Northumbria Police smashed the sex grooming network as part of Operation Sanctuary
And today public hand-wringing was much in evidenced as one former Crown Prosecution Service chief admitted authorities looked the other way for fear of looking racist and a PC row which broke out over A £10,000 police payment to a paedophile to act as informer threatened to over shadow the evil crimes themselves.
Shadow women and equalities secretary Sarah Champion claimed Asian grooming gangs were allowed to thrive because people are “more afraid to be called a racist than they are afraid to be wrong about calling out child abuse”.
The Labour MP for Rotherham, said it was time to acknowledge that the “majority of perpetrators have been British-Pakistani” in the towns where such grooming cases have occurred.
Grisly and heartbreaking details of how the 17 men routinely abused white girls emerged from the court case.
The jury heard that one girl was taken from her home and repeatedly raped by men as if they were in a ‘relay race’.
The girl told the court how she would regularly be supplied with cash, cigarettes and drugs in exchange for sex.
John Elvedge QC, prosecuting, told the court how during one attack she was high on cocaine while men took turns to have sex with her under a Kurdish flag.
A total of 17 men and one woman have been convicted of, or have admitted, charges including rape, supplying drugs and inciting prostitution.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the older men preyed on immature teenagers who were plied with cocaine, cannabis, alcohol or mephedrone.
The girls and women were then raped or persuaded into having sexual activity.
Over the course of four trials at Newcastle Crown Court, 20 young women gave evidence covering a period from 2011 to 2014.
Those prosecuted were from the Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian, Iraqi, Iranian and Turkish communities and mainly British-born.
Most lived in the West End of Newcastle.
Abdul Sabe, pictured arriving at court, was convicted of several offences including rape
CPS confirms 18 have been convicted for Newcastle sex abuse
The sex ring was exposed when two women spoke to the authorities in 2013 and within weeks police had made 27 arrests under an investigation which became known as Operation Shelter.
Police pieced together links between the offenders gathered at the same places or had mutual acquaintances.
Defendants were charged with conspiracy to incite prostitution for gain – reflecting how women were exploited with drink or drugs.
Roles within the conspiracy included providing the premises, supplying drugs, transporting victims, having sex with them or encouraging it to happen.
Saiful Islam was convicted of one count of rape and sentenced to 10 years in prison
Not all the defendants were part of the conspiracy.
John Elvidge QC, who prosecuted the cases, said girls were exploited ruthlessly.
Summing up the final trial, he said: “This was a section of young women who were tricked into believing they were in the company of friends.
“They were groomed and lulled into trusting those who would ultimately abuse them.”
Mohibur Rahman who has been found guilty following the force’s Operation Shelter
One girl described how a victim was demeaned in a flat in Newcastle’s West End.
She told the jury: “She seemed scared. She came into the room where I was and the men were treating her like a slave.
“They were dropping things on the floor on purpose to make her pick them up.”
Today former Crown Prosecution Service chief Lord Macdonald of River Glaven said cases of Asian grooming gangs targeting white girls were not previously examined as “rigorously as they might have been”.
He added that all communities need to recognise it is a “profoundly racist crime”.