Rochdale abuse ring sparked national debate
When a child sex ring of nine men was brought to justice in May it triggered a national debate over the role of gangs of largely Asian men in grooming white girls.
Following the trial the police, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the local council in Rochdale came in for heavy criticism when details emerged of how the inquiry had been botched.
A chance to stop the gang was missed in 2008 and both the police and the CPS were forced to apologise for their failings while Rochdale Council said it “deeply regretted” the missed opportunities. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is now spearheading an investigation into the botched inquiry.
The first victim, who was 15 when the abuse began, told the police what had been happening in August 2008, but her complaint was not taken seriously and she continued to be abused by the gang until December 2008 when she fell pregnant and moved away.
In July 2009 a CPS lawyer then compounded the police failure to take her seriously and made the decision not to charge the two gang members she was accusing because he did not think a jury would find her “credible”. After the trial, she said she was “let down” by police and the CPS because the issue of Asian gangs grooming young white girls was “unheard of” at the time. She said the problem got “worse” after telling the police.
“It’s like, then, in 2008 it weren’t really heard of ... Asian men with white girls. “It was just unheard of. I’ve never heard of it. Now it’s going on everywhere,” she said.
The offences happened in and around Rochdale in 2008 and 2009. The five girls - aged between 13 and 15 - were given alcohol, food and money in return for sex but there were times when violence was used.
Police said the victims were from “chaotic”, “council estate” backgrounds and as many as 50 girls could have been victims of the gang.
The gang received jail sentences of between four and 19 years from a judge who said they treated their victims “as though they were worthless
and beyond any respect”.
In comments which appeared to conflict with police insistence that there was no “racial or cultural” element to the crimes, Judge Gerald Clifton
told Liverpool Crown Court: “One of the factors leading to that was the fact that they were not part of your community or religion.”
The judge said some of the men claimed their arrest “was triggered by race”. But, he said: “That is nonsense. What triggered this prosecution was your lust and greed.”
Despite the comments from Judge Clifton, Greater Manchester Police denied there was a “racial or cultural” element to the gang’s crimes and
said it was about adults abusing vulnerable children. The men were convicted of conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with children under the age of 16 and other sexual offences including rape and trafficking for sexual exploitation.
Shabir Ahmed, 59, - the man regarded as the ringleader - was jailed for a total of 19 years for conspiracy, two counts of rape, aiding and abetting a rape, sexual assault and a count of trafficking within the UK for sexual exploitation. The defendant was banned from the court because of his threatening behaviour and for calling the judge a “racist bastard”.
The judge called Ahmed an “unpleasant and hypocritical bully”.
Takeaway worker Kabeer Hassan, 25, of Lacrosse Avenue, Oldham, was jailed for nine years for rape and three years, concurrently, for the conspiracy conviction. Abdul Aziz, 41, of Armstrong Hurst Close, Rochdale, was sentenced to nine years for conspiracy and nine years, concurrently, for trafficking for sexual exploitation.
Married father-of-five Abdul Rauf, 43, of Darley Road, Rochdale, was jailed for six years for conspiracy and six years, concurrently, for trafficking for sexual exploitation. Mohammed Sajid, 35, of Jepheys Street, Rochdale, was sentenced to 12 years for rape, six years for conspiracy, one year for trafficking and six years, all concurrent, for sexual activity with a child. Adil Khan, 42, of Oswald Street, Rochdale, was sentenced to eight years for conspiracy and eight, concurrently, for trafficking.
Mohammed Amin, 45, of Falinge Road, Rochdale, was sentenced to five years for conspiracy and 12 months, concurrently, for sexual assault. Abdul Qayyum, 44, of Ramsay Street, Rochdale, was jailed for five years for conspiracy. Illegal immigrant Hamid Safi, 22, of no fixed address, was jailed for four years for conspiracy and one year, concurrently, for trafficking.
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