'I was passed around from man to man' - Three South Yorkshire men stand trial accused of sexually assaulting 12-year-old girl

The three defendants arrive at Sheffield Crown Court. L-R: Sajid Ali; Riaz Makhmood; Zaheer Iqbal.

Three men have gone on trial at Sheffield Crown Court this afternoon, accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl for a period of a year during the 1990s when they were teenagers.

Three men have gone on trial at Sheffield Crown Court, accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl for a period of a year during the mid-1990s.

Sajid Ali, 38, Zaheer Iqbal, 40 and Riaz Makhmood, 39, face a total of 15 counts of indecent assault that are alleged to have been carried out on a girl aged between 12 and 13-years-old in the Masbrough area of Rotherham.

Opening the case yesterday, prosecutor, Sophie Drake, told jurors how the three defendants ‘plied’ their young victim with alcohol before pressurising her to perform sex acts on them, often one after the other.

The court was told that the offending was carried out in a park and a graveyard in Masbrough.

Ms Drake said that while the girl was not threatened with violence the three defendants used other methods of ‘controlling’ her.

“They said they would tell her mother what she was doing and she was scared of this. The Crown say this is one of the ways they put pressure on her, and would control her,” Ms Drake told the court.

She continued by saying it was the Crown's case that their alleged victim 'looked her age, if not younger'.

The offences are alleged to have taken place between June 1994 and June 1995, when all of the defendants would themselves have been aged between 15 and 17-years-old.

Their alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is now in her 30s, and first went to the police in 2014.

In police interview said she never told anyone what had happened and waited until then to report the matter to the police because she had felt too ‘ashamed’ and ‘guilty'.

She told officers that she only knew the three defendants by their nicknames; with Ali being referred to as ‘Sos,’ Iqbal as ‘Booty’ and Riaz as ‘Raz’.

The woman said she had not long started secondary school when the offences took place and initially believed Ali was her boyfriend.

After initially pressurising her to perform sex acts on him, she said Ali then began instructing her to do the same to his two friends.

She said she believed she had ‘been drinking’ alcohol provided by the defendants before each and every time she was pressured into performing sex acts on them.

“I think a lot of it were down to having a drink,” said the woman in a police interview played in court, adding: “I was passed around from man to man.”

The woman continued by saying that although she knew it was ‘wrong’, she initially enjoyed the attention and said she was made to feel ‘special’.

She said it was only when she became an adult that she realised the extent to which she had been exploited by the three defendants.

The court was told that the offences only stopped when the woman’s mother stopped her from spending time in the Masbrough area when she was 13. The woman said her mother was only made aware of the situation after she finally broke her silence in 2014.

Ali, of Jones Street, Masbrough denies seven counts of indecent assault.

Iqbal, of St Johns Avenue, Masbrough, denies five counts of indecent assault.

Makhmood denies three counts of indecent assault.

The trial continues.

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