A West Sussex man and another man from East Sussex have been jailed for raping and abusing a young girl in Luton almost two decades ago, police said.
Jakhir Hussain, 37, of Keymer Court, Burgess Hill, and Emdadul Lukman, 47, of Waldegrave Street, Hastings, East Sussex, appeared before St Albans Crown Court on Thursday (February 26), said police, after being found guilty by a unanimous jury of multiple counts of rape and causing/inciting a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity.
Bedfordshire Police said the investigation began in February 2018, after the victim found the courage to disclose the horrific abuse she endured.
The victim decribed how Hussain and Lukman both manipulated and groomed her into taking part in sexual activity with each of them, by paying her attention, empathising with her, playing board games, and buying her sweets and gifts.
Now an adult, police said she decided to tell her mother and husband what had happened to her, which resulted in the abuse being reported to police and both men arrested and charged.
A Bedfordshire Police spokesman said: “Following a two-week trial, Hussain was found guilty of three counts of raping a girl under the age of 13 and three counts of causing/inciting a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity and was jailed for 20 years. Both men must serve their whole term.
“Lukman was found guilty of six counts of raping a girl under the age of 13 and two counts of causing/inciting a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison.”
PC Benjamin Robertson, from the Child and Vulnerable Adult Abuse team, said: “These two men destroyed the childhood of an innocent young girl and this has had a profound effect on her as she has grown into an adult.
“I commend the bravery and courage that she has shown throughout the past two years while the investigation has progressed.
“I hope that these sentences bring some closure to her and allow her to now concentrate on her future.
“Child sexual abuse is the most horrific ordeal a child can go through. We want to reiterate that it is never too late to come forward and tell police if you have been the victim of sexual abuse, no matter how long ago it was. You will be listened to, you will be supported, and we will endeavour to do all we can to seek justice for you.”