Pakistanis jailed in teen sex grooming case in UK | world | Hindustan Times
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Pakistanis jailed in teen sex grooming case in UK

Eight men of Pakistani origin and an Afghan illegal immigrant were on Wednesday jailed for a total of 77 years by a British judge after a court in northern England found them guilty of raping and sexually assaulting five white teenage girls living in care homes.

world Updated: May 10, 2012 00:09 IST
Dipankar De Sarkar

Eight men of Pakistani origin and an Afghan illegal immigrant were on Wednesday jailed for a total of 77 years by a British judge after a court in northern England found them guilty of raping and sexually assaulting five white teenage girls living in care homes.

The judge said the men treated girls as young as 13 "as though they were worthless and beyond respect" as they passed them around for sex after plying them with alcohol and drugs in the working class town of Rochdale. Police said the actual number of victims groomed by the men was 47 - girls who were from "chaotic" and "council estate" backgrounds.

Sentencing the 59-year-old ringleader to 19 years in prison, the judge called him an "unpleasant and hypocritical bully" who had ordered a 15-year-old girl to have sex with a takeaway restaurant worker as a birthday "treat." But, with members of the extreme right-wing British National Party standing in vigil outside the courtroom, the case was immediately drawn into a heated race row.

In an affair that could have come out of the pages of a John Grisham thriller, charges of race emerged dramatically last week when the BNP's leader Nick Griffin tweeted: "News flash. Seven of the Muslim paedophile rapists found guilty in Liverpool."

Griffin later backtracked upon learning that the jury had not yet officially returned any verdicts. But investigations revealed the comment to be a "100% accurate" reflection of the deliberations at that stage, prompting eight defence counsel to demand the dismissal of the all-white jury.

Judge Gerald Clifton rejected the demand, saying inquiries carried out by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service showed that the tweeted message was published at a time when the jury was deliberating in a room where electronic equipment is banned.

Two Asian defence lawyers were physically attacked outside the courtroom in February, leading them to quite the case. Three days after the trial began, a mob threw bricks at takeaways and police in Rochdale.