'Grinning' asylum seeker abducted and attempted to rape terrified woman in Leeds

An asylum seeker who abducted and attempted to rape a woman as she walked home after a night out in Leeds has been handed a total sentence of more than ten years.

Afghan national Abdul Nishat grabbed the woman outside the University of Leeds on Woodhouse Lane and dragged her into an alleyway opposite the Parkinson building.

Nishat, 23, pushed the woman against a wall and she fell to the ground, where he attempted to rape her.

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The terrified woman's screams alerted passers by and Nishat fled at around 2am on November 30 2019.

Abdul Nishat

A Leeds Crown Court judge handed Nishat an extended prison sentence after hearing the attempted rape had a devastating impact on his victim.

Nishat, of Nowell Mount, Harehills, had approached another woman in Hyde Park earlier the same night and touched her on the shoulder before walking away.

The court heard Nishat's father was killed for political reasons in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Nishat had later been tortured.

Prosecutor, Soheil Khan said the woman, aged in her twenties, was walking past the Parkinson building, when Nishat struck.

Mr Khan said: "Mr Nishat walked in front of her with a big grin on his face and then got her in a tight bear hug."

Mr Khan said: "She began to struggle, telling him to stop and get off her. He said nothing in response but kept hold of her.

"He then dragged her - her feet scraping the ground - towards the alleyway and then pushed her against the wall with some force."

Mr Khan said Nishat removed some of the woman's clothes and atempted to rape her.

Mr Khan said the woman screamed for help, which alerted two men and a woman who were passing by.

Nishat - who has been in the UK for five years - ran away, leaving the cap he had been wearing at the scene.

Police examined CCTV from city centre buildings and found images of Nishat with his arm in a sling at Leeds General Infirmary

Nishat, who has no previous convictions, was traced through the hospital and arrested at his home address on December 11.

Police found CCTV footage Nishat touching another woman's on the shoulder in Hyde Park earlier on the night of the attempted rape.

His DNA was found on the cap left at the scene and on the attempted rape victim's clothing.

Nishat, previously admitted attempted rape, but denied kidnapping the woman on the same date.

Mr Khan said the pleas were accepted by the prosecution and Judge Christopher Batty returned a not guilty verdict on the kidnap charge.

Reading the woman's victim statement, Mr Khan said the woman had pre-existing mental health problems, adding: "The month following this attack has been the hardest of her life.

"She described completely losing her mind... She has struggled to deal with what happened.

"She describes having a meltdown, crying and screaming, thinking of harming herself, all the while pretending there is nothing wrong with her."

Richard Reed, mitigating, said: "He had been drinking and taking an enhancing drug to stimulate his libido."

Mr Reed added: "Having gone through so much trauma and ending up in this country and behaved like this, he is deeply ashamed and bitterly sorry.

"He originates from Kabul in Afghanistan and his father was killed for political reasons when he was only two-years-of-age.

"He (Nishat) Has been imprisoned and tortured and subsequently has suffered post traumatic stress disorder."

Judge Batty handed Nishat an extended sentence of ten-years-and-five months and said his name will be on the sex offender register for life.

Nishat will serve a prison term of six-years-and-five-months plus an extended licence period of four years.

Judge Batty told Nishat: "You pushed her to the floor, removed her lower clothing and tried to rape her.

"She was terrified. She knew what you were wanting to do and she was powerless to prevent it."

After the sentencing hearing, Detective Inspector James Entwistle, of Leeds District CID, said: “This was a really disturbing incident in which Nishat subjected the victim to a terrifying ordeal after targeting her at random in the street.

“Fortunately he was disturbed by a passer-by who intervened and went to the victim’s aid causing him to flee the scene.

“We always treat any such attack very seriously and we launched a detailed and comprehensive investigation which identified Nishat and resulted in his arrest.

“He is clearly someone who presents a considerable risk to women and we hope the victim, as well as the wider community, will be reassured to know that he is now safely behind bars.”