'Grooming gang made me feel like piece of meat' - Sex abuse victim tells court
A victim of a grooming gang that sexually abused vulnerable girls in Newcastle described the men who got her addicted to drugs as "monsters".
In a victim statement, another said she still had flashbacks to what happened to her six years ago at parties, known as sessions, where girls were given drugs and then persuaded or forced to have sex.
And a third said the gang members put her down and thought "they are superior to women, and girls do not have the same rights as men".
The statements were read out during a sentencing hearing at Newcastle Crown Court where three men were due to be dealt with.
The prosecutions followed the long-running Operation Shelter investigation into sexual exploitation, largely in Newcastle's West End.
The inquiry involved the controversial use of a police informant who was himself a child rapist and was paid almost £10,000 (€10,900) by Northumbria Police.
John Elvidge QC, prosecuting, said girls were invited to parties and given alcohol and mephedrone.
"The girls were expected to offer sexual services in return," he said.
"The court heard that the women who were being exploited sometimes consented, sometimes did not consent and sometimes were incapable of consenting."
Mr Elvidge said the victims who gave evidence in court were white British and the defendants were "all of Asian extraction" and mostly British-born.
But the authorities decided their offending was not racially motivated, he added.
The men were more driven by the vulnerability and availability of their victims, Mr Elvidge said.
Eight men were convicted of conspiracy to incite prostitution, while others prosecuted were involved in supplying drugs.
The prosecutor described the conspirators' method as "cynical and systematic" in that they tricked victims into believing they were in a relationship with their abusers.
In victim statements, one called them "monsters" and said she no longer trusted men.
Another said: "The way they tricked us into thinking they were our friends was disgusting."
A third added: "They made me feel like a piece of meat, and that makes me feel sick."
The sentencing hearing and more gang members will be dealt with throughout the week.