Gang of men accused of raping 14-year-old in Brierfield 'drink, sex and cocaine den'

First published in News Asian Image: Photograph of the Author by , Crime reporter

A GANG of men allegedly exploited and raped a vulnerable 14-year-old schoolgirl at a ‘sex, drink and cocaine den’ in Brierfield, a jury heard.

Burnley Crown Court was told how the teenager was said to have been groomed and then raped and sexually assaulted repeatedly over an 18-month period.

The teenager was treated with ‘indignity and contempt’ as she was passed between the six men to be used for their ‘sexual gratification’, the court heard.

Leader of the group was ‘arrogant’ Mohammed Imran Amjad, 25, said to bear the greatest responsibility for corrupting the victim. Before he allegedly molested the girl, he had been confronted by the alleged victim's worried mother.

He asked her “Who the f*** are you?” then shrugged his shoulders and walked off, the court heard.

Undeterred by the challenge, Amjad, said to have sent the girl sexually degrading texts, went on to abuse her at the property in Sackville Street, said to have been owned by his uncle. Mohammed Imran Amjad allegedly threatened to kill the girl after he was arrested.

Mohammed Imran Amjad, of Halifax Road, denies three charges of child abduction, one count of rape, an alternative allegation of sexual activity with a child, two allegations of aiding and abetting rape, three counts of aiding and abetting sexual activity with a child, one count of aiding and abetting sexual assault, two charges of intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence - one an alternative - and one charge of witness intimidation.

Shiraz Afzal, 25, of Mansfield Crescent, pleads not guilty to allegations of aiding and abetting rape and aiding and abetting sexual activity with a child.

Omar Mazafer, 21, of Halifax Road, denies aiding and abetting rape and aiding and aiding and abetting sexual activity with a child.

Mohammed Suleman Farooq, 22, of Berry Street, pleads not guilty to sexual assault, an alternative charge of sexual activity with a child and witness intimidation.

Mohammed Zeeshan Amjad, 24, of Halifax Road, denies rape and an alternative count of sexual activity with a child. Haroon Mahmood, 21, of John Street, pleads not guilty to rape and an alternative count of sexual activity with a child. All live in Brierfield. The alleged offences are said to have been committed between April 2009 and September 2010.

Alaric Bassano, prosecuting, said the sexual exploitation and abuse involved planning and, on occasions, offenders acting together.

The girl was groomed and was taken to the house on many occasions. He said: “That house was used as a den at which young men attended and brought or invited girls and young women in order to drink alcohol, take drugs and engage in sex.”

Mr Bassano said Mohammed Imran Amjad, known as Immy, was the principal defendant. He said: “He bears the greatest responsibility for the corruption and abuse of the victim in this case. He befriended the girl when she was 12 or 13 and frequently took her for drives in his cars.

“It was him who took her on many occasions to the house in Brierfield and him who assisted, encouraged and incited others to rape and sexually assault the girl.

“On one occasion, he raped the girl himself. Over a period of time, he subdued her will and coerced her into submission. After he was first arrested and interviewed by the police in relation to some of the girl's allegations, he threatened her with violence.”

The prosecutor said Afzal was often present at the house and on one occasion, assisted and encouraged another male to rape the alleged victim. Mazafer on one occasion played a significant role in inciting and helping another man to rape the girl at the house. Mohammed Farooq sexually assaulted the girl on one occasion and Mohammed Zeeshan Amjad and Haroon Mahmood both raped her once.

Mr Bassano said the alleged victim lived with her family and when she was about 12, her behaviour had deteriorated. She was sometimes aggressive and disobedient, refusing to go to school and staying out late.

He said: “The Crown says that these features of her conduct made her vulnerable to the exploitation of others.” The prosecutor said the girl was 12 or 13 when it became apparent she was spending a lot of time with an older man named Immy. She was picked up and dropped off by him and called and texted him.

The girl was interviewed by police in February 2011 and gave a lot of detail about the house and some of the men who had taken her there. She told officers for tof the men all drank at the house and all except Immy took cocaine. The schoolgirl referred to a Facebook account which one of the men had created with photographs of her.

Mr Bassano said when the 14-year-old was raped by Immy, he forcibly dragged her up the stairs and one prevented her from leaving the bedroom. Afterwards, Immy took her home and warned her if she told the police, he would make her family suffer.

When the defendants were arrested, all declined to answer questions, but submitted statements denying the allegations.

The trial, scheduled to last up to six weeks, continues today.

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