Existence of Chadwell Heath child prostitution ring is ‘a fantasy’, court hears

Snaresbrook Crown Court

Snaresbrook Crown Court - Credit: Archant

The existence of a child prostitution ring operating across Ilford, Chadwell Heath and Barking is “pure fantasy”, a court heard on Tuesday.

Five men are on trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court accused of offences including rape, sexual assault and inciting prostitution.

Prosecutors have told the jury the gang preyed on vulnerable teenage girls, including some from a care home over the course of a year.

But on Tuesday defence barrister Andrew Lloyd-Eley told the court that claims by six alleged teen child prostitutes and rape victims were untrue.

Asking the jury to return not guilty verdicts for his client Naeem Ahmed, of Westminster Gardens, Barking, he told them the prosecution claims were “an illusion”.

Naeem, 25, who is not related to the other defendants, is accused of being the leader of the group and using his relationships with some of the girls to coerce them into prostitution.

Prosecutor Kate Bex said he held a 17-year-old prostitute down while she was raped by Nabeel Ahmed, of Chadwell Heath Lane, Chadwell Heath, and Jameel Ahmed, of Neville Road, Dagenham, in an Ilford hotel and raped another girl who had been picked up off the street.

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Ms Bex said the men deliberately chose “vulnerable” teenage girls because “they are fully aware that they have been starved of affection and use this as a way to feed their own criminal means”.

But Mr Lloyd-Eley insisted that although Naeem had the “sensibilities of an alley cat” and an ego “the size of Big Ben”, he was not guilty of any offence.

The jury is expected to retire to consider their verdict on Monday.

Nabeel, 24, denies three counts of rape and Jameel, 25, denies two. Naeem denies five counts of rape, controlling child prostitution, paying for the sexual services of a child, inciting child prostitution and causing prostitution for a gain.

Anas Iqbal, 25, of Newham Way, East Ham, denies six counts of rape and paying for the sexual services of a child. Hassan Raza, 23, of Westminster Gardens, Barking, denies sexual assault.

The trial continues.