Men jailed for child sexual exploitation offences - Banbury

17/04/2015

Six men appeared at Oxford Crown Court today, Friday, 17 April 2015, and were jailed for a combined total of 31 years and nine months for child sexual exploitation offences in Banbury.

The men were found guilty of the offences on 05 and 06 March 2015, following an eight week trial.

The men were convicted and sentenced as follows:

Ahmed Hassan-Sule, aged 21, of Glyndebourne Gardens, Highlands, Banbury, was found guilty of 13 counts of sexual activity with a child and one count of assault by penetration and was sentenced to nine years' imprisonment.

Mohamed Saleh, aged 22, of Orchard Way, Northrop, Banbury, was found guilty of two counts of sexual activity with a child and was sentenced to four years nine months' imprisonment.

Said Saleh, aged 20, also of Orchard Way, Northrop, Banbury, was found guilty of one count of sexual activity with a child and was sentenced to four years' detention in a Young Offenders Institute (YOI).

Takudzwa Hova, aged 21, of Merton Street, Banbury, was found guilty of one count of sexual activity with a child, two counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and one count of rape and was sentenced to six years' imprisonment.

Kagiso Manase, aged 26, of Warwick Road, Banbury, was found guilty of two counts of sexual activity with a child, two counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and one count of sexual assault and was sentenced to four years' imprisonment.

On 06 March Manase pleaded guilty to possession of identity documents with intent. The offence relates to Manase being found in possession or control of a false South African passport and UK residence permit. He was sentenced to one year imprisonment to run consecutively.

Zsolt Szalontai, aged 18, of Portway, Banbury, was found guilty of one count of rape and was sentenced to three years' detention in a YOI.

The men contacted the victims through social media and meetings before sexual offences were committed against them.

The offences took place from 2009 to 2014 in and around the areas of Banbury and Kings Sutton, Northamptonshire.

Thames Valley Police carried out warrants to make the arrests in June 2014, as a result of Operation Reportage, led by Banbury Force CID and Oxfordshire Children's Social Care Team through the multi-agency Kingfisher Team.

All of the defendants, excluding Szalontai, were charged with the offences on 25 June 2014. Szalontai was charged on 17 July 2014.

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "I thank all who bravely came forward to provide evidence for the prosecution; you enabled your abusers to face trial and be brought to justice.

"The victims, who were aged between 12 and 16, were targeted between September 2009 and March 2014 and groomed via social media including Facebook and WhatsApp. Once befriended, sexual relationships were established before the girls were exploited for the sexual gratification of the defendants and others. A number of tactics were deployed to ensure compliance namely the use of power, evoking of guilt and threats or use of violence. The men, who were aged between 16 and 25, have failed to accept any responsibility for their actions.

"In this case we worked closely with Thames Valley Police from early in the investigation to help build the strongest possible prosecution case. Their investigators, and Crown Prosecution Service lawyers and caseworkers have worked tirelessly to bring this difficult prosecution to court.

"I urge any victims of sexual offences to come forward and report their abuse. We will support you in giving evidence so that your abusers can be brought to justice and others like you can be saved from abuse. I hope that the verdicts and today's sentences provide some comfort for the victims of this case and for their families, and helps them to move on and rebuild their lives. Our thoughts are very much with them all at this time."

Detective Inspector Steve Raffield, from Banbury Force CID, said: "Today's result would not have been possible without the bravery of the victims. I would like to thank them for coming forward and giving evidence in this case. As in all trials without their testimony we would not be where we are today.

"Operation Reportage is the culmination of many months of work by detectives. It is a child sexual exploitation prosecution in which the Kingfisher Team proactively sought to identify victims to enable them to receive support while pursing the prosecution of the adults who have exploited them.

"As a result young people will be safeguarded while these men will have time to reflect upon their actions in prison."

Superintendent Kath Lowe, LPA Commander Cherwell and West Oxfordshire, said: "Child sexual exploitation is a Force priority and every day officers work to identify the signs and disrupt it.

"Through regular patrols by officers and police community support officers at places in the community where young people gather, we raise awareness of the dangers of a crime which has a devastating effect on victims and communities.

"If you are a victim of a sexual offence please come forward and we will listen to what you have to say, deal with reports sensitively, and provide help."