One of the victims of a paedophile ring convicted of grooming vulnerable underage girls for sexual exploitation has considered suicide, a UK court heard today.
Statements from some of the victims’ parents were read out at the Old Bailey ahead of the sentencing of the gang, in which they described how the seven defendants had ruined their daughters’ lives.
The court heard the extent of the girls’ psychological damage, with one admitting she is prone to bouts of depression and self harming, while another suffers nightmares, panic attacks and flashbacks about the abuse, which took place between 2004 and last year in the Oxford area.
A victim impact statement from the mother of that girl was read out by prosecutor Noel Lucas QC, in which she said her daughter also suffered a minor stroke believed to have been brought on by the stress of what happened to her, and also developed chronic insomnia.
She also wrote about how the family was forced to leave their home leading to her daughter receiving a phone call in which she was threatened with having her face cut off, and members of her family having their throat slit and being decapitated.
Referring to a statement written by one of the victims herself, Mr Lucas said: “She has suffered psychological issues. She has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and aggressive bouts of anxiety and depression as a result.
“She mentions that although she has managed to have a successful job and make a life for herself, she has missed out on a vital part of her education.
“Her self confidence as a result of the abuse is next to none. She struggles with trust and with romantic relationships. Physical affection is something of which she is wary.”
Reading directly from the victim impact statement, Mr Lucas said: “It’s hard for my family when I go through depressive stages because I’m prone to self harm.”
Another mother said of her now grown up daughter: “I think the damage done to her by these men is irrevocable.”
The statements also referred to the failures of local authorities in dealing with what was going on, and how some of the parents themselves were blamed before the truth was uncovered.
One father said: “If these men hadn’t been doing such vile things to my daughter then we wouldn’t have had to deal with social services, children’s homes or police.
“I don’t want any other parent to feel as impotent as we were.”
He added that the abuse had had a “devastating effect on me and my family”.
The man’s wife also made a statement in which she said of their daughter: “She went from a loving, sweet young child to a sullen, frightened and evasive child.
“She went to being frustrated and aggressive towards me if I tried to reach out to her.
“I guess that was her way of trying to deal with what was happening to her. She was protecting me from the truth and horror of what she was being subjected to.
“They took my daughter’s teenage years, which I’m sure seems obvious, but those teenage years were taken from me too.”
She also referred to the failure of the police and social services in finding out what was happening and protecting the girls, writing that they were made to feel like they were “over-reacting”.
“I can recall countless incidents when I have been upset and frustrated by various professional bodies,” she said.
Six of the defendants listened from the dock as Mr Lucas outlined some of the victim impact statements, but the court heard that Mohammed Karrar, 38, had refused to come up from the cells.
He was convicted last month along with his brother, Bassam Karrar, 34, and another set of brothers, Akhtar Dogar, 32, and Anjum Dogar, 31, of charges including rape, trafficking and organising prostitution.
Kamar Jamil, 27, Assad Hussain, 32, and Zeeshan Ahmed, 28, were also found guilty following the five-month trial at the Old Bailey during which the jury was told the gang sexually exploited girls as young as 11.
During the trial, some of the victims described how they were groomed, beaten, betrayed and sold into prostitution around the country.
Police missed several chances to catch the gang members who plucked the vulnerable girls from the streets and care homes to be drugged and raped.
Beginning mitigation of the defendants, Sally O’Neill, representing Jamil, told Judge Peter Rook that she wanted to give the men’s crimes a context as they were part of a “sordid, shameful and immoral world”.
“In the early to mid-2000s in Oxford there developed a culture in the area of the Cowley Road of drinking, drugs and casual sex,” she said.
“But what was startling from the evidence was that it seems that culture was both apparent and well-known to the people living in that area of Oxford that it almost became tolerated.
“It was known to police and social services and, for whatever reason, there does not appear to have been any attempt to control it other than at the most superficial level.”
Ms O’Neill said this “allowed the situation to escalate out of control” and led the defendants to have “little moral compass”.
She said security worker Jamil had been found to have limited intellectual ability and it was “unlikely that he was a prime mover” within the gang.
The youngest of the defendants, she said he was just 19 when he became involved in the offending and appeared to have voluntarily left the group after two years.
The court heard that the married father-of-three has previous convictions for motor vehicle theft and is on medication as he had shown symptoms of suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.
The court heard that married father-of-one Hussain has previous driving convictions along with using threatening and abusive behaviour, after which he breached his community order.
Mark George QC, representing him, said he and Ahmed were in a different, lower category of offending in comparison with the other five defendants.
James Mulholland QC, representing Ahmed, said he had become depressed after his arranged marriage broke down and was divorced, and he had been thrown out of his home and forced to live an itinerant lifestyle.
The court heard that he has no previous convictions, only cautions.
Lee Karu QC, representing Anjum Dogar, said his convictions for motoring offences, burglary and possession of cannabis are not relevant to the case and he only became “caught up with the gang” for two years.
The court heard that his brother, hospital porter Aktar Dogar, has a number of convictions for driving offences, was previously fined for obtaining property by deception and possession of cannabis and received a caution for disorderly behaviour.
Mohammed Karrar, who, the court was told, was born in Somalia, has a number of convictions including for actual bodily harm, assaulting a police officer and possession of a bladed article.
However the judge was told the father-of-four has no previous record of sexual offending.
Bassam Karrar, who, the court heard, was born in Saudia Arabia, has previous convictions for shoplifting, criminal damage and being drunk and disorderly.
Mark Milliken-Smith QC, representing him, said Karrar has been in full-time employment all his adult life.
Judge Rook adjourned sentencing to 2.05pm tomorrow, adding that he expects the victims to attend court to see justice being done.
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