On Air Now
Heart Breakfast with Jamie Theakston and Zoe Hardman 6:30am - 10am
20 February 2014, 06:25 | Updated: 20 February 2014, 06:36
A child sex gang will be sentenced today for a series of rapes and sex assaults against five vulnerable girls in Peterborough, one as young as 12 years old.
Last month, two men and three boys, of Czech, Slovak and Kurdish backgrounds, were convicted at the Old Bailey of their part in the abuse of the girls aged between 12 and 14 from April to December 2012.
Ringleader Zdeno Mirga, 18, who was described by one victim as the ''boss'', was convicted of eight counts of rape and one count of inciting child prostitution.
Hassan Abdulla, 33, was convicted by a majority of the jury of four rapes and three counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
Two 17-year-old boys - one of whom has since turned 18 - were convicted unanimously of various counts of rape and sexual assault. A younger boy was found guilty by a majority of sexual activity with a child, but cleared of rape.
Two of the victims are of Czech/Slovak origin while the other three are English.
The case came to light when a Czech/Slovak girl, known as victim A, then aged 12-13, was taken into care and began to tell her social worker what had been happening to her.
During the trial, the jury was told that victim A, who has learning difficulties, considered Zdeno Mirga - who she referred to as Skinny - as the ''boss''.
Prosecutor Angela Rafferty had told the court that Mirga had sex with her in the toilets in a park, and she was also abused on a park table.
Mirga had encouraged her ''often very forcefully'' to have sex with other boys and men, sometimes with the use of threats and violence, Ms Rafferty said.
The victim told police that Mirga ''shared'' her because he wanted money to buy cannabis and vodka, the court heard.