Rotherham grooming gang: Judge attacks ‘indifferent’ authorities as five more men jailed for sexually abusing girls
Five more members of grooming gangs that sexually abused girls in Rotherham have been jailed by a judge who attacked the “indifference” of authorities who failed to protect their victims.
Aftab Hussain, 40, was jailed for 24 years for rape and indecent assault and Abid Saddiq, 38, was jailed for 20 years by a judge who described him as a “cunning and determined sexual predator”.
Saddiq had been found guilty of two rapes, five indecent assaults and two child abductions.
Masaued Malik, 35, was jailed for five years for indecent assault and Sharaz Hussain, 35, was handed a four-year prison sentence for the same offence.
Another 35-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was jailed for 10 years for indecent assault and child abduction.
Mohammed Ashan, who pleaded guilty to three indecent assault charges before the trial began, will be sentenced at a later date alongside a seventh man.
The group abused seven victims, who were all under 16 at the time, after plying them with alcohol and drugs between 1998 and 2002.
Judge Michael Slater said he was “quite satisfied” that relevant authorities were well aware of the way vulnerable teenagers were being targeted at the time.
He told the court that officials were at best “totally ineffectual” and, at worst “wholly indifferent”.
“Nothing I can say to you can restore those childhoods of which you were so cruelly deprived by the actions of these defendants and others,” Judge Slater told the victims.
He said he was “particularly concerned” to hear that victims “expressed feelings of shame, guilt and self-loathing in relation to what happened to her and by extension to her family”.
The defendants are the latest group of offenders jailed as part of Operation Stovewood, which continues to investigate the sexual exploitation of girls in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.
A total of 20 men have so far been convicted and the National Crime Agency (NCA) vowed to continue the investigation, which has so far identified 190 suspects and engaged with 313 alleged victims out of an estimated 1,500.
A five-week trial at Sheffield Crown Court heard the abusers knew the girls were underage and lacking in confidence.
The men would regularly park outside the girls’ schools to engage them in conversation, or hang around at the local park, bus station or in Rotherham town centre waiting for young girls to approach.
The NCA said the victims were “vulnerable and craving attention and love” when they were targeted to become sexual objects for the group.
They believed sex was a price for friendship with the older men and did not realise they were being groomed and exploited at the time.
The girls were given alcohol and drugs, belittled and passed around the group to be abused in Rotherham and the surrounding areas.
“If the girls didn’t comply with the men’s sexual demands, they turned violent and the power exerted over the girls became more apparent,” the NCA said.
“They were given drugs and alcohol and often raped by multiple offenders and they felt obliged to comply.”
One victim said in a statement read to the court: “They took my childhood away.”
Judge Slater the women should be praised for the “incredible resolve and bravery” they showed to bring the men to justice, and how they “stood up to ensure that what happened to her should never happened to young girls in the future”.
Kate Hurst, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said the defendants knew the girls were vulnerable or underage when they abused them.
“They were reckless and did not care if they were children or not,” she added.
“Some of the men used threats of violence and they often had sex with these children while they were drunk or high on drugs. They tried to deny their responsibility claiming that the victims were lying or that they did not know they were underage.”
A further trial is due to go ahead in February 2020 for four defendants accused of 12 offences including rape and indecent assault.
The other abusers jailed as part of Operation Stovewood so far are Riaz Mahmood, Sajid Ali, Zaheer Iqbal, Asghar Bostan, Khuram Javed, Tony Chapman, Darren Hyett, Mohammed Imran Ali Akhtar, Nabeel Kurshid, Iqlak Yousaf, Tanweer Ali, Salah Ahmed El-Hakam, Asif Ali, and a 40-year-old man.
Six men found guilty of 20 CSE offences in Rotherham abuse trial
A gang of six men who abused and exploited vulnerable girls in Rotherham in the late 1990s and early 2000s has been convicted of multiple child sexual offences.
Aftab Hussain (40), Abid Saddiq (38), Masaued Malik (35), Sharaz Hussain (35) and two men who cannot be named for legal reasons, preyed on the vulnerability of the schoolgirls and their “need to be loved”.
The men were convicted on 20 counts by a jury of six men and six women at Sheffield Crown Court today (Wednesday) after almost two days of deliberation following a six-week trial.
They were remanded in custody and will be sentenced on Friday morning.
Abid Saddiq (38), of HMP Doncaster and formerly of Walter Street, Masbrough, has been found guilty of two counts of rape, four counts of indecent assault and two counts of child abduction (jointly charged with Defendant 6). He was cleared of one count of indecent assault.
Sharaz Hussain (35), of Fitzwilliam Road, Eastwood, has been found guilty of four counts of indecent assault against two girls in 2002.
Masaued Malik (35), of HMP Doncaster, has been found guilty of three counts of indecent assault against two girls between 1999 and 2002.
Aftab Hussain (40), of HMP Doncaster and formerly of York Road, Rotherham, has been found guilty of two counts of indecent assault against one girl between 2000 and 2002.
Defendant 5, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been found guilty of two counts of indecent assault between 2001 and 2002 against one girl. He was cleared of one count of rape and one count of indecent assault.
Defendant 6, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been found guilty of two counts of child abduction against two girls in 2002, jointly charged with Saddiq. He was also found guilty of indecently assaulting another girl between 2000 and 2001.
The men sexually abused and exploited seven girls in several locations incluiding Clifton Park and an alleyway near Boots on Howard Street.
The girls were deliberately targeted for their vulnerability and for the sole purpose of becoming sexual objects for the men, the National Crime Agency, who led the investigation, said.
“None of them had the maturity to understand they were being groomed and exploited, believing that sex was some kind of ‘necessary price’ for friendship,” said the NCA in a statement.
“They were given alcohol and drugs, belittled and passed around to other men for their gratification and were easy to exploit because of their need to be loved.
“All seven suffer the emotional effects of the abuse to this day.”
The NCA said the men knew the girls were lacking in confidence and preyed on their vulnerabilities.
One of the men, Malik, is already serving a 15-year sentence.
In 2016, he was convicted of rape, conspiracy to commit indecent assault and false imprisonment and as part of the second trial under South Yorkshire Police’s Operation Clover investigation following the publication of the Jay Report.
A total of 20 men have been convicted as part of the multi-million pound Operation Stovewood investigation, which has been looking into allegations of non-familial child sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.