'Sex gang plied underage girls with drink'

 

A group of 11 men plied girls as young as 13 with drink and drugs so they could use them for sex, a court heard today.

The five girls, who were aged between 13 and 15 when the alleged abuse began, were passed around by the men "who acted together to sexually exploit the girls", a trial at Liverpool Crown Court was told.

All the girls were from broken homes and one was in care.

Rachel Smith, opening the case for the prosecution, told the jury of three men and nine women: "Some of you may find what you are about to hear distressing. The events and circumstances described by the girls are at best saddening and at worst shocking in places.

"No child should be exploited as these girls say they were."

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".

The offences are said to have happened in and around Rochdale, Greater Manchester, in 2008 and 2009.

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.

Kabeer Hassan, 24, Abdul Aziz, 41, Abdul Rauf, 43, Mohammed Sajid, 35, Adil Khan, 42, Abdul Qayyum, 43, Mohammed Amin, 44, Qamar Shahzad, 29, Liaquat Shah, 41, and Hamid Safi, 22, are on trial at Liverpool Crown Court charged with conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with children under the age of 16.

They have all pleaded not guilty along with a 59-year-old man who cannot be named for legal reasons.

He also denies two counts of rape, aiding and abetting a rape, one count of sexual assault and an allegation of trafficking within the UK for sexual exploitation.

Hassan, of Lacrosse Avenue, Oldham, and Shahzad, of Tweedale Street, Rochdale, also deny rape.

Aziz, of Armstrong Hurst Close, Rochdale, denies two counts of rape and one allegation of trafficking for sexual exploitation.

Khan, of Oswald Street, and Rauf, of Darley Road, both in Rochdale, have also pleaded not guilty to trafficking for sexual exploitation.

Sajid, of Jepheys Street, Rochdale, denies trafficking, two counts of rape and one allegation of sexual activity with a child.

Amin, of Falinge Road, Rochdale, denies sexual assault.

Shah and Safi, both of Kensington Street, Rochdale, each denied two counts of rape and Safi has also pleaded not guilty to trafficking.

Aziz, Khan, Safi and the 59-year-old are remanded in custody.

Qayyum, of Ramsay Street, Rochdale, and the rest of the defendants are on bail.

Miss Smith said the girls 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.

The court heard the men knew each other and that two of them worked in the takeaways Tasty Bites and the Balti House, both in Market Street in the Heywood area of Rochdale.

Four of the other men worked as cab drivers at local taxi firms, one was a student and four were jobless.

The men were known to the girls by nicknames such as "Master" and "Tiger", the court was told.

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".

She told police: "When you've got Asian friends, 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."

One 13-year-old victim fell pregnant to one of the defendants and had the child aborted, the jury was told.

Another teenager recalled being raped by two men while she was "so drunk she was vomiting over the side of the bed".

Miss Smith told the jury that one of the older girls, who was 16 at the time of the alleged abuse, recruited younger girls for the men as well as having sex with them for money.

Miss Smith said she introduced a 14-year-old girl "to a number of different men who wanted to have sex with her, with or without her consent".

The victim met the defendants at a takeaway, including the 59-year-old male who cannot be named.

"She was raped there and elsewhere and also taken by the man to other places where she was provided by him to other men for sex," Miss Smith said.

One girl, who was 15 when she met the defendants, told police that she was initially "flattered" by the attention of the men.

She said that she thought it meant that she was "attractive and they thought she was pretty", the court heard.

However she quickly became regularly heavily drunk, depressed and "incapable of getting herself out of the situation".

She told police: "At first I was scared, then after that it....just didn't bother me anymore...At first I felt dead bad and horrible but then I didn't feel anything anymore.

"I didn't like it but it didn't bother me....Because, it had been happening every day. Most of the time I was just dead drunk so that when it happened I wouldn't feel as bad."

Miss Smith said the girl was "persistently coerced or forced into submission by them".

"When she was told that she had to have sex with the particular defendant or other men, she would submit to them, although she describes herself as lying impassively with her eyes shut or looking at the wall. She was given alcohol, which she drank heavily, not least because it numbed her thoughts to what was happening to her."

The court heard that it was "common knowledge" among the defendants that the girl was 15 and that Abdul Aziz would give her lifts to school while Abdul Rauf asked the other older girl if she "knew anyone younger".

The court heard that on one occasion the 59-year-old man met two girls at a takeaway where they were given food and vodka.

He demanded sex from one 15-year-old, saying: "It's part of the deal because I bought you vodka, you have to give me something."

Miss Smith said the girl refused and he raped her.

When the girl started crying, he said: "Don't cry, I love you."

On another occasion, the 59-year-old took one of the girls to Oldham where she was raped by another male whom she did not know.

On the way home, he told her: "Don't tell anyone, I'll give you money, I'll give you anything you want."

The court heard about another occasion when the man said he gave girls the vodka as a "treat" and that they had to have sex with other men.

He also plied girls with cannabis, the court heard.

The court was told that in about August 2008 Abdul Aziz "took over" from the 59-year-old and started taking girls to various locations where they would have sex with older men - including a flat in Jephys Street, Rochdale where Mohammed Sajid and Mohammed Shazad lived - where a "group of men" would always be waiting to have sex with them.

"Abdul Aziz was being paid by the various men to whom he delivered the girls for the purposes of sex," Miss Smith said.

One girl estimated that she was "having sex with several men in a day, several times a week", Miss Smith said.

Another girl said she was attacked by Adil Khan when she refused "two of four men" who were waiting for sex at a Rochdale house.

Another alleged victim, who was 14, said she would get "proper hammered" and she "lost count of the number of times she had had sex with men when she did not want to do so".

Miss Smith said: "She was unable to describe all of the men but said she would regularly find herself drunk to near-unconsciousness, waking up with men having sex with her."

PA

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