Nine men from Bradford have been jailed for raping and abusing two teenage girls from a children’s home, in 2008, following a six week long trial. A tenth defendant was cleared of rape. The nine men have been convicted of 22 offences of rape and inciting child prostitution and have been handed down sentences ranging from 20 years to 18 months.
The girls were 14 years old at the time the abuse began. Bradford Crown Court heard how Basharat Khaliq first met the girls in 2008, when he was 27 years old. He took them to a petrol station and bought them a bottle of vodka. He then continued to groom and repeatedly rape one of the girls over the next few years using drink, drugs and violence. Khaliq also abused Ms Goddard on one occasion.
The court heard how the victims also met brothers Saeed and Naveed Akthar at around the same time as Khaliq. The abuse then continued with the brothers at Saeed’s former address on Saffron Drive for a number of years.
Fiona Goddard, who was one of the victims of the abuse, has decided to waive her legal right to life-long anonymity. Ms Goddard came forward in 2014 following the Rotherham abuse scandal. Ms Goddard stated that “I would like to assure people that if they did come forward, they would be believed and supported. That there is nothing to be ashamed of.”
Speaking outside court, Ms Goddard told the BBC:
“These men have influenced every aspect of my life, for as long as I can remember. Today, I got to stand in front of them and take that control back and know that they are never going to impact my life again.”
Prosecutor Karma Melly QC said
“Some of the defendants were actually forceful, threatening and violent, others used alcohol and drugs, and others created a manipulated relationship in order to facilitate their sexual exploitation. Fiona was used for sex by the men that came to the property. She was used by Saeed to get drugs and bring them back, she was told to go and meet dealers and to ensure she came back with drugs though she was given no money for them. She was in effect used as a prostitute on his instruction.”
While sentencing the gang Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC said:
“You appear not to have shown any respect for the minimum standards of decent behaviour. Your primary victim sits in court and that lady has shown the utmost courage. No doubt for years she felt she had no voice and that she was powerless – well she’s got a voice now.”
Bradford Council have made a statement and said:
“The Safeguarding Board will look closely at this case to see if there are any lessons we can learn that could help us keep young people safer.”
If you have been a victim of abuse and would like to speak to one of our specialist abuse lawyers in confidence, please do not hesitate to contact us. We can advise you on the available options for pursuing a civil damages claim. Jordans successfully represent and secure compensation for numerous victims of abuse and are experts in overcoming the particular challenges that arise in these sensitive cases. Our abuse team can be contacted on 0800 9555 094.