By Inderdeep Bains and Arthur Martin
LONDON: Catastrophic failings by police and social services allowed a child sex ring to sexually torture girls as young as 11 for eight years.
Victims repeatedly told officers they had been raped or abused by the vicious and ‘medieval’ predators – but no action was taken.
Last night – after the abusers were convicted at the Old Bailey – the police and social services apologised for failing to answer the girls’ desperate pleas for help.
The gang groomed more than 50 vulnerable youngsters before selling them for sex around the country.
Brothers Anjum Dogar (top abovet) and Akhtar Dogar (above) have been convicted of offences involving underage girls
Zeeshan Ahmed (top above) and Kamar Jamil (above) were among those who were convicted today at the Old Bailey
Abuse was carried out at the Nanford Guest House in Oxford. Pictured is a room at the guest house
They used knives, cleavers and baseball bats to inflict severe pain on the girls for their twisted pleasure. But a catalogue of golden opportunities to stop the abuse were missed from as early as May 2005.
Three of the girls who gave evidence at the trial were reported missing from residential care on 254 occasions. One went missing 126 times in 15 months.
Astonishingly, carers at the children’s homes – which were run by Oxfordshire County Council – just watched as the men collected the girls at night.
On one occasion, a manager refused to pay a 14-year-old victim’s taxi fare when she returned to her care home. The girl was then driven back to Oxford where she was raped.
Nine out of ten social workers in Oxford knew that girls were being groomed by Asian men, a school support worker told the court. Five girls were abused while in the care of county council social services.
The victims – aged 11 to 15 – were befriended with gifts of perfume, alcohol and drugs before being subjected to a ‘living hell’ of extreme physical and sexual violence for eight years.
Yesterday five men of Pakistani origin and two of Eritrean heritage were facing lengthy jail terms after being convicted of a string of crimes. Their offences included 23 rapes, 15 rape conspiracy charges, nine charges of arranging child prostitution, five of internal trafficking for sexual exploitation and four of sexual activity with a child.
The case is the latest involving men of predominantly Asian origin picking up underage white girls for sex.
Members of a sex grooming gang in Rochdale were jailed for startlingly similar offences last year.
A serious case review is being carried out into why the sex gang in Oxford was able to operate for eight years.
Julie Siddiqi, of the Islamic Society of Britain and co-founder of the Community Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, said: ‘The damage these men have done and evil they have wrought will last a lifetime for their victims which can never be fully healed.
‘The men and those who sheltered them must now examine their consciences as they reflect on the terrible nature of their crimes. It is imperative that there is no hiding place for abuse or abusers within any of our communities.’
Guilty: Kamar Jamil, 27 and his wife Natalie Jamil, 26, who had no connection with the case
Convicted: Seven members of a paedophile ring were found guilty at the Old Bailey yesterday of a catalogue of charges involving vulnerable underage girls who were groomed for sexual exploitation
THE SEVEN CONVICTED MEN
Kamar Jamil, 27, of Summertown, Oxford, was singled out by victims because of his distinctive gold tooth.
The father-of-three had two gold teeth fitted during a trip to see an uncle in Pakistan in 2005 – but one fell put after he returned to the UK.
One of three members of the Oxford sex ring to have worked at Domino’s Pizza, he also held menial jobs with Royal Mail and in a Unipart warehouse. He spent three years as a car salesman for Hartwell Ford and even worked for his cousin’s minibus firm, helping to drop kids off at school.
Jamil eventually wound up working as a supermarket security guard and was employed at a Tesco Metro store in St Aldates, opposite Oxford’s main police station.
He used to reel in victims by letting them walk out with bottles of booze unchallenged.
Anjum Dogar, 31, and Akhtar Dogar, 32, both of Oxford were styled as ‘significant organisers of sex parties both in Oxford and neighbouring towns.’
They plied their victims with drink and drugs and bought them gifts including perfume before turning on them and forcing them to perform sex acts.
Akhtar was living with his parents when the ring started recruiting victims and had to sneak home from abuse sessions before they woke up.
His own barrister described him as a ‘pathetic figure’ who would have been unable to organise exploitation on such a grand scale.
Assad Hussain, 32, of Cowley, Oxford, was a Domino’s Pizza chef who abused one of the girls out the back of the takeaway store just yards from unsuspecting customers.
But the former taxi driver and BMW plant worker tried to claim he had been involved in a serious relationship with her.
Hussain said he met Child E while working at the fast food restaurant in 2011 and she had told him she was 17, though he believed her to be even older.
He insisted he only worked out her real age when he was arrested last year.
During the trial, he claimed he was convinced the pair had a ‘mutual attraction’ and felt the girl had ‘betrayed him’.
