Four men sentenced for rape and trafficking of young victims
Four ‘devious and manipulative’ men from Kirklees will face a combined sentence of 50 years behind bars after being convicted of the rape, trafficking and sexual exploitation of young victims.
Ibrahim ‘Iby’ Kola, Mohammed ‘Saaj’ Chothia and brothers, Ismail Haji and Imran Haji, were all jailed at Leeds Crown Court on Tuesday 27th September for offences they committed back in 2014.
The group were prosecuted following a significant investigation by Wakefield District Child Sexual Exploitation team into offending in the Wakefield and Kirklees Districts.
Police enquiries into the case began in October 2014 after a then 13-year-old victim from the Wakefield area told a school welfare officer she had been seriously sexually assaulted by men at an address in Dewsbury.
The subsequent investigation established the 13-year-old had come into contact with former factory worker Mohammed Chothia and taxi driver Ismail Haji, both 39, in August.
She had later met the two men in Thornes Park, Wakefield, along with a 15-year-old girl.
Over the weeks which followed, the girls were also introduced to Imran Haji, 36, and Ibrahim Kola, also 36, and taken to a flat in Dewsbury. Both were subject to serious sexual assaults at the property.
The 13-year-old was also seriously sexually assaulted at a second address.
Ismail Haji and Chothia were identified, arrested and charged by Wakefield Safeguarding officers in October 2014 with further enquiries leading to the identification and arrest of the other two defendants.
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Inspector Lis Walker of the Wakefield District Safeguarding Unit, said: “These men took advantage of young and vulnerable victims for the sole purpose of sexually abusing them.
“They were devious and manipulative in order to achieve their vile objectives. They will now have a collective 50 years in prison to reflect upon the consequences of their wickedness.
“Officers worked incredibly hard and showed great determination during the investigation. They treated the victims with great sensitivity and have supported them throughout. Their meticulous work has ensured the protection of the wider community from these men.”
She added: “However, whilst we welcome the sentences at court today, it is the victims that are, and have always been, at the forefront of our thoughts and of all we have done.
“Their bravery and courage in coming forward and supporting the prosecution of the men who treated them so abominably should be recognised. They have remained steadfast for almost two years, waiting for justice to be done.”
Officers worked alongside partners at the Local Authority and children’s charity, Barnardo’s, throughout this case.
Chief Superintendent Mabs Hussain, District Commander for Wakefield, praised the officers for their work on the case and bringing the four men to justice.
“Tackling child sexual exploitation and safeguarding the vulnerable is the top priority for Wakefield Police, just as it is for the rest of the force, and I am very pleased to see these men behind bars today,” he said.
“It is no exaggeration to say these men behaved in a reprehensible fashion and targeted some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.”
“I want to commend the team who investigated these offences in such a methodical and detailed fashion to build a case against these individuals and help put them in prison.”
Ismail Haji – sentenced to 19 years for rape, sexual activity with a child, grooming and trafficking offences
Imran Haji – sentenced to 8 years for rape and trafficking offences;
Ibrahim Kola – sentenced to 10 years for rape and trafficking offences;
Mohammed Chothia – sentenced to 13 years for grooming, taking an indecent photo of a child and trafficking offences.