A JUDGE has criticised eleven men as “insolent and disrespectful” as they were found guilty of sexually exploiting a young schoolgirl in West Yorkshire.
Ten men, from Keighley and Bradford were found guilty of rape and an eleventh man was found guilty of sexual activity in a unanimous verdict following a seven-week trial. One defendant was also found guilty of raping a second underage victim in 2009.
Three other defendants were cleared of rape and discharged by the judge.
In the packed courtroom, members of the public gallery cried out in disbelief and one shouted to the court that the conviction was a “set up”, before being led out, as the verdicts were read out.
Speaking after the verdicts were returned, Judge Roger Thomas QC told the court that the defendants had treated the proceedings with “contempt and arrogance”.
He said: “Having watched you all over the course of the last seven weeks, I think I have a good understanding of your attitudes.
“In 40 years of practice, I have never seen a dock that has been as insolent and disrespectful as this one.
“I have the poorest of opinions about the defendants.”
The white British victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was aged 13 and 14 during the time of the attacks when she was raped and sexually abused repeatedly.
During the trial at Bradford Crown Court, the jury of seven women and one man, heard that she was passed around and used by the group of “nasty” men by ringleader Ahmed Al-Choudhury.
Choudhury was not in the line-up of men standing trial.
The victim was raped in a number of locations and, in one sustained attack, was raped by five men in succession.
During the trial the jury also heard that in an underground car park where some of the abuse took place, there was painted over graffiti which read the victim’s name and the word “corner”.
The eleven defendants will be sentenced on February, 5, along with a twelfth defendant, Khalid Mahmood, 34, who previously pleaded guilty to five counts of rape.
Praising the police, Judge Thomas said: “This has been a very considerable exercise for the police.
“The victim was missing from home and school so often - it seems to be accurate that police and other agencies were doing their best to try to exercise some control over the victim.
“They were met with an unhappy young girl who was in a vulnerable position and unable to take their help.”
Speaking after the verdict, Detective Chief Inspector Chris Walker, from West Yorkshire Police described the investigation as “challenging, complex and sensitive”.
He said: “I would like to pay tribute to the victims who have shown a great deal of courage in standing up to their perpetrators.
“These young girls were preyed upon and either raped or sexually assaulted.
“One was even passed around by these men for no other reason than their own gratification.
“Child sexual exploitation is one of the most important challenges facing the police. It is totally unacceptable and it is the responsibility of all agencies, communities and individuals to identify those responsible and help bring them to justice.
“Protecting the victims is a priority. However unwilling they may be initially to engage with police or other agencies, or to give evidence against the perpetrators, they will always be supported and protected from further harm.”
Sufyan Ziarab, 22, from Keighley, was found guilty of two counts of rape.
His brother Bilal Ziarab, 21, from Bradford, was also found guilty of two counts of rape.
Yasser Kabir, 25, from Keighley was found guilty of three counts of rape and not guilty of one count of rape.
Hussain Sardar, 19, from Keighley was found guilty of one count of rape and not guilty of a second count of rape.
Nasir Khan, 22, from Keighley, was found guilty of one count of rape and not guilty of two counts of rape.
Saqib Younis, 29, from Keighley was found guilty of one count of rape and not guilty of a second count of rape.
Israr Ali, 19, from Keighley, was found guilty of one count of rape and not guilty of a second count of rape.
Faisal Khan, 27, from Keighley was found guilty of one count of rape and not guilty of a second count of rape.
Zain Ali, 20, from Keighley, was found guilty of one count of rape and not guilty of a second count of rape.
Tanqueer Hussain, 23, from Keighley was found guilty of two counts of rape with regard to one victim, guilty of one count of raping a second underage victim and not guilty of a final count of rape.
Mohammed Akram, 63, was found guilty of sexual activity with a child under the age of 16.
Rohail Iqbal, 22, from Keighley, Rohail Hussain, 18 from Keighley were both found not guilty of one charge of rape.
A youth - who cannot be named for legal reasons - was also fund not guilty of one count of rape.