Rochdale sex-ring exploited 'damaged' teen

Minshull street court Photo: PA

Five men sexually exploited the "profound vulnerability" of a "damaged" 15-year-old girl in Rochdale, it can be reported.

The victim, now aged 20, gave evidence against the defendants in two trials.

Many of her abusers plied the troubled teenager with vodka and cannabis before committing their offences, which took place in 2008 and 2009, Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard.

The majority of the defendants were first arrested last year after the grim portrayal of a largely Pakistani-heritage child sex ring preying on white girls in the town emerged into the public domain in a separate trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

But one of her abusers, Congolese refugee Freddie Kendakumana, was arrested and interviewed by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) in December 2008 after the girl - also white - complained to police that he had raped her the month before.

The girl was told at the time by an interviewing male officer that it was important not to have any future dealings with Kendakumana while the investigation continued but she later confessed she had bumped into him at a flat. Soon after, she went on to have consensual sex with his friend when still aged 15, although that man knew she was under-age.

In a later interview, she explained: "I spoke to the police about it. The police said don't go back there. If you go back up there, we don't have a case, so I said I won't.

"I went on to see Freddie in a flat. I didn't really speak to him, I had a drink and then came home."

Kendakumana, 27, was finally charged, along with his co-defendants, in October 2012 - nearly four years after the girl made the initial rape complaints as several men went on to abuse her in the intervening period.

By that time the girl had undergone numerous video-recorded police interviews from the end of 2008 to October 2011, totalling more than 23 hours.

The victim was first prompted to go to the police on the advice of a health support worker when she disclosed that Kendakumana was sexually forcing himself on her.

But social care and health professionals dealing with the youngster failed to pass on her other confessions in 2008 and 2009 that she was having consensual sexual contact with a string of older men whom she labelled "boyfriends".