A detective who led a painstaking investigation into harrowing allegations of child sexual abuse has spoken of his relief after two men were jailed for a variety of offences.
The female victims, both of whom were in the care system, were aged between 13 and 15 when they were groomed, sexually exploited and abused between February 2017 and January 2019.
After a Nottingham Crown Court trial earlier this month three men were convicted of a range of offences, including grooming and sexual activity with children.
Two of them appeared at Nottingham Crown Court this morning where they were jailed for a total of more than ten years.
Waqas Akhtar, 26, of Radford, Nottingham, was convicted by a jury of two counts of sexual activity with a child, two counts of sexual communication with a child, and one count of meeting a child following sexual grooming. He was jailed for seven-and-a-half years.
Mohammed Saeed Ahmed, 22, of Nottingham, pleaded guilty to four charges before the trial started. He was jailed for three years for two counts of sexual activity with a child, one of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, and another of sexual communications with a child.
Nottinghamshire Police began an investigation into the men in September 2018 after concerns were raised about their behaviour by various agencies responsible for supporting two of the girls.
Detectives spent 12 months gathering enough evidence to arrest the men and executed a series of coordinated warrants on the same day in March 2019.
Detective Inspector Jamie Hill, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “This case really came to our attention back in September 2018 when – as a result of a number of sexual exploitation meetings with our key partners – we became aware that a number of young females appeared to have been targeted by perpetrators of sexual exploitation.
“However this was a really challenging case because we didn’t have any reports of any offences – it was actually all the partners working together, picking up relatively innocuous bits of information that, when you put them all together, did suggest these girls were getting targeted.
“Ultimately Nottinghamshire Police put a dedicated team together to fully investigate that information and over a period of months we managed to build up a report [with the victims] that led to a series of warrants being executed and a number of people being arrested.
“A vast amount of digital data was recovered at this time and was forensically examined. And that is really what provided the platform for us to build a case. There was a lot of evidence to go through and over a period of months we managed to extract indecent images of children lots of chat-logs that indicated a variety of offences had occurred. Over the months that followed we were able to substantiate a number of these offences.”
Referring to today’s sentences DI Hill added: “I feel relief first of all. My staff and Nottinghamshire Police put a massive amount of effort into this case so it is very satisfying to see these men put behind bars. But I am also relieved for the victims because ultimately this has been a very harrowing and difficult journey for them.
“I very pleased with this result because it sends a very clear message to anybody who wants to engage children and exploit these vulnerable people – that Nottingham Police will do anything we can to stop them.”
A third man, Hamza Shazad, 27, of Ewart Road, Forest Fields, admitted to three counts of making indecent images of children, three counts of distributing indecent images of a child and another charge of possessing extreme pornographic images.
He will be sentenced on 7 April.