Manchester

Rochdale child-sex trial: Accused in smoking grudge claim

Top row l-r: Abdul Rauf, Kabeer Hassan and Abdul Qayyum. Bottom row l-r: Liaquat Shah, Qamar Shahzad, Mohammed Amin and Mohammed Sajid
Image caption All the men deny conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with children under the age of 16

A man accused of being part of a child sexual exploitation ring has denied having sex with underage girls.

Abdul Rauf, 43, from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, is accused of having sex with one of the victims up to 30 times.

He told the trial at Liverpool Crown Court his accuser held a grudge against him as he would not let her smoke in his taxi.

Mr Rauf is one of 11 men who deny conspiring to engage in sexual activity with children under 16.

The five alleged victims, aged between 13 and 15 and from Rochdale, were given alcohol, food and money in return for sex, the prosecution alleges.

Mr Rauf, a married father of five, told the jury he arrived in Rochdale from Pakistan in 1993 and initially worked as a religious studies teacher at a local mosque.

As his family grew, he took on extra jobs as a factory worker and takeaway delivery driver.

'Never forgot'

He said it was when he was working as a taxi driver that he came into contact with the girls.

One of the alleged victims has claimed she had sex with Mr Rauf, "10, 20, 30, times", the court heard.

Asked by Zarif Khan, defending, if that was true, Mr Rauf told the court: "No, no. That's not true.

"I never had sex with her."

Questioned further, he described the girl as "naughty" and said she started racially abusing him after he told her not to smoke when she was a passenger in his taxi.

He broke down in tears describing the incident and said: "I tried to stop her smoking because it is against the law. A taxi is a workplace and I would get fined £1,000."

He said after the incident the girl continued to racially abuse him when she saw him in the street or at the local park with his wife and children.

"She never forgot what happened," he said.

'Big mistake'

Mr Rauf admitted having sex with another girl, who is not a victim in this case, in the back of his car but only after she told him she was an adult.

He said the girl propositioned him when she and two friends got into his taxi and asked to be taken to the outskirts of Rochdale.

Mr Rauf told the court she had told him not to worry as she was over 20 years old and then he asked the two friends to leave the car while he had sex with the girl.

"I did make a big mistake and I had sex with her," he said.

Asked by Mr Khan if he gave the girl money afterwards, Mr Rauf replied: "She asked if I could help her because she needed some money for food so I gave her about £12 or £13."

He said he never had sex with the girl again although she did use his taxi on two further occasions.

Kabeer Hassan, 24; Abdul Aziz, 41; Abdul Rauf, 43; Mohammed Sajid, 35; Adil Khan, 42; Abdul Qayyum, 43; Mohammed Amin, 44; Qamar Shahzad, 29; Liaquat Shah, 41, and Hamid Safi, 22, all deny conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with children under the age of 16.

  • Mr Hassan, of Lacrosse Avenue, Oldham, and Mr Shahzad, of Tweedale Street, Rochdale, also deny rape.
  • Mr Aziz, of Armstrong Hurst Close, Rochdale, denies two counts of rape and one allegation of trafficking for sexual exploitation.
  • Mr Khan, of Oswald Street, and Mr Rauf, of Darley Road, both in Rochdale, have also pleaded not guilty to trafficking for sexual exploitation.
  • Mr Sajid, of Jepheys Street, Rochdale, denies trafficking, two counts of rape and one of sexual activity with a child.
  • Mr Amin, of Falinge Road, Rochdale, denies sexual assault.
  • Mr Shah and Mr Safi, both of Kensington Street, Rochdale, each deny two counts of rape and Mr Safi has also pleaded not guilty to trafficking.

The trial continues.

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