Roker Avenue rape: Sunderland mum says pain of ordeal made her 'want to die' as strangers who attacked her in asylum seekers' accommodation are jailed for 22 years

A mum has said the pain she feels after being raped by two strangers at asylum seekers' accommodation makes her "want to die".

Monday, 17th December 2018, 16:05 pm
Updated Monday, 17th December 2018, 17:18 pm
Saheed Rasoolli

Saheed Rasoolli, 30, and Araz Abdulla, 23, each took a turn to attack their victim in the bedroom of a flat at Roker Avenue in Sunderland, after she was lured there from a bus stop.Newcastle Crown Court heard the victim "couldn't get her breath" during the rape ordeals and she was left with nail marks to her neck, throat and arms.Rasoolli, who has now been jailed for 12 years, and Abdulla, who has been jailed for ten, both denied rape but were convicted by a jury earlier this month.The Home Office will be informed of their convictions and sentences so their status in the UK can be considered.Judge Stephen Earl said both men, who are from Iran and Iraq respectively, must sign the sex offenders register for life.The judge said the woman had been "consistent about what took place" that day whereas her attackers had told "lie after lie after lie".Judge Earl added: "Her life, currently, appears to be irreparably damaged as a result of the actions of both of these men."In her impact statement the victim, who cannot be named, said: "I was raped by two men I did not know and since that day my life has changed."I am not the same person."I try to do nice things and laugh but I no longer enjoy life."I cannot go out in public anymore, I feel frightened and nervous. I am scared something will happen to me or someone will hurt me."I know both the men who raped me have been in prison since they were arrested but that doesn't change how I feel."The woman said she now struggles to even take her children to the park and has been prescribed medication from her doctor to try and banish the negative thoughts she has.She added: "I constantly think about he two men and what they did to me. I can't describe the pain I feel."I don't have any injury to account for the pain, I have nothing to show for all the pain."The woman said she made a serious attempt to take her own life and has "never felt like this before".She added: "The pain I feel, following being raped, makes me want to die."It overpowers me."I can't stop the feelings. I wish I could forget what they have done to me, I wish it hadn't happened."I try every day to block it out but nothing stops the thoughts."My whole life has changed as a direct result of that day and what those two men did to me. They violated and abused me."They left no physical injury or scars but, at the moment, if feels like they have destroyed my life."The woman said she is worried for her future and fears "I may never feel positive again".She added: "They need to understand what they have done to me and how their actions have impacted on my life."I never want another person to suffer like I have because of those two men and their lack or respect for the right to say no."Prosecutor Paul Abrahams told the court during the trial the woman, who had been waiting for a bus in the city in May after a date she had been on ended in disaster, when she was approached by Rasoolli, who had "decided at this early stage he was going to have sex with this female, whatever her views".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, who left the room.He told jurors: "Rasoolli, without warning pushed her on the bed."Mr Abrahams said Rasoolli had sex with the woman and added: "She told him to stop and tried to push him off, she made it clear she didn't want to have any kind of sexual activity but despite her attempts, he ignored her and continued to force himself on her."The court heard when Rasoolli had finished with the victim he left the room, Abdulla returned and took his turn to rape the woman.Mr Abrahams said: "Again, she hadn't wanted any kind of sexual activity and told him to stop."She tired pushing him away but he continued raping her."The court heard when Abdulla finished with the woman he left the room and she was able to get away.Dan Cordey, defending Rasoolli, of Hylton Road, Sunderland, said the meeting at the bus stop had been by "chance" and that the attack was not planned.Mr Cordey said Rasoolli just wants a "safe and decent life" and has never been to prison before.Liam O'Brien, defending Abdulla, of Roker Avenue, Sunderland, said: "He still maintains he is an innocent man".Mr O'Brien said Abudlla's family were targeted by ISIS in his homeland and he is uneducated.

A Home Office spokesman said: "Foreign nationals who abuse our hospitality by committing crimes in the UK should be in no doubt of our determination to deport them and we have removed nearly 45,800 foreign offenders since 2010."

Araz Abdulla

Speaking after sentencing, Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt, of Northumbria Police, said: "I am pleased that two dangerous offenders have now been taken off our streets following this despicable act.

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"Their selfishness caused a great deal of upset and distress to both the victim and the local community as a whole. They must now live with the consequences of their actions.

"Rasoolli and Abdulla both insisted their innocence throughout this case, and their convictions are a result of a huge amount of work by an experienced and dedicated team of detectives who leave no stone unturned to ensure offenders are brought to justice.

"I would like to take this opportunity to praise the victim and her family for the bravery and dignity they have shown throughout this difficult case.

"While no sentence can change the horrific ordeal that the victim has endured, I hope she can now seek some kind of closure following these convictions."