Grooming Gang of 5 men found guilty of child sex offences in UK’s Rochdale

Grooming Gang of 5 men found guilty of child sex offences in UK's Rochdale

In another incident of notorious grooming gangs, five individuals including two brothers were found guilty of “sickening” child sex assaults as part of such a grooming gang in the United Kingdom. Two minor girls from the ages of 12 and 13 were sexually exploited by 38-year-olds Mohammed Faisal Ghani and Insar Hussain along with 50-year-old Jahn Shahid Ghani, 39-year-old Martin Rhodes as well as 35-year-old Ali Razza Hussain Kazmi in Rochdale between 2002 and 2006.

The accused are scheduled to receive their sentences in Minshull Street Crown Court at a later date. The victims were frequently picked up outside of their schools while clad in their uniforms and subjected to sexual assault against a school wall, in cars, in public parks, on Saddleworth Moor, and in flats and houses. The complainants are both now 33 years old.

The first victim, known as Girl A, was just 12 when the abuse first started and another girl aged 13, identified as Girl B, were abused for four years. The former was recorded being sexually violated while passed out after drinking vodka as members of the gang laughed, the court was told. The jury was informed that the footage was subsequently circulated across Greater Manchester town.

The accusations were first made public in 2015 after Girl A complained to police about being “beaten and raped” while taking a parenting course. She notified the police and they talked to Girl B, a childhood friend of hers. Both of them remain anonymous.

Additionally, Girl A remarked to a friend that her experience was “so much worse” than Three Girls, a BBC production on child sex slavery in Rochdale. The court learned how she read the book that inspired the series in 2014 and realised that she had been the victim of abuse.

She reported to her sister, “That’s what happened to me.” Later, she asserted that her experience was “so much worse than what happened in Three Girls” on social media. Girl B spoke in court about how the gang members bought drinks for her and another girl before coercing them into having sex.

Girl A disclosed that she initially encountered a group of young men who were Mohammed Ghani’s friends and was abused in front of one of her friends, who was 11 years old. Girl B was 13 when her assault began. The jury was made aware that Girl A would be “bombarded” by phone calls from the men, being “on demand” every day and urged to get drunk even though the eight offenders were not all acquainted with one another.

The trial heard that the girls were “mere objects for the defendants to use, abuse, humiliate then discard.” Frances Killeen, senior crown prosecutor for Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) north west’s complex casework unit voiced, “These men committed appalling offences for their own sexual gratification, with no thought for the lasting effects their offending would have on their victims.”

One defence attorney pointed out that Rochdale had become “synonymous with grooming” and advised the jury not to be prejudiced against the perpetrators based only on their place of origin. The defendants, some of whom were teenagers, had contested 80 counts that had been brought against them.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) proclaimed that Mohammed Faisal Ghani of Bamford Way, Insar Hussain of Bishop Street, Jahn Shahid Ghani of Whitworth Road and Ali Razza Hussain Kasmi of Brotherod Hall Road, all from Rochdale were proven culpable of various child sexual abuse offences. Meanwhile, Martin Rhodes of Dinmore Avenue, Blackpool pleaded guilty to four counts of penetrative sex with a child.

Ikhlaq Yousef (38) of Stanley Street, Aftar Khan (34) of Sparth Bottoms Road and Mohammed Iqbal (67) of Gainsborough Drive, all from Rochdale were cleared of any wrongdoing by the jurors.

The trial was the largest child sexual exploitation crown court case involving males from Rochdale since 2012 when nine men were found guilty of grooming and assaulting girls as young as 13.

Greater Manchester Police Assistant Chief Constable Sarah Jackson complimented the victims for having “demonstrated such bravery in testifying against these offenders on their journey to justice.” She added, “This result is long-awaited. We are truly thankful to the victims and survivors for their continued patience and engagement.”

“I would like to thank the two victims for coming forward and supporting a prosecution. I hope they can find some comfort in knowing their abusers will finally face the consequences of their actions. The CPS is determined to ensure justice for as many sexual abuse survivors as possible,” assured Frances Killeen.

Sharon Hubber, Rochdale Borough Council’s director of children’s services observed, “These were sickening crimes committed against two vulnerable young girls, whose strength and determination was instrumental in bringing this case forward.”

