Luton cop ‘groomed’ children on Facebook

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A policeman with an obsessive interest in teenage girls ‘trawled’ Facebook for young victims to have sex with, a jury heard today.

Mohammad Arshad, 35, groomed numerous underage girls over the Internet, cruised around Luton with them in his black Mercedes and persuaded to have sexual activity with him, it was alleged.

He persistently pestered them for sex and raped one 14 year old one on the back seat of his car, St Albans Crown Court was told.

Arshad, who called himself Waz, is said to have contacted schoolgirls over Facebook, Blackberry Messenger, WhatsAp or mobile phones and texts.

Prosecutor James Newton-Price told a jury: “ He flattered girls and complimented them and sent sexually suggestive messages.

“Some of the girls liked the attention and may have been flattered, but if they are under 16 it doesn’t matter.

“Most refused his sexual advances. Some thought it was a joke. He persistently pestered girls for sex or some sort of touching or groping.”

Mr Newton-Price said the youngest of the girls was 13, nearly 14. Arshad sent her a picture of his penis. Another 14 year old, who was allegedly raped in the back of his car, had never had sex before.

He said the girls were very impressionable and at a vulnerable age.

It was also alleged that Arshad paid one 16 year old girl for sex - some that was illegal as she was aged under 18.

The prosecutor said the police officer would have known they were under age, as most were still at secondary school. It would have been obvious they’d have been under 16 or there would have been a high risk of it, he said.

The prosecutor went on: “He was more aware of the letter of the law than most people because he had a responsible position in the community.

“At the time he was seeking sexual contact with under age teenage girls, he was also a Police Constable with Bedfordshire police. “

Mr Newton-Price said Arshad applied to join the force in 2013 and was interviewed in April 2014, becoming a probationer. “He didn’t last long because these matters came to the attention of other police officers by October 2014. He was suspended from duty and remains so,” said the prosecutor.

The court was told that when his home was searched, images of teenage girls were found on his Blackberry phone. 188 more images of teenage girls were also on his computers. “We say the images are clear evidence of an obsessive interest in teenage girls,” said Mr Newton-Price.

He told the jury that Arshad contacted and arranged to meet numerous teenage girls. 12 of the 13 girls were aged under 16 and too young to consent to sexual activity with an adult.

Arshad, of Ferndale Road, Luton, denies 22 charges. 11 are causing a child to engage in sexual activity, 3 of sexual activity with a child, 4 of meeting a child following sexual grooming, one of rape, supplying cannabis, causing a child to watch a sexual act and paying for the sexual services of a child.

The charges relate to 13 alleged victims who were aged between 13 and 16 at the time. The charges cover a period between October 2012 until December 2014.

When questioned by the police, he gave a prepared statement saying he thought the girls were aged 16 or over.

The trial is expected to last 3 weeks

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