Updated: Thursday, 2nd April 2020 @ 8:03pm

Predator who posed as cop to sexually abuse girl, 12, in Prestwich spared jail

Predator who posed as cop to sexually abuse girl, 12, in Prestwich spared jail

| By Tommy Wilson

A 23-year-old sexual predator who posed as an undercover police officer so he could groom and assault a child avoided jail today.

Zain Shah, from Blackley, appeared at Manchester Crown Court and pleaded guilty to sexual assaulting a 12-year-old girl he befriended in Heaton Park last August.

The court heard how he sent daily text messages and phone calls to the victim, over a two-month period to gain her trust, before arranging to meet with her in a car park in Prestwich and sexually assaulting her.

The conman was handed a three-year Punishment Order requiring him to attend a sexual offending treatment programme, five years on the Sexual Offender register and was also issued with a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for three years.

Detective Sergeant Alex Wild said: “This was a classic grooming case, with Shah using emotionally charged language to suggest to this young girl that they were in a real, normal and healthy relationship. Of course, that is absolutely absurd.

“The reality is a 23-year-old man manipulated a child in order to get what he wanted, even pretending to be an undercover police officer who had been shot in the line of duty in order to win her confidence and sympathy.”

Despite knowing she was 12-years-old, the court heard how Shah sent messages to the girl telling her he loved her and how he wanted to marry her.

When the victim’s mother discovered what he had done, she immediately reported Shah to the police.

Detective Sergeant Alex Wild said: “We hope that this case demonstrates that we take these incidents very seriously indeed, regardless of ethnicity, of religion or any other factors.

 “Abuse is abuse and I want to try an assure the public that we will punish those people who exploit young people and do our best to make sure they face justice for their crimes.”

Greater Manchester Police is working alongside partner agencies to tackle grooming and sexual exploitation of children as part of the Greater Manchester plan, Project Phoenix. 

The ‘It’s Not Okay’ campaign works to educate young people and their carers on the warning signs of child sexual exploitation and how to get help. For more information, click here. www.itsnotokay.co.uk

Image courtesy of Google Maps, with thanks.