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Deaf girl tells court of beatings

A deaf and mute girl allegedly kept in a cellar, repeatedly raped and treated as a virtual slave has told a court of years of beatings and cruelty.

The victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, told the jury of almost a decade of alleged abuse after being trafficked into the UK from Pakistan in 2000, supposedly to work as a domestic help - though aged only 10 at the time.

The orphaned youngster was slapped, beaten, sexually abused and hit with a rolling pin while forced to work for no money during the day, the court heard.

At night the victim was made to sleep on the concrete floor of a cellar, the door bolted, Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester heard.

Her alleged abusers were Ilyas Ashar, 83, and his wife, Tallat Ashar, 66, who deny charges of false imprisonment, human trafficking, sexual offences, violence and benefit fraud.

The girl told of her treatment while at their home on Cromwell Road in Eccles, Salford, Greater Manchester. Asked about her life, in her words via an interpreter and sign language, she told the jury: "I was sad and weak because I was working so hard.

"They used to hit me from being very very little, all the time. I used to cook and clean for hours and hours. She (Tallat Ashar) used to hit me with her ring, she used to hit me in the face and cut my face with her ring. It hurt. She would scratch me.

"I would be down in the cellar, sitting alone and very upset. I would sit there for a long, long time, really upset and crying. I could not get out."

The jury viewed police interviews with the girl describing her life at the hands of her alleged abusers. There are 14 interviews in all which will be watched by the jury over the next few days.

The witness - now believed to be aged between 19 and 21, though her exact age is unknown - will then be cross-examined by lawyers defending the three accused.

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