'Vile and wicked' grooming gang jailed over Huddersfield child sexual exploitation

20 February 2020, 07:28 | Updated: 20 February 2020, 07:42

(left to right, top to bottom) Banaras Hussain, Usman Ali, Abdul Majid and Gul Riaz, who were all jailed on Wednesday as part of Operation Tendersea
(left to right, top to bottom) Banaras Hussain, Usman Ali, Abdul Majid and Gul Riaz, who were all jailed on Wednesday as part of Operation Tendersea. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Six men have been jailed after being sentenced for the sexual abuse of two girls in Huddersfield over a sixteen-year period.

The six men were sentenced on Wednesday with another man due to be sentenced today.

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

The court heard the abuse took place between 1995 and 2011 in Huddersfield and the girls were aged just 13 and 14 when they fell victim to the gang.

The prosecution said that the schoolgirls were "made to feel special" by the "vile and wicked" predators who then treated them as "objects to be used and abused at will".

The jury heard the first victim was introduced to older men by a school friend and by the time she was 15, had sex with up to 300 men.

Both girls now suffer from PTSD and one victim has suffered from depression and bulimia as a result of the abuse.

Judge Geoffrey Marson QC said the girls fell victim to "planned offences by a large group of Asian men.

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

Judge Marson described the grooming of the girls as 'insidious and persistent'.

The men were found guilty of a total of 12 child sex offences, including rape and indecent assault between 1995 and 2011.

One of the victims was raped by all six of the defendants in Wednesday's case, either when she was too drunk or drugged to consent, with other people present, or after being told she would not be taken home before having sex.

Addressing Majid, the judge said: "You raped her as the price for taking her home. You repeatedly abused her for your own sexual gratification."

The men were jailed at Leeds Crown Court
The men were jailed at Leeds Crown Court. Picture: PA

In a victim impact statement which was read out to the court, the victim said she kept the abuse 'buried' for 22 years citing a different incident where she 'wasn't believed' by the police.

The statement continued to say she was 'let down' and 'ashamed' but after seeing her assailant's mugshot in a local paper, became committed to getting justice against the men who 'took away her childhood'.

She said she had to 'lay her soul bare' in front of complete strangers.

An NSPCC spokesperson said: 'These men groomed and preyed on vulnerable teenagers, treating these young girls as nothing more than objects during sexual abuse offences which took place over a number of years.

'Each of them caused untold damage to the lives of their victims, who suffered horrendous experiences at their hands.

'We hope the girls are all receiving all the support they need, and we urge anyone who has experienced sexual abuse to speak out and seek support.'

Usman Ali, Gul Riaz, Banaras Hussain, Abdul Majid
Usman Ali, Gul Riaz, Banaras Hussain, Abdul Majid. Picture: West Yorkshire Police

Ali, 34, of Huddersfield, was jailed for eight years after being found guilty of two offences of rape against one victim.

Riaz, 43, also of Huddersfield, was sentenced to 15 years after being found guilty of rape and two indecent assaults against one girl and rape against the other.

Banaras Hussain, 39, of Shipley, was jailed for nine and a half years after being found guilty of raping one of the schoolgirls.

Abdul Majid, 36, of Huddersfield, was sentenced to 11 years after being found guilty of raping one victim twice.

Two men who cannot be named for legal reasons were also sentenced.

A 36-year-old Huddersfield man was sentenced to eight years after being found guilty of rape, while a sixth, 30 and also from Huddersfield, was jailed for four years for raping one of the girls.

Meanwhile, a seventh man, a 37-year-old from Huddersfield, will be sentenced on Thursday after he was found guilty of raping one girl.

Prosecutor Kate Batty told how the terrified teenagers were "systematically groomed and exploited" by the men in Huddersfield, West Yorks.

They were viewed as "objects to be used and abused at will", she added.

The court was told social services dismissed the allegations and told the girl's desperate family: "She must love it if she keeps going back."

DCI Richard McNamara of West Yorkshire Police said after the verdict: "The men involved in these vile offences have robbed their victims of their childhood and abused them in truly appalling ways.

"The sentences handed down to these men today reflect the depravity of their actions and I hope it will bring some comfort to their victims to see them jailed."

Thirty-four men have already been convicted in relation to Operation Tendersea, and received jail sentences totalling 377 and a half years.

It is the single biggest group of convicted rapists in the same area.

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