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Grooming gang jailed for ‘systematic’ sexual abuse of Huddersfield schoolgirls

Seven men who ‘systematically groomed and exploited’ two schoolgirls are facing years behind bars.

The gang ‘viewed the girls as merely objects, to be used and abused at will’, Leeds Crown Court heard.

Usman Ali, Banaras Hussain, Abdul Majid, Gul Riaz and three other defendants who cannot be named were found guilty of a total of 10 counts of rape and two indecent assaults against two young girls in the Huddersfield area between 1995 and 2007.

Detectives said the fact one of the girls was targeted as she did her paper round ‘speaks volumes about the sheer depravity of this case’.

Jurors heard both girls, who were vulnerable and had low self-esteem, were deliberately targeted by older men who made them feel special by plying them with cigarettes, alcohol and drugs.

They were then raped by scores of strangers in cars, parks, hotels and flats.

Prosecutor Kate Batty said the first victim was introduced to older men by a school friend and soon found herself regularly ‘out of it’.

She said the youngster ‘didn’t know their names half the time’ she was abused and gradually came to see ‘absolutely no way out of this life’, ChronicleLive reported.

Ms Batty continued: ‘By the time she was 15 years old, [she] estimates that she had had sex with up to 300 men.

‘Not because she wanted to, or because she was freely consenting to that sex, but because she became utterly corrupted and was made to believe that she had no choice.’

Jurors heard the girl’s family begged social services ‘time and time again’ for help protecting her, only to be told she ‘must love it if she keeps going back’.

Referring to the second victim, then aged 15, Ms Batty told jurors: ‘The final straw for her was when she was thrown out of a car with her trousers round her ankles, having had sex with two or three of the men in the car – she can’t remember [how many].’

Ali, 34, and Riaz, 43, both from Huddersfield, were each convicted of two counts of rape. Riaz was also found guilty of two counts of indecent assault.

Hussain, 39, from Shipley, was found guilty of one count of rape and Majid, 36, from Huddersfield, was convicted of two counts of rape.

The three other men, in their thirties, were each found guilty of one count of rape.

All seven will be sentenced on Wednesday.

They bring the total number of men convicted following West Yorkshire Police’s Operation Tendersea investigation into child sexual exploitation in the town to 34.

Detective Chief Inspector Richard McNamara said: ‘The men involved in these vile offences have robbed their victims of their childhood and abused them in truly appalling ways.

‘During the trial, the court heard that one victim came to the attention of her abusers while she was on a paper round, which speaks volumes about the sheer depravity of this case.’

Michael Quinn, head of the Complex Casework Unit at CPS Yorkshire and Humberside, added: ‘The girls were drawn into a dark and sinister world where they were passed around to men who used them sexually without any regard for whether they were consenting.

‘Sometimes the girls were plied with alcohol or drugs. They were unable to make truly free or informed choices about anything they did with these men.

‘Their abusers viewed the girls merely as objects, to be used and abused at will. At the heart of this case are the two victims. They have suffered immensely as a result of their childhood abuse.’