A gang of six "vile and wicked" men who raped and sexually abused two girls as young as 13 have been jailed for a total of 55 and a half years today.
The men sexually abused two victims who were aged 13 and 14 when they first separately came to the attention of the gang and were often plied with drugs and alcohol.
They were found guilty of 12 child sex offences, including rape and indecent assault in a string of abuse spanning between 1995 and 2011. A jury had previously heard how the gang lured the young girls into a "dark and sinister world" and took nearly 13 hours to convict the grooming gang.
The teenagers were “systematically groomed and exploited” by the men who viewed the girls as “objects to be used and abused at will”, prosecutor Kate Batty told a jury yesterday (Tues).
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Leeds Crown Court heard today how both girls now suffer with PTSD as a result of the abuse.
The jury previously heard how the victims were vulnerable and were deliberately targeted by older men.
The victims were groomed by the men who made them feel special by giving them cigarettes, alcohol and drugs it was previously heard.
The abuse, which centred in Huddersfield, happened in cars, car parks, parks, hotels and flats, including a flat belonging to a man who was "involved with drugs and had a gun".
Detectives on the case said the fact that one of the girls was targeted on her paper round "speaks volumes about the sheer depravity of this case". The first victim was introduced to older men by a school friend and by the time she was 15, had sex with up to 300 men, the jury heard during the trial.
Social services eventually told the girl's family that "she must love it if she keeps going back", according to Ms Batty.
In a victim statement read out to the court, the victim said she was “let down” and “ashamed” but after seeing her assailant’s mugshot in a local paper, became committed to getting justice against the men who “took away her childhood”.
She said she had to “lay her soul bare” in front of complete strangers.
Speaking of the first victim, prosecutor Andrea Parnham, told the court today: “She suffered from stress, anxiety, low self esteem - she has panic attacks.
“Her childhood has been taken away from her."
During sentencing Judge Geoffrey Marson QC said while the defendants had shown no remorse, the victims had displayed "great courage".
He said: “There was evidence she was self-harming. They were young and targeted due to their extreme vulnerability.
“They were planned by a large group of Asian men.
“It’s likely many of these girls will never recover from the abuse they suffered.
“It’s clear they both remain profoundly affected by the abuse.
“The way they were abused defies understanding, and was wild and wicked.
“[One of the victims] was no doubt targeted for her age and vulnerability.
“Regularly plied with alcohol and drugs in order to facilitate gross sexual abuse.
“She kept it secret and had not told anyone - even her husband had no idea.
“Had it not been for seeing a photograph she would in all likelihood have taken her secret to her grave.
“None of you have shown any remorse for what you have done.”
He added: “On the other hand, these girls have displaced great courage.”
DCI Richard McNamara of Kirklees District Police said: “The men involved in these vile offences have robbed their victims of their childhood and abused them in truly appalling ways.
“During the trial the court heard that one victim came to the attention of her abusers while she was on a paper round, which speaks volumes about the sheer depravity of this case.
“It is difficult to imagine the impact on the victims of the abuse they suffered but it is clear their courage in reporting what was done to them and in supporting the prosecution has helped take some dangerous men off our streets.
“The guilty verdicts today will hopefully be a milestone for them in seeing those responsible begin to pay for what they have done as will the forthcoming sentences of these individuals.”
- Usman Ali, 34, of Huddersfield, was convicted of two counts of rape against one victim. He was jailed for eight years.
- Gul Riaz, 44, of Huddersfield, was convicted of one count of rape and two counts of indecent assault against one victim, and one count of rape against the other.
- He was jailed for 15 years.
- Banaras Hussain, of Shipley, was convicted of one count count of rape against one victim. He was jailed nine and a half years.
- Abdul Majid, 36, of Huddersfield, was convicted of two counts of rape against one victim. He was jailed for 11 years.
- A 36-year-old man, who cannot be named, of Huddersfield, West Yorks., was convicted of one count of rape against one victim. He was jailed for eight years.
- A 30-year-old man, who cannot be named, of Huddersfield, West Yorks., was convicted of one count of rape against one victim. He was jailed for four years.
- A 37-year-old man, who cannot be named, of Huddersfield, West Yorks., is due to be sentenced tomorrow (Thurs) at Leeds Crown Court.
An NSPCC spokesperson said: “These men groomed and preyed on vulnerable teenagers, treating these young girls as nothing more than objects during sexual abuse offences which took place over a number of years.
“Each of them caused untold damage to the lives of their victims, who suffered horrendous experiences at their hands.
“We hope the girls are all receiving all the support they need, and we urge anyone who has experienced sexual abuse to speak out and seek support.”
Any adults concerned about the welfare of a child or young person can call the NSPCC helpline for free and confidential advice on 0808 800 5000 or visit nspcc.org.uk It's the sixth trial to stem from the Tendersea inquiries.
Thirty-four men have already been convicted in relation to Operation Tendersea, and received jail sentences totalling 377 and a half years.
It is the single biggest group of convicted rapists in the same area.