1. ITV Report

Nine to be sentenced over Rochdale child sex ring

A gang of nine Asian men will be sentenced today after being found guilty of plying white girls as young as 13 with drink and drugs so they could "pass them around" and use them for sex.

But police investigating the gang's crimes denied there was a "racial or cultural" issue and said it was about adults abusing vulnerable children.

A chance to stop the gang was missed in 2008 by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) who have apologised for their failings.

The five girls were targeted by Kabeer Hassan, Abdul Aziz, Abdul Rauf, Mohammed Sajid, Adil Khan, Abdul Qayyum, Mohammed Amin, Hamid Safi and a 59-year-old man who cannot be named, Liverpool Crown Court was told.

Left to right: Abdul Qayyum, Adil Khan, Mohammed Amin, Abdul Aziz, Mohammed Sajid, Hamid Safi, Abdul Rauf, an unnamed man and Kabeer Hassan Credit: Police handout

The 11 week trial heard that the men - who are all from Pakistan, apart from Hamid Safi who is from Afghanistan - groomed and "shared" the young white girls because they were vulnerable.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood, of Greater Manchester Police said:

It is not a racial issue.This is about adults preying on vulnerable young children. It just happens that in this particular area and time the demographics were that these were Asian men.The street grooming issue is about vulnerability and who has access to that vulnerability.

At the start of the trial Rachel Smith, for the prosecution, said the girls - aged between 13 and 15 - were given alcohol, food and money in return for sex but that there were times when violence was used.

Police said the victims were from "chaotic", "council estate" backgrounds.

The girls were targeted in "honeypot locations" where young people were seen to congregate, such as outside takeaways.

The court was told that some of the defendants paid the girls and took payments from other men to whom they supplied the girls for sex.

It took the jury of three men and nine women 21 hours and 22 minutes to reach all their verdicts. Judge Gerald Clifton adjourned sentencing until tomorrow.

All of the offences happened in and around Rochdale in 2008 and 2009.

A spokeswoman for the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre said child sexual exploitation spanned "all cultures and ethnicities."

The complete list of verdicts from the trial:

  • Abdul Aziz, 41, of Armstrong Hurst Close, Rochdale, was found guilty of conspiracy and trafficking for sexual exploitation. He was found not guilty of two counts of rape.
  • Kabeer Hassan, 25, of Lacrosse Avenue, Oldham, Greater Manchester, was found guilty of conspiracy and rape.
  • Adil Khan, 42, of Oswald Street, Rochdale, was found guilty of conspiracy and trafficking for sexual exploitation.
  • Abdul Rauf, 43, of Darley Road, Rochdale, was found guilty of conspiracy and trafficking for sexual exploitation.
  • Mohammed Sajid, 35, of Jepheys Street, Rochdale, was found guilty of conspiracy, trafficking, one count of rape and one count of sexual activity with a child.
  • Abdul Qayyum, 44, of Ramsay Street, Rochdale, was found guilty of conspiracy.
  • Mohammed Amin, 45, of Falinge Road, Rochdale, was found guilty of conspiracy and sexual assault.
  • Hamid Safi, 22, of no fixed address, who was found guilty of conspiracy and trafficking but not guilty of two counts of rape.
  • A 59-year-old man was found guilty of conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with children under the age of 16, two counts of rape, aiding and abetting a rape, one count of sexual assault and an allegation of trafficking within the UK for sexual exploitation.

Two men were also cleared of their charges.

  • Liaquat Shah, 41, of Kensington Street, Rochdale, was cleared sexual assault by the jury and was cleared of conspiracy after the jury was unable to agree a verdict and the prosecution offered no further evidence.
  • Qamar Shahzad, 30, of Conisborough, Rochdale, was found not guilty of conspiracy.

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