"sadly, ripe to be manipulated and vulnerable to exploitation"
Ten men went on trial at Bradford Crown Court for committing sexual abuse against two vulnerable girls in care.
The prosecutor, Kama Melly QC, told the court that the men accused all used the girls for their “sexual fulfilment” with the sexual abuse and exploitation allegedly starting about 10 years ago when the girls were 14 years old.
The ten men, nine of which are Asian and of Pakistani descent, used “cynical and manipulative behaviour” to exploit the girls and some of them used violence, force and threatening behaviour against the girls. Others gave the teenage girls alcohol and drugs for sex.
The court heard that the accusations against the men came to light during a different police investigation in 2013, called Operation Kellerabbey, which was looking into child sexual exploitation (CSE) which took place in Keighley during 2012.
It was during the investigation they spoke to one of the current victims to ask her if she knew anything about the Keighly CSE.
However, not being able to give any direct information about their line of inquiry, what the girl did was share her own experience of enduring sexual assault.
But at that point, she did not want to report anything but was open to helping police.
It was after the shocking stories reported by the BBC of sexual abuse in Rotherham, that the girl’s partner contacted BBC Look North.
The girl was now quite “frustrated” that nothing was being reported of the kinds of sexual abuse taking place in her area.
She then spoke to the BBC about her experiences and they contacted the police’s safeguarding team, requesting offers to discuss the allegations.
It was after this the police also spoke to the second girl manipulated by the men, which led to their eventual arrest.
At the time of the offences, the young girls were in care in a children’s home, which was not a secure unit, meaning that the staff could not stop anyone leaving the premises.
Majority of the men are accused of committing rape and sexual assault against the girls.
As reported by the Telegraph and Argus, the men standing trial are as follows.
Basharat Khaliq, aged 38, from Allerton, is charged with five counts of rape and one count of assault by penetration.
Saeed Akhtar, aged 55, from Girlington, is accused of two counts of causing/inciting child prostitution and one of rape.
Izar Hussain, aged 32, from Girlington, faces three counts of rape and one of attempted rape.
Naveed Akhtar, aged 43, from Manningham, is accused of three counts of rape.
Parvaze Ahmed, aged 36, from Heaton, is charged with three counts of rape.
Kieran Harris, aged 28, from Dewsbury, is charged with two counts of rape.
Mohammed Usman, aged 31, from Bradford, is accused of two charges of rape.
Yasar Majid, aged 37, from Milton Keynes, is charged with one count of rape.
Zeeshan Ali, 3aged 2, from Girlington, is accused of one charge of sexual assault.
Fahim Iqbal, aged 27, is accused of a charge of aiding and abetting rape.
All of the men deny the charges against them.
The girls in care, both had no stable or secure family relationships, so they were very vulnerable to attention.
According to Ms Melly QC, a worker at the care home did raise concerns about the contact with Basharat Khaliq with the girls, but he could not label him as an “abuser”.
One night the girls ran away from their care home and ended up in Bradford, which is when they first met Khaliq allegedly.
He bought the girls a bottle of vodka at a petrol station and showed them attention.
Subsequently, he began to meet the girls on a regular basis. They would wait for him to pick them up from the care home.
Basharat Khaliq, known as ‘Bash’ would wait to meet one of the girls alone just outside the home. A care worker who would see him outside, spoke to him to make sure he knew the girl was under the age of 16 and was staying in a children’s home.
It was revealed that one of the girls experienced the majority of the abuse at Saeed Akhtar’s house in Bradford. He life completely changed for the worse after going to this residence.
In this house, alcohol was plied, drugs were encouraged and consumed, and the girls were then used for sex.
One of the girls got addicted to taking cocaine in this house and Ms Melly explained that this made it easier for the men to control her. Men who visited the property then used her sex.
The court was told that girls in care, like this, who are vulnerable and in desperate need of love and attention, do not and cannot see the premeditated manipulation and exploitation taking place, which leads to such sexually motivated abuse.
Ms Melly said due to this, these two girls were “sadly, ripe to be manipulated and vulnerable to exploitation.”
The trial now continues for further evidence and hearings.