"She did not scream or resist. She was alone"
Sajjad Sultan, aged 26, of Old Trafford, Manchester, was jailed for 10 years for raping a stranger just 11 days after being released from prison for another sex offence.
Manchester Crown Court heard that in October 2018, a woman in her 20s had been out with her friends in the Gay Village.
However, she became separated from them.
Prosecutor Robert Smith said that Sultan, who had been hanging around Canal Street, pretended to be friendly to her.
He put his arm around her and walked with her to a taxi rank.
She believed she was safe as she thought Sultan was gay.
But as they entered a canal towpath, Sultan attacked her and pull her to the ground.
He raped the victim, and bit her on the neck and on her breast.
Mr Smith said: “She was terrified.
“She did not scream or resist. She was alone, there was no one else in the area, it was dark.
“She was next to the canal and feared that if she resisted something much worse might happen.”
After the attack, they were seen walking towards Piccadilly Gardens.
Due to her fear of Sultan, the victim pretended that nothing had happened.
At around 4 am, she called her mother who collected her.
Through his DNA, Sultan was arrested five weeks later. He claimed that the sexual activity was consensual.
Despite there being strong evidence against him, Sultan was released under investigation.
Judge Hilary Manley said: “It cannot be right that a man with convictions for sexual offending, who has just been released from prison and is accused on strong evidence of a stranger rape in the city centre, can be released under investigation.”
Sultan committed the rape 11 days after being released from prison for a previous sex offence.
He was jailed in August 2017 for 18 months for sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl and child abduction.
He was released in January 2018 but was jailed again after he breached a restraining order that prevented him from contacting the girl.
After his release under investigation, Sultan was brought back before the courts for failing to comply with court orders.
Judge Manley said: “It is a source of grave concern that a man who is a sex offender is able to offend in this way, and there was such a lengthy delay before he is brought to justice.”
Sultan denied the offences but a jury convicted him of rape and two counts of sexual assault.
The court heard that the woman has been left traumatised and has made multiple attempts to end her own life.
In a victim impact statement, she said:
“The thought of waking up seems so much harder than just getting out the fast way.”
“This has taken over a huge part of who I was prior to the attack.”
The victim added that her confidence has been “shattered” and that she no longer feels safe going into the city centre or the Gay Village.
Judge Manley told Sultan:
“You committed a heartless and cruel attack on a woman who was simply trying to make her way home at night.
“I am wholly satisfied that you were hanging around the Canal Street area in the city centre, alone, with one purpose in mind, to pick off a helpless victim for your sexual gratification.
“You realised that she was not in the company of friends who could look out for her.”
Sultan was jailed for 10 years, receiving an additional five years on licence after being declared a “dangerous” offender.