Slough mayor resigns over support for sex offender's family

Shafiq Chaudhry Shafiq Chaudhry has been a councillor in Slough since 2006

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Slough's mayor has resigned after attending a court sentencing to support the family of a child sex offender.

Shafiq Chaudhry was in Reading Crown Court on Monday when Esmatullah Haidaree and Azim Ahmed were jailed for sexual offences against three girls.

He said he was trying to "support a family torn apart by one man's horrendous crimes" but understood his actions could be misconstrued.

Deputy Mohammed Rasib will take over his duties until an election in May.

Labour councillor Mr Chaudhry, who has voluntarily referred himself to Slough Borough Council's standards board, said: "I now realise that, despite my good intent for the family who are residents of Slough and my ward, my actions could be construed as me supporting a convicted criminal.

"To not recognise those potential consequences was a grievous error of judgement which has brought my position as mayor into disrepute.

"I do not in any way condone the behaviour of those convicted of these horrendous offences, criminals are criminals, no matter who they are and no-one should tolerate this kind of crime.

"The public expect the highest levels of judgement from those in public life, especially the mayor, and as such, I feel I cannot continue in the role.

"I apologise for any embarrassment this has caused and for any upset to the victims."

'Man of principle'

Council leader Rob Anderson said: "Councillor Chaudhry made a serious error at a time when both the council and police are focusing resources on tracking the perpetrators of child sexual exploitation and bringing them to justice.

"By standing down as mayor immediately and referring himself to standards, Councillor Chaudhry has shown he is a man of principle and understands the mistake that, however well intentioned, he made."

Mr Chaudhry, who remains councillor for Central ward, was elected to Slough Borough Council in 2006 and was elected as Mayor of Slough for 2014-15.

Esmatullah Haidaree, 46, of Farm Crescent, Slough, and Azim Ahmed, 23, of Diamond Road, Slough, were convicted at Reading Crown Court, in December.

Haidaree was found guilty of two counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and four counts of sexual assault and Ahmed was convicted of five counts of sexual activity with a child.

Ahmed was jailed for six years and Haidaree was sentenced to 24 months.

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