Rotherham child abuse gang leader sentenced for further rape of young girl

The ringleader of a gang that sexually exploited children in Rotherham has been sentenced again, after a new victim came forward.

Mohammed Imran Ali Akhtar, 42, was charged as part of Operation Stovewood, a series of investigations carried out after a huge scale of child sexual exploitation was identified in the South Yorkshire town.

Warning: This story contains descriptions some readers may find distressing.

He was first jailed for 23 years in 2018 over sexual offenses committed against three vulnerable victims between 1998 and 2005.

On Friday, Akhtar was sentenced again for the sexual abuse of a victim between 2001 and 2003. The victim was aged 13 to 14 at the time.

In October, he pleaded guilty to two counts of rape and two counts of indecent assault – one of each referring to multiple incidents in the two-year period.

He was sentenced to 12 years in prison, running concurrently with his existing sentence.

‘Makes her feel sick’

Sheffield Crown Court heard the victim – who was a “very vulnerable girl living in difficult circumstances” at the time of the offenses – came forward after Akhtar’s 2018 conviction was reported in the news.

Judge Sarah Wright said Akhtar targeted the child in Rotherham. The court heard he called her to his car and gave her drugs and alcohol.

The girl had started going missing and staying away from her home.

Judge Wright told the court the girl engaged in sexual activity with him four or five times a week for about a year in his car and an apparently empty house in Rotherham.

She said on one occasion, Akhtar and another man had intimidated the girl and another “clearly distressed and unwilling” victim into sexual activity.

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The court also heard the victim told police in her interview that “when she walks down the street and sees someone that vaguely resembles the defendant, it makes her feel sick.”

Michael Collins, mitigating, said Akhtar carried out the offenses before he married and had a child. He added Akhtar had mental health difficulties which were “making incarceration harder.”

During sentencing, Judge Wright said: “I commend the bravery of the victim in coming forward after all this time.

“Her childhood and adolescence can never be reclaimed, the effect of (Akhtar’s) offending on her cannot be overestimated.”