Oxford exploitation trial: Guilty verdicts over child rapes
Seven members of a sex grooming ring have been convicted of abusing children from Oxford.
An Old Bailey jury heard six girls were drugged and suffered sadistic abuse while aged between 11 and 15.
The court heard victims were plied with alcohol and drugs before being forced to perform sex acts. Some had also been beaten, burnt and threatened.
Nine men had denied charges including rape, arranging child prostitution and trafficking between 2004 and 2012.
Two were acquitted of all charges.
The judge told the guilty men: "You have been convicted of the most serious offences and long custodial sentences are inevitable."
They are due to be sentenced on 26 June.Pain and humiliation
The abuse began in Oxford but some of the victims would be later taken around the country to be offered to other men who were in contact with the gang.
The court heard how the men identified vulnerable girls for abuse then groomed each one of them until they were under the control of the gang.
Acts of physical and sexual violence escalated into using objects to cause pain and humiliation.
The court heard girls were tied up, burnt, suffocated, bitten, scratched and urinated upon.
Jurors were told most of the victims chose to take vast quantities of hard drugs to deaden their senses, particularly when they knew they were being hired out to a large group of men for gang abuse sessions that could go on for days.
The victims would return to Oxford bleeding, injured and carrying sexually-transmitted diseases.
One of the victims described being plied with hard drugs and forced to have sex with strangers while being filmed at the age of 13.
On one occasion she was given so much crack cocaine she could not breathe and was rushed to hospital.
Hundreds of children and young people have suffered - their almost unimaginable torment apparently invisible to the world around them”
Another, who was groomed at the age of 11, said she fell in love with Mohammed Karrar who raped her, beat her with a baseball bat and forced her to have an illegal back-room abortion when she was 12-years-old.
She said of her abuse: "At the time I thought it was my choice and it was fine, but years on I can see I never had a choice. I said 'no' but I didn't have a say.
"It was literally like a normal relationship but I know now it isn't a normal relationship. I was a child.
"He told me he loved me. He said he would take me to Saudi Arabia when I was 15 and marry me. I believed him at the time."
A number of opportunities to catch members of the gang are believed to have been missed and prosecutors, the police and social services have apologised for any failings.Scuffle in court
The jury at the Old Bailey considered the evidence for two-and-a-half days and returned the following verdicts.
- Kamar Jamil, 27, formerly of Aldrich Road, Oxford, was found guilty of five counts of rape, two counts of conspiracy to rape and one count of arranging child prostitution.
- Akhtar Dogar, 32, of Tawney Street, Oxford, was found guilty of five counts of rape, three counts of conspiracy to rape, two counts of child prostitution and one count of trafficking.
- Anjum Dogar, 31, of Tawney Street, Oxford, was found guilty of three counts of rape, two counts of child prostitution, three counts of conspiracy to rape and one count of trafficking.
- Assad Hussain, 32, of Ashurst Way, Oxford, was found not guilty of rape and guilty of two counts of sexual activity with a child.
- Mohammed Karrar, 38, of Kames Close, Oxford, was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to rape, four counts of rape of a child, one count of using an instrument to procure miscarriage, two counts of trafficking, one count of assault of a child by penetration, two counts of child prostitution, three counts of rape, two counts of conspiracy to rape a child and one count of supplying a class A drug.
- Bassam Karrar, 33, of Hundred Acres Close, Oxford, was found guilty of two counts of rape, one count of rape of a child, two counts of conspiracy to rape a child, two counts of child prostitution, one count of trafficking and one count of conspiracy to rape.
- Zeeshan Ahmed, 28, of Palmer Road, Oxford, was found guilty of two counts of sexual activity with a child.
Mr Hussain was found not guilty of three counts of sex with a child.Sold for sex
The Old Bailey was told the key members of the group used and abused the six victims in a systematic and organised sex trafficking ring over eight years until their arrest in 2012.
The court heard how the men identified vulnerable girls for abuse and then groomed each one of them until they were under the control of the gang.
They were then each either abused by the men themselves, given to their friends or offered at a price to others who were not on trial.
The youngest girl to be targeted was 11-years-old. The girls were mostly chosen because their unsettled or troubled lives made them easier to manipulate.
The Crown Prosecution Service said it would look again at its decision to take no further action over allegations involving the girls between 2005 and 2006.
Baljit Ubhey, chief crown prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern, said: "I think we could have been more proactive. Of four cases we looked at, in three of those it's arguable we might have been able to do more.
"I think what these cases have highlighted is that they're probably not isolated incidents and there's probably more of this activity going on."'Deep regret'
One of the victims had complained to police twice but no one was charged.
A care home manager, who was later sacked, refused to pay her taxi fare when she returned after running away and the 14-year-old was driven back to Oxford where she was raped.
The court heard girls, who had been placed in care by Oxfordshire County Council for their own protection, would frequently abscond and were caught with older men by police.
Council chief executive Joanna Simons said: "We are incredibly sorry we were not able to stop it any sooner.
"We were up against a gang of devious criminals. The girls thought they were their friends."
Det Ch Supt Rob Mason said: "Thames Valley Police and Oxfordshire County Council social services deeply regret that this activity wasn't identified sooner and that we were too reliant on victims supporting criminal proceedings and that they suffered a terrible ordeal."