Shropshire

Telford child sex abuse: Men jailed for assaulting girl

(L-R) Mohammed Ali Sultan, Mohammad Rizwan, Shafiq Younas and Amjad Hussain Image copyright West Mercia Police
Image caption Mohammed Ali Sultan, Mohammad Rizwan, Shafiq Younas and Amjad Hussain were convicted by a jury

Four men have been jailed for sexually abusing a vulnerable girl who was "passed around like a piece of meat".

They were found guilty earlier this week of abusing the girl, who was forced to perform sex acts in a churchyard and was raped above a shop.

One of the defendants, Mohammed Ali Sultan, 33, had previously been jailed following the Operation Chalice inquiry into child sex abuse in Telford.

An independent inquiry is ongoing into child sexual exploitation in the town.

Ali Sultan, formerly of Telford, who was convicted after the trial at Birmingham Crown Court of rape and three counts of indecent assault, has been sentenced to eight years, with an extended licence of two years. He is already serving a sentence of six years for previous sexual offences.

Shafiq Younas, 35 of Regent Street, Wellington, has been sentenced to four and half years for indecent assault, as has Amjad Hussain, 38, of Acacia Drive, Leegomery, Telford.

Mohammad Rizwan, 37, of Mafeking Road, Telford, received a prison sentence of five and a half years for the same offence.

Image caption Judge Melbourne Inman QC said Mohammed Ali Sultan was "clearly, a very dangerous man"

Sentencing the men, 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".

Addressing the ringleader, Ali Sultan, the judge said: "The victim was clearly extremely frightened of you, and you exercised significant control over her.

"When last at liberty, you clearly attacked a number of victims over a prolonged period.

"Now the full extent of your offending is apparent, you've shown no remorse in relation to the present allegations and no insight as far as I can see into the offending.

"You remain, clearly, a very dangerous man."

Image copyright UK Parliament
Image caption Telford's MP Lucy Allan says the way the issue of child sexual exploitation (CSE) has been highlighted in Telford has encouraged more victims to come forward

The offences took place in the Telford area between 2000 and 2003, when the girl was in her early teens.

The victim said she was assaulted by other as-yet unidentified males, with the abuse continuing until she was in her mid teens.

She told the hearing how she was forced to perform sex acts and violently abused when she tried to refuse.

Jurors were told the vulnerable victim was sold for sex, first by a man named Tanveer Ahmed, who delivered for Perfect Pizza in the town and "befriended her" during a low point in her life.

Ahmed, formerly of Urban Gardens in Wellington, was not on trial alongside the other defendants, having been deported to Pakistan, the court heard.

Image copyright Gavin Dickson
Image caption An independent inquiry is taking place into CSE in Telford

He was jailed for two and a half years after admitting a charge of controlling a child sex abuse victim following West Mercia Police's Operation Chalice inquiry.

Prosecutor Michelle Heeley QC had said the victim was "passed around like a piece of meat for the sexual gratification of several young men".

She told police that, years after the abuse ended, she recognised photos of Ali Sultan and Ahmed from press reports on the Telford sex ring.

During the trial, the victim said no action was taken by teachers when rumours of the abuse circulated at her school and she had "lost count" of how many men she was forced to have sex with.

In response to the claims made by the defendant about her teachers, Telford & Wrekin Council said it had no further comment to make "on issues which we expect will be covered by the independent inquiry currently under way".

Image caption Det Insp Rob Rondel said West Mercia Police encouraged victims of child sexual exploitation to come forward

Det Insp Rob Rondel, of West Mercia Police, said it had been a very complex and challenging investigation.

"The victim has shown real courage and determination to see this through to its conclusion," he said.

"No doubt the heinous offences that have taken place will have a lasting impact on the victim."

Det Insp Rondel added: "This investigation was part of Operation Vapour, which continues today.

"We encourage victims of child sexual exploitation to come forward, engage with police and find support with our partner agencies."

Telford's MP, Lucy Allan, who had called for the independent inquiry to be held after claims thousands of girls may have been abused in the town since the 1980s, said: "The way that we have been able to shine a light on the issue over the last few years has encouraged others to identify what happened to them as children and for them to come forward."

A fifth defendant, Nazam Akhtar, 35, of Victoria Avenue, Wellington, was cleared of rape.

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