Rotherham victim ‘taken to Blackpool, locked away above restaurant and forced to have sex with men’

An alleged Rotherham child sexual exploitation victim was taken to Blackpool, locked away in a room above a restaurant and made to have sex with men for several months, a court heard.

Blackpool seafront
Blackpool seafront

The woman, who is now 31, told Sheffield Crown Court that her abuse had first started around 12 years old when she was living in a children’s home in the Rotherham area.

At the age of around 16 or 17, the girl was taken to Blackpool where she was locked in a room above a restaurant and made to have sex with men for several months.

When she was eventually rescued and brought back to South Yorkshire, the girl was discovered to be suffering from scabies, nits, chlamydia and gonorrhoea due to the conditions she had been kept in.

The woman, who is now 31, gave evidence as the trial of five men and seven woman accused of playing roles in a child grooming gang in Rotherham for over 10 years continued today.

Speaking in a pre-recorded police interview played to the jury, the woman said that when she was about 12 years old, defendant Basharat Hussain - known as ‘Bash’ - had picked her up with another older girl from the children’s home in a car carrying two other Asian men.

The complainant said Hussain had asked a member of staff if he could bring the girls back later that night and was given permission to.

She said: “Bash said to a member of staff, is it alright to bring her back at 11? They said ‘yeah’.”

She said after being taken out for a meal at a restaurant in Rotherham town centre, the other girl left the restaurant with someone else and she was driven back to the home by Hussain.

The woman said Hussain pulled the car over and started asking her questions about whether she had a boyfriend or had had sex before.

She said she was then made to perform sex acts on each of the three men, starting with Hussain.

“I was in a car on my own. I was a 12 year old girl. They had taken us out, we had food and drink. I just thought it is what I had to do,” she said.

She said she was dropped off at the children’s home and told she would be picked up again the following day.

When she was 16, the girl was moved to live in a hostel.

She said ‘two lads who hung about with us said Bash wanted us to drop something off in Blackpool’.

She went to Blackpool with them where she was left at a restaurant.

“I thought they were coming back but they never did,” she said.

The complainant said she was initially made to work in a restaurant but was then made to have sex with different men, including the restaurant owner known as ‘Mo’ and his son ‘Acky’.

She said the first person who had sex with her was an ‘Asian guy with an American accent’.

The complainant said Mo would have sex with her on a daily basis and spoke about taking her to Pakistan to marry her.

She said she managed to escape after speaking to a waitress in a nearby cafe before staff from Rotherham child sexual exploitation service Risky Business came to get her back after being alerted to what had happened.

The woman said: “There were weeks when I just worked in the restaurant and weeks where three to four times I would have to go upstairs with everybody.”

She said in her first few weeks at the restaurant, ‘Mo’ used to lock her in her room and recalled the first time he had sex with her.

“I just remember lying there and letting him have sex with me. I think people think it is easy for you just to say no,” she said.

“It just happened. I was only a little skinny thing. I knew I were going to have to sleep with him.

“He got up locked my door and then he went.”

The woman added: “He was saying he was going to take me to Pakistan to be his wife. It made me feel terrified. I didn’t think I was going to Pakistan, I thought I was just going to disappear.”

She said she had seen Hussain outside the restaurant shortly after being moved there, but was not allowed to speak to him herself.

She said the room she was kept in was dirty and had no hot water, giving her no way to keep herself clean.

The woman said that after she was rescued, she had to be taken to a doctor in Blackpool because her scabies was so bad.

When she returned to South Yorkshire and was moved to a hostel in Sheffield, it was discovered she had also contracted sexually-transmitted diseases.

She said: “I felt dirty, I was dirty.”

Under cross examination via video link from Gillian Batts, representing Hussain, the woman accepted she was now being represented by solicitors pursuing a claim for damages against South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Council.

But she denied coming forward to police after seeing ‘an opportunity to make some money’.

Miss Batts said her client says the woman had never met him in person.

Basharat Hussain, 39, of no fixed abode, denies one rape, five indecent assaults, one count of procuring a girl under 21 to have unlawful sexual intercourse with another, false imprisonment, three counts of indecency with a child, one count of procuring a woman under 21 to become a common prostitute, two assaults occasioning actual bodily harm and one count of making threats to kill.

The trial continues.