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Friday, 16 November 2018

Rotherham gang jailed for abusing vulnerable teenage girls in Rotherham

Written by Josh Payne

A gang of six men have been given jail sentences of up to 23 years after sexually exploiting vulnerable teenage girls in Rotherham.

A judge told the defendants they "perpetrated, facilitated and encouraged" the abuse on five victims who were "vulnerable in the extreme".

The complainants explained in statements how the men had "destroyed" them and that their childhood had been taken from them.

One of the complainants told a trial how she had sex with "at least 100 Asian men" by the time she was 16 and another described how she was gang-raped in a forest and threatened with being abandoned there.

Passing sentence, Judge Sarah Wright said they "groomed, coerced and intimidated" the girls after plying them with alcohol and drugs.

As victim impact statements were read out in court, one of the defendants, Tanweer Ali, appeared to fall asleep - tilting his head back with his mouth open.

The jury in the trial which finished on October 29 heard how girls, who are now in their 30s, were "lured by the excitement of friendship with older Asian youths" but then sexually assaulted and passed between men.

The case is the first major prosecution arising out of Operation Stovewood, the National Crime Agency's (NCA) inquiry into historical child sexual exploitation in the South Yorkshire town which has identified more than 1,500 victims.

This investigation was set up in the wake of the 2014 Jay Report which laid bare the shocking scale of exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013 and failure of police and social services to intervene.

At Sheffield Crown Court on Friday, Judge Wright told the men: "Each in your own way perpetrated, facilitated or encouraged the sexual abuse of these young girls.

"Each of the complainants in this case were groomed, coerced and intimidated.

"Some were given alcohol and/or drugs and each of them was given attention and lured into a way of life that was highly damaging for them.

"Each of them was groomed. Each of you groomed."

The judge continued: "These offences were committed using sophisticated grooming of your victims.

"They were well planned. You can have been in no doubt that the complainants were vulnerable in the extreme.

"You were clearly not immature, evidenced by the fact you all indulged in cynical manipulation and exploitation of your victims which showed a maturity well beyond your chronological age."

She added: "They continue to suffer considerable trauma and will continue to suffer throughout their lives as a result of your actions."

A victim impact statement to the court on behalf of one of the complainants said: "The men in this trial have had a massive effect on the person I am.

"I hope the court realises these defendants destroyed me. I hope they do go to jail to send a message to abusers."

Another victim said in a statement: "What happened to me as a child has made me overprotective towards my own children who do not regularly enjoy the same freedoms as many of their friends of the same age.

"I genuinely believe I lost part of my childhood or at least had it taken from me by adults."

Two of the victims did not make victim impact statements because "it would make me feel worse than I already do".

Mohammed Imran Ali Akhtar, 37, of Godstone Road, Rotherham, was found guilty of one rape, one charge of aiding and abetting rape, three indecent assaults, one charge of procuring a girl under 21 to have unlawful sexual intercourse with another and one sexual assault.

Akhtar, who was labelled by the judge as the ring leader, was jailed for 23 years.

The "bully" of the gang, Nabeel Kurshid, 35, of Weetwood Road, Rotherham, was found guilty of two rapes and one indecent assault and was sentenced to 19 years in prison.

Iqlak Yousaf, 34, of Tooker Road, Rotherham, was found guilty of two rapes and two indecent assaults and was jailed for 20 years.

Tanweer Ali, 37, of Godstone Road, Rotherham, was found guilty of two rapes, two indecent assaults and one charge of false imprisonment and was handed a 14-year sentence.

Salah Ahmed El-Hakam, 39, of Tudor Close, Sheffield, was found guilty of one rape and was jailed for 15 years.

Asif Ali, 33, of Clough Road, Rotherham, was found guilty of two indecent assaults and was jailed for 10 years to run concurrently with his existing 12-year sentence.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture  - Clockwise from top left: Iqlak Yousaf, Nabeel Kurshid, Mohammed Imran Ali Akhtar, Tanweer Ali, Salah Ahmed El-Hakam and Asif Ali - (c) South Yorkshire Police / PA Wire.