Rotherham child sex gang leader Arshid Hussain given 35-year sentence
The ringleader of a gang who groomed, raped and abused teenage girls in Rotherham has been jailed for 35 years by a judge who told him: "The harm you have caused is of unimaginable proportions".
Arshid Hussain, two of his brothers and three other associates were together given sentences totalling more than 100 years at Sheffield Crown Court.
Arshid's brothers Basharat Hussain, 39, and Bannaras Hussain, 36, got 25 years and 19 years respectively.
Their uncle, Qurban Ali, 53, was jailed for 10 years. Female accomplice Karen MacGregor, 59, was jailed for 13 years while Shelley Davies, 40, was given an 18-month sentence, suspended for two years.
Many of the 15 victims of the Hussain brothers sat in the public gallery overlooking court six at Sheffield Crown Court holding hands as Judge Sarah Wright read out the sentences.
There were shouts of "yes" as well as gasps and hugs as Arshid's 35-year term was handed down.
Detective Chief Inspector Martin Tait, who led the inquiry, said one the victims told him afterwards: "I just never thought this day would come."
Arshid, 40, was clearly visible on a big screen in court - appearing by video-link from Doncaster Prison. He showed no reaction at the sentence, barely opening his eyes for most of the hearing.
Twelve of the women have spent the last two months describing to a jury how their teenage years were blighted by horrors including grooming, rape, trafficking, physical assaults and being used as prostitutes.
They also described how they were ignored by police officers and council representatives who knew what was happening but did nothing.
Judge Wright praised the "immeasurable courage" of the victims.
She made it clear that, contrary to the defendants' claims that they were fantasists who were making up stories for money, they had come forward in an attempt to stop such abuse happening to other people.
Jailing the gang, who were said to have ruled Rotherham with impunity, Judge Wright told them: "The harm you have caused is of unimaginable proportions."
The judge said: "Each in your own way perpetrated or facilitated the sexual abuse of these young girls.
"Your victims were targeted, sexualised and in some cases subjected to acts of a degrading and violent nature."
She said: "They were made to feel that they could not report what was happening to them.
"Even if they did, no action was taken and you were free to continue your exploitation of them."
The judge said: "There was a perception by some of your victims that you appeared, in their words, to 'rule Rotherham'.
"You exploited that to the full."
Judge Wright described the actions of the gang as "this appalling catalogue of offending".
She went through each of the victims' stories one-by-one.
Concluding one account, she said: "The effect of the abuse of her has been devastating.
"Her childhood memories are of pain and abuse. She is unable to trust anyone.
"She has suffered from eating disorders and anxiety throughout her life. You took her childhood from her."
In relation to another victim, the judge said: "She describes you, Basharat Hussain, as stealing the person she was and alienating her from her family."
Earlier, prosecutor Michelle Colborne QC handed in a pile of victim impact statements to the court.
The testimonies were not read out in court but Ms Colborne said the sister of one victim described her sister as a "broken human being".
One woman, she said, described how the Hussain brothers acted "as a pack of animals" when she was urinated on.
The prosecutor said: "They describe from their teenage years a life in the main of feeling dirty, ashamed and guilty.
"Between them, a plethora of emotional conditions - eating disorders, self-harm, agoraphobia, self-loathing and terminations for many of them from the age of 14 - events they have never been able to put behind them."
Arshid and Basharat Hussain were found guilty of multiple offences on Wednesday. MacGregor, Ali and Davies were also found guilty after the trial. Bannaras Hussain admitted a number of charges at the start of the trial in December.