TEN men have appeared at Bradford Crown Court accused of preying on two vulnerable girls in care.

Opening the prosecution case as the trial got underway today, Kama Melly QC told the court that the girls were used for the “sexual fulfilment” of the men in the dock, who had engaged in “cynical and manipulative behaviour”.

The abuse first began some 10 years ago, when the girls were both aged 14, it is alleged.

She said some of the defendants were forceful, threatening and violent, while others used alcohol and drugs.

The court heard that others created a manipulated relationship in order to sexually exploit the two teenagers.

Basharat Khaliq, 38, of Bradford, denies five counts of rape and one count of assault by penetration.

Saeed Akhtar, 55, of Bradford, denies two counts of causing/inciting child prostitution and one of rape.

Yasar Majid, 37, of Milton Keynes, denies one count of rape.

Naveed Akhtar, 43, of Bradford, denies three counts of rape.

Parvaze Ahmed, 36, of Bradford, denies three counts of rape.

Izar Hussain, 32, of Bradford, denies three counts of rape and one of attempted rape.

Zeeshan Ali, 32, of Bradford, denies a charge of sexual assault.

Kieran Harris, 28, of Dewsbury, denies two counts of rape.

Fahim Iqbal, 27, of no fixed abode, denies a charge of aiding and abetting rape and Mohammed Usman, 31, of Bradford, denies two charges of rape.

The court heard that the alleged offending came to light during a separate investigation into child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Keighley in 2012.

The men on trial were not suspects in that police investigation, which was called Operation Kellerabbey.

During that investigation, in 2013, one of the girl’s details came up and police went to speak to her to see if she had any information that could help.

While she couldn’t give them any information directly relevant, she shared her own experience of what she had endured and said she didn’t want to make a complaint, but was willing to help police.

Nothing more happened for a while, until the girl’s then partner got in touch with BBC Look North after seeing a report on what was happening in the Rotherham area.

The court heard she was “frustrated” at the lack of reporting of what was happening locally.

The BBC made the police’s safeguarding team aware of the allegations and asked officers to speak to her. As a result of this, they then went on to speak to the other girl.

Looking at the girls’ time in care, Ms Melly said concerns were raised by a care home worker about Basharat Khaliq, but he was told he could not describe him in the records as an “abuser”. The court also heard that as the children’s home was not a secure unit, workers could not physically stop people leaving.

The girls, both without stable and secure family relationships, ran away from the home one night and walked into Bradford.

This was when they allegedly first met Khaliq, who took them to a petrol station and bought them a bottle of vodka. They began to meet him regularly and would wait to be picked up by him.

One of the girls would end up alone with Khaliq or ‘Bash’ as he was known, and jurors were told that a care home worker would see him waiting outside for her and spoke to him, ensuring he knew she was under 16 and in a children’s home. The court heard that much of the abuse towards one of the girls began with events at a house in Bradford belonging to Saeed Akhtar.

Ms Melly said this was a house where drink was drunk, drugs were taken and girls were used for sex. It was at this property where one of the girls began her addiction to cocaine and Ms Melly said that once she became addicted, she was easy to control and was used for sex by men who came to the property.

The court heard the girl’s life, once she had been introduced to the house, would never be the same again.

Ms Melly told the court that the girls were “sadly, ripe to be manipulated and vulnerable to exploitation” and that girls in care, who often crave love and attention, don’t themselves always see the manipulation and exploitation that allows the abuse to happen. The trial continues.