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Vulnerable girls were 'used and abused at will' court hears; nine men deny 25 charges including rape.

Byline: STEPHANIE FINNEGAN stephanie.finnegan@reachplc.com @StephanieFinneg

FOUR 'extremely vulnerable' children were 'groomed and sexually exploited' by multiple Huddersfield men, a jury heard.

The 'young, socially isolated and extremely vulnerable' schoolgirls were allegedly abused in the Huddersfield area between around 2005 and 2008.

Iftikar Ali, Manzoor Akhtar, Basharat Hussain, Fehreen Rafiq, Mohammed Sajjad, Banaris Hussain, Umar Zaman, Mohammed Arif, and Samuel Fikru and a 42-year-old man deny all charges.

Opening the trial yesterday (Tuesday), prosecutor Richard Wright QC told the jury: "This case concerns the cynical sexual 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."

Mr Wright said the men saw the girls as 'commodities' 'to be used and abused at will.' Leeds Crown Court heard some of the alleged victims had been bullied while one of them was the daughter of an addict.

He said the girls were lured in with friendship, cigarettes, alcohol and drugs and sexually abused in isolated areas such as cars and the defendants' homes.

Mr Wright said: "Some [of the girls] felt that they were in genuine, loving relationships such was the extent to which they had been groomed by these men.

"Others were plied with drink and drugs to the point of being utterly unable to resist the sexual advances that were made against them."

plainants, he said: "Her mother tried desperately to stop her daughter going out.

"She contacted the police and social services and she was, frankly, failed by their inaction."

Sajjad, also known as Little Bishop, is accused of keeping one of the alleged victims in a house for several days while men visited and abused her.

He is also accused of raping a girl in a park when she was under the age of 13.

Rafiq is accused of plying the girls with drugs at her boyfriend's house parties before introducing them to men who would go on to abuse them.

Some felt genuine, relationships extent of Zaman is standing trial in his absence.

Prosecutor Wright Mr Wright told jurors that the issues in the case are narrow.

Summarising the men's defences to the allegations, he said: "These defendants are either the victims of a series of mistaken identifications by girls who they have never met or for unknown reasons each of these girls is deliberately making up a series of wicked lies against them.

"If they are compelled to admit that they have had sex with one of the girls it is then said that it was entirely consensual and that the girls cruelly misled them as to their age."

He said also some of the men who abused the girls remain unidentified and some are yet to stand trial.

The men deny 25 charges including rape, attempted rape and trafficking for sexual exploitation, while the woman denies two charges of arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence.

Ali, 38, of Holly Road in Thornton Lodge, denies two counts of rape and one count of attempted rape.

Akhtar, 30, of Blackmoorfoot Road in Crosland Moor, denies two counts of rape and one count of trafficking for sexual exploitation.

Basharat Hussain, 32, of William Street in Crosland Moor, denies two counts of rape.

Rafiq, 39, of Blackmoorfoot Road in Crosland Moor, denies two counts of arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence.

they were in loving -such was grooming Richard QC Sajjad, 32, of Yews Mount in Lockwood, denies four counts of rape, one count of rape of a girl under the age of 13 and one count of arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence.

Banaris Hussain, 36, of Beech Street in Paddock, denies one count of rape.

Zaman, 31, of William Street in Crosland Moor, denies two counts of rape. Arif, 32, of New Hey Road in Oakes, denies one count of rape.

Fikru, 31, whose address cannot be reported for legal reasons, denies two counts of rape.

The 42-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denies one count of rape and two counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation. The trial is expected to last seven weeks.
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Sep 11, 2019
Words:699
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