of Victoria Avenue, Wellington; Tanveer Ahmed, 40, of Urban Gardens, Wellington; Mohammed Islam Choudhrey, 53, of Solway Drive, Sutton Hill;
Mahroof Khan, 35, of Caradoc Flats, Kingshaye Road, Wellington, and Mohammed Younis, 60, of Kingsland, Arleston.
This afternoon, Detective Chief Inspector Neil Jamieson, who was the senior investigating officer on Operation Chalice, said: “We are pleased with the convictions we have achieved as a result of this operation – an operation that is among the most complex West Mercia Police has ever undertaken.
“The convictions are the result of several years’ hard work from an investigative team that at times has contained more than 50 police officers. “The girls who became the victims were targeted because of their vulnerability and were then systematically groomed in such a way that eventually they were able to be used for sexual gratification.
“After years of being exploited the girls then went through a huge amount during the course of this investigation and the trials themselves were then a real ordeal for those that gave evidence.
“I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the strength and character shown by all of the victims who came and gave evidence and also thank their families for the support they have shown during what has been a truly horrible time.”
Laura Johnston, director of children’s services at Telford & Wrekin Council, said alarm bells first started to ring when council staff working with young people realised some young women were talking about seeing the same men and being taken to the same places.
Mrs Johnston said: “It was as a result of this that the police were alerted and we continued to work very closely with the police as the investigation that became Operation Chalice developed, ultimately leading to the subsequent successfully prosecuted court case.
“It has been extremely difficult for the victims, who were all vulnerable young women.
“We are pleased that the judicial process has resulted in a number of convictions and consequent jail sentences. “We have been clear from the start that this is purely about criminal behaviour by a few individuals.”
An inquiry into the extent of child sexual exploitation in a town said to have had up to 1,000 victims since the 1980s is to probe the role of the local taxi industry and its licensing.
The Telford investigation’s terms of reference were published on Tuesday.
Among them is also a spotlight on whether previous looks at CSE by the local council came to “adequate conclusions”.
Tuesday’s document does not give detail as to why taxis will come under focus.
The independent inquiry was announced last year following a newspaper’s report that the historical scope of CSE in the town was huge.
Police disputed suggestions the number of victims across the last four decades could be as high as 1,000, but said local officers were working with more than 40 young people who were either CSE victims or considered at risk.
While the investigation’s findings are not expected to be published until 2021, the terms of reference reveal an inquiry centred on “the nature, extent and patterns” of CSE in Telford, along with the particular issues in its sights.
According to the document – set to be presented to Telford and Wrekin Council later – areas to be examined include “the local taxi industry and taxi licensing, and the impact that has had on CSE”.
While the report does not expand on the point, it emerged in March that the wider Shropshire Council was to introduce more rigorous checks on taxi drivers in the hope of preventing CSE.
Tougher tests were also set for Telford and Wrekin, although the authority did not draw a link to CSE when the rollout was announced.
Taxi drivers in Telford have also received training in how to spot signs of CSE.
The document further states the inquiry will examine the response of third party organisations to CSE cases “including but not limited to” Telford and Wrekin Council, the local safeguarding board, police, and local NHS bodies.
In addition, the years under review have been set between 1995 and 2019 – the starting point being a decade after the earliest period featured in the newspaper story.
Stating the local authority was formed in 1998, Tuesday’s report said “due to availability of documentation and the fact that practices will have moved on, it will be more difficult to make meaningful conclusions for earlier periods of time”.
In terms of geographical scope, the inquiry is interested in victims living or studying in the town, or people brought in for exploitation from outside areas.
As many as 1,000 children are feared to have been drugged and abused by perverts in Telford, Shrops, since the 1980s — but their hell went on for decades as authorities repeatedly failed to stamp out a network of paedophiles in the town.
Vulnerable Lucy Lowe was 16 when abuser Azhar Ali Mehmood, 26, set fire to her house, killing her, her mum Eileen and sister Sarah, 17, in 2000.
The taxi driver first targeted her in 1997. She was 14 when she gave birth to his daughter.
He was jailed for killing the teen, along with her mum Eileen and her sister Sarah, 17 – but was never arrested or charged over sex abuse.
