Grooming gang members who raped 12-year-old girl jailed for 27 years

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Grooming gang members who sexually abused a 12-year-old girl have been sentenced to a collective 27 years in prison.

In May Mohammed Akram and Usman Khalid were found guilty of sexual abuse following a three week trial at Leeds Crown Court.

Their target was picked up by a grooming gang at the age of just 11 and was raped numerous times over a number of years.

She was 12 when Akram, 33, sexually abused her for the first time, with 31-year-old Khalid’s single assault of the girl happening when she was the same age.

Khalid was sentenced to five years and Akram 22 years, to run concurrently to the 17 year sentence he was already serving.

The pair are the latest to be jailed following investigations by West Yorkshire Police as part of Operation Tendersea, Examiner Live reported.

Mohammed Akram was jailed for sexually abusing the girl

Between January and October last year 20 men were convicted and locked up for a total of 257 years for crimes that took place between 2004 and 2011.

Fifteen girls were targeted.

Prosecutor Richard Wright QC said the girl was particularly vulnerable, having been taken away from her drug addicted mother and put in care.

The first man to target her was Zahid Hassan – known locally as Little Manny – who is currently serving an 18 year sentence for multiple rapes.

Usman Khalid’s existing sentence was extended

Akram stood trial over the crime having already been imprisoned for 17 years for two counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation and two counts of rape in relation to two victims.

In May he was also found guilty of trafficking for sexual exploitation, abduction, rape of a child under the age of 13 and three counts of rape, with his argument that he believed the girl was 18 failing to convince jurors.

He was acquitted on one count of rape.

Khalid was found guilty of one count of sexual assault.

His defence lawyer Gillian Batts argued his age at the time of the crime – either 16 or 17 – provided mitigation for what was a “one off offence”.

She also pointed to his community work and strong character references from his mother, sister and wife as reason for him receiving a more lenient sentence.

Akram told jurors that the teenager convinced him she was aged 18 before and after they had ‘consensual sex’

Kitty Colley, mitigating for Akram, said he settled down in his twenties and adopted a different approach to life.

She said he stopped drink and taking drugs, despite suffering the loss of his baby during the May 2018 trial.

Following their convictions DCI Richard McNamara, of Kirklees District Police, said: “This investigation in Kirklees has been extremely sensitive and complex and we are pleased that these convictions have been secured for the victim.

“I would like to praise the victim for her courage in coming forward and firstly disclosing the offences, then going on to bravely give evidence.

Akram was already serving a 17 year sentence

“I hope the outcome of this trial will enable her to start to put this trauma behind her and reassure any other potential victims that we will treat them with the utmost sensitivity and take positive action against perpetrators.

“Child sexual exploitation is one of the most important challenges facing the police and is a top priority for West Yorkshire Police.”

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