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Horrific details of alleged sex abuse gang heard in court

NewsBy Sunday World
One of the accused, Karen MacGregor
One of the accused, Karen MacGregor

Teenage girls in Rotherham were "targeted, sexualised and in some instances subjected to acts of a degrading and violent nature", a jury has been told.

Five men and two women have gone on trial accused of roles in the sexual exploitation of children in the South Yorkshire town over a period of more than 10 years.

Opening the case for the prosecution, Michelle Colborne QC told Sheffield Crown Court: "It is alleged that in differing ways they facilitated the sexual abuse of teenage girls.

"You will hear evidence from 12 women who were targeted, sexualised and in some instances subjected to acts of a degrading and violent nature."

Ms Colborne said one defendant, Arshid Hussain, 40, - known as Mad Ash - played a key role.

She said: "He was domineering and, in some instances, brutal in his treatment of girls.

"He used them for his own gratification, then often prostituted them or passed them on to his brothers or associates of his.

"He was assisted in differing ways by the other defendants, each willingly engaged in exploitative behaviour and using the girls to their own ends."

Arshid Hussain, 40, Qurban Ali, 53; Majid Bostan, 37; Sajid Bostan, 38; Basharat Hussain, 39; Karen MacGregor, 58; and Shelley Davies, 40, all deny a total of 63 charges between them.

Ms Colborne said the first alleged victim, who is now 43, was befriended by the two women defendants - Davies and MacGregor - in the late 1980s.

The prosecutor said that one night she passed out in MacGregor's house after drinking vodka with a group of about six men.

She said the girl woke up to find herself being sexually assaulted by an unknown man. She said she shouted for help but no-one came.

Ms Colborne said: "(She) was plied with vodka to a point where she was incapacitated and taken upstairs by Karen MacGregor with the intention that the unidentified male would have sexual intercourse with her."

She told the jury of six men and six women: "Was Karen MacGregor a kind and generous member of society, allowing vulnerable teenage girls to stay at her home out of the goodness of her heart, or was there some motive behind it all?

"The prosecution say she deliberately set out to make girls available for sexual encounters with older men."

The second alleged victim, who is now 36, was subjected to regular sex attacks by Arshid Hussain who passed her round to other men when she was in the care of the local authority, Ms Colborne said.

The prosecutor told the jury: "His exploitation of (her) was violent and protracted.

"Initially she attempted to say no but was always beaten if she refused and quickly learned to give in to his demands."

Ms Colborne said: "He passed her to his brother and friends and, over time, gave her as a payment to men for debts he owed.

"She was beaten, had a cigarette stubbed out on her chest, she was tied up, she was raped orally, vaginally and anally from a very young age, often by numerous men, one after the other, at the say-so of Arshid Hussain."

She said: "She was insecure and vulnerable and believed he was her boyfriend."

She told the court: "Her recollection is that the violence became a regular thing when she lived at the children's home and seemingly no one was interested in whether she returned in a bloodied state."

Ms Colborne said: "Throughout these years in the care system, before (the girl) turned 16, she had to have sex with different Asian men on a daily basis.

"They were older than her. Some were in their 30s and sometimes there were up to three a day.

"Arshid Hussain would put pressure on her to do it and leave her with no choice - if she loved him, she would do it, if she didn't then he would hurt her."

Ms Colborne told the jury how this girl stayed at MacGregor's house for a number of weeks and "she wasn't permitted to leave".

During this time Asian men were brought to the house and she was told to have sex with them in exchange for being looked after.

"On one occasion she tried to escape through a window but Karen MacGregor caught her and she was beaten," the prosecutor said.

"Her belief was that the women got money in exchange for her performing sexual acts with the men."

Ms Colborne said that this girl eventually escaped and later left Rotherham but she returned to the town when she was 20.

She told the jury how, after she returned, she was raped in a pub by Arshid Hussain as Sajid Bostan held her legs.

"When he was finished he spat at her and told Saj that he could 'have her'," the prosecutor said.

"Her legs were tied in the sheet and she was subjected to vaginal and anal rape by him.

"She repeatedly asked them to stop and Ash told her not to waste his time."

Turning to another of the alleged victims, Ms Colborne said Basharat Hussain - Arshid Hussain's brother - picked this girl up from a children's home when she was 12-year-old.

She said a staff member said it was OK to take her and bring her back by 11pm.

Despite telling Basharat Hussain - known as Bash - her age and that she was a virgin, she was forced to have oral sex with him and other men in a car, the prosecutor said.