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Two young sisters had numerous broken bones when they were discovered by a babysitter inside furniture boxes left in a dark, barricaded, basement room at a northeast Edmonton townhouse, CBC sources say.
CBC News has spoken to a number of sources to piece together new details that led to charges of attempted murder, unlawful confinement and abandonment against two Edmonton mothers in December.
Days after the charges were laid, Edmonton police Chief Rod Knecht told CBC News he was aware of the details surrounding the case. "I think it's one to pay attention to," Knecht said. "I do have the details. And it's very disturbing."
A court-ordered publication ban protects the names of the children, so their mothers' names cannot be released. CBC News is identifying the mothers by their initials: JL, age 24, and AM, 23.
JL has two young daughters, ages 6 and 3. AM has three children: ages 2, 3 and 5. They all lived in a two-storey townhouse in northeast Edmonton.
The sources gave CBC this account:
On Dec. 16, the two mothers decided they wanted a night out. Their regular babysitter was not available, so they called in someone new.
The mothers told the babysitter that three children were upstairs and two others were downstairs. The babysitter was told not to worry about the downstairs children and to focus on the three young ones upstairs.
After the mothers left, the babysitter checked on the children who were upstairs. She thought they looked malnourished and became alarmed.
At that point, she decided it was important to check on the children downstairs. But a piece of furniture was blocking the downstairs door. The babysitter pushed it out of the way and entered a dark room.
Inside the room were two closed furniture boxes. A three-year-old girl was inside one of the boxes. Her six-year-old sister was inside the other box.
The six-year-old was unconscious. The babysitter called 911.
Both girls were transported by ambulance to hospital. The older girl spent days in intensive care fighting for her life.
The sources told CBC News that the two children had numerous broken bones. Subsequent testing revealed the three-year-old had likely been eating her own hair. It was found in her stomach.
'Psychologically they would die'
The girls have since been released from hospital and are now in foster care. People close to the case suggest the physical and psychological scars will be long lasting.
Edmonton psychologist Les Block is not treating the two girls, but has counselled many victims of childhood abuse. CBC shared the details of the case with him.
"I have to get over the shock of what actually occurred," Block said. "The shock of these children being placed in such horrific circumstances has to be put to the side in order to try to make sense of what's going to be happening to them now and into the future."
He said the children could face a lifetime of difficulty as they try to trust, adapt and make sense of what happened to them.
He speculated on the psychological impacts of being left inside a box in a dark barricaded room.
"You would die in that moment," said Block. "Psychologically they would die. Now they have to be brought back to life. They have to be resuscitated, and assisted and nurtured, and brought back to life. Because that part is a death."
The two women have been charged with the attempted murder of the older girl and the aggravated assault of her three-year-old sister.
Both women also face the following charges related to both girls:
Criminal negligence by not providing medical attention
Failure to provide the necessaries of life
AM is also accused of assaulting two of her children with a belt.
The three children who were upstairs in the home have also become wards of the province. According to court records, they were allegedly unlawfully confined by the two women between July 1 and Dec. 16.
'Leave no stone unturned'
Knecht told CBC News he received notice of the case the same night the children were discovered. After hearing the details, he said, "I'm personally involved and personally interested in this and personally watching it.
"My instructions were to leave no stone unturned," said Knecht. "So I think we even assigned more resources to it as a consequence of that discussion. So this is top priority by everybody.
"We want the public to know [about the case.]"
But on Thursday afternoon, an EPS spokesperson declined to provide any further details because the matter is still under investigation.
AM and JL are scheduled to make their next court appearance on Monday. They remain in custody at the Edmonton Remand Centre.
Gareth Evans, aged 61, appeared before Judge Paul Thomas at Swansea crown court on January 12 to be sentenced for possessing indecent images of children.
Evans, of Kerrs Way, admitted possessing 16 indecent images of the most serious Category A, two of which were films. Evans also admitted possessing 64 images of Category B, one of which was a video, and 127 of Category C.
Judge Thomas said he accepted Evans had shown remorse by already completing 15 sessions of a New Beginning course. But he warned him that he had involved himself in an horrific trade that included the abuse of real children.
And he told Evans: "If you come back you will see me looking across this courtroom and you will leave through the other door."
Evans was jailed for 32 weeks, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to complete 45 days of a rehabilitation activity.
He must also carry out 150 hours of unpaid work for the community, and register with the police as a sex offender for the next 10 years.
It's good he's disgusted with himself; everyone else is.
The Sunday Times
The justice secretary is preparing to intervene to try to halt the release of black-cab rapist John Worboys following a cabinet revolt over the decision to set the serial sex attacker free (3rd story on link) after less than 10 years behind bars.
He made the move after four cabinet ministers privately warned him that the decision to set Worboys free could be unlawful because his victims have not been consulted about the terms of his release.
Worboys was jailed in 2009 after being convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting 12 women and raping one, but another 93 women made complaints about him that have never been tested in court.
The dramatic move came as The Sunday Times obtained a letter written by Martin Jones, the chief executive of the Parole Board, in which he admitted: “I can well understand why victims and the public find it impossible to understand our decisions if we are not able to explain our reasons; or indeed disclose the full licence conditions.” He claimed that “the panel took full account of the victim representations ”.
