A 'PREDATORY and cynical' gang which groomed and sexually abused young girls across Oxford has been jailed for a total of nearly 70 years.

The depraved grooming ring was convicted at Oxford Crown Court after a five-month trial which ended in March.

Throughout the trial, which saw jurors deliberate for a record breaking 107 hours and 31 minutes over 24 days, the court heard harrowing accounts from five victims describing the abuse they suffered as a result of the exploitation.

At the sentencing hearing for six of the men on Tuesday - with two more men already jailed for their part earlier this year - Judge Peter Ross described them as 'sinister' and said the girls had been made to feel 'worthless' as a result of the abuse.

He said: "The victims were all vulnerable teenagers.

"They were brought into the group, of which the defendants were part of, through flattery, making them feel a sense of belonging, and the provision of alcohol and drugs.

"And the consequence was that sexual abuse of these girls became the norm.

"It is clear that there were hundreds of episodes of sexual abuse. The impact on the victims of these offences has been shattering.

"It must be remembered that each of you in your own way played a part in destroying the lives of these young women."

At the beginning of the two-day sentencing hearing on Monday, victim personal statements summarised to the court revealed each of the girls, now women, had suffered lasting effects as a result of the abuse.

The court heard that for one of the victims the ordeal of going through the police investigation and having to face her tormentors in court had ‘re-railed if not de-railed’ her life.

Another woman developed problems sleeping and also had difficulties maintaining relationships with others.

During the initial trial which began in October last year, the court heard that the men on numerous occasions coerced the girls into sex at various addresses across Oxford including at guest houses, in cars and at local parks.

The victims, none of whom can be named for legal reasons, were all from Oxford and aged as young as 13 at the time of the offences.

The abuse, which prosecutor Oliver Saxby QC called ‘routine, cynical and predatory sexual exploitation’ all took place between 1998 and 2005.

One of the locations where the abuse took place was in a black Nissan Serena people carrier with a licence plate ending ‘SHG’. The vehicle was the scene of various instances of sexual abuse.

One of the victims said of the car: “They would pick the girls, have sex with them, and dump them. Everything happened in that Serena.”

The same woman said the men would also ‘take it in turns’ to have sex with her and gang rapes would take place after she was plied with drink and drugs.

Other locations where sex took place included at Shotover woods and laybys outside the city as well as near Oxford City FCs ground Court Place Farm.

One woman was sexually assaulted at Cronin’s B&B, Iffley Road, while others were plied with drink and drugs as part of what prosecutors called the ‘grooming process’ and took part in ‘sex parties’ at a number of Oxford addresses.

Defence barristers meanwhile took turns to offer mitigation for each of the six men today and urge the court for leniency in passing sentence.

Barrister Mark George QC, representing Assad Hussain, pointed to his upbringing as part of the Muslim community which he said ‘does have a tendency to encourage clandestine relationships’ because he was not allowed to bring girlfriends home or have sex before marriage.

He added that while in custody he has been a model prisoner, and taken it upon himself to become a ‘listener’ helping to mentor and guide other inmates.

Defence teams went on to say during the hearing that their clients were largely ‘immature’ and had been themselves young, many still in their teens, at the time of their offending and had since sought to live a crime-free and productive life.

Sentencing, Judge Peter Ross accepted that for some of the men their youth and immaturity was a factor but that each had to be given lengthy prison sentences given the severity of their crimes.

The verdicts and sentences in full:

-Assad Hussain, 37, of Iffley Road, Oxford, was convicted of two counts of indecent assault, three counts of rape and two counts of conspiracy to rape. He was cleared of one count of indecent assault. He was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum jail term of 12 years.
-Moinul Islam, 42, of Wykeham Crescent, Oxford, was convicted of two counts of indecent assault, one count of rape and one count of supplying cannabis to another. He was cleared of false imprisonment. He was jailed for 15 years and nine months.
-Kameer Iqbal, 39, of Dashwood Road, Oxford, was convicted of three count of rape. He was jailed for 12 years.
-Khalid Hussain, 38, of Ashhurst Way, Oxford, was convicted of one count of rape and count of indecent assault. He was cleared of another count of rape. He was jailed for 12 years.
-Alladitta Yousaf, 48, of Bodley Road, Oxford was convicted of one count of indecent assault. He was jailed for seven and a half years.
-Haji Khan, 38, of Littlegreen Lane, Birmingham, was cleared of one count of conspiracy to rape and one count of indecent assault. He is guilty of one count of conspiracy to rape. He was jailed for 10 years.