Emdadul Lukman, 47 of Waldegrave Street, Hastings, East Sussex and Jakhir Hussain, 37, of Keymer Court, Burgess Hill, West Sussex, were sentenced on 20 February to a total of 36 years after being found guilty by a unanimous jury of multiple counts of rape and causing/inciting a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity.
Although the abuse took place almost two decades ago, she found the courage to report it in February 2018 after telling her mother and husband what had happened to her.
An investigation was subsequently launched by Bedfordshire Police’s Child and Vulnerable Adult Abuse (CAVAA) team, which resulted in Lukman being jailed for 16 years and Hussain for 20 years.
She said: “It began when I was a young child. Both men were kind to me, made me feel special and loved and I felt I could trust them, but now I realise that I had been groomed by them.
“I decided to tell my husband what had happened two years ago as he had noticed a change in me.
“I have been majorly depressed and suicidal since I was 15. I felt lost, I just wasn’t me. I began hanging around with the wrong crowd. I just wanted to die. Outwardly I would be fine but I wanted to overdose on pills. When I woke up in the morning I would be disappointed to be alive. I began self-harming, cutting myself.
“I was reluctant to tell anyone because I was embarrassed and I thought no-one would believe me.
“Sometimes I’d end up in bed for days. Because of this, I have had to give up my job. The strain of this was also causing problems in my marriage. I felt hopeless, worthless, used.
“They have their own lives and families. They have shown no remorse for what they have done to me.”
PC Benjamin Robertson, from the CAVAA team, who investigated the case, said: “I’d like to praise the bravery of the victim for coming forward and telling us about the horrific abuse she endured as a child and I am pleased that these two child abusers have received substantial custodial sentences.
“I know this can’t bring back the innocent years of her childhood that they mercilessly stole from her, but I hope that in some way it will help her to move forward and start to enjoy her life again. She should be extremely proud that her actions have led to her perpetrators spending the next few years behind bars.
“We want to reiterate that it is never too late to come forward and tell police if you have been the victim of sexual abuse, no matter how long ago it was. You will be listened to, you will be supported, and we will endeavour to do all we can to seek justice for you.”
If you have concerns about child sexual abuse or you have been a victim, please report it to Bedfordshire Police on 101.
The NSPCC website has a wealth of information on how to teach your child about staying safe from sexual abuse, including the PANTS underwear rule:
P – Privates are private
A – Always remember your body belongs to you
N – No means no
T – Talk about secrets that upset you
S – Speak up, someone can help