Press release

Court of Appeal finds rape and human trafficking sentences unduly lenient

Manchester couple who kept vulnerable woman as unpaid domestic servant see sentences increased

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Oliver Heald

The Court of Appeal has today increased the sentences of Ilyat and Tallat Ashar from 13 and 5 years to 15 and 6 years’ imprisonment respectively.

Last year Ilyas Ashar was convicted of human trafficking, benefit fraud and rape, his wife, Tallat, was convicted of human trafficking and benefit fraud.

That case was submitted to the Attorney General’s Office as possibly unduly lenient.

The Solicitor General, Oliver Heald QC MP presented the case to the Court of Appeal today.

Speaking after the hearing the Solicitor General said:

This is a deeply distressing case of 9 years of abuse on an extremely vulnerable victim, who was unable to hear or speak, leaving her completely isolated.

In addition to all this, the Ashars showed no remorse and pleaded not guilty, forcing her to give evidence in court and causing her more distress.

I am pleased the Court of Appeal has increased these sentences and I hope this sends a clear message of deterrence to anyone involved in the abhorrent practice of human trafficking.


The victim was brought to the United Kingdom in June 2000 so that she could work for the offenders as an unpaid domestic servant. The victim was very vulnerable; she was deaf and unable to speak and could not read or write. For 9 years the victim was kept in the offenders’ cellar, was forced to work and repeatedly raped by Ilyas Ashar. The offenders claimed various benefits in the victim’s name but she was never paid the benefit money. On the 29 September 2009 Ilyas Ashar and Tallat Ashar were arrested. During interview each exercised their right of silence and refused to answer questions and both denied any wrongdoing.

On 23 October Ilyas Ashar was sentenced a total sentence of 13 years’ imprisonment for rape, human trafficking for exploitation, furnishing false information to obtain a benefit and permitting the furnishing of false information to obtain a benefit.

On 23 October Tallat Ashar was sentenced to 5 years’ imprisonment for human trafficking for exploitation and furnishing false information to obtain a benefit.

The sentencing judge was His Honour Judge Lakin sitting in the Crown Court at Manchester, Minshull Street.

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Published 4 February 2014