LONDON (AP) — A British judge on Tuesday sentenced a Bangladeshi man to 15 years in prison for paying young girls for sex and trying to recruit some as young as 12 years old into prostitution in northern England.
In his sentencing on Tuesday, Judge Peter Hughes chastised Azad Miah for preying on girls from troubled backgrounds and trying to draw them into "a life of drug dependency and sleazy sex for money."
"Your conduct corrodes the foundations of decency and respect by which all right-thinking people live their lives whatever their ethnic or religious background," the judge said.
Miah, 44, was convicted of trying to lure four young girls into prostitution, paying for the sexual services of two teenage girls, and running a brothel from his business, the Spice of India restaurant in the town of Carlisle. He had denied the charges, claiming that his accusers conspired to concoct fake stories because he stopped giving them money "out of kindness."
On Tuesday, Miah's lawyer, Stephen Meadowcroft, said that his client had expressed "very, very great shame" over his actions.
The conviction was the second case in recent weeks that raised questions about how police respond to complaints from vulnerable girls, as one of the victims testified to the court that she had initially spoken to officers about Miah three years before his arrest.
The court heard that the 12-year-old complained to police on three occasions about Miah harassing her in 2008, three years before his eventual arrest. He would send her up to 50 text messages a day, demanding sex and telling her that "in his country it didn't matter about age," she said, adding that she eventually stopped complaining to police because nothing was done about it.