The mother of a 16-year-old British girl raped by three Somali men told the Daily Mail Monday that 50 of the attackers' friends and family carried out a two-month plan of intimidation throughout the trial.
The victim’s mother, 49, who requested that her identity be kept a secret, said she was ushered into court through a back door “as if she was the criminal” to see the men sentenced to 29 years behind bars.
Muhyadeen Osman, Bilal Ahmed and Mowled Yussuf, all 20, gang raped the 16-year-old at the Victoria Park Hotel in Manchester. The three had spent the night before at the hotel for the Muslim religious holiday, Eid.
According to court documents, the girl was “naive” when she met the men, and they viewed her as “easy prey.” They used a game of “hide and seek” to lure her into a bedroom before raping her in 2013.
Last Friday, a group of more than 50 family members and friends gathered at Manchester Crown Court to protest. The girl's mother told the Daily Mail they deliberately intimidated her and her family.
She said that on the day the three were jailed, Yussuf swore at them, and another in the group blew kisses while family members shouted at them. But according to her, the intimidation dates back to the start of the two-month trial.
“I was frightened throughout and my husband was frightened,” she said. “There were so many of them and many of them would goad me when I walked past and deliberately try to intimidate us.”
She shared that there were sometimes at least 50 in the courtroom, and most likely many more on the day of the sentencing. On one occasion, she recalled the judge saying only 10 of the family members were allowed into the court, but even then “another 20 ganged up in the corridors and deliberately made me and my husband feel intimidated.”
“Sometimes we would come out and there would be even more outside,” she continued. “They would often not move out of the way when we tried to get past. On one occasion the police liaison officer we were with had to ask them to move. If she hadn't have been there I don't know what we would have done.”
She described the whole experience as very troubling:
“It was scary. If this is what it does to us, then what would this be like for the victim of a rape case?”
Her daughter only attended court on the few days she was required to give evidence because she “was too traumatized” by the rape and “thankfully there were less of them around” on those occasions. Still though, she said it was “awful” knowing that, had her daughter appeared in court with her parents, she too would have had to endure the harassment.
“It's a disgrace and the system allows this to happen,” she said.
The victim’s mother said that she and her family were scared throughout the entire trial, but that they “had to keep going to get justice.”
Justice David Fernandez, who sentenced Osman, Ahmed and Yussuf last week, said the victim had suffered “great emotional and physical distress” as a result of the rape and subsequent trial.
During the trial, the court heard that in 2013 the victim boarded a bus to Manchester and met a fourth male, who she had been texting after a mutual friend introduced them.
He then took the girl to the Victoria Park Hotel to “meet his boys,” where the men invited her to join in on a game of “hide and seek.”
The group staged the game, entering a number of unlocked rooms despite being asked to check out at 11 a.m.
Security footage later showed the victim enter room 38, and for around 30 minutes she was raped multiple times in the bathroom and bedroom.
After the rape occurred, Osman, who had been “keeping watch” outside, raped her on the bed. The men stole the victim’s phone and cash from her purse during the incident.
DNA evidence found on towels and bedsheets recovered from the scene implicated all three men in the crime.
Authorities promised Monday to investigate the claims of intimidation during the trial, according to the Daily Mail.
“We take the needs of victims, witnesses and their families extremely seriously,” a spokesman for the queen’s Courts and Tribunal Service said. “Any complaint of intimidation will be treated very seriously and investigated urgently.”
Detective Constable Heather Clarkson of the Greater Manchester Police offered her personal thanks to the victim for showing “extreme bravery throughout the whole of this case.”
“She has been supported by specially trained officers and she has shown the determination to ensure Osman, Yussuf and Ahmed were brought to justice,” Clarkson said.
Osman, who was convicted of an unrelated robbery committed in December 2012, received another two years to his sentence. The three men found guilty will be registered as sex offenders for life.
(H/T: Daily Mail)