Lord Nazir Ahmed: disgraced peer jailed over attempted rape of girl and sexual assault of boy

Lord Nazir Ahmed, who quit the House of Lords in 2020, was jailed for more than five years

Lord Ahmed arriving at Sheffield Crown Court to be sentenced after being found guilty of sex assaults against two children more than 40 years ago.Lord Ahmed arriving at Sheffield Crown Court to be sentenced after being found guilty of sex assaults against two children more than 40 years ago.
Lord Ahmed arriving at Sheffield Crown Court to be sentenced after being found guilty of sex assaults against two children more than 40 years ago.

A disgraced peer found guilty of trying to rape a young girl and sexually assaulting a boy aged under 11 in the 1970s has been jailed for more than five years.

Lord Nazir Ahmed was convicted in January of sexually abusing two children when he was a teenager in Rotherham.

Calls have now been made from one of his victims and others for him to be stripped of his title.

At a glance 5 key points:

  • Lord Nazir Ahmed was convicted of child offences, which took place in the 1970s, against a boy and a girl
  • He was jailed for more than 5 years
  • He quit the House of Lord in 2020 but retained his title
  • An act of parliament is needed to remove it but none is available
  • One of his victims has led calls for him to be stripped of his title

The 64-year-old, who quit the House of Lords, but retained the title Lord Ahmed of Rotherham, was found guilty of two counts of attempted rape and one of buggery.

A woman told a jury at Sheffield Crown Court that Ahmed attempted to rape her in the early 1970s, when the defendant was about 16 or 17 years old but she was much younger.

Ahmed was also found guilty of a serious sexual assault against a boy under 11, also in the early 1970s.

Former Labour member Ahmed resigned from the House of Lords in November 2020 after reading the contents of a conduct committee report which found he sexually assaulted a vulnerable woman who sought his help.

The report made him the first peer to be recommended for expulsion, but he resigned before this could be implemented.

What did the judge say?

On Friday a judge, Mr Justice Lavender, jailed Ahmed for five years and six months.

He told Ahmed: “Your actions have had profound and lifelong effects on the girl and the boy, who have lived with what you did to them for between 46 and 53 years.

“Their statements express more eloquently than I ever could how your actions have affected their lives in so many different and damaging ways.”

The victim of the attempted rapes read her own victim personal statement in court, saying: “An overwhelming feeling of shame remained with me throughout my childhood and early adult years.

“It was a burden I was made to carry, and it silenced me for many years.

“It is now time for me to pass that burden to him – the paedophile who I know feels no personal shame.”

She added that Ahmed had however now been “publicly shamed” for his actions.

Ahmed’s two older brothers Mohammed Farouq, 71, and Mohammed Tariq, 66, were also charged with indecent assault in relation to the same boy that Ahmed abused.

Both men were deemed unfit to stand trial, but a jury found that they did the acts alleged.

Farouq and Tariq were both given absolute discharges after the judge said the only other two options – a hospital order or a supervision order – would not be appropriate in this case.

What was said in court?

A victim personal statement from the male complainant read in court said being sexually abused by the three men had “affected me on a daily basis” and left him unable to show affection to his own children.

He said: “I buried the abuse and carried it with me on my own for years and years.

“I feel shame because of what these men did to me.

“This is not about revenge, this is about justice.”

In mitigation, Imran Khan QC said Ahmed had “devoted his life to public service” and that his “fall from grace” had been “in the full glare of publicity,” including a campaign for him to be stripped of his title.

Mr Khan said: “That very good reputation he had has gone.”

The judge said that according to legal guidelines, the sentence must be in line with the one that would have been imposed at the time the offence was committed.

He jailed Ahmed for three and a half years for the offence of buggery, and imposed two concurrent sentences of two years for each of the attempted rapes.

What has been said about his title?

Only an Act of Parliament can remove Ahmed’s title, but none currently exists.

“That title is bestowed upon people that have got some honour, some dignity, and he’s got none of that,” the male victim told the BBC’s Newsnight.

The Government said Ahmed, 64, had resigned from the Lords and was “no longer a member of the legislature”.

Many were surprised to discover Ahmed’s title is separate from his membership of the House.

The House of Lords confirmed that, as the title is created by letters patent from the Queen, it has no power to remove it and legislation would therefore be needed to strip Ahmed of it.

“I’m demanding the Government take that peerage away from him,” said Mr B.

“He’s a convicted paedophile and there’s no justice in that.”

The call is being supported by crossbench peer Lord Carlile, the charity Muslim Women’s Network UK and Conservative Rother Valley MP Alexander Stafford.

Lord Carlile said it was “offensive” and “illogical” that Ahmed could retain his title and that the system needed updating to retain the House of Lords’ credibility.

“We need to be able to expel from their titles as well as from the House, those who have been convicted of serious criminal offences,” he said.

The charity Muslim Women’s Network UK has written to Lord Chancellor Dominic Raab calling for action.

Co-chair Shaista Gohir said: “Once he’s completed his sentence, he could go up and down the country, speak at events, use that title to influence.

“What kind of message does that send to victims that somebody that’s committed such an appalling crime can continue to use that privilege and that title?”

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