A 64-YEAR-OLD man who drove a barely teenage girl to an isolated wooded area and “defiled” her has been jailed for 13 years.
Tariq Syed threatened his 13-year-old victim to ensure her silence before offering her mother £15,000 for the family to return to their native Romania.
Judge David Hatton QC said Syed had groomed and “terrified” his victim during the ordeal, which took place in September 2014.
Father-of-five Syed, of Pemberton Drive, Little Horton, Bradford, had denied charges of rape and perverting the course of justice, but a jury at Bradford Crown Court took less than two hours to find him guilty yesterday.
He was cleared of a charge of causing the girl’s mother actual bodily harm by attacking her with a knife at the Bradford takeaway where she worked.
During the trial, prosecutor Sharon Beattie said that Syed had befriended the girl’s family, giving her phones, clothes, and a computer tablet.
Her mother became suspicious but Syed told her he wanted to help as the family were not well off.
The woman confronted the child, telling her she knew “the old man”, as they called Syed, had collected her from school.
The police were informed when the girl revealed that Syed had forced her to have sex with him.
“She was screaming but he said if she did not let him do it, he would kill her and bury her there,” Miss Beattie said.
The jury heard that Syed’s semen was found on the inside of the girl’s school trousers after the incident, and Dr Mark Dale said forensic results were “in-keeping with the view he had engaged in some kind of sexual activity” with her.
Syed told the police the girl’s mother “would do anything for money” and blamed her for “putting her up” to inventing the rape allegation.
He said his semen had already been on the trousers before he gave them to the girl, and asserted he had taken her for an abortion at a clinic in Leeds on the day the rape took place.
Ordering him to register as a sex offender for life, Judge Hatton told Syed: “You took a girl barely into her thirteenth year to an isolated location. You defiled her.
“You had targeted her for that specific purpose. This offence was a consequence of grooming.
“You issued threats of what would become of her unless she kept her silence. You terrified her.
“You intimidated her mother by threatening her and offering a significant sum of money to return to Romania to get her and your victim out of the way, anticipating you would thereby get away with it. Well, you have not got away with it.”
West Yorkshire Police said the sentencing of Syed had marked a successful conclusion to a lengthy investigation which saw two detectives fly out to Romania in their pursuit of justice.
A spokesman said that when the rape was reported the subsequent investigation was immediately picked up by the Bradford District Safeguarding Unit.
Enquiries quickly established Syed as a suspect and he was arrested a short time later, but he denied the offence and was bailed pending further enquiries.
Syed was arrested again the following month after the victim's family claimed he had offered them money to return to Romania.
He was bailed with conditions not to approach the family and later charged with both offences.
But, just as the trial was due to get underway at court in August last year, the victim and her family returned to Romania unexpectedly.
Concerned that proceedings may not go ahead if the victim and her mother refused to attend court, Detective Constable Charlotte Grose and Detective Sergeant Amanda Middleton flew out to the country to make sure arrangements were in place for them to give evidence via a video link.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Howard, said: "This case shows the determination and the desire of our detectives to get justice for the victim and her family.
"Syed was an evil man who thought that by throwing money at the family he would get them to drop the case against him.
"We are delighted at the sentence he has received and hope it will give the victim and her family some closure.
"We also hope it will encourage others to report sexual offences to the Bradford District Safeguarding Unit, whose specially trained officers will investigate every report sensitively and thoroughly with the aim of bringing perpetrators to justice."
Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, added: "I would like to commend the bravery shown by the victim and their family in coming forward to report Syed.
"His crimes were absolutely deplorable and his actions following arrest even more so.
"Tackling child sexual abuse is an absolute priority, as proven by the tireless and dedicated work of West Yorkshire Police in this case.
"I would urge anyone who feels they may have been a victim to come forward and report it to the police. You will be listened to and support will be provided."
Speaking after the sentence, a spokesman for the NSPCC said: “Syed’s sickening actions will have had a damaging effect on his young victim and her family.
“These were calculated attacks involving a disturbing level of grooming on a vulnerable child, and Syed’s lack of remorse, coupled with his attempts to evade justice, are deeply shocking.
“Child sexual abuse can have life-long effects on victims. That’s why the NSPCC is visiting primary schools across the country including in Bradford with its ‘Speak Out Stay Safe’ service, empowering children to protect themselves from abuse and to speak out if they ever experience it.
“Children with any worries can also call Childline on 0800 1111. Adults can contact the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000, text 88858 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.”