Carlisle takeaway boss jailed for child sex

 

A takeaway boss has been jailed for 15 years after paying under-age girls for sex and inciting others to become child prostitutes.

Azad Miah, 44, targeted his victims in what the prosecution at Carlisle Crown Court described as a "cold, clinical exploitation of the desperate and vulnerable".

The married father-of-four paid for the sexual services of two teenagers who were both introduced to him by the same woman.

One of those girls was encouraged to have sex with him out of desperation for cash when she was 15, while he had a sexual relationship with the other, a heroin addict, when she was aged between 15 and 17.

A jury also found the Bangladeshi national guilty yesterday of inciting three other girls, one as young as 12, into prostitution, while running a brothel above his former Spice of India shop in Carlisle city centre.

The court heard the 12-year-old complained to police on three occasions about him persistently harassing her in 2008, three years before his eventual arrest.

She said she eventually gave up complaining because nothing was done.

In the wake of Miah's arrest in March 2011, she was asked at the start of her police interview if she knew why she was being questioned.

She replied: "Because of something that happened three years ago and now youse have finally decided to do summat about it."

She was bombarded with up to 50 texts a day from Miah, who demanded sex. He told her that "in his country it didn't matter about age".

Today, Judge Peter Hughes QC said police needed to learn lessons from not heeding her complaint and that there were a number of "missed opportunities".

Many of the girls in the case were addicted to drugs or came from troubled backgrounds. Some were known to local care authorities.

Miah targeted them because he thought they would easily give in to his persistent offers and would be less likely to be believed than the apparently respectable local businessman and voice of his community that he purported to be.

Prostitutes at his brothel were also asked to find young girls, who he described as "fresh meat".

The court heard that money would change hands at the shop in Botchergate where Miah's Bangladeshi employees and workers from other takeaways in the city would pay for sex.

Miah was jailed for a total of nine years for four counts of paying for the sexual services of a child between 2006 and 2009, one year for keeping a brothel between 2005 and 2011 and five years for five counts of inciting child prostitution.

He was cleared of child prostitution allegations relating to two other girls.

Miah had denied all the charges as he claimed his accusers conspired with each other to concoct false stories because he stopped giving them money "out of kindness".

Judge Hughes said: "This case reveals the seedier side of life in our town and city centres and what can happen to vulnerable and immature girls.

"There are lessons from this case for all of us to learn.

"There are lessons for parents to learn whose responsibility it is to protect their children.

"There are lessons for those responsible for safeguarding vulnerable teenagers from deprived backgrounds and without appropriate parental care and guidance.

"There are lessons to be learnt by the police to be ever vigilant to detect signs of the possible exploitation and abuse of vulnerable people, and to take seriously what they say however chaotic and difficult their lives may be.

"A sad feature of this case is that there were a number of occasions when witnesses complained to police or community support officers about the defendant pestering them but their complaints were not taken further. As a result, opportunities were missed.

"And there are lessons for all us as individuals and members of charities and voluntary groups to take the problem seriously."

PA