Child sex trial hears how girl was being "groomed" by abusers

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The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

A TEEN went missing from a children's home 126 times and it was the "general consensus" among staff that she was being groomed, the Old Bailey heard this morning.

A social worker told the court he noted car registration numbers as he saw men picking up the girl outside the home.

He was giving evidence at the Oxford child sex exploitation trial.

He worked at the home where unnamed complainant known as Girl 4 stayed from March 2007 to mid 2008.

Now a young woman, she claims she was raped and prostituted between the ages of 11 and 15 by brothers Mohammed and Bassam Karrar.

The girl was reported missing when she did not return before her 10pm curfew. But she would sometimes go missing for "a couple of days", the jury heard.

The care worker said he had seen a "gang" target a home where he worked before.

He said: "People turned up in cars and young ladies would go away from the home. I could see the same thing being repeated."

When asked by Mohammed Karrar's barrister Tracy Ayling if he thought Girl 4 was being groomed, he said: "This was the general consensus of the whole staff team."

He said incidents were noted and reported to a police liaison officer.

The care worker told the court how in December 2007 the girl had a phone call from a "very aggressive" man called "Mo" and put it on speaker phone so he could hear it.

He said: "There were threats of violence.

"She asked Mo if he would get her raped again like he had before and she would be raped a dozen times if the beef between them stopped and he would stop ringing her."

He said the girl was "frightened", "tearful", and "defending herself".

He added: "(She) also threatened Mo with the police as she could have him done as he was a 33-year-old man having sex with a 13-year-old girl and other underage girls and that he should be ashamed of himself.

"She wanted to know how he would feel if she went around to his house and asked his wife if she knew what he had been up to and what his children would say."

He admitted the caller's number had not been checked and said: "I cannot even remember if I informed police of that conversation."

The social worker said when the teen arrived at the home she was "very frightened, particularly of males".

He said: "She wouldn't trust anybody, she wouldn't talk to anybody.

"It took quite a while to gain confidence and her trust, for her to talk to you on any subject."

The court heard Girl 4, who finished her evidence this morning, had told a social worker she did not want to testify in court as she was "not confident police were able to protect her or her mother".

She later said: "I am not saying justice should not be deserved for whoever.

"But I have had my time... and I don't need this, I really don't."

Prosecutor Noel Lucas asked her: "How have you found it to describe some of the things you went through when you were much younger?"

Speaking via video link, she said: "I have felt overwhelmingly embarrassed.

"I am quite a private person. I have been quite stressed."

Asked by Mr Lucas if she had told the truth, she said: "I have not lied in this court sir."

The nine defendants deny all 51 counts. The trial continues.

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