Peterborough sex gang jailed for total of 54 years

Three men and a teenager are sentenced for abusing five young girls

Heather Saul
Thursday 20 February 2014 14:40
Undated handout composite of photos issued by Cambridgeshire Police of (left to right) of Hassan Abdulla, Jan Kandrac, Renato Balog and Zdeno Mirga
Undated handout composite of photos issued by Cambridgeshire Police of (left to right) of Hassan Abdulla, Jan Kandrac, Renato Balog and Zdeno Mirga

Members of a child sex gang responsible for raping and sexually abusing girls as young as 12 in Peterborough were jailed at the Old Bailey today.

The men and youths, of Czech and Slovak Roma, and Kurdish backgrounds, preyed on a total of five girls, including one with severe learning difficulties, in Cambridgeshire last year.

Iraqi Kurd drug dealer Hassan Abdulla, 33, was jailed for 20 years after being convicted of four rapes and three counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Zdeno Mirga, 18, who was described as “the boss” by one victim, was sentenced to 16-and-a half years in a young offender institution (YOI) for eight counts of rape and one count of inciting child prostitution. He made one of his victims pregnant.

Renato Balog, 18, a Roma who helped Abdulla sell drugs, will serve 12 years in a YOI for five rapes and three sexual assaults.

Jan Kandrac, 17, was jailed for five-and-a-half years in a YOI for one count of rape and two of indecent assault on a child. All four have been placed on the sex offenders' register.

A 14-year-old was given a non-custodial six-month youth rehabilitation order. He cannot be named for legal reasons.

The gang preyed on girls who would visit a takeaway in Peterborough.

The girls were forced to have sex with men for money, which was used to buy drugs and alcohol.

The case came to light when a Czech/Slovak girl, known as victim A, then aged 12-13, was taken into care and began to tell her social worker what had been happening to her.

The men were jailed at the Old Bailey today, with Judge John Bevan QC also criticising the immigrants for failing to learn English despite having lived in the United Kingdom for up to a decade.

He said it had resulted in a cost to the court of up to £40,000 for interpreters at their trial.

Judge Bevan singled out the gang's treatment of one victim, who had an IQ of just 54.

She was repeatedly raped, with men and boys sometimes lining up to abuse her as a "sexual commodity", he said, adding: "To you she was easy meat, a sexual plaything who no one cared about, no one cared for and who nobody would believe.

"Unfortunately for you, the jury did."

A third self-harmed.

The judge also attacked the failure by the gang to learn enough English to follow the trial or sentencing.

Several family members also listened to today's proceedings in court via the interpreters through headphones.

He added: "The combination of the crimes you have committed and your attitude to these crimes both in this country and this court bring discredit on all of you in the dock and does a disservice to your fellow Roma who want to work hard in this country, improve themselves and make a positive contribution."

It was the first trial under Operation Erle, a joint investigation between Cambridgeshire Constabulary and Peterborough City Council's Children's Services.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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