Operation Stovewood: Seven guilty of abusing teenage girls who were in care 

Pictured: (Top L-R) Saddiq, Amar, Siyab, Sadiq (bottom L-R) Bari, Yassin and Ajaibe. Photo credit: NCA

Seven men have been found guilty of a string of child sex abuse offences against two teenage girls in Rotherham in the early 2000s.

The trial of the men, at Sheffield Crown Court, was the result of a five year investigation by officers from the National Crime Agency’s Operation Stovewood.

The victims, who were aged between 11 and 16 at the time of the offences and were both in care, were groomed and often plied with alcohol or cannabis before being raped or assaulted. They would often be collected by their abusers from the children’s homes where they lived at the time.

The court heard how the attacks took place at locations around Rotherham, in a park, in a car in a supermarket car park, in a cemetery, even behind a children’s nursery.

In one case one of the girls was taken to a hotel where she was raped by two men. On another occasion the same girl was locked inside one of her abuser’s homes, raped on at least two occasions, and only managed to escape by climbing out of a window.

Following a nine week trial at Sheffield Crown Court, seven men were found guilty of a series of offences this week. All seven were remanded in custody until sentencing, which is due to take place on 12 and 13 September 2024. An eighth man was cleared of rape.

NCA Senior Investigating Officer Stuart Cobb said:

“The evidence we heard from these victims was some of the most harrowing we have come across, and the offences involved some of the most serious yet investigated by officers working on Operation Stovewood.

“I pay tribute to the bravery of these two victims in coming forward and telling their stories. It was key to getting these convictions and I hope they feel that justice has finally been done.

“What happened to them was appalling. Their attackers were cruel, manipulative men, who thought it was fine to take advantage of vulnerable young girls and dehumanise their victims in the worst possible ways.

“We are determined to do all we can to support and seek justice for victims like them, and track down the perpetrators of abuse, no matter the passage of time.”

The guilty verdicts mean that 33 people have now been convicted of offences following investigations by the NCA’s Operation Stovewood, which is looking at allegations of abuse in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013. It remains the single largest investigation of its kind in the UK, with more than 1,150 potential victims identified.

Zoe Becker, Legal Manager for the CPS, said:

“These seven men knew that these young girls could be exploited – they targeted the victims and, using drugs and alcohol, groomed them for sex.

“These defendants waged a campaign of violence against the two girls, who had to endure some of the most traumatic abuse on multiple occasions.

“We are grateful to the victims who came forward and gave evidence about the horrific abuse they suffered. This has been a complex and long investigation, and it is because of their fortitude that we have been able to bring these offenders to justice.

“This is the largest case prosecuted under Operation Stovewood this year. I hope this conviction sends a clear message that the CPS, working alongside law enforcement, will relentlessly pursue justice and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, whenever that abuse took place.

“I encourage any victims of child sexual abuse and sexual violence to report the crimes committed against them. It is never too late to seek justice – you are not alone and there is help available.”

Source: NCA


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