No major city in England or Wales seems to have escaped the problem of grooming, the judge in the long-running Bradford sex abuse trial said.

The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC, referred to earlier grooming cases, in “Rochdale, Leeds, Rotherham, you name it!”


Judge Durham Hall was speaking as he jailed nine men for a total of more than 132 years for their roles in the “wicked and relentless” grooming, rape and sexual exploitation of two vulnerable girls from a Bradford care home.

The teenager at the heart of the seven-week trial was plied with alcohol and cocaine before being “raped without blandishment but with violence” by several of the defendants.

“She was treated by you, or some of you, like a toy or a commodity to be used,” the Recorder of Bradford, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC, said.

“For years she felt she had no voice and that she was powerless, but she’s got a voice now, gentlemen,” he told the defendants, who were flanked in the dock by up to ten prison officers.

“No major city in England and Wales seems to have escaped this problem, grooming by older men acting together or alone,” the judge continued.

“Your behaviour has been as wicked as it is incomprehensible to our society, and indeed all in this community.”

The abused girls became friends in the children's home before they were “relentlessly sexually abused.”

The teenager abused by all nine defendants was taken to other cities, and men from elsewhere in the country attended at the “party house” in Bradford where drugs and alcohol were freely available.

“The jury has seen this case for what it is, clear, determined, cynical and insidious grooming,” Judge Durham Hall said.

The teenager became addicted to alcohol and cocaine. She was given 21 lines of the Class A drug in one go and was suffering from cirrhosis of the liver by the time she was 18.

Judge Durham Hall said that grooming was designed to “destroy the issue of consent” in rape cases because abusers ran the defence that they did not use force and that their victims “liked it.”

The teenager had thought to herself: “You can’t get out of this,” and closed her eyes on one occasion when she was raped.

“If you wanted to have a friend, you had to do the other stuff,” she told the police.

Basharat Khaliq, 38, of Glaisdale Court, Allerton, Bradford, was jailed for a total of 20 years for five offences of rape and a count of assault by penetration.

He began raping the first girl in 2008 when she was just 14, waiting outside the children’s home after midnight night after night to pick her up in his car.

He sexually abused the second girl when he was in bed with both the teenagers in a hotel in Bradford.

Saeed Akhtar, 55, of Back Girlington Road, Bradford, was also locked up for 20 years. He was convicted of one offence of rape and two charges of causing or inciting child prostitution, by sending the girl out to exchange sex for drugs.

Known as Sid, his “party house” in Allerton, Bradford, was where the teenager became addicted to alcohol and cocaine.

“You bear a very high degree of responsibility for the abuse,” the judge said.

Akhtar treated the girl as merchandise, pimping her out.

Sid’s brother, Naveed Akhtar, 43, of Newport Place, Manningham, Bradford, was jailed for 17 years for two offences of rape.

“You raped her in your brother Saeed’s party house when she thought she was in a relationship, and before she was passed on,” the judge said.

Parvaze Ahmed, 36, of Farcliffe Road, Manningham, Bradford, was also jailed for 17 years, for three rapes.

With two convictions for supplying Class A drugs, he had plenty of cocaine to hand out to control the girl and abuse her.

Izar Hussain, 32, of St Leonards Road, off Duckworth Lane, Bradford, was jailed for 16 years for rape and attempted rape.

“You didn’t bother with the grooming, it was violent rape and attempted rape,” the judge said.

Kieran Harris, 28, of Fir Parade, Dewsbury, was jailed for 17 years for two rapes. Described by his victim as “an evil pixie-faced man,” Harris spiked the teenager’s drink to rape her and then swapped places with co-accused Fahim Iqbal who was having consensual sex with her.

Iqbal, 28, of Quarry Road, West Town, Dewsbury, was convicted of one charge of aiding and abetting rape and jailed for seven years.

“Whether for a laugh or a joke, you thought it was okay for Kieran to take over, and that was rape,” Judge Durham Hall said.

Mohammed Usman, 31, of Quaker Street, Undercliffe, Bradford, was jailed for 17 years for two rapes. Known as Manny, he was told: “You treated her and her property as yours.”

Zeeshan Ali, 32, of Durham Terrace, Girlington, was jailed for 18 months for a single count of sexual assault.

He groped the teenager in a taxi when she was 17 or 18.

The young woman abused by all nine of the men read out her victim personal statement to the hushed and packed courtroom.

Smartly dressed and with her dark hair neatly tied back, the “bright and gifted” complainant relived her ordeal in clear and measured tones.

She told of the multiple mental health problems she had suffered daily since the age of 15 and the nightmares and panic attacks that left her struggling to breathe.

She was scarred for life by self-harm and had suffered hair loss and abnormal liver function, following years of drug and alcohol addiction. She struggled to leave her home and saw a mental health worker every fortnight.

The woman said she lived a chaotic lifestyle during the years of abuse that began after she was taken into the care of the local authority when she was 14.

Now living a long way from Bradford, she had to move home repeatedly over the years because she was in fear.

She told how she excelled academically as a child, aspiring to a career in law. But then she committed multiple offences as a youth, possibly as a cry for help and possibly out of frustration.

The woman fought back tears as she told of the heartbreak following the forced adoption of her first child, a girl born when she was in her mid-teens.

“I can’t change what happened but getting justice is the first step to moving on from this,” she said.

Prosecutor Kama Melly QC read out a statement from the second complainant, who was raped by Basharat Khaliq, beginning when she was 14 years old and living in a Bradford children’s home.

She told how she still lived “in a world of fear and anxiety,” afraid to go to the shops or into a restaurant in case she saw “Bash.”

The young woman said she thought she was in a “loving, caring” relationship with him but “it wasn’t love, it was grooming.”

“I was manipulated, used, nothing but a toy to play with,” she stated.

She had to resign from her job after speaking to the police about Bash because she became afraid to meet people.

She was scared he would turn up at her home and had had CCTV and a panic alarm installed.

A tenth man on trial, Yasar Majid, 37, of Milton Keynes, was cleared by the jury of the single count of rape he faced.

After Majid was discharged from the dock, his solicitor, Abdul Iftikhar, said: “Mr Majid had vehemently denied the allegation of rape from the outset and is relieved he has been vindicated by the Not Guilty verdict of the jury.

“He always had faith in our legal system and is pleased that justice has prevailed in his case.

He would like to thank his family and friends for their unwavering support throughout the police investigation and the trial.

“The court proceedings have been very stressful for my client and he will now focus on rebuilding his life.”