The most recent convictions were hailed by Maggie Oliver, a former Greater Manchester police (GMP) officer turned whistleblower who resigned in 2013 in protest of how the force handled victims in Rochdale. Maggie Oliver said the convictions would stop the offenders from “destroying other young lives.” She added, “The system needs to change,” expressing her horror that it had taken Girl A eight years to receive justice.

The trial, which was the first product of Operation Lytton, a GMP investigation into child abuse, was principally centred on the testimonies of Girls A and B. They are anticipated to testify at four more trials in 2024 and 2025, according to Stephen Watson, chief constable of the GMP.

Girl A has taken part in two trials, including the current one. The jury was informed that two Rochdale males had admitted to encouraging her to engage in sex work in 2016 as part of a different GMP investigation. One of them, Gul Zaman, received a 10-year term. Mohammed Ishaque received 11 years in prison.

When Girl A was 12 years old and met Mohammed Faisal Ghani, who would have been around 17 or 18, the abuse allegedly started. She charged that he took her to a secluded moor above Rochdale, sexually assaulted her there, and then distributed her to his classmates. 

She unveiled that when he was in his early 30s, he introduced her to his older half-brother Jahn Shahid Ghani. The latter confessed to participating in threesomes with one of his older girlfriends, two of whom testified at the trial, with the girls when they were just 14 or 15 years old.

Muslim grooming gangs in the UK

There have been multiple accounts in recent years of grooming gangs around the country taking advantage of young girls who are vulnerable, especially minors. Omar, Khalid, Jameel, and 21 other people were charged with raping a young girl for four years in Bradford in October of last year.

The mainstream media and even the authorities work to keep these grooming gangs under wraps since they typically consist of Muslim males from Pakistan. An independent investigation into the matter found that the government overlooked these cases because of political unrest.

In addition to child sex abuse, the case also pertained to grooming jihad, a worldwide problem that has intensified in the United Kingdom where Islamists prey on young girls and women, take advantage of their vulnerabilities and use rape as a form of punishment.

32 individuals were charged by the police in West Yorkshire, England in 2020 for more than 150 sexual offences committed against eight underage teenage girls. The victims, who ranged in age from 13 to 16, were targeted by the heinous offences between 1999 and 2012 in the Kirklees, Bradford and Wakefield regions. According to reports, several of them continued to suffer horrific crimes when they became adults.

According to the official figures, it is estimated that nearly 19,000 minors in England were sexually groomed in England in the last year. The local authorities in England identified around 18,700 suspected victims in 2018-19, up from 3,300 five years ago. The latest figures showed a sharp increase in the number of child grooming victims over the last five years.

The highest rates of child grooming victims in Britain were reported in areas including Birmingham, Lancashire, and Bradford. One of the most horrific cases was of Charlene Downes who disappeared from Lancashire. She was feared to be groomed by Muslim gangs and murdered. Her body was allegedly minced into pieces and served as kebabs to customers at a takeaway restaurant in the area.

UK’s clamp down on grooming gangs

However, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the British government established a new Grooming Gangs Taskforce to support police agencies in looking into the significant issue of Muslim grooming gangs in the nation. The task force will have specialised police to help in the investigation to ensure that the criminals responsible for grooming gangs will be brought to justice, according to the official statement from his office in April of this year.

The National Crime Agency will provide assistance to the task force under the direction of the police. Its officers will have a wealth of experience conducting investigations into these groups. The task force’s mission is to dismantle the grooming gangs and imprison the offenders.

The declaration also noted that data analysts would be appointed to the task force to identify the different types of criminals who conduct these offences using data and intelligence. Additionally, data analysis will help authorities catch criminals who may otherwise evade justice.

The alleged cultural sensitivities that resulted in situations like these being thrown under the bus are one of the biggest problems the UK has faced in the past. The new system will incorporate police-recorded ethnicity data to make sure that suspects cannot dodge punishment only on the basis of their ethnicity.

He also pledged to ensure the grooming gang members and the ring leaders get the toughest possible sentences for their crimes. The government would also draught legislation that would make the grooming gang leader a statutory aggravating factor during sentencing, reflecting the commitment to imposing the harshest penalties for these infractions.

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