UK & World News
Raped Girl 'Not Treated As Human' By Couple
A couple have been jailed for a total of 18 years for trafficking a deaf and mute girl into the UK, where she was repeatedly raped and subjected to forced labour.
Ilyas Ashar, 84, and his wife Tallat Ashar, 68, forced the vulnerable youngster to sleep in the cellar of their home in Greater Manchester, where she was beaten and slapped, and led a life of domestic servitude for almost a decade.
The girl was also used to steal more than £30,000 in benefits on her behalf.
She was even taught enough sign language by the family so she could agree to the benefit money being handed over.
Their victim had no family or friends in the UK and had never been to school in Pakistan or Britain.
Ilyas Ashar also routinely raped the girl from the moment he brought her into the UK from Pakistan, aged around 10, in June 2000.
Ashar was convicted of 13 specimen counts of rape by a jury last week, though the court heard the rapes happened "many, many times more".
He had also 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.
He was jailed for 13 years at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester.
His wife was jailed for five years for two counts of trafficking a person into the UK for exploitation, and four counts of furnishing false information to obtain a benefit.
Their daughter, Faaiza Ashar, 46, who 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, was given a 12 month community order with 300 hours of unpaid work.
Passing sentence Judge Peter Lakin said: "You Ilyas Ashar and you Tallat Ashar did not treat this girl as a human being.
"To you she was merely an object to be used, abused and cast aside at will.
"You took full advantage of her extreme vulnerability.
"You exploited her physically, you exploited her mentally and you exploited her economically.
"There was throughout a distasteful undercurrent of violence and intimidation.
"All that she had in her life was the love of her family and her own human dignity. You two took that away from her. You consigned her to a life of misery and degradation.
"Throughout these proceedings not one of you have shown any remorse.
"You are concerned with your own selfish, self-centred interests.
"You Ilyas and Tallat Ashar are deeply unpleasant, highly manipulative and dishonest people."
When police and local trading standards raided the Ashar family home in Cromwell Road, Eccles, in Salford, on June 8, 2009, officers were "shocked" to discover the girl asleep in the cold and dark cellar.
One officer likened her behaviour to that of an "animal" - not allowed to sit on the furniture - and an indication of her status in the house.
She was taken from the house and is now doing well with the help of social services, the court heard.
A proceeds of crime hearing will be held next year to recoup the benefits stolen by the Ashars.
They had fought the case at every turn, mounting a series of legal challenges and appealing but failing to overturn their convictions at the Court of Appeal.