Two men found in house with missing girl, 15, released from police bail with no further action
EXCLUSIVE: TWO men arrested on suspicion of abducting a 15-year-old girl, whose disappearance made national headlines, have been released without charge after being found in a house with her.
A third man remains under investigation but has had his police bail cancelled and was released under investigation.
The teenager (above in an edited police appeal image), who we have not named, was reported missing after she was last seen leaving her foster home, saying she was going to the shops, on April 26. She was the subject of a large police search, including house-to-house searches and CCTV inquiries near her home in Southmead, Bristol, which was reportedly widely in the national press and local press. Police initially treated her disappearance as a missing persons case, before the decision was made to treat it as a child abduction on May 11. She was found on May 12 and three men found in a house with her in Bristol were arrested on suspicion of child abduction before being released on police bail. The girl, who lived with foster carers, had previously gone missing and been found in the presence of older men she met online. An Avon and Somerset Police spokeswoman said: "Two of the men aged in their 30s and 40s have been released with no further action taken while a third man, 26, remains released under investigation as enquiries continue."
Essex News and Investigations Opinion:
"It is hard to imagine what plausible explanation these two men could have given police for being at an address where an underage girl whose missing status had been covered in the national press and regional press was.
A potential one was it was a house of multiple occupation and the actual offender had managed to keep her there without anyone else knowing or she was there willingly and they were unaware she was missing or underage.
If that is not the case it is hard to understand how they are not facing abduction charges. The fact the third man is no longer on police bail and is now released under investigation is also concerning as it means the police are unlikely to be in a position to charge.
Even if she had consented to be with them, it should still be considered child abduction if she was under 16, as legally she would not have the capacity for consent.
Unfortunately in many child sex grooming and other child sex offences police do not see it like that when someone reaches the age of 15 and has "consented."
Historically when the girls are from the care system or repeatedly go missing, the attitude from some police and social workers has sometimes been worse."