Bristol sex gang: The horrifying ordeals of the brave 13-year-old who came forward

All 10 victims are all now being supported by specialist teams in Bristol

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The Independent Online

One of the Somali gang’s victims was 13 when she was raped four times by three men in one evening – first at a flat in Barton Hill before being driven to a city centre Premier Inn where she was raped three more times. By this stage in December 2012 she had become “used” to being abused, the court heard.

Said Zakaria, aka Target, raped the girl twice in the hotel room’s bathroom before she was attacked by Jusuf Abdirazak, who had booked the hotel for the night.

In a harrowing police interview, the girl described how she was too terrified to scream during the attacks as other men were waiting just outside the bathroom. “I didn’t want them to know what was going on,” the teenager said.

Detectives first approached her after being alerted to the incident but she was too terrified to speak. Over the next few months the victim began to confide in police what had been happening and an investigation was launched, Operation Brooke, with officers identifying Zakaria and other defendants. A two-year catalogue of abuse against 10 girls dating to 2011 was uncovered.

Transcripts of a police interview with Zakaria were read out in court concerning girls who had been abused at a Premier Inn in Bristol. He claimed he did not know the girls were aged just 13 - insisting they were 16 and 17 - but admitted they had given the men oral sex in the hotel room. He described both girls as “dirty slags” and told police the victims left with him.

He said: “I don’t know why it’s taken them this long to claim this. I just think they feel, they feel a bit burnt because I’ve got to be honest with you, I used to speak to a lot of girls in Bristol and I’ve got to see all their true colours now, so I just told them all to f*** off, I'm being honest with you, sorry to swear, but I just told them all to hit the road.

“They’re both slags innit, they’re both dirty slags, they got used and abused and now they're saying rah, rah, rah, whose making them do anything they don’t want to do? Everyone knows what they’re there for innit, they come there to s*** d*** and then f*** off, that’s what they come for.”

The two-year intelligence-led investigation was assisted by members of the Somali community and vulnerable victims, who showed “remarkable courage” coming forward to police. Evidence gathered by officers included phone, computer and social media, such as Facebook exchanges and text messages, and CCTV footage.

Chief Superintendent Julian Moss said the 10 victims are all now being supported by specialist teams in Bristol. He said: “I’d like to stress how important it is to remember that such vulnerable victims often don’t realise they’re being abused and don’t recognise the signs of abuse.

“Some of the victims in the second trial believed they were in ‘relationships’ with the defendants, adding to the complexity of their vulnerability. The victims showed remarkable courage in giving evidence at this trial.”