Rotherham abuse girls 'were easy targets'

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Sheffield Crown CourtImage source, PA
Image caption,
The men deny all the charges against them at Sheffield Crown Court

Teenage girls were sexually exploited in Rotherham by older men because they were easy targets who "needed to be loved", a court heard.

Eight men are on trial accused of raping and sexually abusing eight teenage girls.

The men, aged between 33 and 39 and all from South Yorkshire, are charged with dozens of offences said to have taken place between 1998 and 2005.

All the men deny the charges at Sheffield Crown Court.

The jury was told how girls were "lured by the excitement of friendship with older Asian youths" but then sexually assaulted and passed between men.

Prosecutor Michelle Colborne QC told the court how the trial involves what allegedly happened to five girls, who are now women in their 30s, between 1998 and 2005.

She said: "When they were in their teens, they were targeted, sexualised and, in some instances, subjected to acts of a degrading and violent nature at the hands of these men who sit in the dock."

Ms Colborne said the girls had unsettled home lives and they "believed sex of some kind or other was a necessary price for friendship".

'Easy to exploit'

The prosecutor said that two of the complainants were sisters who were "effectively abandoned" by both their parents when they were very young.

She told the jury that the sisters "had already been corrupted" when they came to the attention of two of the defendants, Mohammed Imran Ali Akhtar and Tanweer Ali.

The previous exploitation had begun when one of them was as young as 11, she said.

The prosecutor said: "These sisters, like so many others, were easy to exploit because they needed to be loved."

The defendants are:

  • Mohammed Imran Ali Akhtar, 37, of East Road, Rotherham, denies one rape, one charge of aiding and abetting rape, four indecent assaults, one charge of procuring a girl under 21 to have unlawful sexual intercourse with another, one sexual assault and one charge of supplying cannabis.
  • Nabeel Kurshid, 34, of Warwick Street, Rotherham, denies two rapes and one indecent assault.
  • Iqlak Yousaf, 34, Tooker Road, Rotherham, denies two rapes and two indecent assault.
  • Tanweer Ali, 37, of Godstone Road, Rotherham, denies two rapes, two indecent assault and one charge of false imprisonment.
  • Ajmal Rafiq, 39, of Warwick Street, Rotherham, denies one indecent assault and one charge of false imprisonment.
  • Salah Ahmed El-Hakam, 39, Tudor Close, Sheffield, denies one rape.
  • Asif Ali, 33, of Clough Road, denies three indecent assaults.
  • An eighth defendant, who cannot be named, denies three rapes and one count of abducting a child.

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