Six members of a sex gang who sexually abused five teenage girls have been jailed for 101 years.
Mohammed Imran Ali Akhtar, 37, Asif Ali, 33, Tanweer Ali, 37, Salah Ahmed El-Hakam, 39, Nabeel Kurshid, 35, Iqlak Yousaf, 34, were found guilty sexually exploiting vulnerable girls in Rotherham.
One of the complainants told a trial at Sheffield Crown Court how she had sex with ‘at least 100 Asian men’ by the time she was 16 and another described how she was gang-raped in a forest and threatened with being abandoned there.
A seventh man was also convicted, but cannot be named for legal reasons and will be sentenced at a later date.
The case is the first major prosecution arising out of Operation Stovewood, the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) inquiry into historical child sexual exploitation in the South Yorkshire town which has identified more than 1,500 victims.
The gang were found guilty last month of raping and sexually assaulting five girls in Rotherham between 1998 and 2005.
The girls, one as young as 13, were passed around to be sexually abused by multiple offenders.
Ali Akhtar was the ‘ringleader’ and took the lead in befriending the girls before introducing them to his friends.
During sentencing, Judge Wright said he ‘targeted and groomed’ the girls ‘supplying them with alcohol and drugs’.
Akhtar was jailed for 23 years. The five other men, Nabeel Kurshid, Iqlaq Yousaf, Tanweer Ali, Salah Ahmed El-Hakam and Asif Ali were sentenced to 19 years, 20 years, 14 years, 15 years and 10 years respectively.
The court heard how victims were plied with drugs and alcohol until they couldn’t remember what was going on.
In some instances, they were threatened with violence or being abandoned in unknown locations if they didn’t comply with the sexual demands.
The men behaved as if the girls were their property and even after being arrested years after the offences, showed no remorse for their actions, the jury was told.
The court heard that after some of his accomplices were arrested, Akhtar’s confident demeanor began to crack, asking one victim at the time: ‘Have the cops got in touch with you?’
Operation Stovewood Senior Investigating Officer, Paul Williamson today said: ‘The men who have been sentenced today preyed on vulnerable young girls for their own satisfaction.
‘They used violence and intimidation and believed they were untouchable by law enforcement.
‘Today, as they begin serving their sentences, I want to reassure the victims and survivors across Rotherham that the NCA and our partners are committed to bringing child sexual offenders to justice.
‘As we see yet more men jailed for sexually abusing girls in Rotherham, I would like to pay tribute to our victims and survivors who have placed their trust in us to support them through this prosecution, and for their courage in giving evidence in what must have been a hugely challenging and emotional experience for them all.’
Mike Duffy, from the CPS, said: ‘These men deliberately preyed on young, vulnerable teenagers, grooming and exploiting them.
‘They denied the abuse but evidence put forward by the CPS, including the victim’s accounts of the incidents, resulted in the jury finding them guilty.
‘I would like to thank the victims who came forward and bravely supported this prosecution.’
There are currently 22 separate investigations under the Stovewood umbrella, with 153 suspects identified and 300 complainants engaging with officers.
A total of 24 suspects have been charged and 15 have been arrested and bailed or released under investigation.