Six men found guilty of sexual exploitation of teenage girls in Rotherham

Six men have been found guilty at Sheffield Crown Court of a string of sex offences relating to the sexual exploitation of teenage girls in Rotherham more than a decade ago.

Wednesday, 28th August 2019, 6:25 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd September 2019, 1:04 pm
Clockwise from top left: Aftab Hussain, Sharaz Hussain, Abid Saddiq and Masaued Malik.

Aftab Hussain, 40, Abid Saddiq, 38, Masaued Malik, 35, Sharaz Hussain, 35 and two men who cannot be named for legal reasons, will be sentenced on Friday by a judge who heard how teenage girls were preyed on by men, often picking them up outside their schools.

During a five-week trial, the jury heard how the girls were targeted due to their vulnerability and were given alcohol and drugs before some were raped by multiple men.

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Violence was sometimes used to ensure they complied, the court heard.

Wednesday's convictions are the latest to arise from the huge National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation into what happened in the South Yorkshire town between 1997 and 2013.

Operation Stovewood Senior Investigating Officer, Philip Marshall, said: “Today, six more men join the other 14 who have already been convicted of sexually abusing young girls in Rotherham, going back as far as 1997.

“They exploited vulnerable girls for their own sexual gratification and I am glad that today, they have been held accountable for their devastating actions.

“The victims in this case have shown immense courage and bravery in re-living what happened to them and I would like to thank them for helping us bring their abusers to justice.”

The NCA was invited in following the Jay Report which shocked the nation in 2014 when it outlined the scale of the offending against children in the town.

The agency - which now has more than 200 people working on Operation Stovewood and had a budget last year of just under £12 million - has now engaged with 313 alleged victims and survivors and identified 190 suspects.

Previously the agency has said it believes 1,510 teenagers were exploited in Rotherham during the period.

Asked how many years Operation Stovewood could take, NCA regional head of investigations Rob Burgess said: "Putting a time on it is not right, it's not fair in those circumstances.

"This is about pursuing the investigation to a point where, effectively, we've no longer got any victims that we can deal with.

"And, in reality that will take as long as it does.”

All six men were remanded in custody and will be sentenced on Friday, September 30 at Sheffield Crown Court.