Rochdale abuse gang members still in town decade after grooming scandal
Four men have been stripped of UK citizenship but officials will not say if they plan to deport them.
The victims of a notorious Rochdale grooming gang have been “failed again” after it emerged four men have still not been deported a decade after preying on girls as young as 12.
Shabir Ahmed, 66, Qari Abdul Rauf, 50, Abdul Aziz, 48 and Adil Khan, 49, were among nine men convicted in 2012 of a catalogue of serious sex offences against vulnerable victims in Rochdale.
As the only groomers to have dual UK-Pakistani citizenship, they were at risk of being deported back to Pakistan – but none of the four appear to have been deported or be facing deportation.
Ahmed, known as “Daddy” in the gang, is still serving a 22-year jail term for rape but Rauf is back living at his home address in Rochdale and Aziz has also been seen in the town, locals say.
Khan’s exact whereabouts are not known.
One woman who was abused wet herself and ran into a shop after spotting her attacker in the town centre recently, according to locals, and another victim bumped into her abuser in a nightclub only last week.
The Home Office will not say whether a decision has been made to deport any of the four.
A spokeswoman said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases.”
Maggie Oliver, the detective who resigned from Greater Manchester Police and turned whistle-blower over the botched Rochdale inquiry, said: “It doesn’t surprise me they won’t be straight with their answers after all this time because they don’t want a public backlash.
“Ultimately the truth does have a way of coming out. The process most of these girls have been through has led them to expect very, very little from the authorities.
“They expect nothing and are not disappointed. They have been failed again and again and again.
“They do see some of these men around Rochdale on a fairly regular basis.
“It is really distressing for them, there’s nothing that the girls can do. It’s actually disgraceful.”
In 2016, then-home secretary Theresa May ruled it would be “conducive to the public good” to deprive the four of the right to remain in the UK.
They then fought, and lost, a long legal battle against deprivation of UK citizenship, losing a final Court of Appeal ruling in July last year.
Eight judges, including the Master of the Rolls Lord Justice Sales, have now heard their case and upheld rulings all four should lose UK citizenship rights.
It has been heard across a series of hearings spanning three years, for most of which the four were legally aided.
At a previous hearing, judges noted the decision to strip an individual of UK citizenship, called a deprivation order, does not automatically lead to deportation order.
They said it was “reasonable to assume”, however, that a deprivation order is a prelude to a deportation.
Lawyers said it is probable the four will invoke the European Convention on Human Rights to argue their right to a family life would be impinged if they were removed from the UK.
Ms Oliver added: “Once you commit these horrific offences your human rights should come second.
“It makes me really angry and it’s really upsetting whey you think what they have done that they even have any rights.”
Former taxi driver Aziz, a father-of-three, regularly took his young victim to different flats around Rochdale, where she was plied with cannabis and vodka and coerced into sex with men who paid him cash.
Referred to as “The Master” by the gang, he played a “leading role” in the grooming.
Jailed for nine years in May 2012, he was released in December 2015 after serving three years and seven months.
Rauf, a father-of-five, trafficked a 15-year-old girl for sex, driving her to secluded areas to have sex with her in his taxi and ferry her to a flat in Rochdale where he and others had sex with her.
He was jailed for six years and released in November 2014 after serving two years and six months of his sentence.
A neighbour told the Press Association he has a night-time driving job.
Khan got a girl, 13, pregnant but denied he was the father then met another girl, 15, and trafficked her to others using violence when she complained.
He was sentenced to eight years, released in 2016 and was last known to be living in Manchester.
For two years from early 2008, girls as young as 12 were plied with alcohol and drugs and gang-raped in rooms above takeaway shops and ferried to different flats in taxis where cash was paid to use the girls.
Police said as many as 47 girls were groomed.
Nazir Afzal, the lawyer credited with pursuing the groomers, overturning an earlier decision not to prosecute, said: “I am concerned that despite the efforts that have been made to ensure they are no longer a threat to women and girls in this country, that they remain in this country and the process continues and is prolonged.”
Billy Howarth, founder of Parents Against Grooming UK in Rochdale, said: “We demand an explanation as to why they have not been deported.
“That was one of the promises, that these men would be removed from the country so they would not have to set eyes on them again.
“People are going mad over it, especially the people who live on the same streets with them.”
A spokeswoman for current Home Secretary, Rochdale-born Sajid Javid, has been approached for comment.
A staff member at the office for Rochdale MP Tony Lloyd said no-one was available for comment.
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