November 2016

Sex ring jailed for ‘degrading, violent and horrible’ exploitation of young teens

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Abdirashid Abdulahi, Sakariya Hassan Sheikh & Mohammed Ismail Dahir

Three men who were part of an inner city sex ring involving the abuse, rape and trafficking of young girls have been jailed.

Teenagers, as young as 13, were subjected to “degrading, violent and horrible” sexual abuse by the Somali men in Bristol.

Some of the girls were given drugs and alcohol and were “pestered again and again” for sex by the men, who were mostly older teenagers.

Bristol Crown Court heard the rapes became “routine” and the men regarded some of the victims, who cannot be named, as “cheap and easy”.

Seven Somali men went on trial at the beginning of September accused of 46 charges.

A jury convicted three of the men of 14 charges, including trafficking, sexual assault and rape, following 11 days of deliberations.

Judge Peter Blair QC jailed Sakariya Sheikh, 23, for 16 years, and Mohammed Dahir, 24 and Abdirashid Abdulahi, 23, both for eight years.

Sheikh further admitted two counts of cannabis supply.

“You have brought shame upon your families and upon yourselves,” the judge told them.

“You are not worthy of very much further attention in this court room. My attention is focused upon the victims of your crimes.

“They were four children trying to find their way in life, some of them struggling with difficult issues at home.

“You used your older age, your personal freedom and your relative stronger power to manipulate and coerce them into becoming for you little more than objects to satisfy you sexually.”

The judge described the consequences of the abuse on the victims as “disastrous”.

“You made them feel worthless, dirty, unloved,” he told the defendants.

“Their pain goes on and so it will for you now. They are at long last receiving some measure of justice from your convictions. Their very brave and difficult decision to give evidence against you has been vindicated and I pay tribute to them.”

During the trial, the court heard much of the exploitation took place at homes in the city between 2009 and 2013 on four victims, aged between 13 and 15.

The trial, codenamed Operation Button, was the third in a series of prosecutions of Somali men for child sexual exploitation and drugs offences.

In two earlier trials in 2014, codenamed Operation Brooke, 14 men were jailed for more than 100 years.

The three convicted defendants in Operation Button – rapists Sheikh and Abdulahi and pimp Dahir – were also found guilty in Operation Brooke.

The case follows similar exploitation of girls across English towns and cities such as Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford and Telford.