‘Highly respected’ Islamic preacher, 67, who raped young girl and was caught after she identified him on YouTube 13 years later avoids jail because he is suffering with dementia
- Khandaker Mohammed Rahman avoided jail after trial at Swansea Crown Court
- Grandfather-of-three raped the girl under 13 in a mosque’s washroom in 2005
- He was arrested at Heathrow Airport after she recognised him on Youtube clip
A ‘highly respected’ Islamic preacher who raped and sexually assaulted a young girl inside the mosque where he taught children has avoided jail because he is suffering from dementia.
Khandaker Mohammed Rahman, 67, went unpunished for more than a decade after his victim, who was raped in a washroom in 2005, stopped attending the religious centre in South Wales in a bid to escape his clutches.
The grandfather-of-three was finally brought to justice when she recognised him in a YouTube video 13 years later and shopped him to police, who arrested him at Heathrow Airport.
However his trial in 2020 was twice abandoned due to illness and Covid – when a juror tested positive for the disease, forcing the jury to be dismissed – before he suffered a heart attack and was diagnosed with onset dementia.
He was declared unfit to appear in the dock at his third trial this year, where a jury at Swansea Crown Court ruled that he did rape a girl under the age of 13 and sexually assaulted her twice – unable to declare him guilty due to his mental state.
Owing to his condition, Judge Geraint Walters gave an absolute discharge at sentencing on Tuesday, ordering that Rahman be cared for by social services, while no Sexual Harm Prevention Order was made.
Warped Khandaker Mohammed Rahman (pictured outside court in 2020), 67, went unpunished for more than a decade after his victim, who was raped in a washroom in 2005, stopped attending the religious centre in South Wales in a bid to escape the predator
The victim, from a ‘devout Muslim family’ and now in her late 20s, had told the court how she made excuses not to go back to the mosque following the rape but, on the few occasions she did, Rahman touched her breasts and bottom, when he was supposed to be giving her religious lessons.
She only ever knew her attacker as ‘The Imam’, before she saw his face on a YouTube clip 13 years following the attacks, prompting her to take a picture of his ‘side profile’ to the police.
Rahman, of Cwmdu, Swansea, denied rape and two charges of sexual assault by touching a girl under 13.
The jury in Rahman’s third trial was asked not to determine his guilt or innocence but to decide whether he carried out the acts.
After deliberating for two hours and five minutes the jury found Rahman raped the girl and twice indecently assaulted her.
A court heard the woman feared there were other young victims and she wanted closure after being raped by Rahman in the South Wales mosque in 2005.
Prosecutor John Hipkin told the jury how the ‘highly respected’ Muslim leader raped the girl during religious lessons after school.
He said: ‘He agreed to let her leave early if she helped him move some books from the library upstairs.
‘On the way there he pushed her into a washroom and she fell onto the floor banging her head.
‘The next thing she remembers is Rahman on top of her.’
Swansea Crown Court heard the girl fled the mosque and got into her father’s car which was parked outside.
Prosecutor John Hipkin told the jury at Swansea Crown Court how the ‘highly respected’ Muslim leader raped the girl during religious lessons after school.
She stopped going to the mosque after Rahman indecently assaulted her on two separate occasions, the jury was told.
Mr Hipkin said: ‘She kept what had happened a secret until 2018 when she disclosed it to her husband and police were called in.’
The woman told the hearing earlier this year how she was ‘face to face’ with Rahman and he had a ‘very strong’ smell of body odour.
She said the incident only lasted a couple of minutes before she pulled up her trousers and ran out of the mosque to her father who was waiting outside.
The victim, now in her late twenties, said she made excuses not to go back to the mosque again but, on the few occasions she did attend, Rahman touched her breasts and bottom.
Rahman, a grandfather to three teenage children, was unable to give evidence but his defence was that it was a case of mistaken identity.
Judge Geraint Walters said Rahman was a frail man and there was no treatment for his dementia.
After reading reports by two psychiatrists the judge said hospital or supervision orders were ‘inappropriate’.
He gave Rahman an absolute discharge which means he will continue to be cared for in the community by social services. No Sexual Harm Prevention Order was made.