Sham ‘holy man’ jailed for raping girl aged 13

A FATHER who passed himself off a “holy man” has been jailed for nine-and-a-half years for raping a 13-year-old girl.

The victim screamed as 29-year-old Syed Bukhari had sex with her in what was described as a prayer room at a house in Bradford.

Prosecutor Nicholas Askins told Bradford Crown Court yesterday that Bukhari had held himself out as man who possessed magical powers and could assist the girl’s family with their domestic difficulties.

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In December the child’s mother, from the West Midlands, was persuaded by Bukhari to allow the girl and her brother to stay with him in Bradford.

But Mr Askins told the court how Bukhari raped the youngster during a visit to his home in Sewell Road.

When the girl spoke to her mother later she was in a distressed state and the following month she made a rape allegation against Bukhari.

Bukhari, who pleaded guilty to the rape charge, broke down in tears as Judge John Potter sentenced him.

The judge said he accepted that Bukhari had not invited his victim to Yorkshire with the intention of sexually assaulting her, but he branded the defendant’s claims to be a holy man a charade.

“It is not precisely clear to me the capacity in which you visited them (the girl’s family),” the judge said. “But it appears from the evidence in this case that you put yourself forward at one point as a holy man who could provide some sort of spiritual guidance.

“I say immediately that there is no evidence at all that you are in any way qualified to meet the description that I have just given you.”

The judge described the rape as an appalling and wicked act in which Bukhari had fully exploited the vulnerability of his victim.

Judge Potter made Bukhari the subject of an indefinite sexual offences prevention order and also banned him from working with children. He will also have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.