Woman jailed for setting up rape of teenage girl

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A woman who set up the rape of a teenage girl so she could pay off her debt has been jailed for eight years.

Muriel Coleman organised meetings between the vulnerable youngster and her landlord’s relative Akhtar Hassan after she fell just over £1,000 behind on her rent.

A judge said Coleman “seems to be more sorry for herself than for her victim”.

Newcastle Crown Court heard Hassan repeatedly raped the girl and subjected her to sickening sexual abuse over a three month period early last year.

During the attacks the married dad-of-three told the girl to “shut up” and said she must co-operate for his “pleasurement”. The attacks were carried out while Hassan’s family and children were out of the country in Pakistan.

37-year-old Hassan of Stanley, County Durham, denied the charges against him but was found guilty after a trial by a jury. He was jailed for 13 years.

Coleman, of Church Square, Brandon, County Durham, admitted what she had done and gave evidence against Hassan during the case. She pleaded guilty to two counts of encouraging or assisting a sexual offence.

Judge Simon Hickey told Coleman: “You exploited her, facilitating these awful acts against her. “Why, is the obvious question.”The answer was provided in the trial – you were in debt. “You think only of yourself and not much for any other.”

The court heard Coleman fell behind in her rent payments despite receiving state handouts for housing.The judge said: “I don’t know what it was squandered on.”

Judge Hickey said he entirely rejected Coleman’s claims that she did not know exactly what was going on while Hassan was alone with the girl.

Prosecutor Sarah Mallett told the court during the trial Hassan coaxed or forced the girl to perform different sex acts with him up to twice a week during the period of abuse.

She said: “Matters came to light when she told some friends what had been happening.”

Jurors heard during the trial how evidence against Akhtar included DNA from bedding.

Miss Mallett added: “Aktar was interviewed by police during which he denied he had had sex with the young woman. “He said his DNA was on the bedding because he had had sex with Coleman, at her invitation.

“He told the police he was aware Coleman was short of money, because she had asked for a loan of a few hundred pounds.” Akhtar said he was happy to lend her the money, but was unable to give her it straight away.

“He said Coleman was annoyed about that, which is why she was trying to ‘fit him up’ with the rape of the younger woman.”

Jurors rejected Hassan’s claims and found him guilty of four charges of rape and one of attempted rape.

On top of the prison sentences, the pair must sign the sex offenders’ register and abide by the terms of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for life.

After the pair were lead away to start their prison terms, Judge Hickey said the victim, who had to relive her ordeal from the witness box, was a “remarkable” young woman.

The judge said: “I sincerely hope and trust she will go on, as far as she is able to, to put these assaults behind her.”John Wilkinson, defending, said Hassan’s attitude remains the same as it did at the trial.

Jonathan Devlin, also defending, said: “She is perhaps one of the most hopelessly inadequate people to come before this court.”

See on www.itv.com

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