A Rochdale child rapist who fled during his trial has been caught in Pakistan after being hunted down by police and extradited back to Britain. Choudhry Ikhalaq Hussain, now 42, was among members of a Rochdale grooming gang who were prosecuted for abusing a teenage girl.
But during the trial in 2015, he claimed a family member had died and was given a judge’s permission to attend a funeral in the UK. Hussain, formerly of Mayfield Terrace in Rochdale, used the cover to escape the UK and go into hiding in Pakistan.
He was sentenced in his absence to 19 years imprisonment, after being found guilty of three counts of sexual activity with a child, two counts of rape and one of conspiracy to rape.
Greater Manchester Police said they had been pursuing Hussain for almost four years with international partners.
He was arrested in the province of Punjab on Saturday and flown into the UK on Tuesday.
Detective Superintendent Jamie Daniels said: “Hussain is a sexual predator who mistakenly thought he could flee to another country to live the good life, while his victim was forced to deal with the consequences of his vile actions and robbed of justice.
“His apprehension demonstrates that when it comes to pursuing perpetrators of child sexual exploitation, we will hunt them across the globe if necessary.”
The officer commended the “bravery and courage” of Hussain’s victim, adding: “I do hope this extradition provides her with a measure of comfort as she can continues to rebuild her life.
“Today’s extradition demonstrates our dedication to ensuring criminals face justice. No matter how many years have passed, we will do everything in our power to ensure dangerous predators like Hussain are caught and face up to their abhorrent crimes.”
Dr Christian Turner, from the British High Commission in Islamabad, said increasing cooperation between British and Pakistani law enforcement showed there was “no escape for those who flee from the law, even across international boundaries”.
Hussain will now serve the prison sentence originally handed down at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court.
The victim said she had been sexually groomed by a large group of Asian men from the age of 14, and that “hundreds of men” would ring her up asking for sex.
She came forward following widespread media coverage of the 2012 convictions of nine men for grooming white girls in Rochdale.
The trial was one of a series launched under Operation Doublet, which investigated sexual grooming in the town between 2003 and 2013.