Telford man released from prison after sex abuse conviction quashed by judges
The conviction of a man accused of sexually abusing a young girl in a churchyard has been overturned at the Court of Appeal.
Shafiq Younas is back at his home in Wellington, Telford, after the panel of judges allowed his appeal. He had always denied any involvement.
The 36-year-old was jailed last December for four-and-a-half years following a trial at Birmingham Crown Court, for allegedly indecently assaulting the young girl who the jury heard had been “passed around like a piece of meat”, sold for sex and raped by a gang.
Younas, of Regent Street, was among five men who stood trial resulting in convictions for four of them, while another defendant was cleared of wrongdoing.
Jurors were told that the vulnerable victim was sold for sex, first by a man named Tanveer Ahmed, who had “befriended her” during a low point in her life.
Ahmed, who delivered takeaways for Perfect Pizza in the town, was not on trial alongside the other defendants, having been deported to Pakistan for "unrelated offences", the court heard.
Later, the victim came into contact with the first defendant, Ali Sultan, 33, formerly of Telford, whom she said also sold her for sex, raped and abused her.
He was jailed for eight years for rape and three counts of indecent assault against her.
Younas was immediately released from prison following the video proceedings after serving seven months of his term. But Ali Sultan’s appeal against his eight-year sentence was refused by the full court at the same hearing held on Thursday.
Responding to the decision West Mercia Police's local policing commander for Telford, Superintendent Jim Baker, said: “We note and consider the implications of the verdict from the Court of Appeal.”
Still in jail
At the trial last year the jury was told that Sultan already had convictions in both 2012 and 2015 for "similar offences against young girls" - the last of which he was serving the remainder of a six-year prison term for.
Sultan was also among seven men originally convicted following the Operation Chalice investigation into the abuse and prostitution of children in Telford.
Co-defendant Mohammad Rizwan, 37, of Mafeking Road, Hadley, was also convicted of two counts of indecent assault. Rizwan, who saved the girl's phone number under a lewd contact name, was handed a five-and-a-half year jail term.
Amjad Hussain, 38, of Acacia Drive, Leegomery, was convicted of a single count of indecent assault and was jailed for four-and-a-half years.
The case was investigated by the force as part of Operation Vapour set up in 2018 in response to reports of historic cases of child sexual exploitation in the borough.
The victim at the centre of the sex abuse case was praised for her bravery by West Mercia Police and Telford MP Lucy Allan after describing being violently abused when she tried to refuse their advances.
The offences dated between 2000 and 2003 and started when the girl, now an adult, was just 13.
She told police that, years after the abuse ended, she recognised photos of Ali Sultan and Ahmed from press reports on the Telford sex ring.
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