Gang of '˜despicable predators' abused South Yorkshire girls as young as 13 who '˜just wanted to be loved'

A gang of '˜despicable predators' who preyed upon vulnerable South Yorkshire girls '˜who just wanted to be loved' have been found guilty of a string of sex offences.Â

Monday, 29th October 2018, 3:12 pm
Updated Monday, 29th October 2018, 3:18 pm
Top row (L-R): Salah Ahmed El-Hakam; Nabeel Kurshid; Tanweer Ali pictured outside court Bottom row (L-R): Iqlak Yousef and Ali Akhtar outside court and custody image of Asif Ali

The five victims were finally given justice this morning, when the jury of nine men and three women found Mohammed Imran Ali Akhtar, Nabeel Kurshid, Iqlaq Yousaf and Tanweer Ali, Salah Ahmed El-Hakam, Asif Ali and a seventh defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, guilty of 24 sex offences. 

The offences took place in Rotherham between 1998 and 2005 when the all of the victims were children, one of whom was just 13-years-old when the abuse started. 

When she opened the case at the beginning of the eight-week trial last month, Prosecutor Michelle Colborne QC told Sheffield Crown Court how the gang routinely plied their victims with alcohol and drugs

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

"When they were in their teens, they were targeted, sexualised and, in some instances, subjected to acts of a degrading and violent nature at the hands of these men who sit in the dock."

Ms Colborne said the girls had unsettled home lives. "None of them had the maturity to understand that they were being groomed and exploited," she said.  The prosecutor said they '˜believed sex of some kind or other was a necessary price for friendship'. 

Referring to two sisters who were abused by Ali-Akhtar and Ali, Ms Colborne added: '"These sisters, like so many others, were easy to exploit because they needed to be loved." 

Throughout the course of the trial the court heard how the girls told that the abuse was mainly carried out at night in a variety of secluded or derelict locations, including empty houses where there was no electricity. They were often sexually abused on mattresses on the floor and locked in rooms so that they couldn't escape.  One of the girls also recalled being driven to a remote spot by two of the men where one of them began to '˜grope' her. She explained that when she became distressed he said, 'it's better if you just get it over and done with and then you can go back home'.

In a police interview played to the court, Girl B, said she had been abused by '˜100 Asian men by the time I was 16'. 

The gang remained silent as Judge Sarah Wright remanded them into custody, ahead of their sentencing on November 16. 


Read More

Read More
Gang of seven men guilty of grooming and sexually abusing girls in South Yorkshi...


Yesterday's convictions marked what, Robin Pearson, Investigations Manager for the National Crime Agency, described as a '˜significant milestone' in Operation Stovewood '“ the NCA's investigation into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1998 and 2013. 

Speaking after the hearing, he added: "All of the victims were young children, they were from largely vulnerable backgrounds, they were vulnerable to grooming techniques used by these men. Plied with alcohol, plied with drugs, made to think that the behaviour was normal. And then they were sexually abused  passed around, purely for the gratification for the predators...and frankly their behaviour has been despicable throughout.' 

The jury also acquitted Ajmal Rafiq, 39, of Warwick Street, Rotherham of the two counts of false imprisonment and indecent he faced. 

The seventh defendant was also acquitted of one count of rape and one count of abducting a child. 


The defendants and list of charges are: 

Ali Akhtar, 36, of Godstone Road, Rotherham: one count of rape; one count of aiding and abetting rape; three counts of indecent assault; one count of procuring a girl under 21 to have sexual intercourse and one count of sexual assault Kurshid, 35, of Weetwood Road, Rotherham: two counts of rape and one count of indecent assault  Yousaf, 34, of Tooker Road, Rotherham: two counts of rape and two counts of indecent assault  Ali, 36, of Godstone Road, Rotherham: two counts of rape, two counts of indecent assault and one count of false imprisonment  Ahmed El-Hakam, 39, of Tudor Close, Darnall: one count of rape  Ali, 33, of HMP Rye Hill, Northampton: two counts of indecent assault  A seventh defendant who cannot be named: two counts of rape