Rochdale rapist who fled the UK arrested in Pakistan

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Rochdale rapist who fled the UK arrested in Pakistan

Image copyright GMP
Image caption Hussain was convicted in his absence for the rape of a teenager in Rochdale

A man who fled the country to avoid a 19-year jail sentence for raping a teenage girl in Rochdale has been arrested by police in Pakistan.

Choudhry Ikhalaq Hussain, 38, was convicted along with nine others who committed serious sexual offences against young girls in the town.

Hussain, of Mayfield Terrace, was given permission to attend a family funeral in the UK when he went on the run.

His arrest follows a joint operation by police in the UK and Pakistan.

In 2016, a jury found him guilty in his absence of raping and sexually abusing a child.

Image copyright National Crime Agency
Image caption Police arrested him at an address in Pakistan following an international man-hunt

It followed an investigation by Greater Manchester Police, code-named Operation Doublet, which looked into the sexual exploitation of teenage girls in Rochdale.

Most of the offences took place between 2004 and 2008 and involved victims who were aged 13 to 23.

A teenage girl, raped by all 10 men, contacted police after the 2012 convictions of nine Asian defendants for grooming white girls in the town.

She said "hundreds" of older men would ring her up wanting sex and she had been groomed from the age of 14.

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Greater Manchester Police said Hussain was arrested on Saturday at an address in the Punjab province of Pakistan.

Det Ch Insp Jamie Daniels said: "As with all offences of this nature, the victim is at the forefront of the investigation and we were determined to track down Hussain for her.

"We were never going to give up on finding him, no matter how much time passed or how far he travelled."

Image copyright National Crime Agency
Image caption Hussain is facing extradition to the UK following his arrest in Pakistan

Ian Cruxton, head of international operations at the National Crime Agency, said: "Hussain's offending represents the worst of its kind and he wrongly thought he could escape justice by fleeing to Pakistan.

"The NCA is committed to tracking down and arresting child sex offenders wherever they are in the world."

The operation to arrest Hussain was hailed by the British High Commission in Pakistan as an excellent example of co-operation between the two countries.

Moves to extradite him back to the UK to serve his original sentence will now begin.

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