A judge has passed jail sentences totalling more than 150 years on 13 men convicted of the horrific sexual abuse of a vulnerable schoolgirl in West Yorkshire.
Four other men have yet to be sentenced in the case which could not previously be reported because of potential prejudice to a series of trials at Leeds Crown Court but restrictions were lifted this afternoon at the end of the fourth and last trial.
The girl from Halifax, was raped and abused between the ages of 13 and 15.
The prosecution described her as “lonely, needy” and seeking friendship and love, she was a teenager who for a long time did not understand that she was a victim of child abuse being groomed and exploited.
On occasions the court heard she sought out the men who abused her simply because she wanted to escape from her unhappy childhood and had no sense of self-preservation or worth or the danger she was putting herself in.
She started drinking vodka and taking drugs mixing with older men and having sex with them. It was only when she was taken into care and moved well away from her abusers she appreciated she had been groomed and exploited and revealed the sex offences to police.
She described being taken to houses in Bradford as well as Halifax, to hotels in Bradford, Leeds and London and to a drug dealer’s big house in Manchester, sometimes being given money but mostly drugs and alcohol.
Jailing the four convicted of the most serious offences against her, Judge Geoffrey Marson QC described her as a deeply damaged child who was subjected to the “grossest abuse.”
“She was given alcohol, drugs and money for sex. There was no love, no affection, no care. She was taken advantage of when she was drunk and under the influence of drugs.
She was subjected to humiliation and degradation at the hands of men who used and abused her for their own sexual gratification. It must have been obvious to anyone who came into contact with her that she was particularly vulnerable.”
Those jailed for abusing her included Heder Ali from Cheshire sentenced to 25 years in prison after he was convicted on two charges of rape and two of trafficking her for sexual exploitation. He took her to a hotel in Bradford where he raped her and knew others would.
Haider Ali, 41, from Halifax was jailed for a total of 20 years after he was found guilty of sexual activity with a child and causing another person to engage in sexual activity with her without consent.
He was 19 years older than the victim when he took her to a flat in Bradford where she said she had sex with him on a sofa after she was given a sachet of some substance which “crackled” in her mouth as well as some drinks which made her feel unwell.
Judge Marson said: “Having abused her yourself you then pinned her against the wall and told her she had to sleep with another man as payment for use of the flat and told her if she did not sleep with him she would not get a lift home.”
That man then raped the girl as well.
One of those jailed was also convicted of a sexual assault on a second girl.
“This was the largest and longest running investigation into child sexual exploitation in Calderdale.
“At the centre of the complex enquiry were two young vulnerable victims who were preyed upon by men for their own sexual gratification.
"I would like to praise them for their courage in coming forward and firstly disclosing the offences, then bravely giving evidence."
Counting has finished at Calderdale Council and there is no change. No single party is in control - although Labour which was targeting this seat remains the largest party.
The authority is made up of 23 Labour councillors; 22 Conservatives; five Lib Dems and one independent.
West Yorkshire Police are making a fresh appeal for information to help trace Antony Hill.
The 19-year-old, who also uses the names of Antony Richie and Antoine Richis, was reported missing on February 22. Police believe he may have been seen two days later in Manchester City Centre.
He is described as 5ft 10in, very slim build and short dark hair.
Police know that he has links across Greater Manchester and Lancashire, as well as in the upper valley area of Calderdale.
Detectives in Calderdale are continuing to appeal for information help to find a vulnerable missing 19-year-old man.
Antony Hill, who also uses the names Antony Richie and Antoine Richis, who 19, is believed to have been in Manchester City Centre on Wednesday 24 February.
Antony is described as a white male, 5"10" tall of very slim build with short dark hair.
We are growing increasingly concerned for Antony's safety and welfare as it is out of character for him to go missing and to not be in contact with anyone. We believe that Antony was in the City Centre of Manchester on February 24, and know that he has links across Greater Manchester and Lancashire, as well as in the upper valley area of Calderdale. I would appeal to anyone who has seen or heard from Anthony in the last month, or who knows where he is now to come forward. I would equally appeal directly to Antony to get in touch so we know that he is OK. Enquiries are ongoing.
