Blackpool Police have today (Tuesday 15th November, 2022) shared the news that 36-year-old Shah Sikander (photograph above) has been jailed for 12 years for raping a 14 year old school girl.
Sikander began communicating with the 14-year-old victim via Snapchat earlier this year. He deliberately tricked her into thinking he was much younger, created a fake profile and even sent her photographs of a 22-year-old man, falsely claiming to be him.
The victim had been clear she was under the age of 16 throughout her online communication with Sikander. But he was not deterred. He offered to shower her with gifts, talked about meeting up for sex and pressured her into sending sexualised images of herself.
Having set up a meeting with her, he drove her to a remote location in Preston and raped her.
Police say that today is an important day for the victim as today Sikander was sentenced to 12 years in prison. He was also ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life and is now a subject of an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.
In her victim impact statement, the 14-year-old school girl expressed how she has been deeply affected: ‘I try not to think about what happened but when I do I cry. It’s something I really struggle to talk about but I’ll try. I find images can pop into my mind and I’ll be with my friends and suddenly be sad. It really lowers my mood. I really don’t know how to feel. He’s made me feel stupid. I pretend I’m OK but I often feel like it was my fault. Could I have changed it? How naive have I been. I try hard to push my thoughts to the back of my head but I was scared and I don’t like being scared because it makes me feel weak. Before this happened, I slept well but now I wake up often in the night. If I go out I get worried if I feel that a man is walking the same way as me and I’ll change my route. I won’t walk alone.’
DC Jamie Robinson, from the Blackpool Child Protection Team, said: ‘Sikander is a very dangerous man who targeted a child and put her through a horrendous ordeal. However, he underestimated the resilience of that child, her supportive family, and our joint determination to bring him to justice.
The victim in this case was completely innocent and was entitled to go onto social media and socialise without a sexual predator targeting her and subjecting her to a horrendous attack. However, it should serve as a timely reminder to both parents and children to be cautious when using social media and not to take everybody at their word. If you are intending to meet someone you have met online in person, we would always encourage you to tell a friend or family member where you are going, meet in a public place and always keep the location setting on your phone live. Where appropriate always try and go with a friend.
I welcome the significant sentence handed down to Sikander and I hope it gives other victims the confidence to come forward, knowing they will be listened to, believed and we will do everything in our power to put the perpetrator before the courts.’