But he was tripped up when quizzed about the common interests he shared with the girl.
Married dad of four Mohammed Karrar, 38, of Kames Close, Oxford, claimed he was ‘outraged’ by the allegations against him and tried to claim he had been victimised by the girls.
He claimed his accusers had to give evidence from behind a screen because they were liars.
He came to the UK in 2002 from Morocco, where he met his wife, and was living in supported accommodation in Oxford.
Bassam Karrar, 33, of Oxford, is the younger brother of Mohammed Karrar. He was given the nickname Sam The Rapist by Child C after he violently forced himself on her at the Nanford Guest House in 2006.
Karrar, a security guard, was spoken to by police at the time but claimed the victim had made up the sex assault to avoid getting in trouble for running away from.
Jobless Zeeshan Ahmed, 27, of Headington, Oxford, lured underage girls back to his flat above a fruit and veg store before selling them for sex.
He confessed to police when he was arrested but was allowed to retract his statement because of mental health problems and his admissions were never put before the jury.
He did not give evidence but his barrister James Mulholland claimed he had not realised his victims were underage.
Jon Brown, of the NSPCC, said: ‘The Oxford grooming trial has been a grim reminder that even though we are living in the 21st century some people have retained medieval attitudes towards young girls.’
The men targeted girls from troubled upbringings and those playing truant.
They gave the girls large amounts of drugs including heroin and crack cocaine so that they would yield to their depraved demands.
At times the girls were so ‘wasted’ they ‘were barely aware of what was going on’, the court heard.
Men would travel to Oxford ‘by appointment’ from places including Bradford, Leeds, London and Slough and queue up in corridors of bedsits and hotels to abuse the girls for days at a time.
Sometimes the girls were taken outside Oxford where they were sold for £600 an hour.
The gang would threaten to kill them and their families if they refused to follow orders or tried to escape.
One victim, who was just 12 when she was groomed, regularly cut herself with a razor to ‘take away the hurt’.
She told her mother: ‘I may as well be dead.’
The missed opportunities started when a 12-year-old victim told police she had been sexually assaulted by Mohammed Karrar.
In fact, the girl had already been raped and sold for sex by Karrar, but she was too frightened to tell police about her full ordeal.
The following year three other victims told police that they had been raped and sexually abused by Asian men.
During a police interview, a 15-year-old told officers she was sexually abused by Akhtar Dogar for three days after running away from a children’s home in September 2006.
The victim, who was raped by the gang from the age of 12 and sold for sex, told police she was sick of being treated ‘like a piece of meat’.
She told police that she knew other girls were being abused because ‘I have seen them doing it to little girls in their uniforms’.
Dogar was interviewed but released without charge after claiming she had confused him with another man.
Police let him go despite the fact he had been caught with the same victim days earlier.
Two months later, another victim was spotted by a police officer running from a room in a downmarket Oxford guest house wearing only a towel after being beaten and raped.
The 14-year-old told them how the gang raped her, injected her with drugs, beat her and urinated over her.
No charges were brought against the gang because the victim was persuaded by another girl to withdraw the allegations.
In the same year a third victim, who was 14 at the time, told police that several Asian men had sex with her at a flat in Oxford.
She told them her true age and admitted that she had run away from a children’s home.
But she later told them she did not want to give evidence because she did not trust them to keep her safe.
Another girl felt brave enough to face her abusers in court, while others gave evidence from behind a curtain.
One of the victims described how she was even threatened with arrest for wasting police time when she tried to report the abuse.
Police broke up the sex ring during a series of co-ordinated dawn raids on homes in Oxford in March last year.
Operation Bullfinch identified 51 potential child victims and 30 suspects, 21 of whom were arrested.
Mohammed Karrar, 38, was found guilty of seven rapes, four counts of conspiracy to rape, two counts of arranging child prostitution, two counts of trafficking a child within the UK for sexual exploitation, assault of a child by penetration, using an instrument to procure a miscarriage and
CCTV issued by Thames Valley Police of Mohammed Karrar, who was convicted of two counts of sexual activity with a child, during an interview with the police
Kamar Jamil, 27, who was convicted of rape, facilitating child prostitution and trafficking, during an interview with the police
CROWN PROSECUTION SERVICE TO ‘RE-REVIEW’ ABUSE COMPLAINTS
Prosecutors have pledged to ‘re-review’ three historic cases involving victims of the Oxford sex ring after admitting more could have been done to investigate their claims.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it would look again at the decision to take no further action over the allegations of abuse involving the girls from 2005 to 2006.
In one case, the CPS said information was requested from Thames Valley Police but the force did not respond.
Baljit Ubhey, chief crown prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern, said the CPS would now be more ‘proactive’ when dealing with sex abuse allegations.
