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Despicable rapist and sex abuser pal convicted as part of investigation into Huddersfield grooming gang
A long-running investigation into child sexual exploitation in Huddersfield has resulted in eight more convictions.
Two men have been convicted of child sex offences including rape and abduction of a child following a three-week trial.
It can now be reported that the trial was the latest in West Yorkshire Police’s Operation Tendersea investigation.
Throughout January to October last year, the investigation seen 20 men convicted and jailed for a total of 257 years.
Mohammed Akram was one of those 20 men – he had been convicted of two counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation and two counts of rape in relation to two victims.
He was just five months into his 17-year prison sentence when he returned to the dock to stand trial in relation to Girl N’s allegations.
It was the third trial that Girl N has given evidence in, on top of multiple police interviews over the years.
She was subjected to seven hours of cross-examination by Akram’s barrister Abbas Lakha QC, as well as giving her evidence-in-chief and being cross-examined by three further defence teams.
The men will be sentenced on June 21.
A jury of seven women and five men took 12 hours and 56 minutes to reach verdicts in relation to the two male defendants.
Akram, also known as Kid, was unanimously found guilty of rape of a child under the age of 13, three counts of rape, abduction of a child and trafficking for sexual exploitation.
The 33-year-old, of Springdale Street, Huddersfield, was also found guilty of sexual assault by a majority of 11-1.
He was acquitted of one count of rape.
Usman Khalid, also known as Gujji, 31, of Brook Street, Huddersfield, was found guilty of sexual assault of a child under the age of 13 by a majority of 11-1.
Minutes later, jurors returned to the courtroom and declared that they were unable reach a verdict in relation to the men’s co-accused – Shahnaz Malik, 57, of St Anne’s Avenue, Huddersfield, and Naveeda Habeeb, 40, of Prince Wood Lane, Huddersfield, who were both charged with child cruelty.
This morning (Tuesday), the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced its decision not to proceed with a re-trial and the child cruelty charges were left to lie on the file.
Reporting of the verdicts was banned overnight while the CPS came to a decision.
At the age of 11, Girl N was groomed by takeaway worker Zahid Hassan, also known as Little Manny.
Prosecutor Richard Wright QC said the victim was initially vulnerable because her mother was a drug addict and she was later taken into care.
She was sexually abused by multiple men, including Hassan, Akram, Khalid and Akram’s protégé Mansoor Akhtar.
Mohammed Irfraz also abducted and trafficked her for other men to exploit.
Akram, Hassan and Irfraz abducted her from a children’s home.
Akram repeatedly raped her in a house a few years later.
During Akram’s trial, she told the court: “The whole care system let me down from the age of 11 years old.”
She also gave evidence that the police broke down the door of a house while she was being abused by Akhtar and on another occasion found her covered in blood in a house with Akram and other older men.
Hassan, now aged 30, previously of Bland Street, Lockwood, Huddersfield, was convicted of abusing her and is currently serving an 18-year prison sentence.
Akhtar, nicknamed Boy, now aged 27, previously of Blackmoorfoot Road, Crosland Moor, Huddersfield, was convicted of rape of a child under 13, attempted rape and two counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation and is currently serving a 14-year prison sentence.
Irfraz, nicknamed Faj, now aged 30, previously of Northfield Avenue, Lockwood, Huddersfield, was convicted of one count of abduction of a child and two counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation and is currently serving a six-year prison sentence.
Operation Tendersea is an ongoing investigation.
DCI Richard McNamara, of Kirklees District Police, said: “We welcome the verdicts and convictions of these men for their despicable crimes.
“This investigation in Kirklees has been extremely sensitive and complex and we are pleased that these convictions have been secured for the victim.
“I would like to praise the victim for her courage in coming forward and firstly disclosing the offences, then going on to bravely give evidence.
“I hope the outcome of this trial will enable her to start to put this trauma behind her and reassure any other potential victims that we will treat them with the utmost sensitivity and take positive action against perpetrators.
“Child sexual exploitation is one of the most important challenges facing the police and is a top priority for West Yorkshire Police.”
The victims are referred to as girls A-O instead of by their names as they are entitled to lifelong anonymity.