‘Three Girls’ concluded on Thursday night with a completely absorbing finale, by turns disturbing and inspiring as some of the victims of grooming had their day in court, and were believed.
There were no winners, though, in this conclusion, as both sexual health careworker Sara Rowbotham and police officer Maggie Oliver found themselves on the outside of the system they had spent years fighting from the inside on behalf of the girls.
With excellent performances across the board once again, particularly in Episode 3 from Molly Windsor who played victim Holly Winshaw, we saw the trial of the men accused through the eyes of the young girls, and with the script taken often word-for-word from transcripts of the process, it recalled some extremely disturbing moments, namely...
1. The male defence barrister’s attempts to undermine the girls’ testimonies in court, by inciting competition “you’re prettier than Amber” and reminding Holly that Amber, also a teenager, was collecting money for the girls.
2. The female defence barrister’s questioning of troubled Ruby, asking her to confirm that she’d thought of Billy as “a proper boyfriend”, despite the fact he’d been in his thirties, with a family, and she’d been 13 when it happened.
3. Ruby’s defiant acceptance of the fact she wasn’t “the right sort of victim” to give evidence in court - concentrating instead on being a good mum, even as she saw the ‘Guilty’ headlines. Did she get justice? Sort of.
4. ‘Daddy’s self-justifying rant about how society had let down the girls before they were lured to Top Curry. “They train them in sex, they train them in drinking. By the time they come to us, they’re fully trained. Look at social services. Look in the mirror. Where is everybody else?”
5. The final update before the credits, revealing in just how many areas of the UK grooming cases have been investigated, and charges made, meaning anybody assuming this is a plague constricted to the north of England is sadly mistaken.
But... There were two inspiring moments along the way, too:
1. The Prosecutor apologising publicly for letting down Holly Winshaw. “She was let down by the whole system, and we were part of that system.”
2. And the most heart-cheering bit of all… when Holly was accused of trying to “cleanse” herself with her testimony. “It’s four years later. I’ve got a daughter. I’ve got a life. I don’t need ‘cleansed’. I want justice,” she told the court, right in front of those who had scared her so much previously, head held high.
Catch up with ‘Three Girls’ on BBCiPlayer.