Roker Avenue rape trial: Lawyers make closing speeches as men deny attacking woman at asylum seekers' accommodation in Sunderland

Police on patrol in Roker Avenue
Police on patrol in Roker Avenue

Lawyers in the trial of two men accused of raping a woman at asylum seekers' accommodation have started making their closing speeches to jurors.

Saheed Rasoolli, 30, and Araz Abdulla, 23, are claimed to each have taken a turn to rape the victim in the bedroom of a flat at Roker Avenue in Sunderland.

The woman, who prosecutors say had been lured from a bus stop and taken to the property, was left with marks to her neck, throat and arms.

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

Prosecution and defence teams have now made closing submissions and Judge Stephen Earl will sum out the case before the jury retires to consider its verdict tomorrow.

Prosecutor Paul Abrahams told jurors at the start of the case the woman had been waiting for a bus in the city in May when she was approached by Rasooll.

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 she was raped by the two strangers.

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".

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

During their evidence at the trial, both men have claimed the woman consented two what happened in the flat.

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

The trial continues.