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Telford child sex abuse trial: Accused claims girl said she was 16

By Deborah Hardiman | Telford | Crime | Published: | Last Updated:

A man accused of sleeping with an underage girl told a jury the teenager told him she was 16 – the age of consent.

Giving evidence Ayad Abdullah Hizam told Shrewsbury Crown Court that he had been in a relationship with the girl and that she looked older than 16.

The trial, involving three men, relates to several incidents in 2016 when the same girl was taken to hotels in Telford and Birmingham, and to a house in the city where a number of men allegedly abused her.

Hizam, 23, is charged with four counts of child abduction, and four counts of sexual activity with a child.

Barrister Mrs Debra White, defending, asked Hizam how he felt when he was arrested over human trafficking allegations.

Hizam replied: " I was shocked."

Mrs White said: "Why did you make no comment to the police when you were arrested?"

Hizam replied: "Because I was advised by my solicitor and I took that advice."

Hizam, who was not charged with trafficking, told the court that he declined to take part in an identification parade because "she would have recognised me because I was her boyfriend".

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He said the victim sneaked him into her Telford home through a window to stay overnight and that on one such occasion he was seen running away from the property by an adult at the address.

The case so far:

Hizam said the girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had told him boys were not allowed in the house and after that incident their relationship "fizzled out".

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Under cross-examination prosecuting barrister Mark Heywood QC asked him: "Why did it fizzle out when it was going well?

Hizam, of Birmingham, replied: "The distance was too far."

Mr Heywood said: "She told you she was 15 didn't she?

Hizam replied: "No."

Mr Heywood said: "Can you think of any reason why she would lie to the jury about telling you that she was 15? You knew from the start that she was younger than 16."

Again Hizam replied: "She told she was 16."

He then put to Hizam that the relationship ended because he knew how old she was and that her relative could identify him.

Also at yesterday’s hearing seven counts relating to another defendant, Ghamer Sulayman, 23, were withdrawn. Judge Peter Barrie directed the jury to find him not guilty of six counts of rape and one of human trafficking. He is now charged with a single count of rape and three counts of human trafficking. Saleh Qasem, 21, is charged with one count each of human trafficking and sexual assault.

The three men, all from Birmingham, deny the offences.

The trial continues.

Deborah Hardiman

By Deborah Hardiman
@Deborahh_Star

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based out of the head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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