The first prosecution in Sussex for child sexual exploitation by a group has resulted in convictions of four men, police have said.
Christopher Kayla-Joseph, 27, of Elphick Road, Newhaven, Mohammed Kamali, 46, of Harper Road, Newhaven, Khosrow Sobhanieh, 56, of North Lane, Guestling, near Hastings, Stephen Daramola, 48, of Park Lane, Eastbourne, all of whom had pleaded not guilty, were convicted at Hove Crown Court today, Friday (March 27), after a three week trial.
The prosecution, authorised by the Crown Prosecution Service in May last year, followed a 12-month investigation, Operation Firehill, by East Sussex detectives into information that a teenage girl under the age of 18 had been systematically subjected to sexual offences at Kayla-Joseph’s and Kamali’s flats in Newhaven in May and June 2013, police said.
Kayla-Joseph was convicted of conspiracy to incite a child into prostitution, and two offences of supplying cocaine, Kamali was convicted of causing or inciting a child into prostitution, and supplying cocaine, Sobhanieh was convicted of conspiracy to incite a child into prostitution, one offence of rape and one of attempted rape, Daramola was convicted of causing or inciting a child into prostitution, supplying cocaine, and sexual assault, police said.
The four were remanded in custody for sentencing at the same court on Monday afternoon (March 30), police said.
The case was adjourned for sentencing and meanwhile the defendants are in custody, police said.
Khalid Del-Rosario, 45, of Upperton Rd, Eastbourne, was found not guilty of conspiracy, sexual assault, and being concerned in the supply of cocaine, and Guiseppe Carella, 18, of Brighton Road, Newhaven, was found not guilty of conspiracy, rape, and being concerned in the supply of cocaine, police said.
Detective Chief Inspector Mark O’Brien said; “This is a landmark case, sending a clear message that anyone who sets out to exploit vulnerable young people in this way can expect to be subject to investigation, and can be brought to justice.
“We also wish to pay tribute to the girl herself, whose evidence, resolutely given with the help of special measures including a screen protecting her from the defendants’ view, was key in ensuring this outcome. We also thank the Crown Prosecution Service, and prosecution counsel Richard Barton, for their hard work and the professional and compelling way in which the case was presented.”
A statement from Sussex Police said: “The young, impressionable and vulnerable girl’s ordeal started in Eastbourne one evening in May 2013 when she was sitting alone in a street, having made her way there by bus after a family disagreement.
“Kayla-Joseph spotted her, engaged her in conversation and invited her back to his flat in Newhaven where he had sexual intercourse with her.
“There, when she visited on several separate occasions over the next two weeks, Kayla-Joseph and then the three other men, ruthlessly exploited her for their own sexual purposes, plying her with drink and drugs, and one occasion cash was paid for her sexual services. “On a final occasion she was taken round the corner to Kamali’s flat in Harper Road where the same happened.
“Soon afterwards the girl disclosed what had happened, to health workers and to her family. Police were immediately informed and the men were swiftly arrested.