Lord Ahmed: Former peer guilty of child sex offences

Lord Ahmed

Former Labour peer Lord Ahmed of Rotherham has been found guilty of child sex offences following a trial in Sheffield.

The former Labour peer has been found guilty of sexual offences against two children in the 1970s.

Lord Ahmed of Rotherham was convicted of a serious sexual assault against a boy and the attempted rape of a young girl.

Sheffield Crown Court heard the repeated sexual abuse happened in Rotherham when he was a teenager.

Lord Ahmed of Rotherham, stood trial in Sheffield for offences dating back more than 40 years.

A woman told jurors that Ahmed attempted to rape her in the early 1970s, when the defendant was about 16 or 17 years old but she was much younger.

The former politician was also found guilty of a serious sexual assault against a boy under 11, also in the early 1970s.

The jury was played a recording of a telephone call between the two complainants, made by the woman after she went to the police in 2016.

Tom Little QC, prosecuting, told the jury that the call was prompted by the man contacting the woman by email saying: “I have evidence against that paedophile.”

Ahmed, who denied all the charges, was found guilty of two counts of attempted rape and one of buggery.

The former Labour peer resigned from the House of Lords in November 2020 after reading the contents of a conduct committee report which found he sexually assaulted a vulnerable woman who sought his help.

Ahmed, a former member of the House of Lords, was created a life peer in 1998 on the recommendation of the then Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The report made him the first peer to be recommended for expulsion but he resigned before this could be implemented.

During the trial, prosecutor Tom Little QC told the court Lord Ahmed had attempted to rape the girl in the early 1970s, when the defendant was aged 16 or 17 but she was much younger.

The attack on the boy, who was aged under 11 at the time, also happened during the same period.

Mr Little said Lord Ahmed claimed the allegations were a “malicious fiction” but a phone recording of a 2016 conversation between the two victims showed they were not “made-up or concocted”.

The woman’s call was prompted by an email from the male victim saying: “I have evidence against that paedophile,” the jury previously heard.

Lord Ahmed
Image caption, He was convicted of two counts of attempting to rape a girl and a serious sexual assault against a boy

Lord Ahmed was charged along with his two older brothers, Mohammed Farouq, 71, and Mohammed Tariq, 65, but both were deemed unfit to stand trial.

Both had faced charges of indecent assault against the same boy abused by Lord Ahmed.

Though the men did not face a criminal trial, jurors concluded that they did commit the alleged acts after hearing evidence in the case.

The inquiry into his behaviour followed a BBC Newsnight investigation.

Lord Ahmed, who was convicted following a retrial.

The conviction of Ahmed follows a tortuous prosecution, which included the halting of a previous trial by a judge who bemoaned the antiquity of the allegations.

But Judge Jeremy Richardson QC said his decision to stop the original trial in March was due to failings in disclosing evidence that had “sabotaged” the proceedings rather than his misgiving over the length of time that had elapsed.

Sheffield Crown Court
Image caption, The Crown Prosecution Service said the three men will be sentenced at a later date

Rosemary Ainslie, head of the Crown Prosecution Service’s special crime division, said: “By these verdicts, the jury has clearly decided that no matter the delay between the offences and the trial, and the defences raised, they could be sure that the accounts of the victims were credible and true.

“One of these defendants held a position of power, influence and responsibility for some time in the House of Lords but this case clearly illustrates that where there is sufficient evidence, even in challenging cases, the CPS will bring a prosecution, put evidence before a jury and see rightful convictions.”

Detective Constable Jo Smithson, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “This has been a lengthy and complex investigation and trial, and I would like to thank both victims for their patience and support throughout.

“Abuse of this nature stays with victims for a lifetime and every victim has a right to be heard. I am pleased we were able to present our case to a jury and that justice has been done today.

“My only hope is that this now offers some level of closure for both victims. It must have been an incredibly difficult and brave decision to come forward and speak out after so many years, and I hope it offers assurance to other victims that we do listen and we will do everything we can in our pursuit of offenders.”

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