A verdict of misadventure has been recorded by a coroner into the death of a baby at Calderdale Royal Hospital.
Gino Asquith died just three days after his birth in November 2014. Bradford Coroner's court heard his mother, 28-year-old Sarah Ellis from Batley, went into labour on November 7th. She attended the Calderdale Hospital where she was told there was no bed for her and that she needed to go to Huddersfield Birthing Centre.
Because her labour was not in an advanced stage she was sent home but later that day she could no longer feel her baby moving and attended Calderdale Hospital where she was admitted to the Maternity Assessment Unit.
Six hours later she was examined by a consultant and underwent an emergency Caesarean section to deliver the baby. Her son, Gino, was born on November 9th and was resuscitated twice. Gino was placed on life support, but just days later Sarah and her partner Adam Asquith were advised to withdraw treatment and Gino died on November 12th.
Coroner Oliver Longstaff said there were several missed opportunities to get medical intervention for Gino's mother by staff at Calderdale Royal Hospital. But he said that steps had been taken at the hospital since to prevent this happening again.
He added that Gino's death was a tragedy and a catastrophe for his parents who had been very dignified throughout the two day inquest in Bradford.
Playgrounds in Calderdale could soon become smoke-free as the Council's Cabinet discuss plans to ban smoking in Council owned play areas.Read the full story ›
The following schools have so far announced they will close today due to the snow. The Bradford council website is down so we are unable to update Bradford Schools at the moment.
BRADFORD BBG Academy 1 in Birkenshaw later opening at 9:30 Beckfoot School Beckfoot Upper Heaton Bradford District PRU Bradford Girls' Grammar School Braken Hill Primary Carlton Bolling College Hazelbeck Special School Hollingwood Primary School Ilkley Grammar School Stanbury Village School Thornbury Primary School Thornton Grammar School
CALDERDALE Burnley Road Academy Calder High School, A Specialist Technology College Castlefields Infant School Central Street Infant and Nursery The Crossley Heath School Elland CE (VA) J, I & N School Heptonstall J, I & N School Lightcliffe Academy Midgley School The North Halifax Grammar School Old Town Primary School Park Lane Learning Trust Rastrick High School Ravenscliffe High School and Sports College Riverside Junior School Ryburn Valley High School Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School (Sowerby Bridge) Sowerby Bridge High School Stubbings Infant School Todmorden High School, Specialist Visual Arts College Trinity Academy Halifax Wainstalls School
LEEDS Crawshaw Academy school will start at later time of 10.30 Horsforth School, Later start time of 9:30am for all students Lighthouse Free School Academy - CLOSED North West Leeds SILC and SEN Specialist Communication & Interaction College - later start time of 10:00 Priesthorpe School is open from 9:30am Westbrook Lane Primary School - Delayed start of 10am
The floods envoy Robert Goodwill has been on Elland bridge today as he confirmed that £5.5m will be spent on rebuilding it.
He met business owners and local authority leaders who are asking for further help in the wake of the Boxing Day floods.
A footbridge should be ready by Friday but the main bridge could take up to a year.
A bridge in West Yorkshire may have to be demolished after damage from the recent floods.
Calderdale Council's deputy leader Barry Collins said a decision would have to be taken quickly on the fate of Elland Bridge, which is owned by the Canal and River Trust.
He said that a temporary bridge would hopefully be built further downstream to allow people who live, work and go to school in Elland to get on with their lives .
Barges near the bridge are still aground after the canal and the river overflowed.
Councillor Collins said the local authority was still trying to find out who owns Copley Bridge which was also damaged in the floods.
A number of flood alerts and warnings remain in place in West Yorkshire as the region was hit by torrential rain yesterday.
They sounded the flood sirens at Todmorden and Mytholmroyd amid concern over the rising River Calder.
The river at Hebden Bridge broke its bank on Saturday evening causing flooding on the roads.
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