Abrar Hussain of DOT
Twenty men of Pakistani origin have been jailed for raping and abusing more than a dozen girls in a northern England town, which a judge termed a “vile and wicked” campaign of exploitation.
The men in the town of Huddersfield were found guilty in three trials this year, but the verdicts could not be reported until a judge lifted reporting restrictions on Friday. The cases are the latest in a series of prosecutions in northern English towns and cities for child sexual exploitation involving men of Pakistani heritage.
The men were accused of being part of a gang that groomed vulnerable girls and were convicted of more than 120 offenses against 15 victims aged between 11 and 17. Prosecutors said the victims were dosed with alcohol and drugs before being sexually abused by the men at parties and in cars, parking lots, snooker centers and fast-food restaurants.
Amere Singh Dhaliwal, whom prosecutors said was the gang’s ringleader, was found guilty of 22 counts of rape and sentenced earlier this year to a minimum of 18 years in prison. The judge told him that “the way you treated these girls defies understanding.”
“This abuse was vile and wicked,” Judge Geoffrey Marson said as he passed sentence at Leeds Crown Court.
The other men received sentences of between five and 18 years in prison.
The cases – in which most of the victims were white — have heightened ethnic tensions in Britain and spurred criticism of local authorities.