Victims’ courage was key

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The detective who led the investigation into the evil crimes committed by Mohammed Khubaib has praised the bravery of his victims for coming forward.

Detective Superintendent Gary Ridgway said the verdicts against Khubaib were a sign of how child sexual exploitation was being tackled in Peterborough.

He said: “I am very pleased with the verdict which was given at The Old Bailey this week.

“This represents justice for those victims who had the courage to stand up and give evidence.

“It sends a very welcome and positive message that young people who are abused will be listened to, will be taken seriously and everything will be done to give them the justice they deserve.”

Det Supt Ridgway also thanked The Peterborough Telegraph for the way the case was covered.

The Peterborough Telegraph learned of allegations against Khubaib very early on in the case, but chose to wait until court proceedings were well underway before reporting them. This extra time gave police officers and social workers the chance to gain the trust of the victims, allowing them to build the best case possible against Khubaib.

Det Supt Ridgway said: “I would like to acknowledge the support of the Peterborough Telegraph team who throughout the Operation Erle enquiry has always, in my opinion, been mindful not to publish information that may have caused our victims to disengage from the investigation.”

Khubaib’s victims were traced after being identified as being at risk of exploitation through an information trawl which included auditing case files and interviewing relevant professionals conducted by police and Peterborough City Council which started in October 2012.

That led detectives to one of Khubaib’s properties in Lincoln Road where two teenage girls were found inside with Khubaib.

Det Supt Ridgway added: “I firmly believe the success of Operation Erle is that it has been lead by young people.

“I firmly believe there are men in Peterborough who are no longer looking to exploit some of our most vulnerable young people.”

The Operation is now coming to an end in its current guise after two and a half years, but Det Supt Ridgway said police would not be abandoning the principals behind the operation.

He said: “I want to assure the readers of the Peterborough Telegraph police, social services and a whole range of agencies are working as hard as ever to stop child sexual exploitation.

“We have learnt so much over the past two and a half years.

“We recognise it is often very difficult for young people to talk about their experiences. We would encourage young people to talk to those close to them about any concerns.

“We have so much more awareness about child sexual exploitation now than we did even a few years ago.”