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Deaf Orphan Tells Court Of 'Rape And Abuse' After 10 Years Imprisoned In Cellar

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Ilyas Ashar, 83, and his wife, Tallat Ashar, stand accused of keeping a 10 year old girl as a 'virtual slave'
Ilyas Ashar, 83, and his wife, Tallat Ashar, stand accused of keeping a 10 year old girl as a 'virtual slave'

A deaf and mute girl allegedly kept in a cellar, repeatedly raped and treated as a virtual slave told a court today of years of beatings and cruelty.

The victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, told the jury of almost a decade of alleged abuse after being trafficked into the UK from Pakistan in 2000, supposedly to work as a domestic help - though aged only 10 at the time.

The orphaned youngster was slapped, beaten, sexually abused and hit with a rolling pin while forced to work for no money during the day, the court heard.

At night the victim was made to sleep on the concrete floor of a cellar, the door bolted, Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester heard.

Her alleged abusers were Ilyas Ashar, 83, and his wife, Tallat Ashar, 66, who deny charges of false imprisonment, human trafficking, sexual offences, violence and benefit fraud.

On Monday the girl, who is now 21, told of her treatment while at their home on Cromwell Road in Eccles, Salford, Greater Manchester.

Asked about her life, in her words via an interpreter and sign language, she told the jury: "I was sad and weak because I was working so hard.

"They used to hit me from being very very little, all the time. I used to cook and clean for hours and hours.

"She (Tallat Ashar) used to hit me with her ring, she used to hit me in the face and cut my face with her ring. It hurt. She would scratch me.

"I would be down in the cellar, sitting alone and very upset. I would sit there for a long, long time, really upset and crying. I could not get out."

The girl, being deaf, would put cups and crockery down on tables but Tallat Ashar would complain she put them down too hard and made too much noise - and so would slap her, she said.

At 7am in the mornings while the girl was drinking and eating, Tallat would allegedly come to the cellar, clicking her fingers and demanding she stop and get on with her jobs.

Shaking her head and wringing her hands together on her lap, the girl added: "The woman and that man would do that to me. They are bad."

Shown a photo of Tallat Ashar, to identify her alleged abuser, the girl said: "That's the woman who used to hit me and beat me all the time as I was growing up.

"All through my life she's been hitting me."

She was also shown a photo of Ilyas Ashar, who allegedly repeatedly raped the girl.

"The old man, he's bad," she replied, "He's the one who has sex with me."

The victim's true age is not known but it is thought she was aged between 10 and 12 when she came to the UK.

Earlier the trial heard the girl lived in a "state of servitude" and was an ideal target for exploitation because of her vulnerability.

It is also alleged state benefits were claimed in her name - though never handed over.

She has no family in the UK and has never been to school in the UK or Pakistan and cannot read or write. She had no-one to turn to and nowhere to go if she tried to leave the Ashars.

Ilyas and Tallat Ashar both deny two counts of human trafficking into the UK for exploitation and a single count of false imprisonment.

Ilyas also denies 12 counts of rape, Tallat denies one count of sexual assault and unlawful wounding and the pair along with their daughter Faaiza, 44, deny charges of benefit fraud.

The jury viewed police interviews with the girl describing her life at the hands of her alleged abusers.

There are 14 interviews in all which will be watched by the jury over the next few days.

The witness, now believed to be aged between 19 and 21, though her exact age is unknown, will then be cross-examined by lawyers defending the three accused.

The case was adjourned until Tuesday morning.

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