Friday, 15 July 2011
A teenager said to have been the victim of multiple child-sex offences broke down and sobbed in court after 12 days of cross-examination by lawyers defending seven men accused of grooming, using and selling her for sex.

The 18-year-old wept after telling a jury that she had told “too many lies” to police investigating an alleged child-sex ring because she was trying to protect two brothers, Ahdel and Mubarek Ali, aged 23 and 28, who regularly sold her to restaurant workers for sex. “I was scared. They had so much control over my life. Anything they wanted me to do, they could get me to do it. They used my body for their benefit,” she said.

Her words came on the fifteenth day that the teenager had given evidence at Stafford Crown Court about events said to have taken place in Telford, Shropshire, between 2007, when she was aged 15, and 2009.

She and six other girls are alleged to have become ensnared by an underworld in which Asian men queued up to have sex with vulnerable children in exchange for cigarettes, alcohol, cannabis, mobile phones, food and cash.

The men in the dock, most of them married, are accused of 26 offences against the girl over a two-year period — controlling and facilitating child prostitution, trafficking within the UK for sexual exploitation, sexual activity with a child and paying for the sexual services of a child.

During the cross-examination, after she had already spent three days giving evidence to the prosecution, defence barristers repeatedly accused the 18-year-old of lying and of fabricating the sex crimes. They also questioned her closely about her alleged sexual encounters with adults.

Brian Dean, defending Mohammed Ali Sultan, 24, asked her why, if her story was true, she had remained in social contact with Asian men until shortly before the trial began. “It must have been awful to be used like that. You were being used, manipulated, controlled. It would have been a living nightmare for any young woman. It would have put you off Asian men for life, wouldn’t it?” he asked.

“Not all Asian men are the same,” the 18-year-old replied. She said that the men in the dock were criminals.

Now a single mother, she told the jury that after spending her early years overseas where her father was serving in the Armed Forces, a “really happy” secure childhood changed in 2006, when she was 13 and her family returned to live in Britain. At her new school, she was initially bullied but was then befriended by an older girl who became a bad influence. She followed wherever the older girl went, which brought her into contact with the “not-so-nice people”. The girl began to play truant, to “hook up” with young Asian men and to stay out late, sometimes not returning home for three or four days at a time. Within a year her relationship with her parents had completely broken down.

During that period she is said to have come into contact with older men who befriended her, took her for car rides, gave her cigarettes, drugs and alcohol, had sex with her and then set out to exploit her for financial gain. The Ali brothers and a third man, Tanveer Ahmed, 39, are said to have taken her to restaurants, fish and chip shops and houses, where her sexual services were sold to up to five men at a time.

Re-examined by Deborah Gould, prosecuting, yesterday — the 18-year-old’s sixteenth day in the witness box — she said Mubarek Ali sold her to men three times a week on average. His brother sold her a couple of times a month. At the time, she thought the pair were “all right”. Now she felt angry about what they did to her. She had been “a bit scared” about what might happen to her and her family if she told the police about them. “I didn’t have any confidence in myself. I didn’t like myself,” she said.

The Ali brothers, Mr Ahmed, Mr Sultan, Mohammed Islam Choudhrey, 52, Noshad Hussain, 21, and Mahroof Khan, 33, deny a total of 52 child-sex offences. Their alleged victim com- pleted her evidence yesterday.

The trial continues.
Source: The Times


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