BULLFINCH: Third alleged victim takes the stand

THE third alleged victim of a child sex exploitation gang has taken the witness stand at the Old Bailey this morning.

The young woman told the jury she was adopted aged 11 and moved to Oxford.

But she said she "quit" school without telling her mother and began hiding from teachers and smoking in a park. She was expelled before she started Year 8.

The woman, now in her 20s, said she and friends then met a man called "Mohammed" who invited them to a flat to drink booze it left when a man started "flirting" with them.

The witness, known as Girl 3 as she cannot be named, claims she was abused by Akhtar and Anjum Dogar, Assad Hussain, and Mohammed and Bassam Karrar between the ages of 13 and 15.

The alleged crimes, including rape, child prostitution, and sex trafficking, are said to have taken place between July 2005 and July 2008. A social worker told the court earlier two young teenage girls at the children's home she worked at would run away frequently.

Unnamed witnesses known as Girl 1 and 2, who have already testified, stayed at the home in 2006.

The care worker said the girls would later return to the Henley home in a "low mood" and self harm.

She said: "At one point it felt like they were out of the house more often than in it."

She said the longest they were away was about a week.

The woman, who was 22 at the time, said the children's home knew the girls were using drink and drugs, adding: "We were also aware they were with older men."

And she said Girl 1 would cut herself in front of her. She said she would use "anything she could get to cause a cut to her skin", including a broken CD.

The witness said the home installed locks on windows but the girls still escaped. She said sometimes they would run out the front or back doors.

She said the pair were "blatant" about going out.

The jury heard the girls would be told to go to bed but would put their pyjamas on over their clothes.

She said after returning the girls would be taken to a sexual health clinic in Reading. She said they were asked if they had sex, with how many men, and whether they consented.

But she said the girls would "shake" the questions and not give straightforward answers.

She said: "I was very worried about them. They were very vulnerable young girls.

"We had a strong suspicion they were involved in sexual activity and weren't safe."

The nine defendants deny all 51 counts.

The trial continues.

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