In Six Months This Bright Middle-Class Scholgirl Sank into the Seedy, Twightlight World of Teenage Prostitution. So Just Where Did It All Go Wrong?

Daily Mail (London), August 29, 1996 | Go to article overview

In Six Months This Bright Middle-Class Scholgirl Sank into the Seedy, Twightlight World of Teenage Prostitution. So Just Where Did It All Go Wrong?


Byline: NICK HOPKINS

ONLY five miles separate the top of Sandwell Street and the detached house in Cherrington Drive where Lucy Burchell grew up. But the gulf between the addresses could not be greater.

Sandwell Street in Walsall lies in the middle of one of the bleakest, most wretched red-light areas in the Midlands.

By contrast, the Burchell family's home of 11 years is in a relatively affluent suburb of Great Wyrley , Staffordshire.

So when 16-year-old Lucy was found dumped and strangled in bushes next to a nightclub in Birmingham last week, people who knew her did not immediately make the connection.

Only later did it emerge that Lucy had, with frightening speed, descended into the murky world of vice. This was astonishing enough.

But what no one could to understand was why popular, intelligent Lucy - who dreamed of becoming a lawyer or journalist - had seemingly turned her back on the family who adored her for life as a prostitute.

How had a pupil regarded by her teachers as quiet and sensible been lured into a world of violence and sleaze? These are questions that her grieving parents, Graham, 48, and Christine, 43 - who tried everything to rescue their daughter - are asking again and again.

The answers, the Daily Mail has learned, will be deeply disturbing for every parent.

Lucy's story centres on that most potent of emotions, first love.

Disenchanted with her staid image, Lucy Burchell - like many adolescent girls - wanted to change.

What pushed her into such a dramatic transformation was her attachment to her only serious boyfriend, Pete. Tragically, he turned out to be a pimp.

And when Lucy, who had been working the streets for no more than ten weeks when she died, finally began to snap out of the spell, she wrote to her parents apologising for her behaviour. But it was too late. The evening she hoped would be her last as a hooker was probably the night she died.

To appreciate the horror of what happened to Lucy, you have to drive to the top of Sandwell Street. From the brow of the hill you can see Caldmore, where the roads ooze decay and are overlooked by rundown shops and battered council homes. People don't like living in Caldmore. They would move out if they could.

Only one activity thrives here - prostitution. At about 7pm every night the women and girls set about their business.

Some loiter in the alleyways, where it is easy to hide from the police cars which occasionally patrol the streets. others lurk in the shadows under the street lights. in requisite short skirts, tight tops and heels, most will not have to wait long. There are deserted industrial estates just a short drive from Caldmore where the deals and the deeds can be conducted in private.

On a good night some women will do the journey seven or eight times and earn up to [pounds sterling]200. On a bad night they might end up dead.

That night came for Lucy on August 15. She was last seen alive by the other girls near a phone box at the top of Sandwell Street outside the Dog And Partridge pub, a strip prized by every prostitute on the patch.

The punters liked Lucy. She had been a prostitute only since June and, unlike some of the women, was still fresh and pretty.

Deini Sheldon, a 23-year-old prostitute who knew Lucy well, said: `She was so bubbly. Everyone really liked her.

`I don't know if her parents knew but she was on the street every night.

She was only a kid.' Miss Sheldon, who has two young children, added: `She was only trying to earn some extra money like the rest of us.'

That might have been what Lucy told the other women, but it was not true.

Her lorry-driver father and her mother, a nursery nurse, worked hard to give her and brother Craig, 20, everything they wanted. They had promised Lucy a car and a horse for her 18th birthday. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

In Six Months This Bright Middle-Class Scholgirl Sank into the Seedy, Twightlight World of Teenage Prostitution. So Just Where Did It All Go Wrong?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.