6th Jul, 2022

Coventry rape gang convicted of child sexual exploitation and trafficking of teenage girls

Coventry Editorial 21st Dec, 2016 Updated: 26th Jan, 2017

FIVE Coventry men have been convicted of a string of sexual offences and human trafficking against young girls.

Following a six-week trial at Leamington Justice Centre the jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict today after hearing how the gang, led by 24-year-old Waqaar Khan, used social media over a period of months to contact teenage girls and groom them before arranging to meet them with the promise of gifts and shopping trips.

Six teenage girls, five of them under the age of 16, gave evidence to the court detailing how they had been targeted – including being picked up by taxis and taken to parties, or just dropped off at car parks where the men would ply them with alcohol and drugs.

All five – Khan, 23-year-old Kadeem Bourne, 22-year-old Marcus Woolcock, 19-year-old Keenan Kelly and 20-year-old Zahid Chaudhary – have been found guilty of 18 charges against two of the girls, including human trafficking, sexual assault and rape.

On several occasions the two girls were assaulted and on one occasion one was rendered unconscious – only to come round with items of clothing missing and finding sex acts had been performed on her and recorded on mobile phones.

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Green, from the force’s public protection unit, said: “Waqaar Khan first came to our attention in March 2016 when his Facebook account cropped up as a mutual ‘friend’ among several vulnerable young girls in Coventry.

“Around the same time two girls, who had been reported missing from Warwickshire, were linked to Khan and he was arrested for child abduction and released on bail.

“One of the girls alleged she had been raped and a friend of hers posted a picture of Khan and two other men on Facebook asking for their identification.

“All three men went into Coventry police station saying they had no idea what they were being accused off.”

Khan was re-arrested along with Kadeem Bourne and Marcus Woolcock on suspicion of rape and bailed while a comprehensive investigation was launched.

An examination of Khan’s mobile phone revealed thousands of text messages containing sexualised conversations and several videos of graphic sexual abuse.

And as officers sifted through the content of his phone, a pattern of offending emerged.

Khan scattered comments across different social media platforms and when a reply was received he would send a barrage of messages which quickly became sexual in tone, pressing for a meeting.

Currently officers are still reviewing hundreds of messages which relate to a number of separate contacts.

Detectives from the Public Protection Unit began working extensively with the Horizon Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) team to trace the girls involved and find out what other offences may have been committed.

They identified and made contact with a further four girls who made allegations against the group which also included Keenan Kelly and Zahid Chaudhary.

DCI Green said each girl had a similar story to tell.

He added: “They had been threatened and even subjected to violence if they did not co-operate with sexual demands or if they reported their abuse to police.

“Our specially trained officers and the Horizon Team have been able to work with these girls to reassure them that what has happened is not acceptable and given them the courage and support to give evidence against their abusers.

“I commend their bravery in reliving their devastating experiences to help bring these men to justice and prevent further young girls from enduring the same treatment.

“As without doubt, these men would have continued.”

DCI Green said he believed there are more young female victims and promised his officers were continuing to investigate the matter to trace them.

He also urged any other victims of the gang to come forward.

Welcoming the convictions of the men, an NSPCC spokesperson said: “This gang of predators used chilling and calculated methods to identify, pursue and abuse vulnerable teenage girls, subjecting them to humiliation and sexual violence.

“Control and fear are recurring features of child sexual exploitation, with abusers making victims feel they cannot escape or speak out.

“The incredible bravery of these young people has shown victims will be listened to.

“The case also highlights how social media can be manipulated by groomers.

“These sites and platforms must do more to ensure that children and young people are protected.”

A parents’ guide to social media is available on www.net-aware.org.uk. Anyone with concerns about a child can contact the NSPCC helpline in confidence on 0808 800 5000, while children can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or via www.childline.org.uk

Anyone with concerns about a child can contact the NSPCC helpline in confidence on 0808 800 5000, while children can contact Childline via www.childline.org.uk or by calling 0800 1111.

Are you on Facebook?

Like or follow our Facebook page - facebook.com/CovObserver to get daily news updates straight to your news feed.

Announcements

Weddings, Birthdays, Bereavements, Thank you notices, Marriages and more.

Book an Advert

Book your newspaper advert with our online advert creation tool.

Subscribe

Receive a weekly update to your inbox by signing up to our weekly newsletter.

Online Editions

Catch up on your local news by reading our e-editions on the Coventry Observer.