A gang of men who embarked on a ‘campaign of rape and other sexual abuse’ against vulnerable teenage girls in Huddersfield has been been given lengthy jail sentences, it can now be reported.
Ringleader Amere Singh Dhaliwal, 35, was jailed for life earlier this year and told he must serve a minimum of 18 years in prison by a judge who told him: ‘Your treatment of these girls was inhuman.’
Dhaliwal is one of 20 men who have been found guilty of scores of offences in a series of trials at Leeds Crown Court
Dhaliwal, who has children of his own, was convicted of 54 separate counts, including 22 rapes, involving 11 different girls.
The judge told him earlier this year: ‘You treated them as commodities to be passed around for your own sexual gratification and the gratification of others.
‘The extent and gravity of your offending far exceeds anything which I have previously encountered.’
The judge went on: ‘It was a very significant campaign of rape and other sexual abuse.
‘Children’s lives have been ruined and families profoundly affected by seeing their children, over months and years, out of control, having been groomed by you and other members of your gang.’
At the end of the first trial, the judge said: ‘The way you treated these girls defies understanding; this abuse was vile and wicked.
‘As cases of sexual abuse with which the courts have to deal, this case comes at the top of the scale. None of you has expressed any remorse for what you did.’
He added: ‘The sentences I pass on you are severe and are intended to be so. They are intended to deter others from behaving in this way.’
A series of trials, which have so far resulted in 20 men being convicted and jailed, could not be reported because of a blanket reporting ban imposed a year ago.
The ban was lifted by the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Guy Kearl QC, on Friday.
A total of 20 men have been convicted of serious sexual offences against teenage girls in Huddersfield in three trials at Leeds Crown Court.
Three trials at Leeds Crown Court this year have heard how more than a dozen vulnerable teenage girls were groomed and raped in the West Yorkshire town by a number of men.
Those already sentenced have have received prison sentences totalling 221 years.Another four are awaiting sentence.
It was towards the end of the second of these trials, in May, that former EDL leader Tommy Robinson was arrested as he reported about the case live on Facebook from outside the court.
They were all convicted under what became known as Operation Tendersea which looked into sex abuse of girls in Huddersfield between 2004 and 2011.
The offences included rape, trafficking, sexual activity with a child, child neglect, child abduction, supplying drugs and the making of indecent images of children.
The stories of the girls in the Huddersfield prosecution are almost identical to those told in Rochdale, Rotherham, Newcastle, Oxford, Aylesbury, Telford and a host of others places across the country.
The Huddersfield grooming trials were allegedly put at risk by the antics of English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson, who flouted reporting restrictions designed to ensure the proceedings were fair.
Robinson, a convicted fraudster who has also served time for assault and drugs offences, claimed the activities of the gang were being covered up because the offenders were of Asian origin.
In reality, reporting of the case was only being postponed for well-established legal reasons.
The restriction was put in place because the defendants were being dealt with in separate trials.
In such cases, reporting is sometimes postponed until the final case so jurors cannot be prejudiced by reading accounts of previous trials.
Robinson claimed instead that the cases were being covered up because the men were Muslims in video footage which also showed him approaching defendants in the second trial as they approached Leeds Crown Court.
The video was viewed on social media 250,000 times within hours.
Robinson was given a 13-month jail term by Judge Geoffrey Marson QC in May, but was released from HMP Onley in Rugby on August 1 after successfully challenging the contempt of court ruling.
However, Robinson was warned by Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett, who took the decision to order his release with Mr Justice Turner and Mr Justice McGowan, that he could be sent back to jail if a ruling of contempt of court is made at a fresh hearing, due to take place at the Old Bailey on October 23.
Robinson, identified by his real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon in court documents, later said: ‘The law’s supposed to be blind, but it’s not supposed to be deaf and dumb.
I’m being specifically targeted for who I am.
‘I’m on trial for speaking into a microphone.’
But the former British National Party supporter from Luton, whose case was taken up by the so-called alt-right in the US when he was jailed, was aware of the potential consequences of his actions at Leeds Crown Court.
He had been given a suspended prison sentence for contempt of court in 2017 after trying to film three Asian men and a teenager who were on trial at Canterbury Crown Court accused of gang-raping a teenage girl.
