Telford abusers convicted of sexually assaulting vulnerable young girl

Four men from Telford have been jailed for abusing a “helpless” young girl who was “passed around like a piece of meat”, sold for sex and raped.

The victim told how she was forced to perform sex acts in a churchyard, raped above a shop on a filthy mattress, and violently abused when she tried to refuse their advances.

In all, five men went on trial at Birmingham Crown Court, leading to convictions for four of the defendants while another was cleared.

Sentencing the group to between four-and-a-half and eight years on Thursday, a judge said the men had abused a “helpless” victim, who had been groomed until she was no longer in effective control of her own life”.

Addressing the ring-leader Mohammed Ali Sultan, Recorder of Birmingham, Judge Melbourne Inman QC, said: “The victim was clearly extremely frightened of you, and you exercised significant control over her.”

Turning to the three other men, he said: “There were a group of you using this girl, you all tended to meet in the same type of areas; a churchyard, or near a pizza place.”

The offences took place in the Telford area of the West Midlands sometime between 2001 and 2002, and started when the girl, now an adult, was just 13.

The victim said she was assaulted by other unidentified males, with the abuse continuing until she was in her mid-teens, the jury heard.

Opening the trial, Michelle Heeley QC had said: “This case involves the sexual exploitation of a young girl, a girl passed around like a piece of meat for the sexual gratification of several young men, some of whom are in the dock.”

Jurors were told that the vulnerable victim was sold for sex, first by a man named Tanveer Ahmed, who had “befriended her” during a low point in her life.

Ahmed, who did takeaway deliveries at Perfect Pizza in the town, was not on trial alongside the other defendants, having been deported to Pakistan for “unrelated offences”, the court heard.

Jurors did not hear how Ahmed, then 40 and formerly of Urban Gardens, in nearby Wellington, was jailed for two-and-a-half years after admitting a charge of controlling a child prostitute as part of a series of court cases that ended in 2013.

He was one of seven men jailed after an investigation into a child prostitution ring in Telford, as part of West Mercia Police’s Operation Chalice inquiry.

Later, the victim came into contact with the first defendant, Ali Sultan (pictured, right), 33, formerly of Telford, whom she said also sold her for sex, raped and abused her.

The jury was told that he already had convictions in both 2012 and 2015 for “similar offences against young girls” – the last of which he was serving the remainder of a six year prison term for.

Ali Sultan was also among the seven men originally convicted following the Chalice investigation into the abuse and prostitution of children in Telford.

During the trial, jurors watched video-recorded interviews with the victim, in which she told detectives of enduring two years of “hell” and of repeatedly contemplating taking her own life as she was traded to different men for “months and months”.

She claimed to have been taken to a flat above the Perfect Pizza shop “to have sex with Asians”, and “lost count” of the number of men at whose hands she suffered abuse.

She told police that, years after the abuse ended, she recognised photos of Ali Sultan and Ahmed from press reports on the Telford sex ring.

Asked why she did not tell anyone about exactly what happened until years later, she replied: “Why should somebody be able to do those things and get away with it?”

She later picked out each of the five men at police identification parades.

On Tuesday, Ali Sultan was unanimously convicted of rape and three counts of indecent assault.

Jailing “controlling” and abusive Ali Sultan for eight years, the judge said: “When last at liberty, you clearly attacked a number of victims over a prolonged period.

“Now the full extent of your offending is apparent, you’ve shown no remorse in relation to the present allegations and no insight as far as I can see into the offending.

“You remain, clearly, a very dangerous man.”

Imposing a two-year extended licence period, the judge added: “You will be eligible for release, after serving two thirds of your sentence, but won’t be entitled to release until the Parole Board is satisfied you don’t represent a danger of the public.”

Co-defendant Mohammad Rizwan, 37, of Mafeking Road, Telford, was also convicted of two counts of indecent assault. Rizwan (pictured, left), who saved the girl’s phone number under the contact name “blowjob2”, was handed a five-and-a-half year jail term.

Shafiq Younas, 35, of Regent Street, Wellington, near Telford, who was convicted of indecently assaulting the victim in a churchyard, was jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Amjad Hussain, 38, of Acacia Drive, Leegomery, Telford, convicted of a single count of indecent assault on Tuesday, was also jailed for four-and-a-half years.

All the men must sign the sex offenders register, and both a sexual harm prevention order and restraining order were imposed on Ali Sultan.

A fifth man, Nazam Akhtar, 35, of Victoria Avenue, Wellington, was cleared of an allegation he raped the girl in the back of a car.

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) West Mercia Police / PA Wire.