Child Sex Abuse Gang Jailed in UK: 'They Took My Childhood Away'
Judge slams authorities for failing to protect victims from Rotherham grooming gangs
Five men have been jailed for their roles in a child grooming and sex abuse gang, targetting young girls in Rotherham, UK.
Judge Michael Slater, who oversaw the case, slammed "ineffectual" authorities for failing to protect the victims from predatory grooming gangs who continue to roam British streets and target children.
According to the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA), the girls were plied with drugs and alcohol and threatened with violence.
Investigators say they were deliberately targeted for the sole purpose of becoming "sexual objects" for the defendants.
Judge Slater described one of the convicted men, Abid Saddiq, as a "cunning and determined sexual predator."
One of the gang's victims told the court: "They took my childhood away."
Following a trial at Sheffield Crown Court:
- Saddiq, 38, was jailed for 20 years after being found guilty of two counts of rape, five counts of indecent assault and two counts of child abduction
- Aftab Hussain, 40, was jailed for 24 years after being found guilty of two counts of indecent assault
- Sharaz Hussain, 35, was jailed for four years after being found guilty of one count of indecent assault
- Masaued Malik, 35, was jailed for five years after being found guilty of one count of indecent assault
- A defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was jailed for 10 years after found guilty of indecent assault and two counts of child abduction
Malik was told that his sentence will follow on from a 15-year term he is already serving for similar offenses.
According to Sky News, Friday's sentencing related to the abuse of seven girls who were all under the age of 16 between 1998 and 2002 in Rotherham and the surrounding areas, the NCA said.
During the five-week trial, the jury heard that girls were targeted due to their vulnerability and were given alcohol and drugs before some were raped by multiple men.
Another man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was also found guilty of offenses in the case, while Mohammed Ashan pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent assault at a previous hearing.
Both men will be sentenced at a later date.
Judge Slater said that, after sitting through the trial, he was "quite satisfied" that the "relevant authorities" were well aware of the way vulnerable teenagers in the South Yorkshire town were being targeted for sexual exploitation.
Pedophiles who ran a massive grooming gang in the UK raped and abused countless young children. They are now receiving over $1M in taxpayers money to help fight their battle to stay in the UK. https://t.co/JIkVt0ooxg— Neon Nettle (@NeonNettle) May 31, 2018
The judge described this as a "lamentable state of affairs," saying the authorities at the time were at best "totally ineffectual" and, at worst "wholly indifferent."
Friday's sentencing followed the latest trial to arise out of Operation Stovewood - the massive National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation into the sexual exploitation of teenagers in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.
A total of 20 men have now been convicted as a result of Operation Stovewood and the NCA has said it believes 1,510 people were victims in the town.
Judge Slater praised the victims mentioned in Friday's hearing, saying: "Nothing I can say to you can restore those childhoods of which you were so cruelly deprived by the actions of these defendants and others."
He added he was "particularly concerned" to hear a number of victims "expressed feelings of shame, guilt and self-loathing in relation to what happened to her and by extension to her family."
The judge said the women should instead be praised for the "incredible resolve and bravery" they each showed to bring the men to justice and how they "stood up to ensure that what happened to her should never happen to young girls in the future."
The NCA was brought in following the Jay Report which shocked the nation in 2014 when it outlined the scale of the offending against children in the town.
The agency now has more than 200 people working on Operation Stovewood, which had a budget last year of just under £12m, and is looking to increase this as it works towards recruiting a total of 250 staff.
The NCA said it has now engaged with 313 victims and survivors in the town and has identified 190 suspects.