Court: Gang of eight deny charges that they raped and abused teenage Peterborough girl

Court artists sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Zdeno Mirga, 18, (left) and Hassan Abdulla, 32, during their trial at the Old Bailey. Image supplied by PA
Court artists sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Zdeno Mirga, 18, (left) and Hassan Abdulla, 32, during their trial at the Old Bailey. Image supplied by PA
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A gang of eight - including boys as young as 14 - organised and controlled the sexual abuse of young teenage girls in Peterborough, the Old Bailey has heard.

The gang, who are of Czech, Slovak and Kurdish backgrounds, are accused of abusing five girls aged between 12 and 14 in Peterborough.

Zdeno Mirga (18), his brother Dusan (20), Hassan Abdulla (32), David Ziga (19), two 17-year-old boys and two 14-year-old boys appeared at the Old Bailey in London where they variously face 57 counts of abuse.

The defendants have pleaded not guilty to the charges, which include rape and child prostitution.

At the start of the trial, Angela Rafferty, prosecuting, told the court the case had only come to light when victim A - aged 12 and 13 at the time of the allegations - told her social worker what had happened.

Opening the case, Miss Rafferty said: “Between April 2012 and December of the same year in Peterborough these defendants engaged in sexual abuse of teenage girls.

“Some of them were more heavily involved than others. Some organised and controlled the sexual activity, some took a spur of the moment decision to become involved.”

The jury was told that victim A, who has learning difficulties, considered Zdeno Mirga - who she referred to as Skinny -as the “boss,” who encouraged her to have sex with others.

Miss Rafferty said: “He did this using the power he had over her at the time, or threatened her and sometimes used violence against her.”

The girl told the court she felt ‘sick’ and ‘upset’ after being touted by ‘Skinny’ at his house in Peterborough.

She told how Mirga took her to a party and gave her vodka and cannabis before taking her to a bedroom.

The girl said: “I was shocked. There was 10 guys, no girls.”

She described lying on the bed ‘like dead’ while being abused by Skinny and his friends.

The girl also claims she was raped by groups of boys at a playground, in toilets and on a table in a Peterborough park.

The court heard the girl said when she threatened to go to the police, Abdulla would threaten to hit her, and if she refused to have sex, one of the 14-year-olds would threaten to take her clothes and shoes away and make her walk home.

She also said Zdeno Mirga ‘sold’ her for £20 each to perform oral sex on 12 men in the bushes of the park.

A police investigation led to the identification of another four victims including the girl’s 14 year-old sister, it is claimed.

The third girl, aged 14, not connected to the first two victims, claimed she was raped by one of the 14 year-old boys after smoking cannabis and drinking alcohol at a flat 
during the school Easter Holidays.

She told police “he knew I didn’t want to do it but he still did it” and eventually managed to push him off.

The boy, known as MH, admitted having sex with her but claimed she consented.

The fourth girl, who is also not connected to the first two victims, said that 17 year-old RB pestered her for sex when she was 14 years old.

The final girl claimed that RB forced her to give him oral sex when she was aged 13.

The eight defendants all deny the allegations against them.

The trial continues.

The defendants face a total of 57 counts against them:

Zdeno Mirga (18), of College Park, Peterborough:

He faces 11 counts, including eight of rape, two of sexual activity with a child and one of causing or inciting child prostitution. All relate to girl A.

Hassan Abdulla (32) of Springfield Road, Peterborough:

He faces six counts of rape and two counts of causing or inciting sexual activity with a child in relation to girl A.He also faces one count of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity in relation to girl B.

The boy known as MH (14):

He faces six counts of rape and two of sexual activity with a child in relation to girl A. He also faces one count of rape and one count of sexual activity with girl C.

The boy known as JK (17):

He faces four counts of rape and two counts of sexual activity with a child. The counts relate to girl A.

The youth known as RB (17):

He faces three counts of rape and two counts of sexual activity with a child in relation to child A. He faces four counts of sexual assault in relation to girl D. He also faces three counts of rape and one of sexual activity with a child in relation to girl E.

Dusan Mirga (20) of College Park, Peterborough:

He faces one charge of assault by penetration, one count of rape and two counts of sexual activity with a child, all in connection with girl A.

David Ziga (19) of Firth Park Road, Firth Park, Sheffield:

He is charged with two counts of rape and one of sexual activity with a child, in relation to girl A.

The boy known as JF (14):

He faces one count of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, in relation to girl A.

The defendants deny all the charges.

The trial continues.