A GANG of 12 men who raped and took "terrible and heartless sexual advantage" of a vulnerable Keighley schoolgirl before "casting her aside" have been locked up for more than 140 years.

Ten of the men were jailed after being convicted of raping the girl in the town when she was aged between 13 and 14. Another man was found guilty of sexual activity with the same girl.

The 12th man pleaded guilty to rape and sexual activity with a child.

A trial last year heard how the teenager was repeatedly raped by the men in encounters arranged by a violent drug dealer over a period of 13 months between 2011 and 2012.

The drug dealer, described as the "evil mastermind" of the group, Arif Choudhury, is thought to have fled to Bangladesh. Choudhury, now 18 and formerly of Victoria Avenue, Keighley, was accused by the girl of raping her in the grounds of a Keighley church when she was 13 after she refused to sell anymore drugs for him.

On one occasion, the girl was gang-raped by five of the defendants.

The Recorder of Bradford Judge Roger Thomas said the men had been “heartless and demeaning” when the girl, who was 13 and 14 at the time, “clearly demanded pity and understanding.”

“They saw her as a pathetic figure who had no worth and who served no other purpose than to be an object that they could sexually misuse and cast aside,” he added.

“They showed her no shred of decency or humanity when as a vulnerable child she so needed care and understanding.”

The judge said the defendants had “largely tried to hide behind their silence” when interviewed by the police and given the opportunity to speak in court, but added, there were “nevertheless some good indications of their real attitude”.

“Listing a few of those references is insightful. They show the same contemptuous and disrespectful attitude to the girl that most of them have demonstrated to this Court throughout the trial and which I have already commented upon,” Judge Thomas said.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Clockwise, from top left, Nazir and Faisal Khan, Zain Ali, Saqib Younis, Sufyan Zirarab, Mohammed Akram, Hussain Sardar and Israr Ali pictured during the trial at Bradford Crown Court

Clockwise, from top left, Nazir and Faisal Khan, Zain Ali, Saqib Younis, Sufyan Zirarab, Mohammed Akram, Hussain Sardar and Israr Ali pictured during the trial at Bradford Crown Court

When the trial finished, in December, the judge described the behaviour of some defendants in court as some of the worst he had seen in his 40-year career.

Today, he added to those comments.

“I have had a very considerable opportunity during the course of the trial that lasted several weeks…to observe you defendants in open court and see your behaviour and attitudes. Things that I have had to publicly comment on on many occasions as I have attempted to regulate the proceedings. Comments and enjoinders that fell though on deaf ears as your appalling attitudes to these proceedings persisted nevertheless," the judge said.

“As I have said previously the attitudes that the majority of you have so clearly demonstrated to these proceedings has been contemptuous, disrespectful and arrogant on a scale that I have hardly seen before in many years of practice in the Criminal Law. Exactly the same as your attitude to the 13/14 year-old-girl who you all sexually abused and exploited for your own selfish gratification.

“I cannot, and will not, sentence you now for your appalling  attitude to these proceedings but it is something that is very informative in my assessment of you as individuals and your offending for which I am sentencing you.”

The judge said he had read pre-sentence and other reports about the defendants and commented on the intelligence of two the men, Israr Ali and Sufyan Ziarab.

“Although they have produced very low scores in formal IQ testing it is nevertheless entirely apparent from the circumstances of these offences, their demeanour in court, their interviews with the police, their previous convictions and in their use of social media that they are far from being anything other than totally understanding of and responsible for their reprehensible sexual misconduct in this case,” the judge said.

Four of the men abused the girl in the underground car park of a disused police station in Keighley.

The four men were two pairs of brothers and neighbours who lived very near to the old building where they would hang out and smoke cannabis extensively.

"Although Tauqueer Hussain was employed and held down a job, their lifestyles were generally feckless and unattractive,” Judge Thomas said.

The girl was often forced to perform sex on the men and one time was there for several hours.

“More than one defendant would have her perform sex immediately after another had just done the same,” said the judge.

“There are many highly unpleasant details that [the victim] does give about what happened to her in the car park which reflect the degradation, humiliation and violence that she was subjected to.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Yasser Kabir

Yasser Kabir, 25, of Belgrave Road, Keighley, was given 15 years for each of three counts of rape, to run concurrently.

He was also sentenced for raping and abusing two little girls when he was a boy. One of the victims was between seven and nine when Kabir raped her and the other between six and seven.

Kabir was found guilty by a jury last year of four counts of rape, four counts of causing a child to engage in sexual activity and four of sexual assault in relation to the young girls. He was given five years for those offences, to run consecutively to the 15 years, meaning he will serve 20.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Tauqeer Hussain​

Kabir’s half-brother, Tauqeer Hussain, also known as Toki, 23, of Belgrave Road, Keighley, was also found guilty of two counts of rape, relating to two victims. He was jailed for 13 years for each count in relation to the Keighley schoolgirl, to run concurrently, with five years added for his second victim, meaning he will serve 18 years.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Sufyan Ziarab​

Sufyan Ziarab (Sufy) 23, of Kendal Mellor Court, Keighley, was given two concurrent 15 year sentences for two counts of rape.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Bilal Ziarab

His brother, Bilal Ziarab, (Billy or Browny) 21, of Sedgwick Close, Manningham, Bradford, was given two concurrent 12-year sentences for rape.

