via Daily Mail: The mother of a 16-year-old raped by three Somali men today claimed 50 of their friends and family carried out a two-month campaign of intimidation throughout the trial.
The woman, who cannot be named to protect her daughter’s anonymity, says she was smuggled into court via a back door ‘as if she was the criminal’ to see the men jailed for a total of 29 years.
Muhyadeen Osman, Bilal Ahmed and Mowled Yussuf, all 20, gang raped the girl at the Victoria Park Hotel in Manchester, having spent the night before there for Eid.
Their victim was ‘naive’ when she met them and they saw her as ‘easy prey’ so lured her into a bedroom playing a game of ‘hide and seek’ before raping her in 2013, the court heard.
A group of more than 50 family members and friends gathered at Manchester Crown Court on Friday to protest and the girl’s mother says they deliberately intimidated her and her family.
The girl’s mother said on the day the trio were jailed Yussuf swore at them and another in the gang blew kisses while family members shouted at them.
The 49-year-old from Cheshire, also said she and her husband were constantly targeted during the two month trial.
She said: ‘I was frightened throughout and my husband was frightened. There were so many of them and many of them would goad me when I walked past and deliberately try to intimidate us.
‘On some occasions there were at least 50 in the courtroom – most likely many more on the day of the sentencing.
Support: Family and friends wave to the prison van containing at least one of the three men jailed for a total of 29 years on Friday
During the trial, the court heard how the victim, then 16, got a bus to Manchester and met a fourth male, who she had previously exchanged text messages with after being introduced by a mutual friend.
He took the victim to the hotel to ‘meet his boys’ – where the pretence of a game of ‘hide and seek’ was suggested to the victim.
At the hotel, the victim was introduced to Yussuf and Ahmed, who had stayed there the previous night with a group of other males during Eid celebrations.
The victim then became involved in what she believed to be a game of hide and seek, with the group entering a number of unlocked rooms despite being asked to check out at 11am.
CCTV footage showed the victim enter room 38 for around 30 minutes, where she was subjected to rapes in the bathroom and bedroom.
When that finished, Osman, who had been ‘keeping watch’ outside, raped her on the bed.
Cash and a mobile phone were stolen from her handbag during the incident.
DNA evidence linking all three culprits was found on towels and bedsheets recovered from the scene.
Today the authorities promised to investigate the claims of bullying at court.
A spokesman for Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service said: ‘We take the needs of victims, witnesses and their families extremely seriously.
‘We take action to support them throughout their time in court including arranging for victims and their families to access the building by a separate entrance and ensuring that defendants’ families are seated in a separate part of the courtroom.
‘Any complaint of intimidation will be treated very seriously and investigated urgently.’