She said: ‘We want to encourage people who have experienced something similar to have the courage to come forward.
‘What we shouldn’t do is as soon as we see a weakness – the girls had taken drugs or alcohol or they lied about something in the past – that means, “this case is hopeless and we can’t go ahead with it”.
‘Rather than be fatalistic and negative, it’s about being really positive and saying, “how can we really get to the truth here?”‘
Ms Ubhey admitted the CPS should have pursued Thames Valley Police when information was first requested about one of the claims.
The further allegations do not involve any of the defendants involved in the Old Bailey trial, she added.
‘I think we could have been more proactive,’ Ms Ubhey said.
‘Of four cases we looked at, in three of those it’s arguable we might have been able to do more.
‘What I can’t say is that we will change our decision. What I can say is perhaps we could have taken a more proactive approach in making further enquiries.’
Ms Ubhey confirmed a serious case review would be conducted following the conclusion of the trial.
She said she expected more cases of a similar nature to come to light as new guidance is issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.
Ms Ubhey added: ‘I think what these cases have highlighted is that they’re probably not isolated incidents and there’s probably more of this activity going on.’
Bassam Karrar, 33, was found guilty of three rapes, three counts of conspiracy to rape, two counts of arranging child prostitution and trafficking a child for sexual exploitation.
Kamar Jamil, 27, was found guilty of five rapes, two counts of conspiracy to rape and arranging child prostitution. Akhtar Dogar, 32, was found guilty of five rapes, three counts of conspiracy to rape, two counts of arranging child prostitution and trafficking a child for sexual exploitation.
Anjum Dogar, 31, was found guilty of three rapes, three counts of conspiracy to rape, two counts of arranging child prostitution and trafficking a child for sexual exploitation.
Assad Hussain, 32, was found guilty of two counts of sexual activity with a child.
Zeeshan Ahmed, 27, was found guilty of two counts of sexual activity with a child.
They will be sentenced on June 14.
Detective Chief Superintendent Rob Mason said: ‘Thames Valley Police and Oxfordshire County Council social services deeply regret that this activity wasn’t identified sooner and that we were too reliant on victims supporting criminal proceedings, and that they suffered a terrible ordeal.’
Anjum Dogar, 31, who was convicted of rape, facilitating child prostitution and trafficking
Assad Hussain, 32, was convicted of two counts of sexual activity with a child
THE SIX OPPORTUNITIES MISSED BY AUTHORITIES TO STOP EXPLOITATION
The victims of the Oxford sex ring were just children and should have been protected by the law. But police missed several chances to catch their abusers.
In February 2006, the 14-year-old told police that she had been held against her will by two Asian men.
She said they forced her to snort cocaine and left her in an unconscious state.
Then, in September 2006, the girl told police she had had sex with one of the defendants – Akhtar Dogar and another man in a park in exchange for drugs.
She told police: ‘They treated me like a piece of meat. They’re doing it to other girls. Little girls with their school uniforms on.’
The girl was examined by a doctor who found injuries consistent with ‘forceful’ sex.
Dogar was interviewed by police about the allegation on September 13 2006 but denied rape, suggesting the girl had mistaken him for another Asian male.
The girl withdrew her complaint and she could not continue giving evidence in a separate trial of three men accused of raping her in 2005.
In August 2006, the 14-year-old was taken to a flat in Oxford, and rang police after realising she was with 11 men who wanted to have sex with her.
The girl was spoken to away from the men and admitted she was 14 and had run away from a children’s home.
The following day, she made a statement saying nothing happened and withdrew her complaint because she was scared.
Another 14-year-old told police she was attacked by Bassam Karrar in a guest house in Oxford in November 2006 while he was said to be high on cocaine.
Police found the girl in the basement ‘extremely distressed, crying and shaking’.
She told police she had been held against her will, drugged, raped and repeatedly smacked in the face.
The girl was taken to a police station where photographs were taken of her injuries.
But she later dropped her complaint after pleas from another girl who was seeing Karrar at the time.
Went missing from a care home 126 times in 15 months and staff realised she was being groomed.
In October 2007, the 13-year-old girl told a male social worker she was receiving calls from the Karrar brothers.
When he answered one of the calls, a man demanded to speak to the girl and began threatening the social worker when he refused.
In January 2008, she had a meeting with a police officer and welfare officer at her school, where she told them she had been raped.
The 14-year-old spoke to police and a social worker in June 2012 when her mother alerted them that she had been out all night.
Her clothes were seized and a DNA match to Zeeshan Ahmed was found. He was charged under Operation Bullfinch, which was set up in May 2011.
The then 16-year-old was interviewed and admitted she had been having sex with men for a couple of years. She said Girl E had been sold to other men.