Gang jailed for 32 years over sex offences against care girls

FIVE men will spend a total of 32-and-a-half years behind bars after being found guilty of a raft of sex abuse offences against girls as young as 13.

The abuse took place over several months in 2008 and involved two girls aged 13 and one aged 16 having sex with the men in a park, in alleyways and in cars around Rotherham.

All of the teenagers were in the care of social services at the time and were removed from their homes and taken out of South Yorkshire after social workers discovered they were being "groomed" by the older men, who led them to believe they were in normal relationships. One of the younger girls had sex with all five defendants.

Alan Hazell, chairman of the Rotherham Local Safeguarding Children Board, said: "The biggest credit in this case must go to the girls themselves who have made huge strides forward in their lives since these incidents happened. To give very personal evidence in court is a very difficult experience, particularly for these young people when you consider what they have been through over the past few years.

"Without their evidence this case would never have come to court."

During an eight-week trial at Sheffield Crown Court, eight men were accused of rape and sexual abuse and all denied the charges. Five, all from Rotherham, were found guilty by a jury on Thursday.

Razwan Razaq, 30, of Oxford Street, Clifton, will serve 11 years behind bars for having sex with two 13-year-old girls in cars. His brother Umar Razaq, 24, of the same address, was given a four-and-a-half year sentence for having sex with a 13-year-old girl in an alleyway in Rotherham town centre. He was cleared of raping the 16-year-old.

Their cousin Zafran Ramzan, 21, of Broom Grove, will serve nine years in prison for two counts of sexual activity with a 13-year-old and one charge of raping the 16-year-old at her own home. He was cleared of two other charges of rape.

Both Adil Hussain, 20, of Nelson Street, and Mohsin Khan, 22, of Harworth Crescent, were given a four-year sentence for having sex with one of the younger girls. They were cleared of other charges against them. Saeed Hussain, 29, of Hatherley Road, Eastwood; Shalzaad Hussain, 22, of Clough Road and Shazad, Akhbar, 23, of Shirecliffe Lane, Sheffield, wept in the dock as they were cleared of all charges against them.

Sentencing the five, some of whom also wept, yesterday, Judge Peter Kelson QC said: "I've listened to the backdrop of some of you sobbing – I have to say your weeping cuts no ice with me.

"All five of you were convicted of offences of sexual activity with a child. The clue is in the title, a child. This legislation concerns itself with child protection, perhaps to some extent from themselves, but particularly protection from sexual predators, like I find all five of you to be."

Razwan Razaq was described by the judge as the "most serious offender", having had a previous conviction for indecently assaulting a young girl in his car and having breached a previous sexual offences prevention order.

He told him: "You are a danger to children as you appear not to care what the true ages are."

The court was read three impact statement from the victims and one, who was aged 13 at the time, described how she was taken away from her family after the abuse emerged which "ripped my heart out" and how the abuse had "ruined my one and only body".

The group were caught as a result of "Operation Central", a child sexual exploitation investigation involving South Yorkshire Police, Rotherham Council and other agencies.