What is Rochdale Grooming Gang? Has UK Freed Convicted Ringleader Qari Abdul Rauf?

Rauf, who was warned that he would be deported to Pakistan after being jailed for six years for trafficking and sex with a minor girl, has been set free.

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The convicted ringleader of Rochdale grooming gang was spotted shopping on the streets of the very town where he abused young girls six years ago. Qari Abdul Rauf, 51, who was warned that he would be deported from the UK to Pakistan after being jailed for six years for trafficking and sex with a 15-year-old girl, has been set free and is roaming about freely.

Rauf, a Muslim preacher, was freed on license in 2014 but was told he faced deportation to Pakistan. He along with eight other predators got prison in 2012 for appalling sexual abuse of multiple girls as young as 13-years-old.

Sexual Predator Goes Free

Qari Abdul Rauf
Qari Abdul Rauf YouTube Grab

Rauf was spotted moving freely as he went shopping on the streets of Rochdale on Sunday. It seems he has managed to frustrate the authorities' efforts to get him deported to Pakistan. Rauf along with two of his partners in crime, Abdul Aziz, 50, and Adil Khan, 51, were all supposed to be deported but are all still in Britain.

All the three are from Pakistan and got British citizenship after spending considerable time in that country. Following the expose, wherein Rauf along with eight others sexually abused and raped several underage girls, they were arrested. He got six years after being found guilty of conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with children under 16 and trafficking for sexual exploitation.

But after being freed on license in November 2014 — after just two years and six months in prison — he returned home to his wife and five children.

However, in 2015 he along with Aziz and Khan were told that they would be deported to Pakistan. They challenged it and lost an appeal against the citizenship ruling in 2018 but still have the right to challenge the deportation decision.

No Remorse

Child abuse in Malaysia
Child abuse (Representational Picture) Reuters

It is understood that the three still have the right to appeal the deportation decision. Now, six years after they were warned they could be deported, Rauf has been pictured by The Sun shopping for food and drink in Rochdale. He looks quite happy and confident as he walked clutching a food delivery service bag.

An onlooker told the outlet: "Perhaps he is working in a takeaway or as a food delivery driver. He used to ferry little girls around so his friends could have sex with them.

"Now he delivers fast food. It's awful to think a victim could bump into him — or he knocks on their door to deliver some food."

Maggie Oliver, the Greater Manchester Police detective who quit to speak out about failures in dealing with grooming gangs, called it "another kick in the teeth" for the victims after "pitiful" sentences.

The case of Rauf and his accomplices were later dramatized in the BBC's Bafta-winning Three Girls. That said, the Rochdale grooming scandal shook the entire nation.

Child Abuse
Representational Image Pixabay

Nine men, including their ringleader, Rauf, who abused girls as young as 13 were convicted over a child sex grooming ring. They were found guilty of 21 counts of sexual abuse over a two-year period. Taxi drivers with nick-names like Car Zero and Master Aziz, a pillar of Rochdale's Pakistani community known as Tiger, were among those who were jailed over the sex grooming scandal in 2012.

The abuses happened between 2008 and 2010. The vulnerable girls, some of them runaways or in the care of social services, were given the attention they craved before being bribed into keeping quiet about the abuse by a combination of alcohol and drugs, food, small sums of money and other gifts.

Attempts by Rochdale Crisis Intervention Team to alert police and authorities to "patterns of sexual abuse" were initially ignored. Between 2003 and 2014, the team made more than 180 attempts to alert police and social services but was told the witnesses were not reliable. As a result of the CPS dropping the case, the police halted their investigation, which was resumed when a second girl made complaints of a similar nature in December 2009, with the gang finally getting exposed.