A teenager tried to kill herself during the trial of ten men accused of grooming her for sex from the age of 11, it can be revealed today.
The 17-year-old took an overdose of pills after her first day in the witness box. Proceedings were halted for several days in May while she was treated in hospital before resuming her evidence.
The girl gave evidence for 11 days at Oxford Crown Court, during which she was cross-examined by ten defence barristers representing the men from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, who faced multiple counts of rape and other child-sex offences.
The teenager’s failed suicide attempt — of which the jury was not told — will heighten concerns about the pressure placed on vulnerable witnesses who give evidence in sex-abuse cases, particularly those featuring multiple defendants.
One girl in a sex-grooming trial held at Stafford Crown Court in 2012 spent 15 days in the witness box. She suffered panic attacks and flashbacks after hours of cross-examination during which she was accused of lying.
The mother of another victim of multiple child-sex crimes who gave evidence this year in the trial of nine Oxford men at the Old Bailey said that being cross-examined made her feel “doubly abused”. She described her treatment in court as “nasty, cruel, vindictive and sarcastic”.
As bad as it was, it would have been much worse in the home countries of the UK’s Muslim settlers, in places like Pakistan or Egypt. And as the UK trends more Islamic, it will adopt those Islamic attitudes toward women.