‘I did not commit a big crime’ says Rochdale child rapist fighting deportation

A member of the Rochdale gang who raped and groomed girls as young as 13 has said he should not be deported because he had not committed “that big a crime”.

Adil Khan, 51, and fellow gang member, Qari Rauf, 52, are fighting deportation by the Home Office, where they would be sent to Pakistan following convictions for serious sexual offences against young girls.

Khan, speaking through a translator, told an immigration tribunal hearing on Tuesday: "We are not that big a criminal. "We have not committed that big a crime. I’m innocent. I’m not committing any crime. The journalists made us out to be big criminals."

Khan, Rauf, and two other men were among nine Asian men convicted of sex offences in the northern town against vulnerable girls in 2012.

From early 2008 girls as young as 12 were groomed with alcohol and drugs and gang-raped in the rooms above kebab shops. Police said that as many as 47 girls were groomed as part of the gang’s activities.

Khan was sentenced to eight years in 2012 after being convicted of trafficking a child for sexual exploitation, but was released on licence four years later.

He also fathered a child with one of his victims, who was 13 years old. The two men were four of the gang with dual UK-Pakistani citizenship, and could therefore be stripped of their citizenship and deported, after Theresa May ruled it would be “conducive to the public good” for the men to leave the UK.

Despite losing their appeal in 2018, neither Khan nor Rauf have been deported, leading to outcries from the public after they have been seen in Rochdale.

One victim of Khan’s reported seeing him in Asda in the town centre last year, saying at the time: “I’ve never been so scared in all my life. I feel like my heart just stopped beating."

Cathryn McGahey QC, representing the Home Office, told the tribunal: "The facts supporting deprivation are overwhelming."

Khan’s reasons for appealing his deportation came on the grounds of his right to a private and family life under the European Convention on Human Rights, and that he would be “stateless” after denouncing his Pakistani nationality in 2018.

A further deportation hearing involving both Khan and Rauf is scheduled for July 1. A Home Office spokesperson said: “Child Sexual Exploitation is an abhorrent crime and has no place in our society – we are determined to do all we can to tackle it.

“The Home Secretary has been clear that what happened in places such as Rochdale remains one of the biggest stains on our country’s conscience.

“The cases of the foreign national offenders involved in these crimes have recently been reviewed at the request of the Home Secretary and we intend to update the victims through the proper channels when we can.”

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