An MP who claims he was "castigated" after warning parliament about organised sex abuse gangs has welcomed the jail sentence of 12 men who exploited a vulnerable schoolgirl.
Conservative Kris Hopkins, MP for Keighley and Ilkley, spoke out after 12 Asian men were sentenced for up to 20 years on Monday for grooming and abusing a vulnerable teenager for their own "selfish, sexual gratification".
The men, all from West Yorkshire, abused or sexually assaulted the girl - aged 13 and 14 at the time - in encounters arranged by a violent drug dealer over a period of 13 months between 2011 and 2012.
On one occasion, the girl was gang-raped by five of the defendants.
Some of the abuse took place in an underground car park where there was graffiti with the victim's name and the word 'corner' daubed on the wall.
Bradford Crown Court heard the men treated the girl as though she was "utterly worthless".
Two of the men also received sentences for offences against other victims.
Khalid Raja Mahmood, 34, received a 17-year extended sentence for two charges of rape and three of sexual activity with a child. The sentences includes a jail term of 13.5 years and an extended licence period of three-and-a-half years. He is currently serving an eight-year jail sentence for raping a woman in a park in Keighley and trying to abduct a 10-year-old girl as she played on a scooter near her home.
Tauqeer Hussain, 23, of Belgrave Road, Keighley, was jailed for a total of 18 years for two counts of rape against the first victim and one against another teenage girl.
Yasser Kabir, 25, of Belgrave Road, Keighley, was jailed for a total of 20 years for three counts of rape against the first victim and four charges of rape, two charges of sexual assault, two charges of assault by penetration and four charges of causing a child to engage in sexual activity against two young girls.
Sufyan Ziarab, 23, of Kendall Mellor Court, Keighley, was jailed for 15 years for two counts of rape.
Bilal Ziarab, 21, of Sedgwick Close, Bradford, was jailed for 12 years for two counts of rape.
Israr Ali, 19, of Devonshire Street West, Keighley, was sentenced to three-and-half-years in a young offenders' institution for one count of rape.
Nasir Khan, 24, of Buxton Street, Keighley, was jailed for 13 years for one count of rape.
Saqib Younis, 29, of Bradford Street, Keighley, was jailed for 13 years for one count of rape.
Hussain Sardar, 19, of Bradford Street, Keighley, was sentenced to six years in a young offenders' institution for one count of rape.
Zain Ali, 20, of Buxton Street, Keighley, was sentenced to eight years in a young offenders' institution for one count of rape.
Faisal Khan, 27, of Buxton Street, Keighley, was jailed for 13 years for one count of rape.
Mohammed Akram, 63, of Holker Street, Keighley, was jailed for five years for one count of sexual activity with a child.
Mr Hopkins, who revealed his concerns about organised gangs in parliament in November 2012, said that the whole community must "work together to rid ourselves of this cancer".
He said: "I was castigated from many quarters, received many abusive pieces of correspondence and on one occasion was forced to clear my constituency office after receiving a threat.
"The heavy sentences rightly handed down underline the nature and the truth of the evil I spoke about back then and will continue to raise until it has been eradicated."
The statement by Kris Hopkins MP in full:
In November 2012, I made a speech in the House of Commons expressing my horror at the fact that there were gangs of Asian men going around Keighley raping white girls. I was castigated from many quarters, received many abusive pieces of correspondence and on one occasion was forced to clear my constituency office after receiving a threat. This case, the many guilty verdicts reached and the heavy sentences rightly handed down underline the nature and the truth of the evil I spoke about back then and will continue to raise until it has been eradicated. I am very well aware that there are numerous white paedophiles out there and they should be dealt with just as harshly. But the sick model of organised groups of Asian men grooming young white girls to be sexually abused remains a blight at the heart of many communities across this country. And sadly Keighley is at the top of the list. I want to congratulate all of the police officers who played a part in bringing these guilty men to justice. It can often be a harrowing task to collect the necessary evidence to secure convictions and, once again, West Yorkshire Police has done an outstanding job. I hope that the force’s dedication and professionalism will encourage other victims to come forward and help put other perpetrators behind bars. I am very happy to provide all necessary support through my office to facilitate this. I continue to work very closely with senior police officers and ministers, including the Home Secretary Theresa May, to see what more can be done to uncover child grooming rings and track down those involved. We have already achieved a number of improvements to national law and I am confident that further positive changes will be made. But I must end with a plea. Whilst the police, the Government and I as the local MP will continue to join forces to tackle these issues, we need the support of the entire community behind us. I love Keighley, it’s the town I grew up in and I’m privileged to be its Member of Parliament. But Keighley’s proud name has been dragged through the mud too many times in recent years because of the heinous acts of sick men preying on vulnerable young girls. I appeal directly to members of the local community that if you know of any individual or groups of individuals who may be involved in these activities, you have an obligation to pass this information on. We must work together to rid ourselves of this cancer, and we all have a part to play.
Judge Roger Thomas QC said all four victims had suffered "severe psychological harm" and he said they were "totally uninterested in her welfare and what damage they were causing her".
He added: "The attitudes of the majority of you have so clearly demonstrated to these proceedings has been contemptuous, disrespectful and arrogant on a scale that I have hardly seen before in many years of practice in criminal law.
"Exactly the same attitude to the 13/14 year old girl who you all sexually abused and exploited for your own selfish gratification."
[The defendants] saw her as a pathetic figure who had no worth and who served no purpose than to be an object that they could sexually misuse and cast aside. They showed her no shred of decency or humanity when as a vulnerable child she so needed care and understanding.