Rochdale, The offences occurred over a period of time in Rochdale. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Nine men are set to be sentenced for a catalogue of serious sexual offences against six teenage girls in Rochdale.
The principal complainant in the case, who was raped by six of the men, walked into a police station in 2012 claiming to know about the “Rochdale grooming case”, following widespread media coverage of the convictions of a number of Asian men for grooming white girls for sex.
The victim reported that when she was aged 14 and 15 she was herself repeatedly sexually groomed by a large number of men from the Rochdale area.
The victim – described by prosecutors as an “extremely vulnerable young woman” who had had a difficult home life – said that her phone number had been passed around and that “hundreds” of men would ring her wanting to meet for sex.
The offences, most of which involved underage victims, took place between 2005 and 2013. All of the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges during two separate trials at Manchester Minshull Street crown court, which lasted a total of 15 weeks. All were convicted on 5 February and the judge is expected to conclude sentencing on Friday.
Many of the offences date back 10 years and were first reported shortly after they were committed. In some cases the victims decided they no longer wanted to cooperate with police enquiries and in other cases the police decided not to pursue the allegations. The victims were later approached by detectives to give evidence after the principal complainant went to the police in 2012.
During the trial’s opening, the prosecution told the jury that even in the relatively short period of time since the offences took place “the whole of society has a much greater understanding of child sexual exploitation”.
In a statement from one of the victims read out to the court on Thursday, she said her experiences had been eating her up inside and that it was hard to describe the “brilliant relief” that came from telling someone. “After all these years something had been done. My head was clear and I could start to move on,” she said of the guilty verdict.
The nine men were charged as part of Operation Doublet, a police investigation into the alleged sexual exploitation of teenage girls by men in Rochdale. The operation has led to more than 100 people being arrested and questioned, the majority of whom had links to Rochdale.
Choudry Ikhalaq Hussein, 38, of Rochdale, was convicted in his absence of rape, sexual activity with a child and conspiracy to rape. Hussain left the country during his trial and is currently believed to be in Pakistan.
Rehan Ali, 27, of Blackley, and Kutab Miah, 35, of Rochdale, were both found guilty of rape and sexual activity with a child. Abid Khan, 38, of Liverpool, and Mohammed Zahid, 54, of Rochdale, were also found guilty of sexual activity with a child.
Afraz Ahmed, 33, of Rochdale, was found guilty of various sexual offences, including rape, conspiracy to rape and sexual activity with a child. Mohammed Dauood, 38, of Leyland Road, Burnley, was convicted of rape, sexual activity with a child and sexual assault.
David Law, 46, of Ilkeston, Derbyshire, was convicted of conspiracy to rape, while another defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was convicted of rape and attempting to abduct a child.