A MAN has gone on trial accused of taking advantage of a sexually naive young woman while his wife was out of the country.

Hassan Akhtar denies five charges, including four of rape and one of attempted rape of the woman, said to have been committed over a period of several months while his wife was visiting relatives in Pakistan.

Durham Crown Court was told the prosecution alleges that the 37-year-old defendant was assisted in committing the offences by a 50-year-old woman.

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Outlining the case at the start of the trial today (Thursday May 8), prosecuting counsel Sarah Mallett told the jury that Muriel Coleman has previously pleaded guilty to two charges of encouraging or assisting in rape or attempted rape.

Coleman, of Church Square, Brandon, near Durham, who is to be a prosecution witness in the case, was bailed to be sentenced at the outcome of Mr Akhtar’s trial.

Miss Mallett said Coleman was living at the time in a flat owned by a cousin of Mr Akhtar in the Stanley area of County Durham.

As a result she had known him for several years.

Miss Mallett said the alleged offences came to light when the alleged victim told “more wordly-wise” friends what had taken place.

As a result it was reported to police, who spoke at length to the alleged victim.

She told the officers that Mr Akhtar did things which she didn’t want him to do to her, and she, “didn’t like it, at all.”

The most recent alleged incident took place only a week before the police became involved.

Miss Mallett said Mr Akhtar was arrested and denied the allegations.

She added that he claimed he was being “set up” by Coleman, who he knew was in financial difficulty and had pestered him for money.

“He simple says there was never any sexual contact between him and the complainant.

“The prosecution says her evidence and that of Muriel Coleman, plus the forensic evidence, will make you sure,” Miss Mallett told the jury.

Evidence in the trial will not begin until next week and Mr Akhtar, now of Dene Road, South Shields, was bailed to return to court, on Monday.