Five of the men were found guilty of lining the girl up to rape her on Dalton Lane, Keighley.

The judge said this was an example of the “the vile practice of Arif arranging and facilitating the gang rape of the girl by having you men ‘line up’ to take turns” with the girl.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Nazir Khan

Nazir Khan (Khany) 24, of Buxton Street, Keighley, was jailed for 13 years for one count of rape.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Faisal Khan​

His brother, Faisal Khan, (Buller) 27, of Buxton Street, Keighley, will also serve 13 years for one rape count.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Hussain Sardar​

Hussain Sardar (Dolly) 19, of Bradford Street, Lawkholme, Keighley, will serve six years detention in a young offenders’ institution for one count of rape. Judge Thomas said the sentence reflected his then age of 15 years and the victim’s description of his “somewhat pathetic participation.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Saqib Younis​

Saqib Younis (Saqi Butcher) 29, of Bradford Street, Lawkholme, Keighley, was jailed for 13 years for one count of rape.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Zain Ali​

Zain Ali (Droopy) 20, of Buxton Street, Keighley, was given an eight-year detention sentence in a young offenders’ institution, to reflect his age of 16 and 17 at the time of the offences.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Israr Ali​

Israr Ali, the youngest defendant in the dock, raped the schoolgirl when he was 15-years-old, about 18 months older than the girl. He was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in a young offenders’ institute.

Ali, also known as Sari, now 19, of Devonshire Street West, Keighley, was told he took “vile sexual advantage” of the girl and looked upon her as “no more than a worthless object.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Mohammed Akram

Mohammed Akram, a 63-year-old cab driver, of Holker Street, Keighley, was convicted of sexual activity with the girl once in his cab when he was 59 and she 14.

The judge jailed Akram for five years.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Khalid Mahmood

Khalid Raja Mahmood​

The 12th man to be jailed, Khalid Raja Mahmood, is already behind bars for raping another victim.

He pleaded guilty at the start of the trial to twice raping the teenager, at Cliffe Castle Park and flats in Keighley, and three counts of sexual activity with a child.

Mahmood, 34, met the victim through another girl and "set about grooming her for sex" and offered drink and drugs.

The girl told police "Khalid raped me. It happened loads" and referred to him as "Creepy Khalid."

Judge Thomas said Mahmood, of Gordon Street, Keighley, was regarded as 'dangerous' under law and would therefore receive an extended sentence.
He was given extended concurrent sentences on each rape count for 17 years. The sentence includes 13-and-a-half years in custody and an extended licence period of three-and-a-half years.

He was given four-and-a-half years, to run concurrently, for the three sexual activity charges.

The sentences add up to 143 years and six months in total.

  • After the case, Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Bryar, of the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: "We are pleased that these men have now been sentenced for their terrible crimes against vulnerable young girls.

"We would like again to praise the victims for their courage in coming forward and enabling these men to be put before the courts. We hope that today's sentences will give them some closure and help them with rebuilding their lives.

"Child Sexual Exploitation remains a priority for West Yorkshire Police. It totally unacceptable and it is the responsibility of all agencies, communities and individuals to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.

"West Yorkshire Police, the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner and partner agencies are committed to doing everything they possibly can to ensure that children are safe, cared for and protected from harm. We are committed to working closely with these partners and will take positive action against those who abuse or neglect children.

"We hope that this case will encourage others who may have been victims of child sexual exploitation, whether recently or in the past, to come forward and report it to the police, who will always seek to take positive action against the perpetrators."

Helen Gaunt, reviewing lawyer, Complex Casework Unit, Crown Prosecution Service Yorkshire and Humberside said: "These 12 men are responsible for despicable crimes involving child sexual exploitation and abuse. Their victims were young, naïve and vulnerable, and were deliberately targeted: one girl was threatened, exploited and raped. A second girl was also threatened and raped.

“These two young women have shown immense bravery in reporting these matters to the police and in providing evidence to enable us to bring a strong prosecution case against their abusers.

“The lengthy sentences passed today send out a very strong message to all those who may be hesitating about coming forward to report matters such as these. This type of depravity will not be tolerated on our streets or in our communities. We will bring dangerous criminals who carry out acts of sexual violence against girls to justice.”

West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, said: "Child sexual exploitation (CSE) and sexual abuse are abhorrent crimes.

"I welcome today’s sentencing and commend the painstaking and thorough investigation by West Yorkshire Police, with the assistance of Bradford Council’s Safeguarding Team.

"I would also like to praise the courage of the brave survivors of these horrendous crimes for coming forward and giving evidence.

"I hope today’s sentencing sends a clear message to those involved in CSE that the Police and partner agencies will do everything in their power to prevent CSE and sexual abuse and in seeking justice for the victims."

An NSPCC spokesman added: “This gang’s crimes were depraved and horrifying. They exploited this youngster and forced her to endure the most horrendous forms of abuse.

“The victim has shown enormous bravery to speak out, but the scale of the abuse is truly appalling and we know how devastating and long lasting the impact will be.

“Victims of these grooming gangs will need support for years to rebuild their lives.

“Help is always available through the NSPCC helpline, 24 hours, seven days a week. Call 0808 800 5000 or help@nspcc.org.uk.”