Eight men to be sentenced for sexual exploitation of girls in Rotherham

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Eight men will be sentenced later for sexually exploiting teenage girls in Rotherham.

A month-long trial at Sheffield Crown Court heard how the men "sexualised" their victims and, in some instances, subjected them to acts of a "degrading and violent nature".

One girl and her family told police, their MP and the then home secretary David Blunkett about the abuse and eventually moved to Spain to get away from the men.

The court heard that this victim had gone to the police in 2003, saying she had been repeatedly raped by Sageer Hussain when she was 13.

Michelle Colborne QC, prosecuting, told the jury the girl, now in her late 20s, and her family withdrew the allegations due to threats.

But the court was also told that police lost the girl's clothes without carrying out any forensic analysis.

The family tried to get help from social services as well and took the girl out of school before eventually moving abroad.

Ms Colborne said the court case was about three victims "who were sexualised and, in some instances, subjected to acts of a degrading and violent nature at the hands of these men".

She said Hussain played a "key role" and was "instrumental in befriending young girls who were flattered that he and his friends spent time with them".

They were then exploited by Hussain, his friends and associates.

Hussain, 30, of Clough Road, Rotherham, was convicted of four rapes and one indecent assault.

Mohammed Whied, 32, of Psalters Lane, Rotherham, was found guilty of one count of aiding and abetting rape.

Ishtiaq Khaliq, 33, of Cherry Brook, Rotherham, was found guilty of one rape and three indecent assaults.

Waleed Ali, 34, of Canklow Road, Rotherham, was found guilty of one rape and one indecent assault.

Asif Ali, 30, of Clough Road, Rotherham, was convicted of one rape.

Masoued Malik, 32, of Bridgewater Way, Rotherham, was found guilty of one rape, one count of conspiracy to commit indecent assault and one of false imprisonment.

Basharat Hussain, 40, from Goole, was convicted of one indecent assault.

And Naeem Rafiq, 33, of Clarendon Road, Rotherham, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit indecent assault and one of false imprisonment.

An official inquiry into exploitation in Rotherham in 2014 by Professor Alexis Jay concluded that at least 1,400 children had been raped, trafficked and attacked between 1997 and 2013 by gangs of largely Asian men, and that the victims were effectively ignored.

Speaking after the verdicts last month, Detective Chief Inspector Martin Tate said: "The verdicts today are of massive importance to the young women who have come forward to report years of horrific sexual abuse at the hands of these criminals.

"They had to endure what no child should and have shown remarkable bravery throughout our inquiry."

He said: "I am so grateful to these women, many of whom remain incredibly vulnerable, for offering their support to our investigative team and I am so pleased that their voices have been heard and their abusers have been held to account for their vile crimes."