Shop assistant convicted of multiple rapes


A SHOP assistant is facing a lengthy spell in prison after being convicted of multiple rapes.

Hassan Akhtar, 37, was remanded in custody by Judge Simon Hickey at Durham Crown Court after the jury returned its unanimous guilty verdicts.

During a trial lasting four days, the court heard that Akhtar targeted his victim and coaxed her into performing a sex act.

The victim, described as sexually naive, told the court she tried to resist Akhtar, but he told her to shut up, saying she should co-operate for his ‘pleasurement’.

She said she was frightened to tell anyone, but eventually confided in friends, who called the police.

Akhtar, bailed to an address in Dean Road, South Shields, had denied four charges of rape and one of attempted rape.

He was convicted of all charges by the jury after 90 minutes of deliberation.

Judge Hickey told Akhtar: “You have been convicted of serious offences.

“It is inevitable a substantial prison sentence will follow.

“In the meantime, you are remanded in custody.”

Co-defendant Muriel Coleman, 50,of Church Square, Brandon, County Durham, pleaded guilty at the start of the trial to two offences of encouraging or assisting a sexual offence.

She gave evidence against Akhtar and is on bail, pending sentence.

Akhtar and Coleman will both be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court on Friday, June 6.