"Too often today, people are ready to tell us, 'this is not possible; that is not possible'. I say, whatever the true interest of our country calls for, is always possible!"
- Enoch Powell.
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Asian gang raped girls as young as 12 after picking them up on the streets for sex
An Asian gang of ‘sexual predators’ cruised city streets for girls as young as 12 - usually white - who were then plied with drink and drugs and raped or abused.
Up to 100 ‘vulnerable’ girls may have been groomed or abused or supplied cocaine by married fathers Abid Saddique and Mohammed Liaqat, and their seven friends.
A court heard the pair used Liaqat’s BMW saloon to trawl for victims, pulling up alongside girls outside shops, schools or on housing estates.
Guilty: Married fathers Mohammed Liaqat (left) and Abid Saddique may have abused up to 100 girls
After ‘chatting up’ the girls and obtaining their mobile numbers, they offered rides in the car and embarked on a ‘campaign of calls and texts’ to groom the girls.
Many of the victims initially considered the men as boyfriends. But instead of being wined and dined, Saddique, 27, and Liaqat, 28, plied them with vodka and cocaine before taking them to ‘parties’ in hotels or flats with other gang members to rape or degrade them.
One of their 26 alleged victims was a 14-year-old straight-A student from a middle class home. The court heard she fell into the paedophiles clutches when the pair pulled up alongside her as she walked home from school with a friend they were already abusing.
Jailed: Akshay Kumar and Ziafat Yasin are now behind bars as a result of their associatioin with Liaqat and Saddique
Jailed: Mohammed Imran Rehman and Graham Blackham were members of the gang that held sex parties with underage girls
Today Saddique and Liaqat, both British born and of Pakistani origin who had arranged marriages in that country, were facing years behind bars after being found guilty of an horrific catalogue of sexual abuse over an 18-month period.
Reporting restrictions were lifted at the end of a third and final trial into the Derby gang’s activities. The seven other guilty members of the gang have already been jailed.
News of the case comes little more than a fortnight after an Asian sex gang operating 45 miles away from Derby in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, were jailed for abusing white girls as young as 12. A similar gang from Rochdale, Lancashire, who turned a white private schoolgirl into their sex slave were jailed in August.
After the verdicts at Leicester Crown Court, a senior officer in the latest case warned that child exploitation and abuse was a ‘hidden’ problem nationwide, but denied there was a racial element to the Derby case.
Jailed: Naweed Liaqat, left, and Farooq Amed pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice
Jailed: Faisal Mehmood
Detective Inspector Sean Dawson, of Derbyshire Police, said: ‘If this kind of abuse can take place in Derby, it can take place anywhere.
‘It is a crime where you do not start with a victim knocking on your door and we had no idea about the scale of the abuse when we started out, but as girls began to open up to us they would lead us to more victims.
‘We have one victim who was from a loving home with straight As but her grades tumbled after she fell in with this gang.
‘That in itself is a classic sign that something was not right. I would appeal to parents to monitor their children’s phones for suspicious text messages and think about if they come home smelling of alcohol or clutching gifts. These are all signs that children could be being groomed.’
He said that although all of the victims were white except for three mixed-race girls and two Asians, the men were ‘out for whatever sex they could get’ and did not care what race their victims were. The oldest victim was 18 but most were aged between 14 and 16.
Some of the girls knew each other through school or local neighbourhoods while others fell into the gang’s clutches through friends already in their thrall.
Many of the attacks were filmed on mobile phones, where the images were stored as ‘trophies’. In one incident, a 14-year-old girl was filmed having sex with three of the gang in a hotel room as cheers ring out.
Caught on camera: CCTV footage shows a car containing members of the men talking to two girls on the streets of Derby
Caught: The gang were convicted today of a catalogue of offences against vulnerable girls
Another girl, drunk on vodka, was forced to perform a sex act on Saddique in a bush after fleeing a ‘party’ in a bed and breakfast, while Liaqat had sex with another 14 year-old in her bedroom while the girl’s mother was downstairs.
Some of the alleged offences were carried out while Saddique was wearing a tag imposed as part of a sentence for assaulting a woman.
One 16-year-old driven to the countryside and allegedly raped on the back seat after being given vodka told police that ‘85 per cent’ of ‘Asian men...try to get little girls drunk and take advantage of them’.
The only non-Asian gang member to face a judge was convicted sex offender Graham Blackham, a former Avon salesman, who was jailed for breaching an order banning contact with under-18s. He is thought to have met Saddique when the pair lived in flats within the same complex.
The inquiry, called Operation Retriever, amounts to the biggest child sex investigation ever conducted by Derbyshire Police, involving more than 100 officers, 200 interviews and 1800 statements taken. A total of 75 charges were brought against 13 suspects - all from Derby. Four of the men were cleared.
While one of the victims was under the care of Derby City Council when they were accosted by the men, most of the rest came from broken homes. Too scared to report the abuse, they only realised the police were involved when the gang were arrested in April 2009.
The inquiry began four months earlier when Saddique and Liaqat, both fathers-of-one, were amongst three men arrested for shoplifting by the neighbouring Staffordshire force - and two young girls were discovered with alcohol in the car.
Former Labour MP Ann Cryer caused a storm of controversy in 2003 when she warned that the practice of arranged marriages abroad helped tempt a criminal minority of British Asian men into targeting young, white girls for sex . Yesterday she called on the police, public and in particular Asian communities to acknowledge the ‘clear problem’, regardless of social taboos surrounding it.
Miss Cryer, whose former seat in Keighley, West Yorkshire, had a large Asian minority, said: ‘This issue involves only a small part of the Asian community, but it is something the wider Asian community needs to take ownership of and address.’
She said believed British Asians felt tied down in marriages with spouses in which they had nothing in common because of a ‘clash of cultures’.
Saddique, from Normanton, Derby, who claimed to be a cleaner, was convicted of four rapes, two false imprisonment charges, aiding and abetting rape, three counts of sexual activity with a child, two sexual assaults, being involved with child pornography and attempting to pervert the course of justice. An additional rape charge was ordered to lie on the file when the jury could not reach a verdict.
Unemployed Liaqat, of Sinfin, Derby, was convicted of rape, aiding and abetting rape, being involved with child pornography, two sexual assaults, four counts of sexual activity with a child, and affray.
The other defendants, Akshay Kumar, 38, Faisal Mehmood, 24, Mohamed Imran Rehman, 26, Graham Blackham, 26 and Ziafat Yasin, 31, have already been jailed after being convicted of a string of sex or drug offences.
Liaqat’s brother, Naweed Liaqat, 33, Farooq Amed, 28, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and were both jailed for 18 months.
DI Dawson said the girls had been groomed with ‘all the classical techniques’ such as the offer of car rides, drugs, alcohol and access to hotel rooms.