A. E. Houseman’s book “A Shropshire Lad” was one of the first books given me by my father, certainly my first book of verse. It revealed a nostalgic time not so very long gone of rural innocence coupled with untimely mortality.
Houseman had not seen the county before writing most of his poems.
I wonder what he’d think of it now:
Nine men deny a range of sexual offences against seven girls in Shropshire. The men, who are aged between 21 and 59 and from Telford, face more than 50 charges at Stafford Crown Court. Charges include rape, controlling child prostitution and sexual activity with girls under the age of 16. One of the defendants is accused of trafficking a child in the UK for exploitation.
The men on trial are Ahdel Ali, 23, Murbarek Ali, 28, Mohammed Ali Sultan, 24, Tanveer Ahmed, 39, Mahroof Khan, 33, Noshad Hussain, 21, Mohammed Islam Choudhrey, 52, Mohammed Younis, 59 and 34-year-old Abdul Rouf. They enticed the girls, groomed the girls and exploited them either for their own sexual gratification or for money.” They deny all of the charges, which relate to the alleged sexual abuse and exploitation of girls in Wellington between September 2007 and December 2009.
The victims are seven teenage girls, one of whom was 13 years old at the time the alleged offences were committed.
The prosecutor has taken pains to say that these alleged crimes have nothing to do with “race, religion, colour or creed.”
Which of course goes without saying, one should think.