Ten men have been found guilty at Bradford Crown Court today of a total of 16 charges of raping a child. An eleventh man, Mohammed Akram, was convicted of sexual activity with a child and a twelfth man, Khalid Mahmood, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to charges of raping a child.
Sufyan Ziarab (22), Yasser Kabir (25), Bilal Ziarab (21), Tauqeer Hussain (23), Israr Ali (19), Nasir Khan (23), Saqib Younis (29), Hussain Sardar (19), Zain Ali (20), Faisal Khan (27) and Mohammed Akram (63) were found guilty of 16 offences of raping a girl who was aged between 13 and 14 at the time, between 2011 and 2012. Mohammed Akram was found guilty of sexual activity with the same girl. Additionally, Taukeer Hussain was also found guilty of one charge of raping a second girl, in 2009.
They were remanded in custody and will be sentenced on 5 February together with 34-year-old Khalid Raja Mahmood, who pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.
Three males (Rohail Iqbal, aged 22, Rohail Hussain, aged 18, and a 17-year-old male who can’t be named for legal reasons) were cleared of all charges against them.
Speaking after the verdicts, Detective Chief Inspector Chris Walker, of the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said:
“This has been a very challenging, complex and sensitive investigation dealing with the exploitation and abuse of two vulnerable young girls.
“Firstly, I would like to pay tribute to the victims who have shown a great deal of courage in standing up to these perpetrators, enabling them to be put before the courts. I hope that today’s positive outcome will now help them to move on and create new lives for themselves.
“These young girls were preyed upon and either raped or sexually assaulted. One was even passed around by these men for no other reason other than their own gratification.
“West Yorkshire Police has carried out a detailed investigation working closely with partner agencies. The investigation team meticulously gathered evidence to corroborate the victim’s account including the seizure and examination of hundreds of mobile phones and computers, the forensic examination of clothing and the detailed forensic examination of scenes where the crimes had been perpetrated.
“Child sexual exploitation is one of the most important challenges facing the police and is a priority for West Yorkshire Police. It is totally unacceptable and it is the responsibility of all agencies, communities and individuals to identify those responsible and help bring them to justice.
“Protecting the victims is a priority. However, unwilling they may be initially to engage with police or other agencies, or to give evidence against the perpetrators, they will always be supported and protected from further harm.
“West Yorkshire Police, the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner and partner agencies are committed to doing everything they possibly can to ensure that children are safe, cared for and protected from harm. We are committed to working closely with these partners and will take positive action against those who abuse or neglect children.
“We welcome the Serious Case Review which is taking place and will work closely with our partners to adopt the findings to ensure that we minimise the risk to children.
“We hope this trial demonstrates that tackling child sexual exploitation is a top priority for West Yorkshire Police. Victims should know that we will treat them with the utmost sensitivity and we will take positive action against perpetrators.
“Significant resources, including extra funding from the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, have been allocated to the teams investigating this horrendous crime.
Peter Mann, Head of the Complex Casework Unit, CPS Yorkshire and Humberside said:
“These 12 men are responsible for a wide range of crimes involving child sexual exploitation and abuse. Their victims were young, naïve and vulnerable, and were deliberately targeted: one victim was
systematically groomed; threatened, exploited and raped. A second victim was also threatened and raped by Taukeer Hussain.
“These victims have shown immense courage and bravery in reporting these matters to the police and in providing evidence to enable us to bring a strong prosecution case.
“The jury have seen through the lies the defendants told in an effort to escape justice. This case sends out a very strong message to all those who may be hesitating about coming forward to report matters such as these. We will not tolerate this type abuse on our streets or in our communities. We will bring dangerous criminals who carry out acts of sexual violence against girls to justice.”
Following the outcome of this case, Detective Chief Inspector Chris Walker is now appealing for anyone who fears they may be a victim or for anyone who has any concerns that a child they know may be a victim to report it to West Yorkshire Police by calling 101 or to the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.