Police officers have been recognised for their role in a "challenging investigation" where six people were brought to justice for their role in the rape, sexual assault and abduction of a girl.

Chief Constable Jason Hogg recently presented awards to members of staff working on  Operation Isotope, an East Berkshire Child Abuse Investigation Unit whose investigation resulted in six people being jailed for more than 40 years.

In November 2020, a then-teenager reported an assault by a man from Slough and a woman from London. The girl later disclosed that the man had raped her over a number of years.

In February 2021, the offenders kidnapped the victim from foster care in Crowthorne.

She was located safely in Sheffield following a significant police investigation.

An officer in the case, Detective Constables Zoe Eele, worked "tirelessly" to support the vulnerable young female and has been praised for her "outstanding effort and commitment" to ensuring the victim remained engaged in the investigation. 

“I am grateful for the commendation; however, I feel I was only doing my job in safeguarding a child who was a repeat victim of serious offences,” she said.

The other officers recognised in the awards were Detective Inspectors Laura Al-Owaied and Stuart May, Detective Sergeants John Denard and Corinne Mullar, Detective Constable Christine Miller, and Digital Forensic Unit investigators Charlie Brown, Andrew Dunn and Miles Larson.

DI Al-Owaied, as the deputy SIO reviewed the evidence before presenting it to the Crown Prosecution Service, before negotiating custody for the offenders.

She said: “From the outset, we were dedicated to protecting the victim in this case from further harm and bringing the perpetrators to justice for sexual and physical abuse and kidnap.

“Those at the ceremony persevered with professionalism and diligence to make this happen.”

DS Denard took over from DI Al-Owaied as the deputy SIO when she went on maternity leave, dealing with evidence that was "critical" to the case.

The investigation resulted in the seizure of a large number of devices and a significant volume of cell site, ANPR and call data, which the digital forensics team had to go through.

Digital Forensic Unit lead Andrew said: “I am immensely proud to receive this commendation.

“The case involved weeks of extracting and expertly analysing digital data from a large amount suspect's devices, to provide a rich evidence picture for the investigation teams to conclude with."

Senior investigating officer (SIO) DI May added: “I am delighted that the hard work of the Operation Isotope team has been recognised.

“This was a very challenging investigation involving a young victim who had experienced serious abuse.

“The victim showed tremendous courage in attending court to give evidence and I hope that the lengthy sentences imposed on those responsible provides her with some comfort.”