A woman has been locked up for seven years for a string of sordid sexual assaults on a young girl.
Raheelah Dar was eventually found guilty of a series of abuse which spanned four years.
A jury was unable to reach a verdict in an original trial last year, but a jury in a second trial unanimously convicted the 43-year-old last month.
Dar’s barrister Alison Pryor had urged the court to give her client a community sentence.
She said: “Because of the context under which this offending took place, my client is a practicing Muslim, the shame that this has brought and will bring on her family cannot be underestimated. It is something that would not be found in a more ordinary case of this type.
“The effect that a sentence would have is less than the effect that the conviction had on the community.”
But Recorder Tim Roberts QC said he “would not be fulfilling (his) public duty” if he did not jail her.
Court process was ‘unbearable’ for victim
Teesside Crown Court today heard from the victim, now an adult, who bravely faced her abuser to read out a statement.
Describing the court process as ‘unbearable’, she said: “As a result of the abuse I suffered as a child, I have been left isolated… I feel intimated and unable to engage in social situations.”
The victim said she had struggled to maintain a healthy weight, had self harmed, was isolated from her family growing up, and could not bear to be touched by other people.
This had meant she felt unable to go to a doctor and which had led to health problems.
She had suffered flashbacks and panic attacks since reporting the abuse to police, after a chance meeting with Dar as an adult..
Dar had denied all charges
During the trial, Dar, of Central Mews, central Middlesbrough , said she had never been alone with the girl or denied that any of the sexual encounters happened.
In court today her barrister Alison Pryor read from a psychiatric report which said that Dar suffered from bi-polar, but the author could also not rule out an underlying personality disorder.
Ms Pryor said Dar has engaged with mental health services. She was said to have been involved in two failed marriages, and suffered domestic abuse in one marriage. Dar also dealt with the death of her two-year-old daughter, who was born with severe spinal muscular atrophy.
A number of references in Dar’s favour were handed to the judge.
Dar ‘isolated, manipulated and molested’ the girl
Prosecutor Christine Egerton detailed how Dar, who was in her mid to late 20s at the time of the offences, had been found guilty of three counts of indecent assault of a child, and two further counts of indecency.
During the trial, she was accused of isolating, manipulating and molesting the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, several years ago.
A trial had heard how Dar gradually groomed the girl, stroking her hair and telling her she was special.
She kissed the girl, made sexual conversation, undressed in front of her and got her to kiss a boy, escalating to more intimate sexual assaults.
She made the confused girl feel partly responsible for the attacks, jurors were told.
An ‘offender of particular concern’
Recorder Roberts said Dar had “corrupted” her victim and “abused her against the idea of a normal relationship in favour of the selfish, exclusive and sexual relationship you were to have with her”.
He categorised Dar as an ‘offender of particular concern’ and added a one year extended licence, which means that she will not be automatically considered for release at the halfway point of her sentence.
Speaking after the case, a Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “All cases of sexual abuse will be investigated thoroughly and professionally by specially trained officers.
“Victims should not suffer in silence and hopefully this example will assist in encouraging victims of sexual abuse to report it to police.
“Today’s sentence will stands as an example that those responsible for sexual abuse will be brought to justice.”