Sexual abuse of girl in Rotherham described as 'unimaginable' by NSPCC

(L-R) Makhmood, Ali and Iqbal have been jailed for a total of 21 years and nine months for 15 offences of indecent assault carried out against a girl
(L-R) Makhmood, Ali and Iqbal have been jailed for a total of 21 years and nine months for 15 offences of indecent assault carried out against a girl

The sexual abuse of a young girl in Rotherham has been described as 'unimaginable' by the NSPCC as the charity urged other victims to come forward.

The NSPCC spoke out after three Rotherham men - Riaz Makhmood, Sajid Ali and Zaheer Iqbal - were jailed for over 21 years between them for indecently assaulting a girl who was 12 and 13 at the time of the abuse in the mid 1990s.

They were prosecuted as part of Operation Stovewood - the National Crime Agency's investigation into child sexual exploitation and abuse between 1997 and 2013.

Riaz Makhmood, 39, of Falding Street; Ali, 38, of James Street and Iqbal, 39, of St Johns Avenue, all in Masbrough, were convicted of 15 counts of indecent assault between them.

All three were arrested in July 2016 after the victim, who is now in her thirties, told South Yorkshire Police that she and friends were plied with alcohol and sexually assaulted in car parks and behind shops in Masbrough.

Prosecutor, Sophie Drake, said the victim initially believed Ali was her boyfriend, before he pressurised her into performing sex acts on him, and began 'passing her round' to do the same to Iqbal and Makhmood.

Makhmood was jailed for six years and nine months and Ali and Iqbal each received sentences of seven and a half years.

Speaking after their trial, an NSPCC spokeswoman said: "What this group put their vulnerable victim through is unimaginable and her courage in speaking up has helped bring them to justice.

"We want every child to be able to spot exploitation for what it is and, if they find themselves in danger, know that it is categorically not their fault.

"Our Protect and Respect service helps to educate young people in how to spot grooming and potential abusers, find their way out of an exploitative cycle and help them on the road to recovery.”

Since Operation Stovewood was launched in 2014, a total of 28 arrested have been made and 21 suspects have been charged with 94 child abuse and exploitation offences.

Anyone with concerns about a child can contact the confidential NSPCC Helpline on 0808 8005000.

Children seeking advice and support can call Childline on 0800 1111.

.