Sex grooming gang plied vulnerable teenage girls with drink and drugs
A sex grooming gang who used code names such as "Star" and "Shark Tooth" targeted vulnerable teenage girls, holding them in thrall with a constant supply of drink and drugs.
The four men, all asylum seekers who originally entered the UK illegally, abused and trafficked the youngsters who were as young as 13.
The Kurdish gang, who lived in Newcastle, would contact the girls on Facebook to discuss sex parties and on one occasion demanded sex in return for paying for a tattoo.
The girls, who were aged between 13-16 at the time, were plied with drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, speed and cannabis.
Soran Azizi, 28, was convicted of two offences of trafficking for sexual exploitation.
Palla Pour, 25, was convicted of four offences of sexual activity with a child, inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, supplying controlled drug to another and permitting his premises to be used for the supply of drugs.
Ribas Asad, 29, was convicted of sexual assault, supplying a controlled drug, causing a child to engage in sexual activity and sexual activity with a child.
Saman Obaid, 29, was convicted of four offences of supplying controlled drugs.
Azizi, Pour and Asad had been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK, but could now face deportation after their conviction.
Obaid has failed so far in his asylum application.
Prosecutor Anne Richardson told Newcastle Crown Court: "The case involves sexual exploitation and trafficking of young women and girls in the Newcastle upon Tyne area of the North East.
"The alleged offences occurred over a number of years, namely between 2007 and 2014 and those who make these allegations are, for the most part, immature and vulnerable people.
"It was the Crown's case that these personality traits were exploited by the defendants and that each of the young women were lured to various houses and flats where drugs and or alcohol were made freely available to them.
"In return the complainants were expected and encouraged to provide sexual favours and services, not because they wanted so to do or through their own free will but because they were beholden and in thrall to these men."
The girls, some of whom had been placed in the care of social services, were sexually assaulted while too drunk to consent on some occasions.
One victim said in a statement it had had a massive impact on her life and she now suffered from panic attacks, PTSD and depression.
She also said her four children had been taken into care because she was unable to look after them.
Another girl said she had twice attempted suicide by overdose and hanging.
Judge Robert Spragg paid tribute to the "extraordinary courage these young women have shown in giving evidence in this case and relive those dreadful episodes in their lives".
He jailed Pour for 12-and-a-half years, Asad for nine-and-a-half years, Azizi for six years and Obaid for four years and nine months.
The judge said one of the girls had summed it up perfectly by saying "they were much older and pretended to be my friend and drove me around. But they were just totally using me for sex when I was a child".