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Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Croydon teenagers 'raped vulnerable girls including trusting 17-year-old with Down's syndrome'
THREE teenagers accused of raping two "vulnerable" girls with learning difficulties "took advantage" of them to "satisfy their own sexual urges", a court has heard.
Nasir Huq, 18, is accused of raping a 17-year-old with Down's syndrome who jurors were told was a "very trusting" girl who did not have the "capacity" to consent to sex.
Ameen Noori and his cousin Ahmad Faiq, both 18, are accused of raping another girl with acute special educational needs.
The three boys deny sexually assaulting the two girls at a flat in Croydon in April 2013.
Jonathan Polnay, prosecuting, told a jury at Croydon Crown Court today (Monday) the defendants "outrageously took advantage of vulnerable girls with learning difficulties to satisfy their own sexual urges".
Both girls are in mainstream schooling but attend a supported learning unit at a college in west London, the court heard.
The first girl, who was 16 at the time of the alleged incidents, has learning difficulties caused by global developmental delay, a condition which means she has lower intellectual functioning and struggles to communicate.
Mr Polnay said she had been assessed by forensic psychologist Jennifer Cutler who found she had an IQ of 75.
The second alleged victim, who has Down's syndrome, was 17 in April 2013. Dr Cutler found she had an IQ of 57 and demonstrated "significant confusion" about sexual matters, the court heard.
"The prosecution's case in relation to [this girl] is her disabilities are such that she is simply not able to consent to sex," said Mr Polnay.
"Because she has Down's syndrome she is not able to process what is appropriate in terms of sex or its implications, for example pregnancy or diseases."
The first incidents, relating to four of the six charges on the indictment, allegedly occurred on the evening of April 5.
Mr Polnay told the court the two girls left college with a friend and got the bus from Hounslow to Hatton Cross where they met Faiq, who the third girl knew, and Noori.
From Hatton Cross they took a bus to Croydon and went to a shopping centre. While in McDonald's Faiq told the first girl that Noori, his cousin, liked her.
"She told him she wasn't interested and that she didn't like him in that way," said Mr Polnay.
Later that afternoon they went back to a flat in Croydon town centre where Huq lived, though he was not at home. When they got there, Faiq and the third girl went into a bedroom together.
Jurors were told the first girl went into another room with Noori, who pulled her on top of him so she could not get up. The girl shouted for her friend but when she entered the room Noori told her to go away.
He then pulled down the girl's trousers and tried to rape her, the court heard.
"The Crown's case, which I hope is clear, is that she did not consent to sex," said Mr Polnay.
"Given the circumstances - she was struggling, trying to get away – there is no way he could believe she consented. He did not care."
The girl managed to get free and tried to put her trousers back on but, as she went to leave the room, Noori allegedly grabbed her from behind, pulled the trousers off and tried to rape her again.
She fled to the room where Faiq and the third girl were and told her friend she didn't like what was happening.
But, according to the prosecution, Faiq then climbed on top of her, tried to rape her then forced her to perform a sex act on him.
Later that evening the two teenagers walked the girls to the bus stop and they went home.
On April 18, the first girl told a college support worker that a boy had forced himself on her, the court heard.
The teacher made her promise not to speak to the boys or visit the address again. The girl asked her not to tell anyone but the staff member said she had to report it.
Later that day the third girl arranged for her, the two alleged victims and a fourth girl to go back to the house.
Mr Polnay said: "[The first victim] did not want to go back to the house. She was nervous that she might be forced to have sex again.
"If you consider her behaviour and take into account her learning difficulties it may go some way why she did something another 17-year-old might not have done."
The four girls took a bus to Hatton Cross where they met the defendants and went to Croydon.
On the way Faiq pestered the first victim to sit next Noori who then tried to kiss her.
Huq was at the flat on this occasion. He led the second girl – who had Down's syndrome - by the hand to the bedroom but she said she did not want to go.
"It was plain English and pretty clear," said Mr Polnay.
"He said 'come on, come on'. [The girl] thought he just wanted to chat. He asked her to take her top off and she agreed but again I ask you to bear in mind her IQ."
When Huq pulled her trousers down and started to have sex with her she said 'stop', the court was told.
Mr Polnay said: "She pulled up her knickers and called out stop.
"The prosecution says she did not have the capacity to consent to sex. We say [Huq] must have realised this."
Later that night the group went to bed but the boys again tried to get "close" to the girls.
Jurors heard that, in the morning, Noori said he wanted to give the first girl a backrub but he pulled her trousers off, told her he was "horny", climbed on top of her and raped her. She tried to push him off but he was too heavy.
Mr Polnay told the court: "She was the first to leave, but the other girls remained at the flat. She went straight to her teacher and said she had been back to the boys' house and that, during the night, the boys kept trying to get in bed with them. She said the other girls were still in the house and she was worried for them.
"When the teacher heard this, especially that the girls were still there, she rang the second girl's mother. Her mother was surprised because as far as she knew her daughter was staying at a friend's house.
"It rang alarm bells as she had spoken to her daughter a few hours ago and she had sounded strange and confused."
The mum called her daughter and asked where she was but the girl said she did not know.
"An aggressive sounding man picked up the phone," said Mr Polnay. "It must have been one of the defendants. Her mum asked where they were but the man said he would take her to the bus station.
"The mother managed to get basic address details so she got in her car and drove to Croydon. She was understandably starting to become panicked and upset about what was going on.
"She phoned her husband and it was he who decided to call the police."
The mum, meanwhile, was unable to find the address. She flagged down a police officer who took her there. The three girls, Faiq and Noori were waiting by the side of the road as they pulled up.
Her daughter was in tears and her make-up was running down her face, the court heard.
The girls got into the police car and the mother was able to piece together what had happened
Faiq and Noori were arrested at the roadside. Officers went to the flat and Huq answered the door. The court heard that, after being arrested, he told officers: "I'm not guilty. They are not my girlfriends, they are the other boys' - they are the bad boys."
By the time they all arrived at the police station the second girl was in a lot of pain. She told police one of the boys had forced her to have sex with him, the court heard.
"She said it had really hurt and that she had screamed and said 'God no'," explained Mr Polnay.
The girl was then interviewed by a specially-trained police officer before being taken to a refuge. A medical examination found injuries consistent with rape, it was said.
The three boys were interviewed by police. Noori gave a prepared statement through his solicitor in which he denied committing any offence. When questioned he offered no further comment. Faiq and Huq also remained silent.
Officers searched the flat and found condoms and lubricant. They also found the second girl's underwear. DNA tests matched the semen stains to Huq. Mr Polnay said there was a one in a million chance the test was wrong.
The boys were later picked out of an identity parade, with the first girl positively identifying Noori as the person who had raped her and the second girl identifying Huq as her attacker.
Huq, the court heard, accepts having sex with the girl with Down's syndrome but will claim she consented. The other boys argue variously the incidents either did not happen or the girl in question consented.
Noori is accused two counts of attempted rape on April 5, 2013, and one count of rape on April 18.
Faiq is charged with one count of attempted rape and another of rape, both on April 5, 2013.
All the above charges are that the girl did not consent and they did not reasonably believe she consented.
Huq is charged with one count of rape on April 18 in that the victim did not consent nor have the capacity to consent, and that he did not reasonably believe she consented or had the capacity to consent.
The trial, which is expected finish after Easter, continues.