Punter of the week – MF08 ZVN – Silver Audi

Well, well, well… what have we here?  This week’s happy punter is Mr Silver Audi driver, registration number MF08 ZVN.  He brought a whole new meaning to “paradise by the dashboard light” when he had sex on the back seat of his car with a local prostituted woman.  Sir, your prize can be collected from the customer services desk at Elland Road Police Station.

Our resident tells her story….

“This morning my husband was getting his van ready for work and saw the Audi pull up and park. He checked again after a couple of minutes and realised it was still there and very steamy.  He walked out and checked the car and saw them having sex in the back. He shouted at them to get off a residential street!  The girl got out of the back and walked away and the guy got out and got back in the front.”

He goes forward as a candidate for our “Punter of the Year” competition.  Who will win?  The people will vote and the winner will be announced at a star studded ceremony in Leeds Town Hall next January.

Punter of the week MX53 FJJ

This week’s punter is a genuine “white van man.”  Driving an Iveco van registration number MX53 FJJ

Over to one of our long suffering Beeston residents who says

“11 o clock on a Sunday morning and we are subjected to these people rocking and moaning on the dirt track at Beggars hill by the childrens play area.  I object to spending my day banging on car/ van doors to move them on to be told by her “me again!”

I’ve reported to the police and emailed them the photos.”

He goes forward as a candidate for our “Punter of the Year” competition.  Who will win?  The people will vote and the winner will be announced at a star studded ceremony in Leeds Town Hall next January.

24 hours in Holbeck: A day in the strife of local residents

We are regularly faced with pro-prostitution campaigners who believe that the zone must be working and the residents are just unreasonable.

So on Friday 7th September 2018 we compiled a few notes from just 24 hours in Holbeck.  

Midnight: Resident report into Save Our Beeston & Holbeck group. SOE admin contacted the resident to get more details.

Calum and his friend Dave finished work late at a club in the city centre and were walking home near the managed zone around midnight when they heard a woman’s voice calling for help…

“We took a detour to a street in the direction where the calls were coming from.  We saw a man trying to strangle a woman.  He released her as soon as we approached and she ran towards us.  The arguments continued.  She’s a sex worker and he’s the punter.  The fight was about condoms.  He wanted her to have sex without a condom and was offering her extra money but she refused.  She had said she would only do it if he wore a condom and he became angry then tried to strangle her. We told him off and threatened to call the Police.  He skulked back to his car.  Dave was stood with the woman on the pavement reassuring her, he said we’d walk her home.  I was watching them.  The punter started the car engine and drove at them, mounting the pavement.  He hit Dave and Dave flew across the bonnet of the car then fell off onto the road.  He missed the woman.  After that the punter drove at me and tried to run me down but I dodged him.  He drove off and we called the Police.”

Save Our Eyes issued this appeal for info 

“Members we need your help to identify a punters car seen in the zone last night. The punter ran over a local resident who went to help a prostituted woman who was being attacked near Dunelm.
The witness believes the reg starts with YF11. It’s a Ford Fiesta 5 door, black, new shape.
Punter is described as approx 5ft 6in, stocky, black hair & black goatee beard.”

12.30am resident report to Save Our Eyes

Resident posts video from her CCTV camera showing prostitute & punter coming out of children’s play area and driving off in punters car.

3am Beeston resident report to Save Our Eyes

“Two prostitutes soliciting outside my house on Malvern Road.” (Malvern Road is in Beeston and is some way from the zone.)

11am Holbeck resident report to Save Our Eyes

photo of used condom left on pavement outside her house at Gaitskell Walk. (This street is outside the managed zone.)

1pm Holbeck specialist cleansing team report that they have attended in response to the report below (made yesterday) and collected a large amount of used condoms, needles and drug litter.

