Council 'just left me' in abuser's care
A woman abused by her foster carer as a child has waived her right to anonymity to criticise the council involved in her care.
Abbey Richards was five years old when she was sent to live with Rex Case in Southampton. He was eventually jailed for abusing her and four other girls.
A serious case review revealed he was allowed to continue fostering despite several allegations made against him.
The city council said it was now better at listening to children in care.
Case and his wife, who lived in Bassett, became registered foster carers for Hampshire County Council in the early 1970s and for Southampton City Council from 1997.
The review by Southampton Safeguarding Children Board, published in September last year, revealed there had been concerns about him before he was approved but there was a culture of giving carers the "benefit of the doubt".
It said, during his time as a foster carer, concerns were raised about sexual abuse and he was also sacked from his job at a supported hostel for inappropriate behaviour with a 17-year-old girl.
While Ms Richards was a child his care in 1998, his house was attacked by a mob who wrote the word "paedophile" on his wall but when her mother, Tracey Collins, contacted social services expressing concern about her daughter, she said they were prevented from speaking to each other.
Case continued to be a registered foster carer for five years and it was not until further complaints were made in 2010 that the police uncovered abuse going back decades.
Ms Richards testified against Case, and in 2012 he was jailed for 21 years. In 2016 he was jailed for a further four years after admitting further offences.
Southampton City Council apologised at the time but Ms Richards said the conviction did not give her as much of a sense of justice as she hoped.
She told the BBC: "The big thing for me was that there was nobody. You were just left there [in foster care] and there was no one to talk to.
"All these questions go around in your head. How it was allowed to happen?
"I was never offered any counselling or anything like that - you're just left and you've got to try and fit in to society."
A spokesman for the two councils involved said the review identified "gaps" in the way carers were recruited in the 70s and 80s.
He said: "Since the historic cases referenced in the report, significant changes to regulation have been implemented to ensure that children in care are safeguarded, listened to and their wellbeing is prioritised."