Rochdale child sex ring: nine men jailed
A gang of nine Asian men who groomed white girls as young as 13 with drink and drugs were driven by lust and greed, a judge has said.
The men, from Rochdale, were sentenced at Liverpool crown court after being convicted on Tuesday of conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with children under the age of 16, and other offences.
Police stood guard in the courtroom and around the building amid fears of a large demonstration or disruption by far-right groups. In the event fewer than a dozen BNP members gathered outside, holding placards and shouting towards television crews and press photographers.
Opening his sentencing remarks, the judge, Gerald Clifton, told the guilty men: “All of you treated [the victims] as though they were worthless and beyond respect.”
The man seen as the ringleader, a 59-year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons, 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 previously banned from court because of his threatening behaviour and for calling the judge a “racist bastard”. Simon Nichol, defending, said his client did not wish to attend the sentencing hearing and had ordered him not to put any mitigation before the judge.
“He has objected from the start for being tried by an all-white jury and subsequent events have confirmed his fears,” Nichol said. “He does not take back any of the comments he has made to your honour, to the jury, or to anyone else in the court during the course of the trial.
“He believes his convictions have nothing to do with justice but result from the faith and the race of the defendants. He further believes that society failed the girls in this case before the girls even met them and now that failure is being blamed on a weak minority group.”
Kabeer Hassan, 25, of Oldham, was jailed for nine years for rape and three years concurrently for the conspiracy conviction. The trial heard that the 59-year-old ordered the first victim to have sex with Hassan as a “treat” for his birthday. Hassan raped the girl, who was then aged 15.
Abdul Aziz, 41, was sentenced to nine years for conspiracy and nine years concurrently for trafficking for sexual exploitation. The married father of three took over from the 59-year-old as the main trafficker of the victims and was paid by various men to supply girls for sex. Ahmed Nadim, in mitigation, said the defendant had led “thus far an industrious and socially responsible life”.
Abdul Rauf, 43, was jailed for six years for conspiracy and six years concurrently for trafficking for sexual exploitation. He asked a 15-year-victim if she had any younger friends, and would drive some of the girls to other men who would use them for sex despite knowing they were underage. Zarif Khan, in mitigation, told the judge Rauf’s fall from grace was “particularly significant”.
Mohammed Sajid, 35, 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. Known as “Saj”, he would regularly ply victims with alcohol before having sex with them at his flat, where groups of men would gather and “pass around” the girls.
Gerard Doran, defending, said in mitigation that each of the three victims “maintained that there was no violence used against them” by Sajid. The defendant will be deported back to Pakistan after serving his sentence.
Adil Khan, 42, was given eight years for conspiracy and eight years concurrently for trafficking for sexual exploitation. Khan fathered the child of a 13-year-old victim who believed she was in love with him. Tina Landale, defending, said Khan had lost everything and that his family had been subjected to racist abuse since he was arrested.
Mohammed Amin, 45, was sentenced to five years for conspiracy and 12 months concurrently for sexual assault. Simeon Evans, in mitigation, said: “He has no previous convictions and no previous complaints about his character in 13 years of working as a taxi driver.”
Abdul Qayyum, 44, was jailed for five years for conspiracy. Philip Boyd, defending, said of his client: “He is a hard-working man of significant character in his community. He has a young family and wife who will be placed under considerable pressure by this conviction.”
Hamid Safi, 22, an illegal immigrant of no fixed address, was jailed for four years for conspiracy and one year concurrently for trafficking. He entered the UK on a lorry in 2008 and claimed to have fled Afghanistan because his uncle was murdered by the Taliban. He moved to Rochdale after he was released from a detention centre in Birmingham in March 2009.