SOE committee member: “The guys from Sweet St Car Park by Halfords just called us to say they’re having increased sex and drug waste strewn across their land and by public footpaths. I just called in to see and there’s unsheathed needles everywhere across the grassland and many areas being used by prostitutes and drug addicts! Holbeck Lcc Cleansing is it you guys for this job, it’s a lot to contend with or should I call council separately?? Awful! X”

managed approach litter Holbeck, 24 hours in holbeck
how the managed approach for prostitution affects residents in Holbeck Leeds

4pm Holbeck resident report to Save Our Eyes

My 12 year old daughter walking home from school rang me to tell me she’s just seen a lady being raped! 2 men had pinned her up against the wall between Holbeck cemetery and Beggars Hill Park and one was pulling off her knickers as she screamed. My daughter ran home and I’ve called 999. She is very upset and vague on description but one male had a white t shirt and the other black tracksuit bottoms. The lady had quite long brown hair and a patterned top.

Her dad says, “A couple of hours later I was checking to see if she’s OK and she said “nah I’m fine.”  I said “It must have been quite an upsetting thing?” and she replied “but it happens round here all the time.”  My 12 year old thinks this is normal.”

Her mum is very angry. “Do you know how horrible it is to have your 12 year old daughter ring you panicking because of seeing this! This area used to be nice – it was somewhere I was proud to live. Now it’s been destroyed!”

Police attended the girls home and interviewed her with her parents.  The location of this incident was outside the zone in a residential area near a childrens playground.

5pm Holbeck resident report to Save Our Eyes

Prostitute on Bridge Road near arches.  Reported to Police. 

6pm Holbeck resident report to Save Our Eyes for LCC Cleansing team

Used discarded condom left outside her house, photo attached

9.00pm Holbeck resident report to Save Our Eyes

“Just phoned the Police to report 2 prostitutes behind Sewells and the response I got from PCSO was that he was on his dinner and would go when he is finished.”

9.45pm Holbeck resident report to Save Our Eyes

“Prostitute on St Matthews street. Hair tied up. Long cardigan, 3 Quarter length trousers. Reported to Police”

(St Matthews Street is not in the zone, it is a residential area)

10pm Holbeck resident report to Save Our Eyes

“Think they’re at it again near my house. Man and woman got out of a yellow transit van, reg no. FG03 NNY. Went round and got in sliding doors at the side.  Been in there together 10 minutes now.”

Our Mission:

Save Our Eyes campaigns for the rights of all Leeds residents whose lives are blighted by the “managed approach to prostitution” which is currently located in the Holbeck area and spreading to other parts of the city.

We aim to become a community where residents are not subjected to daily harassment from kerb crawlers, prostituted women, danger from discarded condoms, needles and sex industry litter.

We aim to see prostituted women freed from the grips of a drug addiction that was created to enslave them. We recognise that the women who are prostituted would rather lead different lives and we support their wishes to exit the sex industry.

Both sides in this dispute want the same outcome: a peaceful life free from prostitution and abuse.

A short interview with a woman prostituted on the streets of Holbeck

This short and emotional interview was given to a resident in the street late in 2017.  It was originally on video and has been transcribed to protect “Carol’s” identity.

We understand that in the months after the recording was made she managed to turn her life around.  We haven’t seen “Carol” for months and hope she continues to recover.  Over the last couple of weeks we have noticed (on Twitter) that pro-managed approach campaigners try to silence some of the women who have suffered in street prostitution.  We have seen campaigners claiming that street prostitution is a proper job and that women choose to do it.  From the conversations we have had with current and former women who work the streets of Holbeck we believe that none of them chose this “job” and none of them actually want to do it.

That’s why we have decided to publish Carol’s words – they come straight from the heart.

Do you know my pimp?  Do you know how many times I get battered at night?
Do you know how many times we get raped & battered every night?
I’ve been pimped out all my life. I’ve been raped all my xxxxing life.
I’m getting raped every day to do this shit (we think she means the drugs)
You think we don’t get raped every day?  You think we don’t get beaten like xxxxing sluts?

I lost my child-like 17 year old niece to a Holbeck rapist who escaped conviction by claiming she was a prostitute

I live in the Beeston area and was close to my sister, Cheryl. Cheryl had three children, the youngest is Sally. We haven’t had much luck as a family. When Sally was just 15, her mum died. The family rallied round and Sally remained close to family members, especially her gran (my mother.) Sally has learning difficulties and eventually her social worker felt she’d be better off moving into supported accommodation. She was given a place in Harehills aged 16 where she was happy.

