Nine Asian men were today found guilty of grooming and passing round vulnerable white schoolgirls aged between 13 and 15 for sex after plying them with alcohol and drugs.
Five girls were ‘shared’ by Kabeer Hassan, Abdul Aziz, Abdul Rauf, Mohammed Sajid, Adil Khan, Abdul Qayyum, Mohammed Amin, Hamid Safi and a 59-year-old man who cannot be named for legal reasons.
The ten-week trial was told that the men – who are all from Pakistan, some from the same village, apart from Safi who is from Afghanistan – groomed the teenage girls because they were vulnerable and from broken homes,
Today the leader of the Ramadhan Foundation that on-street grooming ‘is a significant problem for the British Pakistani community’.
Mohammed Shafiq added: ‘They think that white teenage girls are worthless and can be abused without a second thought – it is this sort of behaviour that is bringing shame on our community.’
The jury of three men and nine women heard that the defendants plied the girls, some as young as 13, with fast food, drink and drugs so they could ‘pass them around’ and use them for sex.
The victims were picked up from ‘honeypot locations’ where teenagers congregate, such as outside takeaway restaurants, and were then taken to ‘chill houses’ around the north of England for sex.
One 13-year-old victim became pregnant and had the child aborted.
Another gave evidence of being raped by two men while she was ‘so drunk she was vomiting over the side of the bed’.
The court heard that some of the girls were raped and physically assaulted and some were forced to have sex with ‘several men in a day, several times a week’.
Police said one victim was forced to have sex with 20 men in one night when she was drunk.
Detectives said she could ‘barely recount the events’ but her friend was downstairs and remembers ‘innumerable men’ going upstairs.
The gang used a 15-year-old white girl they nicknamed ‘The Honey Monster’ as their recruiter
Not guilty: Liaquat Shah arrives at Liverpool Crown Court for a previous hearing
Miss Smith said the girls – aged between 13 and 15 – were given alcohol, food and money in return for sex but that there were times when violence was used.
‘There were also occasions on which one or more of the girls were so incapacitated by alcohol and/or drugs that they were incapable of having any control over whether or with whom they had sexual intercourse,’ she said.
Only one of the girls was in care at the time of the abuse but all were said to have been known to social services at some point in their childhood.
Police said the victims were from ‘chaotic’, ‘council estate’ backgrounds.
The court was told that some of the defendants paid the girls and took payments from other men to whom they supplied the girls for sex.
The court heard that the men knew each other and that the abuse began at the Tasty Bites and the Balti House takeaways, both in the Heywood area of Rochdale.
Those takeaways are now under new management, police said.
Four of the defendants worked as cab drivers at local taxi firms, one was a student and four were jobless.
They were known to the girls by nicknames such as ‘Master’ and ‘Tiger’.
The girls would often spend their days ‘unsupervised by responsible adults’.
They were not in school regularly and ‘drank and smoked and hung around with little to do’.
Miss Smith said they were the ‘sort of children who were easy to identify, target and exploit for the sexual gratification of these men’.
One girl, who was 13 when the alleged abuse began, told police that the men she met were ‘friends’ who looked after her and ‘her number would be passed around amongst the Pakistani men in her area’.
The abuse began at two takeaways in the Heywood area of Rochdale, including the Balti House (pictured)
She told police: ‘When you’ve got Asian friends, your number gets passed and they pass it to their friends. And they pass it to their friends, end up with a massive circle… everyone’s got it.’
Miss Smith said: ‘The prosecution say that what this girl was describing was the group activity of a number of adult men, including these defendants, who had spotted the opportunity to sexually exploit children who were vulnerable to that sort of exploitation and were taking it.’
It can be revealed today that Greater Manchester Police and the Crown Prosecution Service apologised after they failed to bring the case of the first victim to trial following her cry for help in August 2008.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is spearheading an investigation into that botched inquiry.
It can also now be reported that the trial was delayed by two weeks when two Asian barristers quit the case due to intimidation by far right groups outside Liverpool Crown Court.
The trial almost collapsed following a tweet from BNP leader Nick Griffin.
Police interviewed 47 young girls from the area who they believed could have been victims of this gang.
Commenting on the case, Greater Manchester Police Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood denied that it was about race.
He said: It is not a racial issue. This is about adults preying on vulnerable young children. It just happens that in this particular area and time the demographics were that these were Asian men.
‘However, in large parts of the country we are seeing on-street grooming, child sexual exploitation happening in each of our towns and it isn’t about a race issue.’
He added: ‘The street grooming issue is about vulnerability and who has access to that vulnerability.’
Taxi driver Abdul Aziz, 41, of Rochdale, was found guilty of conspiracy and trafficking for sexual exploitation. He was found not guilty of two counts of rape.
Kabeer Hassan, 25, of Oldham, Greater Manchester, was found guilty of conspiracy and rape.
Adil Khan, 42, of Rochdale, was found guilty of conspiracy and trafficking for sexual exploitation.
Abdul Rauf, 43, of Rochdale, was found guilty of conspiracy and trafficking for sexual exploitation.
Mohammed Sajid, 35, of Rochdale, was found guilty of conspiracy, trafficking, one count of rape and one count of sexual activity with a child.
Abdul Qayyum, 44, of Rochdale, was found guilty of conspiracy.
Mohammed Amin, 45, of Rochdale, was found guilty of conspiracy and sexual assault.
