A third and final man convicted as part of a painstaking investigation into child sexual abuse has been sentenced.
Hamza Shazad, 27, was one of five men prosecuted over the sexual abuse of three vulnerable teenage girls.
The female victims were aged between 13 and 15 when they were groomed, sexually exploited and abused between February 2017 and January 2019.
Shazad, of Ewart Road, Forest Fields, was cleared by a jury last month of charges of engaging in sexual communication with a child, causing or inciting a child aged 13 to 15 to engage in sexual activity and meeting a child following sexual grooming.
He had, however, already 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.
The offences relate to images found on his mobile phone during the investigation.
Appearing at Nottingham Crown Court this afternoon he was sentenced to 16 months in prison suspended for 18 months and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work. He was also added to the sex offenders’ register for a period of ten years, banned from working with children and ordered to complete 15 days of rehabilitation activity.
Two other men were jailed last month for a total of more than ten years for their part in the abuse.
Waqas Akhtar, 26, of Glentworth Road, Radford, Nottingham, was found guilty 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 Vale Crescent South, 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. Nottingham City Council’s Child Safeguarding Team supported the investigation by working with the victims to listen to them, help them understand the harm and manipulation the men had subjected them to and help them feel strong enough to give evidence in this case.
Detective Inspector Jamie Hill, who led the investigation, said: “Today’s sentence brings to an end a very demanding investigation that has involved dozens of detectives and a considerable amount of joint working with partner agencies.
“Throughout his case we have been driven by a desire not only to safeguard the victims, but also to protect other vulnerable young women from similar abuse in the future.
“So as we mark the final end to this case I would like to send a very clear message to other men in our communities who think it’s acceptable to exploit and abuse under-age girls. If we suspect you are committing these offences we will come after you and we will deploy any resources necessary to investigate and prosecute you.”
Nottingham City Council’s Corporate Director for People, Catherine Underwood, said: “We worked closely with the police on this case to bring these perpetrators to justice. Survivors have been incredibly brave and the wider community very helpful in achieving this outcome.
“There can be nothing more important than the protection of children from abuse and as this case shows, we work tirelessly with the police and others to do just that. Abusers need to know – there’s nowhere to hide and you will be caught.
“If anyone is concerned about the welfare of a child or young person please contact our Children & Families Direct Team on 0115 876 4800.”