Roker Avenue rape trial: Accused denies attacking woman at asylum seekers' accommodation in Sunderland

Police in Roker Avenue
Police in Roker Avenue

A man accused of raping a woman at asylum seekers’ accommodation in Sunderland has told jurors he is "not guilty".

Saheed Rasoolli, 30, and Araz Abdulla, 23, are both accused of attacking the victim in the bedroom of a flat in Roker Avenue.

Both men deny rape and are being tried together by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.

Rasoolli has told jurors he did have an encounter with the woman but claimed he "didn’t want to" and "didn’t like it".

Abdulla, with the assistance of an interpreter, has now told the court the woman consented to what went on at the flat and had summoned him into the bedroom when Rasoolli left.

He told the court the woman was half naked and lying on the bed when she asked for him.

Abdulla added: "I approached her because I didn’t speak English. I didn’t know why she asked for me."

Abdulla said he had been "trying to tell her to go out of my bedroom" and she said "come on, come on".

He told jurors he had lied during police interviews because he was "panicking, scared and confused".

He added: "I see myself not guilty."

Abdulla told jurors: "I lost my family, in front of my eyes, they beheaded them. It effected my mental status. I have mental issues."

Prosecutor Paul Abrahams told jurors the woman had been waiting for a bus in the city in May when she was approached by Rasoolli.

Mr Abrahams said the victim was taken by Rasoolli to a "multi-occupancy building, containing a number of flats occupied by asylum seekers" and into Abdulla's bedroom, where the men each took a turn to rape her.

The woman fled to a shop for help when she left the flats, jurors have heard.

The court heard two days into the police manhunt for the two attackers, Abdulla approached an officer and claimed he had been assaulted by a male and female.

Mr Abrahams said: "He suggested Rasoolli had threatened him into having sex with the girl. He claimed Rasoolli had a knife and while threatening him had put the knife to his head.

"He said the girl grabbed his head and forced him to give her oral sex and demanded he have sex with her.

"He said he had done this while Rasoolli had been outside the bedroom with the knife.

"He then said he had ran away and slept rough because he was frightened."

The court heard Rasoolli was arrested in Middlesbrough on June 10.

He told police in his first interview the woman had "come on to him" and he had "begged her to go away".

During a second interview he said the alleged victim had "made it up".

He dismissed Abdulla's claims.

Abdulla, of Roker Avenue, Sunderland, and Rasoolli, of Hylton Road, Sunderland, both deny an offence of rape.

The trial continues.