15/05/2012 18:25 BST

Men Jailed For 'Despicable' Abuse Of Relative With Learning Difficulties

Four men have been jailed for harassing a family member who allegedly had jump leads attached to his nose during a three-year campaign of cruelty.

Ghalib Hussain, 27, was considered a burden by his uncle and three cousins because of his learning difficulties and was labelled "a clown" and "the mental case", Burnley Crown Court heard.

A jury was told he was subjected to regular punishments after he was effectively left "stranded" at the family home in Accrington, Lancashire, when his arranged marriage collapsed following his move from Pakistan.

Mr Hussain - an epilepsy sufferer who could not read, write or speak English - was rejected by the daughter of the head of the family.

Last month, Nek Alam, 72, and his sons Zahir, 33, Zahoor, 32, and Janghir, 29, pleaded guilty - part-way through their trial - to putting a person in fear of violence by harassment between 1 January 2007 and 1 July 2010.

Formal not guilty verdicts were ordered to be returned against other allegations of assault, battery, making a threat to kill and false imprisonment of Mr Hussain at the family home in Richmond Hill Street.

Today, Zahir, of Willows Lane, Accrington, brother Zahoor and father Nek were each jailed for 15 months, while Janghir was sentenced to 10 months' imprisonment.

Opening the case, prosecutor Jeremy Lasker said Mr Hussain was subjected to harassment "either because he had done something wrong or was perceived to have done something wrong".

On one occasion he suffered a fractured hip and on another he was said to have had a pair of jump leads attached to his nose, the court was told.

When arrested and interviewed, the defendants all denied being responsible for his injuries which they could not explain.

The court heard that Mr Hussain was no longer living with the Alams and was in the care of local authorities outside the town.

Following sentencing, Det Sgt Julie Cross said: "The victim was subjected to years of harassment and emotional abuse and has been treated in the most dreadful manner. To treat a family member in this way is appalling and I am satisfied with the outcome.

"I would like to reassure people that these despicable crimes will absolutely not be tolerated and all reports are investigated thoroughly and we will do all we can to bring the people responsible to justice."