Telford child sex abuse allegations
A woman who was raped by men in Telford when she was 13 believes other girls are still at risk.
By Michael Race
The judge in a Telford child sexual exploitation case has described the victim as "helpless".
Sentencing four men over the abuse on Thursday, Judge Melbourne Inman QC said they had abused a "helpless" victim, who had been groomed until she was "no longer in effective control of her own life".Copyright: Google
The victim told how she was forced to perform sex acts in a churchyard, raped above a shop on a filthy mattress, and violently abused when she tried to refuse their advances.
In all, five men went on trial at Birmingham Crown Court, leading to convictions for four of the defendants while another was cleared.
Four men from Telford have been jailed for between four-and-a-half and eight years at Birmingham Crown Court for sexually abusing a vulnerable young girl who was "passed around like a piece of meat".
Three defendants were on Tuesday found guilty of abusing the girl, who said she was forced to perform sex acts in a churchyard and was raped above a shop.
Shafiq Younas, 35 of Regent Street, Wellington, was found guilty of indecent assault on Wednesday.
Telford and Wrekin Council has welcomed the convictions of four men over charges including the rape and indecent assault of a 13-year-old girl in the early 2000s.
Telford has been in the headlines in recent years over child sexual exploitation and an independent inquiry on child sexual exploitation in the town is currently ongoing.Copyright: Google
Jurors in this latest case were told by prosecutors the vulnerable victim was sold for sex and treated as a "piece of meat".
Clive Jones, Telford and Wrekin Council director of children’s services, said the local authority was pleased the perpetrators had been brought to justice.
The convictions also follow Operation Chalice which saw seven men jailed in 2013 for child sexual abuse offences in the town.
The council has set up a task-force to focus on the issue and has trained taxi drivers and hotel staff to spot the signs of CSE, although it has also faced criticism for the time taken to launch the inquiry.
The case against four men convicted of historic child sex abuse in Telford was "extremely difficult to build", the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has said.
The victim, who was 13 years old at the time the abuse started, was raped and sexually assaulted by the men in a flat above a pizza shop in the early 2000s.
Police were called at the time but the victim was too frightened to report the abuse, the CPS said.
She was then contacted by officers in 2018 as part of Operation Vapour, which led to the convictions of the men at Birmingham Crown Court earlier.Copyright: Google
Julia McSorley, from CPS West Midlands, said: "This has been an extremely difficult case for the Crown Prosecution Service to build and, understandably, many people were reluctant to give evidence about painful events from several years ago.
"We would like to thank [the victim] for her incredible courage in giving evidence and securing the convictions of the men who carried out these dreadful offences.”
Four men have now been found guilty of sexually abusing a young girl in Telford in the early 2000s.
During a trial at Birmingham Crown Court, the jury heard the group passed the then 13-year-old around "like a piece of meat".
Shafiq Younas, 35, of Regent Street, Wellington, has this afternoon been convicted of indecent assault.
It follows three guilty verdicts yesterday:
- Mohammed Ali Sultan, 33,was convicted of rape and three counts of indecent assault.
- Mohammad Rizwan, 37, of Mafeking Road, Telford, was also found guilty of two counts of indecent assault
- Amjad Hussain, 38, of Acacia Drive, Leegomery, Telford, was convicted of a single count of indecent assault.
Hussain was cleared of a similar charge of indecent assault this morning, along with a fifth man, Nazam Akhtar, 35, of Victoria Avenue, Wellington, who was found not guilty of rape.
The chairman of the inquiry into child sexual abuse in Telford is refusing to say how many potential victims have come forward.
Tom Crowther QC said it is because he doesn't want to risk witnesses being identified.
He has been giving an update on the progress of the inquiry and said it is expected to take at least 21 months.
BBC Midlands Today
An appeal is being made for people to come forward and speak to the independent inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Telford.Copyright: Gavin Dickson
The inquiry was set up following a Sunday Mirror claim up to 1,000 girls had been abused by gangs in the town since the 1980s.
Former judge Tom Crowther QC was appointed to chair the inquiry earlier this year.Quote Message: I appreciate how hard talking about these things can be and we want to look after anybody who has given evidence to us but perhaps the best reason for speaking to us is that this inquiry simply won't be effective unless you do." from Tom Crowther QC Inquiry chair
There's been criticism of the former Conservative administration of Telford and Wrekin Council, after it was reported that money - which could have helped train professionals to spot the signs of sexual grooming - was turned down, almost 10 years ago.
The Sunday Mirror claimed that the £150,000 - offered as part of a European initiative to crack down on violence against women and children - was rejected, because the authority was concerned it would highlight the problems of exploitation in the borough.
Labour Councillor Angela McClements tweeted that it was "unbelievable" the money had been turned down by the previous administration and said she "knew absolutely nothing about this as an opposition councillor in 2010".
In a statement, the Conservative group on the council, led by Andrew Eade, said it would be "highly improper to pass comment at this time, with the imminent commencement of the Independent Telford CSE Inquiry".
It added that it "fought hard" for the inquiry and would be giving evidence.