Hamid Safi, 22, who was found guilty of conspiracy and trafficking but not guilty of two counts of rape.
Liaquat Shah, 41, of Rochdale, was cleared sexual assault by the jury and was cleared of conspiracy after the jury was unable to agree a verdict and the prosecution offered no further evidence.
Qamar Shahzad, 30, of Rochdale, was found not guilty of conspiracy.
VICTIM, 15, REVEALS HOW SHE WAS ‘LET DOWN’ BY POLICE
A victim of the ring said she was ‘let down’ by police and the Crown Prosecution Service (file picture)
A victim of the ring said she was ‘let down’ by police and the Crown Prosecution Service because the issue of Asian gangs grooming young white girls was ‘unheard of’ at the time.
The girl, who was 15 when she was targeted by the gang, reported the abuse to police in August 2008 but the CPS decided not to prosecute because they did not believe a jury would find her ‘credible’.
After reporting the abuse she suffered for four more months at the hands of the gang and continued to be forced into having sex by her ‘friend’ – a teenage girl who was acting as a pimp for the men.
She said the problem got ‘worse’ after telling the police.
‘I felt let down. But I know that they (police) believed me… but… because they said to me at the end that something should have been done but the CPS just would not – what’s the word? – prosecute is it?
‘It’s like, then, in 2008 it weren’t really heard of… Asian men with white girls.
‘It was just unheard of. I’ve never heard of it. Now it’s going on everywhere. You think of Muslim men as religious and family-minded and just nice people. You don’t think… I don’t know… you just don’t think they’d do things like that.’
The girl, now 20, only escaped the gang in December 2008 when she fell pregnant and moved away.
She was then made to wait until August 2009 for the CPS decision.
How the BNP nearly caused the trial to be abandoned
A tweet from BNP leader Nick Griffin almost caused the trial to collapse when it led to allegations of the jury having a ‘far-Right bias’
A tweet from BNP leader Nick Griffin almost caused the trial to collapse when it led to allegations of the jury having a ‘far-Right bias’.
Last Thursday afternoon – two-and-a-half days after the jury retired to consider its verdicts – Griffin posted a comment on his @nickgriffinmep account which read: ‘News flash. Seven of the Muslim paedophile rapists found guilty in Liverpool.’
Griffin later backtracked on Twitter when he was told that the jury had not yet officially returned any verdicts.
But the tweet led to eight defence counsel calling on Judge Gerald Clifton to discharge the jury before it delivered verdicts after investigations revealed Griffin’s comment to be a ’100 per cent accurate’ reflection of its deliberations so far.
The defence counsel who supported the discharge of the jury said there must have been ‘two-way communication’ between someone in the jury room and a far-right organisation.
Simon Nichol, defending the 59-year-old who cannot be named, said: ‘From the outset of this trial there have been attempts by right-wing organisations to influence the outcome.’
He said ‘right-wing commentators’ had published on the internet reports that the jury had reached guilty verdicts in respect of seven of the 11 defendants.
‘Your honour’s inquiries of the jury confirmed the accuracy of those reports on the internet.’
He said that the proposal that the information could have been ‘obtained by guesswork is so implausible’ that it ‘can be discounted as fanciful’.
Mr Nichol said: ‘The most reasonable inference from the facts as we know them is that the confidentiality of the jury’s deliberations has been breached and that someone outside of the jury who has an improper interest in the outcome of this trial has been receiving communications from within the jury room.
‘It seems at the very least likely that if such communication has taken place then it will have been two-way traffic.’
Mr Nichol added: ‘If there has been such improper communication then the impartiality and independence of the jury is compromised.’
But inquiries carried out by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service showed that the message, which the court heard was first published on the Infidels of Britain website, was published at a time when the jury was in its jury room where all electronic equipment is banned.
Judge Clifton said that ‘having heard that the jury deny any improper behaviour’ he was ‘satisfied that no juror is at fault in communicating the jury’s position, either deliberately or accidentally to anyone else’.
‘That means that the question of bias doesn’t arise at all,’ he said.
‘I have found no evidence to suggest a juror is at fault.
‘The jury have been strictly confined in their jury room during most of the period that some of these tweets manifested themselves.’
Judge Clifton said the jury had been regularly passing notes and asking questions in relation to specific evidence and had been taking a ‘perfectly reasonable, logical and unbiased approach to the evidence’.
He added that the suggestion by counsel that he should be forced to dismiss the jury was ‘both unreasonable and illogical’.
He said ‘there are other scenarios that can explain the tweets’ and the jury was allowed to continue with its work.
Then, on hearing that the jury was about to return some unanimous verdicts, the 59-year-old stood up and shouted at the judge: ‘I don’t want this biased jury. You are a biased judge. You are a racist bastard. You bastard!’
He was restrained by security staff and forcibly removed from the dock.
Adil Khan also stood up and said: ‘I don’t want to attend for BNP jury,’ and he also left the dock.
On Friday afternoon the 59-year-old was allowed back into court only to be restrained again after a complaint was made about him by a jury member.
He shouted: ‘They are all racist bastards!’
Judge Clifton ordered him to be taken down and he shouted again: ‘You racist judge. You racist jury. You lying bastards!’
One female juror was visibly upset by the outburst and Judge Clifton barred the defendant from coming back into court for the rest of the trial.
He said: ‘I’m not having members of this jury intimidated or threatened.’