• Saturday, September 23, 2023


Rochdale verdict: Five men convicted of sexually exploiting two girls

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

Five men from Rochdale, including two brothers, have been found guilty of sexually exploiting two girls aged 12 and 13, according to recent official figures.

The Manchester Minshull Street crown court heard that the girls were treated as objects by the defendants, subjected to abuse and humiliation before being discarded, The Guardian reported.

The trial focused on 80 counts dating back to 2002 and 2006, with the complainants, now both 33, revealing their abuse in 2015.

The two victims and survivors were adolescents when they were subjected to horrific abuse.

Mohammed Ghani, 38, Insar Hussain 38, Jahn Shahid Ghani, and Ali Razza Hussain Kasmi, 36 all from Rochdale, were convicted of various child sexual abuse offenses on Thursday (17), while Martin Rhodes, 39 from Blackpool pleaded guilty to four counts of penetrative sex with a child, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

Three others, also from Rochdale namely Ikhlaq Yousef, 38, Aftar Khan, 34, and Mohammed Iqbal, 67, were acquitted of any wrong doing.

The case, the largest child sexual exploitation trial in Rochdale since 2012, involved the testimony of the victims, who are also expected to provide evidence in further trials in 2024 and 2025.

Maggie Oliver, a former police officer and whistleblower, praised the convictions and called for systemic change to prevent further abuse.

Girl A, one of the victims, previously played a role in a 2016 case involving two Rochdale men who were found guilty of inciting her into sex work.

In the recent trial, some defendants accused her of exaggerating the number of abusers to claim compensation.

She had already received compensation after the 2016 case but is now seeking damages for the abuse in this trial.

Girl A, who was abused from the age of 12, recounted her experiences, including being introduced to the older brother of one of the defendants.

The older brother, Jahn Shahid Ghani, claimed the girls were his “friends with benefits” and argued he believed they were over 16. He admitted to having sex with the girls when they were 14 or 15.

The victims’ emotional testimony led to convictions, with prosecutors emphasising the lasting impact of the defendants’ actions.

Assistant Chief Constable Sarah Jackson said, “These convictions are a testament to the true resilience of the victims and survivors who, thankfully, felt able to trust Greater Manchester Police, and have the confidence in the criminal justice system to support prosecutions. They demonstrated such bravery in testifying against these offenders on their journey to justice.”

According to a report by the Greater Manchester Police the verdicts mark the inaugural convictions led by GMP’s Child Sexual Exploitation Major Investigation Team (formerly known as the Force CSE Unit).

Established in 2021, the CSE MIT is focused on addressing the most intricate and severe cases across Greater Manchester while also providing support for investigations conducted by district-based officers.

Comprising specialised police officers and staff, the team collaborates with partner agencies to effectively identify and engage with victims, ensure safeguarding measures, locate suspects, and gather evidence for submission to the CPS.

This outcome culminates an eight-year inquiry and represents the first of five sets of charges under Operation Lytton. The Lytton operation follows three prior endeavours, also centered on historical CSE in Rochdale, which led to convictions of 36 offenders in 2012 and 2015.

Sharon Hubber, Rochdale Borough Council’s director of children’s services, said, “These were sickening crimes committed against two vulnerable young girls, whose strength and determination was instrumental in bringing this case forward.”

Sentencing for the offenders is scheduled on Tuesday October 31, 2023.


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