A SIXTH member of a grooming gang who sexually abused girls in Rotherham in the late 90s and early 00s can now be named after he pleaded guilty today (Monday) to intimidating witnesses.
Waseem Khaliq (35), formerly of Eldon Street, Sheffield, was jailed for ten years last month after being convicted of child abduction and indecent assault following a six-week trial.
He was one of five men who were sentenced to a total of 63 years at Sheffield Crown Court for 20 child sexual exploitation offences as part of the National Crime Agency's Operation Stovewood investigation into historic abuse.
Convicted murderer Mohammed Ahsen (35) pleaded guilty at the start of the trial to three counts of indecent assault and is due to be sentenced at a date yet to be fixed.
At the outset of the trial, Judge Michael Slater placed a reporting restriction on Khaliq's identity after defence counsel argued that reporting his involvement in the trial could prejudice a jury involved in his second trial.
But today, Khaliq admitted at Sheffield Crown Court to three counts of witness intimidation and had a further 45 months added onto his sentence. A further charge of perverting the course of justice was ordered to lie on file.
The court heard that after Khaliq had been charged by the NCA he sent Facebook friend requests to relatives of one of his victims and, during his trial, while he was in custody he threatened two National Crime Agency officers.
Khaliq set up a fake Facebook account under the name Andros Simpson and claimed to be an investigative journalist looking into what was happening in Rotherham.
He then used the account to make a series of allegations about one of his victims, claiming she was lying and had only agreed to give evidence after the NCA offered her cash and a new house. He also used the account to contact a number of associates of the victim.
The NCA contacted Facebook and had the account closed down, but similar posts continued to be made on other Facebook and Twitter accounts. These ceased when Khaliq was remanded into custody in March 2019.
Khaliq also made a phone call from prison to the National Crime Agency control centre threatening two of the investigating officers. He said he knew where one of them lived, was close to finding out the address of the other, and hoped they died of cancer or AIDS.
The NCA has released an audio clip of one of these phone calls, listen below.
Speaking after the sentencing, NCA senior investigating officer Phillip Marshall said: “Through his vindictive campaign of social media trolling Khaliq only compounded the suffering his victims had already gone through.
“They showed extreme bravery in coming forward and continuing to give evidence despite this, and I once again pay tribute to them.
“Our investigation has been victim focused throughout, and this conviction demonstrates that we will not tolerate attempts to intimidate victims or our officers who work with them.”
Last month, Khaliq was convicted of indecetly assaulting a girl between 2000 and 2001 at Rotherham Central station.
He was also found guilty of abducting two schoolgirls in 2002, with co-defendant Abid Saddiq (38), of Walter Street, Masbrough, who was jailed for 20 years.
Judge Slater said at the conclusion of his first trial: "I take the view that you knew full well what you were doing at the time, and why you were doing it."
A reporting restriction remains in place for another man convicted of two counts of indecent assault.