Socialist Worker

Police face questions over Rotherham child abuse case

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2521

A street in Rotherham

A street in Rotherham (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Police failed to act on a 13 year old girl's complaints that she was repeatedly raped in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, a court has heard.

A trial of eight men for alleged child sexual exploitation (CSE) offences began at Sheffield Crown Court on Tuesday. They deny 19 charges relating to alleged offences that took place between 1999 and 2003.

The court heard that the main complainant was repeatedly raped by defendant Sageer Hussain when she was 13 in 2003. She said the abuse took place in an alley in the town centre, in a park, in cars and in bushes.

Michelle Colborne QC said the girl was "lured" into a "life of deceit and fear". She said, "They told her she owed them something because they had given her cigarettes, alcohol and cannabis.

"As time moved on, the threats became nasty."

The girl told police in April 2003 that Hussain had repeatedly raped her, but the court heard that officers took no action. She was examined by a doctor who found bruises. Police were given some of the girl's clothes as evidence, but said they lost them.

The girl made further disclosures to police in October 2003 about other men involved in her alleged abuse. Colborne said, "The girl and her family were subjected to threats and intimidation by those men and were very frightened.

"They threatened they would gang rape her mother. The family believed they were in real danger and withdrew the allegations."

Interview

The court was played footage from the girl's interview with police in April 2003. She said she had met Sageer Hussain "about four weeks" before speaking to police.

She told police Hussain had sex with her "a few weeks after" and that another man held her hands down for some of the time.

In the interview she said, "I was saying I didn't want to do it. He was saying he didn't like girls saying no to him. He was being right violent and right hard and vicious.

"His mates were watching."

The girl said Hussain warned her not to tell anyone, including the police. She described several other alleged rapes and physical assaults in the interview.

The court heard evidence that suggested Hussain was aware she was going to talk to the police. The girl said that, just days before her police interview, she was told to get in the back of the car with Hussain. She was told they were "going somewhere where there wasn't any cameras".

The girl said, "Sageer said I was a white bitch and punched me in the mouth. He said if I opened my mouth again, he would do it harder."

She said one of Hussain's friends passed him a crowbar and he threatened to hit her with it.

The court heard that the girl's family sought help from social services, the police and their local MP - who was Labour home secretary David Blunkett.

The girl and her family eventually moved to Spain to escape. She contacted police in 2013 to tell them her allegations made a decade earlier were true.

There are three complainants in the case. The defendants are Sageer Hussain, Basharat Hussain, Mohammed Whied, Asif Ali, Ishtiaq Khaliq, Waleed Ali, Masoued Malik and Naeem Rafiq. They deny charges including rape, indecent assault and false imprisonment.

Colborne said Sageer Hussain was "instrumental" in befriending the alleged victims and played a "key role".

The case continues.


Article information

News
Fri 16 Sep 2016, 16:08 BST
Issue No. 2521
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