Eight men have been found guilty of 19 charges relating to sexual abuse of three girls – over a decade after one reported the abuse to police.
The offences, including rape, indecent assault and false imprisonment, took place between 1999 and 2003 in the Rotherham area.
The court heard that the central complainant had reported the abuse to police twice in 2003 – but they failed to act.
In April 2003 the complainant told police that Sageer Hussain had repeatedly raped her and physically attacked her.
She gave police clothing she had worn during the attacks, which was “lost” within days. No scientific examination was made of the clothing. The girl withdrew her allegations.
She told the court, “I withdrew it because they [the police] wouldn’t give me any protection and told me they had already lost my clothes, there was no DNA, it was my word against his.”
The girl reported abuse by other men to police in October 2003, but withdrew her allegations after facing threats.
Michelle Colborne QC told the court that the abusers “threatened to gang rape her mother and made it clear they were serious”.
The court heard that police had approached her and her friends when they were 13 and on the streets with older Asian males. She said she gave them her real name and thought this was why she was threatened with a gun.
The court heard that she told police about the threat where an unnamed man told her, “If you tell anyone what’s been happening I’ll shoot you”.
The court heard that a few days before one police interview, she was told to get in the back of a car with Sageer 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 she was also threatened with a crowbar.
Her family wrote to their local MP, at the time Labour home secretary David Blunkett, and tried to get help from social workers. They eventually moved to Spain to get away from the abusers.
After the verdicts the woman told the Sheffield Star newspaper, “In 2003 I was basically told I was a liar and it was as though I was moaning about nothing. It normalised it and made me think I must be strange for how I felt. I got used to the fact I wasn’t going to get justice.”
Those found guilty were Sageer Hussain, Basharat Hussain, Masoued Malik, Naeem Rafiq, Mohammed Whied, Ishtiaq Khaliq, Waleed Ali and Asif Ali. They will be sentenced on 4 November.