A man accused of a string of sex offences has admitted to having sexual relationships with two of his alleged victims but says he did not know they were under 16 at the time, a court heard.
Mohammed Imran Ali Akhtar, 37, is alleged to have sexually abused three girls, none of whom can be named for legal reasons, under the age of 16 in Rotherham between 1998 and 2003.
Akthar would have been aged between 17 and 22 at the time of the alleged offending.
Two of the girls he is alleged to have abused, Girl A and Girl B, are sisters, and Akhtar told jurors at Sheffield Crown Court yesterday that he entered into a relationship with both girls at different times.
During his evidence about Girl A, Akhtar’s barrister, Gul Nawaz Hussain QC, asked him: “Did you ever think Girl A was younger than 16-years-old?”
Akhtar, a dad of four, replied: “I never thought she was younger than 16.” Mr Hussain added: “Did she ever tell you she was younger than 16,” to which Akhtar said: “I can’t remember if she did.”
Akhtar told the jury of nine men and three women that he had a ‘short relationship lasting two months’ with Girl A, during which time the pair had sex between four and five times.
During his relationship with Girl A, Akhtar said the pair would socialise with Girl B and Tanweer Ali, his cousin and co-defendant, in a group of two couples.
Akhtar, of of East Road, East Dene, Rotherham said he began a ‘serious’ relationship with Girl B around a year later, and admitted to having sex with her.
He told the court he ‘never’ thought Girl B was under 16, and said ‘she never told me’ she was under 16 during the course of their seven month relationship.
Akhtar said he went to clubs and bars with Girl A and Girl B, and told the court that neither of them had a problem getting in and were never asked to provide identification.
Referring to Girl B, Akhtar said: “She looked older than all of us.”
In a video interview showed to the jury last month, the court heard how Girl B claims to have fell pregnant with Akhtar’s baby when she was 14, and gave birth to him when she was 15-years-old.
Answering questions from Mr Hussain, Akhtar agreed that he ‘encouraged’ Girl B to have an abortion, and accepted her evidence that their relationship came to an end after her child was born.
Akhtar is on trial with seven other men, all accused of committing historical sex offences in Rotherham between 1998 and 2005.
The defendants, and the offences they are accused of, are:
- Mohammed Imran Ali Akhtar, 37, of Godstone Road, Rotherham, denies one rape, one charge of aiding and abetting rape, three indecent assaults, one charge of procuring a girl under 21 to have unlawful sexual intercourse with another, one sexual assault and one charge of supplying cannabis.
- Nabeel Kurshid, 34, of Warwick Street, Rotherham, denies two rapes and one indecent assault.
- Iqlak Yousaf, 34, Tooker Road, Rotherham, denies two rapes and two indecent assault.
- Tanweer Ali, 37, of Godstone Road, Rotherham, denies two rapes, two indecent assault and one charge of false imprisonment.
- Ajmal Rafiq, 39, of Warwick Street, Rotherham, denies one indecent assault and one charge of false imprisonment.
- Salah Ahmed El-Hakam, 39, Tudor Close, Sheffield, denies one rape.
- Asif Ali, 33, of Clough Road, denies three indecent assaults. - Defendant 8, who cannot be named, denies three rapes and one count of abducting a child.
The defendants deny all charges.
The trial continues.