Halifax child sex abuse ring
The Halifax child sex abuse ring was a group of men who committed serious sexual offences against under-aged girls in the English town of Halifax and city of Bradford, West Yorkshire. It was the largest child sexual exploitation investigation in the United Kingdom. In 2016, the perpetrators were found guilty of rape and other crimes in several separate trials at Leeds Crown Court. In total, as many as a hundred men may have been involved in child abuse. Twenty-five suspects were charged by West Yorkshire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service and 18 of these were found guilty, totalling over 175 years of prison time. A further 9 men were convicted in February 2019 for grooming two underage girls in Bradford and sentenced to over 130 years in prison. The majority of those charged and later convicted come from the town's Asian community, and there were fears that their arrests might impact race relations in the town.
In December 2017, Quilliam released a report entitled "Group Based Child Sexual Exploitation – Dissecting Grooming Gangs", concluding that 84% of offenders were of South Asian heritage. This review was criticised for its poor methodology by Ella Cockbain and Waqas Tufail, in their paper "Failing victims, fuelling hate: challenging the harms of the 'Muslim grooming gangs' narrative" which was published in January 2020. In December that year, a further report by the Home Office was released, showing that the majority of CSE gangs were, in fact, composed of white men.
Writing in The Guardian, Cockbain and Tufail wrote of the report that "The two-year study by the Home Office makes very clear that there are no grounds for asserting that Muslim or Pakistani-heritage men are disproportionately engaged in such crimes, and, citing our research, it confirmed the unreliability of the Quilliam claim".
The principal victim was identified as "Jeanette" in government reports. The prosecution said that the girl, who was 13 when the abuse first began, came from a troubled family background and was “lonely [and] needy”. The gang exploited her desire for friendship and love, deliberately giving her drink and drugs to turn her into an addict and make her more easily controlled. In interviews with the police, she described being raped and abused in many different locations, including private homes in Halifax, Bradford and Manchester, and hotels in Bradford, Leeds and London. The abuse took place between 2006 and 2011.
"Jeanette" believed that she was abused by at least a hundred men, often more than once a day and once by nineteen men over a short time. She was infected with gonorrhoea as result of the abuse and suffered permanent psychological harm. Although she knew many of the men only by their nicknames, the police were able to identify them using CCTV footage from the hotels in which she was abused and by analysing male DNA in stains found on her clothing.
Calderdale board report and West Yorkshire police apology
The November 2016 board report found that three agencies failed to protect "Jeanette". West Yorkshire police apologized, saying "We would firstly like to apologise to the victim for the failings of West Yorkshire police."
Judge Geoffrey Marson QC harshly criticised the guilty men for committing gross abuse on obviously vulnerable girls. He condemned them for not showing “the slightest remorse” for their behaviour and for the way in which they had inflicted pain, humiliation and degradation on a victim whom they had deliberately incapacitated with drink and drugs. He said that they had inflicted permanent psychological harm on the girl, acting without concern or feelings for anything but their own sexual gratification.
2018 arrests for same case
In early January 2018, 20 additional men were arrested as a result of investigations into the same case.
Verdicts and sentences
Those found guilty in June 2016 and their sentences were as follows:
- Hedar Ali, 36, of Bradford, 25 years for rape and trafficking for sexual exploitation
- Haider Ali, 41, of Halifax, 20 years for sexual activity with a child and causing a person to engage in sexual activity
- Khalid Zaman, 38, of Bradford, 17 and a half years for rape and supplying class B drugs
- Mohammed Ramzan, 35, of Bradford, 15 years for rape
- Haaris Ahmed, 32, of Halifax, 12 and a half years for sexual activity with a child and supplying class B drugs
- Tahir Mahmood, 43, of Halifax, 11 years for sexual activity with a child and sexual assault
- Taukeer Butt, 31, of Halifax, 10 years for sexual activity with a child
- Amaar Ali Ditta, 27, of Halifax, nine years for sexual activity with a child
- Azeem Subhani, 25, of Halifax, nine years for sexual activity with a child
- Talib Saddiq, 31, of Halifax, eight years for sexual activity with a child
- Sikander Malik, 31, of Halifax, seven years for sexual activity with a child
- Mohammed Ali Ahmed, 43, of Halifax, six and a half years for sexual activity with a child
- Aftab Hussain, 37, of Halifax, six years for sexual activity with a child
- Mansoor Akhtar, 25, of Huddersfield, six years for sexual activity with a child and supplying Class B drugs
- Sikander Ishaq, 31, of Halifax, six years for sexual activity with a child
- Aesan Pervez, 27, from Halifax, four years. Convicted by a jury after a trial at Leeds Crown Court on one charge of sexual assault on the girl
- Furqaan Ghafar, 31, from Derby who was jailed for five years three months after he admitted one charge of sexual activity with a child.
