Rotherham child abuse gang leader handed 12-year sentence for rape of another girl

Rotherham child abuse gang leader handed 12-year sentence for rape of another girl

Warning: This story contains descriptions that some readers may find distressing.

A gang leader sentenced for sexually exploiting children in Rotherham has been convicted of another rape after a new victim came forward.

Mohammed Imran Ali Akhtar, 42, who was already serving 23 years for child sex abuse crimes, was handed a 12-year prison term on Friday.

Akhtar was originally charged in Operation Stovewood, a series of investigations into a child sexual exploitation ring identified in the South Yorkshire town.

He was jailed in 2018 for sexually abusing three vulnerable victims between 1998 and 2005.

On Friday, at Sheffield Crown Court, he was sentenced for the sexual abuse of another victim between 2001 and 2003.

The victim, who was aged 13 to 14 at the time, came forward after reading about Akhtar’s arrest in 2018.

The court heard the victim was a “very vulnerable girl living in difficult circumstances” at the time she was abused.

Judge Sarah Wright said Akhtar targeted his victim in Rotherham town centre by calling her over to his car and started to groom her by giving her alcohol and drugs.

Akhtar engaged in sexual activity with the girl four or five times a week for about a year in his car and an apparently empty house in Rotherham.

On one occasion, the court heard, Akhtar and another man intimidated the girl and another “clearly distressed and unwilling” victim into sexual activity.

The court also heard that the victim told police in her interview that “when she walks down the street and sees someone that vaguely resembles the defendant, it makes her feel sick”.

The girl had started going missing and staying away from her home.

Michael Collins, mitigating, said Akhtar carried out the offences before he married and had a child. He added that Akhtar had mental health difficulties which were “making incarceration harder”.

In October, he pleaded guilty to two counts of rape and two counts of indecent assault, one of each referring to multiple incidents over two years.

Sentencing Akhtar, Judge Wright commended the victim for her bravery in coming forward with her testimony and told the defendant: “Her childhood and adolescence can never be reclaimed, the effect of your offending on her cannot be overestimated.”

The court said the prison term will run concurrently with his existing sentence.