A GANG of Asian men was jailed for between four and 19 years for the sexual exploitation of a group of white girls who were treated “as though they were worthless and beyond any respect”, a judge said.
In comments which appeared to conflict with police insistence that there was no “racial or cultural” element to the crimes, Judge Gerald Clifton added: “One of the factors leading to that was the fact that they were not part of your community or religion.”
Sentencing at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday, the judge said some of the men claimed their arrest “was triggered by race”. But, he said: “That is nonsense. What triggered this prosecution was your lust and greed.”
The men have been convicted of conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with children under the age of 16 and other sexual offences including rape and trafficking for sexual exploitation.
He said the men had been convicted of “grave” sexual offences, which involved “grooming and sexually exploiting” several young girls.
He told them the sentences “applied to all defendants, be they white or Asian”.
The man regarded as the ringleader, a 59-year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons, was jailed for a total of 19 years for conspiracy, two counts of rape, aiding and abetting a rape, sexual assault and a count of trafficking within the UK for sexual exploitation.
Takeaway worker Kabeer Hassan, 25, from Oldham, was jailed for nine years for rape and three years, concurrently, for the conspiracy conviction.
Abdul Aziz, 41, one of six of the group from Rochdale, was sentenced to nine years for conspiracy and nine years, concurrently, for trafficking for sexual exploitation.
Married father-of-five Abdul Rauf, 43, was jailed for six years for conspiracy and six years, concurrently, for trafficking for sexual exploitation.
Mohammed Sajid, 35, was sentenced to 12 years for rape, six years for conspiracy, one year for trafficking and six years, all concurrent, for sexual activity with a child.
Adil Khan, 42, was sentenced to eight years for conspiracy and eight, concurrently, for trafficking.
Mohammed Amin, 45, was sentenced to five years for conspiracy and 12 months, concurrently, for sexual assault.
Abdul Qayyum, 44, was jailed for five years for conspiracy.
Illegal immigrant Hamid Safi, 22, of no fixed address, was jailed for four years for conspiracy and one year, concurrently, for trafficking.
He entered the UK on a lorry in 2008 and claimed to have fled Afghanistan because his uncle was murdered by the Taliban.
Police sources said that further arrests linked to the gang could be in the offing.
Despite the comments from Judge Clifton, Greater Manchester Police continue to deny there was a “racial or cultural” element to the gang’s crimes and said it was about adults abusing vulnerable children.
A chance to stop the gang was missed in 2008 by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service who have apologised for failings. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is spearheading an investigation into the botched inquiry.
The offences happened in and around Rochdale in 2008 and 2009. The five girls – aged between 13 and 15 – were given alcohol, food and money in return for sex but there were times when violence was used.
Police said the victims were from “chaotic”, “council estate” backgrounds and as many as 47 girls could have been victims of the gang.