When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Bullfinch: Vulnerable girls targeted and endured 'a living hell'
NINE men accused of being involved in a gang sexually abusing children targeted young and out of control girls, a jury has been told today.
Six girls were subjected to extreme and depraved sexual and physical abuse that one described as a "living hell", prosecutor Noel Lucas said as he opened the prosecution's allegations against Kamar Jamil, Akhtar Dogar, Anjum Dogar, Assad Hussain, Mohammed Karrar, Bassam Karrar, Mohammed Hussain, Zeesham Ahmed and Bilal Ahmed.
The men deny a total of 51 counts that include rape, conspiracy to rape, sexual activity with a child, arranging or facilitating child prostitution and trafficking.
The girls are said to have been aged as young as 11, Mr Lucas said.
Speaking to the jury of seven men and five women at the Old Bailey this morning, Mr Lucas said: "This case concerns the sexual exploitation and corruption of children - young girls - by groups of men in the Oxford area.
"These defendants and others not before the court used and abused the six complainants persistently, over long periods of time, sometimes in groups, for their own sexual gratification and the sexual gratification of others.
"The depravity of what was done to the complainants was extreme.
"The acts in this case will make you uncomfortable. Much of what the girls were forced to endure was perverted in the extreme. You must nevertheless steel yourselves to listen to the evidence carefully and dispassionately."
Mr Lucas told the jury the girls were young and vulnerable.
He continued: "In general terms the evidence will show that these men, sometimes acting in groups and other times separately, actively targeted vulnerable young girls between the ages of 11 and 12 and up to 15.
"Now sometimes the men would come across the girls while the girls were out drinking or playing truant. There is evidence the men very deliberately targeted children, for that's what they were, out of control."
This included children in care homes, he added.
Some of the girls had previously been the victims of abuse or had troubled upbringings and unsettled home lives.
"(This) made it less likely that anyone would be exercising any normal parental control over them or looking out for them," Mr Lucas said.
"The girls were then groomed in a variety of ways such as being given gifts or simply by being shown the care and attention that they craved.
"The attention lavished on the girls at the outset was of course entirely insincere as it was merely a device to exploit their vulnerability."
The girls were given alcohol and introduced to drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, crack cocaine and sometimes heroin, Mr Lucas said. this created a "vicious circle" that means the girls were less likely to "free themselves of the grasp of the group".
The prosecution allege the men thought even if the girls did tell anyone what was going on, it was unlikely they would be believed.
He said: "It was a lifestyle described by one of the complainants as a 'living hell' from which they could not extricate themselves."
The overall time period covered by the trial is from May 2004 until early last year.
The defendants were much older than the girls and the abuse of the girls was over a number of years he said.
Mr Lucas continued: "Many of the sexual acts committed on the girls were extreme in their depravity.
"The girls were usually given so many drugs that they were barely aware of what was going on. Indeed, they say that it was the only way they could cope with what was going on."
The girls would be taken to empty private houses or guest houses and men would come from other cities or towns - such as Leeds, Bradford, London and Slough - to specifically abuse them.
Mr Lucas said: "(It was) often by appointment with the men in Oxford who had dominated the girls."
Some of the girls were taken to other towns and cities such as London and Bournemouth for the same purpose.
Some of the allegations are of such a graphic nature, the Oxford Mail is unable to publish them.
Mr Lucas said each man had pleaded not guilty to the counts. Amongst their defences was that it was a case of mistaken identity or they reasonably believed the complainants were over the age of 16.
- The defendants and the counts are:
- Kamar Jamil, 27, of Aldrich Road, Summertown, Oxford, denies four rapes, three charges of conspiracy to rape, two of arranging or facilitating child prostitution, and one of trafficking for sexual exploitation.
- Akhtar Dogar, 32, of Tawney Street, East Oxford, denies six rapes, three charges of conspiracy to rape, three of arranging or facilitating child prostitution, and trafficking for sexual exploitation.
- Anjum Dogar, 30, of Tawney Street, East Oxford, denies four rapes, three charges of conspiracy to rape, three of arranging or facilitating child prostitution, and trafficking for sexual exploitation.
- Assad Hussain, 32, of Ashhurst Way, Rose Hill, Oxford, denies two charges of conspiracy to rape and three of sexual activity with a child.
- Mohammed Karrar, 38, of Cowley Road, Oxford, denies seven rapes, four charges of conspiracy to rape, an alternative charge of conspiracy to commit sexual activity with a child, two of trafficking for sexual exploitation, two of arranging or facilitating child prostitution, assault, conspiracy to assault, using an instrument to procure a miscarriage, and supplying a Class A drug to another.
- Bassam Karrar, 33, of no fixed address, denies three rapes, three charges of conspiracy to rape, two charges of arranging or facilitating child prostitution, trafficking for sexual exploitation, and conspiracy to assault.
- Mohammed Hussain, 24, of Horspath Road, Cowley, Oxford, denies rape, conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child, and two charges of sexual activity with a child.
- Zeeshan Ahmed, 27, of Palmer Road, Wood Farm, Oxford, denies two charges of conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child and two charges of sexual activity with a child.
- Bilal Ahmed, 26, of Suffolk Road, Maidenhead, denies conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child and sexual activity with a child.