November 2018

Girl found naked in car footwell at Cooper Bridge was scared driver would rape her

A teenage girl discovered naked in a man’s car at Cooper Bridge was at risk of sexual exploitation, a court heard.

The 17-year-old was found by police in the footwell of Huddersfield man Zakariyya Akram’s Vauxhall Corsa in the early hours of September 25.

She was completely naked and appeared under the influence or drink or drugs.

The teenager had previously raised concerns that 35-year-old Akram and his friends were going to rape her, Kirklees magistrates were told.

Akram, of Thornton Lodge Road in Thornton Lodge, had denied a charge of taking a child away from a responsible person without lawful authority but changed his plea to guilty before his trial at the Huddersfield court.

Police swooped on his vehicle, found parked down an unmarked track, shortly before 5am.

Prosecutor Lydia Pearce described the victim as a looked after child at a “high risk of sexual exploitation.”

She said: “She told her care worker that she was going to be raped by the defendant and his friends.

“On May 4 the defendant was issued with a child abduction warning notice by police and this remains in place until she turns 18 years old.”

But by September the girl was back in contact with Akram and the details of his black Corsa were circulated to police who discovered it parked close to the Yorkshire Water premises off Leeds Road.

Ms Pearce said: “The windows on the vehicle were steamed up and the defendant was sat in the passenger seat.

“He was not wearing any clothing on his bottom half.

“The officers saw (the victim) in the footwell of the passenger seat. She was naked and heavily intoxicated, finding it difficult to put her clothes on due to her drunken state.”

Akram initially denied any wrongdoing, claiming to police that the car had broken down because he put the wrong type of petrol in it and that the girl vomited on him, forcing them both to take their clothes off.

Police sealed off a large area following the incident which also caused some congestion as commuters on the busy route, just past the BP petrol station on the way to the M62, slowed down to take a look at the scene.

Akram was remanded into custody following his first appearance at the Huddersfield court back in September and made his appearance for sentencing via a video link from HMP Leeds.

Magistrates jailed Akram for 16 weeks and warned him not to contact the victim until she reaches the age of 18 as the order is still in place.

Chairwoman of the bench Anthea Ainley told him: “You ignored a child abduction warning and the child is alleged to have told her care worker that she feared rape by yourself and friends.

“She was found intoxicated and naked in your car in the early hours of the morning and we consider this so serious that only a custodial sentence can be imposed.”

Akram will have to pay £115 victim surcharge upon his release from prison.