'Grooming is a particular problem in Asian communities'

Date published: 08 June 2012

Two Asian men - Mahfuzur Rahman and Abdul Hannan - have been convicted of raping or sexually assaulting four young white women after they picked them up in and got them drunk.

The case of Rahman, 25, and Hannan, 36, has raised concerns that their victims, all from Rochdale, were failed by police and prosecutors when they first reported they had been attacked.

Two of the four victims gave videotaped interviews, in 2009 and 2010 respectively, in which they described being raped by Rahman but criminal investigations were abandoned, leaving the rapist free to strike again.

Bolton Crown Court heard that Rahman went on to prey on a 17-year-old girl living in a children’s home, who he picked up in his car and sexually assaulted in a flat after giving her vodka.

In June 2010 a 19-year-old woman was taken to a flat in Rochdale where she was plied with vodka before Rahman raped her while she pleaded for him to stop.

In September last year, a 20-year-old woman was driven around Rochdale by Rahman and two other men, who got her drunk on vodka before she was raped at a flat by Hannan.

When officers from Greater Manchester Police arrested and cautioned Rahman on suspicion of rape last September, he replied: “Rape? Which one?”

Rahman was found guilty on two counts of rape and one of sexual assault while Hannan was convicted of rape. Both men will be sentenced on 13 July.

Greater Manchester Police said that it was referring “the decisions made in the earlier investigations” to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Nazir Afzal, Chief Crown Prosecutor for North West England, said the status of women among some Asian men led to cases of white girls being sexually abused.

Afzal said it should not pass unnoticed "that the perpetrators were Asian and the victims were not".

"Cultural baggage and the status of women among some men in these communities contributes to their disrespect for the rights of women," The Telegraph quoted Afzal, as saying.

"Exploitation happens in every community but these cases demonstrate that group grooming is a particular problem in Asian communities. I will not turn a blind eye to crimes in any community," he added.

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