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Rotherham grooming gang ringleader admits historic rape of 13-year-old girl


The ringleader of a grooming gang in Rotherham has pleaded guilty to raping a 13-year-old girl in the early 2000s.

Mohammed Imran Ali Akhtar, 42, appeared at Sheffield Crown Court where he pleaded guilty to two counts of rape and two counts of indecent assault between August 2001 and July 2002.

Akhtar picked the girl up in his car on multiple occasions and drove her to different locations before raping her and also provided her with alcohol and drugs each time they met, the court heard.

The victim, who cannot be named, was led to believe she was in a relationship with Akhtar, who would threaten to drop her off in an unkown location and leave her stranded if she did not comply with his demands for sex.

Akhtar is being prosecuted as part of Operation Stovewood, a major National Crime Agency investigation into child sexual abuse and exploitation which took place in Rotherham, in south Yorkshire, between 1997 and 2013.

The court heard that on one occasion, when the victim did refuse to engage in sexual activity, Akhtar kicked her out of the car in the early hours of the morning, forcing her to walk for hours to find her way back home.

He is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence after he was convicted in 2018 of sexual offences under a separate sub-operation investigated under Operation Stovewood.

Zoe Becker, legal manager for the CPS, said: 'Mohammed Imran Ali Akhtar targeted the young victim and used drugs and alcohol to groom her for sex.

'The lifelong physical and emotional trauma caused to victims by men like Akhtar cannot be understated.

'We would like to thank the victim in this case for coming forward and reporting this devastating crime. I hope this conviction sends a clear message that the CPS, working alongside the NCA, will continue to relentlessly pursue justice and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, whenever that abuse took place.

'Last year, to deal with some of the more complex and challenging child sexual abuse cases, we established our dedicated Organised Child Sexual Abuse Unit to share specialist understanding, build strong cases and increase the amount of successful prosecutions'

Akhtar will be sentenced at the same court on December 18 2023.