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Ribbon accused: 'My nine months of hell'
ONE of the men at the centre of the Ribbon sex abuse case has spoken for the first time about his nine-months of hell - including bouts of depression, losing his university place and threats from the English Defence League.
Jubrion Khan was found not guilty of conspiracy to rape a by jurors following an eight week trial at Oxford Crown Court in the summer.
Two other counts - rape and conspiracy to rape - facing the Wycombe man at the beginning of the trial were thrown out by Judge Ian Pringle.
But while the verdict brought the 22-year-old’s initial nightmare to an end, Mr Khan is still struggling to cope with the aftermath of the case.
Between his arrest and trial he was suspended from his finance course at Buckinghamshire New University, and said he was unable to work at Sainsbury’s due to the stress of the case.
Despite being exonerated he says he still faces a daily fight to clear his name.
He said: "I went home [after the verdict] but it wasn’t a normal life.
"I went in to work and I could see my colleagues looking at me, and when I walk down the street I can see people with that look of ‘you were arrested for disgusting things’ upon their face - it still follows me.
"I got back into university but you still get the looks and people talking."
He said he needs to find £3,500 by November to fund his final year of study, having missed such a long period of working time.
He added: "I want to get into accounting but if a firm puts my name into Google it will come up with about 20 pages of reports - my name is stained now."
Mr Khan was woken at about 5am on November 20 by his sister, who informed him Thames Valley Police officers were in their home.
He said: "An officer came over with a sheet of paper and said they’re arresting me for suspicion of rape and conspiracy to rape.
"I replied ‘are you sure you have the right person?’ as it came as a complete shock, I kept asking ‘is this a mistake?’ I didn’t know what was going on as I’d done nothing wrong".
Police arrested him on suspicion of abusing a young girl, took some of his belongings and drove him to a military base near Aylesbury.
He was later charged - initially alongside six other men - and appeared before Aylesbury Magistrates Court on November 22.
Waiting outside the court for them were members of the English Defence League - which had posted items on its website about the case.
Mr Khan said: "They were singing racist chants and stuff had been put up on their website about how they were going to bomb our houses.
"It was frightening, I was worried for my family’s safety."
The case was referred to Oxford Crown and he was remanded into custody. Mr Khan spent about 18 days in Woodhill Prison and a further three in Bullingdon Prison before he was granted bail at appeal.
He said: "It was a very stressful time, being away from family was very hard. I was depressed, I put on weight, lost my hair.
"I mainly spent time in my own cell, I was depressed and after seeing my family during visits I was completely broken."
The trial began in May and concluded in July.
Mr Khan said: "I was threatened with a life sentence - there was a lot of pressure. You’re going into court for something you haven’t done, I couldn’t sleep, I felt depressed - It was like I was going through hell.
"You want to get up and shout ‘that’s a lie’ [when the prosecution is giving evidence].
Referring to the one conspiracy charge he faced he said: "I don’t know the other guys, I didn’t know the girl so how could there be a conspiracy?
"The only evidence they had was the description the girl gave of me which completely matched an old Facebook photo, down to the clothes I was wearing in the photo. Police took all my blue jeans because of that.
"When we went in for the verdicts, I felt like I was about to break down, my legs were shaking and I was just thinking about my parents, and my dad who has a heart condition and how he would cope with it.
"But I’ve been bought up on the message that truth always wins in the end, thank God it did."
Seven of the accused ten men were completely exonerated of all charges.
The other three were found not guilty of some charges but jurors could not decide on a verdict for the others. There remaining charges were later dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.
The men read out a statement at a recent public meeting calling for a Judicial Review and a public inquiry into the police investigation.
Zia Ullah, from the Justice4Paps group said: "The evidence was wafer thin, there was substantial cost with the police operation and trial itself and we’re looking at a Judicial Review.
"It will have a long impact on the lads and there should be some cause for some sort of compensation in place for them. Perhaps it’s time for anonymity for the accused [as well as the victim] in cases like this."