Telford CSE trial: Police praise bravery of victim
The victim at the centre of a Telford sex abuse case has been praised for her bravery by a senior police officer.
Four men have been convicted of offences relating to the vulnerable girl who was forced to perform sex acts in a churchyard, raped above a shop on a filthy mattress and violently abused when she tried to refuse their advances.
Birmingham Crown Court heard the offences dated between 2000 and 2003, and started when the girl, now an adult, was just 13.
Senior Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Rob Rondel, of West Mercia Police, said: “This has been a complex and challenging investigation and I would like to thank the victim for her support and understanding during our inquiries.
“We can never underestimate the lasting impact being a victim of child sexual exploitation can have on an individual and the bravery and courage in coming forward to report it, regardless of when the offences took place."
He said he hoped today's verdict would send a strong message to those who are criminally exploiting others that they will be put before the courts.
Coverage of the case:
- Four found guilty of abuse of girl, which started when she was 13
- Three men convicted of sexually assaulting young girl
- One defendant cleared of girl's rape at cafe
- CSE trial: Inconclusive test results on passport, jury told
- Woman identified men accused in Telford child sex abuse case up to 17 years later
- Woman allegedly traded between men as girl in Telford says 'not one teacher' intervened when she was called names by pupils
- 'Passed around like a piece of meat': Five Telford men abused schoolgirl, court told
The Operation Vapour investigation was set up last year to investigate historic cases of child sexual exploitation.
DI Rondel said: “Our inquiries will continue as we look to bring to justice those responsible for sexually exploiting others, even if that exploitation took place years ago.”
On Tuesday, Mohammed Ali Sultan, 33, formerly of Telford was unanimously convicted of rape and three counts of indecent assault.
During the trial, jurors were directed to find him not guilty of another rape charge after the defence presented evidence he was in Pakistan at the time the alleged offence took place.
On Wednesday the jury found Shafiq Younas, 35, of Regent Street, Wellington, Telford, guilty of indecently assaulting the victim in a churchyard.
Amjad Hussain, 38, of Acacia Drive, Leegomery, Telford, who was unanimously convicted of a single count of indecent assault on Tuesday – was cleared by jurors of another similar offence.
Co-defendant Mohammad Rizwan, 37, of Mafeking Road, Telford, was also convicted of two counts of indecent assault. Rizwan alleged he had a consensual sexual relationship with the victim when she was 17.
The jury cleared a fifth man Nazam Akhtar, 35, of Victoria Avenue, Wellington, of rape.
During the trial, jurors watched video-recorded interviews with the victim, in which she told detectives of enduring two years of “hell” and of repeatedly contemplating taking her own life as she was traded to different men for “months and months”.
She said she had been taken to a flat above the Perfect Pizza shop “to have sex with Asians”, and “lost count” of the number of men at whose hands she suffered abuse.
The woman said her family knew nothing at the time but added that “people at school” somehow found out, through rumour.
She added: “Even the teachers heard people saying these things and not one teacher pulled me to the side and asked me if things were all right.
“I was too scared to go and ask for help. But nobody said a word.”
She told police that, years after the abuse ended, she recognised photos of Ali Sultan and Ahmed from press reports on the Telford sex ring.
As an adult, she later picked out each of the five men at police identification parades.
The men will be sentenced on Thursday.
The force said that cases looked into under Operation Vapour were not necessarily linked.
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