A VICTIM has said she believes the Huddersfield grooming gang was linked to other gangs in West Yorkshire and across the country.
Cassie Pike, who uses a pseudonym, was targeted by a grooming gang that operated in Halifax and Bradford between 2009 and 2011.
Among more than 100 men who sexually abused her in those areas was Mansoor Akhtar , of Blackmoorfoot Road, Crosland Moor, Huddersfield.
Akhtar was one of multiple men who raped Girl N , the daughter of a drug addict, in Huddersfield when she was aged 11 or 12. She ended up in the care system .
It was several years later when he met Cassie, aged 15 in a park in Halifax and gave her cannabis before taking her to Bradford and raping her.
She was in care following the death of her mother two years earlier.
Now aged 23, Cassie has released a memoir which gives more details on the missed opportunities West Yorkshire Police and Calderdale Council had to stop the abuse. She said:
“I think the groups could all be linked because I was taken to other towns where this is known to have happened. It could be one big operation, across the whole country. It’s happening everywhere.”
Cassie – not her string of vile attackers – was repeatedly arrested by police.
The nightmare that began when she was a troubled 11-year-old eventually drove her to attempt suicide.
But for five hellish years, the authorities turned a blind eye.
Officers in Halifax knew Cassie was being trafficked around the country to be abused by multiple men.
When her rapists plied her with drugs to make it easier to force her into sex, police issued the teenager with a warning for possessing them.
Incredibly, they even arrested her on suspicion of facilitating a child sex offence after she and another underage girl got into an abuser’s car.
She said: “I was arrested around five times in total, but nothing ever seemed to happen to the men who were abusing me.
“No wonder I thought I was to blame. I was so hurt and so confused – especially when they suggested it was my fault another girl had been abused.
“I was only 15 and they were in complete control of my life. How could they suggest it was me that was the criminal?”
Cassie, now 23, went to police in 2011 after reading about the high profile child sexual exploitation case in Rochdale.
After a hugely complex five-year probe, she helped courts to cage 18 of the men who had devastated her childhood.
Giving evidence in three trials, she saw the men locked up for a total of 168 years in one of the biggest child sexual exploitation cases the UK has seen.
A serious case review then ruled the authorities had repeatedly failed to act on warnings that Cassie was being exploited by scores of predators.
She successfully sued Calderdale Council for failing to protect her from abuse and will this month release her harrowing memoir, entitled Prey.
But her ordeal is far from over.
She still gets death threats from the families of the men jailed for raping her, and has been placed in police protection hundreds of miles from her Halifax home.
Cassie said: “I’m constantly looking over my shoulder, I worry over who knows where I live.
“I’ve had phone calls from family members of the men who have gone to jail. They’ve spent hours on the phone to me, telling me they are going to find out where I live so they can kill me.
“It’s terrifying. I’m happy some of the men are now in jail, but they won’t be there forever.
“What if they do it again when they get out?”
But it is not only her own safety that Cassie fears for.
She told us: “I’m devastated the majority of the men got off.
“Police found 100 numbers on my phone – but I was raped by loads more. They’re probably still preying on other children. I bet nothing will happen to them.”
Cassie was easy prey for the Pakistani man who first lured her into his depraved world after spotting her wandering the streets of Halifax.
She had a deeply troubled home life – her mum was dying from a rare brain disorder called Huntington’s disease and her dad was a violent drug addict.
Soon, she was being violated by countless men every night as they fed her booze and class A drugs to make her easier to control.
She said: “I was lonely and isolated. I didn’t tell anyone because I simply didn’t have anyone to tell.”
Cassie inevitably fell pregnant – but her baby’s father could have been one of dozens of men.
She had an abortion and later swallowed a cocktail of pills because she thought death was the only escape from her torment.
Yet her suicide bid failed – and the rapes continued.
Just hours before her GCSE science exam, she was raped and attacked with a hammer after being trafficked to Manchester.
Cassie said: “I turned up to school with a split lip and a chipped tooth, wearing my clothes from the night before.
“I’d been left alone in Manchester and I’d had to get a taxi driver to take me home.
“I turned up at school and told the teacher what happened and that I hadn’t slept, but she told me to try the exam anyway.
“I tried to start writing, but I have no idea what happened next. I passed out and woke up in hospital.”
She was eventually taken into foster care and moved hundreds of miles away from her abusers.
It was only when she read in a newspaper two years later about the Rochdale grooming case that she realised she was not to blame for the horror she had suffered.
She said: “I read the story of one girl involved in the Rochdale case and it was like reading about my own life.
“She’d been abused for years by loads of men and, in frustration, had smashed up the counter in one of their takeaways. She was arrested but nothing had happened to any of the men for ages.
“The report said she’d been a victim of child sexual exploitation.
“I didn’t know what that was, I had to look it up on my phone… but it was exactly what had happened to me.
“It was the first time I realised none of this had been my fault.”
Cassie slowly became aware that girls all over the country were being ruthlessly exploited like she was.
She now fears their abuse could be linked.
She was trafficked to Bradford, where authorities have flagged thousands of abuse cases, and also to Rochdale, where a probe has identified 47 girls who had been raped and trafficked.
Nine men were convicted in 2012 in a high profile trial at Liverpool Crown Court, which centred on the Greater Manchester town.
Two years later, an independent inquiry revealed at least 1,400 girls had fallen prey to groups of abusers in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, which also prompted a string of prosecutions.
And in Telford, Shropshire an abuse ring was linked to five deaths.
Just months later, 21 men were convicted of child sexual exploitation in Huddersfield , in what is thought to be the UK’s biggest single grooming prosecution.
One of those found guilty in that case, 27-year-old Mansoor Akhtar, was already serving a six-year sentence for abusing Cassie and giving her cannabis.
Cassie, who has been diagnosed with PTSD following her ordeal, says she is sharing her story because she wants people to know how to spot the signs of child sexual exploitation.