Another victim, who was drugged and gang-raped, said Lucy’s killing was a warning to others who might speak out. The schoolgirl, who remains anonymous, said she was driven to attempt suicide.
She said: “I was scared my family would die like Lucy’s – I thought they’d only be safe if I killed myself.”
In 2002 another schoolgirl – Becky Watson, 13 – was killed in an unexplained car accident in the Shropshire town.
Despite the smash being recorded at the time as a “prank” gone wrong, it later emerged she had reportedly been abused by an Asian grooming gang since she was 11.
It is also claimed that social workers knew of the abuse in the 1990s but the police took a decade to launch an investigation, council staff viewed victims as “prostitutes”, and authorities failed to keep details of abusers from Asian communities for fear of “racism”.
It’s alleged that three people were murdered and two others died in tragedies linked to the scandal, while two whistleblowers were silenced.
Tory MP for Telford Lucy Allan demanded a public inquiry and said the findings were “extremely serious and shocking”.
Lucy Lowes daughter
TASNIM Lowe was just 16 months old when she was found wrapped in a blanket under an apple tree in her back garden as her Telford home burned down with her mum, grandmother and aunt inside.
Her dad, taxi driver Azhar Ali Mehmood, told police that he had taken Tasnim out of the house and saved her life – but he was later charged with all three murders after they found he had poured petrol inside the home and set it alight.
At the time of the murders in 2000, local newspapers dubbed him a “house blaze killer” and, “The county’s worst ever murderer” and he was jailed for life.
Now, 19 years on, Azhar Ali Mehmood is eligible for release – and Tasnim has been asked to bring her opinion to the parole board.
Fired up with questions about why her father would kill her mum, Tasnim goes in search of answers in a three-part BBC documentary called Why Dad Killed Mum:
My Family’s Secret, and discovers her mum may have been groomed and raped by her evil father.
Tasnim tries to understand why her mum’s relationship with Azhar – who was nine years older than her – and her subsequent pregnancy at such a young age didn’t raise red flags for her family.
In the documentary, her Uncle Eddie recalls lots of arguments between Lucy and Azhar and confesses their relationship was turbulent.
“Could we have done more?” he tells Tasnim. “Possibly we all could have as a family.”
In articles from the time, Tasnim discovers that two of Lucy’s friends said Azhar was possessive and only wanted Lucy for one purpose; presumably sex.
Then, in March 2018 – ironically on Mother’s Day – the front page of a newspaper exposed the “worst ever” child grooming scandal detailing the abuse of hundreds of girls in Telford.
There, on the front page, was a picture of her mum, Lucy, who they claimed had been groomed by a sex gang.
According to Geraldine McKelvie, the investigating journalist who had been working on the story for three years, victims of sexual abuse had come forward saying their abusers had shown them Lucy’s story as a warning, threatening to burn their house down and kill them if they spoke to police, just as they’d done to Lucy.
“I wasn’t expecting it – no one was,” says Tasnim. “And it all blew up from there.”
The investigation exposed a horrendous grooming ring that had been going on for decades, with girls raped, beaten, sold and some even killed.
Survivors explained how the abuse worked; the groomers were nice to them at first – buying them takeaways or presents – before taking them to The Wrekin, a famous beauty spot on the outskirts of Telford to be raped, or to people’s houses and passed around to friends.
McKelvie kept hearing about one street where there was a row of seven or eight houses, “where there was pretty much a rapist in every house”.
She also heard how underage girls were taken to rooms above takeaways to be assaulted and raped with the perpetrators selling them and making thousands of pounds.
These revelations made Tasnim start to question the origins of her parents’ relationship. Was her mum groomed? Is this why she was killed?
After all, she and Azhar started dating when she was 13, and her dad was 24.
Tasnim started to scrutinise the original court transcripts from her dad’s trial in 2000. There were friends who gave evidence to say that Azhar would check Lucy’s body to see if she’d been with another person or would ring her to say he had somebody following her to keep tabs on her.
He was clearly possessive and obsessed with her sexual activity. Then one of Tasnim’s mum’s friends asked to meet her – and what she told her was astounding.
