The young victim, who couldn’t speak, was brought from Pakistan to Salford where she suffered a decade of harrowing sexual abuse at the hands of Ilyas Ashar, who also forced her to work at his Eccles home.
A man was today convicted of raping a deaf girl he trafficked into the country with his wife from Pakistan.
The young victim, who couldn’t speak, suffered a decade of harrowing sexual abuse at the hands of Ilyas Ashar.
She was also forced to work at the family home in Eccles, Salford, as a domestic servant and slept in the cellar. Under the threat of violence, she was made to cook, clean, sew and wash cars for the family and their friends.
The conviction of Ilyas Ashar, 84, is the culmination of two lengthy and unique criminal trials.
The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was only able to detail the extent of her abuse to police after she was taught basic sign language by experts.
She was brought to Salford from a village in Lahore, Pakistan, in 2000 aged around nine or 10. Her exact date of birth is not known.
But the sign language she was taught by experts over months led to his conviction after she signed her evidence to a jury in a series of long court sittings.
The girl called Ilyas Ashar ‘the bad old man’.
Ilyas Ashar was remanded in custody ahead of sentence.
He was warned by judge Peter Lakin that he faces a substantial jail sentence.
The verdicts bring to an end a painstaking investigation by Greater Manchester Police codenamed Operation Seafarer. It was launched four years ago in 2009 when the victim, who couldn’t read or write and communicated with facial gestures, was found sleeping in a camp bed in a cellar at the family home on Cromwell Road.
Today the brave victim is celebrating new hope after she was rescued from their evil clutches.
Her life has been transformed thanks to police, social workers and sign language experts.
Now thought to in her early twenties, she is receiving lessons in numeracy and literacy at a college and has told police, who continue to monitor her progress, that she enjoys walking in fresh air, travelling on buses and visiting fairgrounds.
She is said to be living ‘semi-independently’ at a secret address.
The full extent of the orphan’s terrible plight can finally be revealed after reporting restrictions were lifted by a judge in court.
The girl, who weighed just 4st 8lb, was taught to sign her name by the family, who used her to claim more than £30,000 in benefits which they kept.
The Ashars, who have five children, own and rent out properties in the Salford area. They also own property in Pakistan, including a factory, and are understood to have links to a market stall.
Ilyas Ashar was found guilty today at a re-trial of 13 counts of rape.
He was found guilty last year after trial of two counts of trafficking a person into the UK for exploitation.
His wife Tallat Ashar, 68, was found guilty at the same trial last year of two counts of trafficking a person into the UK for exploitation.
The couple, alongside their daughter Faaiza Ashar, 46, a former bank clerk from Milton Road, Eccles, were also found guilty of benefit fraud.
The jury failed to reach a verdict on charges of false imprisonment, which both Ilyas and Tallat Ashar denied.
All three will be sentenced at a later date.
The girl’s plight was uncovered after police and Salford trading standards investigators went to the house as part of an investigation into money laundering.
Her details had been used on bank accounts linked to the couple and officers asked to speak to her when they attended the house.
Chief Supt Mary Doyle, head of Salford Police, said the girl suffered years of ‘domestic exploitation’ at the hands of the Ashar family.
She said: “What is remarkable – and the most important aspect of this unusual case – is that the victim has emerged a confident, well-adjusted and determined young woman.
“It is truly amazing how she has turned her life round and we have nothing but the utmost respect for her.
“At no stage have the defendants shown any remorse, or admitted to what they did to a girl, who was only as young as 10 when this began.
“Despite the fact that her disabilities would have been apparent to anyone, they never once sought help for her or let her get any kind of formal or informal education.”