An Imam, a figure much trusted in the community, has been found guilty of sexually abusing two young girls who he privately tutored.

76-year-old Hafiz Azizur Rehman Pirzada, of Laughton Road, Northolt, was sentenced on Monday 21st January, to a total of eight years’ imprisonment at Snaresbrook Crown Court for child abuse offences.

Pirzada, appointed by the family, taught the two young sisters the Quran at various sessions at an address in Newham between 2007 and 2009. The girls were aged between nine and eleven at the time.

During the trial, the court heard how the victims, both sisters, came forward in July 2015 and told the police that Pirzada had sexually abused them during these sessions.

On 28 July 2016, Pirzada was arrested at his home address and bailed pending further enquiries. He was later charged with all ten counts on 16 March 2018; eight counts of sexual assault with a female under 13, and two counts of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.

At Snaresbrook Crown Court he was found guilty of seven counts of sexual assault of a child, and two counts of causing a child to engage in sexual activity after a trial at the same court in September 2017.

Pirzada will also have to sign the Sex Offenders Register for life and a Sexual Harm Protection Order was issued.

Detective Sergeant Tony Killeen, from the Child Abuse and Sexual Offences Team, said: “This is a case which dates back more than ten years, but despite the length of time since the incidents Pirzada has been convicted of his crimes.

“Pirzada exploited the trust placed in him as a religious leader to assault these two young girls.

“The victims have shown great courage, persistence and determination in securing the conviction, having persevered with the allegation and supporting the police investigation.

“The victims have had to live with this trauma and the appalling abuse they endured for the years they were taught by Pirzada, and will have to live with these memories for the rest of their lives.

“I would urge anyone who has been a victim of Pirzada to contact police; specially trained officers will be there to support you.”