- Raheelah Dar, 43, jailed for seven years for sex offences against young girl
- Was convicted of grooming, isolating and manipulating the schoolgirl
- Dar began to abuse the girl after the failure of her first arranged marriage
- Her lawyer urged judge not to jail her as she had already been shunned by her community
- But judge gave her seven years saying: 'She was an innocent. You were crafty'
A middle-aged Muslim woman has been jailed for seven years for carrying out a string of sex offences against a young girl.
Raheelah Dar, 43, was convicted of grooming, isolating and manipulating the schoolgirl to molest her several years ago.
She had denied all the charges but was found guilty of three counts of indecent assault and two counts of indecency with a child by unanimous verdicts at a trial in June.
Her lawyer had urged Recorder Tim Roberts QC not to jail her as she had already been shunned by her community.
Alison Pryor, defending, told the court that as a practising Muslim woman who had been convicted of these offences against someone of the same sex, she had been shamed enough and urged the judge to consider a punishment that did not involve a prison sentence.
Raheelah Dar, 43, (pictured) was convicted of grooming, isolating and manipulating the schoolgirl to molest her several years ago
Ms Pryor said: 'The shame that this has brought and will bring upon Miss Dar and her family cannot be underestimated.
'This is different from what you would find in another case of this type. That is punishment over and above what this court can impose.
'Being incarcerated for the first time with her mental health issues would also have a more onerous effect on her than it would on another person.'
But Recorder Roberts rejected her pleas for a non-custodial sentence, saying 'I would be failing in my duties if I did not pass the immediate sentence which I impose today.'
He told her: 'You were 26. She was only nine. You were sexually experienced and had been married. She was an innocent. You were crafty.'
The court heard how Dar began to groom and abuse the young girl following the failure of her first arranged marriage when she found herself living back with her parents in Middlesbrough.
Prosecutor Christine Egerton told Teesside Crown Court the string of assaults were carried out in an 'abuse of trust'.
A trial had heard how Dar gradually groomed the girl, stroking her hair and telling her she was special.
She kissed the girl, made sexual conversation, undressed in front of her and got her to kiss a boy, leading to more intimate sexual assaults.
Ms Egerton said the girl was made to feel it was her fault so she kept the assaults secret.
She did not go to police until a chance meeting with Dar last year 'meant the memories came flooding back'.
Ms Pryor told the court Dar had suffered with mental health issues throughout her life and read from a psychiatric report which said Dar suffered from bi-polar disorder.
A trial had heard how Dar gradually groomed the girl, stroking her hair and telling her she was special
She said these problems had worsened following two failed marriages and the death of her daughter in 2008.
She added: 'Miss Dar was a person of good character and has no previous convictions. She has not had an easy life.
'She suffered from a failed marriage which involved domestic abuse and very sadly, a baby girl born during the course of that marriage in 2006 had a severe disorder and passed away at the age of two.'
But jailing Dar, from Central Mews, Middlesbrough, for seven years, Recorder Roberts said: 'You took her under your wing and that may at first have been a generous consideration on your part but very soon you targeted her as a victim because she was vulnerable.
'You used this opportunity to corrupt her and to turn her against normal relationships between boys and girls in favour of the sexual relationship for which you were preparing her to have with yourself.'
He told the court Dar had made admissions about her confusion over her sexual orientation and said: 'You were experimenting on this innocent, small child as you sought to resolve your own internal conflicts.'
The victim, who is now in her early 20s, read her victim impact statement to the court from the witness stand.
She said: 'As a result of the abuse I suffered as a child, I have been left feeling isolated and unable to engage with people.
'I find it very difficult to trust anybody. Physical contact such as a simple hug can bring on severe panic attacks.'
She went on to explain how she struggles to maintain friendships as people cannot understand her mental health episodes and she even had to drop out of university as her grades dropped significantly due to her stress.
She said her health had suffered greatly over the years due to her fear of visiting doctors and being touched and she struggled to maintain a healthy weight and began to self harm.
She added: 'I love my family immensely but I was unable to relate to them because they didn't know what I had suffered.
'I felt isolated from the community I was brought up in as the topic of child abuse is taboo and is kept behind closed doors. I was left feeling segregated.'
Mother who had been forced into an arranged marriage is jailed for filming herself having sex with her 14-year-old son and sending the clips to relatives in Pakistan