CSE trial: Former detective gives evidence about 2002 rape claims

Salah Ahmed El-HakamSalah Ahmed El-Hakam
Salah Ahmed El-Hakam
A RETIRED detective who investigated allegations of rape and abduction made 16 years ago by a schoolgirl has given evidence at the trial of two men who are now charged with offences against her. 

Salah Ahmed El-Hakam and a defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, are among eight men on trial at Sheffield Crown Court in relation to a total of 28 offences against five girls.

El-Hakam (39), of Tudor Close, Sheffield, is charged with raping the girl, now aged 31, between 2000 and 2002 when she was aged between 13 and 15. The prosecution say El-Hakam was known as Dean.

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The 37-year-old unnamed defendant is charged with three counts of rape against the then-15-year-old girl in 2002 and abduction, when it is alleged he drove her to Ulley Country Park and assaulted her.

Giving evidence on Wednesday, Stefano Gilardoni said he had served with the police between 1993 and 2015. 

He was mainly based at Rotherham Police station and, in 1999, became a detective constable.

Mr Gilardoni investigated complaints made by the girl in 2002 when she was 15 about the unnamed defendant in which she said she had been abducted, assaulted and raped. 

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He said he could not recall the investigation due to the passage of time.

Prosecutor Ms Michelle Colborne asked: “As you reviewed the file from 2002, did it trigger any recollection for you?”

He answered: “Not of that instance, no. My recollection now is the papers I have seen, not of the event.”

Ms Colborne asked the former officer to read a hand-written note he had made during the 2002 investigation.

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Mr Gilardoni said the note was “probably from an interview with the victim”.

His note gave a description of a man, which read “Asian about 18 or 19, 5ft 10ins, medium, short spiky black, Liverpool/Asian”.

Ms Colborne said: “Then your note refers to, is the name Dean?”

He replied: “Yes. It reads Asian, about 19 or 18, 5ft...not sure if that reads 6ins or 4ins, dark curtain-style hair.”

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The hand-written note also appeared to have the words; “vodka, crying, Dean, car stopped, crying is beaten, mouth, Dean talking about other girlfriends”.

The officer had also written down several mobile telephone numbers.

Mr Gilardoni said he had no memory of being involved in the interview of the suspect.

Miss Amanda Denton, for the unnamed defendant, showed the officer another document he had filed during his investigation, known as a South Yorkshire Police daily text report, which had come from intelligence.

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The 2003 file from a PC Baron said the girl “has a boyfriend called Dean who is from Liverpool” and a possible address was given.

The intelligence source and the importance of the content were both rated as the highest category.

Mr Ian Howard, defence counsel for El-Hakam, said that on May 18, 2003, the detective constable had been asked by detective inspector Deakin to make enquiries about Dean as a possible witness.

Mr Howard said he had made enquires with Merseyside Police.

Judge Sarah Wright asked: “Do you remember doing that?”

Mr Gilardoni replied: “No.”

Following the alleged Ulley incident, the girl was interviewed on December 30, 2002, after a 999 call was made at 1.52am on December 29. 

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Mr Gilardoni arrested the unnamed defendant on December 31. 

The court heard that the tape of the interview no longer existed.

Mr Gilardoni confirmed he had been working in the parameters of the alleged Ulley offence taking place between 11pm on December 28, 2002, and 1.50am the next day.

Miss Denton said the unnamed defendant had denied abduction, assault and rape in the interview, answered all questions and given details of his movements.

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The man told police he had been in the Zone Nightclub and a report written by Mr Gilardoni said CCTV had shown the man in the club, but the footage was not available now.

The report said the defendant had been seen on CCTV between 11pm and 1.50am and in May, 2004 police concluded there was insufficient evidence and the defendant was released without charge.

Re-examining the witness, Ms Colborne established that the parameters of the investigation being between 11pm to 1.50am could have come from a number of sources, like when the 999 call was made.

Ms Colborne said the defendant had “on the face of it” given an alibi that he was in a nightclub with two other people, who the police also interviewed.

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She asked: “And so when you were asked about viewing the CCTV within at the very least checking from 11pm to 1.50am, these are the parameters of the investigation as opposed to the actual time the defendant said he was there, can you assist with that?”

He replied: “I can’t answer.”

Ms Colborne said: “Can you look at the report and see if it assists you at all at what time the defendant said he was in the nightclub or left it.”

He replied: “From what I have seen while in the (witness) box, there’s a paragraph on statement dated April 25.”

Ms Colborne said: “Does it say: ‘CCTV has been checked at Zone nightclub and this corroborates the presence at the nightclub’, but does it give any times at all?”

Mr Gilardoni replied: “Not in this sentence, no.”

The witness also said he “didn’t know” if DNA had been checked against the defendant and the girl.

The men deny all the offences. The trial continues.


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