A Peterborough businessman accused of grooming young girls for sex told a court he bought them McDonald’s burgers because they were starving.
Mohammed Khubaib, (43), who ran Peterborough restaurants Zaika and Asian Fusion, is accused of enticing girls to spend time with him with cash, take-away food, tobacco and flowers.
I was just trying to help them. They said their stomach was hurt. My intention at that time, as they were starving, they need food, so help themMohammed Khubaib
The letting agent allegedly drove the youngsters to properties around Peterborough where they were plied with alcohol and used for the sexual pleasure of him and his friends.
But Khubaib told the Old Bailey a 14-year-old girl, who he met weeks earlier at one of his restaurants, phoned him to ask for help.
“She said she was hungry, her stomach was hurting, her parents aren’t home so please can you help me by buying some burgers from McDonald’s,” the father-of-five told jurors.
Asked by his barrister, John Jones QC, why he helped her, Khubaib replied: ‘Because I think if somebody asks help, if their stomach is hurt and somebody really needed help it’s my duty to ... get them something to eat.
‘It’s my intention to help them.’
Married Khubaib said that when he went to pick up the girl in his seven-seater she was with someone she said was her cousin, a girl the prosecution say was just 12 years old.
‘I was just trying to help them. They said their stomach was hurt. My intention at that time, as they were starving, they need food, so help them,’ Pakistan-born Khubaib said in broken English.
He said there was no discussion of age with the girls, who he took through the McDonald’s drive-through to buy them food before they got out of the car.
The prosecution say that, prior to the incident, Khubaib bombarded the older girl with text messages asking her if she wanted to come to a party or if she wanted vodka.
But Khubaib insisted nothing inappropriate ever happened with the girls.
He also said he was ‘shocked’ and ‘surprised’ when police twice turned up at properties where he was present along with other teenage girls.
Khubaib was eventually arrested on 27 January 2013 after he was found in a small terraced house with two 14-year-old girls as well as Manese Motaung. Khubaib, of Cambridge Avenue, Peterborough, denies nine counts of trafficking a child for sexual exploitation and one of raping a 14-year-old girl.
Motaung, (32), of Grange Road, Peterborough, denies five counts of trafficking a child for sexual exploitation and one of raping a 16-year-old girl.