Saturday, October 20, 2018 | ePaper
Eight members of Oxford grooming ring jailed for sexual assault
The Guardian :
The eight men given sentences ranging from life to seven and half years in prison.
Eight members of a "predatory and cynical" gang have been jailed for grooming and sexually assaulting vulnerable girls as young as 13 in Oxford over a seven-year period.
The men plied five victims with alcohol and drugs and groomed them using flattery and by giving them a sense of belonging by the gang. They raped and indecently assaulted the girls in cars, especially a Nissan Serena people carrier, in laybys, parks and guest houses, Oxford crown court was told.
One of the victims said of the people carrier: "They would pick the girls, have sex with them, and dump them. Everything happened in that Serena." The same victim said the men would take it in turns to have sex with her and gang rapes would take place after she was intoxicated with drink and drugs. Another said she still struggled to sleep and had problems maintaining relationships.
Following the sentencing hearing, the home secretary Sajid Javid said: "As a father myself, I am glad this barbaric group of men is finally behind bars. Justice has been done and they no longer pose a threat to society, or the young girls they preyed on.
"As the home secretary, I will do all in my power to leave the callous cowards who groom and sexually abuse children with no place to hide."
The men were all caught as part of Operation Silk, a Thames Valley police investigation into non-recent child sexual exploitation in Oxford. The offences took place between 1998 and 2005, when the victims were aged between 13 and 17. Guardian Today: the headlines, the analysis, the debate - sent direct to you
Oliver Saxby QC, prosecuting, called the abuse "routine, cynical and predatory sexual exploitation".
Sentencing them, judge Peter Ross described the gang as sinister and said the girls had been made to feel worthless. He told the offenders: "The victims were all vulnerable teenagers. They were brought into the group, of which the defendants were part, through flattery, making them feel a sense of belonging, and the provision of alcohol and drugs.
"And the consequence was that sexual abuse of these girls became the norm. It is clear that there were hundreds of episodes of sexual abuse. The impact on the victims of these offences has been shattering."
Praising the women for giving evidence, a spokesman for the children's charity NSPCC said: "The courageous victims of this vile abuse would not be silenced despite a campaign of fear and violence as they suffered manipulation and assaults by multiple men as young girls.
"Instead they bravely faced these despicable men in court, helping to convict them and ultimately locking them up where they belong. "Abuse is never the fault of the victim, but sadly child sexual exploitation is an all too often hidden crime. It is up to all of us to be aware of the signs of a young person's distress and be responsible enough to act on any concerns without hesitation."
DS Nicola Douglas, said: "I would like to say a huge thank you to the victims who have all demonstrated such courage and bravery throughout the investigation and during the trial. "Without these women telling their stories, perpetrators who exploit and commit serious sexual offences against some of the most vulnerable children and young adults in our communities will remain hidden, unpunished and free to do more harm." Adrian Foster, chief crown prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service, said: "These cases are, in effect, organised crime, and we approached this case in the same way we would approach any organised crime case by making connections, and building an understanding of criminal networks." Assad Hussain, 37, was jailed for life and told he would serve at least 12 years for rape, conspiracy to rape, and indecent assault. Moinul Islam, 41, was jailed for 15 years and nine months for rape, indecent assault and supplying a class A drug. Raheem Ahmed, 40, was jailed for 12 years and Kamran Khan, 36, for eight years. Both were convicted of false imprisonment and indecent assault.
Khalid Hussain, 38, was jailed for 12 years for indecent assault and rape. Kameer Iqbal, 39, was also sentenced to 12 years for rape. Haji Khan, 38, was jailed for 10 years for conspiracy to rape, and Alladitta Yousaf, 48, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years for indecent assault.