Closing speeches begin in trial of three men accused of abusing schoolgirl

By Adele Forrest | 13/11/2017

Closing speeches begin in trial of three men accused of abusing schoolgirl
Sheffield Crown Court

BARRISTERS in the trial of three men accused of sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl more than 20 years ago have begun their closing speeches to the jury.

The Masbrough men all deny abusing the girl between 1994-1995 and have been on trial for a week at Sheffield Crown Court.

Sajid Ali (38), of James Street, denies seven counts of indecent assault, Zaheer Iqbal (40), St John's Avenue, five counts and Riaz Makhmood (39), of Falding Street, three.

This morning (Monday) prosecutor, Ms Sophie Drake, said in her closing speech that the complainant’s evidence was “not a series of coincidences” but “a series of truths”.

Ms Drake said to the jury: “You have to decide whether she has told you a pack of lies or has been grossly mistaken in two regards.

“First of all, whether she was subject to the abuse in Masbrough in the 90s. But was not just mistaken about that, was also lying about the identity of three males she says did that to her — Sos (Ali), Booty (Iqbal) and Raz (Makhmood).

“Or on the other hand was she telling you the truth when she identified these males as being the men that did sexually abuse her when she was a child?"

Ms Drake said it had been suggested by the defendants’ barristers that the woman, now aged 35, had been “jumping on the proverbial bandwagon” after seeing media reports about CSE in Rotherham.

But the prosecutor said the alleged victim had first spoken about her abuse to a family member six-months before a BBC Panorama documentary about CSE in Rotherham had aired.

Ms Drake said: “Whether she was consenting or not, whether they knew her age is not an issue in this case, you have only got to look at the photograph of her when she was 12 to know she looked nowhere near 16 and it would be wrong to engage in sexual activity and the defendants accept that.”

She added: “What was it about these three men 20 years later, their images still burned in her memory, that she was able to pick them out (of an identification parade), out of all the many men she must have seen, Asian men at school, in the street.

“Why it was in 30 years of her life after seeing all these men she’s picked out these three men?”

Ms Drake said they were “burned in her memory” because they had sexually assaulted her and it was not just a coincidence she was able to pick them out and had known their nicknames, school they had attended and physical description.

Mr Glenn Parsons, for Ali, said: “Back in 1994 and 1995 they (the defendants) were children as well, by anybody’s view they were 14 to 15 years old.

“You have heard they (the police) have been investigating the matter for three years and you have not received one shred of evidence, that anything at all, anything, she told you was true.”

The trial continues.

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