Nazir Ahmed, the former Labour peer, has been found guilty of child sex offences dating back almost 50 years.
The 64-year-old, who was formerly Lord Ahmed of Rotherham, was convicted of twice attempting to rape a young girl and also a count of buggery against a young boy.
Mohammed Tariq, 65, and Mohammed Faroq, 71 – Ahmed’s two older brothers, who were both found unfit to plead or take part in the trial – were also found to have committed indecent assaults.
Sheffield Crown Court heard how Ahmed’s female victim went to police in 2016 to make allegations dating back to the early Seventies, when he was aged about 16 or 17.
During the trial, the jury was played a recording of a telephone call between her and the male victim when they both discussed the abuse.
Victim accounts ‘credible and true’
Tom Little QC, prosecuting, told the jury that the call was prompted by the man contacting the woman by email saying: “I have evidence against that paedophile.”
The judge, Mr Justice Lavender, will determine on Wednesday afternoon when Ahmed will be sentenced.
Rosemary Ainslie, the head of the CPS Special Crime Division, said: “We asked the jury to dispassionately consider the evidence against each of these men and decide if they could be sure that our prosecution had proved they committed these crimes.
“By these verdicts, the jury has clearly decided that no matter the delay between the offences and the trial, and the defences raised, they could be sure that the accounts of the victims were credible and true.
“One of these defendants held a position of power, influence and responsibility for some time in the House of Lords. But this case clearly illustrates that where there is sufficient evidence, even in challenging cases, the CPS will bring a prosecution, put evidence before a jury and see rightful convictions.”
Political career blighted by scandals
Ahmed’s conviction on charges of historic child sex abuse marks the downfall of a controversial figure who was dogged by scandal throughout his political career and personal life.
Born in Kashmir, the disputed area of Pakistan in 1957, he came to the UK with his parents aged 12, not speaking a word of English, and settled in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.
Politically ambitious, he joined the Labour Party at 18 and studied public administration at Sheffield Polytechnic.
He became a Labour councillor in Rotherham in 1990 and was made chairman of the South Yorkshire Labour Party three years later.
A passionate advocate of British Pakistani affairs, he founded the British Muslim Councillor’s Forum and also became a magistrate.
In 1998, he was created a life peer, Baron Ahmed of Rotherham, and often used the platform to defend British Muslims.
He campaigned against forced marriage and criticised the wearing of the face veil by some British Muslim women.
However, his outspoken views on sensitive issues and allegations of anti-Semitism often brought him into conflict with his own colleagues and party, and sometimes tainted his reputation in Parliament.
Following the 9/11 attacks, Ahmed claimed his phones had been tapped by the British Government because of his opposition to the war in Afghanistan.
Ahmed regularly attacked Labour over its foreign policy and was highly critical when Sir Tony Blair knighted writer Salman Rushdie, the author of The Satanic Verses, which he claimed was deeply offensive to Islam.
The beginning of the end
But away from politics, it was his personal life where things dramatically unravelled.
On Christmas Day 2007, he was involved in a fatal crash on the M1 in South Yorkshire for which he was eventually jailed for 12 weeks.
He was convicted of dangerous driving after a court heard how he had been using his mobile phone to send text messages just before he hit a 28-year-old man who had got out of his car following a crash.
Ahmed was subsequently freed from jail after the Court of Appeal said the original sentence should have been suspended.
However, in 2013 he was suspended from Labour after giving an interview to a Pakistani media outlet in which he blamed his conviction on a “Jewish conspiracy”.
He suggested he had been targeted because he had visited Gaza to lend his support to the Palestinians.
Ed Miliband, the Labour leader at the time, described the comments as “disgraceful” and ordered an investigation.
Ahmed later apologised for the comments and said they were “completely wrong” and “unacceptable” and he subsequently resigned from the Labour Party.
Sexual impropriety claims
In February 2019, he was accused of sexual impropriety after a woman came forward to allege that he had exploited her vulnerability to pursue a relationship with her.
The woman, who was being treated for anxiety and depression, approached the peer believing he might be able to help her get the Metropolitan Police to investigate a faith healer who she believed was exploiting women.
However, she later claimed the married father-of-three had used his position to pursue a sexual relationship with her before suddenly breaking off all contact.
Following an investigation into the matter, the Commissioner for Standards concluded: “I find that Lord Ahmed exploited [the woman] emotionally and sexually even though he knew she was receiving treatment for anxiety and depression. This exacerbates the seriousness of his breaches of the Code.”