A disturbing pattern is repeated again, and more cases to come
The Northumbria prosecution means that Newcastle upon Tyne has joined a growing list of towns and cities in which groups of south Asian men have stood trial for street-grooming sex crimes against girls in their early teens. It will be not be the last.
It is understood that a significant number of investigations into similar alleged crimes are being conducted by police forces across the country. In some cases, arrests are thought to be imminent. In Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, 27 men aged from 25 to 53 were charged earlier this year with offences including rape, trafficking for sexual exploitation, child abduction and sexual activity with a child.
Their alleged victims, between 2004 and 2011, were 18 girls aged from 11 to 17. The prosecution has been split into three trials that are due to be heard at Leeds crown court next year. A further 16 arrests were made last month in connection with the case.
Chief Inspector Ian Mottershaw, leading the inquiry, said the men were accused of “abhorrent crimes that affect the most vulnerable in our society”.
In 2011, The Times accused child-protection authorities of failing to acknowledge and tackle a hidden crime model in which organised groups of men used alcohol and drugs to groom girls in their early teens before subjecting them to sexual abuse.
The newspaper reported a series of criminal cases since 1996, each treated as an isolated incident, that revealed a disturbingly similar pattern involving hundreds of girls. Those reports, and the newspaper’s subsequent exposure of the Rotherham scandal, triggered several national inquiries and a transformation in the police approach. Since 2011, groups of men have been prosecuted for organised sex-grooming crimes in Rochdale, Rotherham, Oxford, Telford, Leeds, Birmingham, Norwich, Burnley, High Wycombe, Leicester, Dewsbury, Middlesbrough, Peterborough, Bristol, Halifax and Newcastle.
In all but two of those, most of the offenders were Muslim men of south Asian heritage, predominantly of Pakistani origin. In all but three, the victims were teenage white girls.
Offences also happened in …
Birmingham, Blackburn, Blackpool, Bristol, Burnley, Bury, Carlisle, Derby, Dewsbury, Halifax, High Wycombe, Keighley, Leeds, Leicester, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Norwich, Oldham, Oxford, Peterborough, Preston, Sheffield, Skipton and Telford