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A man who was at the centre of the Rochdale grooming case has been sentenced for the systematic rape of a girl over the course of 14 years.

Shabir Ahmed, born 3/1/53, of Windsor Avenue, Oldham, was earlier convicted of 30 counts of rape following a two week trial.

He was sentenced at Minshull Crown Court to 22 years imprisonment, to run concurrently with the 19 years custodial sentence he was already given following the Rochdale grooming case.

On May 8 2012 Ahmed was convicted of conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child, trafficking a child within the UK, two counts of rape, rape being aider and abetter and sexual assault.

He was also ordered to sign the sex offenders' register for life.

Ahmed systematically abused his victim over the course of 14 years. The girl then bravely came forward and spoke to the police about the abuse.

Detective Chief Superintendent Mary Doyle, head of GMP's Public Protection Division, said: "This girl has shown phenomenal bravery to come forward and tell the police and other authorities about what happened to her and I hope today⿿s sentence gives other victims of abuse the confidence to trust in the police.

"We do take all forms of abuse and exploitation extremely seriously and are continually working with our partners to ensure we improve the ways to deal with vulnerable people."

"Ahmed was in many ways the ring-leader of a loosely connected on-street grooming ring. Over the course of several years, he was the common denominator in a group of men who raped and abused girls aged between 13 and 17 at the time of the offences."

Anyone who is concerned about a child or young person should call Greater Manchester Police on 101 or 999 in emergencies. You can also call the NSPCC on 0800 800 5000. Any child or young person wanting help and advice can use the numbers above or contact Childline on 0800 1111.

Please also call the Runaway Helpline on 0808 800 70 70 if you need help. The helpline provides free 24 hour confidential support, help and advice

Telltale signs of child exploitation to look for include:

  • Disengagement from education; young people who are not in school during the day may be more at risk of sexual exploitation. Children who are becoming involved in this activity may begin to skip school or become disruptive
  • Risky behaviours; including secretive use of mobile phones and the internet
  • Repeatedly going missing
  • Unexplained gifts; children who appear to have new clothes, jewellery, mobile phones or money that cannot 'plausibly' be accounted for
  • Peers and friends; involved in sexual exploitation and with 'older' boyfriends/girlfriends
  • Drugs/alcohol; drug or alcohol abuse may leave children more vulnerable to sexual exploitation, it is also true to say that 'abusers' may use drugs and alcohol to help control children
  • Sexual health issues; a history of unprotected sex leading to STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infection) or inappropriate sexual behaviour.

On Wednesday 9 May 2012, eight other men were sentenced to a total of 77 years behind bars as part Greater Manchester Police's largest ever investigation into child sexual exploitation.

The inquiry was led by GMP's Public Protection Division, assisted by the Major Incident Team and Rochdale division, and focused on allegations that five teenage girls in Rochdale were sexually exploited over a period of time by a group of 11 men.

Officers who have carried out this investigation are still hunting Mohammed Shahzad (born 1/04/72), who has not been seen since 15 June 2011. Shazad is wanted for rape.

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