Accused man in Meadowhall rape case of two teenage girls described as “guardian angel”

A jury in the trial of a Sheffield man accused of raping and sexually abusing a schoolgirl has heard from character witnesses who say he is a well-respected member of the community.
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Sheffield Crown Court previously heard that two teenage girls were allegedly groomed, sexually-exploitated and abused by three men after they used to visit the Meadowhall Shopping Centre, in 2002.

The jury heard the schoolgirls were targeted by adult males for the purpose of sex, and drink and drugs played a significant part.

Yasser Hussain, 37, of Norborough Road, Tinsley, Sheffield, has pleaded not guilty to one count of rape and two counts of indecent assault.

Meadowhall shopping centreMeadowhall shopping centre
Meadowhall shopping centre

Graham Whitfield, manager of the Tinsley Forum, has known him for over 20 years and described him as a “good natured and conscientious” man, who “will do anything he can to help you out.”

The court heard Yasser Hussain was a "professional and courteous" taxi driver, who drove dialysis patients to and from hospital, and supported grieving family members when volunteering for a funeral service.

Terri Marie Wilkinson, described him as a “guardian angel” who helped people get home after nights-out, when they socialised in the early 2000s.

Jenny Jessop, who has known him for 30 years, said: “His family are very close and they mean the world to him. You don't come across many men like Yasser Hussain.”

Melissa Mann, who has “known him for well over 20 years” described him as "a good friend" who she holds “in extremely high regard.”

She said he was “kind, caring, honest, trustworthy and hardworking.”

“He would never see anyone go without when he ran his family mini-market,” she said “He is one of the really good guys. He is well-respected throughout the community.”

Yesterday, Yasser Hussain admitted meeting the first girl at a house party, in 2002, when he was 18 and she was five years younger, but denied having sexual relations with her.

Azad Raja, 37, of Adney Street, Sheffield, has also pleaded not guilty to three counts of rape and two counts of indecent assault.

A third defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has denied two counts of indecent assault on the second girl.

The four-week trial, which started on October 1, continues.

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