BREAKING: verdicts in Rotherham abuse trial
Three men and two women have been found guilty of a range of offences involving the sexual exploitation of teenage girls in Rotherham.
Brothers Arshid and Basharat Hussain were found guilty of multiple rapes and indecent assaults of teenagers in the South Yorkshire town.
A third brother, Bannaras Hussain, 36, admitted 10 charges including rape, indecent assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm at the beginning of the trial.
Brothers Majid Bostan, 37 and Sajid Bostan, 38, were cleared of all charges at Sheffield Crown Court.
Karen MacGregor, 58, and Shelley Davies, 40, were found guilty of conspiracy to procure prostitutes and false imprisonment.
Some of the 15 women who were abused by the gang watched the verdicts from the public gallery overlooking the packed court, some holding hands with each other.
Arshid Hussain, 40, who claims to be paraplegic, appeared from his bed at home via video link and appeared to be asleep.
Basharat Hussain, 39, was surrounded by prison officers in the dock and was taken away along with MacGregor and Davies.
Judge Sarah Wright said they will be sentenced on Friday.
The jury of six men and six women has heard women describe how they were were targeted in their young teens and subjected to brutal treatment as they were passed around men who raped and beat them.
Some described how they were trafficked, locked up, physically assaulted and threatened with death.
Qurban Ali, 53, was cleared of all the charges he faced except one of conspiracy to rape. He was also remanded in custody.
A succession of women have described how they were raped, beaten, passed between abusers and used as prostitutes by a gang led by three brothers who “owned” Rotherham.
Arshid, Basharat and Bannaras Hussain - known as Mad Ash, Bash and Bono - formed a violent, gun-toting, drug-dealing family who appeared to operate with impunity in the South Yorkshire town, the women told the jury.
Arshid has been portrayed as the ringleader of the gang.
The court heard that he had children with seven women all over England but the jury only saw him once.
Arshid’s lawyers said he had been bed-ridden for the last two years following a shooting in 2005 which left him a paraplegic and he was allowed to follow the trial from his home via a video-link.
One woman, who described how she suffered “horrible, awful, disgusting abuse” from Arshid in her early teens as she was sold for sex, told the court she was glad he got shot, calling it “karma”.
The brothers’ grooming method has become a familiar story - young teenagers treated like girlfriends by men more than a decade older than themselves before being beaten, abused and passed around the gang.
One woman, now 33, described how her happy, normal childhood was transformed when she met Basharat and was subjected to what prosecutors described as a “terrible ordeal” for a year or more.
The woman re-lived how she was taken to a Sheffield flat and tied up and blindfolded as a succession of men subjected her to sex acts.
She explained how, on another occasion, she thought she was going to die when her hands and feet were tied and she had petrol poured over her.
Another woman, now 36, explained to the jury how she was abused from the age of 11 with Arshid passing her on to his brother and friends, often as “payment” for debts.
Prosecutors summarised her plight saying she was “beaten, had a cigarette stubbed out on her chest, tied up and raped ... from a very young age, often by numerous men, one after another, at the say so of Arshid Hussain”.
They said: “Her recollection is that the violence became a regular thing when she lived at the children’s home and, seemingly, no-one was interested in whether she returned in a bloodied state.”
The girl said she was locked in Karen MacGregor’s house for weeks and forced to have sex with a succession of Asian men.
One of the most harrowing accounts came from a victim who described how she thought she was going to die when Basharat took her out to the Peak District and subjected her to two hours of verbal and physical abuse before knocking her to the ground, spitting on her and telling her to dig her own grave.
One girl said the Hussain brothers “owned” Rotherham.
Another said people “bowed down to them”, adding: “I knew what they were capable of.”
One victim told the jury: “The police gave them a free card to do what they wanted.”
The same woman said a man put her a gun in her mouth and warned not to talk about the Hussain brothers.
Although the three brothers were at heart of the exploitation, Karen MacGregor played a particularly insidious role in the grooming of girls in Rotherham.
Described in court as a “mother figure”, she took in girls from children’s homes, purporting to give them haven and support.
But she allowed them to be abused and kept captive, telling them they needed to “earn their keep” by having sex with a succession of visiting men.
One woman said: “It was like Hansel and Gretel living at Karen’s. It was all nice and shiny and inviting and then it turned quite horrible.”
MacGregor denied she acted as pimp for the brothers, telling the jury: “I have not hurt anybody, I love everybody, animals and everything.”
She even set up a support group - Kin Kids - for family members looking after children whose parents could no longer cope.
Kin Kids, which had the supported of Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey, was due to be given charitable status when MacGregor was arrested.
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