‘Vile and wicked’ grooming gang members jailed for sexual abuse in Huddersfield

Four men who were members of a gang that groomed and sexually abused vulnerable girls in Huddersfield have been jailed by a judge who told them their abuse “defies understanding”.

Leeds Crown Court heard on Thursday how some of the three teenage victims of Mohammed Akram, Niaz Ahmed, Mohammed Imran Ibrar and Asif Bashir (pictured, l-r) were plied with drugs and alcohol before being abused against their will.

The four men were convicted of committing offences against the girls between 2004 and 2010 as part of a cycle “of depravity and exploitation”.

A judge told them that the girls’ victim impact statements made for “harrowing reading”, adding that one girl felt like she was “used goods” at the age of just 17 and only managed to escape the defendants when she became pregnant.

The four were members of a 20-strong gang of men that carried out the “inhuman” abuse of a total of 15 girls over a period spanning from 2004 to 2011.

The gang was split into three separate trials, with Akram, Ahmed, Ibrar and Bashir being found guilty of 10 offences by a jury last month.

It was towards the end of the second of these trials, in May, that English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson was arrested as he reported about the case live on Facebook from outside the court.

The gang was spearheaded by ringleader Amere Singh Dhaliwal, 36, of Holly Road, Huddersfield, who was given a life sentence with a minimum term of 18 years by a judge at Leeds Crown Court in June, having been convicted of 22 rapes involving 11 different girls.

The four defendants sentenced on Thursday were jailed for a total of 36 years between them, making the total sentence for the 20 gang members 257 years.

Judge Simon Phillips QC told Akram, 33, of Springdale Street, Huddersfield, Ahmed, 54, Ibrar, 34, and Bashir, 33: “The way that you treated these girls defies understanding, this abuse was vile and wicked.”

He added that the girls became “conditioned and immersed” in the abuse, with one saying in a statement read to the court that she felt as though her life was at risk every time she left the house, adding: “It has basically ruined the rest of my life.”

Judge Phillips told the court how some of the complainants were watching the sentencing on Thursday via a TV link.

He said: “It is likely that all of these girls will never recover from the abuse they suffered.

“I have seen them in their DVDs and in the witness box and it is clear that they all have been and remain profoundly affected by the abuse which ended some years ago.”

Addressing Akram, who was jailed for 17 years after being convicted of two counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation and two of rape, the judge said he had shown a “complete disregard for the safety of the girls”.

The court heard how, when he crashed his car into the wall of a mosque, he ran away and left two of the victims at the scene of the accident when they “clearly were in need of medical attention”.

Ahmed, of Woodthorpe Terrace, Huddersfield, was told he was prepared to abuse girls for his own “sexual gratification” as he was sentenced to five years in jail for sexual assault and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Ibrar, of Manchester Road, Huddersfield, was jailed for three years after being found guilty of trafficking for sexual exploitation and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, while Bashir, of Thornton Lodge Road, Huddersfield, was sentenced to 11 years after being convicted of rape and attempted rape.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) West Yorkshire Police / PA Wire.