THREE brothers and their uncle are among six people convicted of the sexual exploitation of teenage girls in Rotherham.
Arshid, Basharat and Bannaras Hussain - known as Mad Ash, Bash and Bono - formed a violent, gun-toting, drug-dealing family who appeared to operate with impunity in the South Yorkshire town, a court heard.
Women described how they were raped, beaten and passed between abusers and used as prostitutes by a gang led by the three men, who “owned” Rotherham.
Arshid, 40, and Basharat, 39, were found guilty of multiple rapes and indecent assaults following a trial at Sheffield Crown Court.
Bannaras, 36, had admitted 10 charges including rape, indecent assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm at the start of the trial.
Their uncle, Qurban Ali, 53, was convicted of conspiracy to rape. Karen MacGregor, 58, and Shelley Davies, 40, were found guilty of conspiracy to procure prostitutes and false imprisonment.
Brothers Majid Bostan, 37 and Sajid Bostan, 38, were cleared of all charges.
Some of the 15 women who were abused by the gang watched the verdicts from the public gallery overlooking the packed court, some holding hands with each other.
Arshid Hussain, who was portrayed as the gang’s ringleader and claims to be paraplegic, appeared from his bed at home via video link and looked asleep.
Judge Sarah White told the jury of six men and six women that Arshid’s wife had called an ambulance during the verdicts and he had been taken to hospital, despite his bail being revoked.
Michelle Colborne QC, prosecuting, said this appeared to be a deliberate attempt to frustrate the judicial process.
Ms Colborne said: “Mr Hussain is en route to Scunthorpe Hospital. I understand he is unwell. He’s not speaking to the police with him.
“I have instructed the police to ask him directly whether he’s willing to attend court or whether he determined to disobey your honour’s order.”
The six convicted people will be sentenced on Friday.
The abused women described how they were were targeted in their young teens and subjected to brutal treatment as they were passed around men who raped and beat them.
Some of the victims said they were trafficked, locked up, physically assaulted and threatened with death.
Lawyers for Arshid, who the court heard had children with seven women all over England, said he had been bed-ridden for the last two years following a shooting in 2005.
One of his victims told the jury she was glad he got shot, calling it “karma”.
Another victim, now 33, said she thought she was going to die when her hands and feet were tied and she had petrol poured over her. A woman, now 36, explained how she was abused from the age of 11 with Arshid passing her on to his brother and friends, often as “payment” for debts.
One girl said the Hussain brothers “owned” Rotherham, while another told the jury: “The police gave them a free card to do what they wanted.”
MacGregor, described in court as a “mother figure”, took in girls from children’s homes, purporting to give them haven and support.
But she allowed them to be abused and kept captive, telling them they needed to “earn their keep” by having sex with a succession of visiting men.
MacGregor even set up a support group - Kin Kids - for family members looking after children whose parents could no longer cope. Kin Kids, which had the support of Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey, was due to be given charitable status when MacGregor was arrested.
The convictions of the Hussain brothers and their associates is the first successful prosecution of a grooming gang in Rotherham since the child sexual exploitation scandal engulfed the town 18 months ago.
Rotherham became a byword for the exploitation of teenage girls and the failure of police and social workers to stop it happening with the publication of the Jay Report in August 2014.
After the hearing, one victim of the gang who was just 14 when she was groomed told how she feared she would be killed.
Arshid Hussain preyed on the teenager after meeting her at a party in the late 1990s, and would wait for her outside school.
Soon he was having sex with her, despite knowing her age and being a decade older.
The victim, who cannot be identified but who is referred to as “Jessica”, said: “Very quickly he started being controlling.
“I wasn’t allowed to do anything without his permission.
“He isolated me from friends and family and it became that the only person in my world was him.
“He was very violent towards me.
“There were times when I thought he was going to kill me.”
Outside the court today, authorities clamoured to praise victims for their “incredible bravery” in reliving their past trauma.
Temporary detective chief inspector Martin Tait, from South Yorkshire Police, called the verdicts a “crucial milestone for those victims and survivors who endured years of violence and horrific sexual abuse at the hands of these vile individuals”.
He said: “They have shown incredible bravery reliving vicious traumatic events for the courts.
“For their courage and support of this investigation I am eternally thankful, and can’t really express how pleased I am for them.
“Pleased that their voices have finally been heard, believed and that those responsible been publicly held to account for their crimes.”
Looking forward, he added: “If victims of sexual abuse come to the police we will help then, we will support them, and do everything we can to put these criminals responsible in prison where they belong.”
Ian Thomas, strategic director, Children and Young People’s Services, at Rotherham Council, made an impassioned plea for former and current victims of abuse to step forward.
He acknowledged that “some justice has been served today, for the few” but said that there was much more to do.
He said: “My message to them today is clear.
“If you have suffered abuse in the past, or indeed are suffering from abuse or exploitation now, step forward.
“I urge you - I implore you - to have confidence in a new Rotherham partnership today.”