VULNERABLE young girls were groomed and sexually exploited in a “pattern repeated time and time again”, the Old Bailey heard this morning.
The jury was told the nine men accused of involvement in a child sex gang in Oxford had “actively targeted” girls from troubled homes lives.
And prosecutor Noel Lucas said the six complainants who testified in the case had been “ideal candidates” for abuse by the gang, After three months, evidence in the trial finished last week.
Beginning his closing speech this morning, Mr Lucas told the jury: “This is the start of the final chapter of this long trial.”
He said: “I told you in opening that the complainants had been actively targeted because they were vulnerable young girls; children who were out playing truant.
“Having heard the evidence in the case, you may feel that that is precisely what happened.
“We submit it is a pattern which repeats itself time after time again in this case.”
He said the alleged victims known as Girl 1, 2, 3, and 4 – who claim they were raped and trafficked for sex from 2004 to 2008 – were “vulnerable young women”.
He said: “Each had been found by various combinations of these defendants.
“Each had been groomed. Each had been provided with affection, alcohol and drugs and gifts. Each was made to provide sexual services.”
He added: “Each of the first four complainants are now that little bit older and are able to look on that time of their lives as something they are ashamed of and anxious to forget.”
He also reminded the jury that Girl 5 and 6 were only 16 and 17, adding: “Neither (Girl 5) nor (Girl 6), it would seem, has reached the point of looking back on their young selves and realising what they have been put through.”
Judge Peter Rook last week told the jury he hoped to send them out to consider verdicts on May 1.
The defendants deny the charges. The trial continues.