I suppose I should explain a little more about Sally. At the time she was attacked, in summer 2015, she was 17 and still living in Harehills. Her learning difficulties meant that she was rather child-like, more like a young 12 year old. The aim was to help build her independence. She had a bus pass and loved to travel back to Holbeck & Beeston to meet friends and family. Sally’s learning difficulties were immediately obvious to anyone who met her.

On the day she was attacked she had gone to visit a friend in Holbeck as she’d done independently many times before. Sally didn’t have a mobile phone, so she just set out on the trip hoping her friend would be in and enjoying the ride. She liked going out and having little day trips with her free disabled bus pass. Her friend wasn’t at home so Sally went back to the bus stop near City Evangelical Church and waited for the bus home. It was 2pm on a weekday afternoon. While she was waiting a man pulled his car up to the bus stop and started making small talk with her. He offered to give her a lift into Leeds instead of having to wait for the bus. Sally refused his offer but he became insistent that he wanted to give her a lift. As she would not accept he eventually got out of the car and forced her into it.

The man drove Sally to a house on Stratford Street in Beeston, not far away. He dragged her from the car into the house and raped her. After a while he went to the toilet and she ran for her life. She escaped and ran to a house opposite. The neighbours immediately tried to help and took her in. The police were called and the man was arrested. DNA evidence was obtained and the police seemed really confident they would secure a conviction. Due to the attack being so serious he wasn’t let out on bail. He stayed in prison on remand right up to the court date which I think was in October 2015.

“despite her mental age being 12, Sally was forced to testify in court”

My mother told the family that the attack had been so humiliating and degrading for Sally that it would be in Sally’s best interests if her own family were not told the full details. As a result we were asked not to even attend court. My mother went alone with Sally to court without the rest of the family.

Up to this point the proceedings had gone as well as could be expected… but a sad twist of fate meant that the court date fell after Sally’s 18th birthday. The defence forced her to appear and testify in open court, even though she had the mental age of a child. She was torn to shreds. The defence barrister argued that Sally was a prostitute and had been “waiting for business” at the bus stop. She really struggled to answer the aggressive questioning and just fell to pieces.

Even so, the police were shocked when the defendant was found not guilty. All he had to do was claim she was a prostitute and it was apparently believable because she was standing in an area where street prostitution occurs on a daily basis.

What you need to understand about the “managed approach for prostitution” is that it covers a small area of industrial Holbeck but the women & punters spread out way beyond the boundaries of the “zone.” As a result street prostitution is evident over a much larger area, including residential streets. This is why residents are campaigning for the zone to be closed.

We can’t protect the women of Holbeck and Beeston. When women are attacked the men involved can simply claim “I thought she was a prostitute!” and get away with it. Holbeck is the only area in Leeds where men can abduct and rape local women and get away with it. (Read Alice’s story here)

After the trial Sally completely lost her way in life. She got into an abusive relationship with a man and got pregnant. She desperately wanted to keep her baby but social services recommended he be adopted as Sally wasn’t mentally capable of raising a child alone. We haven’t seen her for a while now… she’s lost touch with her family.

I keep thinking about the defence barrister. To him it was just a job: keep his client out of jail no matter what. He was willing to put a rapist back onto the streets and condemn poor Sally to a life of hell. My family have lost confidence in the justice system and those who were supposed to protect us. Sally’s case is well known locally and I’ve been very vocal about it. I’m still so angry.

The residents need help and we need a solution. I don’t know what the solution is but I believe that if we prosecuted sex buyers and cleared the streets of kerb crawlers men would not be able to say “I thought she was a prostitute” in future.

Interview by Paula, Save Our Eyes Committee. This article is strictly copyright and may not be reproduced without permission.

I was abducted from a Holbeck street and raped after being mistaken for a prostitute

My name is Alice and I was once possibly just like you. I loved my work as a school teacher. I had a normal life which now seems so far away.

