Peterborough gang found guilty of rape charges at Old Bailey

A child sex gang has been found guilty of a series of rapes against five vulnerable girls in Peterborough, one as young as 12 years old.

Zdeno Mirga, 18, who was described by one victim as the “boss”, was convicted of eight counts of rape and one count of inciting child prostitution, following a trial at the Old Bailey.

Two boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were convicted unanimously of various counts of rape and sexual assault.

Later, Hassan Abdulla, 33, was convicted by a majority of the jury of four rapes and three counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Another boy was also found guilty by a majority of sexual activity with a child, but cleared of rape.

The gang, who are of Czech, Slovak and Kurdish backgrounds, abused five girls aged between 12 and 14 in Peterborough.

Victims A and B are of Czech/Slovak origin, while the other girls, victims C, D and E, are English.

The case came to light when victim A was taken into care and began to tell her social worker what had been happening to her.

She was 12-13 years old at the time of the offences from April to December last year.

Zdeno Mirga’s brother Dusan, 20, David Ziga, 19, and a teenage boy, were cleared by the jury, who deliberated for nearly 34 hours.

Judge John Bevan QC adjourned for sentencing on February 20.

Afterwards, detective superintendent Gary Ridgway said: “Today’s convictions are part of the ongoing joint inquiry by Cambridgeshire Constabulary and Peterborough City Council’s Children’s social care to safeguard young people and bring offenders to justice.

“This case was entirely victim-led. We, along with Peterborough City Council Children’s Services, identified young people who we believed were at risk of harm, engaged with them and, as a result, identified a number of people who were exploiting them.

“These girls were targeted simply because they were vulnerable. They were seen as easy targets and exploited by this group of teenage boys and young men who abused them for their own sexual gratification.

“The victims, who were as young as 12 years old, were subjected to horrific ordeals. But they have shown incredible strength throughout this process: in particular by giving evidence at court in order to bring these people to justice. We are committed to helping those girls pick up the pieces and move on with their lives.

“Our priority has always been, and remains, to safeguard young people. We will continue to work with the city council and other partner agencies to keep young people safe from harm.”