Restaurant workers admit abandoning woman at Sunderland roadside after sexual activity - but deny rape

Syed Ahmed pictured outside Newcastle Crown Court.
Syed Ahmed pictured outside Newcastle Crown Court.

Two restaurant workers have admitted they abandoned a drunk woman at a roadside miles away from her home in the early hours of the morning but have both denied raping her.

The woman, who cannot be named, has told jurors she was attacked by two strangers after she got into what she believed was an unlicensed taxi after drinking in Sunderland city centre in April 2016.

Najirul Miah pictured outside Newcastle Crown Court.

Najirul Miah pictured outside Newcastle Crown Court.

Prosecutors claim driver Syed Ahmed, 21, and passenger Najirul Miah, 20, used her as a "piece of meat" before she was "discarded on the ground like a piece of trash."

Both men have now given evidence in the trial at Newcastle Crown Court and told jurors it was the alleged victim who offered to perform sex acts in exchange for a life home.

They claim the woman consented to be intimate with each of them in turn, inside the vehicle, at a deserted area in Hendon, but admit they drove off and left her, miles in the opposite direction to where she lived.

Ahmed denied he and his pal were lurking in the city in the early hours, in his silver motor with tinted windows, to pick up vulnerable women and said they had hung around after being at a night club simply to "socialise".

Ahmed said the alleged victim had approached his car and asked for a lift, which he initially, repeatedly, refused.

He told jurors: "I agreed when she said she would offer £25 for a lift home.

"It sounded like a good idea, easy money. It was really worth it, I was young, the money sounded really good so I accepted."

Ahmed said the woman offered to pay with sexual services when she realised she did not have enough cash in her handbag.

He told the court: "Within about two minutes she said she had not money, which was when I pulled over, on the main, busy street.

"At that time I felt like I had been tricked and asked her to get out of my car.

"When I asked her to get out of the car she shook her handbag and I could hear loose change."

Ahmed said the woman then claimed to have enough money so he set off again.

But he added: "Within about 10-20 meters drive she said 'I'm really sorry, but I don't have the money'"

Ahmed said the woman offered to perform sex acts with them both instead.

He added: "At this age, I regret it. At that age, it sounded good, which is why I accepted."

Ahmed said he kept driving until they reached an area in Hendon, which was away from public view.

He added: "Once I stopped the car I went into the back, I confirmed with her this was going to happen.

"My co-accused stepped out of the car and stepped into the back."

Ahmed said the "sexual act" that took place was consensual but admitted the woman was deserted miles from home when she got out of the car for a cigarette and they drove away.

He added: "We were going to drop her off home until she offered them sexual advances.

"I was young at the time and I apologise for that, I apologise for not just dropping her off home."

Miah told jurors he agreed with his friend's version of events and admitted he took a turn to engage in sexual acts with the woman, who they then left at the roadside, alone.

He said all three of them had ended up outside the car after the sexual activity and added: "He (Ahmed) told me to get in the car. I went around and got in the car.

"He got into the car as well and we just drove off."

Miah said he could tell his pal was "stressing" about getting calls and texts from his girlfriend and that he himself was being contacted by his parents and ex partner on his phone at the time.

He added: "I regret it big time. We should have dropped her off. That was the deal."

The two men handed themselves into police later that same day after seeing media reports about a woman being raped.

Miah said: "He (Ahmed) rang me in the morning saying it describes his car. He said we should go to the police station to say it wasn't rape and to say what actually happened."

Ahmed, of Chester Street East, Sunderland denies one charge of rape and one of theft.

Miah, of Ashwood Terrace, Sunderland, denies two offences of rape and one of sexual assault. He has been cleared of one rape charge on the direction of Judge Sarah Mallett.

Both men deny a joint charge of false imprisonment.

The trial continues.