EIGHT men on trial for sexually abusing schoolgirls in Rotherham made their victims feel that “sex was the price they had to pay for friendship”.
Mohammed Imran Akhtar, Nabeel Kurshid, Iqlak Yousaf, Tanweer Ali, Ajmal Rafiq, Salah El-Hakam, Asif Ali and another defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, went on trial today at Sheffield Crown Court, charged with 28 offences against five girls between 1998 and 2005.
The youngest girl was just 12 or 13 years old when the alleged abuse began by the defendants, who were all either teenagers or in their twenties at the time of the alleged offending.
Ms Michelle Colborne, prosecuting, said the alleged victims were “targeted, sexualised and, on some occasions, subjected to assaults of a degrading and violent nature”.
She said all of the girls were local and some had been “lured by the excitement of friendship with older Asian youths”.
The girls often believed that sex was the price they had to pay for friendship, she said.
“They were given alcohol and drugs. They were belittled and subjected to sexual assaults and passed on to other men for their sexual gratification,” said Ms Colborne.
“They each suffer with the emotional effects of that abuse to this day.”
All eight men lived in Rotherham or visited the town centre frequently, she said.
Akhtar, Kurshid, Yousaf, Tanweer Ali and Rafiq were friends who were “content to pass girls around and use them”.
El-Hakam, Asif Ali and the unnamed defendant “lived in Rotherham, or frequented the area, in order to exploit the vulnerable”.
“Rarely did any one male act alone,” Ms Colborne said.
She said Akhtar made one girl, who was 12 or 13 when they first met in the late 1990s, perform sexual acts on him at an abandoned factory in Tinsley and at a tip in Rawmarsh, and would give her cannabis.
His friend, Tanweer Ali, repeatedly made the girl’s sister perform sexual acts on him and he would perform sexual acts on her, said Ms Colborne.
Akhtar is alleged to have raped another girl, who was 14 or 15 at the time, forced her to perform sexual acts on him, and forced her to have sex with others.
Ms Colborne said El-Hakam met the same girl when she was 11 or 12 and raped her on multiple occasions when she was too intoxicated to consent.
The unnamed defendant is accused of raping the same girl three times in late 2002 including an alleged occasion when he abducted her and took her to Ulley Country Park.
Kurshid and Yousaf are also accused of targeting the girl — raping her repeatedly and forcing her to perform sexual acts on them, Ms Colborne said.
Tanweer Ali is accused of raping the same girl under a bridge in Sheffield and is said to have been aided by Mohammed Imran Akhtar.
On another occasion, she said, Tanweer Ali and Rafiq kept the girl at a house in Wellgate against her will.
Ali is accused of raping her and Rafiq is accused of indecently assaulting her in his car.
Asif Ali is said to have indecently assaulted the same girl on multiple occasions in an alleyway.
Akhtar is also accused of sexually assaulting the girl between 2004 and 2005 after picking her up from a takeaway in Sheffield.
Yousaf is accused of indecently assaulting another girl by making her perform a sexual act on him.
Ms Colborne said Yousaf, Kurshid and another man, who is not involved in the trial, raped a girl in Sherwood Forest and made her pregnant when she was under 16.
The trial is part of Operation Stovewood — the National Crime Agency’s investigation into non-familial child sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.
The men deny all the offences. The trial continues.
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