Hussain brothers jailed in Rotherham abuse case
Three brothers who groomed, raped and sexually assaulted 15 teenage girls in Rotherham have been jailed.
Arshid Hussain, 40, was jailed for 35 years while siblings Basharat, 39, and Bannaras, 36, were jailed for 25 and 19 years respectively.
Their uncle, Qurban Ali, 53, who was found guilty of conspiracy to rape, was jailed for 10 years.
Associate Karen MacGregor, 59, was jailed for 13 years and Shelley Davies, 40, given an 18 month suspended term.
Arshid and Basharat Hussain were found guilty at Sheffield Crown Court of 38 offences, including rape, indecent assault, abduction, false imprisonment and making threats to kill.
Bannaras Hussain pleaded guilty to 10 charges before the trial.
MacGregor and Davies were found guilty of false imprisonment and conspiracy to procure a woman under 21 to become a common prostitute. MacGregor was also convicted of two counts of conspiracy to rape.
Sentencing the gang, Judge Sarah White said the harm they had caused was of "unimaginable proportions".
She said: "The impact of your offending upon the victims, their families and indeed the wider community has been devastating. Their childhood and adolescence can never be reclaimed."
The judge said the brothers were well-known in the area, driving distinctive cars and having a reputation for violence.
"There was a perception by some of your victims that you appeared, in their words, to 'rule Rotherham'. You exploited that to the full," she said.
She then turned to the public gallery, where many of their victims were sitting, to praise them for their "immense courage".
One woman, who was sexually abused by Arshid Hussain from the age of 14. said she was happy at the 35-year jail term.
"He took my life away so now I feel like I've taken his," she said.
"Some of the things he's done will always remain with me but the fact is I've got justice now.
"That's what I came for, for the truth and for justice."
'Much to do'
Speaking outside the court, the officer in charge of the investigation Det Ch Insp Martin Tate described the sentences as "absolutely fantastic".
"Huge, huge sentences... send a real message out to offenders out there that the courts take this extremely seriously," he said.
"I'm really, really proud of the police investigation team that's worked on this for the last two years but more importantly the bravery of the victims has been absolutely immense."
Mr Tate said detectives were still pursing other investigations into sexual abuse in the town.
"I'd implore victims if you are out there please come forward," he said.
"We accept there is much to do. We get that.
"This is one step in the right direction for us and I hope victims see that."
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings said the verdicts would allow the victims, and Rotherham as a whole, to move forward.
"I think it's also very important for the town of Rotherham that it can know that these historic injustices, which should never have happened in the first place, but certainly the police and the other authorities should have been on the ball in the first place.
"Nevertheless, they can be put right now and are being put right, so it's an important signal to the town of Rotherham and indeed the whole of South Yorkshire."
'Pack of animals'
During a two-month trial the court heard how the Hussain brothers - known as Mad Ash, Bash and Bono - and their associates subjected the girls to years of rape, violence and prostitution.
One victim was only 11 when she was first abused by Arshid.
She said that over the next five years she was repeatedly raped by him and forced to have sex with other men, often as "payment" for his debts.
Another told the court how she thought she was going to die when Basharat drove her to the Peak District and had told her to dig her own grave.
Bannaras abused one victim in a car park next to Rotherham Police Station.
One witness described the Hussain brothers as "a pack of animals".
The jury heard how MacGregor, helped by Davies, lured vulnerable girls to stay at her "Hansel and Gretel" house, promising them refuge but pimping them out to a succession of men for sex to "earn their keep".
The gang's convictions mark the first successful prosecution of a grooming gang in Rotherham since the Jay Report, published in August 2014, found at least 1,400 girls had been sexually exploited in the town.
The report said the majority of perpetrators were men of Pakistani heritage and accused South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Borough Council of "blatant" failures and the "suppression" of documents highlighting the issue from as early as 2002.
After the verdicts, the Independent Police Complaints Commission said it was looking into more than 194 allegations about police conduct and that 54 officers had so far been named, 26 of whom had been notified they were being formally investigated.
Following his conviction it emerged Arshid Hussain had been planning fertility treatment with his wife, despite jurors hearing he had fathered children with girls he abused and forced some girls to have terminations.
The details came out as part of an unsuccessful application by his legal team asking the judge to rule he was unfit to stand trial because of his disability.
He was shot in the abdomen in 2005 and his defence counsel claimed he was paraplegic and confined to bed.
He only appeared in court once during the trial, having been allowed to follow proceedings via a video-link to his home.
Arshid Hussain, 40, High Street, East Cowick, Goole, was convicted of 23 of the 28 charges he faced, including indecent assault and rape.
Basharat Hussain, 39, of no fixed abode, was convicted of all 15 charges he faced, including two counts of rape.
Bannaras Hussain, 36, of Bridge Close, Goole, pleaded guilty before the trial to 10 charges including rape, indecent assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Qurban Ali, 53, Clough Road, Rotherham, was convicted of conspiracy to rape, but cleared of three other charges including rape.
Karen MacGregor, 58, Barnsley Road, Wath, South Yorkshire, was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to rape, conspiracy to procure prostitutes and false imprisonment.
Shelley Davies, 40, Wainwright Road, Kimberworth Park, Rotherham, was found guilty of conspiracy to procure prostitutes and false imprisonment.