‘Vile’ grooming gang jailed after girl forced into sex with 300 men by age 15

A group of six ‘predatory men’ who sexually exploited young girls in Huddersfield ‘for their own perverted gratification’ have been given jail sentences of up to 15 years.

The defendants were convicted of nine counts of rape and two counts of indecent assault after targeting vulnerable girls between 1995 and 2011.

Usman Ali, Banaras Hussain, Abdul Majid, Gul Riaz and two other defendants were sentenced today after a four-week trial at Leeds Crown Court.

Judge Marson said the grooming of the girls was ‘insidious and persistent’ and described the abuse as ‘disgusting and degrading’.

One of the victims was forced to have sex with at least 300 men by the age of 15, the court heard.

He added that the girls were controlled by violence, or the threat of violence against themselves and their families.

It means that a total of 34 men have now been convicted following West Yorkshire Police’s Operation Tendersea investigation into child sexual exploitation in the town, with prison sentences totalling more than 300 years.

Judge Geoffrey Marson QC described how the men targeted the girls because of their vulnerability and created a relationship of trust that allowed ‘predatory men to perpetrate gross sexual abuse for their own perverted gratification’.

The judge said: ‘They were planned offences by a large group of Asian men.

‘It is likely many of these girls will never recover from the abuse they suffered.’

He added: ‘It is clear that both have been and remain profoundly affected by the abuse which ended some years ago.’

He continued: ‘The way these girls were treated defies understanding. The abuse was vile and wicked.’

Police said the girls were aged just 13 and 14 when the grooming began, with one coming to the attention of her abusers while she was on a paper round.

One of the victims would go missing and return home ‘heavily under the influence of alcohol or drugs’, sometimes naked on her lower half and with injuries, the court heard.

She was raped by every defendant in this case, often when she was too drunk to be capable of consenting to sexual activity and sometimes with other people present.

The judge said she was raped by Usman Ali in his car, who was ‘rough and aggressive’ and left her in tears, while Abdul Majid raped her numerous times, often threatening to not take her home unless she had sex with him.

The judge said the second victim was regularly plied with drugs and alcohol ‘in order to facilitate the gross sexual abuse by the older men’.

Judge Marson said she was indecently assaulted and raped by Gul Riaz, who plied her with vodka at her father’s flat.

The victims told the court how they continue to be affected by the actions of the men.

Reading their victim impact statements, Andrea Parnham, prosecuting, said the second victim tried to report the abuse to police in 1997.

Ms Parnham said: ‘She kept it buried for 22 years. She tried to report an incident in 1997 but she was disbelieved and felt let down by them.’

She said the woman suffers from nightmares, flashbacks, PTSD and anxiety and said coming forward after so many years has been ‘hell’.

Ali, 34, of Huddersfield, was jailed for eight years for two counts of rape, while Banaras Hussain, 39, of Shipley, was jailed for 9.5 years for one count of rape.

Majid, 36, of Huddersfield, was jailed for 11 years for two counts of rape.

Riaz, 44, of Huddersfield, was jailed for 15 years for two counts of rape and two counts of indecent assault.

A 36-year-old man was jailed for eight years for one count of rape and a 30-year-old man was jailed for four years for one count of rape.

Neither can be named for legal reasons.

A seventh defendant, a 37-year-old man who cannot be named, was found guilty of one count of rape and will be sentenced on Thursday.