A SUCCESSFUL Kurdish asylum seeker faces deportation back to northern Iraq after being convicted of rape.

Durham Crown Court heard that Swara Jubrahil Mohammad carried out the attack on a teenage student in a “dirty” bedsit above a Bishop Auckland pizza shop.

Despite his repeated denials and his assertion that he had met his victim on previous occasions at his flat, a jury convicted him of rape, by a unanimous verdict, following a three-day trial at the court this week.

Jonathan Walker, prosecuting, read an impact statement from the victim to the sentencing hearing.

She said she was “very emotional” for weeks after the attack, more than two years ago, and despite trying to bottle up her feelings and memories of the incident, she has suffered flashbacks at night.

Although she said she feels, “slightly easier” now, she remains uneasy in the company of people she does not know, especially men, and has since not been in a relationship with anyone.

Mr Walker said there was, “a degree of violence” in the offence, itself, although the jury was discharged from reaching a verdict on a second count, of assault causing actual bodily harm, after the guilty verdict on the rape.

He said there was also, “an element of pre-planning and the offer of alcohol to the victim, that was not taken up.”

Mohammad, 23, of Yarm Road, Stockton, denied rape and assault causing actual bodily harm.

Following the conviction, his counsel, David Callan, told the court the defendant only came to this country in November 2017 after fleeing Kirkuk, in northern Iraq, after being brutally attacked.

“He successfully sought asylum in the UK and lived here as a young man, somewhat isolated and lonely.

“He did not work ‘front of house’ in the pizza shop and was only 21 at the time.

“His time in custody will be very isolating as few if any one will be able to speak in his native Kurdish Sorani.”

Judge James Adkin: “The rape, in a dirty bedsit above a pizza shop, was painful and degrading.

“In your trial you lied throughout and made up an account of meeting her on earlier occasions at your flat.

“She had described the ongoing impact on her, having flashbacks, and you showed no remorse for what you did.”

Imposing a 66-month prison sentence, Judge Adkin told him: “You will serve up to half of that sentence in custody then you may be deported on release on licence.

“Deportation should be automatic.”