Three teenagers and two men were convicted over a string of rapes Wednesday in what prosecutors called “one of the worst cases of child sexual abuse” they had seen.
The attacks took place last year against five vulnerable girls aged 12 and 13 in Peterborough, eastern England.
The victims included one 13-year-old girl with learning difficulties.
The abuse came to light when one of them was taken into care and told a social worker what had happened.
Zdeno Mirga, 18 — described by one victim as the “boss” — was convicted of eight counts of rape and one of inciting child prostitution by a jury at the Old Bailey in London.
Hassan Abdulla, 33, was convicted of four rapes and three counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
Two boys who cannot be named for legal reasons were also convicted of rape and sexual assault.
Another boy, who also cannot be named, was found guilty of sexual activity with a child but cleared of rape.
The jury cleared Mirga’s brother Dusan, aged 20, plus 19-year-old David Ziga and a teenage boy.
“This case is one of the worst cases of child sexual abuse we have seen,” said Grace Ononiwu, chief crown prosecutor for CPS East of England.
“The fact that eight individuals faced a total of 46 charges of sexual abuse, including some which carry maximum penalties of life imprisonment, demonstrates the extent and seriousness of the offending which was alleged against them.”
All the men are of Czech, Slovak and Kurdish origin, while some of the victims are also from a Czech or Slovak background.
Peterborough City Council has called for a serious case review into what happened.
Chief executive Gillian Beasley said: “Listening to the catalogue of crimes committed against these children has been absolutely devastating and we wish they could have been rescued sooner.
“But it was not until our social workers and the police gained the trust of the victims, so they felt able to tell us the full extent of what was happening, that the police were able to arrest the criminals who were responsible.”
Those convicted will be sentenced on February 20.
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