June 2022

On the run paedophile arrested and jailed

A convicted paedophile who was sentenced to prison after going on the run has been arrested and jailed as he tried to return to the UK three years later.

Umar Zaman, 34, was part of a grooming gang who abused teenage girls in Huddersfield.

But he fled the country for Pakistan after being arrested as part of West Yorkshire Police’s Operation Tendersea investigation into historic child sexual exploitation.

He was sentenced to eight years in prison in his absence in November 2019 after a jury found him guilty of two counts of raping a teenage girl.

He was eventually arrested on 30 May this year, while attempting to return to the UK, and appeared before Leeds Crown Court.

As well as the original sentence, he will serve eight months for failing to surrender to bail.

Zaman was part of a gang who preyed on girls as young as 12. Vulnerable girls were plied with drugs and alcohol and passed between men in Huddersfield.

At their trial, the judge branded the gang’s activities “vile and wicked” and said they “defy understanding”.

Zaman is one of dozens of men sentenced as part of Operation Tendersea – a long-running investigation by police into abuse in the Huddersfield area.

The inquiry has resulted in combined jail sentences of more than 470 years so far.

The judge described how vulnerable girls were plied with drugs, alcohol and sleeping pills and passed between men in Huddersfield so they could share, abuse and rape them

He said they thought they were being shown genuine affection but this was an illusion “deliberately created to enable predatory men to perpetrate gross sexual abuse for their own perverted gratification”.

Judge Marson described how one terrified 12-year-old was targeted by the men who used her phone to locate her despite attempts to move her.

He said: “One night the house phone rang and a man asked for the girl and said ‘tell her I want to f*** her’.

“After three days the girl was moved to another foster carer in another city and again she was quickly located.

“There were repeated calls from Asian men saying ‘can you tell her we want to f*** her’.

“The girl was absolutely terrified and said that if the carer gave the sim card to the police ‘they will find me and kill me’.”

Another young victim was left bleeding on the ground of a park after her virginity was taken after she was raped