Sheffield grooming gang victim claims South Yorkshire Police officer was among abusers

The chief constable of South Yorkshire Police has now offered to meet with victim Leona Whitworth  (PA Archive)
The chief constable of South Yorkshire Police has now offered to meet with victim Leona Whitworth (PA Archive)

A victim of a Sheffield child grooming gang has claimed a serving police officer was among men who abused her.

Leona Whitworth, now 28, was groomed by Amanda Spencer – who was jailed for 12 years in 2014 after being found guilty of 16 charges relating to child prostitution.

Ms Whitworth, who waived her right to anonymity in an interview with Sky News broadcast on Saturday night, told how – aged just 13 – she was drugged, raped and beaten, so she could be sold to men for sex.

She said she recognised one of the men who abused her as a police officer when he picked her up after she went missing.

“He just spoke to me like the police officers do,” she told the broadcaster.

“[He said] ‘You know everybody’s been worried about you, don’t you? You can’t keep putting your family through this.

“You’ve got a lot of people out there looking for you, and you’re wasting our resources by doing this’.”

The allegation comes after a damning report found serious failures in vetting police officers and staff.

South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Lauren Poultney told Sky: “What happened to Leona at the hands of her abusers is simply unforgivable, and I am extremely concerned to hear today that the trauma she faced may have involved an officer who was serving with the force.

“There is no place in policing for individuals who abuse their position for criminal behaviour, and we proactively root out those who do so.

“I want to say to Leona directly that I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to obtain as much detail as you can provide in relation to this officer.

“We are here to listen and, if you feel ready to make a report, I will personally ensure this matter is thoroughly investigated by the specially trained officers in my counter corruption unit.”