A child sex offender who sexually exploited an underage girl in Rochdale has been returned to the UK to serve a 19-year jail sentence after fleeing to Pakistan halfway through his trial.
Choudhry Ikhalaq Hussain, 42, was extradited on Tuesday after being arrested in January last year in the province of Punjab, Greater Manchester police (GMP) said.
He was one of 10 men sentenced in 2016 for committing sexual offences against a teenage girl in Rochdale, but he fled the UK while on bail.
Hussain was given permission to leave his trial by the judge after claiming he wanted to go to a relative’s funeral in the UK but instead left for Pakistan.
He was sentenced in his absence to 19 years imprisonment in April 2016 after being found guilty of three counts of sexual activity with a child, two counts of rape and one count of conspiracy to rape.
Hussain was caught as part of Operation Doublet, a large scale police inquiry into historical child sexual exploitation between 2003 and 2013, predominantly in the Rochdale area of Greater Manchester.
The case revolved around a girl who walked into a police station shortly after the widely covered 2012 convictions of nine Asian defendants for grooming white girls for sex in the town.
The extremely vulnerable young woman told officers she had been raped by 10 men, and had been repeatedly sexually groomed by a large number of men from the age of 14.
GMP – with assistance from national and international partners including the National Crime Agency, the Foreign Office, the British high commission in Pakistan and the Pakistani authorities – have been pursuing Hussain ever since he fled the UK.
Speaking after the extradition, DS Jamie Daniels, senior investigating officer for Operation Doublet, said: “Hussain is a sexual predator who mistakenly thought he could flee to another country to live the good life, while his victim was forced to deal with the consequences of his vile actions and robbed of justice. His apprehension demonstrates that when it comes to pursuing perpetrators of child sexual exploitation, we will hunt them across the globe if necessary.”
He paid tribute to the bravery of Hussain’s victim, who he said was subjected to “the most horrific abuse”.
Dr Christian Turner, from the British high commission in Islamabad, said: “This latest example of close cooperation between the UK’s and Pakistan’s law enforcement agencies shows there is no escape for those who flee from the law, even across international boundaries. Choudhry Ikhalaq Hussain will finally face jail for his terrible crimes.”