Police 'arrested wrong man in Rotherham child abuse investigation' - court

Clifton Park in Rotherham, where an alleged rape took place in 2003

Clifton Park in Rotherham, where an alleged rape took place in 2003

Police initially arrested the wrong man as part of an investigation into historic Rotherham child sexual exploitation offences due to a mix-up with names, a court heard.

The key witness in the case against eight men accused of sexually abusing three teenage girls in the town between 1999 and 2003 said she had rung police to tell them they had arrested the wrong man in relation to one of her allegations.

Asif Ali, now aged 30 and of Clough Road, Rotherham, is alleged to have raped the now-adult woman in Clifton Park in 2003 when she was aged 13.

Charles Conway, representing Ali, told Sheffield Crown Court that in 2013 the woman had told police the man involved in the incident was called 'Ali' and in 2014 did a further interview in which she said he was known as Majid Ali. He said that led to the arrest of another man called Majid Ali.

The woman said Asif Ali had 'always introduced himself as Ali' and was also known as Majid Ali.

But she said she clarified to the police the person they had arrested was not the same man she was alleging had raped her.

"I phoned them and said you have arrested the wrong man because I know who I am on about," she said.

She said she later picked Asif Ali out in an identification parade as one of her abusers.

Mr Conway asked how she came to know his name was Asif Ali.

She said: "There was a few people I knew who actually knew Asif Ali, I also knew he was a taxi driver.

"As I was having conversations with people from the Rotherham area, that is how I got to know his real name was Asif."

She added: "It doesn't change what your client Asif Ali did to me. It was no-one else, it was him."

Mr Conway said the man involved in the incident the complainant had described was not his client.

She said: "It was with Asif Ali."

The woman said she had known at the time of the incident in March or April 2003 that Asif Ali had been married to the sister of his co-defendant and cousin Sageer Hussain.

Mr Conway said his client only married Sageer's sister in June 2003.

The woman said she had been given the impression at the time that the marriage had already taken place.

She said: "He obviously married her and was planning on marrying her. I was under the impression he was married to her - clearly he wasn't married to her."

Ali denies one count of rape.

Sageer Hussain, 30, of Clough Road, Rotherham, denies four rapes and one indecent assault.

Mohammed Whied, 32, of Psalters Lane, Rotherham, denies one count of aiding and abetting rape.

Ishtiaq Khaliq, 33, of Carlisle Street, Rotherham, denies one rape and three indecent assaults.

Waleed Ali, 34, of Canklow Road, Rotherham, denies one rape and one indecent assault.

Masoued Malik, 32, of Bridgewater Way, Rotherham, denies one rape, one count of conspiracy to commit indecent assault and one of false imprisonment.

Basharat Hussain, 40, from Goole, denies one indecent assault.

Naeem Rafiq, 33, of Clarenden Road, Rotherham, denies one count of conspiracy to commit indecent assault and one of false imprisonment.

The case continues.

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