Five men have been sentenced to a total of 28-and-a-half years for sexually exploiting a ‘very vulnerable’ 13-year-old Sheffield runaway.
Shakeal Rehman, aged 26, Mohammed Shapal, 22, Bekir Rasheed and Yaseen Amini, 36, were all found guilty of trafficking for sexual activity at Sheffield Crown Court today following a lengthy trial.
Amini, of Lopham Street, Burngreave, was also found guilty of sexual activity with a child, and was given five-and-a-half years in prison.
Usman Ali, aged 21, and Shapal were found guilty of sexual activity with a child while Rehman was found guilty of rape.
Rehman was given 12 years in prison, Rasheed and Shapal both got four years in jail and Amini was given five-and-a-half years.
Ali was locked up for three years.
Sentencing them at Sheffield Crown Court, Judge Johnathan Durham-Hall said the men thought they were ‘untouchable’.
He said: “You think you can do what you want, you are untouchable, but you are not.”
“It is self evident that she was a very vulnerable, impressionable child. “You each in turn subjected her to an appalling ordeal in your various compartmentalised participations.”
There were angry scenes in court as Rehman was sentenced.
He shouted at the judge before being escorted from the dock by a prison guard shouting: “12 years for something I didn’t do?”
The court heard the 13-year-old Sheffield girl ran away from home last summer to Bradford.
She was picked up in a car by Rehman and Shapal, taken to a hotel and raped by Rehman.
Shapal returned later and told the teenager he loved her and that she was ‘beautiful’ and ‘gorgeous’ – and then had sex with her too.
Opening the case for the prosecution, Thomas Storey said: “This is about the child sexual exploitation of a 13-year-old girl by five defendants, and others, in summer last year.
“The young girl ran away from home in Sheffield, and was found a week or so later in Bradford.
“Afterwards she was spoken to at length by the police, and she told them various offences had been committed against her by these five men – and by another man who is still wanted by the police.”
Mr Storey said the girl, who had only just celebrated her 13th birthday, initially spent two nights with a man called ‘Shaz’ – who had sex with her and has never been caught.
Then, when he threw her out on the street, she was picked up by Rehman and Shapal, both from Bradford, who took her to a hotel in a silver VW Golf.
She told police Rehman pinned her to the bed and raped her.
Mr Storey said: “He held her around the neck so she couldn’t breathe. She told him to stop. She also told him she was just 13.”
Mr Storey said the next day a third man, Usman Ali, aged 21, from Bradford, picked up the girl in his car, and he too had sex with her.
Two days later Yaseen Amini, aged 36, had sex with the girl as well, at a party after she was driven there by Rasheed.
Speaking after the hearing, detective inspector Helen Tate of South Yorkshire Police said: “Today marks the conclusion of a complex and protracted investigation of the sexual exploitation of a vulnerable child.
“What happened to the victim has had a huge and profound impact on her life and the lives of her family.
“I cannot put into words what this child experienced at the hands of these men.
“To be a victim of any sexual offence is horrendous but then to engage in a process where you have to relive that ordeal and to describe to those in detail the intricacies of the event is hard to comprehend.
“It’s bad enough for an adult but we are talking about a 13-year-old child who has had to engage with people in authority and re-tell her story as part of the judicial process. “Crown court is a necessary but daunting experience for a victim of any sexual offence.
“It is admirable that she has shown the strength of character to see it through to the end.
“I can only hope that the verdicts reached today will give the victim and her family some small degree of comfort knowing that those responsible are now behind bars.
“This is a start of a long process for the family to try and put this horrendous ordeal behind them.
“This kind of criminality can only be addressed by partnership work and by the help of communities as a whole to stand up and not accept this abuse.
She added: “We hope that by securing convictions for these crimes today we send a warning to those individuals who choose to exploit young people. “You will be found and brought to justice.”