'Why Tommy Robinson owes Huddersfield grooming gang victims an apology'

The gang of sexual predators that raped and abused children as young as 11 years old might still be walking the streets of Yorkshire following the recklessness of far-right activist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon.

Tommy Robinson at Leeds Crown Court

The former leader of the English Defence League took it upon himself during proceedings to disregard reporting restrictions put in place to protect the justice process.

As the accused faced their days in court, Yaxley-Lennon, who goes by the name Tommy Robinson, took to Facebook to broadcast live content which could have caused the trial to collapse.

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He did so under the auspices of being a champion of the people, effectively duping those who follow him into believing editors like me were covering up these repugnant crimes.

Tommy Robinson at Leeds Crown Court

His narrative was that newspapers like The Yorkshire Post were too scared to tell the truth because the perpetrators are all Asian men.

Now, as reporting restrictions are lifted, the truth stands there for all to see: Yaxley-Lennon put his own notoriety ahead of any thought for the only people that matter in this; the victims.

In flouting the reporting restrictions he absolutely jeopardised their right to see punished the men who abused them in the most inhumane way imaginable.

This newspaper has committed a journalist to proceedings every step of the way, capturing every submission with a shorthand note, knowing that the right time would eventually come to responsibly break the news.

The right time was – and is – when, and only when, those guilty of such heinous acts against some of the most vulnerable children in the county have received that which is coming to them.

Now these men are jailed, the time is right to publish. It is also the right time for Yaxley-Lennon to apologise to the victims.