November 2017

Rotherham child sexual abuse case – Three men jailed

Three men have been jailed following the first trial to come out of the National Crime Agency’s inquiry into historical sex abuse in Rotherham.

Sajid Ali, 38, Zaheer Iqbal, 40, and Riaz Makhmood, 39, were convicted of a total of 15 counts of indecent assault on a teenage girl.

The men plied the girl with alcohol and encouraged her to perform sex acts.

She told Sheffield Crown Court their actions had ruined her teenage years.

This trial is the first to come out of Operation Stovewood, the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) investigation into child sexual exploitation and abuse in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.

Sentencing the three men, Judge David Dixon said: “The offences involved the exploitation and abuse by all three of you together of what at the time was a young and vulnerable girl.

“She was groomed, coerced and intimated, she was called abusive names and she was treated like a thing, a thing that you passed around among yourselves.”

The girl, who cannot be named, said she was 12 years old at the time the abuse began in the mid 1990s.

She told the court she had not been popular at school when she started spending time with Ali, Iqbal and Makhmood, who she knew as ‘Sos, Booty and Raz’, but they had made her feel “wanted”.

The girl said she believed Ali was her boyfriend but within weeks of meeting them they began to talk about sex.

She told the court she had not been forced to do anything but the men, who were teenagers at the time, had made her feel that she should.

Reading a victim impact statement, prosecutor Sophie Drake said the abuse had led the girl to suffer from eating disorders, anxiety and depression.

Her statement said: “I’ve tried everyday to put these things behind me and while I manage most of the time they still haunt me.”

All three men had denied the offences, with Ali claiming not to know the girl at all, saying that it would not have happened in the close knit community in which they lived.

Ali, of James Street, Masbrough, Rotherham, was convicted of seven counts of indecent assault and jailed for seven-and-a-half years.

Iqbal, of St John’s Avenue, Masbrough, was found guilty of five counts of indecent assault and given a seven-and-a-half year prison sentence.

Makhmood, of Falding Street, Masbrough was convicted of three counts of indecent assault and jailed for six years and nine months.