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Thursday, 30 October 2014

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Carlisle takeaway boss jailed for 15 years for having sex with underage girls

A sexual predator who paid underage girls for sex and ran a brothel from his kebab shop in Carlisle was jailed for 15 years today.

Azad Miah photo
Azad Miah, of Carlisle: Jailed for 15 years after being convicted of crimes including paying for the sexual services of two teenage girls and inciting four girls – including a 12-year-old – into prostitution

Related: Carlisle brothel boss guilty of trying to recruit child prostitutes 

Azad Miah, who ran the former Spice of India takeaway on Botchergate, stood with his head bowed in the dock at Carlisle Crown Court as Judge Peter Hughes QC sentenced him this morning.

Judge Hughes said: “Azad Miah, you have been convicted after a three-week trial and careful consideration of all the evidence by the jury, of corrupting and degrading sexual exploitation over a number of years below the veil of a seemingly respectable business.

“You preyed on vulnerable young girls, girls as young as 12, who were from troubled and chaotic home backgrounds. You sought to draw them into a life of drug dependency and sleazy sex for money.

"Your conduct corrodes the foundations of decency and respect by which all right thinking people live their lives whatever their ethnic or religious background. Carlisle is a close knit city with a strong sense of community.

"This case had aroused considerable local interest and concern, shock that this sort of thing happened in Carlisle."

Miah was also ordered to register with the Sex Offenders' Register for life and banned from working with children.

The Bangladeshi dad-of-four hounded vulnerable young girls – aged 12 to 16 – for sex by texting, calling and following them, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

Miah, 44, was convicted yesterday of paying for the sexual services of two teenage girls. He was also found guilty of inciting four girls – including a 12-year-old – into prostitution. He paid them money for sex in return for food, sweets and a place to hang out.

After the sentencing today, his barrister Stephen Meadowcroft QC said: "He [Miah] has expressed very great shame for his conduct and he knows that he's going to spend some considerable time in prison. He has never been to prison before so it has had an enormous impact on him.

"He has brought great shame to his family and that is something that he finds very hard to face up to."

Yesterday, Miah showed no emotion as a jury of six men and six women returned 10 unanimous guilty verdicts on an 18-count charge sheet.

A 12-year-old girl told the court that she complained to police about Miah three years before his eventual arrest. The girl said she eventually gave up talking to the police in 2008 because nothing was being done.

She was asked at the start of her police interview if she knew why she was being questioned. She said: “Because of something that happened three years ago and now youse have finally decided to do summat about it.”

Miah texted her 50 times a day, repeatedly asking for sex and told her he knew where she lived so she may as well have intercourse with him. He said he was not bothered about her age and would give her money.

Cumbria police did not launch its investigation into Miah though until Christmas 2010 following a disclosure by one of his victims to one of its ‘partnership agencies’ about claims of child prostitution at the Spice of India.

After those initial 2008 complaints, Miah continued to commit sexual offences until his arrest in March 2011.

Throughout the trial, Miah denied all of the charges against him. He said he was a “family man” and that all of the complaints against him were “nonsense”.

Miah, who used to live in Rochdale, is not thought to have any connection to the defendants who were jailed last week in the child exploitation case. However, it is understood that detectives in Cumbria will contact their counterparts in Greater Manchester before they can categorically rule out any link.

Detective Inspector Geoff Huddleston, who led the police investigation, said Miah had been handed the sentence he deserves.

“This is one of the most shocking investigations I have conducted in my career and I am pleased that today, his victims got justice.

“Miah committed heinous crimes which have had an immense impact on his victims. I hope that now they can begin to move on with their lives in the knowledge that he’s safely behind bars so can no longer prey on the vulnerable in our community.

“Miah preyed on young, vulnerable girls who have shown true bravery by coming forward and providing evidence. The courage and strength they have shown is immense and without this, we would not have been able to secure this conviction. Standing up in court to give evidence isn’t easy and thankfully the whole ordeal Miah put them through is now over.

“Thankfully, these sorts of crimes are incredibly rare and Miah’s crimes are not representative of the communities of Cumbria," said DI Huddleston.

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