The Home Office is under pressure to explain why members of the Rochdale grooming gang who preyed on girls as young as 12 have not been deported despite them losing a £1 million taxpayer-funded legal action against their removal. As the only groomers to have dual UK-Pakistani citizenship, they were at risk of being deported back to Pakistan – but none of the four appear to have been deported or be facing deportation.
The four including the ringleader of the gang Shabir Ahmed, 66, received more than £1 million in legal aid in an unsuccessful attempt to fight deportation after they were convicted of serious sex offences against the girls.
However, despite appeal court judges rejecting their claims and ruling they could be stripped of their citizenship and deported, they are still in the UK and apparently not facing removal almost a decade after the scandal.
Ahmed, 66, is serving a 22-year jail term for rape in Leeds prison but Qari Abdul Rauf, 50, is back living at his Rochdale home address and has a night-time driving job. Abdul Aziz, 48, has also been seen in the town, locals say. The whereabouts of Adil Khan, 49, are not known.
Theresa May ruled when she was Home Secretary in 2016 that it would be "conducive to the public good" to deprive the four of the right to remain in the UK. The Home Office, however, declined to say what, if any action was being taken to deport the men following the appeal court judgement. “We do not routinely comment on individual cases,” said a Home Office spokesman.
Maggie Oliver, the detective who resigned from Greater Manchester Police and turned whistle-blower over the botched Rochdale inquiry, said: “It doesn’t surprise me they won’t be straight with their answers after all this time because they don’t want a public backlash.
“Ultimately the truth does have a way of coming out. The process most of these girls have been through has led them to expect very, very little from the authorities.
“They expect nothing and are not disappointed. They have been failed again and again and again.
“They do see some of these men around Rochdale on a fairly regular basis. It is really distressing for them, there’s nothing that the girls can do. It’s actually disgraceful.”
Lawyers said it is probable the four will invoke the European Convention on Human Rights to argue their right to a family life would be impinged if they were removed from the UK.
Ms Oliver added: “Once you commit these horrific offences your human rights should come second. It makes me really angry and it’s really upsetting whey you think what they have done that they even have any rights.”