Sunderland pair found guilty of raping woman at flat

From left, Sunderland rapists Saheed Rasoolli and Araz Abdulla have been warned to expect lengthy jail sentences.
From left, Sunderland rapists Saheed Rasoolli and Araz Abdulla have been warned to expect lengthy jail sentences.

Two attackers who raped a woman at asylum seekers' accommodation are facing years behind bars.

Saheed Rasoolli, 30, and Araz Abdulla, 23, each took a turn to rape the stranger in the bedroom of a flat at Roker Avenue, in Sunderland, after she was lured there from a bus stop.

The defendants have been warned at Newcastle Crown Court that they face years behind bars.

The defendants have been warned at Newcastle Crown Court that they face years behind bars.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the victim "couldn't get her breath" during the attacks and she was left with nail marks to her neck, throat and arms after the ordeal.

Rasoolli and Abdulla both denied rape and claimed during a trial that the woman consented to what happened at the property.

But after less than three hours deliberation jurors found both men guilty of rape.

The pair will be sentenced on Monday, December 17.

Prosecutor Paul Abrahams told jurors the woman, who is in her 20s, had been waiting for a bus in the city earlier this year 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.

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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 tried 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.

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 later arrested in Middlesbrough.

He told police in his first interview the woman had "come on to him" and he had "begged her to go away".

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

He dismissed Abdulla's claims.

Abdulla, of Roker Avenue, Sunderland, and Rasoolli, of Hylton Road, Sunderland, have both been remanded in custody.