A MAN accused of raping a 12-year-old girl in his car was caught when detectives investigating alleged child sex exploitation in the Keighley area interviewed the youngster about a suspect with links to her mother, a court heard.

Usaid Zeb, 23, denies two charges of raping a child under 13 in the summer of 2012.

Before the start of the five-day trial yesterday at Bradford Crown Court, the jury panel was read a list of the names of teachers, doctors, social workers, health workers and police officers involved in the case.

Prosecutor David McGonigal told the jury that a 12-year-old child cannot legally consent to sex, even if force is not used.

He alleged that Zeb, of Daisy Hill Lane, Bradford, and the girl, who is now 15, met on a bus in Bradford in July 2012.

She knew him as Khany and left her home at night without her mother knowing to be with him. It is claimed she was seen in the back of a car with him, hugging and smoking cannabis. It is the Crown’s case that they contacted one another by phone and text message and twice had sex.

The jury was told that in September 2012 the girl was worried she might have a sexually transmitted disease and asked a staff member at her school if her mother would find out if she consulted a doctor.

When she went for health checks, she said she had had sex once, with a boy of her own age.

“She was not wanting to give details about Mr Zeb because he was older and she was fearful that was likely to lead to the involvement of agencies, and even the police,” Mr McGonigal said.

Another man, suspected of involvement in child sex exploitation, was the focus of the girl’s first police interview. He was never charged with any offences involving her, the court was told.

In 2013, the girl did not want to assist the police investigation, Mr McGonigal said. But in February last year, she told officers she had twice had sex with Khany. She gave them his phone number and told them he drove a silver Vauxhall Astra in the summer of 2012.

She said she had a month-long relationship with him. He bought her sweets and did not hurt her.

Zeb says he is innocent of any wrongdoing and the girl is making it up. The trial continues.