My story starts with my partner. He was abusive and this caused me mental health problems which became so bad that I was taken into a psychiatric hospital for my own protection and treatment.

On discharge I was homeless and I was given a place in a specialist refuge for women in Chapeltown, Leeds. I was recovering and hoped to re-build my life. I was then moved to another womens refuge in Holbeck, Leeds. As a domestic violence survivor I really struggled with the behaviour of some men in Holbeck. Although the refuge was outside the “managed zone” area there were lots of kerb crawlers in the residential streets – not just cars but men on foot. I found being approached for sex distressing and scary. I was a teacher! I have never been involved in the sex industry. I was offered money for sexual services regularly, around twice a week. Can you imagine what it’s like having to constantly explain to men that you are not a prostitute?

The other women in the refuge were all people who had suffered in life and were trying to make a recovery too. Most were really sweet and I made friends there. Many were scared too… we all had the same problem once we stepped out of the front door. Sex buyers would see us and assume we must be prostitutes because we were women walking about normally in Holbeck. There was a corner shop near the refuge. We couldn’t even get to the corner shop without being approached.

I expressed my concerns to the admins at Save Our Eyes and they gave me one of the rape alarms they had purchased. I carried it with me everywhere.

“Any woman seen walking the streets of Holbeck is a target for punters.  You don’t have to be in the “zone” to be approached by men.”

What happened in May 2018 changed everything. I went out one evening to meet a friend and we had a few drinks nearby. I wasn’t drunk. I walked back to the refuge around 11pm.  Just as I arrived a car pulled up next to me. It was the kerb crawlers as usual… this time was different though. There were 4 men in the car. They wound down the windows and started asking me to get in. They explained they wanted me to go with them to a party and it would be fun. I didn’t want to go with them but a couple of them got out of the car and took hold of me. Despite my protests they bundled me into the car. I couldn’t escape. Looking back I realise I was paralysed by it all and couldn’t believe what was happening.

They took me to a house not far away. There was no party… it was just me and them in the house. That’s when it became obvious they thought I was a prostitute. They were asking my prices for sexual services and offering me cash. I was terrified. I told them I’m not a prostitute but they didn’t believe me because they found me walking in the street in Holbeck. I have old self harm scars on my arms and they rolled up my sleeves and said the scars must be from doing drugs. I’ve never used drugs.

They attacked me and one of the men raped me. Afterwards I escaped in a panic and set off the rape alarm. I ran down the street banging on different front doors until one opened. The residents took me in and called the police.

I was examined and DNA evidence obtained. The police found my attacker and he was charged then bailed. I was never even told his name.

I was devastated when the police told me they were not pursuing the case. All he had to do to get away with abduction and rape was claim that I was a prostitute. They said it was my word against his and not worth taking the case to court. The refuge has a security camera outside but it wasn’t working so the evidence of my abduction was never available.

I’m speaking out because the authorities are housing vulnerable women in Holbeck where they are not safe. I wasn’t safe right outside the front door of a women’s refuge. We are told that the managed approach for prostitution is supposed to make women safer but in reality it does not. It puts women at risk because perverts and rapists are drawn to the area and made much bolder by the policy.

So what does the future hold for me?  Who knows… I’m left not even 30 years old with a broken heart and a broken life. I’ve moved away from Leeds now. I couldn’t feel safe there as I was not told the identity of my attackers and they will never be brought to justice.

I want justice and understanding. Vulnerable women need help. Housing us in Holbeck surrounded by perverts is not acceptable. I have to live with the consequences of the failure of the “managed approach” and I want people to understand what is really going on.

I have asked for my identity to be concealed but I still want my voice to be heard.

“If all European countries would see prostitution for what it really is, that it is part of men’s violence against women and a form of modern slavery, we would have a much better chance of fighting this crime.”
Simon Häggström, Swedish Detective Inspector, Prostitution Unit
Strictly copyright Save Our Eyes 2018.  Alice was interviewed by SOE committee member, Paula.  This interview has now been covered by The Telegraph here   https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/25/teacher-living-next-legal-red-light-district-raped-man-believed/