ROTHERHAM: Five men have been jailed for total 63 for sexually exploiting eight teenage girls in Rotherham more than a decade ago. Vulnerable girls were targeted and given alcohol and drugs before some were raped by multiple men, Sheffield Crown Court heard.
According to sources, all five are reportedly Pakistan origin and settled in Britain for a long time. Aftab Hussain, 40, was jailed for 24 years and Abid Saddiq, 38, for 20 years, with the judge calling the latter a “determined sexual predator”.
The three other men sentenced were Masaued Malik, 35, who was jailed for five years; Sharaz Hussain, 35, who was jailed for four years and another man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, who was jailed for 10 years. The men abused girls in the South Yorkshire town between 1998 and 2002.
The sentencing follows the latest trial to arise out of Operation Stovewood – the massive National Crime Agency investigation into the sexual exploitation of teenagers in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013. The agency has said it believed 1,510 teenagers were exploited in the town during the period.
Judge Michael Slater criticised the authorities for not taking action.Sentencing the five, Mr Slater said he was “quite satisfied” that the “relevant authorities” were well aware of the way vulnerable teenagers were being targeted for sexual exploitation at the time.
He described it as a “lamentable state of affairs”, saying that the authorities at the time were at best “totally ineffectual” and, at worst “wholly indifferent”.
Saddiq was found guilty of two counts of rape, five of indecent assault, and two of child abduction. Hussain, Malik and Hussain were found guilty of indecent assault. The other defendant was convicted of rape and indecent assault.
Malik was told that his sentence will follow on from a 15-year term he is already serving for similar offences.
Another man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was also found guilty of offences earlier this week. He will be sentenced at a later date, as will a seventh defendant, Mohammed Ashan, who pleaded guilty to sex offences at a previous hearing.
One of the women who was abused sat in court for the sentencing, and another made an impact statement which was read out in court.
Mr Slater said the women should instead be praised for the “incredible resolve and bravery” they each showed to bring the men to justice and how they “stood up to ensure that what happened to her should never happened to young girls in the future”.
Rotherham Ch Supt Una Jennings said: “The bravery they [the victims] have shown to re-live the horrendous time they went through deserves praise and recognition.
“They have shown immense courage and bravery throughout this lengthy trial and have ensured that their abusers face justice. The sentences handed out today will never make up for the abuse these girls suffered, but I hope that it does go some way to help them move forward.”
An NSPCC spokesperson said: “These men were ruthless in their grooming and sexual abuse of vulnerable teenagers, and it is truly shocking that these appalling offences could represent just a fraction of the number of young people affected by sexual exploitation in Rotherham.