A politician linked to the central defendant in the Rotherham grooming trial was allegedly seen at a “brothel” run by the gang involved with child sex abuse in the town, a court has heard. One of the 12 female complainants in the case, which is being heard at Sheffield crown court, said the politician, believed to be a local councillor, visited the house, in which she was made to have sex with men.
The woman – who said she was made to work as a prostitute by the central defendant, Arshid Hussain, from the age of 16 or 17 – said she believed the politician was related to Hussain. When asked to describe what the politician was doing at the house, she said he “just sat drinking”.
In two video interviews played to the jury on Monday, the complainant said she did not know the name of the politician, but had seen him on TV.
The trial of five men and two women is the first since the 2014 Jay report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham. The defendants deny more than 60 charges including rape, indecent assault and false imprisonment.
In an interview with police shown to the jury, the complainant said she believed the man may have been an MP or mayor of Rotherham “because I’ve seen him on telly”. She added: “I know he was doing something political in Rotherham.” She described the man as Asian and about 5ft 7in tall. In a second interview with police, the woman said the man may have been a councillor.
She said Hussain’s uncle, co-defendant Qurban Ali, had helped the man with his political career. “Ash with the taxi rank [Ali] was helping with the campaigning because they were related somehow,” she said.
The woman told the court she had been “in and out of care” and had started taking heroin at the age of 11. She said she had begun working for Speedline Taxis, owned by Ali, when she was about 16 years old. “We just took loads of drugs and then you’d have sex with different people. It was whoever was at the house at the time,” she said.
“Rotherham abuse trial: local politician allegedly visited gang’s ‘brothel'”