Hearing evidence during the Rotherham abuse trial, a jury at Sheffield Crown Court has been told that a policeman and a councillor played their part in a deal for one of the grooming gang defendants to hand over a missing teenage girl in exchange for not facing prosecution.
The officer and a man described by one the alleged grooming gang victims as “a councillor of Rotherham” were both involved in an alleged agreement for Arshid ‘Ash’ Hussain, 40, to hand over a teenange victim rather than face arrest for kidnapping, reports the Sheffield Telegraph.
The girl in question, known at trial as Girl J, is now 30 years old, but when she was in her early teens she would regularly go missing from home to be with Mr. Hussain.
Via video evidence she said that on one such occasion he was contacted by people warning him he risked being arrested for kidnapping her. She recalled:
“I remember being in the car with Ash and everybody was ringing, there was both his brothers, there was Akhtar which is some kind of relative.
“They was basically saying, ‘You need to get her back home sharpish’.
“I remember him being stood outside a phone box and he was on the phone to PC Ali.”
Girl J explained that PC Ali was someone Mr. Hussain had extensive involvement with and with whom he “got on really well”. After the warning call Mr. Hussain returned to his car to tell her she had to go back.
She said she was taken to a petrol station where she remembered there being “quite a lot of police officers” as well as a man she named Akhtar who she believed drove her home with another man. Pressed as to who Akhtar was, she replied:
“He’s a councillor of Rotherham. He’s some kind of relative to Ash. Basically they said to me if he dropped me off at the petrol station he wouldn’t be prosecuted. Otherwise I think they was looking at charging with like kidnapping or something.”
This is not the only time allegations of police involvement in Girl J’s treatment at the hands of the grooming gang have come to light. Another time she ran away from home a police officer gave Mr. Hussain “the heads up” people were looking for her.
Girl J told the court that she had twice fallen pregnant by Mr. Hussain, first as a 14-year-old when he persuaded her to have an abortion by saying he would go to prison if the baby was born. On the second occasion, when she was 15, she gave birth. Mr. Hussain today confirmed that baby was indeed his.
Mr. Hussain’s barrister, Stephen Uttley, said that at their first meeting in a nightclub Girl J told his client she was 18. She said that following a friend’s advice she first told him she was 16, but then told him she was 14 before any sexual activity took place, explaining in evidence:
“I were 14 and didn’t even look 14, I looked 12.”
Arshid Hussain and his fellow defendants Basharat Hussain, Karen MacGregor, Qurban Ali, Majid Bostan, Sajid Bostan and Shelley Davies all deny their part in historic child sexual exploitation crimes.
The trial continues.