A convicted Rochdale grooming gang ringleader is still living in the city where he abused children, nearly nine years after he was ordered to be deported.
Qari Abdul Rauf, 54, was part of a nine-strong gang of Asian men convicted of sex offences against vulnerable girls in 2012.
Up to 47 girls as young as 12 were plied with alcohol and drugs and gang-raped in Rochdale during a two-year reign of terror.
Rauf was jailed for six years but released in November 2014 after serving two years and six months of his sentence.
Theresa May, the then home secretary, ordered him to be sent back to Pakistan as it would be “conducive to the public good”.
Rauf and fellow gang leader Adil Khan, who got a 13-year-old girl pregnant, fought their deportation orders.
They lost a lengthy battle in 2018 but later launched another case, insisting the order breached their human rights as they both had wives and children in the UK. Their appeals were rejected.
But nearly nine years later, Rauf remains in Rochdale, where his victims are forced to live alongside him.
Although he was stripped of his British citizenship, his deportation has been held up as Pakistan – the other country where he had nationality – reportedly refused to take him back.
Both men claimed during their deportation appeals that they had renounced their Pakistani citizenships, rendering them “stateless”.
But a previous hearing concluded that it would be “relatively easy” for the pair to reclaim their Pakistani nationalities but that they were “unwilling” to do so.
Rauf lives in a smart, £140,000 three-bedroom, semi-detached home in the city where schoolchildren regularly walk past, according to MailOnline. Rauf refused to comment and initially denied that he was the convicted sex offender when approached.
The disclosure comes after a report last week found children were left at the “mercy” of grooming gangs by the police.
The 173-page report was authored by Malcolm Newsam, a childcare expert, and Gary Ridgeway, a former detective superintendent, following allegations by whistle-blowers Sara Rowbotham, a councillor, and Maggie Oliver, a former Greater Manchester Police detective.
The pair’s battle to bring abusers to justice and expose their crimes was revealed in BBC show Three Girls.
Greater Manchester Police has since apologised and said similar cases are handled differently now. Thirteen officers involved in the investigation – which led to some convictions in 2012 but was described in the report as “relatively limited” – were referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commissioner.
Seven of those officers received “managerial advice” as a result. Six officers were found to have no case to answer.
They have launched further investigations, which have so far resulted in the conviction of 42 men involved in the abuse of 13 children.
A Home Office spokesman said they could not comment on individual cases but added in a statement: “The disgraceful failures in Rochdale must never happen again.
“That’s why we have set up a dedicated task force of specialist officers to tackle grooming gangs, helping forces target those who prey on young people and bring them to justice, and will introduce mandatory reporting for adults working with young people if someone in their care is being sexually abused.
“We know we must do more to protect vulnerable children and our new Criminal Justice Bill will look to further protect victims and make sure grooming gangs and their leaders face the toughest possible sentences.”