Girl consented to sex, says defendant as he denies trafficking


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The Independent Online

A defendant in the trial of an alleged sex gang has admitted having sex with one of his accusers, but insisted it was consensual. Giving evidence today, Mohammed Karrar denied "lying through his teeth" as he said allegations he raped and trafficked teenage girls for sex over a period of around five years were false.

He told the Old Bailey that a girl, known as Girl C for legal reasons, offered him oral sex in his flat, to which he agreed, believing she was 20-years-old.

He said that he has never had sex with Girl D, who alleges he raped her and trafficked her for sex, and accused her of trying to blackmail him. He told the court this morning that Girl D, along with two accomplices, made up a story that he raped her in a bid to extort £500 from him.

Giving evidence today, Mr Karrar, 38, said that he had met both girls separately and both initially told him they were over the age of consent. He said that Girl D said she was 16, though he later discovered her age to be only 13. He said he only met Girl D "two or three times" and soon began receiving threatening calls from her and two men, whom he said called him a rapist and demanded money or they would go to the police. "I told them to go to the police," said Mr Karrar.

He is one of nine men standing trial over allegations they ran a child sex ring in Oxford. He insisted that the girls were lying. Mr Karrar told the court: "I have thought about why they might have made these things up. I have no idea why they are making these allegations up.

But, cross examining Mr Karrar, Prosecution QC Noel Lucas suggested that the defendant, who had refused to answer questions when interviewed by police, had waited for the prosecution's evidence to be presented before concocting his story. Mr Karrar denied this, claiming he was following legal advice not to reply during earlier interviews.

He said that he was introduced to Girl D by a mutual friend, with whom he admitted also having sex. But he denied Girl D's claim - put to him by Mr Lucas - that the introduction was made because the mutual friend knew he "liked young flesh". He also denied Girl D's claim that he had already subjected the mutual friend in question to a similarly brutal sexual ordeal by the time she made the introduction.

And Mr Lucas said: "The blackmail was the other way around, you were ringing up making threats. You wanted the money back you had made putting [Girl D] out as a prostitute." Mr Karrar replied: "No."

Mr Karrar said he believed Girl C when, according to his evidence, she told him she was 20. But, presenting a picture of the girl taken at the time he claims she told him her age, Mr Lucas QC said: "She is a baby, isn't she?" Mr Karrar said: "I didn't see her like that."

And the prosecution asked how Girl D could have known - as her evidence showed she did - about a flat Mr Karrar used but claimed never to have told her about, Mr Karrar replied: "I can't remember." Mr Lucas went on: "You saw those girls give evidence for days on end, very intimate evidence, and you say every word was a complete lie?" Mr Karrar replied: "Yes."

Mr Lucas added: "They came up with a detailed account and it was lies?" Mr Karrar replied: "Yes." Mr Lucas replied, it is nonsense, you are lying through your teeth," to which Mr Karrar replied: "I am not lying at all."

Mr Lucas QC presented evidence given by a teacher and a social worker, both of whom knew Girl D as a teenager and said she knew a man named "Mo".

He put the evidence of her former teacher that she would receive calls from "Mo" and that she was "addicted" to him. Mr Lucas QC asked how that could be the case if Mr Karrar had only met her two or three times, as he suggested. Mr Karrar replied that the "Mo" in question was not him.

And Mr Lucas QC put to Mr Karrar the evidence of a former social worker to Girl D, who said that he saw her phone ring and the name "Mo" appear onscreen. The social worker said he found Girl D crying at 1am and answered the phone, whereupon he said a man told him: "if you don't get her, I will fuck you up, I will fuck her up, I will fuck her mum up." Mr Karrar said he had "no idea" who made that call.

Asked if he agreed that the man in the evidence given by both was him, Mohammed Karrar said no.

The alleged sex trafficking ring was arrested by Thames Valley police early last year. Kamar Jamil, 27, Assad Hussain, 32, and Bilal Ahmed, 26 are standing trial. They are joined by two sets of brothers: Akhtar, 32, and Anjum Dogar, 30; and Mohammed, 38, and Bassam Karrar, 32. Also charged are Mohammed Hussain, 24, and Zeeshan Ahmed, 27. All of the defendants deny the charges.

The case continues.