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Bullfinch: Prosecution tells of 'distressing abuse'
VULNERABLE teenage girls were put through a “living hell” by a gang who raped and sold them for sex, a jury heard yesterday.
Nine men are on trial at the Old Bailey charged with running a child sex ring in Oxford.
The defendants “actively targeted” the girls who were from troubled upbringings and “plied” them with drink and drugs, the court heard.
Prosecutor Noel Lucas said the girls, then aged from 11 to 16, were taken to city hotels and private houses where they were made to have sex with strangers.
He said the girls were kept under guard and when they tried to escape they were threatened with violence. He also said men came from across the country to have sex with the girls.
The court heard one of the girls described her lifestyle as a “living hell” she could not get out of.
The depravity of what was done to the complainants was extremeNoel Lucas QC
Mr Lucas told the jury of seven men and five women: “This case concerns the sexual exploitation and corruption of children – young girls – by groups of men in the Oxford area.
“These defendants and others not before the court used and abused the six complainants persistently, over long periods of time, sometimes in groups, for their own sexual gratification and the sexual gratification of others.
“The depravity of what was done to the complainants was extreme.”
He added: “The girls who were chosen generally had troubled up-bringings and an unsettled home life.
“That combination made it less likely anyone would be exercising any normal parental control over them or indeed looking out for them.”
The 79 charges are said to have taken place between May 2004 and January last year.
Mr Lucas said the girls were initially given gifts and the "attention they craved”.
But he added: “The attention lavished on the girls at the outset was of course entirely insincere as it was merely a device to exploit their vulnerability.
“Having secured their confidence the men would ply the girls with alcohol and introduce them to drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, crack and heroin.
“The girls became addicted to certain drugs and felt unable to live without them. This made them even more dependent on the men.”
He said the girls were beaten and burnt as part of the “highly unpleasant and distressing abuse”.
Mr Lucas said all the defendants denied any sexual wrong-doing and claim they were wrongly identified, the girls consented, or they believed they were over 16.
Earlier, the court clerk had spent 30 minutes reading the 51-count indictment to the men who are aged between 24 and 38. The court was crowded with 19 barristers and more than 20 journalists.
Judge Peter Rook, inset, told the jury members they would have to put their emotions aside during the case, and make decisions based only on evidence, adding: “Emotions have no part to play in your deliberations.”
The trial continues and is expected to last up to 12 weeks.
Kamar Jamil, 27, of Aldrich Road, Summertown, Oxford, denies four rapes, three charges of conspiracy to rape, two of arranging or facilitating child prostitution, and one of trafficking for sexual exploitation.
Akhtar Dogar, 32, of Tawney Street, East Oxford, denies six rapes, three charges of conspiracy to rape, three of arranging or facilitating child prostitution, and trafficking for sexual exploitation.
Anjum Dogar, 30, of Tawney Street, East Oxford, denies four rapes, three charges of conspiracy to rape, three of arranging or facilitating child prostitution, and trafficking for sexual exploitation.
Assad Hussain, 32, of Ashhurst Way, Rose Hill, Oxford, denies two charges of conspiracy to rape and three of sexual activity with a child.
Mohammed Karrar, 38, of Kames Close, Cowley, denies seven rapes, four charges of conspiracy to rape, an alternative charge of conspiracy to commit sexual activity with a child, two of trafficking for sexual exploitation, two of arranging or facilitating child prostitution, assault, conspiracy to assault, using an instrument to procure a miscarriage, and supplying a Class A drug to another.
Bassam Karrar, 33, Hundred Acres Close, Cowley, denies three rapes, three charges of conspiracy to rape, two charges of arranging or facilitating child prostitution, trafficking for sexual exploitation, and conspiracy to assault.
Mohammed Hussain, 24, of Horspath Road, Cowley, Oxford, denies rape, conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child, and two charges of sexual activity with a child.
Zeeshan Ahmed, 27, of Palmer Road, Wood Farm, Oxford, denies two charges of conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child and two charges of sexual activity with a child.
Bilal Ahmed, 26, of Suffolk Road, Maidenhead, denies conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child and sexual activity with a child.
Thames Valley Police and Oxfordshire County Council have a special confidential helpline for anyone concerned about a child who may be at risk of sexual exploitation. The police and council team are available to take calls from anyone with concerns about their children or children they know. The helpline number is 01865 266255. Go to oxfordmail.co.uk/bullfinch for live coverage of the trial every day or follow it on Twitter via @TheOxfordMail