NewsCrime Desk

Brothers among six people convicted of child sex exploitation

Qurban Ali
Qurban Ali

Three brothers and their uncle are among six people convicted of the sexual exploitation of teenage girls in Rotherham.

Arshid, Basharat and Bannaras Hussain - known as Mad Ash, Bash and Bono - formed a violent, gun-toting, drug-dealing family who appeared to operate with impunity in the South Yorkshire town, a court heard.

Women described how they were raped, beaten and passed between abusers and used as prostitutes by a gang led by the three men, who "owned" Rotherham.

Arshid, 40, and Basharat, 39, were found guilty of multiple rapes and indecent assaults following a trial at Sheffield Crown Court.

Bannaras, 36, had admitted 10 charges including rape, indecent assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm at the start of the trial.

Arshid Hussain, Basharat Hussain and Bannaras Hussain

Their uncle, Qurban Ali, 53, was convicted of conspiracy to rape. Karen MacGregor, 58, and Shelley Davies, 40, were found guilty of conspiracy to procure prostitutes and false imprisonment.

Brothers Majid Bostan, 37 and Sajid Bostan, 38, were cleared of all charges.

Some of the 15 women who were abused by the gang watched the verdicts from the public gallery overlooking the packed court, some holding hands with each other.

Arshid Hussain, who was portrayed as the gang's ringleader and claims to be paraplegic, appeared from his bed at home via video link and looked asleep.

Judge Sarah White told the jury of six men and six women that Arshid's wife had called an ambulance during the verdicts and he had been taken to hospital, despite his bail being revoked.

Karen MacGregor, 58 and Shelley Davies, 40

Michelle Colborne QC, prosecuting, said this appeared to be a deliberate attempt to frustrate the judicial process.

Ms Colborne said: "Mr Hussain is en route to Scunthorpe Hospital. I understand he is unwell. He's not speaking to the police with him.

"I have instructed the police to ask him directly whether he's willing to attend court or whether he determined to disobey your honour's order."

The six convicted people will be sentenced on Friday.

The abused women described how they were were targeted in their young teens and subjected to brutal treatment as they were passed around men who raped and beat them.

Some of the victims said they were trafficked, locked up, physically assaulted and threatened with death.

Lawyers for Arshid, who the court heard had children with seven women all over England, said he had been bed-ridden for the last two years following a shooting in 2005.

One of his victims told the jury she was glad he got shot, calling it "karma".

Another victim, now 33, said she thought she was going to die when her hands and feet were tied and she had petrol poured over her. A woman, now 36, explained how she was abused from the age of 11 with Arshid passing her on to his brother and friends, often as "payment" for debts.

One girl said the Hussain brothers "owned" Rotherham, while another told the jury: "The police gave them a free card to do what they wanted."

MacGregor, described in court as a "mother figure", took in girls from children's homes, purporting to give them haven and support.

But she allowed them to be abused and kept captive, telling them they needed to "earn their keep" by having sex with a succession of visiting men.

MacGregor even set up a support group - Kin Kids - for family members looking after children whose parents could no longer cope. Kin Kids, which had the support of Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey, was due to be given charitable status when MacGregor was arrested.

The convictions of the Hussain brothers and their associates is the first successful prosecution of a grooming gang in Rotherham since the child sexual exploitation scandal engulfed the town 18 months ago.

Rotherham became a byword for the exploitation of teenage girls and the failure of police and social workers to stop it happening with the publication of the Jay Report in August 2014.