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Frightening texts sent to girl by grooming gang threaten to burn and bury her

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A number of horrifying messages have come to light that were sent to a young girl by a grooming gang, which threaten to burn her and bury her unless she did as she was told.

The terrifying texts have emerged as part of a Sky News investigation into the grooming and exploitation of young women, and help give a window into the lives of victims of grooming gangs.

Many brave women have now came forward and spoke to Hull Live following the announcement that the Humberside Police investigation into exploitation, known as Operation Marksman, was being scaled back earlier this year.

A new testimony from the victims, who gave evidence as part of the investigation, has highlighted the frightening ordeals these young women have endured.

A former top police chief has now called on Humberside Police to 'double down' on their efforts as part of Operation Marksman to bring those responsible for the abuse to justice.

Hull Live revealed the horrifying details of the reported abuse earlier this year after Humberside Police told victims that its two-year investigation, dubbed Operation Marksman, was being wound down without securing the justice the girls were fighting for.

Many young women bravely spoke to us about their ordeals at the hands of abusers they describe as being men of Asian and Middle Eastern backgrounds, including Turkish, Kurdish and Bangladeshi.

All but one of the victims we spoke to were under 16 at the time and targeted at school, a children's home and even a medical setting.

One victim describes being tied to a radiator while wearing her school uniform before being raped by a man in his sixties. Witnesses said another girl was raped by eight men while unconscious.

Despite 34 men and women being arrested or questioned on suspicion of offences such as rape, sexual assault and facilitating child exploitation during Operation Marksman, only a small number have been charged.

Following on from Hull Live reports into the winding down of Operation Marksman earlier this year, Sky News has spoken to a number of young women who were the victims of the gangs and presented a fresh look into the evidence they have collected.

After being presented with the testimony and evidence from the women who have bravely come forward and highlight the issue once again, Mr Gamble believes there is enough for Humberside Police to reboot Operation Marksman and find justice for the victims.

Among the evidence is a series of texts sent to a victim known as Sarah, now 19, who told Sky News that in her early teenage years, she was threatened with being buried alive or set on fire if she did not return regularly to a flat to be raped by a gang of men.

The chilling text messages published by Sky News (Image: Sky News)

The chilling text messages published by Sky News (Image: Sky News)

Speaking about the threatening text, former chief police officer Jim Gamble said: "Number one is he's committed a criminal offence because that's a threat to murder, and the Offences Against the Person Act makes that a crime.

"But what you do see there is the coercive control. You see the fact that the predator is so confident in their ability, their level of competence at controlling these young people, that they don't even try and hide it or mask it.

"I'd be surprised if they're not able to pass the evidential threshold... because what you do have is significant levels of corroboration."

Humberside Police today said they had left "no stone unturned" in their investigation into the grooming gangs operating in the area and rejected the suggestion that the evidence had not been properly handled.

Humberside Police Detective Chief Superintendent, Phillip Ward said: "Operation Marksman has been an intensive two-year investigation into reported child sexual exploitation in Hull. As part of the investigation, we spoke at length with all victims identified to us.

"Throughout the investigation we have had a dedicated senior investigation officer overseeing the investigation, up to 15 specialist officers, social services professionals and safeguarding leads, working on the case at any one time, providing strategic support, expert advice and specialist skills to piece the evidence together.

"Each victim had a dedicated support officer from the police and from the local authority to ensure every aspect of safeguarding was considered.

"We also engaged with the National Crime Agency (NCA), Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command (CEOP), other police forces, and Operation Hydrant, the national lead for the policing response, oversight, and coordination of child sexual abuse investigations, to help us with the intensive and complex investigation.

Humberside Police said they have worked to get a detailed account from everyone identified as a victim or witness and these accounts, alongside the supporting evidence provided, led to the arrest of 34 individuals in connection to the investigation.

As part of the arrests, over 200 digital devices were seized from the suspects, each one of which was forensically examined.

This included analysis of messaging services, social media, GPRS, cell site and contact data, and police made efforts to identify contact between the suspects or link them to the victims and addresses of interest to the investigation.

Police confirmed that over 10,000 text messages were reviewed as part of this analysis.

Detective Chief Superintendent, Phillip Ward said: "Despite two years of intensive investigation, analysis and examination, we share the disappointment and frustration that we have been unable to identify sufficient evidence to corroborate or support the accounts given to us by the victims. As a result, we have been unable to meet the Crown Prosecution Service's evidential threshold for us to formally charge anyone in relation to Operation Marksman.

"Critically the investigation found no evidence of organised child sexual exploitation in any part of our community, either geographically or through ethnicity.

"I would like to reiterate while current lines of enquiry have been exhausted, we will never fully close this investigation and I urge anyone with new information to get in touch with us as a priority. We will investigate all information provided to us.

"We encourage anyone that has been a victim of sexual abuse of any kind to get in touch using the non-emergency line, 101. You will be treated seriously, you will be provided appropriate support from the police and partner agencies and we will do everything we can to investigate the case fully and bring those that commit such crimes, to justice."

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