Huffpost UK uk

Rochdale Grooming Trial: Child Sex Gang Leader Revealed To Be Shabir Ahmed, 59

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

The ringleader of a gang of Asian men who groomed young white girls for sex can finally be unmasked after he was found guilty of 30 child rape charges.

Shabir Ahmed, 59, led a child sex exploitation ring of nine men who targeted vulnerable young girls in the Rochdale and Oldham areas of Greater Manchester.

He was jailed for 19 years last month following an 11-week trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

sex grooming leader

Ahmed was known to victims by the nickname 'Daddy'

But Ahmed - known to his victims by the nickname "Daddy" - could not be named as he was awaiting trial on separate child rape charges.

Today he was convicted of 30 charges of rape by a jury at Manchester Crown Court and Judge Mushtaq Khokhar lifted reporting restrictions, which means he can be identified for the first time.

The court heard that he raped and sexually abused a young Asian girl over many years.

The court was told he treated her as a "possession" which he used for his own sexual gratification.

Ahmed was violent and dominated his victim, a jury of six men and six women was told in his latest trial.

Rachel Smith, opening the case for the prosecution, said Ahmed repeatedly raped the victim for more than a decade.
Miss Smith said: "She tried to make him stop, but it was to no avail."

She said the victim was eventually forced to submit to him and the abuse happened on an almost weekly basis.

"The defendant was a violent and controlling man," said Miss Smith, adding that he dominated his victim and would subject her to extreme violence.

She added: "The defendant treated (her) as some sort of possession to be used for his own sexual gratification, as and when he chose."

The jury was told that the victim felt a sense of shame about what happened to her, which stopped her reporting it to the police for many years.

"The reality of what he had done to her was never far from her thoughts... she describes having dreams about it," Miss Smith said.

The court heard that because of the abuse the victim "rejected the idea of ever marrying or having a sexual relationship with a man of her choosing" because of the impact of what she had suffered.

Judge Khokhar adjourned sentencing until August 2 for the preparation of a pre-sentence report.

At the close of the Liverpool trial, Judge Clifton dismissed the gang's claims that there was no "racial or cultural" element to their crimes.

He said "one of the factors" leading to their abuse of their victims "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 added: "That is nonsense. What triggered this prosecution was your lust and greed."

Ahmed and the nine other men were convicted of conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with children under the age of 16.

He was also convicted of two counts of rape, aiding and abetting a rape, sexual assault and a count of trafficking within the UK for sexual exploitation.

He was previously banned from the court for his sentencing hearing because of his threatening behaviour and for calling the Judge Clifton a "racist bastard".

Judge Clifton called the defendant an "unpleasant and hypocritical bully".

In his latest trial, Ahmed rounded on the jury, police, the prosecutor, the media, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Margaret Thatcher and made personal comments about a Crown Prosecution Service case worker.

He claimed in court that the case against him was a racist conspiracy.

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 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, the court heard.

Police said the victims were from "chaotic", "council estate" backgrounds and as many as 47 girls could have been targeted by the gang.

When he took to the witness box Ahmed turned on his victims, dismissing their allegations as "white lies" and "rubbish".
He also accused one girl of being a racist who believed "whites were a superior race".

Ahmed, a former takeaway driver, admitted having a prolonged sexual relationship with one girl who is alleged to have conspired with the men to exploit other young girls.

When asked about the alleged victims in the case, he said: "They were clever girls. They had a business empire which extended to Leeds, Nelson, Bradford. If they went on to Sugar's programme they would probably win The Apprentice. They did very well."

Ahmed shocked the court when he was asked a question about how one of the victims could describe his naked body.

He quickly stood up and took off his light blue sweatshirt to reveal his naked torso.

He said "She would have seen this", referring to his hairy body and back, which he claims she did not tell the police about.

He then threw a clump of chest hair on the floor and said: "I only have to walk past someone to leave hairs on them."

The court heard Ahmed was a divorced father of four.

As the cross-examination continued, Ahmed slammed his hand on the table and said: "Where are the white people? You have only got my kind here. You are looking for scapegoats. Where are the white people?

"They have trained them in sex. They have trained them in drinking. By the time they are fully trained, they start their own business."

He then blamed social services and police for "doing nothing" and accused prosecutor Rachel Smith of trying to "pin it" on Pakistanis.

He added: "It was not us victimising them. It was them victimising us... It was the other way around."

The Liverpool case caused tensions in the local community, leading to takeaways being attacked in Heywood and right-wing protests outside the court.

Detective Chief Superintendent Mary Doyle, head of Greater Manchester Police's public protection division, said: "This girl has shown phenomenal bravery to come forward and tell the police and other authorities about what happened to her and I hope today's outcome gives other victims of abuse the confidence to trust in the police.

"We already knew Ahmed was an integral part of the Rochdale grooming case - now we can also say his horrific campaign of abuse began many years ago with the systematic rape of this one victim.

"Ahmed was in many ways the ringleader of a loosely-connected on-street grooming ring. Over the course of several years, he was the common denominator in a group of men who raped and abused girls aged between 13 and 17 at the time of the offences.

"We are confident that there may be other arrests in the future and, as always, we would appeal to anyone who has been a victim of abuse to speak to police, carers or the health authorities. Your information will be treated seriously and in confidence."

Ahmed, formerly of Windsor Road, Oldham, wearing a black Lonsdale tracksuit top, smirked as the jury returned the unanimous verdicts.

Judge Gerald Clifton, who sentenced Ahmed in Liverpool, said the gang treated their victims "as though they were worthless and beyond any respect".

Ahmed's nine co-conspirators were sentenced to a total of 118 years in prison for their crimes last month.