Sex predators jailed for 'reign of terror'

Two "sexual predators" who subjected a series of vulnerable girls to rapes and sexual assaults described by a judge as a "reign of terror" were given indefinite prison sentences today.

Abid Mohammed Saddique, 27, was jailed for a minimum of 11 years at Nottingham Crown Court.

Mohammed Romaan Liaqat, 28, was told he must serve at least eight years before he is considered for release.

The men were the prime movers in a group of men who befriended girls aged from 12 to 18 in the Derby area and groomed them for sex.



The men were sentenced as dozens of police lined the street outside the court in front of a protest by the right-wing EDL.



More officers were stationed in the court building.



Judge Philip Head told Saddique: "Your crimes can only be described as evil," adding he was an "evil, manipulative and controlling" character who was a continuing danger to young girls.



The judge said: "You are in the truest sense a sexual predator with a voracious sexual appetite that you gratified as frequently as possible in a variety of ways."



He said the pair's attitude was "sex at any price" as they and others embarked on a "reign of terror on girls in Derby".



The judge said: "Your method was the targeting, approaching, befriending and gaining the confidence of vulnerable young females with a view to sex at any price."



He said: "Their age and lack of consent was no obstacle to either of you.



"You used one target as a means of meeting other young girls to target.



"Your grooming involved plying your victims with drink or drugs to promote compliance or dependence on you."



He said the men treated the girls with contempt, "abusing or humiliating them".



Judge Head said: "The general attitude of each of you was that your victims were worthless, there purely for your sexual gratification - young human beings you degraded and treated with a total lack of humanity and respect."



A series of three trials heard how the group of men befriended the girls, plied them with alcohol, then took them to parties where they were often used for sex.



Violence was used in some incidents and many girls were threatened.



Thirteen men were charged in relation to Operation Retriever, which Derbyshire Police set up to investigate the men, and 11 stood trial charged with offences relating to 26 alleged victims.



Saddique was sentenced today in relation to 10 young victims and Liaqat in relation to six.



The judge today described how the girls involved were among the most vulnerable in society.



He recalled one girl, whom he said was a "deeply damaged, pitiful victim" crouched down in the witness box and whimpered as she described her ordeal.



Today's sentencing comes a day after Prime Minister David Cameron said "cultural sensitivities" should not hinder police action in such cases.



The gangs involved in many of the prosecutions have been predominantly British-Pakistani men while many of the victims have been white.



Speaking yesterday during a visit to Oldham, Mr Cameron told The Times: "We should not be put off by cultural sensitivities or anything like that. Pursue the evidence, pursue criminality wherever it leads."



But today, Judge Head said he did not believe the crimes were "racially aggravated".



He said the girls were chosen for their vulnerability rather than because they came from a certain ethnic group.



Saddique, of Northumberland Street, Normanton, Derby, was convicted of four counts of rape as well as two counts of false imprisonment, two of sexual assault, three charges of sexual activity with a child, perverting the course of justice, and aiding and abetting rape.



Liaqat, of Briar Lea Close, Sinfin, Derby, was found guilty of one count of rape, two of sexual assault, aiding and abetting rape, affray, and four counts of sexual activity with a child.



Both pleaded guilty to causing a person under 18 to be involved in pornography.



The judge said that if he had imposed fixed term sentences on the pair, rather than indeterminate sentences for public protection, Saddique would have been jailed for 22 years and Liaqat for 16 years.



Detective Superintendent Debbie Platt, who led the investigation for Derbyshire Police, said outside court she was pleased with the sentences.



She said both men were "incredibly dangerous".



Ms Platt said: "They are sexual predators. This was all about sexual gratification against vulnerable young girls."



The detective added: "It's traumatised the girls for life, without a doubt."



She praised the bravery of the girls who came forward and gave evidence.



But she denied there was a racial elements to these offences. She said: "Not all the offenders in the case were Asian and not all the victims were white."



A number of other men have been convicted and sentenced following the three trials associated with this case.



Akshay Kumar, 38, admitted one count of causing a person under the age of 18 to be involved in pornography and was jailed for two years and 10 months.



Faisal Mehmood, 24, pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a child before the trial and was jailed for three years.



He has now been deported to Pakistan.



Mohammed Imran Rehman, 26, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years after being found guilty of rape, while Graham Blackham, 26, was given a three-year sentence after he was convicted of two counts of breaching a sexual offences prevention order.



Liaqat's brother Naweed Liaqat, 33, and Farooq Ahmed, 28, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and were both jailed for 18 months.



Ziafat Yasin, 31, was cleared of sex charges but pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of cocaine.



He was jailed for three years.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
The Queen and the letter sent to Charlie
football
Arts and Entertainment
Eurovision Song Contest 2015
EurovisionGoogle marks the 2015 show
News
Two lesbians hold hands at a gay pride parade.
peopleIrish journalist shares moving story on day of referendum
Arts and Entertainment
<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
</p>
<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
booksKathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
News
Liz Kendall played a key role in the introduction of the smoking ban
newsLiz Kendall: profile
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
Voices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?