Two restaurant workers from Sunderland jailed for total of 23 years for rape and false imprisonment
Two restaurant workers who took turns to rape a stranger in a car after lurking around a city centre looking for victims have been jailed.
Najirul Miah, 22, and Syed Ahmed, 22, attacked a woman who got into a silver vehicle with them after she had lost her friend and her phone battery died during a night out in Sunderland.
Newcastle Crown Court heard she had offered to pay the two men to take her home when she could not find a licensed taxi.
The attackers drove her to a deserted street in Hendon, where she was raped by both men, who treated her "like a piece of meat", then "discarded on the ground like a piece of trash", miles away from home.
During the ordeal she was told "you are going to have to do this", "be a good woman" and "do as we tell you".
The court heard the impact of the attack has been "very significant" on the victim, who now struggles to leave the house and has lost trust in people.
She said in a statement her decision to get into the car that night is something she will "regret for the rest of her life".
The woman said the attack has "stolen her life" and added that the men had an "easy choice" that night and could have taken her home then "no-one would be living the nightmare they are living now".
Miah, of Ashwood Terrace, Sunderland, denied rape, sexual assault, false imprisonment but admitted theft of her belongings.
Ahmed, of Chester Street East, Sunderland, denied one charge of rape, false imprisonment and theft of her belongings.
Because of their denials, the woman has had to relive her ordeal from the witness box three times.
The first trial resulted in a hung jury and a second trial was halted due to legal reasons.
After a third trial, which ended in December, both men, who continue today to deny the charges, were convicted but allowed to have bail over Christmas.
Judge Sarah Mallett jailed Miah for 12 years and Ahmed for 11 years.
Both must register as a sexual offender for life.
The judge told them: "You forced yourselves, one after the other, onto her.
"Both of you used some force against her during the course of the rapes, as a result of which she sustained, albeit minor, physical injuries."
The judge said being thrown out of the car after the rapes added to the victim's "humiliation" and added: "This episode must have been utterly terrifying as well as humiliating."
Ahmed's then girlfriend Jodie Menzies, 22, of Thakaray Road, Sunderland, admitted attempting to pervert the course in relation to a series of Facebook messages she sent the victim in the aftermath of the attack in a bid to get her to drop the charges against him.
In the messages, Menzies falsely claimed she was pregnant with Ahmed's baby and said she needed him to look after her and the child.
The court heard the victim was left "scared and intimidated" by the contact and had second thoughts about pursuing her complaint.
Menzies was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with rehabilitation and programme requirements.
David Callan, defending Ahmed, said: "He doesn't agree with the verdict but he does accept it."
Mr Callan said Ahmed, who was 18 at the time of the offences, comes from a respectable family and has treated the court process with respect while on bail.
Paul Reid, defending Miah, said: "This was an incident for which this young man feels deep remorse. Even on his account, he realises that this was appalling behaviour."
Mr Reid said Miah has "changed' in the time since the offences were committed and has a supportive family.