On Air Now
Early Breakfast with Zoe Hardman 4am - 6am
12 December 2014, 14:42 | Updated: 12 December 2014, 14:59
A Sunderland sex attacker who abducted two terrified teenage girls when they got into his car thinking it was a taxi has been jailed for 11 years.
The teenagers had got into Sail Uddin's Polo motor and asked to be taken home but were driven to the seafront and subjected to sex assault ordeals that left them hysterical and terrified.
Newcastle Crown Court heard one of the girls had managed to dial 999 from a mobile phone and was able to give a description of where her and her friend had been taken by the stranger.
When officers stopped Uddin's vehicle, which contained a collection of sex aids, at Hendon, Sunderland, both victims were in the car, crying uncontrollably.
Judge John Milford QC told Uddin:
"They got, unwittingly, into your vehicle in the belief it was a taxi."
"You, I am satisfied, after you had finished work and despite being a married man with a large family, had gone into the city centre looking for exactly what you found, which was a drunk young woman, in fact you found two."
"I have no doubt what you were looking for was to have sex with such a young woman, one way or another."
"This is a case where there was abuduction and a significant degree of planning."
"It was a terrifying experience."
The court heard both girls, who the judge said were "young, intelligent and have everything to live for" have been deeply traumatised by their ordeals.
The judge said he hoped the victims could go on to make happy lives for themselves.
During the trial Uddin had blamed the girls for making sexual advances towards him, which jurors rejected outright.
Prosecutor Anne Richardson told during the trial the girls were so frightened by what happened to them that they struggled to talk to the police when Uddin's car was pulled over.
Miss Richardson said:
"Both girls were described as hysterical, so hysterical they couldn't tell the police officer what happened."
"A male police officer couldn't calm them down."
The court heard a female police officer managed to pacify the girls enough for them to tell her what had happened.
Uddin, 43, of Hendon, Sunderland, had denied two sex assault charges but was found guilty by a jury after a trial at Newcastle Crown Court last month.
The court heard during the trial the girls had been on a night out together in February and had decided to go home in the early hours of the morning.
Miss Richardson told the court:
"They left the bar, getting into a vehicle."
"They believed it was a taxi cab."
"The girls asked him to take them home and asked how much it would be."
"The driver said it was fine, they didn't need to pay. He also said they would have some fun which they also found strange."
The court heard the girls were taken to a secluded spot at Hendon beach, where they quickly realised they were in trouble.
One girl managed to get out of the car with a mobile phone, saying she was just going to call her mother.
Miss Richardson added:
"She didn't call her mother, she dialled 999 and contacted the police."
"She tried to describe to the operator where they were by reference to landmarks."
Uddin, who was working as a chef at the time, denied wrongdoing.
The judge ordered him to sign the sex offenders register for the rest of his life.
Deputy Chief Constable Steve Ashman, of Northumbria Police, said:
"Uddin preyed on the vulnerability of two girls who were under the influence of alcohol in the early hours following a night out in Sunderland city centre."
"The driver purported to be taking the girls home but instead took them to an area where they were both sexually assaulted."
"One of the females managed to call police and officers attended the area, where Uddin's vehicle was stopped and he was arrested."
"These are absolutely appalling crimes which were terrifying experiences for the two girls involved and I'd like to commend them for their bravery in speaking with police and throughout the investigation and court proceedings."
"This case forms part of Operation Sanctuary, Northumbria Police's wide-ranging investigation into allegations of sexual crimes against women and girls who are vulnerable in some way."
"We're grateful for the support we've received so far, and continue to receive, from the public."
"There's absolutely no place in our communities for this behaviour and we welcome today's verdict, which sends out a clear message that the actions of offenders such as Uddin will not be tolerated."