● Victims found out about Worboys’ release from the media
● They have not been consulted by the Parole Board about the conditions of his release
● Worboys is expected to live in London despite demands that he be relocated.
One cabinet minister described the case as “deeply troubling”, while Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London branded the release “astonishing” and said Worboys should not set foot in London, where he carried out his “grotesque crimes”. Khan is also taking legal advice on how to respond.
Michael Gove, a former justice secretary, said of Gauke when speaking to The Sunday Times: “I’m sure he’ll do the right thing.”
In a letter to the Parole Board, Zac Goldsmith, who is MP to two of the victims, branded the failure to consult them “a deeply insensitive and thoughtless omission”. He said releasing Worboys would be “unforgivable” and added: “The government must now launch an urgent judicial review into the Parole Board decision.”
A Ministry of Justice spokesman confirmed: “The secretary of state commissioned advice last week about the plausibility and potential success of a judicial review; he is minded to move forward if there is a reasonable prospect of success.”
Former minister Anna Soubry, a criminal barrister, has written to Nick Hardwick, the chairman of the Parole Board, declaring Worboys’ release “unlawful” because victims have been “denied their right to be heard”.
One of Worboys’ victims said: “Worboys is due to be freed in just over a week’s time and yet I still haven’t been informed as to how or when I will be consulted on his licence conditions — despite being promised I would be."
“Instead, I read that the licence conditions have already been decided and that by the end of this month he will be allowed to roam free in London. I will have to move house because he knows my address and I am terrified that he will track me down and try to attack me again."
“If he is allowed into Greater London, I and the other hundreds of victims will have to spend the rest of our lives looking over our shoulders in fear. Ten years ago I was assured he would never be let out of prison, and now that he is I am being given zero assurances that he won’t reoffend. This isn’t justice, this is terrifying. I can’t sleep at night — I’m worried sick.”
They were supported by Khan, who said: “If the Parole Board won’t review its decision to release Worboys then it should listen to his victims and at the very least impose the necessary conditions to keep him away from the people whose lives he has already damaged so severely.”
There is only one real way to do that, and that is to keep him in prison for the rest of his miserable life.
Richard Scorer, a lawyer for 11 of the victims, said: “They have not been consulted and to suggest this might be the case is simply wrong. It is becoming increasingly clear that the Parole Board has made a catalogue of errors.”
A second victim, who says she was raped by Worboys, told the BBC she went to the police but they did not take the case forward “as they had 12 very strong cases they were going to use”. She added: “The first I heard about Worboys being released was from the radio. There needs to be a second prosecution.”
Justice ministry officials told The Sunday Times that victims would receive letters this week asking them to comment on the conditions of the release and said Gauke was demanding the “strongest possible” licensing regime.
A Parole Board spokesman said: “The board is confident the correct procedures were followed in this case.”
Either the correct procedures were not followed, or the correct procedures are not the correct procedures. There is no way a serial predator should be loosed upon the streets of London with the parole board's blessing.
In a post on Twitter, renowned Pakistani actress and activist Nadia Jamil revealed she was only four year old when she first endured sexual abuse.
The actress shared her painful memories in order to increase awareness among people about the issue of child abuse, which has gained widespread attention following the brutal rape and murder of seven-year-old Zainab from Kasur.
The actress said: “I was 4 the first time I was abused sexually. I was in college when it blew out of proportion. People tell me not to talk to respect my families honour. Is my families honour packed in my body? I am a proud, strong, loving survivor. No shame on me or my kids. Only pride 4 being me.”
The strongly worded message is a bid by the activist to make survivors speak up and not associate it with honour. Excellent! Go girl!
Meanwhile, in a series of revelations induced by the reporting of child abuse cases, media personality and entrepreneur Frieha Altaf also shared her own painful story.
Altaf said she was abused by her cook at the age of six.
“My parents took action but everyone remained silent as if it was my shame. At 34 I realised how it had impacted my life. The only shame is keeping SILENT,” she tweeted.
Yes! Keeping silent allows the paedophile to continue his evil - how does that translate to honour?
Following the news of little Zainab's murder, people from all walks of life in Pakistan showed outrage and deep sorrow. Apart from that, media personalities focused on the solution to the problem and spreading awareness regarding the issue of child abuse.
You can make a difference, now!
Kasur, and the Punjab in general, are far and away the worst areas of Pakistan for child sex abuse. Right next to the Punjab is Kashmir, where child sex abuse is rampant and usually unreported. In Kashmir, a faith-healer has brutally raped an entire generation of children, probably in the thousands, without being prosecuted.
He is now being prosecuted, but Kashmir's justice system lacks a great deal in so many ways. People are trying to bring in a powerful lawyer to prosecute the 'peer' in order to put him away for life and stop the carnage. They need help. Kashmir is a poor country, they need only about $8000 and they are struggling to raise it. To date, less than $3000 has been raised and the pervert is out on bail continuing to assault little children. If you can help, please go to this site and contribute, and help stop a monster.
You can find more on this story here (3rd story on link), and their FB page is here. There is also a Change.org petition to encourage the government to enact a POCSO - type law for Kashmir.