Five members of a paedophile ring, who were found guilty of raping and trafficking girls aged as young as 11, have today been sentenced to jail for life.
Two pairs of brothers, Akhtar and Anjum Dogar, and Bassam and Mohammed Karrar, were among the seven men sentenced for “exeptionally grave crimes”.
When sentencing, Judge Peter Rook told the court, “These were sexual crimes of the upmost gravity. The depravity was extreme, each victim was groomed, coerced and intimidated.”
During the setencing, there was discussion from representatives of the defendants around the negative moral influence of the area around Cowley Road.
Sally O’Neill QC, defending Jamil, told the court of a “starling” sub-culture with “no moral compass” that had developed in the area in the early 2000s, that was “apparent and well known” to residents.
Lee Karu QC, defending Dogar also spoke of “the culture of Cowley Road”, and said that Dogar was “caught up with the culture”.
He added, “If he had been fortunate enough not to be brought up in the Cowley Road area things may have been different, but that is where he was.”
The defence also criticised authorities for an “almost wilful blindness” towards crimes happening “under the noses” of Oxford social services and Thames Valley police. Despite being told on several occasions by the girls and their parents about their abuse, the two organisations did not act on reports until 2010.
A Serious Case Review will look into the failure to stop the gang, which police first encountered in early 2006, but was not stopped until 2012.
Oxfordshire County Council said, “The council hopes these sentences send out a strong message that child sexual exploitation will not be tolerated in Oxfordshire.
“We would like to praise the courage of the victims for giving evidence in court that has led to these sentences, and we are sorry we did not stop it sooner.
“We have learned a great deal about how to prevent and disrupt child sexual exploitation, and are working closely with other agencies to root it out in Oxfordshire.”
Andy Dipper, from OXCAT (Oxford Community Against Trafficking) said, “Lessons need to be learnt and quickly. We want to make sure other victims understand we will listen, and we will believe them. Victims are being stigmatised and discouraged from reporting their horrific abuse because of a system which is ponderous, accusatory and further traumatises them.
“The community, police and social services need to provide a safe haven for anyone – young or old, male or female – who is a victim of this horrendous crime.”
Brothers Akhtar Dogar, 32, and Anjum Dogar, 31, were convicted of several counts of of rape, child prostitution and trafficking, and were both jailed for life with a minimum term of 17 years at the Old Bailey.
Mohammed Karrar, 38, will serve a minimum of 20 years after being found guilty of 18 offences including rape of a child, trafficking, using an instrument to procure a miscarriage and child prostitution.
His brother, Bassam Karrar, 34, was sentenced with minimum of 15 years after being found guilty of nine charges including rape of a child, child prostitution and trafficking.
Kamar Jamil, 27, was found guilty of five counts of rape, two counts of conspiracy to rape and one count of arranging child prostitution He was jailed for life with a minimum term of 12 years.
Assad Hussain, 32, and Zeeshan Ahmed, 28, were both jailed for seven years after they were found guilty of two counts of sexual activity with a child.
The Kingfisher helpline for child protection, established as a result of the Operation Bullfish findings, can be contacted on 01865 335276.