A ‘PILLAR of society’ who was given an MBE for ‘services to the community’ is facing jail after being convicted of sexually assaulting a young woman. Link
Janaid Qureshi has been slammed by community leaders for an ‘appalling breach of trust’ after a jury found him guilty of six charges of sexual assault.
The married father-of-three, 61, of Queen’s Road, Blackburn, was told by a judge a jail sentence was inevitable, and he was placed on the sex offenders’ register.
During a trial at Bolton Crown Court Qureshi was described as a ‘sleazy sexual predator’ after targeting his victim, who had just arrived in the country from Pakistan.
At the time of his arrest, Qureshi was a board member of housing association Prospect Homes, which administrates Twin Valley Homes and Housing Pendle, a governor at Blackburn College and a board member of the University of Central Lancashire.
Qureshi had also set up the Ethnic Minorities Development Association charity. He was awarded the MBE in 1999 for work in community relations.
After the case, Coun Noushad Surve, who worked with Qureshi at EMDA, said his former friend had behaved in an unacceptable manner.
He said: “It is not acceptable to behave in this way, especially when he held a position of responsibility.
“He is a very deceptive and smooth talking man who has now got caught out.”
Jack Straw, Blackburn MP, said: “He is someone who had established a position of trust in the community and sought only to abuse it.”
Detective Inspector Jill Johnston said: “I am delighted with the verdict and hope it sends out a strong message to people who behave in this way that it will not be tolerated.
“Qureshi abused his position of trust and sexually assaulted a vulnerable woman who had only just arrived on the country.
“He lied throughout the trial and I would like to commend his victim’s bravery in coming forward and getting justice.”
Michael Maher, prosecuting, said Qureshi had declared his love for the woman he had sexually assalted.
The court heard that he took her in his car to a secluded lake between Blackburn and Bolton and tried to undo her clothes and did the same thing when they were parked near some fields in the Pleasington area, pulling his own trousers down.
Another assault took place in a house in Accrington Road, Blackburn after he offered to show her around the property, the court was told.
Describing Qureshi, Mr Maher said “Superficially he presents himself as a pillar of the community...but there is a very different side to Mr Qureshi's character.
“We say he is a sleazy sexual predator who exploited his victim’s vulnerability for his own sexual gratification.”
Telling the court how Qureshi had threatened his victim after assaulting her, Mr Maher said he told the woman she would not be able to survive in Blackburn 'because he was such a well connected man in the community'.
His victim, who cannot be named, told the court Qureshi had promised to make her 'rich'.
Qureshi’s told the court that his victim 'would go to any lengths to keep her visa'.
He said he had a happy marriage of 38 years but had claimed that his 'sexual liaison' with the victim was consensual.
Judge Elliott Knopf granted bail while a pre-sentence report was drafted, but told Qureshi this was: “not an act of mercy” but was out of consideration for Quershi’s family, particularly his wife.
Conditions include a curfew of between 8pm and 6am and reporting to a police station daiily.
He was also ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register and told to surrender both his passports.
Qureshi will be sentenced on April 8. Judge Knopf said: “You will have already gathered from what has been said that a custodial sentence will be inevitable."