Child-abuse gang who were 'above the law' for decades finally convicted thanks to The Times - Press Gazette

Child-abuse gang who were 'above the law' for decades finally convicted thanks to The Times

The Times reports today how a gang of child abusers who thought they were "above the law" were finally jailed yesterday as a direct result of its reporting.

It details how the serial sex abuse perpetrated by four men and two women in Rotherham was ignored by the police and other authorities for decades until investigations by Andrew Norfolk of The Times forced them to take action.

Yesterday brothers Arhshid, Basharat and Bannaras Hussain; their uncile Qurabn Ali; and associates Karen McGregor and Shelley Davies; were found guilty of 55 serious sexual offences against 15 girls who were as young as 11.

Norfolk details in today's paper how yesterday's convictions were prompted with a call to the paper by one of the gang's victims:

"It began with a voicemail. A young woman, sounding nervous, said that she wanted to talk to a journalist about what had happened to her as a child in Rotherham.

"Her call led to a series of meetings and a story published in 2013 across four pages of The Times. It examined the life of one groomed girl — we called her Jessica — and the repeated failure of child-protection authorities to take action against her adult abuser, Arshid Hussain."

The woman was one of nine child victims of the Hussain brothers to give evidence.

Norfolk details today how barrister Stephen Uttley sought to smear The Times in court by suggesting Jessica had sought to make money by selling lies and claiming the paper was part of a conspiracy.

Norfolk writes today: "Jessica told the truth: she did not receive, and would not be receiving, a penny. "

The Times's reporting led to the Alexis Jay report commissioned by Rotherham Council which found 1,400 girls were groomed and abused over a period of 16 years by men of mainly Pakistanii heritage in the town.

The Times reports today how Jessica said in court: "The only reason the police started this investigation is because The Times printed my story. It triggered everything."

In August 2013, The Times proved it believed Jessica by naming Arshi Hussain as her abuser. It is almost unheard of for a newspaper to name someone who has not been charged as a child abuser.

It said: “A child in the care of social services was allowed extensive daily contact with a violent adult offender who was suspected of grooming more than a dozen teenagers to use and sell for sex, it is revealed today.

“Police and social services held detailed intelligence about the activities of Arshid Hussain, who twice made the girl pregnant, yet he has never been prosecuted for a child-sex offence.”

The Times notes that Jessica was interviewed by officers for the first time on the day the piece was published.

Norfolk today details further allegations of corruption and cover-up in Rotherham including the allegation that one corrupt police officer had sex with under-age girls, passed drugs to the sex gang and tipped them off about a search for missing children.

The Independent Police Complaints commission has revealed that it has received complaints against 92 named officers linked to the Rotherham abuse scandal and begun 55 investigations.

And it says an investigation begin in June by the National Crime Agency has identified 300 suspects and 9,000 lines of enquiry.

Author: Dominic Ponsford

Dominic Ponsford is the editor of Press Gazette