Seven men have been convicted of raping two vulnerable schoolgirls who were groomed by being ‘made to feel special’ by predators who ‘abused them in truly appalling ways’.
The abuse happened between 1995 and 2007 in Huddersfield and the girls were groomed between the ages of 12 and 15.
Usman Ali, Banaras Hussain, Abdul Majid, Gul Riaz and three other defendants were found guilty today after a four-week trial at Leeds Crown Court.
A jury took 12 hours and 49 minutes to convict the men of 12 offences, including rape and indecent assault.
Three of the rapists cannot be named for legal reasons and are set to be sentenced tomorrow morning.
Usman Ali (pictured above), also known as Johnny, 34, from Huddersfield, was unanimously convicted of two counts of rape
The court heard from prosecutor Kate Batty who stated that the victims were deliberately targeted by older men and had been made to feel special when they gave them alcohol, drugs and cigarettes.
It was said that the abuse often took place in cars, hotels and flats, including in a flat belonging to a man who was ‘involved with drugs and had a gun’.
Mrs Batty said the girls would ‘regularly be out of it’ with drink and drugs and added that the first victim had been introduced to older men by a school friend.
‘She didn’t know their names half of the time or she would know only their nickname. She was threatened, she was spoken down to, she was intimidated and she was assaulted.
Gul Riaz (above), also known as Saj, 43, from Crosland Moor, was unanimously convicted of two counts of rape and two counts of indecent assault
‘She was frightened and she saw absolutely no way out of this life.’
She added that the youngster had been ‘utterly corrupted’ and that she had been ‘made to believe she had no choice’ but to continue with the lifestyle she had found herself in.
The victim’s family had tried hard to keep her safe and had sought help from both police and social services on multiple occasions.
Mrs Batty added: Back then, perhaps the authorities didn’t have the understanding that they now have about grooming and child sexual exploitation.
‘Social services eventually told [the girl’s] family that [she] must love it if she keeps going back.’
The second victim was subjected to the abuse when she was just 15-years-old.
‘The final straw for her was when she was thrown out of a car with her trousers round her ankles, having had sex with two or three of the men in the car – she can’t remember[how many].
‘She was drunk and drugged. She was 15 years old’, Mrs Batty said.
Ali, also known as Johnny, 34, from Huddersfield, was unanimously convicted of two counts of rape.
Hussain, 39, from Shipley, was unanimously convicted of one count of rape.
Majid, also known as Smokey, 35, from Crosland Moor, was unanimously convicted of two counts of rape.
Riaz, also known as Saj, 43, also from Crosland Moor, was unanimously convicted of two counts of rape and two counts of indecent assault.
A 37-year-old man was unanimously convicted of one count of rape.
A 36-year-old man was unanimously convicted of one count of rape.
A 30-year-old man was convicted of rape by a majority.
The Crown Prosecution Service and the local police commented on the case after the verdicts were delivered.
Michael Quinn, from the CPS, said: ‘At the heart of this case are the two victims. They have suffered immensely as a result of their childhood abuse.
We would like to acknowledge their great courage in coming forward to assist the investigation and then to support the prosecution.
‘I sincerely hope the convictions of their abusers will go some way to helping these young women to rebuild their lives. Our thoughts remain with them.’
DCI Richard McNamara, of Kirklees District Police, said: ‘The men involved in these vile offences have robbed their victims of their childhood and abused them in truly appalling ways.
‘It is difficult to imagine the impact on the victims of the abuse they suffered but it is clear their courage in reporting what was done to them and in supporting the prosecution has helped take some dangerous men off our streets.
‘The guilty verdicts today will hopefully be a milestone for them in seeing those responsible begin to pay for what they have done as will the forthcoming sentences of these individuals.’