A court in Bristol has heard about a sickening gang of Somali men who groomed underage girls and forced them into a life of rape and sexual abuse. The thirteen men abused girls as young as 13 and tricked them into thinking they were their girlfriends.
In total, the men have been convicted of 31 sex crimes against seven vulnerable girls and have been handed prison sentences totalling more than 75 years, the Bristol Post reports.
Some of the men told the girls that it was a Somali cultural practise for girlfriends to sleep with their boyfriend’s friends.
There were two trials, the last of which finished yesterday when a jury deliberated for 32 hours, which were brought as a result if a two year investigation by Avon and Somerset Police called ‘Operation Brooke’.
Prosecutor Anna Vigars told the jury during the case: “It is about the defendants simply using the girls to satisfy them whenever they felt like it, doing it so often that, no doubt, it began to feel normal so far as these girls were concerned.
“There are elements of exhibitionism, with sex taking place in front of other people in the group. Much of it sordid, none of it is romantic.”
The jury heard how one girl was trafficked across the city to a Premier Inn hotel where she was raped four times, by three different men.
Speaking about the event, Ms Vigars said: “Sadly, by that point in her young life, it was simply one of the things that happened to her from time to time. She got raped, she moved on.”
After she was raped and abused the girl told the police she felt “nasty” and “just wanted to disappear”.
The girl considered one of the men, Deeq, to be her boyfriend. He told her that she needed to have sex with his brother or he would go to hell, because he “wanted to turn gay”. She was persuaded to go ahead with the abuse under a bridge near a DIY store.
Deeq – who was also abusing another teenager – first claimed he had never met the girl. Later he admitted knowing her, but claimed they had never done anything more than kissing and cuddling.
The same girl was incited into prostitution by another of the gang, Kamal aged 22, at his flat in Easton, Bristol.
One victim was raped by another man in the same block of flats after he blocked a bedroom door so there was no escape while another resorted to raping a girl in a bathroom.
She told police that because she was trapped by the man she “just did it” even though she did not want to take part in any sexual activity.
The men from the second trial are expected to be sentenced tomorrow by a judge and experts say their convictions are likely to be of some duration.