Huddersfield grooming gang: Men convicted of sexually abusing vulnerable girls and jailed for 220 years

Verdicts can be revealed after judge lifts reporting restriction that saw Tommy Robinson jailed in May

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Friday 19 October 2018 15:57 BST
Detective Chief Inspector Ian Mottershaw of West Yorkshire Police speaking outside Leeds Crown Court about Huddersfield grooming gang

Members of a grooming gang who abused vulnerable girls in Huddersfield have been jailed for more than 220 years.

Three trials at Leeds Crown Court this year heard how at least 15 victims were groomed and raped in the West Yorkshire town between 2004 and 2011.

They were aged between 11 and 17 when they were “deliberately targeted” by older men and trafficked across the region.

The gang members lured them into what they believed to be genuine relationships before plying them with alcohol or drugs and abusing them. They were kept silent with threats and violence.

The convictions can be revealed for the first time after a judge lifted blanket reporting restrictions on the linked trials.

Out of 20 men so far convicted of offences including rape, sexual activity with a child, abduction and trafficking, 16 have been jailed and four are awaiting sentence next month.

It is the highest number of culprits convicted as members of a single grooming gang amid investigations into child sexual exploitation across the country.

A judge said at least one victim attempted suicide and another was seen being thrown out of a moving car outside her home, while under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Judge Geoffrey Marson QC said none of the men had expressed any remorse.

Amere Dhaliwal, Irfan Ahmed, Zahid Hassan, Mohammed Kammer, Mohammed Rizwan Aslam, Abdul Rehman, Raj Singh Barsran, Nahman Mohammed were convicted in the first trial

“The way you treated these girls defies understanding; this abuse was vile and wicked,” he told them.

“As cases of sexual abuse with which the courts have to deal, this case comes at the top of the scale.”

Ringleader Amere Singh Dhaliwal, 35, was jailed for life earlier this year and told he must serve a minimum of 18 years in prison.

Dhaliwal, who has children of his own and converted to Sikhism in 2013, was convicted of 54 separate offences, including 22 rapes involving 11 different girls.

The court heard that he used vulnerable girls “for his own sexual pleasure” before pimping them out to other men at organised parties.

The child rapist denied all charges and accused his victims of lying during the trial.

Sentencing Dhaliwal earlier this year, Judge Marson said: “You treated them as commodities to be passed around for your own sexual gratification and the gratification of others.

“The extent and gravity of your offending far exceeds anything which I have previously encountered.

“It was a very significant campaign of rape and other sexual abuse.

“Children’s lives have been ruined and families profoundly affected by seeing their children, over months and years, out of control, having been groomed by you and other members of your gang.”

Mansoor Akhtar, Mohammed Irfraz, Nasarat Hussain, Sajid Hussain, Faisal Nadeem, Mohammed Azeem, Wiqas Mahmud, Manzoor Hassan were jailed after the second trial

The horrific abuse could be reported for the first time on Friday after a reporting ban was lifted by the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Guy Kearl QC.

Tommy Robinson, founder of the far-right English Defence League, was jailed for breaking reporting restrictions on the case in May but freed on appeal.

The victims, who are now all adults, told juries how they believed they were being shown genuine affection and attention – repeating a pattern seen in Rotherham, Oxford and other high-profile cases.

Judge Marson told the defendants that false relationships were “deliberately created to enable predatory men such as you to perpetrate gross sexual abuse for your own perverted gratification”.

One of the girls said: “They got your trust and then stuff would start happening to you and it’s just one of those things that you couldn’t get out of, it just happened.

“My mum and dad’s houses got trashed, their cars got trashed. I was constantly getting raped, beaten up.”

The men referred to each other using a series of nicknames which were also used as their monikers during the trials, including “Beastie”, “Dracula” and “Nurse”.

West Yorkshire Police said the investigation was triggered when the first victim came forward in 2013.

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Mottershaw said all the victims had endured a “gruelling court process” taking over a year.

“I cannot praise them enough for their courage and tenacity in helping us secure justice for them against these defendants,” he added.

“We welcome the convictions and sentences which have been passed down throughout the year to these depraved individuals, who subjected vulnerable young children to unthinkable sexual and physical abuse.

 Niaz Ahmed, Mohammed Ibrar, Asif Bashir, Mohammed Akram were convicted in the third trial

“Child sexual exploitation is abhorrent and is one of the most important challenges facing the police. Safeguarding the vulnerable and protecting victims is West Yorkshire Police’s top priority. It is totally unacceptable and it is the responsibility of all agencies, communities and individuals to identify those responsible and help bring them to justice.”

He vowed that victims will always be supported, listened to and protected, expressing hope that the case may reassure others to come forward.

