November 2017

Tyneside child sex exploitation gang jailed

From left; Palla Pour, Saman Obaid, Ribas Asad, Soran Azizi

Four Tyneside men involved in a gang which sexually exploited vulnerable girls as young as 13 have been jailed.

Ribas Asad, Palla Pour, and Soran Azizi had been found guilty of sex offences and Saman Obaid of supplying drugs following a trial at Newcastle Crown Court.

Judge Robert Spragg sentenced them to terms ranging from four years and nine months to 12 and a half years.

The girls had shown “extraordinary courage” in giving evidence, he said.

He repeated evidence from one, who had said “they were much older and pretended to be my friend and drove me around – but they were just totally using me for sex when I was a child”.

In August, 17 men and one woman were convicted of plying girls with alcohol and drugs and forcing them to have sex.

The offences were committed over a number of years from 2006 and came to light during Northumbria Police’s Operation Wren.

Ribas Asad, 29, from Newcastle, was jailed for nine and a half years for sexual assault and sexual activity with a child.

A jail term of 12 and a half years was given to Palla Pour, 25, from Longbenton, for sexual activity with a child and supplying drugs.

Convicted of sex trafficking, Soran Azizi, 28, from Newcastle, was sentenced to six years.

Saman Obaid, 29, from Newcastle, was jailed for four years and nine months for supplying drugs.

All four were asylum seekers who entered the UK illegally.

Azizi, Pour and Asad had been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK, but could now face deportation.

Obaid’s asylum application has so far failed.

Prosecutor Anne Richardson told the court the young girls were “expected and encouraged” to provide sex because they were “beholden and in thrall to these men”.

One said she now had panic attacks, post traumatic stress disorder and depression and was unable to look after her four children, who had been taken into care.