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Halifax Rape Gang Members Who Used Girl as ‘Sex Toy’ Lose Sentence Appeals

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NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images
VICTORIA FRIEDMAN

Six men convicted of grooming a 13-year-old girl they had passed around like a “sex toy” have lost their appeals for shorter sentences, despite lawyers claiming the sentencing judge had exaggerated the damage they had inflicted on their victim.

Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett, Mr Justice Goss, and Mr Justice Lavender told Hedar Ali, Haider Ali, Khalid Zaman, Mohammed Ramzan, Tahir Mahmood, and Taukeer Butt, via video link to their prisons, that their appeals to reduce their sentences, which in theory ranged up to 25 years, had been denied, the Telegraph and Argus reports.

The six appellants and nine others had been sentenced and jailed in 2016 for sexual offences against ‘Girl A’ and another teenager between 2009 and 2011 after four separate trials heard at Leeds Crown Court.

The Court of Appeal heard on Wednesday how Girl A had become vulnerable to grooming by the men due to her unstable childhood, with Lord Burnett describing how she had come to be used as a “serial sexual play thing” by the gang of 15 and other men who plied her with drugs and alcohol.

“It is difficult to imagine a child being more damaged by the sexual abuse to which A was exposed,” Lord Burnett said.

“The overall circumstances of this offending transcends the imagination of most people,” he added.

Hedar Ali, 36, from Bradford, was jailed for the longest period for 25 years after being found guilty of two charges of rape and two of trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation.

Two other men from Bradford, Khalid Zaman, 38, and Mohammed Ramzan, 35, were found guilty of two counts of rape and supplying class B drugs and sentenced to 17.5 years in prison and found guilty of rape and sentenced to 15 years, respectively.

Haider Ali, 41 from Halifax, was jailed for 20 years for sexual activity with a child and causing a person to engage in sexual activity. Fellow Halifax resident Tahir Mahmood, 43, was jailed for 11 years for two sexual acts with a child and sexual assault, and 31-year-old Taukeer Butt, also from Halifax, was imprisoned for ten years for four counts of sexual acts with a child.

It is typical that criminals only serve half or, more rarely, two-thirds of a determinate sentence in prison before being automatically released on licence, however.

The six men’s barristers had alleged to the Court of Appeal that the original trial judge, Judge Geoffrey Marson QC, had exaggerated the role that their clients’ actions had contributed to the harm committed against the child and her resulting psychological damage — an argument the Lord Chief Justice rejected.

Lord Burnett said that Judge Marson “was careful to record that these appellants contributed to, but were not the sole cause of, [Girl] A’s lasting problems.”

“The extreme vulnerability of A in the context of her being passed around from pillar to post and used as a sex toy by these and other men” was a key reason Judge Marson gave the appellants, by British standards, somewhat higher sentences, the Lord Chief Justice added.

Since the Rotherham rape gang scandal was exposed in 2010, a number of other high profile trials and media reports in Rochdale, Telford, Halifax, and other towns across the country have exposed the complacency of local authorities and police forces paralysed by political correctness and victim blaming, which allowed the grooming of mostly white, working-class girls by gangs of mostly Pakistani-heritage Muslims to go unpunished for decades.

The rest of the rapists in the West Yorkshire gang, also from Halifax and Bradford, who were sentenced in 2016 are:

  • Haaris Ahmed, 32, Halifax, was sentenced to 12.5 years in prison after being found guilty of two counts of sexual activity with a child and with the supply of class B drugs.
  • Mohammed Ali Ahmed, 43, Halifax, was jailed for 6.5 years after being found guilty of one count of sexual activity with a child.
  • Mansoor Akhtar, 25, of Huddersfield, was jailed for six years for sexual activity with a child and supplying Class B drugs.
  • Amaar Ali Ditta, 27, Halifax, was sentenced to nine years in prison for two counts of sexual activity with a child.
  • Aftab Hussain, 37, Halifax, was imprisoned for six years for two charges of sexual activity with a child.
  • Sikander Ishaq, 31, Halifax, imprisoned for six years for sexual activity with a child.
  • Fasil Mahmood, 37, Halifax, was jailed for 10 months for supplying class B drugs.
  • Sikander Malik, 31, of Halifax, was imprisoned for seven years for sexual activity with a child.
  • Talib Saddiq, 31, Halifax, jailed for eight years after being found guilty of two counts of sexual activity with a child.
  • Azeem Subhani, 25, Halifax, imprisoned for nine years for two counts of sexual activity with a child.
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