The rape and grooming of a vulnerable teenage girl was not investigated until five years after police were first informed, a court has heard.
Nine men, mostly from Sheffield, went on trial today accused of raping the girl when she was aged between 15 and 17 – treating her ‘like a piece of meat’ and abusing her ‘for their own sexual gratification’.
A tenth man is accused of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
The abuse was carried out when the teenage victim was drunk or on drugs, supplied by the grooming gang, jurors were told.
The complainant first told police about being raped and used for under-age sex in 2011 but no investigation was carried out or crime recorded, Sheffield Crown Court heard.
When the victim initially disclosed ‘one rape and incidents of sex with adult men as a minor’ to police, no crime was recorded by South Yorkshire Police.
When she complained for a second time about being raped in the same year, ‘that investigation was too short-lived,’ prosecutor Peter Hampton told a jury at Sheffield Crown Court, today.
Opening the case for the prosecution, Mr Hampton said: ‘To these men she was nothing more than an object.
‘These acts occurred while [the complainant] was drunk or high on drugs which had been supplied to her by the defendants.
‘On other occasions [she] was forcibly raped.’
Mr Hampton added: ‘When [she] did speak to those in authority, she found that no effective action was taken to stop it.’
The prosecutor said she had been referred to social services and later placed on the child protection register during her childhood.
The girl’s case was only taken seriously when she was interviewed as part of the further investigation in 2016/17.