MEMBERS of the Rotherham grooming gang who sexually abused or enabled the abuse of 15 young girls over a 16-year-period have launched legal appeals.
As exclusively revealed in this week's Advertiser, child abuse ringleader Arshid Hussain, brother Basharat Hussain, their uncle Qurban Ali, and pimp Karen MacGregor, have all lodged appeals against their convictions, despite being found guilty of 53 charges and sentenced to a total of 83 years in jail.
Arshid, Basharat, and Ali have also lodged appeals against the sentences handed to them.
Bannaras Hussain, the only gang member to plead guilty to the ten charges he faced, has also lodged an appeal against his sentence and was the first to do so two weeks after being jailed for 19 years on February 26 at Sheffield Crown Court by Her Honour, Judge Sarah Wright.
Rotherham MP Sarah Champion said it “turned her stomach” when she found out about the appeals.
She said: “The fact that they dare try to plead their innocence is shocking.
“The arrogance of these people, the overwhelming evidence found them guilty of these crimes.
“The biggest thing I am concerned about is the impact this will have on the victims. They have been through years of not being believed.
“Now the jury believed them and the perpetrators are still trying to get off the hook.
“I just can’t believe with so much evidence against them that they would have the audacity to do this. It shows complete disrespect to the victims and shows the sort of people they are.”
Ms Champion added victims she had spoken to after the trial had not anticipated that appeals would be lodged.
She said: “For once they had been believed, now this just opens it all up again.”
No appeals have currently been lodged by Shelley Davies (40) who received an 18-month suspended sentence for conspiracy to procure a woman to become a prostitute, and false imprisonment.
MacGregor was the second to lodge her appeal on March 17, followed by her former partner Ali four days later.
Arshid Hussain, who was found guilty of 23 charges, entered his appeal on March 30, followed by his younger brother Basharat the next day.
A spokesman from the Criminal Appeal Office said the appeals were in their early stages and no dates had been fixed for any hearings.
In total, the gang of four men and two women were found guilty of 55 child sex abuse offences committed against 15 victims over a 16-year period, after the 11-week trial.
Arshid Hussain (40) was found guilty of 23 charges including rape, assault, indecent assault and conspiracy to rape. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Basharat Hussain (38) was found guilty of 15 offences including indecency with a child, procuring a female for sex, indecent assault, rape, false imprisonment and threats to kill. He was sentenced to 25 years.
Bannaras Hussain (36) pleaded guilty to ten charges including rape and indecent assault against seven victims. He received 19 years in prison. MacGregor (58) was given a 13 -year sentence after being found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to rape, conspiring to procure a child to become a common prostitute and false imprisonment.
Ali (53) was found guilty of conspiracy to rape and was jailed for ten years.
Sentencing the gang to a total of 102 years, Judge Wright told them: “The harm you have caused is of unimaginable proportions.”
Ms Champion added a message of support to victims:
“I believe you, the jury believed you, Rotherham believes you — they have to stay strong throughout this.”