A sex and drugs gang of four Kurdish illegal immigrants who groomed girls as young as 13 were jailed for 33 years today.
Young and ‘naive’ victims were lured to parties in Newcastle and gatherings at houses and flats, where alcohol and drugs were freely available, and they were expected to provide sexual favours and services in return.
The victims were ‘forced’ at other times or were so intoxicated they were unable to consent to what happened to them.
The women and girls were treated as ‘commodities’, passed around various men and sometimes believed they were in relationships with their abusers.
The men, who all entered the UK illegally before claiming asylum hid behind code names such as ‘Star’ ‘Pablo’ and ‘Shark Tooth’ while targeting the vulnerable girls.
Palla Pour, 25, was found guilty of sex offences involving children while Saman Obaid, 26, was convicted of four offences of supplying controlled drugs
Ribas Asad, 29, was also found guilty of child sex offences and Soran Azizi was convicted of two offences of trafficking within the UK for sexual exploitation
They trafficked their victims – held ‘in their thrall’ by a ready supply of drugs and alcohol – around houses on Tyneside where they were sexually assaulted and treated and as ‘commodities.’
The gang – based in Newcastle upon Tyne – controlled the girls with drugs and alcohol, contacted them on Facebook to discuss sex parties and on one occasion demanded sex in return for paying for a tattoo.
The girls were as young as 13 when the grooming began and they were trafficked for sex in return for drugs including ecstasy, cocaine, speed and cannabis it is alleged.
Soran Azizi, 28, was convicted of two offences of trafficking within the UK for sexual exploitation and jailed for six years.
Palla Pour, 25 – who called himself Pablo – was convicted of four offences of sexual activity with a child, inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, supplying controlled drug to another and permitting his premises to be used for the supply of drugs and jailed for 12 and a half years,
Ribas Asad, 29, was convicted of sexual assault, paying for the sexual, supplying a controlled drug, causing a child to engage in sexual activity and sexual activity with a child and jailed for nine and a half years.
Saman Obaid, 29, who was known as Shark Tooth, was convicted of four offences of supplying controlled drugs and jailed for four years and nine months.
All the men entered the UK illegally and claimed asylum.
Judge Bob Spragg sentenced the gang to a total of 32 years and nine months in jail.
He quoted one of their victims, saying: ‘She summed it up by saying ‘They were much older and they pretended to be my friends and drove me around, but they were just totally using me for sex when I was just a child’.’
Judge Spragg added: ‘These were vulnerable young women, they were easy targets for exploitation and the lure of drugs and alcohol.
‘Once ensnared some were expected to provide sexual favours and services, not because they wanted to but because they were beholden and in thrall to you.
‘The effects on their lives has been devastating. It is clear to me the effects on these young women has been hugely damaging.’
Azizi was granted leave to remain after entering illegally in 2007 and gave his nationality as Iranian, Pour also had leave to remain, entering illegally in 2006 and also saying he was iranian.
Asad was granted leave to remain in the UK after entering illegally in 2006 giving his nationality as Iraqi.
And Iraqi Obaid is a failed asylum seeker with further representations outstanding after entering in 2007.
Their victims suffered abuse which left some of them with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
One of the girls recalled her ordeal at the hands of Pablo Pour and another man known as Star, who was not on trial.
Miss Richardson said: ‘One of the girls wanted a tattoo and recalled that Palla Pour and Star said they would pay for half of the price if she had anal sex with them.
‘She said yes in a sarcastic way but then told Palla Pour she would not have anal sex. She was taken to obtain her tattoo and passed out while it was being done. When it was almost done she was taken back to Star’s flat and taken back to have it finished the following day.’
She said that every time the girl was taken back to the flat ‘something sexual would happen’ between her and Star or Pour which meant she did not have to pay for the tattoo.
In an impact statement to the court the girl, who later developed an addiction to crack cocaine, said: ‘The tattoo was done when I was 15 but it will be a reminder forever of what they did to me.’
The girls, some of whom had been placed in the care of social services, were sexually assaulted whilst too drunk to consent on some occasions.
Another victim said in a statement: ‘It has a massive impact on my life, I now suffer panic attacks, PTSD and depression. I don’t feel safe when I’m alone, even when I am at home on my own.’
Her four children were taken into care because she was unable to look after them.
Another girl has twice attempted suicide by overdose and hanging.
Newcastle Crown Court heard victims were lured to parties and gatherings at houses and flats, where alcohol and drugs were freely available, and were expected to provide sexual favours and services in return.
One woman told their trial how she was attacked at a house in Newcastle by Ribas ‘dirty’ Asad after a night out in the city in 2007, when she was 16.
She said the attacker grabbed at her clothing and mumbled at her in a foreign language during the ordeal, that left her shaken and in tears.
The woman said the sexual assault ended when Asad hit his head against a wall when she pushed him away and appeared to knock himself out.
Giving her evidence from behind a screen she said she had been getting dressed in an upstairs bedroom at the house when Asad came into the room and grabbed her around the midriff.
She told jurors: ‘I said ‘don’t, stop it, no, pushed him off, tried to push him off. ‘He ripped my top off.
‘He was grabbing it. He stuck his tongue in my mouth. I bit his tongue. He came again and tried to grab me so I pushed him against the wall, I think he knocked his head off the wall and he slid down the wall. I just ran for it.’
They were all prosecuted as part of Operation Sanctuary, a larger investigation which included Operation Shelter which recently saw 18 people convicted and jailed for grooming offences