A MAN accused of raping a teenage girl threw away his right to give evidence after five times refusing to answer a question from his own barrister about his previous convictions.

Saman Osmanzadeh was asked whether he accepted he had been convicted of trying to abduct two teenage girls in while living in Wales.

Teesside Crown Court heard how he struck twice three days apart in November 2013, trying to force the girls into his car on the pretext of giving them a lift home.

Christine Egerton, prosecuting, successfully applied for the submission of bad character evidence to be presented to the jury.

Julian Goode, Osmanzadeh's barrister, opened the defence case with questions about his client's previous conviction.

The defendant, speaking through a Kurdish interpreter, continually refused to answer the question despite repeated warnings from trial judge Jonathan Carroll.

Osmanzadeh's refusal to answer the questions resulted in several delays on the third day of his trial before Judge Carroll told him he had 'forfeited' his right to give evidence in his defence.

Earlier in the trial, jurors heard how the defendant picked up the teenage girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, in Darlington before driving her to Bishop Auckland where he allegedly raped her.

CCTV footage showed the young woman leaving a pub in Darlington town centre to get a taxi but it pulled away just seconds before she reached the car after waiting for more than five minutes for his customer.

Moments later she walked across the road and got into Osmanzadeh's Nissan Micra.

The court heard the defendant then took her to Bishop Auckland were is accused of raping her before driving her back to her friend's house in Darlington.

In her evidence, the alleged victim said: "When I came to realise what had happened I started to cry. I was starting to piece it together and wondered how I had got there.

"I didn't remember anything and that is when it shocked me, because I couldn't remember."

Osmanzadeh, 31, of Durham Street, Bishop Auckland, denies rape and maintains that the sex was consensual.

The jury is expected to go out tomorrow as the trial is not sitting today.