Some had been living in Huddersfield children’s homes, or were known to local social services.

Kirklees Council said it had commissioned an independent review of its response when the abuse was being committed, and a separate overhaul of policies and practices by external experts.

The director of children’s services for Leeds City Council, Steve Walker, said: “It is important to reassure members of the public that these crimes took place a number of years ago at a time when – as we know from cases in other towns and cities – the issue of child sexual exploitation was not well understood. Since then, lessons have been learned.”

He said that children’s services and police are now working together to share intelligence and protect children and will not be “complacent”.

Michael Quinn, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “The men deliberately targeted their vulnerable victims, grooming and exploiting them for their own sexual gratification.

“The men sometimes used threats and violence and plied their victims with alcohol or drugs. Throughout the years of offending, these men cared only for themselves and viewed these girls as objects to be used and abused at will.”

He praised the “immense courage” of victims, adding: “I sincerely hope the convictions of their abusers today will go some way to helping these young women to rebuild their lives. Our thoughts remain with them.”

The verdicts:

The first trial began on 8 January this year. The following defendants were convicted on 17 April and sentenced on 7 June:

  • Amere Singh Dhaliwal, aged 35, Holly Road, Thornton Lodge, was jailed for life – minimum 18 years; he received full life terms for all of the 22 rape offences, will be on licence for life. He was charged with 21 counts of rape, assault by penetration, four counts of sexual assault, five counts of inciting sexual activity with a child, 13 counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation, three counts of making indecent images, one count of inciting child prostitution, two offences of administering a substance with intent to commit a sexual act and a racially aggravated assault;
  • Irfan Ahmed, aged, 34, of Yews Hill Road, Lockwood, he was jailed for 8 years for sexual activity with a child and two counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation;
  • Zahid Hassan, aged 29, of Bland Street, Lockwood, was jailed for 18 years for eight counts of rape, sexual assault, trafficking for sexual exploitation, two counts of child abduction, two offences of supply of Class A drugs and racially aggravated assault;
  • Mohammed Kammer, aged 34, of West View, Paddock, was jailed for 16 years for two counts of rape;
  • Raj Singh Barsran, aged 34, of Caldercliffe Road, Berry Brow, was jailed for 17 years for one offence of rape and two counts of sexual assault;
  • Mohammed Rizwan Aslam, aged 30, of Huddersfield Road, Dewsbury, was jailed for 15 years for two counts of rape;
  • Abdul Rehman, aged 31, of Darnley Drive, Sheffield, was jailed for 16 years for rape, trafficking for sexual exploitation, assault causing actual bodily harm and supply of Class B drugs
  • Nahman Mohammed, aged 32, of West View, Paddock, was jailed for 15 years for two counts of rape and trafficking for sexual exploitation.The trial of a second group of defendants began on 18 April.  

The following defendants were convicted on 5 June and sentenced on 22 June:

  • Mansoor Akhtar, aged 27, of Blackmoorfoot Road, Crosland Moor, was jailed for 8 years for rape of a child under 16 and trafficking offences;
  • Mohammed Irfraz, aged 30, of North Road, Huddersfield, was jailed for 6 years for child abduction and trafficking offences;
  • Nasarat Hussain, aged 30, of Upper Mount Street, Lockwood, was jailed for 17 years after being found guilty of three counts of rape and sexual assault offences;
  • Sajid Hussain, aged 33, of Grasmere Road, Edgerton, was jailed for 17 years after being found guilty of two counts of rape;
  • Faisal Nadeem, aged 32, of Carr Green Lane, Dalton, was jailed for 12 years for rape and supply of Class A drugs;
  • Mohammed Azeem, aged 33, of Wrose Road, Bradford, was jailed for 18 years after being found guilty of five counts of rape;
  • Wiqas Mahmud, aged 38, of Banks Crescent, Golcar, was jailed for 15 years after being found guilty by a jury of three rape offences;
  • Manzoor Hassan, aged 38, of Bland Street, Lockwood, was jailed for 5 years for supply of Class A drugs, administering a noxious substance and inciting a person under 18 into prostitution.

Four defendants were convicted on 8 October. They will be sentenced on 1 November:

  • Niaz Ahmed, 54, of Woodthorpe Terrace, Huddersfield, was found guilty inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and sexual assault.
  • Mohammed Imran Ibrar, 34, of Manchester Road, Huddersfield, was found guilty of trafficking for sexual exploitation and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
  • Asif Bashir, 33, of Thornton Lodge Road, Huddersfield, was found guilty of rape and attempted rape.
  • Mohammed Akram, 33, of Springdale Street, Thornton Lodge, was found guilty of two counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation and two counts of rape.​

Additional reporting by PA

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