Failed asylum seeker jailed for raping man in Sunderland and leaving him in bed of nettles

A failed asylum seeker has been jailed for six years after raping a man and leaving him face down in a bed of nettles under Sunderland's Wearmouth Bridge.

Monday, 4th April 2016, 2:05 pm
Updated Monday, 4th April 2016, 3:21 pm
The victim came round in a bed of nettles under the Wearmouth Bridge in Sunderland.

Ayoub Khalifa, 30, attacked his victim, who was drunk, under the Wearmouth Bridge after leaving a nightclub in Sunderland city centre.

The victim remembered leaving the nightclub in the company of another man and walking down a bank on September 12 last year.

Anne Richardson, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court the victim woke up in the early hours of the morning, when it was still dark, to find he was lying face down in mud and nettles.

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His trousers and pants were pulled down to his ankles and his shirt was pulled up to his chest.

The victim thought he may have been sexually assaulted and became distressed.

He no longer had his phone, so he was unable to raise the alarm, but realised he was under the Wearmouth Bridge.

He made his way to reception at a Sunderland University Halls of Residence shortly after 6am, where the police were contacted.

The victim, who had nettle stings on his hands and stomach, had to have intimate samples taken during a medical examination at hospital, and the DNA profile matched Khalifa's.

Khalifa had also stolen the man's phone, watch, and his wallet and its contents, including cash, cards and driving licence.

The victim tried to track his phone using an app, but the phone was offline. Khalifa was found at an address in Sunderland and provided police with a false name.

When interviewed, he said he had not engaged in sexual activity with a man, and that he was attracted to women.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, his victim said: "Since I was attacked I have suffered with severe anxiety and I would not leave the house.

"I think this was due to the fact I couldn't remember the events that happened at the time of the offence.

"If I'm alone in my house I'm convinced there is someone in the house, and it makes me really scared.

"I was sick from my job for about one month, as I couldn't face going out.

"My friends and my family have been a great support to me and have helped me get back into my normal routine.

"I feel it will take me a long time for me to come to terms with what has happened to me and be able to move forward, but I have started making steps in order to move forward with my life."

Khalifa, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to one count of rape at a previous hearing.

Alec Burns, defending, said: "There will be consequences for him when he returns to Algeria.

"Perhaps more importantly to him, his own family will have a very strong view of what he has done and the circumstances of it.

"He is ashamed at what he has done, not only for himself but for the victim.

"He doesn't understand how he can behave like this towards anybody. He can remember leaving the nightclub and not a lot after. He accepts what he has done."

The Recorder of Newcastle, Judge Paul Sloan QC, told Khalifa: "He (the victim) had a great deal to drink over the course of the night and has little recollection of the latter part of that night.

"He vaguely remembers leaving the nightclub in the company of another man and walking down a bank with the man.

"His next recollection is waking up to find that he was lying face down in mud and nettles.

"The victim was particularly vulnerable due to his personal circumstances, in particular in his level of degree of intoxication."

Judge Sloan sentenced Khalifa to six years in prison, telling him: "You will serve up to half of that in custody. After that it's likely that you will be deported."