Eight men found guilty of sexually abusing teenage girls in Rotherham

Some of the Rotherham abuse accused arriving at court
Some of the Rotherham abuse accused arriving at court

Eight men - including two brothers and two of their cousins - have been found guilty of all 19 counts against them of sexually abusing three teenage girls in Rotherham over a decade ago.

The verdicts follow a trial that began in mid-September and jury deliberations lasting almost 18 hours in connection with offences that took place between 1999 and 2003.

The men were found guilty of charges of rape, indecent assault and false imprisonment.

They were remanded in custody and will be sentenced on November 4.

The court heard details of how the central complainant in the case had reported her abuse to police on two occasions when she was just 13 years old in 2003 - but no action was ever taken.

Her family also wrote to then Home Secretary David Blunkett to highlight what they said was happening to her at the hands of a group of Asian males.

The central complainant in the case, who is now 27, had first reported allegations of abuse to the police on two occasions in April and October 2003.

In April 2003, the girl, who cannot be named, made an allegation she had been repeatedly raped by defendant Sageer Hussain, who she said had also physically attacked her.

Prosecutor Michelle Colborne QC said at the opening of the case that the girl later asked for the case to be dropped.

She said her clothing seized at the time was lost and no scientific examination ever conducted.

Ms Colborne said the girl made further disclosures to the police in October 2003 about other men involved her alleged abuse - but the case did not proceed after her family were subjected to threats.

"The girl and her family were being subjected to threats and intimidation by those men and were very frightened," she said.

"They sought help from social services and the police.

"They wrote to their Member of Parliament and the Home Secretary."

She said the family eventually moved from South Yorkshire to Spain to get away from the men who were exploiting her.

The court heard how she later worked with victims of sexual exploitation and wrote a book about the subject, as well as appearing in a TV documentary.

Ms Colborne said the now-adult woman contacted police again in September 2013 to tell them the accounts she had given 10 years before were true.

She said the case involves allegations of child sexual exploitation said to have occurred 13 years ago in the Rotherham area.

She said girls were 'targeted, sexualised and in some instances subjected to attacks of a degrading and violent nature at the hands of these men'.

"These were local girls - some had perfectly normal lives but were lured by the excitement and friendship of older Asian males."

She said the prosecution alleged Sageer Hussain played a key role in 'befriending young girls who were flattered that he and his friends wanted to spend time with them'.

Ms Colborne said that in the case of the central complainant, Hussain 'used her for his own gratification and passed her to friends, older brothers and associates'.

Among the other defendants were two of his cousins - Mohammed Whied and Asif Ali - as well as his older brother Basharat Hussain.

Ms Colborne added: "In the space of months, she had gone from being a normal happy child from a stable supportive family to one who was secretive and distant.

"Her mother watched her daughter change from a loving, lovely girl to one she describes as horrible and she was powerless to control it."

Ms Colborne said the girl moved into a 'life of deceit and fear' after being 'lured into that life'.

She said: "They told her she owed them something because they had given her cigarettes, alcohol and cannabis.

"As time moved on, the threats became nasty in nature. They threatened to gang-rape her mother and they made it clear they were serious."

She said that on one occasion, two of the defendants - Masoued Malik and Naeem Rafiq - took her to the flat of a man described by the girl as a 'Kosovan refugee' called Zalgai Ahmadi where she was forced to perform sex acts on a number of men.

Other incidents occurred in an alleyway by Boots in Rotherham town centre and at Clifton Park.

On one occasion, the central victim in the case was raped by Sageer Hussain in the car of Mohammed Whied, while the latter man watched from outside.

The court heard that 'Sageer was banging her head against the window telling her to scream' and called her a 'white slag'.

The girl said on a further occasion, Hussain had sexual intercourse with her in bushes by the museum in Clifton Park.

"I told him I didn't want to. He carried on," she said. "He looked at me, I had tears in my eyes.

He said 'Why are you crying?' You are just a big crybaby, can't you handle it?'

She said on a further occasion just a few days before the police interview, she was told to get in the back of the car with Hussain and that they were 'going somewhere where there wasn't any cameras'.

The girl said: "Sageer said I was a white bitch and punched me in the mouth. "He said if I opened my mouth again, he would do it harder."

She said one of Hussain's friends then produced a crowbar, which he passed to Hussain who threatened to hit her with it.

The girl was accused in court by Sageer Hussain's barrister Kitty Taylor of making up her allegations for financial reasons, having previously written a book about her experiences.

The witness said: "This is not about money. It is about justice."

Sageer Hussain, 30, of Clough Road, Rotherham, was found guilty of four rapes and one indecent assault.

Mohammed Whied, 32, of Psalters Lane, Rotherham, was convicted of aiding and abetting rape.

Ishtiaq Khaliq, 33, of Carlisle Road, Rotherham, was convicted of one rape and three indecent assaults.

Waleed Ali, 34, of Canklow Road, Rotherham, was convicted of one rape and one indecent assault.

Asif Ali, 30, of Clough Road, Rotherham, was found guilty of rape.

Masoued Malik, 32, of Bridgewater Way, Rotherham, was found guilty of rape, conspiracy to commit indecent assault and false imprisonment.

Basharat Hussain, 40, from Goole, was convicted of indecent assault.

Naeem Rafiq, 33, of Clarenden Road, Rotherham, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit indecent assault and one of false imprisonment.

Following the verdicts, Sarah Champion, MP for Rotherham, said: "I would firstly like to state my absolute admiration and thanks to the survivors for coming forward.

"These young women have been trying for years to be heard, now a judge, and indeed the country, has heard the horror you endured and justice has been served. Their courage and bravery will inspire others and we should all be grateful for that."

READ MORE:

Victim believed she would never get justice after police failures in 2003

Family's journey 'to hell and back' in fight for justice

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