Sex attacker spared jail after assaulting woman urinating in back alley in Sunderland

An asylum seeker who sexually assaulted a young woman in a back alley in Sunderland city centre has been told to pay his victim just £50 in compensation.

Wednesday, 22nd March 2017, 5:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:09 am
Ali Shahad

Ali Shahad had been warned he faced a jail sentence when he was found guilty of the offence following a trial in January.

Sunderland Magistrates’ Court heard he placed his hands on the victim’s thighs as she relieved herself in an alleyway off Holmeside.

Now the 39-year-old has been spared jail and will serve his sentence in the community.

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He was handed an 18-month community order, with up to 45 days’ rehabilitation activity requirement.

In addition, he was told to pay his young victim £50 in compensation.

The court also awarded £85 prosecution costs and a £35 surcharge.

As a convicted sex offender, Shahad was ordered to sign on the Sex Offenders’ Register for five years.

The court heard during the trial, how Shahad was chased off and punched in the face by the woman’s girlfriends, following the attack.

The pervert, of Roker Avenue, Sunderland, had denied an offence of sexual assault, but was found guilty by district judge Roger Elsey

In his evidence, he claimed a case of mistaken identity, saying there were other ‘Arabic-looking’ people in the area at the time.

But an independent witness, who had just finished work in a nearby bar, saw what happened and backed up the victim’s account.

Prosecutor Jeanette Smith said: “The injured party had gone down a back alley next to Mecca Bingo in Sunderland to urinate.

“While she had her trousers and underwear down to about mid-shin level, she states a man approached her and touched her.”

Giving evidence via video link, the victim previously said: “I was scared I didn’t know what was happening. I didn’t know why he’d touched me, but I felt totally violated.

“Why would a male follow a young girl into an alleyway.

“In my opinion nobody has any right to touch a female in any way without consent, I don’t know what his intentions were, but I felt violated.”

The court heard at a previous hearing that Shahad claims to hail from Sudan, but has paperwork from Kuwait.

Dan Pygall, defending, argued during the trial that the victim had been drunk at the time and would not have had a clear recollection as to what happened.