Man Held in Sexual Grooming Probe Jailed

Clive White, Telegraph and Argus (Bradford, England), Feb. 26

A 32-year-old man picked up as part of a police probe into teenage girls being groomed for sex by Asian men was starting a two-and-a-half year jail sentence today.

Father-of-three Shabir Ahmed admitted at Bradford Crown Court to plying a 13-year-old Keighley girl with alcohol and indecently assaulting her on moorland.

Garage owner Ahmed, of Belgrave Road, Keighley, has been placed on the Sex Offenders’ register for life.

Operation Parsonage, which ran for more than a year, has now closed down and he is the last to face the courts as part of the operation.

In all, ten people were charged with offences ranging from rape to intimidation of witnesses.

The parents of the teenager, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, say they have still not been able to return to work because of the stress and expected the sentence to be tougher.

“After what we have been through—the torment and heartache—it doesn’t seem enough,” said her 42-year-old father.

Her 36-year-old mother said she feared her daughter might never recover from her ordeal.

“It was a terrible experience. She now has to carry that for the rest of her life. She will never recover properly.”

Both say they still recall the horror of seeing their daughter arrive home on the night of the attack in a terrible state.

The court heard yesterday how the teenager, described as vulnerable at the time of the assault in November 2003, returned home half-undressed, with love bites on her and unable to remember what had happened.

Judge Linda Sutcliffe said the girl may have thought she had been raped. She said: “The uncertainty that she found herself in as to what had gone on must have been chilling.”

Prosecutor John Worrall said: “The complainant herself is not able to recall anything about the actual assault.

“Her recollection is only as to what happened before the assault itself.”

She said she saw Ahmed on Sunny Mount, Keighley, at about 9pm and he invited her into the car.

He bought drink, including a small bottle of vodka, at an off-licence on the way to Riddlesden and then stopped on the moors.

She remembered drinking some vodka and coke, but after leaving the car to go to the toilet she fell and banged her head.

When she returned to the car some of her clothing was removed and Ahmed then indecently assaulted her.

After forensic tests on her clothing, Ahmed was arrested in February last year. He had a previous conviction for assaulting a prostitute.

He claimed the girl had told him she was 16 and at first denied that anything untoward had happened.

Barrister Tahir Khan, for Ahmed, said he maintained that the girl never said she was 13, but he now accepted he must have realised she was a young person.

He said: “The incident occurred at a time when his relationship with his wife had broken down. This is not, in my submission, a man who habitually preys on young girls. This was an isolated occasion”.

After imposing the jail sentence, Judge Sutcliffe told Ahmed that he would also have to register as a sex offender with the police for the rest of his life and would also be subject to a period of licenced supervision following his release.

A police spokesman said:”The Parsonage operation investigated claims about older Asian men targeting vulnerable white girls.

“The inquiry had resulted in ten people—nine men and a woman—being charged with offences ranging from rape and indecent assault to witness intimidation.”

The special operation had now closed but detectives would still be investigating any other alleged offences relating to young girls being targeted.

And a number of cases of a “Parsonage-type” nature were now being dealt with.

More on this story.

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