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24 June 2012

Victim's relief as beast at heart of Rochdale child sex ring is unmasked

C_71_article_1581746_image_list_image_list_item_0_image.jpgA victim of the child sex grooming scandal that shocked the country has spoken of her relief after its ‘vile’ mastermind was finally unmasked.

Shabir Ahmed, 59, can today be named as the leader of the group of Asian men who raped, abused and exploited vulnerable teenage girls in Rochdale.

He was jailed last month for 19 years alongside nine other members of the gang.

But his identity has remained a secret for legal reasons – until now.

Ahmed can finally be named after being convicted of 30 counts of rape against a young girl in a separate case.

Police said the victim had been ‘systematically’ raped during a ‘horrific’ campaign of abuse that lasted many years.

Ahmed, of Windsor Road, Oldham, had denied the allegations but was found guilty at Manchester Crown Court.

He claimed the girl had made up or imagined her ordeal – and smirked as the jury rejected his lies.

One of Ahmed’s victims in the original grooming case said his public naming-and-shaming had finally brought her some closure.

The girl – who was herself raped by Ahmed after he plied her with vodka above the Tasty Bites takeaway in Heywood – said: “I’m just glad people can know who he is and what he’s done. He’s just such an evil man. I know what he’s done to me – it’s obvious now from this second trial that he’s been doing this for years and ruined a lot of lives.

“If anybody deserves to spend the rest of their lives in prison, it’s him. I’m just relieved it’s all over – it’s some kind of justice.”

Her father, who watched from the public gallery as Ahmed was convicted in the latest case, said: “He is horrible, evil – the vilest, most perverted individual.

“This will never go away for my daughter and all the other victims. He has condemned them to a lifetime of torture thinking about what he’s done.”

'You preyed on girls because they were not part of your community or religion', says judge as he jails Rochdale sex gang for 77 years

Grooming victim: ‘I felt scared and told him I wanted to go home’

Ahmed, a former taxi driver, was described as the ‘ringleader’ of the nine-strong group found guilty of exploiting girls as young as 13 at Tasty Bites and another takeaway. He not only committed rape but ‘shared’ one of the victims with other men at sex parties across the north.

The judge told the gang that he believed they had selected their victims – who were white – because they were ‘not of your community or religion’.

Eight of the men were publically named after being convicted of a range of offences including rape, trafficking and conspiracy.

But the media were banned from naming Ahmed to avoid prejudicing the latest case.

After the fresh conviction Nazir Afzal, chief crown prosecutor for north west, said: “Shabir Ahmed has shown in this trial, as he did in that earlier trial, that he accepts no responsibility and shows no remorse for the sexual offences he has committed against children.

“He is a sexual predator, who targeted his victims because of their youth and their vulnerability.

“Thankfully he will now be spending many years behind bars where he can no longer present a danger to children.”

Ahmed will be sentenced in connection with the latest case on August 2.



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