Sunderland sex attacks and drugs trial suddenly halted
A trial of a student accused of being a serial sex attacker and drug dealer has been halted.
Northumbria University student Omar Sharif denies attacking three women after allegedly plying them with drugs.
The 22-year-old, of Brunton Terrace, Sunderland, was on trial with four other people at Newcastle Crown Court but the jury has now been discharged from delivering verdicts in respect of any of the defendants, due to legal reasons.
Sharif denies three offences of supplying MDMA, five charges of rape in relation to two alleged victims and one of sexual assault in relation to a third complainant.
He was being tried alongside Milagros Sanchez, 24, who denies facilitating sexual exploitation at her rented flat at Chester Road, Sunderland, where it is claimed a teenager was raped by two strangers in 2016.
Luke Richardson, 20, of Ponden Hill, Sunderland, and Georgi Karaboykov, 34, of Horatio Street, Sunderland, both deny rape and assault by penetration in connection with what happened at Sanchez's flat that night.
They both claim the 17-year-old alleged victim consented to what went on.
Sharif's brother, Amer Sharif, 19, of Brunton Terrace, Sunderland, denies perverting the course of justice over claims he tried to tamper with the police investigation.
The five now face a fresh trial next year.
Omar Sharif has been remanded in custody while the remaining defendants are on bail.