“He groomed me. At first it was like, someone actually cares and listens, wants to help me. One day I did end up sleeping with him. “He knew what he was up to. He was manipulating me from day one. “He had his friend that he introduced to me and that’s how I got involved in all of it. “They would get a litre bottle of Vodka or Bacardi and say, ‘let’s play spin the bottle.’ “I was only 15 and steaming drunk. They’d be laughing and then they’d rape me.” It was shocking to hear that her dad was an abuser but Tasnim couldn’t understand why this friend – or her mum – never came forward and told anyone. “I didn’t go to anyone,” she says. “I was so scared of them back then.”
Tansim then meets with police who give her back the few belongings they’d held since the fire to Tasnim. As well as birthday cards, a watch and pictures of Tasnim as a baby, there are three diaries written by Lucy from 1999, covering her pregnancy and the first three months of Tasnim’s life. In the diaries, Lucy recounts going up The Wrekin with some of her friends and performing sex acts on older men. She also wrote about Azhar asking her on one occasion if she’d gone to the police about their relationship, clearly worried about how they might respond.
“That was a clear indication their relationship wasn’t legal and it wasn’t right,” says Tasnim. Tasnim’s dad was never investigated or charged with any sex crimes and when she returns to the police to quiz them about this, there’s an admission it’s unlikely he will be, since the allegations weren’t brought up in the original trial.
Tasnim visits McKelvie who agrees that is the most likely conclusion, but adds there may have been other men exploiting Lucy, not just her dad, due to rival grooming gangs. She confronts her granddad and he admits there was one incident where her mum shouted “rape” but they didn’t take her seriously. “They used to go upstairs a lot – and one time I heard her shout and when charging upstairs but he’d already left,” he says.
“I think she was very ignored,” says Tasnim. “She wasn’t listened to and if people had intervened he could have gone to prison. “But nobody listened and she got murdered.” Tasnim wants to make sure her mum’s voice is now heard, and has asked her local MP, Lucy Allan, that her mum be included in the enquiry into Telford sex abuse cases.
Tommy has faced alot of controversy but his most recent was when Tommy Robinson has denied spending money from supporters on ‘coke, parties and prostitutes’.
Former colleague Caolan Robertson, who has since dissociated himself from the far-right, claims he personally witnessed the English Defence League (EDL) founder withdraw large sums of money from crowdfunding pages for ‘nefarious activities’ including drug taking.
The video producer ran an online fundraiser for Robinson in 2018 after he announced ‘going independent’, which received almost £425,000 in donations in just three months.
But when the donations began rolling in, he claims money he requested for new equipment did not materialise.
‘We had advertised on his website saying this is for three things: security, travel and film equipment. As soon as the money started coming through, as soon as he got the first £30,000 we said “right, we need a new camera we need new lights and to be able to cover this with better quality [equipment], our stuff is already breaking.”
‘He said “no we can’t use any of that.” I asked why and he said “I’ve got to pay back friends, we’re going to have a sesh at the weekend. I’ve owed someone £2,000 for a while. I have got my wife.” ‘It was all personal bullshit.’
Caolan said around 2% of the £425,000 raised was eventually spent on some equipment and staff costs, but it was not clear what happened to the rest of the money as there was no ‘checks and balances’ and Robinson ‘didn’t have security’.
He claimed Robinson transferred hundreds of thousands of pounds from donations into his business account and would often withdraw large sums of cash.
‘At the same time he would boast about using prostitutes’, he said.
‘I saw tens of thousands of [donations] go to really nefarious things.
In a statement to the Independent, which first revealed the allegations, he strongly denied using drugs and prostitutes and claimed money from donations was moved into a business bank account to pay for business operations.
‘These operations have included costs of travel, accommodation, film and editing crew and social media activity,’ he said.
‘We have also made donations to the families of child victims of grooming, for example at Christmas.’ He also suggested funds have been spent on security, ‘after I have been attacked or my family threatened’. Another former colleague who raised questions about where the money from donations went.
The colleague, who did not wish to be named, claimed he had to spend £600 on portable toilets for a Day of Freedom Rally in 2018 despite £10,000 being raised.
Tommy was also filmed in 2019 Italy being racist and claiming to get drugs anywhere.