A COURT has heard how a man interviewed over child rape allegations claimed police questioned him over the same accusations more than a decade earlier - before releasing him and apologising.
Sageer Hussain (30) is accused of four counts of rape and indecently assault against a girl of 13.
The complainant, now 27, reported Hussain to police in April 2003 shortly after the alleged incidents but he was never charged.
She has told the jury at Sheffield Crown Court that she withdrew her complaint at the time because she was being threatened.
Hussain was interviewed again in June 2015 about the allegations and told police they were “nonsense”.
Transcripts of his police interview and those of his seven co-defendants were read to the jury today.
Sageer told police he had been interviewed about the girl's allegations in 2003, adding: “Officers took DNA, took my mouth swabs, found out it was just allegations and no truth behind it, the police apologised to me and I was on my way.
“I was arrested for so many hours, I can remember it being a long time.
“There was nothing for me to hide then and (the) same again now
“If there was anything for me to hide I would not have turned up today.”
Det Con Andrew Stefanick, of South Yorkshire Police, who is the leading officer in the case, said there were no records of Sageer’s 2003 interview and due to the “passage of time” they were “unable to recover a transcript” as it appeared “the tapes have been destroyed”.
There are, however, 2003 transcripts of interviews with two other defendants, Naeem Rafiq and Masoued Malik, which were read to the jury.
Rafiq and Malik were questioned in October 2003 after the girl said she had been taken to a flat and forced to perform oral sex on five men, including Malik.
In his 2003 interview, Malik (32) admitted to having sex with the then 14-year-old girl but claims he thought she was 16.
He also told police he was aware different men were going into the bedroom where she was at the flat.
Police asked Malik what he thought of the incident knowing, now she was 14 and replied “bad”, adding: “It was up to her what she wanted to do we didn't force her.”
Malik and Rafiq were never charged and the case was dropped.
In Sageer’s 2015 interview, he said that in 2003 — when he was 17 —he was “wise and knew the difference between right and wrong”, went to the mosque every day and after that would hang around with his dad, Amir Hussain, with whom he would visit furniture and car auctions.
Sageer added: “I hung around with my dad because I got kicked out of school when I was 15 for messing about, my family weren’t happy.
“I didn’t have any close friends apart from my dad.”
The court has heard from the central complainant that cousins Sageer and his co-defendant Mohammed Whied would often hang around together.
The jury was told Whied was under Sageer’s influence and would drive him around a lot in his white Vauxhall Nova.
Sageer and Whied both said in recent police interviews that although the two were cousins, their families had fallen out after Sageer’s older brother and co-defendant Basharat Hussain divorced Whied’s sister in 2005 and they did not speak.
Sageer said he had never been down Boots alleyway or raped the complainant there, adding: “It's a load of rubbish, I wouldn't do such a revolting thing like that.
He added: “She made allegations back then, I got took in by police, they did everything.
“At the end they apologised, they went: ‘Mr Hussain we are sorry for all this’.
“Many years down the line I’ve got children, got my other half, we are happy together and all this has come up and I've got it all hanging over me.
“If I had something to hide back then I would have got punished then by the authorities.”
He added: “This is torture.”
Sageer told police because of this big “hoo-ha about Rotherham child sexual exploitation”, “commissioners coming in, South Yorkshire Police officers being sacked” and him appearing on Channel 4 News “on account of my brother” people knew what he looked like and wanted compensation.
The police officer told Sageer though that this allegation was made in 2003 and he replied that the complainant probably “had it in for me”.
Ishtiaq Khaliq - said to be known as Blinky or Ishy - was interviewed seven times between May 2015 to May 2016.
He gave a no comment interview when questioned about allegations from two women.
Khaliq told police there were tens of people he knew with the nickname Ishy and she was probably mistaken when she identified him in a parade.
When he was questioned about contacting the complainant on Facebook with a thumbs-up emoji, he said he had done it by accident.
He denied knowing the third complainant and that she probably knew personal information about him from Facebook.
Khaliq said he had never been called Blinky but football friends would refer to him as Blinko who was a “Dutch football player” he used to play like.
Waleed Ali remained silent throughout questioning but his solicitor read a prepared statement and denied the two charges.
Asif Ali told police: “I can’t believe such a false allegation has been made.”.
He then responded with no comment to every further question.
Mohammed Whied denied his nickname was Whiddy and said he was known as Woody.
He denied associating with Sageer when he was younger but admitted he owned a Nova.
Basharat denied knowing the girl but admitted to having a blue Subaru where the girl alleges she was indecently assaulted.
Eight men deny 19 charges between them. The trial continues.
We want to continue holding local authorities to account, attending court and council meetings, as well as providing breaking news, competitions and offers – but it costs money. Online advertising does not cover costs, therefore we feel the need to ask for your help in ensuring we can provide the best possible coverage, online and in our printed products.
For as little as £1, you can support the Rotherham Advertiser – and it only takes a minute.
Click here to support local news.