That trial was also subject to temporary reporting restrictions, which were also later lifted and the men involved were given 14-year jail sentences.
Giving Robinson the suspended sentence for contempt in that case, the judge said her decision on whether to jail him had been on a ‘knife-edge’.
Jailing him after the Leeds video, Judge Marson told him his actions could have caused the trial to be re-run, costing ‘hundreds and hundreds of thousands of pounds’.
His lawyer Matthew Harding claimed Robinson had ‘deep regret’ for what he had done in Leeds and had been ‘mindful, having spoken to others and taken advice, not to say things that he thought would actually prejudice these proceedings’.
But Judge Marson said: ‘Not only was it a very long video, but I regard it as a serious aggravating feature that he was encouraging others to share it and it had been shared widely. That is the nature of the contempt.’
The judge added: ‘Everyone understands the right to freedom of speech but there are responsibilities and obligations.’
Naming the perverts
Of these, 16 have been jailed and four will be sentenced next month.
Each was referred to by a nickname.
Those convicted are:
- Amere Singh Dhaliwal, 35, of Holly Road, Huddersfield – jailed for life, minimum of 18 years (nickname – ‘Pretos’)
- Irfan Ahmed, 34, of Yews Hill Road, Huddersfield – jailed for eight years (‘Finny’)
- Zahid Hassan, 29, of Bland Street, Huddersfield – jailed for 18 years (‘Little Manny’)
- Mohammed Kammer, 34, of West View, Huddersfield – jailed for 16 years (‘Kammy’)
- Mohammed Rizwan Aslam, 31, of Huddersfield Road, Dewsbury – jailed for 15 years (‘Big Riz’)
- Abdul Rehman, 31, of Darnley Drive, Sheffield – jailed for 16 years (‘Beastie’)
- Raj Singh Barsran, 34, of Caldercliffe Road, Huddersfield – jailed for 17 years (‘Raj’)
- Nahman Mohammed, 32, of West View, Huddersfield – jailed for 15 years (‘Dracula’)
- Mansoor Akhtar, 27, of Blackmoorfoot Road, Huddersfield – jailed for eight years (‘Boy’)
- Wiqas Mahmud, 38, of Banks Crescent, Huddersfield – jailed for 15 years (‘Vic’)
- Nasarat Hussain, 30, of Upper Mount Street, Huddersfield – jailed for 17 years (‘Nurse’)
- Sajid Hussain, 33, of Grasmere Road, Huddersfield – jailed for 17 years (‘Fish’)
- Mohammed Irfraz, 30, of North Road, Huddersfield – jailed for six years (‘Faj’)
- Faisal Nadeem, 32, of Carr Green Lane, Huddersfield – jailed for 12 years (‘Chiller’)
- Mohammed Azeem, 33, of Wrose Road, Bradford – jailed for 18 years (‘Mosabella’)
- Manzoor Hassan, 38, of Bland Street, Huddersfield – jailed for five years (‘Big Manny’)
- Niaz Ahmed, 54, of Woodthorpe Terrace, Huddersfield – to be sentenced on November 1 (‘Shaq’)
- Mohammed Imran Ibrar, 34, of Manchester Road, Huddersfield – to be sentenced on November 1 (‘Bully’)
- Asif Bashir, 33, of Thornton Lodge Road, Huddersfield – to be sentenced on November 1 (‘Junior’)
- Mohammed Akram, 33, of Springdale Street, Huddersfield – to be sentenced on November 1 (‘Kid’)
Detective Chief Inspector Ian Mottershaw, from West Yorkshire Police, who led the investigation, said: ‘First and most importantly, I would like to pay tribute to each and every victim who came forward firstly to report these heinous crimes, but to go through the gruelling court process which has taken nearly a year to conclude and to bravely give their accounts to us and the court.
‘I cannot praise them enough for their courage and tenacity in helping us secure justice for them against these defendants.
‘The investigation into this case has been extremely complex and the investigative team have worked tirelessly for the past five years to ensure that no stone has been left unturned.
‘We welcome the convictions and sentences which have been passed down throughout the year to these depraved individuals, who subjected vulnerable young children to unthinkable sexual and physical abuse.’