Up until now i was unaware of the Muslim grooming gang on trial in the North East. Four males are in the dock on charges relating to the sexual abuse of 2 schoolgirls, a 13 year old and a 14 year old.
Taxi driver Shakil Munir, 32, of Tollesby Road, Middlesbrough, faces four charges of sexual activity with a child and one of abducting a child. His Facebook friends list contained a large amount of under age school girls
Ibrar Mahmood, 18, of Breckon Hill Road, Middlesbrough, faces four charges of sexual activity with a child and three counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
Junaid Butt, 18, of Kensington Road, Middlesbrough, faces a charge of sexual activity with a child and one of arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence.
A 17-year-old boy, who can’t be named for legal reasons, faces three charges of arranging or facilitating commission of a child sex offence.
Grooming trial: Accused denies having sex with girl, 14, in his car at A19 lay-by
19 Nov 2013 07:58
Shakil Munir, 32, of Middlesbrough, also insists that he thought the girl was 16, Teesside Crown Court hears
A taxi driver accused of having sex with a 14-year-old schoolgirl in a lay-by told a court nothing happened between them in his car – and insisted he thought she was 16.
Shakil Munir, of Tollesby Road, Tollesby, Middlesbrough, is one of four defendants accused of sexually exploiting a number of teenagers from the town.
The prosecution alleged the Bradford-born 32-year-old picked up a 14-year-old girl and had sex with her in the early hours in a parking spot on the A19 after they sent each other explicit messages on Facebook.
Late one night in January, she asked Munir to pick her up and take her to the garage to buy cigarettes, but it was alleged he stopped in a lay-by.
Munir told the jury of ten women and two men at Teesside Crown Court he thought the sexual messages between them on Facebook were “banter”.
The driver, then aged 31, believed she was 16, he told the court.
Asked by his barrister Ekwall Tiwana why he got involved in the conversation, Munir who is twice-married said: “To be honest with you, I was going through a bad patch and I was bored and I just started chatting.”
He had recently picked up the girl and two of her friends and given them a free lift, the jury heard.
He denied they had sex in his car when they stopped in a lay-by.
He explained that she had wanted to talk and told him about her family life and her problems.
Munir parked up and they talked, he said, but he denied having sex with the girl.
That night, with the girl still in his car, Munir received a text from her mother, telling him to bring her home immediately or she would call the police.
It was only when the mother said her daughter was 14 that he realised her age, he said.
“I thought she was 16,” he told the jury.
In a later meeting with the mother, he told her: “Your daughter told me she was 16.”
Munir said he had an arranged marriage when he was 17, which lasted “two to three years” and that he remarried in 2004 in Pakistan.
He denies child abduction and five counts of having sex with a child.
His co-accused, two 18-year-olds and a 17-year-old, also deny all the charges against them .
At the close of the prosecution case, the jury was told police had received reports that attempts had been made to stop girls from giving
Christopher Knox, prosecuting, asked Detective Inspector Dino Carlucci, who is in charge of the investigation: “There were in the course of the investigation reports reaching the police that there were pressures upon girls at or about school, discouraging them from reporting events to the police or agreeing to give evidence.”
Mr Carlucci replied: “That is a fair summary.”
The trial continues today.
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