A MAN who started a relationship with a young girl and then passed her around his friends for sex was yesterday jailed for 18 years.

Tilal Mahdi, 36, was sentenced for a string of sexual offences against underage girls in the 1990s and 2000s, at Oxford Crown Court.

In another case five men and a youth were convicted of sex offences against young girls in the Banbury area in the same court earlier in the day.

Mahdi was arrested and charged as part of the Operation Bullfinch investigation into the sexual abuse of girls in the Oxford area and was convicted by a jury in February.

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His two victims were aged between 13 and 15 at the time of the offences, between 1996 and 2008, in the Oxford area and other cities.

Sentencing Mahdi, Judge Ian Pringle said: “It’s important that I say from the outset that the damage you inflicted upon [the girls] is incalculable to assess.

“Their lives have been utterly changed through what you and others did to them, and anyone who has read the victim impact statements as I have can only feel utter horror at what you did.”

Judge Pringle said that Mahdi started a relationship with one of the girls in the 90s.

He added that the victim had told the court she had loved him, but after about six months, he would encourage her to have sex with friends of his. The judge said the girl did what Mahdi wanted because she was under his influence, and he would provide drugs and alcohol and the attention the girl wanted.

Mahdi went on to corrupt another young girl between 2005 and 2008 along with convicted Bullfinch offender Mohammed Karrar, of Cowley, the court heard.

Judge Pringle said the girl was taken to events where she was offered for sex to other people, not only in Oxford, but also in other cities such as Coventry, Birmingham and Manchester.

Mahdi, of Friars Street, Hereford, was sentenced to 18 years prison for conspiracy to rape a girl aged under 16. He also gave him prison terms of 12 years for conspiracy to rape a girl under 16; 10 years for trafficking within the UK for sexual exploitation; 10 years for arranging or facilitating child prostitution of a child under 18, and eight years for conspiracy to indecently assault a girl under 16. All sentences are to run concurrently.

Part of an interview with one of the young victims was released by police after the sentencing.

In it she said: “I was 14 years old, I didn’t have any money, he always had money, he would buy the drink, he would buy the drugs.

“It was a few months down the line, there would be parties at his, and there would be other men there.

“There would be dancing and his friends would get a bit touchy, and I’d look to him to say, you know, ‘stop it.’ And then he would come up me and say ‘come on if you love me, come make them happy.’ “I didn’t regard it as abuse back then. I thought he loved me.”

Speaking after the sentencing, senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Mark Glover said: “Today’s sentence is testament to those girls for having the courage to come forward and tell police what had happened to them.

“Because of that bravery, a dangerous sexual predator is behind bars.”