LONDON: A British citizen of Pakistani origin has been found guilty of trafficking a young girl into the UK, enforcing her into slavery and repeatedly raping her for over a decade, British media reported.
Ilyas Ashar, 84 and wife Tallat Ashar, 68, brought a young deaf and mute girl, aged 10, from Pakistan in 2000 and kept her at their home in Eccles, Salford, as a domestic slave.
A Manchester court on Wednesday heard that the girl trafficked from Pakistan was repeatedly violated by Ashar while compelled to work in slavery.
Ilyas was found guilty of 13 counts of rape against the girl who is now in her 20s. According to earlier reports, the girl described how she was allegedly hit with a rolling pin while forced to work for no money, made to sleep on a concrete floor in a bolted cellar and sexually abused.
When prosecutors had shown her a picture of Ilyas Ashar, she said: “He’s the one who has sex with me.”
The victim had moreover said that Ashar’s wife would repeatedly strike her, sometimes when she made too much noise by setting dishes on the table.
Ashar and his wife also used the girl’s details to steal more than £30,000 in benefits and set up several bank accounts in her name.
When details of the atrocities against the girl were read out, two female jurors started weeping. The judge, who was hearing the case, warned Ashar to expect a “substantial prison sentence”.
The victim was discovered when trading standard officers came to the couple’s residence to investigate allegations of illegal activities in 2009. The details of her ordeal surfaced after she was taught sign language by the couple to obtain benefits in her name, which enabled police to ask her questions.
During an earlier trial, Ashar had been convicted of two counts of illegally trafficking a person into Britain for exploitation, two counts of fabricating false information to claim a benefit and one of permitting furnishing of false information to claim a benefit.
Tallat Ashar and the couple’s daughter were also convicted in the trial of furnishing information to claim benefits.
However, the jury was unable to reach a verdict on allegations of rape against Ilyas Ashar due to which a retrial was ordered, which was the subject of reporting restrictions until yesterday’s convictions.
Ilyas Ashar was described as “pure evil” by the police, having lured and violated a defenceless victim who had no means of communicating with her family.
Ilyas and his wife will be sentenced on October 23 at Manchester Crown Court.