11 men sentenced in sexually abused cases

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HUDDERFIELD: Four members of the Huddersfield grooming gang were sentenced on Thursday (November 1). They are the final four to be sentenced from the gang of 20 men convicted this year. Last month, a reporting restriction on the case was relaxed, revealing the convictions and that 16 members had already been jailed.

Mohammed Akram, 36, Springdale Street, Thornton Lodge, who was convicted of two counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation and two counts of rape. He was sentenced for 17 years.

Niaz Ahmed, 54, formerly of Ned Lane, Slaithwaite, now of Woodthorpe Terrace, Huddersfield, who was convicted of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and sexual assault. The judge has sentenced Ahmed to five years’ imprisonment.

Mohammed Imran Ibrar, 34, of Manchester Road, Thornton Lodge, Huddersfield, who was convicted of trafficking for sexual exploitation and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He was sentenced to four-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.

Asif Bashir, 33, of Thornton Lodge Road, Thornton Lodge, Huddersfield, who was convicted of rape and attempted rape. He was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment.

It may be recalled that sixteen men have been jailed for a total of more than 200 years as part of a grooming gang who abused 15 girls in and around Huddersfield between 2004 and 2011.

Four more men have been found guilty and are waiting to be sentenced for offences such as rape and trafficking for sexual exploitation. A series of trials on the case could not be reported because of a blanket reporting ban imposed a year ago.

The ban was lifted by the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Guy Kearl QC, on Friday.

Those already sentenced have received prison terms totalling 221 years.

The men embarked on a “campaign of rape and other sexual abuse” against vulnerable teenage girls aged between 11 and 17.

The group’s ringleader Amere Singh Dhaliwal, 35, was jailed for life earlier this year and told he must serve a minimum of 18 years in prison by judge Geoffrey Marson QC who said: “Your treatment of these girls was inhuman.”

Dhaliwal, who has children of his own, was convicted of 54 separate charges, including 22 rapes involving 11 different girls.

7 men convicted

Meanwhile, seven men were convicted on Monday of sexually abusing vulnerable teenagers in a prosecution sparked by revelations of sexual exploitation stretching back years in a northern England town.

A 2014 report said that more than 1,400 young people were victims of sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.

In a pattern repeated in several other UK towns and cities, the perpetrators were mostly men of Pakistani heritage, who befriended teenage girls and plied them with gifts, alcohol and drugs before abusing them.

Prosecutor Michelle Colborne said the victims, now in their 30s, were “targeted, sexualised and, in some instances, subjected to acts of a degrading and violent nature at the hands of these men who sit in the dock”.

“None of them had the maturity to understand that they were being groomed and exploited,” she said.

A jury at Sheffield Crown Court convicted the seven defendants of charges including rape and indecent assault. They will be sentenced on November 16. An eighth defendant was acquitted.

The cases in Rotherham, Huddersfield, Rochdale and other towns in which most of the victims were white have heightened ethnic tensions in Britain. They also have spurred criticism of local authorities, who failed to protect vulnerable girls, and of police, who often didn’t listen to victims they regarded as troublesome teenagers.

Far-right figures have used the crimes to argue that “Muslim grooming gangs” pose a particular threat to Britain.

Police statistics in Britain show that most offenders in child exploitation cases are white men, and most of the abuse takes place online, at home or in institutions such as schools.

But former prosecutor Nazir Afzal, who has brought many abusers to trial, says Pakistani men are disproportionately involved in the sort of street grooming seen in recent high-profile cases.

He says that reflects the high number of South Asian men working for taxi firms and takeaway restaurants in the late-night economy, as well as their widespread sexist attitudes about women.