Socialist Worker

Police face questions over Rotherham child abuse case

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2522

Sheffield Crown Court where the trial is taking place

Sheffield Crown Court where the trial is taking place

A court last week heard evidence of police failings in a sexual abuse case.

It also heard that a 13 year old girl suffering sexual abuse was threatened at gunpoint and warned not to tell anyone.

Eight men are on trial at Sheffield Crown Court facing a variety of charges including rape, indecent assault and false imprisonment.

They deny 19 charges relating to three complainants. The alleged offences took place in the Rotherham area in South Yorkshire in 2003.

The court was played a 2013 police interview with the main complainant on Monday of this week.

In it, the woman said defendants Ishtiaq Khaliq, Waleed Ali, Asif Ali and Masoued Malik raped her in 2003 when she was 13.

She said defendants Waleed Ali and Basharat Hussain had indecently assaulted her.

In police interviews given in 2003, the complainant reported being repeatedly raped by defendant Sageer Hussain.

In the 2013 interview she said a group of older men befriended her and two friends, and gave them alcohol and cannabis.

“Sageer Hussain became the main person in my life,” she said. “He was very controlling and turned from being a nice to a nasty person.”

She said that at one point during the alleged abuse, an unnamed older man had picked her up and put a gun to her head.

“He said, ‘If you tell anybody what’s happening I’ll shoot you’,” she said.

The woman said she realised there was something “very wrong” but “I didn’t understand what was happening to me”.

She said she felt she was in a “black hole with no way out”.

The court was played police interviews with the complainant from 2003 last week.

The jury heard that the girl reported the alleged rapes within weeks, but that police took no action.

Michelle Colborne QC told the court that police lost bags of the girl’s clothing given to them as evidence.

Colborne said the girl and her family faced “threats and intimidation” after reporting the abuse and withdrew the allegations.

The court also heard evidence suggesting that Sageer Hussain was aware the girl was going to talk to the police.

In a 2003 interview she said that, just days before, she was told to get in the back of a car with Hussain.

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.”

The family sought help from their local MP at the time, Labour home secretary David Blunkett.

They eventually moved to Spain to escape.

The trial continues.

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