THE identity of the seventh man involved in the latest Rotherham child abuse trial can now be revealed after a reporting restriction was lifted this morning.
Mohammed Ahsen (35) pleaded guilty at the beginning of the six-week trial to three counts of indecent assault.
Co-defendants Aftab Hussain (40), Abid Saddiq (38), Masaued Malik (35), Sharaz Hussain (35) and two men who cannot be named for legal reasons were convicted yesterday on a total of 20 counts including rape, indecent assault and child abduction.
Saddiq, Malik, Aftab and Sharaz Hussain and one of the men who cannot be named, referred to as Defendant 6, will return to Sheffield Crown Court for sentencing tomorrow.
Ahsen, of HMP Wymott and formerly of Leyland, Lancashire, and Defendant 5 — who cannot be named for legal reasons — will be sentenced at a date yet to be fixed.
The men sexually abused and exploited vulnerable girls in Rotherham in the late 1990s and early 2000s
The trial heard the men preyed on the vulnerability of the schoolgirls and their “need to be loved”.
Ahsen is the first man charged by the National Crime Agency to plead guilty to all of his offences — 19 other men have been convicted after trial, including Aftab Hussain twice. Two other men, charged by South Yorkshire Police under Operation Clover, the previous investigation into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, have also pleaded guilty.
Since February 2016, there have been 38 people (36 men and two women) sentenced for historical CSE offences in Rotherham following the 2014 Jay Report. Of the 38, five men have been involved in more than one trial, bringing the total number of convictions to 43.
Reacting to the latest convictions, Rotherham Borough Council leader Cllr Chris Read said: “Yesterday’s convictions mean that 20 men have now been convicted under the NCA’s Operation Stovewood, bringing the total number of convictions for non-recent child sexual exploitation offences in Rotherham to around 40 since the publication of the Jay Report.
“The public should be in no doubt that as a partnership we will continue to seek justice for all victims and survivors of CSE in Rotherham. This latest trial once again made clear the depravity of the abuse of children, and the bravery of those now young women in standing up to their abusers.
“We pay tribute to the survivors and their families, and we will continue to do all that we can to ensure that the perpetrators of child abuse in Rotherham face the consequences of their crimes.”