Girl, 13, dropped Rotherham rape complaint after police lost her clothes - court

Sageer Hussain appeared on Channel 4 News, a court heard. Pic: YouTube
Sageer Hussain appeared on Channel 4 News, a court heard. Pic: YouTube

A 13-year-old girl withdrew allegations of being repeatedly raped and physically attacked after police in Rotherham lost clothes that could have provided DNA evidence, a court heard.

The now-adult woman said South Yorkshire Police officers in 2003 had offered her 'no protection' after she told them she had been sexually assaulted on several occasions by Sageer Hussain.

Hussain and seven other men are on trial at Sheffield Crown Court accused of historic child sexual exploitation offences between 1999 and 2003 in Rotherham against three teenage girls.

The woman, giving evidence behind a screen, was asked by Kitty Taylor, representing Hussain, why she had withdrawn allegations she had made in April 2003 around a week after speaking to police.

She said: "I withdrew it because they 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. That is why I withdrew."

The court heard the woman later received more than £20,000 from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority in relation to the sexual assault allegations she had made to police in 2003.

Mrs Taylor said no identification parade had taken place at the time and the woman had only picked Hussain out of a parade in June 2015, around two years after he had appeared on Channel 4 News.

The woman said she had been shown a 2003 picture of Hussain and the Channel 4 report had nothing to do with her ability to recognise him.

She said: "I have never forgotten his face. I would know his face in 40 years if I saw it."

The woman said she had initially lied to her parents between January and March 2003 when she started associating with older Asian males with her friends.

She said: "I was always home on time. I had always been a good kid, I had never lied until that point.

"They never thought to question me when I said I was at my friend's. I wasn't missing - they didn't see any cause for concern at that time."

Mrs Taylor asked why the woman hadn't told her parents what was happening to her.

She said: "I thought I would be in trouble and would disappoint them.

"I thought I was the bad one."

Mrs Taylor said the girl had invented the allegations and told her parents after she came home with an injury and neighbours had seen Asian men outside their house.

The barrister said: "You realised then you had to cover up about what you had been doing and where you had really been.

"You had to make up you had been raped to explain what you had really been up to in the last month.

"If you told the truth about who these Asian lads were, you knew you would have been in a lot of trouble."

The girl said that was not the case.

She said: "No, I was raped.

"I was 13. I didn't tell them because I thought I was the bad one. I couldn't understand what was happening.

"I was a child, a lot of them were adults."

Mrs Taylor said the witness has made money from speaking about her experiences of child sexual exploitation and writing a book about it. The court heard she is also involved in an ongoing compensation claim against South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Council.

Mrs Taylor said the witness saw child sexual exploitation as an 'opportunity to make money'.

The witness said: "This is not about money. It is about justice."

Sageer Hussain, 30, of Clough Road, Rotherham, denies four rapes and one indecent assault.

Mohammed Whied, 32, of Psalters Lane, Rotherham, denies one count of aiding and abetting rape.

Ishtiaq Khaliq, 33, of Carlisle Street, Rotherham, denies one rape and three indecent assaults.

Waleed Ali, 34, of Canklow Road, Rotherham, denies one rape and one indecent assault.

Asif Ali, 30, of Clough Road, Rotherham, denies one rape.

Masoued Malik, 32, of Bridgewater Way, Rotherham, denies one rape, one count of conspiracy to commit indecent assault and one of false imprisonment.

Basharat Hussain, 40, from Goole, denies one indecent assault.

Naeem Rafiq, 33, of Clarenden Road, Rotherham, denies one count of conspiracy to commit indecent assault and one of false imprisonment.

The case continues.

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