One of the leaders of the Rochdale sex-grooming gang has been accused of stamping on the face of another prisoner because he slammed terrorists after the Islamic State Brussels attacks.
Shabir Ahmed is serving 22 years after being described as the ‘ringleader’ of a Muslim grooming gang and featured as ‘Daddy’ in the BBC drama Three Girls about the scandal.
Mr. Ahmed, 64, allegedly attacked a 71-year-old fellow inmate at Wakefield prison who had suggested “terrorists should be eradicated” on the day news broke of a terror attack in Belgium, a jury was told.
According to the Manchester Evening News, the defendant allegedly confronted the elderly inmate, threatened to kill him “if you slag off Muslims again”, and later knocked him to the ground and stamped on his head.
Nick Adlington, for the prosecution, told the jury the reason Mr. Ahmed was in jail “does not or should not concern you for the purposes of deciding this case”.
He described how the alleged victim, James Palmer, had been discussing the Brussels attacks on the 22nd of March, before suggesting that “terrorists should be killed”.
Mr. Ahmed later came to the cell of the defendant and punched him in the face, causing him to fall to the ground, the jurors were told. Two eyewitnesses claim to have seen Mr. Ahmed raise his right foot and stamp on Mr. Palmer’s head “a number of times”.
Being questioned by John Kennerley, for Ahmed, Mr. Palmer strenuously denied talking about eradicating Muslims rather than terrorists. The defendant was a “troublemaker” who was “putting a twist on it”, he said.
“There’s no denying he took umbrage. I never mentioned Muslims. I said bombers, not Muslims. I said Muslims don’t plant bombs, do they? And he agreed. That still stands by the way,” said Mr. Palmer, who said he had many Muslim friends.
Mr. Ahmed denies one charge of assault and occasioning actual bodily harm. The trial continues.
He had previously been convicted of two counts of rape, one sexual assault, trafficking, and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child. His gang of nine were jailed for a total of 77 years.
Shortly after, in June 2012, a jury also found him guilty of 30 counts of rape against an Asian girl and he was jailed for 22 years – to run alongside his 19-year sentence, so effectively adding three years to his prison term.
Only two of the nine men convicted following the Rochdale child grooming scandal remain in prison, and four are using taxpayers’ money to fight deportation to Pakistan.
In 2016, Mr. Ahmed lost an appeal against his possible deportation in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), during which he claimed his convictions were a conspiracy by police and members of the jury to “scapegoat” Muslims.