Jury out in Mowbray Park rape trial after hearing sex plea claims

The area near the ornamental bridge in Mowbray Park which was sealed off as a crime scene.
The area near the ornamental bridge in Mowbray Park which was sealed off as a crime scene.
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The jury has gone out in the trial of a man accused of forcing two teenagers out of a shopping centre and into a park where he allegedly subjected them to sex attacks.

Syed Ali, 47, is alleged to have raped one girl and sexually assaulted the other in the bushes of Mowbray park on December 8.

During his evidence, Ali told Newcastle Crown Court that he did not threaten the girls with a knife and that it was them who had been following him through the Bridges Shopping Centre in Sunderland.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how Ali lied to police during interview telling them he was meeting a friend in the shopping centre who did not arrive before later telling them he was there shopping.

When asked why he lied he said he did not buy anything and was afraid the police would not believe him.

Ali told the jury how the two girls asked him to go to nearby Mowbray Park so they could “talk”.

He admitted giving the victim, who has accused him of rape, £10 but claims the sex was consensual and the money was for cigarettes.

Ali said: “They asked me to go to Mowbray Park so I did.”

When asked by the prosecutor if he intended to have sex with one of them Ali replied: “No I didn’t have any intention.

“They told me we can talk, I believed them and I went there.

“I asked them why they were following me, they replied they wanted to chat with me, that is why they were following me.”

When asked by the prosecutor if this happened to him a lot, Ali said: “No this is the first time.”

When asked how many times in his life teenage girls have approached him for sex he replied “never”.

Ali said: “This is she first time, she lay down and asked me for sex.”

Ali claims when he left the girls they were “in good mood”.

When asked if he gave the victim he allegedly raped money after having sex with her, Ali said: “After sex they told me they had no money to buy cigarettes then I gave them £10.”

He denied sexually assaulting the second victim.

The court heard how Ali, who has no previous convictions, was spotted on CCTV walking through the Bridges Shopping Centre and turning around to walk the opposite direction when they victims walked past him.

When asked what he was doing talking to the girls, he replied: “I was asking them why they were following me.”

The victims, who gave evidence yesterday, claimed Ali threatened them with a knife and forced them to follow him to Mowbray Park where he raped one of them in the bushes and sexually assaulted the other.

Judge James Goss QC told the jury to consider all of the evidence heard over the last two days before coming to a verdict.

Ali, formerly of Sunderland, claims he had consensual sex with the teenager who has accused him of rape.

He claims there was nothing more than a “hug and kiss” with the other girl.

Ali denies rape and sexual assault and is being tried by a jury.

The trial continues.