Victim of Rochdale grooming gang urges Priti Patel to deport abusers Representational image (iStock)
A victim of the Rochdale grooming gang has urged Priti Patel to deport abusers out of Britain as the ringleader was pictured shopping in the town.
The main victim has said that it was a disgrace the government had failed to act and called for an explanation from the home secretary, reported The Daily Mail.
Her remarks came after Abdul Rauf, 51, who served six years in jail for trafficking and sex with girl, 15, was pictured buying food and drinks in Rochdale, where he and other gang members groomed and sexually abused young girls, the report added.
When the married father-of-five was released on licence in 2014 he was told he faced deportation to Pakistan because he holds a dual-nationality passport.
But, Rauf remains free to move around Rochdale – one of three former taxi drivers still fighting efforts to throw them out of the country, The Daily Mail report added.
Campaigners warn the continuing failure to deport them would continue to blight the lives of the girls, now in their twenties and thirties.
“We were told they would be kicked out of the country,” the victim told the Sun.
“Knowing that had been done would have been a huge help for all of us in trying to rebuild our lives. But instead we’re still haunted by the paedophiles who raped and trafficked us. Every day we run the risk of bumping into them.”
Nazir Afzal, who as Chief Crown Prosecutor for North West England was instrumental to bringing the men to justice, said there could be ‘no reasonable excuse’ for the continuing failure to throw the trio out of the country.
Rauf was part of a nine-strong grooming gang convicted for targeting 47 girls as young as 13 between 2005 and 2008.
According to reports, they plied the girls with drugs and alcohol and passed them around for sex. The youngsters were assaulted and raped by as many as five men, one after the other, often multiple times.
The trial judge condemned the gang for their ‘callous, vicious and violent’ attacks motivated by ‘lust and greed’. Their crimes were dramatised in the BBC‘s Bafta-winning Three Girls.
After he was jailed in 2012, then home secretary Theresa May ordered that Rauf be stripped of his citizenship, along with fellow abusers Abdul Aziz, now 50, and Adil Khan, 51.
All three are dual nationals, having moved to the UK from Pakistan but gaining British citizenship due to their time in the country. They appealed on the grounds that their family life would be harmed, but in 2018 the plea was rejected.
In 2019 the Mail discovered Rauf living close to where some of the attacks took place.
Only one of the original gang, all but one of them of British-Pakistani origin, is thought to remain behind bars – ringleader Shabir Ahmed, 68, The Daily Mail report said.
As per rule, any foreign criminal sentenced to more than 12 months in prison is liable for automatic deportation. However, guidelines say those who have finished their jail terms should be detained only if removing them is a realistic prospect.
A Home Office spokesman said: “The cases of the foreign national offenders involved in these crimes have recently been reviewed at the request of the home secretary.”