Pair appeal against Roker Avenue rape convictions for attacking woman in Sunderland flat

Two men found guilty of raping a woman in a flat are appealing against their convictions.

Thursday, 24th October 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 24th October 2019, 10:22 am
Saheed Rasoolli, left and Araz Abdulla are appealing against their rape convictions.
Saheed Rasoolli, left and Araz Abdulla are appealing against their rape convictions.

Araz Mustafa Abdulla and Saheed Rasoolli were locked up for a combined 22 years last December after sexually assaulting their victim in a bedroom at the property in Roker Avenue, Sunderland, in May 2018.

Abdulla, 23, and Rasoolli, 30, both from the city, were afterwards branded as “dangerous offenders” by Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt, of Northumbria Police.

Their two-week Newcastle Crown Court trial heard that each took a turn to rape their victim in the flat, which was part of a multi-occupancy home for asylum seekers, after luring her there from a bus stop.

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The pair insisted in their defence that the woman had consented to what happened.

They are now applying to London’s Court of Appeal for their convictions to be overturned.

Judges will consider their bid on Friday, November 1, although a final decision may be made at a later date.

Abdulla, of Roker Avenue, was locked up for 10 years and Rasoolli, of Hylton Road, was jailed for 12 years after a jury took less than three hours to find them guilty of one count each of rape.

The court heard their victim "couldn't get her breath" during the attacks and she was left with nail marks to her neck, throat and arms after her ordeal.

She fled to a nearby shop after the sex assaults before contacting police.