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Gas cylinders thought to have caused van explosion in Halifax

The aftermath of the incident Credit: Steve Midgley

A van driver suffered burns after his vehicle exploded in Halifax.

The 53-year-old was taken to hospital with injuries to his face and hands after a blast thought to have been caused by a gas cylinder he was transporting at Bank Top in Southowram.

Fire crews from Halifax and Rastrick were called to deal with the incident, which happened shortly after midday.

The road was closed but has since reopened.

M62 crash: Road remains closed with severe delays

The road is closed and there are severe delays and traffic queues on the M62 after seven vehicles were involved an accident.

Credit: Press Association

It happened at J20 A627(M) Rochdale and J21 A640 (Milnrow). Both sides of the carriageway are affected.

There is congestion to J18 M60 / M66 (Simister Island) and to J22 A672 (Rishworth Moor).

Traffic travelling between Manchester and Huddersfield is affected.

Trapped traffic is being turned around on the Westbound side.

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Men sentenced for historic child abuse offences

Two men have been sentenced at Leeds Crown Court to a total of more than six years for historic child sex offences.

Aesan Pervez: sentenced to 12 months Credit: West Yorkshire Police
Furqaan Ghafar: sentenced to five years and three months Credit: West Yorkshire Police

This follows on from 15 men being sentenced last week to a total of more than 160 years in prison for historic child sex offences.

Furqaan Ghafar, aged 31, from Derby was sentenced to five years and three months after admitting one count of sexual activity with a child.

Aesan Pervez, aged 27, from Halifax was sentenced to 12 months after being found guilty of sexual assault. He received three additional years (to run consecutively) for unrelated matters bringing the total sentence to four years.

13 men jailed for 150-plus years for schoolgirl sex abuse

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.”

– Judge Geoffrey Marson QC

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."

– Det. Chief Insp. Nicola Bryar, West Yorkshire Police
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