An 18th member of the ring was jailed for 10 months for supplying class B drugs
Those found guilty in February 2019 and their sentences were as follows:
- Basharat Khaliq, 38, of Bradford, 20 years for five counts of rape and assault by penetration
- Saeed Akhtar, 55, of Bradford, 20 years for two counts of inciting child prostitution and rape
- Naveed Akhtar, 43, of Bradford, 17 years for two counts of rape
- Parvaze Ahmed, 36, of Bradford, 17 years for three counts of rape
- Izar Hussain, 32, of Bradford, 16 years for rape and attempted rape
- Zeeshan Ali, 32, of Bradford, 18 months for sexual assault
- Kieran Harris, 28, of Dewsbury, 17 years for two counts of rape
- Faheem Iqbal, 27, of no fixed abode, 7 years for aiding and abetting rape
- Mohammed Usman, 31, of Bradford, 17 years for two counts of rape
- "Calderdale gang jailed for grooming and abusing girls". BBC News. 17 June 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
- "Last two men sentenced in Calderdale's biggest child sex abuse case". Halifax Courier. 24 June 2016. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
Sentences imposed on the sexual offenders now total more than 175 years and an 18th man convicted only of supplying the girl with cannabis was also jailed for 10 months.
- "How 100 men were able to prey on one vulnerable Halifax schoolgirl for two years". The Yorkshire Post. 17 June 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
- "Nine jailed for abusing care home girls". 27 February 2019. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
- "Child sexual abuse ring in Halifax: 25 men charged - police reaction". Retrieved 19 October 2018.
- Barnes, Tom (10 December 2017). "British-Pakistani researchers say grooming gangs are 84% Asian". The Independent. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
- Cockbain, Ella; Tufail, Waqas (2020). "Failing victims, fuelling hate: challenging the harms of the 'Muslim grooming gangs' narrative". Race & Class. 61 (3): 3–32. doi:10.1177/0306396819895727. ISSN 0306-3968.
- https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/944206/Group-based_CSE_Paper.pdf[bare URL]
- Ella Cockbain; Waqas Tufail (December 19th, 2020). A new Home Office report admits grooming gangs are not a ‘Muslim problem'. The Guardian. Archived Version. Retrieved December 19th, 2020.
- Nick Lavigueur (24 November 2016). "Chances missed to protect vulnerable girl from evil sex gang in Halifax". The Huddersfield Daily Examiner. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
The youngster, known as Jeanette in the report, was drugged and raped by the gang from the age of 12 to 15.
- "West Yorkshire Police charge 25 men with child sex offences". BBC. 4 February 2015. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
The offences are alleged to have been committed between 2006 and 2011 and largely relate to one girl who was under 16 at the time.
- "Child sexual abuse ring in Halifax: 25 men charged - police reaction". Halifax Courier. 9 February 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
police say is the largest child sexual exploitation (CSE) investigation in the country - bigger than high profile cases in Rochdale and Rotherham
- "How officials failed Halifax schoolgirl groomed by 17 men". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
- "Child sexual abuse ring in Halifax: 25 men charged - police reaction". Halifax Courier. 9 February 2015. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
A year-long investigation eventually saw them arrested in May 2013 and they were all formally charged at Halifax Police Station on Wednesday.
- Neil Atkinson (16 June 2016). "Grooming gang sentenced to more than 150 years in jail 'systematic sex abuse' in Halifax and Bradford". The Huddersfield Daily Examiner. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
Three separate trials have taken place between February and June 2016. The 13 defendants sentenced to date have amassed 156 years and six months imprisonment between them, with sentencing ranging from five to 25 years.
- Lizzie Dearden (12 January 2018). "Police arrest 20 men for alleged involvement in Calderdale grooming gang". The Independent. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
This week’s arrests were part of the same investigation, which centres on allegations made a woman who was the victim of sexual abuse as a child in the Halifax area between 2006 and 2009.
- "Last two men sentenced in Calderdale's biggest child sex abuse case". The Halifax Courier. Retrieved 13 February 2018.