A GANG of six men who abused and exploited vulnerable girls in Rotherham in the late 1990s and early 2000s has been convicted of multiple child sexual offences. The men were convicted on 20 counts by a jury of six men and six women at Sheffield Crown Court today (Wednesday) after almost two days of deliberation following a six-week trial.
Abid Saddiq, Sharaz Hussain, Aftab Hussain and Masaued Malik (above) were all convicted. Two other defendants who cannot be named for legal reasons were convicted of rape and indecent assault.
Abid Saddiq (38), of HMP Doncaster and formerly of Walter Street, Masbrough, has been found guilty of two counts of rape, four counts of indecent assault and two counts of child abduction (jointly charged with Defendant 6). He was cleared of one count of indecent assault.
Sharaz Hussain (35), of Fitzwilliam Road, Eastwood, has been found guilty of four counts of indecent assault against two girls in 2002.
Masaued Malik (35), of HMP Doncaster, has been found guilty of three counts of indecent assault against two girls between 1999 and 2002.
Aftab Hussain (40), of HMP Doncaster and formerly of York Road, Rotherham, has been found guilty of two counts of indecent assault against one girl between 2000 and 2002.
Defendant 5, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been found guilty of two counts of indecent assault between 2001 and 2002 against one girl. He was cleared of one count of rape and one count of indecent assault.
Defendant 6, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been found guilty of two counts of child abduction against two girls in 2002, jointly charged with Saddiq. He was also found guilty of indecently assaulting another girl between 2000 and 2001.
They were remanded in custody and will be sentenced on Friday morning.
Wednesday's convictions are the latest to arise from the huge National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation into what happened in the South Yorkshire town between 1997 and 2013. The NCA was invited in following the Jay Report which shocked the nation in 2014 when it outlined the scale of the offending against children in the town.
The agency - which now has more than 200 people working on Operation Stovewood and had a budget last year of just under £12 million - has now engaged with 313 alleged victims and survivors and identified 190 suspects. Previously the agency has said it believes 1,510 teenagers were exploited in Rotherham during the period.
Asked how many years Operation Stovewood could take, NCA regional head of investigations Rob Burgess said: "Putting a time on it is not right, it's not fair in those circumstances. This is about pursuing the investigation to a point where, effectively, we've no longer got any victims that we can deal with. And, in reality that will take as long as it does.”