'Predators' prepare to be jailed over child sexual exploitation in South Yorkshire

Six men branded ‘predators’ are preparing to be jailed tomorrow for a series of sex attacks on seven teenage girls in Rotherham over a decade ago.

Aftab Hussain, aged 40, Sharaz Hussain, 35, Abid Saddiq, 38, Masaued Malik, 35 and two other men, aged 35, and 32, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, were found guilty yesterday of sex offences dating back to the late 1990s and 2000s after a trial at Sheffield Crown Court.

They were prosecuted following an investigation by the National Crime Agency as part of Operation Stovewood, which is looking into non-recent sexual offences in Rotherham.

L-R Abid Saddiq and Aftab Hussain (Pic: PA)

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The NCA acted following the publication of a report which established that at least 1,400 children were abused in the town over between 1997 and 2013 while authorities failed to act.

More than 200 people are working on Operation Stovewood, with 313 alleged victims and survivors spoken to and 190 suspects identified so far.

L-R: Masaued Malik and Sharaz Hussain (Pic: PA

The four men convicted yesterday were branded ‘predators’ by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Kate Hurst, of the Organised Crime Division, said: "Each of these men knew the girls were either vulnerable and underage, and in some cases both, when they raped or sexually assaulted them. “They were reckless and did not care if they were children or not.

"Some of the men used threats of violence and they often had sex with these children while they were drunk or high on drugs.

“They tried to deny their responsibility claiming that the victims were lying or that they did not know they were underage.

"Our team worked very closely with the NCA over a significant period of time during the course of this investigation in advising, building and preparing this case effectively for trial.

“We were able to prove that these predators targeted and then abused girls in Rotherham for their own sexual satisfaction.”

The men, who are due to be sentenced tomorrow, preyed on teenage victims, often picking them up outside their schools.

Jurors heard how the girls were targeted due to their vulnerability and were given alcohol and drugs before some were raped by multiple men.

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

Aftab Hussain was found guilty of two indecent assault charges.

Saddiq was found guilty of two counts of rape, four counts of indecent assault and two counts of child abduction.

Malik was found guilty of three indecent assaults.

Sharaz Hussain was found guilty of four indecent assaults.

One of the defendants, who cannot be named, was found guilty of two indecent assaults and the other found guilty of one indecent assault and two counts of child abduction.