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AFP
October 21, 2018

20 Britons jailed for sexually abusing young girls

World

AFP
October 21, 2018

LONDON: British prosecutors revealed Friday that 20 men had been jailed for raping and sexually abusing more than a dozen girls aged as young as 11 in one town between 2004 and 2011.

England´s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said the convictions came in a series of trials held since January that could not be reported at the time due to a blanket ban imposed the court. "These horrific crimes are sickening and, first and foremost, I commend the bravery of those who´ve suffered abuse in coming forward," said Home Secretary Sajid Javid, the interior minister.

The gang operated in Huddersfield -- a town of 160,000 in northern England.

The group´s ringleader -- identified as 35-year-old Amere Singh Dhaliwal -- was jailed for life and told he must serve a minimum of 18 years in prison. "The men who have been convicted of these appalling crimes deliberately targeted their victims because of their vulnerability," said CPS spokesman Michael Quinn.

"They groomed them and exploited them for their own sexual gratification. Sometimes, they used threats and violence. Typically, they plied them with alcohol and drugs." The men are all British of South Asian origin, mostly of Pakistani heritage. British media reports said many perpetrators have never been identified.

"The way you treated these girls defies understanding. This abuse was vile and wicked," judge Geoffrey Marson was revealed to have told one group of 16 men he jailed earlier this year. "As cases of sexual abuse with which the courts have to deal, this case comes top of the scale."

The ringleader was convicted of 54 separate counts that included 22 rapes of 11 different girls.

"You treated them as commodities to be passed around for your own sexual gratification and the gratification of others," the judge told him.

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