A 23-YEAR-OLD man’s ten year prison sentence for raping a girl of 12 reflected the public’s concern about child sexual exploitation, Bradford’s top judge has warned.
Usaid Zeb groomed his “particularly vulnerable” victim before twice having sex with her in his car in a secluded country lane.
Zeb, of Daisy Hill Lane, Daisy Hill, Bradford, was convicted by a jury at Bradford Crown Courtof two offences of rape of a child under 13 in the school summer holidays three years ago.
The Bradford girl, now 15, had crept out of her home to meet Zeb, known to her as Khany, in the middle of the night.
The police were alerted when she confided to a teacher that she feared she had contracted a sexually transmitted disease and might be pregnant.
Jailing Zeb, the Recorder of Bradford, Judge Roger Thomas QC, told him: “She is a girl who must in all sense have the description of particularly vulnerable attached to her.
“She was a very challenging young girl indeed. One experienced teacher said she was the most challenging child she had ever tried to teach. She had little or no parental guidance and was typical of the sort of girl who can be preyed upon by adult males like you.”
The judge continued: “Child sex exploitation is a phrase very apt in this particular case.
“There is considerable public concern about this sort of case and considerable public awareness about it.”
Judge Thomas said the sentence he imposed must send out a message to the public.
“You basically took full advantage of her vulnerability. She was in two minds about it and there was a degree of planning and grooming, and you had sex with her on two occasions.”
Judge Thomas made a Sexual Harm Prevention Order banning Zeb from ever contacting his victim and he must sign on the sex offenders’ register.
He praised officers in the investigating police team, who diverted from a child exploitation inquiry to pursue the case against Zeb.
“They have all done a first class job,” he said.
After the case, Detective Chief Inspector Chris Walker, who led the investigation, said: “Zeb exploited a particularly vulnerable young girl for his own sexual gratification and the courts have duly recognised this with today’s sentence.
“It has taken a great deal of courage for this young girl to come forward and give evidence. She has had to endure the ordeal of reliving the events of three years ago, thankfully with a just result.
“I would like to thank her and duly recognise her courage and fortitude. I now hope she can get on with the rest of her life and look forward to the future safe in the knowledge that Usaid Zeb has been held accountable for his actions.”
Zeb did not give evidence in his defence and at the sentencing hearing, his barrister, Rodney Ferm, said he had been psychologically very ill while being held in custody on remand.
In November last year, he was found to be unfit to plead and moved to a psychiatric hospital.
He had only recently been moved back to Leeds Prison and his defence team had deemed him too unwell to give evidence in court.
Mr Ferm said Zeb was a double glazing canvasser who was himself very young at the time and had no relevant previous convictions.
The victim was “a very self-willed young woman” who could not be described as particularly vulnerable.
“She was a wayward child who did more or less as she pleased,” Mr Ferm said.
Although Zeb was guilty of statutory rape because of the girl’s age, the sex was consensual. There was no evidence that she was an unwilling participant.
During the trial, the jury heard that Zeb was arrested by detectives investigating alleged child sex exploitation in the Keighley area.
They were questioning the girl about a different suspect with links to her mother when she gave the name Khany as the man she had sex with.
She had met him on a bus when she was “cruising” round Bradford in her school holiday.
One witness said she saw them together in the back of a car, hugging and smoking cannabis.
Questioned by doctors, teachers and welfare workers about who she had sex with, the girl said it was a boy of her own age, and then a drug dealer aged 29.
But last year, she told officers she had twice had sex with the man she called Khany.
She gave them his phone number and said he drove a silver Vauxhall Astra at that time.
She said she had a month-long relationship with him. He bought her sweets and did not hurt her.
Since then, the girl had been excluded from school for behavioural problems, including being heavily hungover on vodka, the court heard.
She was constantly calling and texting on her phone and had “a cynical attitude” to the police.