An Afghan man has been jailed after raping a pregnant woman at knifepoint in her own bed, and for an attack on a sleeping victim as her baby lay beside her in a cot.
Judge Neil Clark said he hoped Aryan Rashidi would be deported after Leeds Crown Court heard the defendant had caused “huge psychological upset” in his victims, who have had to move house due to no longer feeling safe in their own homes.
On September 14th, 2016, the illegal immigrant, who entered Britain from Calais on the back of a lorry, climbed into a house in Bradford and tried to assault a sleeping woman.
The court heard that the woman was sleeping in bed with her husband, with her baby in a cot beside the bed, when she awoke to discover Rashidi pulling at her pyjama bottoms.
Prosecutor David Hall said the victim pretended to be asleep as she feared the intruder could be armed, before her husband waking up caused Rashidi to flee, leaving a shoe behind at the scene.
The 20-year-old, who claimed to police he was aged 15 or 16 before dental records revealed his age to be closer to 22, struck again on October 5th near Wakefield city centre.
Police were called in the early hours of the morning after a woman reported she had been raped at knifepoint by a man who climbed into the property through an open window.
Mr. Hall said the rape victim could find “no joy in her pregnancy” after the attack and suffered from depression. She went on to deliver her child safely.
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Rashidi was linked to the crimes by his fingerprints and analysis of CCTV footage; but following his arrest, there were delays in sentencing after the Afghan handed officers documents purporting he was aged under 18.
Local media reported the judiciary had expressed doubts on two previous occasions over the Afghan’s claim to be a minor, with Judge Clark remarking: “When you came before me on April 3, I noted that you sported a beard and appeared to be significantly over the age of 18.”
On Monday, Rashidi was sentenced to 14 years and seven months’ imprisonment and told he must serve a minimum of five years, eight months, in custody before he will be allowed to apply for parole.
According to the Wakefield Express, a report on the offending of the accused said his attitude towards the victims seemed “glib and disregarding”, and described him as “highly predatory” and willing to engage in risk-taking behaviour to “meet his sexual needs”.
Defending Rashidi, Robert Stevenson said his client now accepted that he was aged over 18 and that the defendant “has known nothing but a war-torn and lawless country”.
“Rather than just being evil, he is the product of a somewhat traumatic past,” he told the court.
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But, sentencing, Judge Clark told Rashidi his offending was “of the most serious and frightening type”, asserting: “’Its very nature points to the level of danger you present to the public.
“It is hard to begin to imagine more terrifying or humiliating offending than this,” he said.
Detective Chief Inspector Sue Jenkinson of Wakefield District Police said: “It is no exaggeration to say that Rashidi is a highly dangerous individual.
“His actions in breaking into a property and seriously sexually assaulting a pregnant woman while she slept were predatory in the extreme.
“He also clearly showed sexual intent towards the female victim in the offence in Bradford and his actions must have been terrifying to everyone concerned.”