Posted on September 4, 2018

Rotherham Gang-of-Eight ‘Sexually Abused Teenage Girls’

Zoie O'brien, Daily Mail, September 4, 2018

A Rotherham schoolgirl who was raped by multiple men was months later forced to have an abortion by her parents, a court has heard.

Nabeel Kurshid, 34, and Iqlak Yousaf, 33, along with a third man, are accused of taking the girl, 14 at the time, to Sherwood Forest and threatening to leave her there alone unless she had sex with them.

The pair are among a group of eight men from Rotherham and Sheffield who are said to have targeted girls who were ‘easy to exploit because they wanted to be loved’.

The alleged incident happened some time between August 2002 and August 2003, prosecutors at Sheffield Crown Court said.

Prosecutor Michelle Colborne QC said that the girl was given cannabis and was ‘high as a kite’.

She said: ‘Each defendant took turns in having sex with her.

‘She was warned she had to do what she was told or she would be left there.’

Ms Colborne said the girl was bitten during the alleged attack, leaving marks on her neck.

She said: ‘The defendants ensured her compliance by giving her drugs and threatening to abandon her in the forest.’

The prosecutor said: ‘She became pregnant as a result of the group rape.

Ms Colborne told the jury that the teenager, who is now in her thirties, was vulnerable and had a history of being exploited.

‘She was passed from one group of Asian males to another and, over time, was very seriously abused.’

The prosecutor said the girl’s parents found out about the alleged exploitation but were unsupportive — verbally abusing their daughter and locking her out when she arrived home late.

Kurshid and Yousaf both deny raping the girl.

The eight men on trial allegedly took their victims to parks, abandoned buildings and ‘secluded locations’ to carry out sexual abuse, prosecutors allege.

The men were arrested as part of Operation Stovewood — a police investigation into sexual abuse launched after the Rotherham grooming scandal.

They face a total of 28 counts of sexual abuse of five girls over a five-year period from 1998 to 2003.

Charges include rape, aiding or abetting rape, indecent assault, supply of controlled drugs and false imprisonment.

Opening the case at Sheffield Crown Court, prosecutor Michelle Colborne QC, told the jury the girls were ‘ostracised’ from their lives by the defendants.

She said: ‘This case concerns allegations of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham in the late 1990s and into the early 2000s.

‘When [the girls] were in their teens they were targeted, sexualised and in some instances subjected to acts of a degrading and violent nature at the hands of these men in dock.

‘These were local girls with unsettled home lives.

‘They were lured by the excitement of friendship of older Asian youths.

‘None of them had the maturity to know they were being groomed and exploited.’

The jury was told two of the victims, who were sisters, were ‘vulnerable’ after being ‘effectively abandoned’ by their parents when they were young.

The girls were ‘enthralled’ by ‘older Asian men’ and believed they were ‘loved’ because they were ‘receiving attention’, Miss Colborne told the jury.

They thought they were ‘living the high life’ at the time and were frequently in cars stopped by the police.

However, this ‘did not deter the abusers’, the court heard.

Miss Colborne added: ‘These sisters, like so many others were easy to exploit because they needed to be loved.’

She told the jury that five of the men, led by Mohammed Imran Akhtar, were friends who were ‘content to pass the girls around’.

Akhtar, 37, ‘befriended young girls’ and ‘passed them to his friends’, the court heard.

Akhtar, of Rotherham, faces four counts of indecent assault, one of supplying a controlled drug, one of rape, one of procuring a girl under 21 for unlawful sexual intercourse with another, one of aiding and abetting a rape and one of sexual assault.

Tanweer Ali, 37, of Rotherham, faces two counts of indecent assault, two counts of rape and one of false imprisonment.

Salah El-Hakam, 39, of Sheffield, faces one count of rape.

Nabeel Kurshid, 34, of Rotherham, faces two counts of rape and one of indecent assault.

Iqlak Yousaf, 34 of Rotherham, faces two counts of rape and two counts of indecent assault.

Ajmal Rafiq, 38, of Rotherham, faces one count of false imprisonment and one count of indecent assault.

Asif Ali, 33, of Rotherham, faces three counts of indecent assault.

An eighth defendant, who cannot be named, faces three counts of rape and one of abducting a child.

The trial continues.