Derby men convicted in shocking sex abuse case

24/11/2010

Five men have been convicted of a string of sexual offences against young, vulnerable teenage girls and women in a case described as one of "shocking and persistent abuse" by Crown Prosecution Service lawyer Samantha Shallow. Three other men were found guilty of related offences.

Ms Shallow, Crown Advocate in the East Midlands Complex Casework Unit said: This is a shocking case of persistent targeting and sexual abuse of young, vulnerable girls and women over a sustained period by a group of criminals.

Abid Mohammed Saddique and Mohammed Romaan Liaqat and their associates were sexual predators who have targeted the victims because of their age and vulnerability. The scale of their criminality against those they preyed upon is simply shocking.

I would like to pay tribute to the courage of the victims in this case who have come forward to describe to the courts the sheer scale of offending involved. These victims ranged in age from 13 to 20 years old.

I would urge any victims of sexual offences to come forward and talk to someone about what you have been through. We will support you in giving evidence, and what you say could help the authorities protect you and other people like you.

Thirteen men faced 69 charges relating to 26 victims in three trials, the first of which began in February this year at Nottingham Crown Court and lasted 11 weeks. Two further trials were held at Leicester Crown Court, one during May, June and July 2010, and the final one throughout October and November 2010.
 
As well as the five men who were involved in the sexual offences, one man was found guilty of breaching sex offender prevention orders and two others pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice. Five other men were acquitted of all the charges against them.

Details of the case can now be made public after reporting restrictions were lifted at Leicester Crown Court.

Ms Shallow said authorities in Derby were first alerted to the groups criminal behaviour when one of the victims told someone at her school about being sexually abused. She said: Investigations by Derbyshire Police revealed that this one incident was linked to a pattern of abuse with two ringleaders Saddique and Liaqat at the centre.

Once the scale of the groups appalling behaviour was uncovered, the case was passed to the CPS East Midlands Complex Casework Unit. We worked closely with the police to advise on the operation and help build a case for prosecuting the offenders.

Lesley Renfrew, Head of the Unit, said 26 victims who were willing to relive their ordeal in the courts were identified as a result of the police investigation.

She said: Sam, who is a rape specialist, and officers at Derbyshire Police, supported the victims throughout the prosecutions. We applied to the courts for special measures so that many of the victims could give their evidence from behind screens without being seen by the defendants.

The verdicts in these trials have been the result of many months of hard, intensive work on the part of the CPS lawyer, caseworkers and counsel, the police, and Derbys public authorities. I would like to thank everyone for their contribution to bringing these offenders to justice.