Judge questions why social services gave 16-year-old own flat which was taken over by Somali gang to sell drugs and abuse her
Jusuf Abdirizak checks into a room at the Premier Inn in Bristol where a schoolgirl was raped
A judge questioned the wisdom of social workers placing a vulnerable teenage girl alone a flat and left almost unsupervised in inner city Bristol – leading to her being raped and prostituted by Somali drug dealers.
Judge Michael Roach spoke out at the end of a two-month trial after hearing how the 16-year-old girl was living alone in the flat off Stapleton Road in Easton with just two hours of supervision a day from care workers.
The girl – whose life was in “chaos” – had been placed there in January last year by social workers from a local authority outside of Bristol.
She had fallen in with the Somali men having gone to buy cannabis from them and it was not long before they were using her flat to sell drugs and also regularly having sex with her, sometimes for money.
Following a two-month trial at Bristol Crown Court this summer six men were convicted of a range of sex and drugs offences.
They were Liban Abdi “Left Back”, Mustapha Farah “Greens”, Arafat Osman “Left Eye”, Idleh Osman “Sniper”, Abdulahi Aden “Trigger” and Mustafa Deria.
Two other men, Said Zakaria “Target” and Mohamed Jama “Magic”, were convicted of drugs charges. A ninth defendant, Gama Mohamed “G” was acquitted of sex charges.
Jailing the men, Judge Roach said: “The offences for which these defendants fall to be sentenced are offences which centre upon the serious sexual abuse or exploitation of a child against the background of drug dealing in the Easton area of Bristol.
“I know that the drug trade in Bristol blights many parts of the city. It ruins the lives of many, not just the users but also their families and their dependants.
“It has been said many times before – and it is true – it is a filthy trade.
“The child who was the subject of the exploitation or abuse was 16 when she came from outside the city to live in the Easton area.
“She was a very troubled girl. The decision was taken to place her in a flat on her own. Save for limited supervision she was left to her own devices without the support of her family and friends.
“She didn’t know Bristol or the city at all. On the evidence she was very isolated. Consequently within a day or two of her arrival she fell prey to these defendants and their associates.
“They took considerable advantage of her.
“I hope there will be an opportunity for the authorities to reconsider their thinking behind such a placement because it has, on any retrospective view, added considerably to the damage of that young person.”
Judge Roach added: “Girls of her age – whatever their experience – need the protection of the law. The treatment of her in my judgement was extremely serious.
The girl’s five-month ordeal ended when police went to the flat on the night of May 17 last year looking for a 14-year-old runaway.
The teenager, known only as Girl B for legal reasons, had gone to the flat because she was the sister of the tenant, identified as Girl A.
When police found Girl B, who was living in a children’s home, she was hiding in a cupboard under the sink in the kitchen, in just her underwear.
“She was very upset, in tears, with her makeup running down her face. Girl B said to the police ‘they made me do stuff’,” prosecutor Anna Vigars said.
“One of the women police officers went to speak to her and she said that one of the men had forced himself on her, he had raped her.”
She was returned to the care of social services and three days later, Girl B spoke to the police about raped in the bathroom by Trigger.
He was arrested and told police: “Nobody ain’t touched that little girl.” He later said he thought she was 17 and their sexual contact was consensual.
Another teenager, known only as Girl C, was a friend of Girl B and also spent time at the flat. She alleged she had also been raped at the flat by Gama Mohamed.
A fourth girl – Girl D – did not wish to speak to the police and did not know any of the other victims. But Trigger admitted possessing indecent images of children after police found naked photographs of 16-year-old Girl D on his phone.
After police smashed the sex ring, Girl A described to detectives one occasion where she had sex with a man who later refused to pay.
“Sometimes I’d just be like I couldn’t even be bothered to fight or argue for it because it’s hard to tell them at the end of the day ‘No I don’t want to do it’ but half the time I did, because it was obviously just being close to someone,” she told officers.
“Half the time I didn’t really want it for the money, I just wanted someone to be there, do you know what I mean? Even though I know they were using me for sex and that, sometimes it’s just nice to be close to someone, do you know what I mean?”
The Bristol case comes after allegations, convictions and resignations over organised child abuse and exploitation across English towns and cities including Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford and Telford.