Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Gang guilty of abusing young girls

Abid Mohammed Saddique, 27, of Normanton, Derby, one of the leaders of a gang of men which has been convicted of a catalogue of offences against vulnerable girls
CCTV footage showing a car containing members of a gang of men talking to two girls. The gang has been convicted of a catalogue of offences against vulnerable girls

A gang of men have been convicted of a catalogue of offences against vulnerable girls who were preyed on and abused.

The group of men befriended the girls, plied them with alcohol, then took them to "parties" where they were often used for sex.

An undercover investigation by Derbyshire Police, dubbed Operation Retriever, was split into three trials which have run since February. At the culmination of the third case at Leicester Crown Court on Wednesday, two of the gang's ringleaders received further convictions for sex crimes.

Thirteen men were charged in relation to Operation Retriever and 11 stood trial for a string of charges - not all sexual - relating to the case, which involved 26 victims, one as young as 12. Out of the original 13, a total of nine stand convicted.

Abid Mohammed Saddique, 27, and Mohammed Romaan Liaqat, 28 - both married with children - were said to be the leaders of the gang.

Saddique, of Northumberland Street, Normanton, Derby, was convicted of four counts of rape as well as two counts of false imprisonment, two of sexual assault, three charges of sexual activity with a child, perverting the course of justice, and aiding and abetting rape.

Liaqat, of Briar Lea Close, Sinfin, Derby, was found guilty of one count of rape, two of sexual assault, aiding and abetting rape,affray, and four counts of sexual activity with a child. Both pleaded guilty to causing a person under 18 to be involved in pornography and will be sentenced on January 7.

Other defendants have already been convicted and sentenced. Akshay Kumar, 38, admitted one count of causing a person under the age of 18 to be involved in pornography and was jailed for two years and 10 months. Faisal Mehmood, 24, pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a child before the trial and was jailed for three years. He has now been deported to Pakistan.

Mohammed Imran Rehman, 26, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years after being found guilty of rape, while Graham Blackham, 26, was given a three-year sentence after he was convicted of two counts of breaching a sexual offences prevention order.

Liaqat's brother Naweed Liaqat, 33, and Farooq Ahmed, 28, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and were both jailed for 18 months. Ziafat Yasin, 31, was cleared of sex charges but pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of cocaine. He was jailed for three years.

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