THE former lead councillor for children’s services at Oxfordshire County Council said she saw no evidence of grooming prior to Operation Bullfinch.

Conservative Louise Chapman made the claim yesterday following the publication of the Serious Case Review on Tuesday that criticised the local authority for missing opportunities to stop the sexual abuse of six girls.

The review states that Dermot Norridge, a retired police officer and nuisance officer for Oxford City Council, repeatedly sent emails to senior council managers raising concerns about one girl.

Its author Alan Bedford said: “[Mr Norridge] spoke to [Ms Chapman] and briefed her on the whole picture, including the association with adult black males.”

But in her reply to questions asked by the Oxford Mail, Ms Chapman said: “The concerns were about one girl staying out late at night. That immediately set alarm bells ringing with me as a parent of four children myself.

“I was given assurances that staff shared my worries about that girl and I know that immediately after that time this particular girl stopped staying out late at night.

“Never at any stage before 2011 did I have any information to lead me to believe that what was happening was the grooming of a group of girls.”

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