'˜A pack of animals': Rotherham teenage grooming gang locked up for 102 years
Arshid Hussain’s brothers Basharat Hussain, 39, and Bannaras Hussein, 36, got 25 years and 19 years respectively.
Their uncle, Qurban Ali, 53, was jailed for 10 years. Female accomplice Karen MacGregor, 58, was jailed for 13 years while Shelley Davis, 40, was given an 18 month suspended sentence. The five jail terms total 102 years.
Jailing the gang, who were said to have ruled Rotherham with impunity, Judge Sarah Wright told them: “The harm you have caused is of unimaginable proportions.”
She paid tribute to the “immense courage” of the victims who came forward.
As Judge Wright passed sentence on Arshid, there was a shout of “Yes” and gasps from the packed public gallery.
Some of the victims and their relatives who held hands on the balcony of the court hugged each other.
Arshid was clearly visible on a big screen in court - appearing by video-link from Doncaster Prison. He showed no reaction at the sentence, barely opening his eyes for most of the hearing.
The judge said: “Each in your own way perpetrated or facilitated the sexual abuse of these young girls.
“Your victims were targeted, sexualised and in some cases subjected to acts of a degrading and violent nature.
“Many of the victims were subjected to repeated abuse. There was a pattern of abuse which was repeated over and over again. Some victims were groomed, some coerced and intimidated.
“They were made to feel that they could not report what was happening to them.
“Even if they did, no action was taken and you were free to continue your exploitation of them.”
Addressing Arshid, she said: “You and your brothers, Bannaras Hussain and Basharat Hussain, were well-known in the area - you drove distinctive cars and had a reputation for violence.
“There was a perception by some of your victims that you appeared, in their words, to ‘rule Rotherham’.
“You exploited that to the full.”
Judge Wright described the actions of the gang as “this appalling catalogue of offending”.
She went through each of the victim’s stories one-by-one.
Concluding one account, she said: “The effect of the abuse of her has been devastating.
“Her childhood memories are of pain and abuse. She is unable to trust anyone.
“She has suffered from eating disorders and anxiety throughout her life. You took her childhood from her.”
In relation to another victim, the judge said: “She describes you, Basharat Hussain, as stealing the person she was and alienating her from her family.
“She describes contemplating taking her own life when she became pregnant and indeed on occasions since.
“She feels worthless and ashamed as a result of your treatment of her. She feels guilt. She should not have to feel like that. You are responsible, not her.”
She said that while some of the women were accused in court of making up stories for money or of being fantasists, their real motive was “to bring the issue of child sexual exploitation into the public domain”.
Judge Wright said: “They came forward to give their accounts to the police despite, in some cases, having tried to speak up previously when nothing was done.
“They hope that by them speaking out it will not just act as a deterrent to others behaving in this way towards young people but also ensure that the appropriate authorities will not fail to take action in the future in the face of evidence of such crimes.”
The judge made a point of praising the woman whose story led to the prosecution. Systematically abused by Arshid Hussain as a teenager, she first told her story to reporter Andrew Norfolk, from the Times, starting a process which led to a the Jay Report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham:
Judge Wright said of her: “She lost her education, her friends and her family as result of your actions. She too has self-harmed and suffered from eating disorders. She vividly describes her life as being shattered into a million pieces and she feels she is just held together by sticky tape.”
The court heard this morning that one teenager was beaten up by her own family after they found out she had been abused by one of three brothers.
The girl’s double plight was outlined as prosecutors opened the case against Bannaras Hussain at Sheffield Crown Court.
Arshid and Basharat were found guilty earlier this week after a long trial but, as Bannaras pleaded guilty, the case against him was opened by prosecutor Michelle Colborne QC.
Ms Colborne said Bannaras met one victim when she was 12 or 13 and she performed sex acts on him.
“He was indifferent to whether she consented or not,” she said.
“When her brothers found out, they were furious with her and would physically assault her because she was involved sexually with an Asian man.”
Many of the victims of the brothers sat in the public gallery overlooking the packed courtroom as the sentencing hearing got under way.
Twelve women - most now in their 30s - told a jury they were sexually, physically and emotionally abused in the South Yorkshire town when they were in their early teens.
The jury heard that the Hussain brothers “ruled Rotherham” with their drugs and guns operation and abused girls with impunity.
Arshid, 40, and Basharat, 39, were found guilty of a range of offences earlier this week along with their uncle, Qurban Ali, 53, and two women - Karen MacGregor, 58, and Shelley Davis, 40.
Bannaras pleaded guilty to serious offences at the beginning of his trial.
On Wednesday, victims of the gang welcomed the convictions after so many years in which they were disbelieved and ignored by the authorities.
Five of the gang sat in the dock for the hearing.
Arshid Hussain appeared by video-link from Doncaster Prison.
Miss Colborne told the court how Bannaras abused one victim in a car park next to Rotherham Police Station.
The prosecutor said: “(The girl) performed oral sex on Bannaras Hussain.
“When, shortly afterwards, a police car pulled up alongside them and asked what was going on, Bannaras Hussain shouted ‘she’s just ****ing my ****, mate’.
“The police car drove off.”
Ms Colborne said the sister of one victim described her sibling as a “broken human being”.
She handed in a pile of victim personal statements, highlighting a comment from one girl who said the Hussain brothers acted “as a pack of animals” when she was urinated on.
The prosecutor said: “They describe from their teenage years a life in the main of feeling dirty, ashamed and guilty. Between them, a plethora of emotional conditions - eating disorders, self-harm, agoraphobia, self-loathing and terminations for many of them from the age of 14 - events they have never been able to put behind them.”
Ms Colborne said many of the victims have had relationship problems throughout their lives and have found themselves subjected to domestic violence.