Huddersfield grooming gang ‘used and abused’ vulnerable young girls for sex, court hears
Nine men and a woman face 27 charges – including 20 of rape – against four children
Ten members of a grooming gang “used and abused” a number of vulnerable young girls by exploiting them for sex, a court has heard.
The group of nine men and one woman are accused of deliberately targeting the four victims aged between 12 and 16 in Huddersfield between 2005 and 2008.
Together they face 27 charges – including 20 of rape.
Richard Wright, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court on first day of their trial that the gang used threats and violence to control the girls, while also plying them with drink and drugs in order to make them compliant to demands.
He said the victims were “”passed around” to other men who also abused them “without any regard for whether or not they were consenting”.
Offences, which also included trafficking and attempted rape, often happened in vehicles which had been driven to remote locations, jurors were told.
Once in these quiet places the girls were expected to perform oral sex on one or more men or have full sexual intercourse with them, Mr Wright added.
He said other offences happened in homes owned or used by the defendants and during parties at which multiple girls and multiple men would be present.
Sometimes the victims would be sexually assaulted by complete strangers, who remain unidentified to this day, the court heard.
At the time of the alleged abuse the girls were “deliberately avoiding home and people in positions of authority”, Mr Wright explained.
He said the youngsters were so “corrupted” by the offenders they “didn’t think they wanted or needed help from anyone”.
It was only as they had grown into adults that they had gained a “fresh perspective” on the events of their childhood, he added. It was this reason that charges have been brought 14 years later.
He said: “This case concerns the cynical exploitation of a number of young girls who were deliberately targeted by older men who wanted to use those girls for their own sexual purposes.
“The girls targeted by those men were children and the men knew that and they did not care about it for a moment.
“These men cared only for themselves and viewed these girls as objects to be used and abused at will.”
And he added that the trial, which started on Tuesday, would also raise questions about those in authority who “did not do enough to do enough to try to engage with these girls and found out what was happening to them”.
The court heard the mother of one victim “tried desperately” to stop her daughter going out but was “failed” by the inaction of the police and social services.
The men charged are Iftikhar Ali, 38, Manzoor Akhtar, 30, Basharat Hussain, 32, Samuel Fikru, 31, Mohammed Sajjad, 32, Banaris Hussain, 36, and Mohammed Suhail Arif, 32. Umar Zaman, whose whereabouts is unknown, is being tried in his absence
The woman charged is Fehreen Rafiq, 39.
One defendant cannot be named for legal reasons.
All are from Huddersfield.
Presiding Judge Geoffrey Marson said some of the defendants would claim the alleged offences never happened, while others will say this is a case of mistaken identity. At least one is to argue the girls consented.
The trial, which is expected to last up to seven weeks, continues.
Additional reporting by SWNS