Tees

Middlesbrough delivery driver 'hunted' girl for sex attack

Araz Khdir Image copyright Cleveland Police
Image caption Araz Khdir's silver BMW was seen passing the girl shortly before she was attacked

A delivery driver who "hunted" a 14-year-old girl before subjecting her to a "horrendous" sex attack, has been jailed for 11 years.

Araz Khdir, 40, attacked the girl minutes after his car was seen passing her on the outskirts of Middlesbrough on 17 February last year.

Newcastle Crown Court heard she was dragged into bushes after being grabbed from behind on a dimly-lit path.

Khdir, from Marton Grove Road in the town, had denied sexual assault.

The girl was walking home from a friend's house when Khdir ran up behind her on the wooded path.

The court heard she was dragged several feet into bushes, pinned to ground by Khdir and "violently" sexually assaulted.

She managed to break free, leaving one of her boots behind.

Image caption Khdir dragged his victim into bushes after grabbing her from behind on the dimly-lit path

Khdir was later traced by DNA which was found on the girl's clothes and a woolly hat he left at the scene.

He claimed to have been delivering food for a local takeaway, but there was no record of any deliveries that night, the court heard.

The prosecution instead said Khdir was "hunting" for a victim when CCTV images showed his car passing the girl at about 21:15 GMT.

His car was then seen to turn round and pass her again shortly before the attack.

Image caption DC Catherine McKenzie praised the victim's bravery

Judge Amanda Rippon described Khdir as a "predator" who "marked out" the girl for attack.

The court heard he had a previous conviction for stalking and forensic gloves and tape were found in his car.

Det Con Catherine McKenzie of Cleveland Police, said: "This attack was absolutely horrendous and has had a massive impact on the girl and her family.

"In pleading not guilty, he forced her to relive the incident in court and I would like to praise her for her immense courage in coming forward and giving evidence."

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