Witnesses speak in sex exploitation trial

Oxford Crown Court ENGNNL00120130327162221
Oxford Crown Court ENGNNL00120130327162221

The prosecution case against six men from Banbury accused of committing sexual offences against vulnerable underage girls is due to finish this week.

The eight-week trial, which also includes a 17-year-old boy who cannot be named for legal reasons, got under way at Oxford Crown Court last month.

Ahmed Hassan Sule, 20, of Glyndebourne Gardens, Mohamed Saleh, 21, and Said Saleh, 20, both of Orchard Way, Takudzwa Hova, 21, of Broughton Road, Alexandru Nae, 19, of Booth Road, and Kagiso Manese, of Warwick Road, deny various offences.

These include sexual activity with a child under the age of 16, inciting a child under the age of 16 to engage in sexual activity, sexual assault, assault by penetration and rape.

The 17-year-old boy denies one count of rape. It is alleged the group identified eight girls aged between 13 and 16 and committed the offences in and around Banbury.

On Tuesday, several witnesses including a police officer spoke in court. A 17-year-old girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court how she was familiar with Fiddy Events in Banbury, which organised parties for under-18s.

She added she was aged between 13 and 14 when she became friends with Hassan Sule and met him for the first time in Bridge Street.

She said: “I knew a man called Fiddy which I knew was a nickname and his real name was Ahmed Hassan Sule. I did not know their full names but I knew of Taku [Hova], MoMo [Mohamed Saleh] and Alex [Nae].

“Fiddy was flirty but nothing that I thought was abnormal. He called me babe but we didn’t do anything else.”

The court also heard she found out a friend had sex with Hassan Sule when she was aged 13 to 14. But defending barrister Michael Magarian QC, representing Hassan Sule, questioned whether the friend was telling tales.

Mr Magarian said: “He [Hassan Sule] was a quite a nice person wasn’t he? Obviously a bit of a flirt and quite charming.

“The police came to you in August to get a statement about what [your friend] said about having sex with him. Was she someone who could tell tales?”

Replying to Mr Magarian, the 17-year-old witness said: “She was a person who would tell tales. I am not sure if he [Hassan Sule] knew she was under the age of consent.”

The court also heard from a relation of the first witness’ friend, who was in a relationship with Hassan Sule’s brother for about ten months.

It was heard she saw Hassan Sule a few times a week as friends, and that he joked he wanted to sleep with her relation, a statement he made more than once.

She said: “I was very protective of [her] and said to him [Hassan Sule] it would never happen because she is too young. Every time he mentioned it I would say how old she was.”

When asked if her relation would tell tales, she added: “She cannot tell tales. I knew they slept together but I do not know much more.”

Michael Roberts, civilian investigator with Thames Valley Police, interviewed one of the underage girls in April last year.

It was heard how he took notes about an incident in People’s Park with Hassan Sule, Hova, Said Saleh and Nae. She also mentioned Manese.

Defending barrister Dee Connelly, representing Manese, said: “The statement changes on a couple of occasions. Could you have made a mistake when writing down notes about what happened?”

Mr Roberts replied: “It is possible. I am only human.”