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Somali sex abuse gang jailed for 40 years

Top: Abdirashid Abdulahi, Mohamed Dahir, Liban Abdi, Jusef Abdirizak. Bottom: Idleh Osman, Arafat Ahmed Osman, Abdulahi Aden, Mohamed Jumale Credit: Police handout

Seven members of a 15-member gang of Somali men who ran an inner city sex ring involved in raping, abusing and prostituting underage British girls have been jailed for more than 40 years.

The victims, aged between 13 and 17 were prayed upon, sexually groomed, and trafficked across Bristol and passed between the men's friends for money.

Many of the girls were groomed to view the abuse as a "normal" part of being the girlfriend of a Somali man, and were told it was part of the Somali "culture and tradition" to be raped by their boyfriend's friends.

Eight were jailed for a total of 70 years in June, while the remaining seven defendants, including one who featured in both trials, were sentenced today. Judge Julian Lambert imposed sentences of between two and 11 years, with a combined total of 40 years and six months, describing some defendants as "merciless".

You have all brought deep shame on your families, along with all the damage you have done.

You were all brought up to know what proper standards of behaviour are.

As well as deep, deep concerns for the victims of your crimes, I also have some concern for your families, who are not responsible for your actions. You are.

– Judge Julian Lambert

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Somali community 'deeply shocked and shaken' by abuse case

The chairwoman of the Bristol Somali Forum said 14 men convicted of running a sex ring were criminals regardless of race.

There are a lot of cases going on across the country. This case is no different.

I am hoping people will look at this as a crime and not just a crime for the Somali community. I would love for you to look at it as criminal, not Somali criminal.

The community is deeply shocked and shaken by the outcome of this case. They are unforgivable acts of cruelty against the most vulnerable members of our community.

The Muslim communities in Bristol would like to make it absolutely clear we wholeheartedly condemn these dreadful, evil acts.

– Muna Abdi

Serious case review into teenage girl left living alone in Bristol

A serious case review has been launched by the local authority which left a vulnerable 16-year-old girl living on her own in a flat in inner-city Bristol.

The investigation will look at how the teenager then fell victim to Somali drug dealers who went on to abuse her, even though staff and social workers had "very real concerns" about her.

Picture posed by model.

The teenager had been ordered by a court to live outside her home area after getting into trouble with the police and at short notice was voluntarily placed in "supported living accommodation" in Bristol.

Police: Girls were taken specifically to be sexually exploited

Police have praised the courage of the teenage girls who gave evidence in the trail.

They were aged between 13 and 17 at the time of the offences.

Not all the victims knew each other but some had heard of each other. Some of the victims were being 'passed around' by the defendants and taken to venues specifically to be sexually exploited, sometimes for money.

– Gary Stephens, Detective Inspector

I'd like to stress how important it is to remember that such vulnerable victims often don't realise they're being abused and don't recognise the signs of abuse

Some of the victims in the second trial believed they were in 'relationships' with the defendants, adding to the complexity of their vulnerability.

The victims showed remarkable courage in giving evidence at this trial.

– Julian Moss, Chief Superintendent, head of Avon and Somerset Police's CID department

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Abuse ring exploited teenage girl social workers left living alone

Defendants in the Bristol abuse ring were tried in two separate trials at Bristol Crown Court this year.

The first trial centred on a group of Somali drug dealers in Bristol and their exploitation of primarily one teenage girl.

She had been moved into a flat on her own in Bristol and left almost unsupervised by social workers from outside the city.

Liban Abdi, 21, Mustapha Farah, 21, Arafat Osman, 20, Idleh Osman, 22, Abdulahi Aden, 20, Said Zakaria, 22, Mustafa Deria, 22, and Mohamed Jama, 20, were all jailed for between 18 months and 13 years for either child sexual exploitation or drugs offences.

The second trial focused on another group of young Somali men - but included Zakaria, whose nickname was 'Target' - and their grooming and subsequent sexual abuse of young girls in Bristol.

Mohamed Jumale, 24, Mohamed Dahir, 22, Zakaria, Jusuf Abdizirak, 20, Omar Jumale, 20, Abdirashid Abdulahi, 21 and Sakariah Sheik, 21, were all convicted of child sexual exploitation offences. They will be sentenced tomorrow.

The shocking case can only be reported now after restrictions placed upon the media were lifted at the conclusion of the second trial.

Vulnerable girls as young as 13 'passed around' Bristol sex ring

Victims as young as 13 were preyed upon, sexually abused and passed around the men's friends for money as part of a sex ring orchestrated by 13 Somali men in Bristol.

Several of the girls were groomed to the extent they believed abuse was part of loving relationships they were having with the defendants.

Some were persuaded to have sex with their 'boyfriend's' friends as it was Somali "culture and tradition" and "men always have sex with each other's girlfriends".

The victims, described as "vulnerable" due to their age and circumstances, were paid as little as £30 or given drugs, alcohol and gifts to perform sex acts on older men.

The men were found guilty at Bristol Crown Court. Credit: PA

Avon and Somerset Police uncovered a two-year catalogue of abuse against 10 girls during their investigation into the Somali men, codenamed Operation Brooke. A total of 14 were convicted of charges including rape, sexual activity with a child, facilitating child prostitution, trafficking, paying for the sexual services of a child and drug offences.

Eight of the defendants were jailed for between 18 months and 13 years this summer. The remaining seven, convicted by a jury yesterday following 32 hours and 17 minutes of deliberations, will be sentenced at the court tomorrow.

Shoppers stop to mark Armistice Day

Shoppers in Bristol joined the nation as it paused earlier this morning during a two minute silence to mark Armistice Day.

Shoppers at Cabot Circus shopping centre in Bristol pause to pay their respects during the two minute silence at 11am Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
Shoppers at Cabot Circus shopping centre in Bristol pause to pay their respects during the two minute silence at 11am Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
Shoppers at Cabot Circus shopping centre in Bristol pause to pay their respects during the two minute silence at 11am Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
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