UK & World News
Pensioner Guilty Of Raping Trafficked Girl
A pensioner who trafficked a deaf and mute girl into the UK, using her to milk the benefits system, has been found guilty of repeatedly raping her.
Ilyas Ashar, 84, sexually abused his vulnerable victim again and again, Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard.
Two female jurors wept as guilty verdicts were delivered on 13 counts of rape.
The girl, from Pakistan, who is profoundly deaf and cannot speak, was beaten and slapped and forced to work for Ashar and his family as a domestic servant.
While Ashar used his victim to satisfy his sexual desires, the girl was also used to steal more than £30,000 in benefits.
The youngster was even taught enough sign language by the family so she could agree to the benefit money being handed over to the Ashars.
She was first brought into the UK in June 2000 when aged around 10, though her exact age is not known.
For almost a decade the girl had to work and sleep in the cellar at the family's substantial home in Cromwell Road in the Eccles area of Salford.
Ashar had been convicted at an earlier trial of two counts of trafficking a person into the UK for exploitation, two counts of furnishing false information to obtain a benefit and one of permitting furnishing of false information to obtain a benefit.
His wife, Tallat Ashar, 68, was found guilty of two counts of trafficking a person into the UK for exploitation and four counts of furnishing false information to obtain a benefit.
His daughter, Faaiza Ashar, 46, was found guilty at an earlier trial of two counts of furnishing false information to obtain a benefit and one count of permitting furnishing of false information to obtain a benefit.
All three were convicted at the earlier trial, where the jury was unable to reach verdicts on the allegations of rape, so Ashar was re-tried.
Reporting on the second trial was banned until the verdicts on the rape charges were in.
Jurors were not told about the guilty verdicts at the earlier trial, where the court heard the girl was made to cook, clean, do the washing and ironing for the Ashars, and clean the houses and cars of their family and friends.
She also spent her days in the cellar packing football shirts, clothes and mobile phone covers.
The girl had no family or friends in the UK and had never been to school in Pakistan or Britain.
She could not read or write and the only people she knew in Britain were the Ashars, who told her both her parents were dead.
She was, however, taught to write her signature - so her name could be used to claim benefits.
Judge Peter Lakin excused the panel of six men and six women of sitting as jurors again for 10 years and thanked them for their public duty in what he described as a "difficult" case.
Ashar's lawyer asked for bail to be continued, but the judge refused.
He was remanded into custody to be sentenced next week along with his wife and daughter, who sat in the public gallery grim-faced.
Salford divisional commander Chief Superintendent Mary Doyle, said: "This was a dreadful case where the girl endured years of domestic exploitation at the hands of the Ashar family.
"They have exploited her disability and made it appear to the authorities that she was responsible for their own fraudulent behaviour. She was essentially kept in domestic servitude.
"What is remarkable - and the most important aspect of this unusual case - is that the victim has emerged a confident, well-adjusted and determined young woman.
"At no stage have the defendants shown any remorse, or admitted to what they did to a girl, who was only as young as 10 years old when this began."