A takeaway owner who allegedly ran a brothel above his restaurant hounded girls as young as 12 to become prostitutes and told one of his child victims that ‘age is just a number’.
Azad Miah, 44, branded the vulnerable girls ‘fresh meat’ and harassed them over weeks and months before offering to give them drugs, alcohol or money in return for sex, a court heard.
Miah targeted the girls in ‘a cold, clinical, calculated exploitation of the desperate and therefore vulnerable’, Carlisle Crown Court was told.
Tim Evans, prosecuting, said: ‘Most worryingly, he would stalk some of them, following them home in particular.’
One of the girls, who was just 14 at the time and addicted to heroin, was paid £100 for sex with him, it is claimed.
The girl, now 21, told detectives she had sex with Miah ‘hundreds of times’.
When another girl refused his advances he called her ‘white trash’.
Miah is accused of paying for the sexual services of a child, inciting child prostitution and of keeping a brothel above The Spice of India, in Carlisle city centre, between 2005 and 2011.
Opening the case, Mr Evans said: 'This is a case in which this defendant sought to persuade a variety of young girls, some of whom he knew were under 16, to have sex with him for money via the provision of drugs or drink.
'Those requests were either made face to face when girls either came into the The Spice of India in Botchergate or were made by telephone calls and texts.
'The attempted persuasion was persistent. He would hound young girls for periods of weeks or months face to face or over the phone. Perhaps most worryingly, he would stalk some of them, following them home.
'Some of the girls that he had made approaches to did indeed have sex with him for money.'
Mr Evans said many of the alleged victims aged from 12 to 16 were told by Miah that their friends were also having sex with him for money.
He told the jury it would hear 'in essence' that The Spice of India, since closed, not only operated as a takeaway restaurant but as a brothel 'where women attended and prostituted themselves'.
The prosecutor said many of the girls involved in the case were addicted to drugs or came from troubled backgrounds.
'It is the Crown’s case that the defendant deliberately targeted girls who fell into that category or who had other problems with the law,' he said.
'The defendant believed that such girls would be more likely to give in to his persistent offers... and they may find themselves less likely to be believed if they complained to the police against a responsible, respected restaurateur of the city.'
Mr Evans said it may be that Miah’s defence team would portray the alleged victims as 'the sort of girls who will lie'.
He continued: 'On the facts of this case you may think that far from being an argument for the defence, the character and background of these girls is a powerful part of the prosecution case.'
'It supports the argument, the Crown say, that this was cold, clinical, calculated exploitation of the desperate and vulnerable; drug addicts very often.'
Miah denies eight counts of paying for the sexual services of a child between 2005 and 2009, eight counts of inciting child prostitution between 2007 and 2011 and one count of keeping a brothel between 2005 and 2011.
The trial continues.