Prison time doubled for sexual predator who raped sleeping women after Leeds Crown Court sentencing deemed 'unduly lenient'

A rapist who attacked two “defenceless” women has had his jail term more than doubled by the Court of Appeal.

Dariush Behdarvandi-Aidi, 34, of Frances Street, York, raped the women, who can only be identified as AA and CC, in April and December 2017.

In April, he sexually assaulted then raped a “comatose” AA, before raping CC eight months later while she was “heavily asleep” after taking medication.

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In November 2020, he was handed a sentence of six years and 10 months in prison at Leeds Crown Court after being found guilty of two counts of rape and one of sexual assault.

Dariush Behdarvandi-Aidi. Picture: North Yorkshire Police

On Thursday, Court of Appeal judges increased his sentence to 14 years following a referral by Solicitor General Lucy Frazer, under the unduly lenient sentence scheme.

The judges concluded the original sentence did not take enough account of the impact of the attacks on the victims.

Lord Justice Holroyde, sitting with Mrs Justice McGowan and Judge Paul Sloan QC, told the court a witness described AA as “out of it” after drinking and using drugs in April 2017.

The witness saw Behdarvandi-Aidi sexually assault AA on a sofa by touching her inappropriately, before telling him to stop.

However, he later raped AA on the sofa, having pulled down her trousers and underwear.

The court heard that during the second attack, in December 2017, CC woke to find Behdarvandi-Aidi raping her, before she threw him off.

Joel Smith, for the Solicitor General, argued the sentencing judge failed to properly consider that the victims were particularly vulnerable at the time, which would have allowed for a higher sentence.

He told the court: “There is nothing wrong or improper with the courts thinking that offending against an individual who is unable to resist has a greater impact and inflicts greater harm.

“The victim is required to come to terms with offending that took place in circumstances where they were unable to remember or unable to resist.”

In the ruling, Lord Justice Holroyde said the repeated incidents and the fact both women were asleep or unconscious required an increased sentence.

He said: “In the circumstances, with all respect to the (sentencing) judge, the sentence imposed must be regarded as unduly lenient even if the offence was correctly categorised.

“However, we are satisfied they were not correctly categorised.”

“The first was preceded and significantly aggravated by a sexual assault. He was told to stop but nonetheless went on to rape his victim.

“AA was so severely affected by drink and drugs that she was unconscious and unaware of the sexual offences committed against her. She could hardly have been more vulnerable.

“CC was intoxicated with drink and drugs. She too was unaware of what was happening. She was defenceless.”

Quashing the original sentence, Lord Justice Holroyde said: “The offender has a total sentence of 14 years. He will serve two-thirds before he is released on licence.”