Terri-ann Williams and Joe Middleton, Daily Mail, February 27, 2019
The victim of a Bradford sex abuse gang who plied her with drink and raped her when she was 14-years-old has spoken out- as the depraved group are jailed for a total of almost 116 years.
The group of nine men were jailed this afternoon at Bradford Crown Court with the Judge Durham Hall saying the girls were ‘sexually abused following grooming’ and ‘violence’.
A harrowing victim impact statement from one of the victims was read out in court saying she was ‘nothing but a toy to play with’ by the sordid gang.
She said: ‘I have the most irrational thoughts because of anxiety.
‘I have fear going to the shops, and very rarely go to restaurants or out on an evening with friends.
‘I was manipulated, used, nothing but a toy to play with. I understand this because new relationships are so much different.
‘I have had years of counselling to understand it wasn’t love it was grooming.
‘When Basharat was arrested I could not leave the house for three months.
‘I had to leave my job because of the dread of him or someone he knew walking through the door.
‘It pains me to see my dad in panic at the thought of Basharat turning up at our house.’
During the trial prosecutor Kama Mell QC said that the teenagers had been ‘ripe and vulnerable to manipulation’ and were subsequently subjected to a range of sexual abuse at the hands of the men in order ‘to satisfy their sexual desires’. The two girls had both been taken into care at the age of 14 and had repeatedly ran away from their local authority home in Bradford.
However as the home was not a restrictive unit the staff had no power to stop the girls leaving at night.
In his sentencing remarks this afternoon, Judge Durham Hall added ‘no court in England and Wales seems to have escaped grooming by groups or individuals of grown men of vulnerable young persons.’
He said: ‘As the knowledge of the opportunity to take advantage of damaged young people spreads, it is not uncommon for young men to get involved.
‘In the trial it was clear you didn’t get it, and some of you still do not get it now.
‘The damage and hurt you have caused for your sexual pleasure has been revealed to all, and the lengths some of you went to to corrupt and groom a girl are truly appalling, and then threaten and to rape her beyond description.
‘[The victims] were relentlessly, by Basharat Khaliq and the other eight of you, sexually abused following grooming and, whether there is or isn’t a connection to the groomers through blatant violence, over a period of years.’
‘The jury have seen this case for what it was.
‘Clear, determined and insidious grooming.’
A statement from the other victim was also read out in court.
She said: ‘I have been diagnosed with depression, PTSD, anxiety since I was 15.
‘I struggle to sleep and when I do I have nightmares.
‘I have previous issues with self-harm and multiple suicide attempts.
‘I struggle to leave the house due to anxiety which prevents me from living a full life, and have spent my adult life on medication.
‘I have seen a mental health worker every two weeks for seven years.
‘My scars greatly affect my confidence and self-worth and are a constant reminder of what I have been through.
‘The drug and alcohol misuse has had a large affect on my health, such as abnormal liver function.
‘I showed signs of a promising future and was predicted A*s and wanted to be a lawyer. Because of the abuse I dropped out of school and was in trouble with police.
‘My offending stopped when the abuse stopped, but my criminal record and mental health has had an impact on me and will in the future.
‘The abuse resulted in the forced adoption of my eldest daughter. There was never an issue with my parenting ability it was just the lifestyle around the abuse, meaning I could not form a relationship with my daughter.
‘Rebuilding my life has been hard to do while my abusers walk the streets, but hopefully getting justice is the first step in my path of doing this.’
Ms Melly raised points she said are aggravating features in this case.
She said the use of alcohol and drugs were aggravating features in the case and deed the abuse had an impact on the girls’ ‘ability to form attachments to people in the home.’
And the girls were ’14 years of age out at night missing sleep and education’ in a ‘significant period of time in these young women’s lives’.
She added: ‘There was a significant degree of planning for Mr Khaliq to take two 14-year-old girls from a care home to a hotel room, and alcohol was used at this time.’
Basharat Khaliq was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.
He was given 16 years for each of the five counts of rape, served concurrently, and four years for assault by penetration, to be served consecutively.
He saluted to the public gallery as he was led from the dock.
Saeed Akhtar was jailed for 20 years.
He was also given two five year terms for causing or inciting child prostitution, to be served concurrently.
Naveed Akhtar was jailed for 17 years, Parvaze Ahmed was jailed for 17 years, Izar Hussain was given a 16 year sentence.
Kieran Harris was jailed for 17 years, he was described by one of his victims as ‘an evil, pixie-faced man’.
Fahim Iqbal was jailed for 7 years for aiding and abetting rape.
Mohammed Usman, found guilty of two counts of rape, has been jailed for 17 years.
Zeeshan Ali was jailed for 18 months for sexual assault.
Yesterday afternoon the jury returned unanimous verdicts on all but one of the defendants following a seven week trial at Bradford Crown Court.
However, today the jury found 37-year-old Yasar Majid not guilty of one count of rape by a majority verdict.
Basharat Khaliq, 38, of Bradford, known as Bash, was found guilty of five counts of rape and one count of assault by penetration.
Saeed Akhtar, 55, of Bradford, known as Sid, was found guilty of one charge of rape and two charges of causing or inciting child prostitution.
His brother Naveed Akhtar, 43, also of Bradford, and known as Nav, was found guilty of two counts of rape and not guilty of a third allegation of rape.
Parvaze Ahmed, 36, of Bradford, known as Pav, was found guilty of three charges of rape.
Izar Hussain, 32, of Bradford, known as Billy Joe Joe, was found guilty of one rape and one attempted rape, and acquitted of two rapes.
Zeeshan Ali, 32, of Bradford, known as Twinny or T, was found guilty of one charge of sexual assault, while Keiran Harris, 28, of Dewsbury, was found guilty of two rapes.
Fahim Iqbal, also 28 and from Dewsbury, was found guilty of aiding and abetting one of Harris’s rapes.
Mohammed Usman, 31, of Bradford, known as Manny, was found guilty of two counts of rape.
All nine men were remanded in custody to be sentenced by the Recorder of Bradford, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC, today.
After the verdicts were returned, Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Superintendent Jonathan Morgan, said of the guilty men: ‘These were predatory sex offenders who targeted two vulnerable children and abused them physically and emotionally. This undoubtedly had a significant impact on them both.
‘We would like to thank the victims for their continued support and acknowledge the courage they have shown in giving evidence before the courts.
‘We hope today’s verdict will give them closure and allow them to move forward with their lives and that it will give other victims of abuse the confidence to come forward and report it.’
An NSPCC spokesperson said of the convicted defendants: ‘These men cruelly abused two young girls for their own twisted sexual gratification, cynically exploiting the victims’ vulnerability. We hope today’s convictions bring them some comfort and it’s important both receive all the support they need to move forward.
‘This case highlights the risk that children who regularly go missing from care face in terms of physical abuse, grooming and sexual exploitation.
‘Whatever a young person is going through, it is important they remember help and support is always available. Childline is here to listen to children and young people who feel they have no one else to talk to.
‘Childline can be contacted 24 hours a day seven days a week online and over the phone on 0800 11 11 or via www.Childline.org.uk.
‘For parents and adults concerned about a child you can contact the NSPCC Helpline 24/7 on 0808 800 5000 or for more information visit www.NSPCC.org.uk.’