Rotherham grooming ring: Gang of six men jailed for total of 101 years after sexually exploiting teenage girls

Victims describe repeated rape that ‘destroyed’ their childhoods

Harriet Agerholm
Friday 16 November 2018 16:29
Rotherham grooming ring: seven men convicted of sexually exploiting vulnerable teenage girls

A gang of six men has been jailed for a total of 101 years after sexually exploiting five vulnerable teenage girls in Rotherham.

The complainants previously told the court in statements the men had “destroyed” them and taken away their childhoods.

One of the victims said that by the time she was 16, she had had sex with “at least 100” men.

Another described how she was gang-raped in a forest and threatened with being abandoned there.

As the victim impact statements were read aloud in court, defendant Tanweer Ali appeared to fall asleep with his head tilted back and his mouth open.

The jury in the trial, which finished last month, heard how girls – now in their 30s – were “lured by the excitement of friendship with older Asian youths” but then sexually assaulted and passed between men.

At Sheffield Crown Court on Friday Judge Sarah Wright told the men: “Each in your own way perpetrated, facilitated or encouraged the sexual abuse of these young girls.

“Each of the complainants in this case were groomed, coerced and intimidated. Each of them was groomed. Each of you, groomed.”

Passing sentence on the gang, Judge Sarah Wright told the men: “These offences were committed using sophisticated grooming of your victims.

“They were well planned. You can have been in no doubt that the complainants were vulnerable in the extreme.

These defendants destroyed me

Victim

“You were clearly not immature evidenced by the fact you all indulged in cynical manipulation and exploitation of your victims which showed a maturity well beyond your chronological age.”

She added: “They continue to suffer considerable trauma and will continue to suffer throughout their lives as a result of your actions.”

A victim impact statement to the court on behalf of one of the complainants said: “The men in this trial have had a massive effect on the person I am.

“I hope the court realises these defendants destroyed me. I hope they do go to jail to send a message to abusers.”

Another victim said in a statement: “What happened to me as a child has made me overprotective towards my own children who do not regularly enjoy the same freedoms as many of their friends of the same age.

“I genuinely believe I lost part of my childhood or at least had it taken from me by adults.”

Two of the victims did not make victim impact statements because “it would make me feel worse than I already do”.

Mohammed Imran Ali Akhtar, 37, from Rotherham, was labelled by the judge as the ring leader.

He was jailed for 23 years after being found guilty of one rape, one charge of aiding and abetting rape, three indecent assaults, one charge of procuring a girl under 21 to have unlawful sexual intercourse with another and one sexual assault.

The “bully” of the gang, Nabeel Kurshid, 35, of Weetwood Road, Rotherham, was found guilty of two rapes and one indecent assault and was sentenced to 19 years in prison.

Iqlak Yousaf, 34, of Tooker Road, Rotherham, was found guilty of two rapes and two indecent assaults and was jailed for 20 years.

Tanweer Ali, 37, of Godstone Road, Rotherham, was found guilty of two rapes, two indecent assaults and one charge of false imprisonment and was handed a 14-year sentence.

Salah Ahmed El-Hakam, 39, of Tudor Close, Sheffield, was found guilty of one rape and was jailed for 15 years.

Asif Ali, 33, of Clough Road, Rotherham, was found guilty of two indecent assaults and was jailed for 10 years to run concurrently with his existing 12-year sentence.

The case is the first major prosecution arising out of Operation Stovewood, the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) inquiry into historical child sexual exploitation in the South Yorkshire town which has identified more than 1,500 victims.

This investigation was set up in the wake of the 2014 Jay Report which laid bare the shocking scale of exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013 and failure of police and social services to intervene.

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