New BBC One Drama Three Girls based on the true stories of victims of grooming and sexual abuse in Rochdale, Greater Manchester is due to air this week. The girls were successfully represented by Justin Levinson of 1 Crown Office Row in their compensation claims against Rochdale Council. The programmes will air Tuesday May 16th at 21:00 BST then Wednesday and Thursday at the same time.
Justin Levinson, 1 Crown Office Row, represented the girls when their cases came to light in 2012. The events took place between 2008 and 2012, with more than 1,400 children thought to have been groomed and sexually exploited by men in Rochdale between 2005 and 2008. 9 men were convicted and sentenced by Judge Gerald Clifton. He said of the men, 8 of whom were of Pakistani origin and one was from Afghanistan, that they treated the girls “as though they were worthless and beyond respect”.
In concluding his judgments, he also stated that “One of the factors leading to that was the fact that they were not part of your community or religion. Some of you … said it was triggered by race. That is nonsense. What triggered this prosecution was your lust and greed.”
The families of the victims worked with the writer, Nicole Taylor, so she could understand what had happened in detail and then develop the script.
In the series, Maxine Peake plays Sara Rowbothom, the child liaison worker who helped to expose the grooming despite initial lack of interest from authorities. Lesley Sharp plays Detective Constable Margaret Oliver, the police officer who was so appalled by the way the force handled the girls’ cases that she eventually resigned. She is also a Barnardo’s ambassador.