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  1. ITV Report

Eighteen convicted in Newcastle sex grooming network

A gang who plied young girls and vulnerable women with drugs and alcohol, before raping and sexually abusing them at parties, has been convicted in Newcastle.

The court heard how older men preyed on their victims, often conning them into believing they were in a relationship with their abuser who would then pass them round their network to be used for sex.

In a series of trials at Newcastle Crown Court, a total of 17 men and one woman were convicted, or pleaded guilty, to a series of charges including rape, supplying drugs and prostitution.

Other roles in the conspiracy included providing the premises, supplying drugs, transporting victims, having sex with them or encouraging it to happen.

During the four trials, 20 young women gave evidence covering a period from 2011 to 2014.

Over the course of the trials it emerged that the victims were befriended by their abusers and lured to parties known as "sessions", where they would be plied with drugs including cocaine, cannabis, mephedrone (also known as M-Kat), and alcohol, before being sexually abused.

The young women were often threatened with violence if they did not engage in sexual activity, and some were subjected to sexual activity while unconscious due to the drugs or alcohol they had been given.

John Elvidge QC, who prosecuted the cases, said girls were exploited ruthlessly.

Summing up the final trial, he said: "This was a section of young women who were tricked into believing they were in the company of friends.

"They were groomed and lulled into trusting those who would ultimately abuse them."

Speaking after all the trials were concluded, Jim Hope, from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said:

“These men systematically groomed and abused vulnerable teenage girls and young women over a number of years for their own sexual gratification...

“These prosecutions would not have been possible without the bravery shown by the victims and the courage they showed in giving their evidence of what had happened to them.

“The impact of the abuse these young women suffered has been profound but I hope these convictions can offer them some comfort and help them move forward.”

The convictions were part of an investigation into child sexual exploitation in Newcastle, called Operation Shelter, which itself was part of a wider inquiry into serious crime called Operation Sanctuary.

During the trial it emerged that Northumbria Police paid a convicted child rapist with a string of other convictions almost £10,000 to spy on parties where they suspected under-age girls would be plied with drugs and alcohol, before being sexually abused.

However, the unnamed man's evidence was not used during the Operation Shelter trials.

  • Nazir Afzal, former senior Crown Prosecutor for the north-west who brought charges against the Rochdale grooming gang, believes some of the same mistakes were made in this case.

At present, Northumbria Police have arrested 461 people, spoken to 703 potential complainants and have found 278 victims as part of Operation Sanctuary, which has resulted in 93 convictions delivering more than 300 years of imprisonment in addition to the convictions announced on Wednesday.

Those prosecuted were from the Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian, Iraqi, Iranian and Turkish communities and mainly British-born, with most living in the West End of Newcastle.

Those convicted are:

  • Nashir Uddin, aged 35, pleaded guilty to three counts of drug possession and four counts of drug supply. Convicted of one count of sexual assault, one count of allowing a premises to be used for drug supply and one count of conspiracy to incite prostitution for gain. He will be sentenced at a later date.
  • Saiful Islam, aged 35, convicted of one count of rape and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
  • Yasser Hussain, aged 28, convicted of one count of allowing a premises to be used for drug supply, one count of assault by beating, one count of intimidation and one count of conspiracy to incite prostitution for gain. He has been sentenced to two years in prison.
  • Mohammed Azram, aged 35, pleaded guilty to five charges of drug supply, convicted of one sexual assault, and convicted of one count of conspiracy to incite prostitution for gain. He will be sentenced at a later date.
  • Jahangir Zaman, aged 44, convicted of one count of drug supply, one count of rape and one count of conspiracy to incite prostitution for gain. He will be sentenced at a later date.
  • Mohammed Hassan Ali, aged 34, pleaded guilty to one count of drug supply. Convicted of two counts of sexual activity with a child and one count of drug possession with intent to supply. Sentenced to seven years in prison.
  • Badrul Hussain, aged 37, convicted of three counts of drug supply and three counts of allowing a premises to be used for the supply of drugs. He will be sentenced at a later date.
  • Abdul Sabe, aged 40, pleaded guilty to one count of drug possession. Convicted of one count of conspiring to sexually assault, one count of trafficking for sexual exploitation, two counts of drug supply and one count of conspiring to incite prostitution for gain. He will be sentenced at a later date.
  • Mohibur Rahman, aged 44, pleaded guilty to two counts of drug supply and two counts of allowing a premises to be used for the supply of drugs. He will be sentenced at a later date.
  • Habibur Rahim, aged 34, pleaded guilty to one count of drug supply and one count of conspiracy to incite prostitution. Convicted of one count of rape, six counts of drug supply, three counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation, one count of human trafficking and two counts of conspiring to incite prostitution for gain. He will be sentenced at a later date.
  • Carol Ann Gallon, aged 22, pleaded guilty to three counts of trafficking. She will be sentenced at a later date.
  • Abdulhamid Minoyee, aged 34, pleaded guilty to one count of drug supply. Convicted of one count of rape and one count of sexual assault. He will be sentenced at a later date.
  • Taherul Alam, aged 32, convicted of two counts of drug supply, one count of attempted sexual assault, one count of allowing a premises to be used for the supply of drugs and one count of conspiracy to incite prostitution. He will be sentenced at a later date.
  • Monjur Choudhury, aged 33, convicted of one count of drug supply, one count of allowing a premises to be used for the supply of drugs and one count of conspiracy to incite prostitution. He will be sentenced at a later date.
  • Nadeem Aslam, aged 43, pleaded guilty to one count of drug possession. Convicted of two counts of drug supply, one count of drug possession and one count of allowing a premises to be used for the supply of drugs. He will be sentenced at a later date.
  • Prabhat Nelli, aged 33, convicted of two counts of drug supply and one count of conspiracy to incite prostitution. He will be sentenced at a later date.
  • Eisa Mousavi, aged 42, convicted of three counts of rape, two counts of drug supply, one count of allowing a premises to be used for the supply of drugs and one count of conspiracy to incite prostitution. He will be sentenced at a later date.
  • Redwan Siddique, age 32, pleaded guilty to one count of drug supply and sentenced to 16 months in prison.